In my recent letter, in reply to Mr.—, I promised to...

Sevenoaks (Eng.) Chronicle

In my recent letter, in reply to Mr.—, I promised to explain, with your permission, some of the many things another clergyman wanted to know. At the same time I cannot possibly cover all this critic's ground, for I have preference, as I think I have shown, for making good my contentions as I go on, instead of filling columns with assertions and questions on every theological problem which has perplexed human intelligence,—from Gnosticism to Arianism, and from Christian healing to the atonement.

This clergyman, for instance, refers casually to the atonement, as if it was a doctrine on which orthodox theology was united. Of course it is nothing of the sort. A distinguished member of the critic's own church not long ago stated, in an orthodox journal, no less than four modern views, as he termed them, of this dogma, for the purpose of adding a fifth one of his own. It is a little unreasonable, I cannot help thinking, of Mr.— to demand from me whether Christian Scientists agree with the orthodox teaching of the atonement, when I am perfectly certain he cannot tell me what that teaching is.

The critic's first point, he says, is that there were heresies, such as Gnosticism, in the early church, to which Christian Science is akin; that these heresies were condemned by the church from the time of the apostle John; and that my reference to the Covenanters has nothing to do with them. I have already had to show another critic that the trinity never was adopted by the church as a dogma until the fourth century, and that therefore he was a little premature in claiming it as primitive church teaching, especially as, in the interim, Arianism had received papal sanction. I must now impress upon Mr.—that Gnosticism, which by the by is the antithesis of Christian Science, was a product of the second century, so that it can scarcely have been denounced by "the beloved disciple." Dates are dates after all. While what I said about the Covenanters was, that the persecution of them was one of the later examples of the intolerance of the human mind, always trying to prove every one a heretic or a schismatic who does not agree with it. The Covenanters were only one link in a chain of illustrations I used in support of this. I can assure him I never imagined there was any connection between Gnostics and Covenanters. The latter were quite as convinced of the inviolability of the evidence of their senses as the critic himself.

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