[Footnote A: Neander, in his preface to his “Life of Christ,” quotes from Niebuhr what he calls “the golden words of one of the greatest minds of modern times.” “The man,” says Niebuhr, “who does not hold Christ’s earthly life, with all its miracles, to be as properly and really historical as any event in the sphere of history, and who does not receive all points in the Apostles’ Creed with the fullest conviction, I do not conceive to be a Protestant Christian. As for that Christianity which is such according to the fashion of the modern philosophers and pantheists,—without a personal God, without immortality, without an individuality of man, without historical faith,—it may be a very subtle philosophy, but it is no Christianity at all. Again and again have I said that I know not what to do with a metaphysical God, and that I will have no other but the God of the Bible, who is heart to heart.”]
But before Christianity can be destroyed, it is absolutely necessary to destroy the evidences of those historical facts on which it rests. This, as I have said, is no easy task. There are many high walls, many encircling lines of defence around the old fortress, each and all of which must be taken, ere the citadel itself can be reached and laid in ruins. Now this has never yet been done. The enemy has made many attacks during the last eighteen centuries, and on several occasions the last grand assault which was to decide the long campaign has been threatened. Every method has been adopted which critical skill could apply, which the most subtle genius could invent, and the most untiring perseverance execute; but, in spite of all, “the strong city,” with “salvation for walls and bulwarks,” still remains strong as ever. For, to drop all metaphor, in whatever way we may account for it, the fact is undeniable, that Christianity, in the form of supreme love to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, not only survives, but in no age of the world’s past history has it been so strongly rooted in the convictions and affections of so many men, nor has it ever been given such promise of filling the whole earth.
Let us suppose, however, for the sake of argument, that by some process hitherto undiscovered, Christianity, as the religion of supreme love to this living Person, Jesus Christ, is at last proved to be a fiction; that the millennium of infidelity has arrived; that the religion taught by Christ and His apostles has become as dead to the world as that of Buddh or Confucius is now to the mind of Europe; that our Christian churches, like the heathen temples of Greece or Rome, remain but as monuments of a superstition long ago exploded by the light of science and philosophy; that all those supernatural Christian facts and truths, which like a mighty firmament of stars, now cluster around the name of Jesus, have departed as lights from the visible universe; that Christian truth is as silent before the world as Christ himself was when He stood before