In my previous letter I was compelled to select, out of...

Sevenoaks Chronicle

In my previous letter I was compelled to select, out of the vast area of Christian doctrine, some touchstone, to borrow a phrase from the text of the New Testament, by which to test the soundness of a critic's assertion that Christian Science was not Christian. I deliberately chose the healing, because the healing was the sign or proof demanded by Christ Jesus himself, of the right to the name of Christian. Another critic who takes up the argument, asks me four questions, questions on every one of which not books only, but libraries have been written, and asks me to reply in a few words. These questions take no less than twenty-two lines of print to state, and I am asked to reply in four words, a yes or no to each. Only a few days ago, one of the most brilliant of English politicians explained how easy an astute or practised heckler found it to frame questions to which it was impossible to reply in monosyllables, and then attempt to gain a cheap advantage through failing to obtain a monosyllabic reply. I do not for a moment wish to compare this clergyman to an astute or practised heckler, but I do wish to point out that he has unconsciously adopted the method.

Now I am not sure that this critic's statement of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity would prove entirely acceptable in his own church. We have most of us seen the Athanasian creed fall into disrepute, and gradually disappear from the liturgy ordinarily used. I remember once hearing a clergyman declare that if the bishop of London insisted on its being read, he would not only read it, he would explain it. I never heard that the bishop did insist on the reading; I am certain he was willing to waive the explanation. I think it was Sir Isaac Newton who declared that if any one else would like to affirm that the Father is infinite, the Son is infinite, and the Holy Ghost is infinite, he was willing to add, yet there are not three infinite, but one infinite.

January 27, 1912

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