Christianity “dwells with noxious exaggeration about the person of Jesus.”

Christmas is the season in the year when pulpit and press dwell, with what Emerson calls “noxious exaggeration,” about the work and life, as well as the person of Jesus. We have, lying before us, the Christmas sermon of so progressive a teacher as the Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones. [Unitarian—independent preacher of All Souls Church, Chicago.]


Here is his text:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father.”

—John 1:14.

How our educated neighbor can find food for sober reflection in so mystical and metaphysical an effusion, is more than we can tell. Who is the Word that became flesh? And when did the event take place? What does it mean to be the “only begotten from the Father?”


We know what it means in the orthodox sense, but what does it mean from the Unitarian standpoint of Mr. Jones? But the text faithfully reflects the discourse which follows. It is replete with unlimited compliments to this Word which became flesh and assumed the name of Jesus.


The following is a fair sample:

“I am compelled to think of Jesus of Nazareth as an epoch-marking soul, an era-forming spirit, a character in whom the light of an illustrious race and a holy ancestry was focalized, a personality from which radiated that subtle, creative power of the spirit which defies all analysis, which baffles definition, which over-flows all words.”

Goodness! this is strong rhetoric, and we regret that the evidence justifying so sweeping an appreciation has been withheld from us. Although the doctor says that Jesus “defies all analysis, baffles definition and overflows all words,” he nevertheless proceeds to devote fifteen pages to the impossible task. “I am compelled to think of him as one who won the right of preeminence in the world’s history,” continues Mr. Jones, as if he had not said enough.

That is a definite claim, and personally, we would be glad to see it made good. But truth compels us to state that the claim is unjust. Without entering into the question of the authenticity of the gospels, a question which we have discussed at some length in our pamphlet on the “Worship of Jesus,” we beg to submit that there is nothing in the gospels, -- the only records which speak of him, -- to entitle him to the “right of preeminence in the world’s history.”


No one knows better than Mr. Jones that the sayings attributed to Jesus—the finest of them—are to be found in the writings of Jewish and Pagan teachers antedating the birth of Jesus by many centuries.

  • Was it, then, for his “works,” if not for his “words,” that Jesus “won the right of preeminence in the world’s history”?

  • What did he do that was not done by his predecessors?

  • Was he the only one who worked miracles?

  • Had the dead never been raised before?

  • Had the blind, and the lame, and the deaf, remained altogether neglected before Jesus took compassion upon them?

  • Moreover, what credit is there in opening the eyes of the blind or in raising the dead by miracle?

  • Did it cost Jesus any effort to perform miracles?

  • Did it imply a sacrifice on his part to utilize a small measure of his infinite power for the good of man?

  • Who, if he could by miracle feed the hungry, clothe the naked and give light and sound to the blind and the deaf, would be selfish enough not to do so?

If Mr. Jones does not believe in miracles, then Jesus contributed even less than many a doctor contributes today to the welfare of the world. More poor and diseased people are visited and medicined gratuitously by a modern physician in one month, than Jesus cured miraculously in the two or three years of his career.


Jesus, if he was “the only begotten of God,” as Mr.Jones’ text states, was not in any danger of contracting disease himself, which is not the case with the doctors and nurses who extend their services to people afflicted with contagious and abhorrent diseases. Moreover, Jesus’ power must have come to him divinely, while we have to study, labor, and conquer with the sweat of our brow any power for good that we may possess.

  • If Jesus as a God opened the eyes of the blind, would it not have been kinder if he had prevented blindness altogether?

  • If Jesus can open the eyes of the blind, then, why is there blindness in the world?

  • How many of the world’s multitude of sufferers did Jesus help?

  • Which of us, if he had the divine power, would not have extended it unto every suffering child of man?

  • Of what benefit is it to open the eyes of a few blind people, two thousand years ago, in one country, when he could, by his unique divinity, have done so much more?

Mr. Jones falls into the orthodox habit of not applying to Jesus the same canons of criticism by which human beings are judged.

But perhaps the “preeminence of Jesus” lay in his willingness to give his life for us. Noble is every soul who prefers truth and duty to life. But was Jesus the only one, or even the first to offer himself as a sacrifice upon the altar of humanity? If Jesus died for us, how many thousands have died for him—and by infinitely more cruel deaths? It is easier for an “only begotten” of God, himself a God—who knows death can have no power over him—who sees a throne prepared for him in heaven -- who is sure of rising from the dead on the third day—to face death? than for an ordinary mortal. Yet Jesus showed less courage, if his reporters are reliable, than almost any martyr whose name shine upon memory’s golden page.

The European churches are full of pictures showing Jesus suffering indescribable agonies as the critical hour draws nigh. We saw, in Paris, a painting called “The HOLY Face,” La Sainte Face, which was, truly, too horrible to look upon; big tears of blood trickling down his cheeks, his head almost drooping over his chest, an expression of excruciating pain upon his features, his eyes fairly imploring for help, -- he is really breaking down under the weight of his cross. Compare this picture with the serenity of Socrates drinking the hemlock in prison!

Nor would it do to say that this is only the Catholic way of representing Jesus in his passion. The picture is in the gospels, it may be seen in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross with all its realism.

  • Far be it from us to withhold from Jesus, if he really suffered as the gospels report, one iota of the love and sympathy he deserves, but why convert the whole world into a black canvas upon which to throw the sole figure of Jesus?

  • Which of us, poor, weak, sinful though we are, would not be glad to give his life, if thereby he could save a world?

  • Do you think we would mourn and groan and weep tears of blood, or collapse, just when me should be the bravest, if we thought that by our death we would become the divine Savior of all mankind?

Would we stammer, “Let this cup pass from me, if it be possible,” or tear our hearts with a cry of despair:

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” if we knew that the eternal welfare of the human race depended upon our death? If the Russian or Japanese soldier can take his home and wife and children, -- his hopes and loves, his life, -- his all, -- and throw them into the mouth of the cannon, dying with a shout upon his lips, -- who would hesitate to do the same, when not the salvation of one country alone, but of the whole world, depended upon it?

There are examples of heroism in the annals of man which would bring the blush to the cheeks of Jesus, if his biographers have not abused his memory.

Wherein, then, was the “preeminence” of Jesus? Upon what grounds does Mr. Jones claim, with “unlimited rhetoric,” to use his own expression, for Jesus “the right of preeminence in the world’s history?”

