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The Ridpath library of universal literature ... (v. 3)

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Pages: 448

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC

By: John Clark Ridpath

Excerpt from book: BARTOL, Cyrus Augustus, an American Unitarian clergyman, born at Freeport, Me., April 30, 1813. He graduated at Bowdoin College in 1832, at the Harvard Divinity School in 1835, and in 1837 became associate pastor of the West Church (Unitarian) in Boston. He contributed largely to The Christian Examiner for many years, and published several volumes of Sermons, Pictures from Europe, Church and Congregation, Radical Problems, and The Rising Faith. The last two works, published in 1872 and 1874, embody the results of his maturest thought. ON IDEALISM IN RELIGION. We make the Christ of our faith. Christians are disturbed by any hint that their Saviour cannot be certainly drawn, with every word and prodigy, out of the historic details. What if we cannot circumstantially verify the image of the God-man ? Is that image therefore a vapor that passeth away ? Fact is never the ground of principle: but principle the womb of fact. All the texts and wonders illustrate, but do not procreate spirit. We are grieved at discrepancies in the Gospel tales, and the impossibility of proving the miracles, even if they occurred. But though, in the mouth of many witnesses, every word could be established, or the portents re-wrought before our eyes, we could get from them no saving belief. Faith is a principle, not a conclusion. The test of a man is what he builds on—an incident or an idea. The letter that killeth is not only a written sentence, but every outward appearance. Sun and moon, sea and star, are butan alphabet. The world is God's metaphor. All cognitions of sense are signs and counters of conception. We do not want a factitious Redeemer. A purely historic creed is the house Jesus spoke of, reared on the sand, and sure to go before the storm. None but the ideal underpinning will stand. A mir...  

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