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Odysseus, The Dominion of, and the Island Group of the Odyssey. By the Right
Hon. W. E. GLADSTONE, M.P.. ...
Contributors to this Volume.
BARNES, REV. W.
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THE HOPES OF THEOLOGY.1
On the occasion of my former address at St. Andrews, the Principal of St. Mary's College asked me to speak 'a few words to the theological students under his charge. It was not within my power to comply with his request at that moment. But now that the time draws near to take farewell of an office which I have valued so highly, I have thought that I might properly touch on some subject which, though of general interest, had special reference to theology. When I spoke to you before, I appealed to the motto which is written over this ancient hall
—and dwelling on the inspiring force of the contemplation of GREATNESS în all its forms, I endeavoured to show how bright was the sunshine which such a thought throws on all your present duties and studies. That brightness I would still wish to maintain, though within a more definite range, and in a humbler and graver tone, more suited to the altered circumstances both of him who speaks and of you who listen.
The topic which I propose to take is one at which I slightly hinted in the conclusion of my last words to you, and which was suggested to me afresh by the instructive address delivered, in the course of the late winter, to the
students of Aberdeen by an eminent statesman-one of the foremost of our time. He, speaking with the fulness of his varied experience, and with the strength of true humility and moderation, chose as his theme, “ The Rocks Ahead," in the political and social world, indicated some years ago by a distinguished publicist. But besides the political and the economical rocks, there was a third rock, which the prophet of ill had pointed out, the religious or theological rock-namely, the danger arising to religion from the apparently increasing divergence between the intelligence and the faith of our time. It is this topic-touched for a moment by Mr. Forster; handled more fully, but still in a rapid survey, by an accomplished countryman of your own, Mr. Grant Duff, at Edinburghon which I propose to insist more at length on the present occasion. You know the story of the Inchcape Rock. almost within sight of these shores ; how for many years it was the terror of mariners until an enterprising Abbot of Aberbrothock ventured to fasten a bell upon the sunken reef. Will you permit the successor of the Abbots of Westminster, after the fashion of the Douglas of your own Scottish history. to attempt to “ bell this rock” ? The waves of controversy and alarm will still doubtless dash over it; but, perchance, if my advice contains any truth, you will catch from time to time henceforth, amidst the roar of the billows, faint chimes of a more
1 Address to the Students of $t. Andrews, by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D.D., Lord Rector of the University.
No. 211.---VOL. XXXVI.
cheering music; and even if some rash the Heaven-inspired insight of the rover shall tear off the signal of warn- dawn of this, would have scattered ing and encouragement, yet the rude like chaff, seem to reign supreme in shifts of the Abbot may suggest to large sections of the religious world. some wiser and more scientific inventor And this calamity has overtaken us to build on the rock a lighthouse which in the presence of the vast, perhaps will more effectually defy the storm, disproportionate, advance of scientific and more extensively illuminate the knowledge, which feels most keenly darkness of the time to come. I pro- and presses most heavily the weakpose, then, to speak to you of the nesses of a credulous or ceremonial grounds of hope for the religion and form of belief. It is, no doubt, contheology of the future.
ceivable that these dreadful forms and I do not deny that the forebodings “fiery faces” might portend for Engof Mr. Greg have some foundation. land the same overthrow of faith that It was one of the last anxious aspira- has overtaken other countries. If such tions of Dean Milman, that some a separation were indeed universally means might be found to avert the impending between the religion of the wide and widening breach which he coming age and the progress of knowseemed to see between the thought ledge, between the permanent interests and the religion of England. There of the Christian Churches and the inhas been an increasing suspicion be- terests of the European States, then tween the fiercer factions of the eccle- there would be a cause for alarm more siastical and the scientific world serious than the panics of religious each rejoicing to push the statements journals or the assaults of enraged of its rival to the extremest conse critics. It would be the “ingens motus quences, and to place on them the excedentium numinum”-the tread of worst possible construction. There departing deityhave arisen new questions, which ancient theology has for the most part
“Non me tua fervida terrent
Dicta, ferox ; sed Di terrent et Jupiter not even considered. There is an
hostis." impetuosity on both sides, which to the sober sense of the preceding
But behind those outward manifestacentury was unknown, and which
tions of danger, there is a higher threatens to precipitate conflicts, once Christianity, which neither assailants cautiously avoided or quietly sur
nor defenders have fully exhausted. We mounted. There are also indications cannot believe that the inexorable hour that we are passing through one of has struck. There is good ground for those periods of partial eclipse which hoping that the difficulties of religion, from time to time retard the healthy national religion, Christian religion, are progress of mankind. In the place of but the results of passing maladies, the abundant harvest of statesmanlike either in its professed friends or supand poetic genius with which the posed foes. We may fairly say, with nineteenth century opened, there have the first Napoleon“We have persprung up too often the lean and puny haps gone a little too fast; but we have stalks blighted with the east wind.
reason on our side, and when one has Of this wasting, withering influence reason on one's side, one should have modern theology has had its full the courage to run some risks.” The share. Superstitions which seemed Evening star, according to the fine to have died away have returned image of the poet, which is the accomwith redoubled force; fantastic ideas paniment of the setting day, may be of divine and human things, which one and the same with the Morning the calm judgment of the last century, star, the harbinger of sunrise.
1 History of the Jews, 3rd edition, vol. i., Matthew Arnold, Popular Education in P. xxxiv.