While there is neither a commendable saying nor an act attributed to Jesus in our gospels which teachers older than himself had not already said or done, there are some things in which his seniors clearly outshine him. King Asoka, for instance, the Buddhist sovereign of India, 250 years before Jesus, in one of his edicts chiseled on the rocks of India, declared against human slavery and offered the sweet gift of liberty to all in captivity. Jesus used the word slave in one of his parables (improperly translated servant), without expressing himself on the subject, except to intimate that when a slave does all his duty faithfully, even then he is only an “unprofitable slave,” unworthy of the thanks of his master.


There was slavery of the worst kind in the world of Jesus, and yet he never opened his mouth to denounce the awful curse. It is claimed that Jesus’ doctrine of love was indirectly a condemnation of slavery. Even then, inasmuch as other and earlier teachers did more than strike only indirectly at the ancient evil, -- for they not only taught the brotherhood of man, too, but expressed themselves, besides, positively on the subject of slavery, -- they have a prior claim to the “right of preeminence in the world’s history, if they cared anything about ranks and titles.

The doctrine of humanity to animals, our dumb neighbors, is a positive tenet in Buddhism; is it in Christianity?

Two and a half centuries before Jesus, under the influence of Buddha’s teaching, King Asoka convened a religious Parliament, offering to each and every representative of other religions, absolute religious liberty. Is there any trace of such tolerance in any of the sayings of Jesus? On the contrary, the claim of Jesus that he is the light, the way, the truth, and that no man can come to the father except through him, leaves no room for the greatest of all boons-liberty, without which every promise of religion is only a mockery and a cheat.


Not even heaven and eternal life can be accepted as a consideration for the loss of liberty. The liberty of teaching is alien to a teacher who claims, as Jesus did, that he alone is infallible, and that all who came before him were “thieves and robbers.”

Of course, Mr. Jones will deny that Jesus ever said any of the things ascribed to him which spoil his ideal picture of him. But he finds his ideal Jesus, whose personality “defies analysis, baffles definition and overflows all words,” in the gospels; if these are not reliable, what becomes of his argument? If the writers of our gospels bear false witness against Jesus when they represent him as “cursing the fig tree,” as calling his enemies liars and devils, as calling the Gentiles dogs, as claiming equality with God, as menacing with damnation all who disagree with him, -- what security have we that they speak truthfully when they put the beatitudes in his mouth? We have no more reliable authority for attributing to Jesus the beatitudes than we have for holding him responsible for the curses attributed to him in the gospels.

To return to our comparison between Jesus and his illustrious colleagues. It is with cheerful praise and generous pleasure that we express our admiration for many of the sayings, parables, and precepts attributed to Jesus. The fact that they are much older than Jesus, more universal than Christianity, only enhances their value and reflects glory upon the human race, a glory of which Jesus, too, as a brother, if he ever existed, has his share.


We love and admire every teacher who has a message for humanity; we feel our indebtedness to them and would deem ourselves fortunate if we could contribute to the advancement of their noble influence; but we have no idols, and in our pantheon, truth is above all.


We have no hesitation to sacrifice even Jesus to the Truth. If we were in India, and some Hindoo preacher spoke of Buddha, as Mr. Jones does of Jesus, as a “personality defying all analysis, baffling definition and overflowing all words”— one who has “won the right to preeminence in the world’s history,”—we would protest against it, in the interest of Jesus and other teachers, as we now protest against Mr. Jones’ Jesus, in the interest of truth.


We have a suspicion, however, that if Mr. Jones, or preachers of his style, were Hindoos, they would speak of Buddha, as they now, being Christians, speak of Jesus—echoing in both instances the popular opinion.

The best way to illustrate Mr. Jones’ style of reasoning is to quote a few examples from his sermon:

“The story of the Good Samaritan has had a power beyond the story of the senseless blighting of the fig tree; the ages have loved to think of Jesus talking with the woman at the well more than they have loved to think of him as manufacturing wine at Canna. No man is so orthodox but that he reads more often the Sermon on the Mount than he does the story of the drowning of the pigs.”

But if he did not “drown the pigs,” the reporter who says he did might have also collected from ancient sources the texts in the Sermon on the Mount and put them in Jesus’ mouth.


“The dauntless crusaders who now in physical armament and again in the more invulnerable armament of the spirit, went forth, reckless of danger, regardless of cost, to rescue the world from heathen hands or to gather souls into the fold of Christ.”

We can hardly believe Mr. Jones speaking of “rescuing the world from heathen hands,” etc. Who were the heathen? And think of countenancing the craze of the crusades, which cost a million lives to possess the empty sepulchre of a mythical Savior! Is it one of the merits of Christianity that it calls other people “heathen,” or that it kills them and lays waste their lands for an empty grave?

Once more:

Jesus had tremendous expectations. ... He believed mightily in the future, not as some glory-rimmed heaven after death, but as a conquering kingdom of love and justice. Jesus took large stock in tomorrow; he laughed at the prudence that never dares, the mock righteousness of the ledger that presumes to balance the books and pay all accounts up to date. He knew that the prudence of commerce, the thrift of trade, the exclusive pride of the synagogue, must be broken through with a larger hope and a diviner enterprise.


He believed there was to be a day after today and recognized his obligation to it; he acknowledged the debt which can never be paid to the past and which is paid only by enlarging the resources of the future. Life, to Jesus, was an open account; he was a forward looker; he was honest enough to recognize his obligations to the unborn. Perhaps this adventurous spirit in the realms of morals, even more than his heart of love, has made him the superlative leader of men.”

We sincerely wish all this were true, and would be glad to have Mr. Jones furnish us with the texts or evidences which have led him to his conclusions. Would not his adjectives be equally appropriate in describing any other teacher he admires? “Jesus had tremendous expectations.”


Well, though this is somewhat vague as a tribute to Jesus, we presume the preacher means that Jesus was an optimist. The reports, unfortunately, flatly contradict Mr. Jones. Jesus was a “man of sorrows.” He expressly declared that this earth belonged to the devil, that the road which led to destruction was crowded, while few would enter the narrow gates of life. He said: “Many are called but few are chosen;” he told his disciples to confine their good work to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, and intimated that it were not wise to take the bread of children (his people) and give it to the dogs (other people).


