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July 06 , 2010

The Cradle of the Christ: A Study in Primitive Christianity


The literary intention of this volume is sufficiently declared in the opening paragraph, and need not be foreshadowed in a preface; but as the author’s deeper motive may be called in question, he takes the liberty to say a word or two in more particular explanation. The thought has occurred to him on reading over what he has written, as a casual reader might, that, in his solicitude to make his positions perfectly clear, and to state his points concisely, he may have laid himself open to the charge of carrying on a controversy under the pretence of explaining a literature. Such a reproach, his heart tells him, would be undeserved. He disclaims all purpose and desire to weaken the moral supports of any form of religion; as little purpose or desire to undermine Christianity, as to revive Judaism. It is his honest belief that no genuine interests of religion are compromised by scientific or literary studies; that religion is independent of history, that Christianity is independent of the New Testament. He is cordially persuaded that the admission of every one of his conclusions would leave the institutions of the church precisely, in every spiritual respect, as they are; and in thus declaring he has no mental reserve, no misty philosophical meaning that preserves expressions while destroying ideas; he uses candid, intelligible speech. The lily’s perfect charm suffers no abatement from the chemist’s analysis of the slime into which it strikes its slender root; the grape of the Johannisberg vineyards is no less luscious from the fact that the soil has been subjected to the microscope; the fine qualities of the human being, man or woman, are the same on any theory, the bible theory of the perfect Adam, or Darwin’s of the anthropoid ape.
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