That argument by proof-texts is futile, is not my opinion...

Alexandria (Egypt) Egyptian Gazette

That argument by proof-texts is futile, is not my opinion alone and that of the Church Times; it is the opinion of the thinking world. Your correspondent's own letter, indeed, is a liberal illustration of the truth of it, as one instance is sufficient to prove. Job, he says, "knew that without shedding of blood there could be no remission of sins," and he goes on to explain that therefore "Job rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings." But then Isaiah writes, "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs or of he goats." The simple fact, of course, is that not only can every Christian sect make good its particular dogmas, to its own satisfaction, by such a method, but every opponent of Christianity is in like case. Not long ago one of the principal organs of free thought in Europe claimed to demonstrate the utter unreliability of the Bible by just this method.

It is quite true, as your correspondent argues, that Jesus quoted the Scriptures, and did not hesitate to rebuke sin in the most unequivocal way, as true as that the Christian churches have found it considerably easier to emulate him in this respect than in his works of mercy and healing: but if, on the strength of this, everybody were to adopt the controversial method of cheerfully accusing any one from whose views they might happen to dissent, of hyporisy and theft, we should soon be even farther than we are now from realizing that "now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." When a man is Christian enough to heal as Christ Jesus healed. he may perchance he wise enough to condemn as he condemned. Until then he had, perhaps, best remember that if Jesus said, "Get thee behind me, Satan," he likewise said. "Judge not. that ye be not judged." . . .

All great religious leaders have left their impress on human thought. Wyclif in Lollardy: Colet and Latimer in Protestantism Knox in Presbyterianism whilst Calvin gave his name to Calvinism, and Luther his to the Lutherans. In a way somewhat similar, in our time, Mrs. Eddy has founded the Christian Science movement, and in founding it she has given her followers a text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the spirit of which may be judged from the words which conclude its noble preface: "In the spirit of Christ's charity, as one who 'hopeth all things, endureth all things,' and is joyful to bear consolation to the sorrowing and healing to the sick, she commits these pages to honest sekers for Truth." . . .

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October 24, 1908

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