The “Go ye into all the world” is a post-resurrection interpolation, and Mr. Jones does not believe in the miracle of the resurrection. Jesus looked forward to the speedy ending and destruction of the world, “when the sun and moon would turn black, and the stars would fall;” and he doubted whether he would find any faith in the world when “the son of man cometh;” and it was Jesus who expected to say to the people on his left, “depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting punishment.” This is the teacher, whose pessimism is generally admitted, of whom Mr. Jones says that, he had “tremendous expectations.”

“He believed there was to be a day after today, and recognized his obligation to it,” writes Mr. Jones in his indiscriminate laudation of Jesus.


Is that why he said “Take no thought of the morrow,” and predicted the speedy destruction of the world?

“He acknowledged the debt which can never be paid to the past.”

A sentence like this has all the ear-marks of a glittering generality. Did Jesus show gratitude to the past when he denounced all who had preceded him in the field of love and labor as “thieves and robbers?”


Equally uncertain is the following:

“He was honest enough to recognize his obligations to the unborn.”

  • How does our clerical neighbor arrive at such a conclusion?

  • From what teaching or saying of Jesus does he infer his respect for the rights of posterity?

  • Indeed, how could a teacher who said, “He that believeth not shall be damned,” be described as recognizing the rights of future generations?

To menace with damnation the future inquirer or doubter is to seek to enslave as well as to insult the generations yet to be born, instead of “recognizing his obligations” to them. The Jesus Mr. Jones is writing about is not in the gospels.

“Do you ask me if I am a ‘Christian’?” writes Mr. Jones, and he answers the question thus: “I do not know. Are you? If anyone is inclined to give me that high name, with the spiritual and ethical connotation in mind, I am complimented and will try to merit it.”

As our excellent neighbor is still in the dark, and does not know whether or not, or in what sense he is a Christian -- unless he is allowed to define the word himself, -- and as he also intimates that he would like to be a Jesus Christian, but not a Church Christian, we humbly beg to express this opinion:

The American churches of today, notwithstanding all their shortcomings, are, on every question of ethics and science, of charity and the humanities, far in advance of Jesus, and that in these churches there are men and women who in breadth of mind and nobility of spirit are as good, and even better than Jesus.

Does our neighbor grasp our meaning? Charging all the bad in a religion to the account of man, and attributing all the good to God, or to a demiGod, is, after all, only a dodge. Had not the disciples of Jesus been braver than their master, his religion would not have come down to us. And had the Christian church lived up to the letter of this Semitic teacher, Europe would never have embraced Christianity.


By modernizing Jesus, by selecting his more essential teachings, and relegating his eccentricities to the background, by making his name synonymous with the best aspirations of humanity, by idealizing his character and enclosing it with a human halo, the churches have saved Jesus from oblivion.

  • Jesus was a tribal teacher, the church universalized him;

  • Jesus had no gospel for woman, the church has after much hesitation and wavering converted him to the European attitude toward woman;

  • Jesus was silent on the question of slavery, the churches have urged him with success to champion the cause of the bondsman;

  • Jesus denounced liberty of conscience when he threatened with hell-fire the unbeliever, but the churches have won him over to the modern secular principle of religious tolerance;

  • Jesus believed only in the salvation of the elect, but the church to a certain extent has succeeded in reconciling him to the larger hope;

  • Jesus was an ascetic, preferring the single life to the joys of the home, and fasting and praying to the duty and privilege of labor, but the church in America and Protestant Europe at least has made Jesus a lover and a seeker of wealth and knowledge, the two great forces of civilization.

No longer does Jesus say, “hate your father and mother;” no longer does he cry in our great thoroughfares, “blessed are the poor;” no longer is his voice heard denouncing this world as belonging to the devil. The modern church, modernized by science, has in turn modernized the gospels. And yet Mr. Jones prefers to be a Christian such as Jesus was. He is repeating one of those phrases which apologists use when they give God all the praise and man all the blame.

In conclusion: Mr. Jones admits that Christianity is not unique, that Buddha conquered greater tyrannies than Christ; that “humility and self-sacrifice ... have world-wide foundations;” but he draws no conclusions from these important facts, but returns in a hurry to say that Jesus is the “finest and dearest stream swelling the mighty tide of history.”


The only objection we have to Mr. Jones’ Jesus is that he is not real.

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The Rev. W.H.H. Boyle, of St. Paul, improves even on Mr.Jones’ superlative tribute to Jesus. He says:

“Can you imagine such a thing as a black sun, or the reversal of creation or the annihilation of primal light? Then, give rest to imagination and soberly think what it would mean to have the spiritual processes of two millenniums reversed, to have the light of life in the unique personality of Jesus forever eclipsed.”

Here is an idolater, indeed. To make an idol of his Jesus he takes a sponge, and without a twinge of conscience, wipes out all the beauty and grandeur of the ancient world. Has this gentleman never heard of Greece?


During a short existence, in only two centuries and a half, that little land of Greece achieved triumphs in the life of the mind so unparalleled as to bring all the subsequent centuries upon their knees before it. In philosophy, in poetry, -- lyrical, epochal, dramatic, -- in sculpture, in statesmanship, in ethics, in literature, in civilization, -- where is there another Greece?

Oh, land of Sophocles! whose poetry is the most perfect flower the earth has ever borne, -- of Phidias and Praxiteles! whose immortal children time cannot destroy, though the Gods are dead—whose masterpieces the earth wears as the best gem upon her brow, -- of Aristotle! the intellect of the world, -- of Socrates! the parens philosophiae, and its first martyr! -- of Aristides! the Just—of Phocion and Epaminondas! -- of Chillon and Anarcharchis! whose devotion to duty and beauty have perfumed the centuries!


O, Athens, the bloom of the world! Hear this sectarian clergyman, in his black Sunday robes, closing his eyes upon all thine immortal contributions, pulling down like a vandal, as did the early Christians, the figures and temples, the culture and civilization of the ancient world—the monuments of thy unfading glory—to build therewith a pedestal for his mythical Christ!

I can imagine the reverend advocate saying:

“But there was slavery in Greece, and immorality, too,”—of course, and is the Christian world free from them? Has Christ after two thousand years abolished war? Indeed, he came to bring, as he says, not peace, but a sword!”

  • Has Jesus healed the world of the maladies, for which we blame the Pagan world?

  • Has he made humanity free?

  • Has he saved the world from the fear of hell?

  • Has he redeemed man from the blight of ignorance?

  • Has he broken the yoke of superstition and priestcraft?

  • Has he even succeeded in uniting into one loving fold his own disciples?

  • How, then, can this clergyman, with any conscience for truth, compare a world deprived of the God of his sect, to a tomb—to a blind man groping under a blackened sun?

  • Must a man rob the long past in order to provide clothing for his idol? Must he close his eyes upon all history before be can behold the beauty of his own cult?

But let us quote again:

“To efface from the statute books of Christendom every law which has its basal principle in Christian ethics; to abolish every institution which ministers to human need and misfortune in the name of Him whose sympathy is the heart of the divine; to lower every sense of moral obligation between man and man to the old level of Paganism to silence the great oratorios which have made music the echo of the divine; to take down from the galleries of the world the sacred canvases with which genius has sanctified them; to obliterate from memorial symbolism the cross of sublime renunciation which has been the rebuke of human selfishness; to disband every organization which makes prayer, through the merit of one great name, the hand of man upon the arm of God—you may be able to think of an ocean without a harbor, of a sky without a sun, of a garden without a flower, of a face without a smile, of a home without a mother; but, can you think of a world with holiness and happiness in it and Jesus gone out of it? You cannot, “Then, come, let us adore him,” etc., etc.

Observe how this special pleader avoids breathing so much as a word about any of the many evils which may be laid at the door of his religion with as much show of reason as the benefits he enumerates.

What about the dark ages which held all Europe for the space of a thousand years in the clutches of an ignorance the like of which no other religion in the world had known?

What about the atrocious inquisition to which no other religion in the world had ever been able to give the swing that Christianity did?

What about the persecution and burning of helpless women as witches? Is there anything as infamous as that in any religion outside of ours?

What about the wholesale massacres in the name of the true faith?

What about the centuries of religious wars, the most imbecile as well as the most bloody, from the effects of which Germany, France, Italy and England are still suffering today?

And need we also call attention to that obstinate resistance to science and progress? which rewarded every discoverer of a new power for man, with the halter or the stake, which filled the dungeons with the elite of Europe, -- which even dug open graves to punish the bones of the dead savants and illuminators of man?
The Pagans, in their gladiatorial games, sacrificed the lives of slaves; Christianity made a holocaust of the noblest intellects of Europe.

And shall we speak of the bigotry, the fanaticism, the bitter sectarian prejudices which to this day embitter the life of the world? Are not these, too, the fruits of Christianity?

We know the answer which the reverend gentleman would make to this:

“All the evils you speak of are chargeable, not to Christianity, but to its abuse.”

But we have already shown that that argument won’t do. We might as well say that all the evil of Paganism was due to its abuse. The mere fact that Christianity lent itself to such fearful distortions, and was capable of arousing the worst passions in man on such a fearful scale, is condemnation enough. It shows that there was in it a potentiality for evil beyond compare. Moreover, wherein does a “divine” religion differ from a man-made cult, if it is equally powerless to protect itself against perversion? In what sense is Jesus a God, while all his rivals were “mere men,” if he is as helpless to prevent the abuse of his teachings as they were?


But it would not be difficult to show that the characteristic crimes we have scheduled are the direct inspiration of a religion claiming exclusiveness and infallibility. Such texts as,

“there is no other name given under heaven by which men can be saved;”

“Let such an one (the man who will not be converted) be like a heathen and a publican to you;”

John’s advice to refrain from saying “God speed” to the alien in faith;

the bible command not to “suffer a witch to live;”

...and many of the dogmas which might be cited, -- corrupted the sympathies, perverted the judgment of the noblest, while at the same time they stung the evil-minded into something like madness. The world knew nothing of the tyranny of dogma, or religious oppression and persecution, comparatively speaking, until the advent of the Jewish-Christian Church.


“Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and of Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for that city,” said Jesus, speaking of the people who might not accept his teachings. How can Christianity be a religion of love, and how can it believe in tolerance, when it threatens the unbeliever with a fate worse than that of Sodom and Gomorrah?

The benefits which the Rev. Boyle parades as the direct fruit of his cult, did not appear until after the Renaissance, that is to say, -- the return to Pagan culture and ideals. The art and science and the humanities which he praises, followed upon the gradual decline of the Jewish-Christian religion which had already destroyed two civilizations.

But Greece and Rome triumphed. To this day, if we need models in poetry, in art, in philosophy, in literature, in politics, in patriotism, in service to the public, in heroism and devotion to ideals—we must go to the Greeks and the Romans. Not that these nations were by any means perfect, but because they have not been surpassed. In our colleges and schools, when we wish to bring up our children in the ways of wisdom and beauty, we do not give them the Christian fathers to read, we give them the Pagan classics.

We ask this St. Paul clergyman to read Gibbons’ tribute to Pagan Rome:

“If a man was called upon to fix a period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would without hesitation name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.”

This period included such men and rulers as Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus Pius, and above all, the greatest of them all—the greatest ruler our earth has ever owned—Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Let the Rev. W.H.H. Boyle look over the names of the kings of Israel and of Christian France, Spain, Italy and England, and find among them any one that can come up to the stature of these Pagan monarchs.

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But, behold! another clergyman with the claim that the modern world owes all its joy and cheer, during the Christmas season, “to the babe in Bethlehem.”

“What was it that brought about such a condition that crowds the stores, that overflows the mails, and loads the express with packages of every description? The little babe in Bethlehem set all this in motion, -- the wreath, the holly, are all from him.”

When we read the above and more to the same effect, we wrote to the Rev. W.A. Bartlett, [Pastor First congregational Church, Chicago.] the author of the words quoted, asking him if he was correctly reported. We reproduce herewith a copy of our letter:

Dec. 20, 1904.
Rev. W.A. Bartlett,
Washington Boul. and Ann St., Chicago.


In the report of your sermon of last Sunday you are represented as claiming that it is to the “babe in Bethlehem” we owe the Christmas festival, the giving of presents, etc., etc. I write to ascertain whether this report has stated your position correctly? I am sure you know that Christmas is only a recomposition of an old Pagan festival, and that “giving presents” at this season is a much older practice than Christianity. Of course, you do not believe that Christmas is celebrated in December and on the 25th of the month because Jesus was born on that day. You know as well as I do of the Pagan festivals celebrated in the month of December throughout the Roman Empire— celebrations which were accompanied with the giving and receiving of presents.


Moreover, you know also, as every student does, that in the Latin countries of Europe it is not on Christmas day, but on New Year’s day, that presents are exchanged. Surely you would not claim that for New Year’s day, too, the world is indebted to the Bethlehem babe. You must also have known that the use of the evergreen and the holly was in vogue among the Druids of Pagan times. Be kind enough, therefore, to give me, if I am not asking too much, the facts which led you to make the statements to which I have called your attention, and believe me, with great respect, etc.

To this neighborly letter the reverend gentleman did not condescend to send an acknowledgment. We knocked at his door, as it were, and he, a minister of the Gospel, declined to open it unto us. Clergymen, as a rule, say that they are happy when
people will let them preach the gospel to them. In our case, we saved the clergyman from calling upon us, we called upon him— that is to say, we wrote and gave him an opportunity to enlighten us, to bring his influence to bear upon us, to open our eyes to the error of our ways, -- and he would have nothing to do with us.


Was not our soul worth saving? Did the Rev. W.A. Bartlett consider us beyond hope? We ask this clergyman to place his hand upon his conscience and ask himself whether he did the brotherly thing in not returning a friendly and kindly answer to our honest inquiry for truth. But he did not answer us, because he had no real faith in his gospel. It was not good enough for an inquirer.

But the clergyman, according to reports, made an attempt on the Sunday following the receipt of our letter, before his congregation, to answer indirectly our question. He denied that “Christmas was a recomposition of an old Pagan festival,” and said that the early Christians “fasted and wept” because of these Pagan festivals, and that as early as the second century, the birth of Jesus was commemorated. In short, he pronounced it “a distortion of history” to assign to the Christmas festival a Pagan origin.


In his great work on the History of Civilization, Buckle says this, to which we call Dr. Bartlett’s attention:

“As soon as eminent men grow unwilling to enter any profession, the luster of that profession will be tarnished; first its reputation will be lessened, then its power abridged.”

We fear this is true of Mr. Bartlett’s profession.

How can Christian ministers hope to engage the interest of the reading public if they themselves abstain from reading? Ask a secular newspaper about the origin of the Christmas celebration, and it will tell you the truth. On the very Sunday that Dr. Bartlett was denouncing, in his church, our claim that the Pagans gave us the December season of joy and merry-making, as “a distortion of history,” an editorial in the Chicago Tribune said this:

But the festive character of the celebration, the giving of presents, the feasting and merriment, the use of evergreen and holly and mistletoe, are all remnants of Pagan rites.

Continuing, the same editorial called attention to the antiquity of the institution:

Long before the shepherds on the Judean plains saw the star rise in the east and heard the tidings of “Peace on earth, good will to man,” the Roman populace surged through the streets at the feast of Saturn, giving themselves up to wild license and boisterous merry making. They exchanged presents, they decorated their dwellings and temples with green boughs; slaves were given special privileges, and the spirit of good will was abroad among men. This Roman Saturnalia came at the winter solstice, the same as does our Christmas day, while the birth of Christ is widely believed to have taken place at some other season of the year.

But Dr. Bartlett may have had in mind the quotation from Anastasius:

“Our Lord, Jesus Christ, was born of the Holy Virgin, Mary, in Bethlehem, at one o’clock in the afternoon of December 25th,” -- appearing to quote from some old manuscript which, unfortunately, is not to be found anywhere.

But Clement of Alexandria, in the year 210 A.D., dismisses all guesses as to when Jesus was born, -- the 18th of April, 19th of May, etc., -- as products of reckless speculation. March 28th is given as Jesus’ birthday in De Pascha Computius, in the year 243. Jan. 5th is the date defended by Epiphanius.


Baradaens, Bishop of Odessa, says:

“No one knows exactly the day of the nativity of our Lord: this only is certain from what Luke writes, that he was born in the night.”

Poor Dr. Bartlett, his December 25th does not receive support from the Fathers.

For our clerical brother’s sake, we quote some more from the Tribune editorial:

Primeval man looked upon the sun as the revelation of divinity. When the shortest day of the year was passed, when the sun began his march northward, the primitive man rejoiced in the thought of the coming seedtime and summer, and he made feasts and revelry the mode of expressing the gladness of his heart. Among the sun worshipers of Persia, among the Druids of the far north, among the Phoenicians, among the Romans, and among the ancient Goths and Saxons the winter solstice was the occasion of festivities. Many of them were rude and barbarous, but they were all distinguished by hearty and profuse hospitality.

And yet our neighbor calls it “distortion of history” to connect Christmas with the Pagan festival, celebrated about this time. We quote once more from the Secular press:

The Christian church did not abolish these heathen ceremonies, but grafted upon them a deeper spiritual meaning. For this reason Christmas is an institution which memorializes the best there was in Pagan man. Its good cheer, its charity, its sports, its feasting, and the features which most endear it to children are all the heritage of our Pagan ancestors.

How refreshing this, compared with the clergyman’s silence, or cry of “distortion.”

But in one thing the doctor is correct. The early Christians did bewail the Pagan festivals, as they did everything else that was Pagan. But it did not help them at all; they were compelled to acquiesce. The Christians have “fasted and prayed” also
against science, progress, and modern thought, but what good has it done? They asked God to hook Theodore Parker’s tongue; to overthrow Darwin, and to confound the wisdom of this world, but the prayer remains unanswered.


Yes, the doctor is right, the church has “fasted and prayed” against religious tolerance, against the use of Sunday as a day of recreation, -- the opening of galleries and libraries on that day, the advancement of woman, the emancipation of the negro, the secularization of education, the revision of old creeds, and a thousand other things.


But their opposition has only damaged their own cause. They did try to suppress the Pagan festival, which we call Christmas, and the Puritans in this country, until recently, abstained from all recognition of the day, and called it “Popery,” and “Paganism,” but their efforts bore no fruit. Dr. Bartlett, if he will read, will learn that for many years, in England and in this country, the observance of Christmas was forbidden by law under severe penalties.


As to our being indebted for the cheer and merriment of the December festival to the “Bethlehem babe,” the doctor must inform himself of those acts of Parliament which, under the Puritan regime, compelled people to mourn on Christmas day and to abstain from merry-making. In Christian Connecticut, for a man to have a sprig of holly in his house on Christmas day was a finable crime. In Massachusetts, any Christian detected celebrating Christmas was fined five shillings and costs. But, see, having failed to suppress these good institutions, they now turn about and claim that they have always believed in them, and that, in fact, we would not now be enjoying any one of these benefits but for the Christian Church.

In conclusion, we have one other word to say to the three clerical teachers from whose writings we have quoted. Against them we are constrained to bring the charge of looseness in thought. They seem to have little conscience for evidence. Mr.
Jones says, for instance:

“In short, I am compelled to think that this Light of Souls, this saving and redeeming spirit, was the loved and loving child of Joseph, the carpenter, and the loyal wife Mary. I believe this, notwithstanding the stories of immaculate conceptions, star-guided magi, choiring angels and adoring shepherds that gathered around. the birth-night.”

Which is another way of saying that he is “compelled to believe” against the evidence, merely because it is his pleasure or interest to do so. This is not very edifying, to be sure. Mr. Jones takes all his information about Joseph and Mary and Jesus from the gospels, and yet the gospels clearly contradict his conclusions.


Mary, the mother of Jesus, gives her word of honor that Joseph was not the father of her child, and Joseph himself testifies that he is not Jesus’ father, but Mr. Jones pays no attention to their testimony; he wishes Joseph to be the father of Jesus, and that ought to be sufficient evidence, he thinks. We quote from the gospel:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. And Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But when he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”

Now, if Joseph admits be was not Jesus’ father, and Mary corroborates his testimony (See Luke, 1st chapter), Jesus was, if he ever lived, and the records which give Mr. Jones his ideal Jesus are reliable, the son of a man who has succeeded in concealing his identity, unless, of course, we believe in the virgin birth. If the real father of Jesus had come forth and owned his son, and Mary had acknowledged that he was the father of her child, what would have become of Christianity?


We hope these clergymen who have dwelt, as Emerson says, “With noxious exaggeration about the person of Jesus,” will reflect upon this, and while doing so, will they not also remember this other saying of the Concord philosopher:

“The vice of our theology is seen in the claim that Jesus was something different from a man.”

We take our leave of the three clergymen, assuring them that in what we have said we have not been actuated, in the least, by any personal motive whatever, and that we have only done to them what we would have them do to us.

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That it is very easy for scholars to follow the people instead of leading them, and to side with the view that commands the majority, receives fresh confirmation from the recent utterances of the founder of the Ethical Culture Society in New York. Professor Adler the son of a rabbi, and at one time a freethinker, has slowly drifted into orthodox waters, after having tried for a period of years the open seas, and has become a more enthusiastic champion of the God of the Christians than many a Christian scholar whom we could name.


The pendulum in the Adler case has swung clear to the opposite side. We do not find fault with a man because be changes his views, we only ask for reasons for the change. It will be seen by the following extracts from Adler’s printed lectures that he has made absolutely no critical study of the sources of the Jesus story, but has merely, and hurriedly at that, accepted the conventional estimate of Jesus and enlarged upon it. Jesus is entitled to all the praise which is due him, but it must first be shown that in praising him we are not sacrificing the truth. Praising any man at such a cost is merely flattering the masses and bowing to the fashion of the day.

Let us hear what Professor Adler has to say about Jesus. He writes:

It has been said that if Christ came to New York or Chicago, they would stone him in the very churches. it is not so! If Christ came to New York or Chicago, the publicans and sinners would sit at his feet! For they would know that he cared for them better than they in their darkness knew how to care for themselves, and they would love him as they loved him in the days of yore.

This would sound pious in the mouth of a Moody or a Torrey, but, we confess, it sounds like affectation in the mouth of the free thinking son of a rabbi. That Prof. Adler enters here into a field for which his early Jewish training has not fitted him, is apparent from the hasty way in which he has put his sentences together.

“It has been said,” he writes, “that if Christ came to New York or Chicago, they would stone him in the very churches. It is not so.” Why is it not so? And he answers: “If Christ came to New York or Chicago, the publicans and sinners would sit at his feet.”

But what has the reception which publicans and sinners might give Jesus to do with how the churches would receive him? He proves that Jesus would not be stoned in the churches of New York and Chicago by saying that the “publicans and sinners would sit at his feet.” Does he mean that “New York and Chicago churches” and “publicans and sinners” are the same thing?


“Publicans and sinners” might welcome him, and still the churches might stone him, which in fact, according to Adler’s own admission, was the case in Jerusalem, where the synagogues conspired against Jesus, while Mary Magdalene sat at his feet. Nor are his words about “the publicans and sinners loving Jesus as they loved him in the days of yore” edifying. Who does he mean by the “publicans and sinners,” and how many of them loved Jesus in the days of yore, and why should this class of people have felt a special love for him?

On the question of the resurrection of Jesus, Prof. Adler says this:

“It is sometimes insinuated that the entire Christian doctrine depends on the accounts contained in the New Testament, purporting that Jesus actually rose on the third day and was seen by his followers; and that if these reports are found to be contradictory, unsupported by sufficient evidence, and in themselves incredible, then the bottom falls out of the belief in immortality as represented by Christianity.”

It was the Apostle Paul himself who said that “if Jesus has not risen from the dead, then is our faith in vain, -- and we are, of all men, most miserable.” So, you see, friend Adler, it is not “Sometimes insinuated,” as you say, but it is openly, and to our thinking, logically asserted, that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, the whole fabric of Christian eschatology falls to the ground. But we must remember that Prof. Adler has not been brought up a Christian. He has acquired his Christian predilections only recently, so to speak, hence his unfamiliarity with its Scriptures.


Continuing, the Professor says:

“But similar reports have arisen in the world time and again, apparitions of the dead have been seen and have been taken for real; and yet such stories, after being current for a time, invariably have passed into oblivion. Why did this particular story persist, despite the paucity and the insufficiency of the evidence? Why did it get itself believed and take root?”

What shall we think of such reasoning from the platform of a presumably rationalist movement? Does not the Professor know that the story of the resurrection of Jesus is not original, but a repetition of older stories of the kind? Had the world never heard of such after-death apparitions before Jesus’ day, it would never have invented the story of his resurrection. And how does the Professor know that the story of Jesus’ resurrection is not going to meet the same fate which has overtaken all other similar stories? Is it not already passing into the shade of neglect? Are not the intelligent among the Christians themselves beginning to explain the resurrection of Jesus allegorically, denying altogether that he rose from the dead in a literal sense?


Moreover, the pre-Christian stories of similar resurrections lived to an old age, -- two or three thousand years—before they died, and the story of Jesus’ resurrection has yet to prove its ability to live longer. All miraculous beliefs are disappearing, and the story of the Christian resurrection will not be an exception. But Prof. Adler’s motive in believing that the story of the resurrection of Jesus shall live, is to offer it as an argument for immortality, and in so doing be strains the English language in lauding Jesus.

He says:

“In my opinion, people believed in the resurrection of Jesus because of the precedent conviction in the minds of the disciples that such a man as Jesus could not die, because of the conviction that a personality of such superlative excellence, so radiant, so incomparably lofty in mien and port and speech and intercourse with others, could not pass away like a forgotten wind, that such a star could not be quenched.”

We regret to say that there are as many assumptions in the above sentence as there are lines in it. Of course if we are for emotionalism and not for exact and accurate conclusions, Adler’s estimate of Jesus is as rhetorical as that of Jones or Boyle, but if we have any love for historical truth, there is not even the shadow of evidence, for instance, that the disciples could not believe “that such a man as Jesus could die.”


On the contrary, the disciples left him at the cross and fled, and believed him dead, until it was reported to them that he had been seen alive, and even then “some doubted,” and one wished to feel the flesh with his fingers before he would credit his eyes. Jesus had to eat and drink with them, he had to “open their eyes,” and perform various miracles before they would believe that he was not dead.


The text which says that the apostles hesitated to believe in the resurrection because “as yet they knew not the scripture, that he would rise from the dead,” shows conclusively how imaginary is the idea that there was a “precedent conviction” in the minds of the disciples that such a man as Jesus could not die. Apparently it was all a matter of prophecy, not of moral character at all.

Yet in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, Prof. Adler tells his Carnegie Hall audience, who unfortunately are even less informed in Christian doctrine than their leader, that “there was a precedent conviction in the minds of the disciples that such a man as Jesus could not die.”


And what gave the disciples this supposed “precedent conviction?” “That a personality of such superlative excellence, so radiant, so incomparably lofty in mien and port and speech and intercourse with others, could not pass away like a forgotten wind, that such a star could not be quenched,” We are simply astonished, and grieved as well, to see the use which so enlightened a man as Prof. Adler makes of his gifts. Will this Jewish admirer of the God of Christendom kindly tell us wherein Jesus was superlatively excellent, or incomparably lofty in mien and port and speech and intercourse with others? Was there a weakness found in men like Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, etc., from which Jesus was free?


That Jesus created no such ideal impression upon his disciples, is shown by the fact that they represented him as a sectarian and an egotist who denounced all who had preceded him as unworthy of respect and to be despised.

And how could a man whose public life did not cover more than two or three years of time, and who lived as a celibate and a monk, returning every night to his cave in the Mount of Olives, taking no active part in the business life—supporting no family or parents, assuming no civil or social duties—how can such a man, we ask, be held up as a model for the men and women of today? Jesus, according to his biographers, believed he could raise the dead, and announced himself the equal of God. “I and my father are one,” he is reported to have said; and one of his apostles writes:

“He (Jesus) thought it no robbery to be equal to God.”

Either this report is true, or it is not. If it is, what shall we think of a man who thought he was a God and could raise the dead? If the report is not true, what reliance can we place in his biographers when the things which they affirm with the greatest confidence are to be rejected?

Yet Prof. Adler, swept off his feet by the popular and conventional enthusiasm about Jesus, describes him as “a personality of such superlative excellence, so radiant, so incomparably lofty in mien and port and speech and intercourse with others,” that his followers could not believe he was a mere mortal. But where is the Jesus to correspond to this rhetorical language? He is not in the anonymous gospels. There we find only a fragmentary character patched or pieced together, as it were, by various contributors—a character made up of the most contradictory elements, as we have tried to show in the preceding pages. The Jesus of Adler is not in history, he is not even in mythology. There is no one of that name and answering that description in the four gospels.

That a loose way of speaking grows upon one if one is not careful, and that sounding phrases and honest historical criticism are not the same thing, will be seen by Prof. Adler’s lavish praise of John Calvin. He speaks of him in terms almost as glowing as he does of Jesus. He calls Calvin “that mighty and noble man.”

That Calvin ruled Geneva like a Russian autocrat; that he was “mighty” in a community in which Jacques Gruet was beheaded because be had “danced,” and also because he had committed the grave offense of saying that “Moses was only a man and no one knows what God said to him,” and in which Michael Servetus was burned alive for holding opinions contrary to those which the Genevan pope was interested in, -- is readily conceded.


But was Calvin “mighty” in a beneficent sense? Did his power save people from the Protestant inquisition? Was not the Geneva of his day called the Protestant Rome? And if he did not use his powerful influence to further religious tolerance and intellectual honesty; if he did not use his position to save men from the grip of superstition and the fear of hell, how can Prof. Adler refer to him as “that mighty and noble man—John Calvin?”

It is not our purpose to grudge Calvin any compliments which Felix Adler wishes to pay him. What we grieve to see is, that he should, indirectly at least, recommend to the admiration of his readers a man who, if he existed today and acted as he did in the Geneva of the sixteenth century, would be regarded by every morally and intellectually awakened man, as a criminal. Has not Felix Adler examined the evidence which incriminates Calvin and proves him beyond doubt as the murderer of Servetus? “If he (Servetus) comes to Geneva, I shall see that he does not escape alive,” wrote John Calvin to Theodore Beza.


And he carried out his fearful menace; Servetus was put to death by the most horrible punishment ever invented—he was burned alive in a smoking fire. What did this mighty and noble man do to save a stranger and a scholar from so atrocious a fate? Let his eulogist, Prof. Adler, answer. It will not do to say that those were different times. A thousand voices were raised against the wanton and cruel murder of Servetus, but Calvin’s was not among them.


In fact, when Calvin himself was a fugitive and a wanderer, he had written in favor of religious tolerance, but no sooner did he become the Protestant pope of Geneva, than he developed into an exterminator of heresy by fire. Such is the “mighty and noble man” held up for our admiration. “Mighty” he was, but we ask again, was he mighty in a noble sense?

Had Calvin been considered a “mighty and noble man” by the reformers who preceded Prof. Adler, there would have been no Ethical Culture societies in America today. Prof. Adler is indebted for the liberties which he enjoys in New York to the Voltaires and the Condorcets, who regarded Calvin and his “isms” as pernicious to the intellectual life of Europe, and did all they could to lead the people away from them.


Think of the leader of the Ethical Societies exalting a persecutor, to say nothing of his abominable theology, or of his five aliases, as “that mighty and noble man, -- John Calvin!” We feel grateful to Prof. Adler for organizing the Ethical Societies in American, but we would be pleased to have him explain in what sense a man of Calvin’s small sympathies and terrible deeds could be called both “noble and mighty.”


See “The Kingdom of God in Geneva Under Calvin.”—M.M. Mangaearian.

It was predicted some years ago that the founder of the Ethical Societies will before long return to the Jewish faith of his fathers. However this may be, we have seen, in his estimate of Jesus and John Calvin, evidences of his estrangement from rationalism, of which in his younger days he was so able a champion. In his criticism of the Russian scientist, Metchnikoff, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Prof. Adler, endorsing the popular estimate of Jesus, accepts also the popular attitude toward science. He appears to prefer the doctrine of special creation to the theory of evolution.


We would not have believed this of Felix Adler if we did not have the evidence before us. We speak of this to show the relation between an exaggerated praise of a popular idol, and a denial of the conclusions of modem science. It is the popular view which Prof. Adler champions in both instances.


In his criticism of Metchnikoff’s able book, ‘The Nature of Man,’ Prof. Adler writes:

And to account for the reason in man, this divine spark that has been set ablaze in him, it is not sufficient to point to an ape as our ancestor. If we are descended from an anthropoid ape on the physical side, we are not descended from him in any strict sense of the word on our rational side; for as life is born of life, so reason is born of reason, and if the anthropoid ape does not possess reason as we possess it, it cannot be said that on our rational side we are his progeny.

If the above had been written fifty years ago, when the doctrine of evolution was a heresy, or by an orthodox clergyman of today, we would have taken no note of it. But coming as it does from the worthy founder of the Ethical Movement in America, it deserves attention.

“If,” says Dr. Adler, “we are descended from an anthropoid ape on the physical side, we are not descended from him in any strict sense of the word on our rational side.”

He is not sure, evidently, that even physically man is the successor of the anthropoid ape, but he is sure that “we are not descended from him ... on our rational side.” Is Dr. Adler, then, a dualist? Does he believe that there are two eternal sources, from one of which we get our bodies, and from the other our “rational side?” And why cannot Dr. Adler be a monist?


He answers, “for as life is born of life, so reason is born of reason, and if the anthropoid ape does not possess reason as we possess it, it cannot be said that on our rational side we are his progeny.” Not so, good doctor! There is no life without reason. Do we mean to say that the jelly-fish, the creeping worm, or the bud on the tree has reason? Yes; not as much reason as a horse or a dog, and certainly not as much as a Metchnikoff or an Adler, but these lower forms of life could not have survived but for the element of rationality in them.


We may call this instinct, sensation, promptings of nature, but what’s in a name? The difference between a pump and a watch is only a difference of mechanism. The stone and the soul represent different stages of progression, not different substances. If a charcoal can be transformed into a diamond, why may not nature, with the resources of infinity at her command, refine a stone into a soul?

Let us not marvel at this; it is not less thinkable than the proposition of two independent sources of life, the one physical, the other rational. If “life is born of life,” where did the first life come from? Let us have an answer to that question. And if, as the professor says, reason is born of reason,” how did the first reason come? Is it not very much simpler to think in monistic terms, than to separate life from reason, and mind from matter, as Prof. Adler does in the words quoted above? Why cannot mind be a state of matter? What objection is there to thinking that matter refined, elevated, ripened, cultured, becomes both sentient and rational? If matter can feel, can see, can hear, can it not also think? Does not the horse see, hear and think?


There is no lowering of the dignity of man to say that he tastes with his palate, sees with his eyes, hears with his ears, and thinks with the gray matter in his brain. Remove his optic nerve and he becomes blind, destroy the ganglia in his brain, and he becomes mindless. Gold is as much matter as the dust, but it is very much more precious; so is mind infinitely more precious than the matter which can only feel, see, taste or hear.

“If the anthropoid ape does not possess reason as we possess it, it cannot be said that on our rational side we are his progeny,” says Dr. Adler.

But, suppose we were to say that if our remote African or Australian savage ancestors did not possess reason as we possess it, “it cannot be said that on our rational side we are their progeny.” The child in the cradle does not possess reason “as we do,” any more than does the anthropoid ape, but the beginnings of reason are in both.


Let the worm climb and he will overtake man. This is a most hopeful, a most beautiful gospel. Its spirit is not one of isolation and exclusiveness from the rest of nature, but one of fellowship and sympathy. We are all— plants, trees, birds, bugs, animals—all members of one family, children at various ages and stages of growth of the same great mother, -- Nature.

We quote again:

“When I ask him (Metchnikoff) whence do I come, he points to the simian stage which we have left behind; but I would look beyond that stage to some ultimate fount of being, to which all that is highest in me and in the world around me can be traced, a source of things equal to the best that I can conceive.”

But if there is “some ultimate fount of being”’ to which our “highest” nature “can be traced,” whence did our lower nature come? Is Prof. Adler trying to say God? We do not object to the word, we only ask that he give the word a more intelligible meaning than has yet been given. If God is the “ultimate fount of being to which all that is highest in us can be traced,” who or what is the ultimate fount to which all that is lowest in us can be traced? Let us have the names of the two ultimate founts of being, and also to what still more ultimate founts these founts may be traced.

In our opinion Dr. Adler has failed to do justice to Prof. Metchnikoff. It is no answer to the Darwinian Theory, which the Russian scientist accepts in earnest, and in all its fullness, -- not fractionally, as Adler seems to do—to say that it does not explain everything. No one claims that it does. Not all the mystery of life has been cleared. Evolution has offered us only a new key, so to speak, with which to attempt the doors which have not yielded to metaphysics.


And if the key has not opened all the doors, it has opened many. Prof. Adler seems to think that the doctrine of evolution explains only the physical descent of man; for the genesis of the spiritual man, he looks for some supernatural “fount” in the skies.


Well, that is not science; that is theology, and Adler’s estimate of Jesus is just as theological as his criticism of evolution.

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