An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 317 pages of information about An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant.
he was right.  He adhered to his opinion despite severe pressure and was not removed from the episcopate.  With such guarantees it would be strange indeed if we could not say that biblical studies entered in Great Britain, as also in America, on a development in which scholars of these nations are not behind the best scholars of the world.  The trials for heresy of Robertson Smith in Edinburgh and of Dr. Briggs in New York have now little living interest.  Yet biblical studies in Scotland and America were incalculably furthered by those discussions.  The publication of a book like Supernatural Religion, 1872, illustrates a proclivity not uncommon in self-conscious liberal circles, for taking up a contention just when those who made it and have lived with it have decided to lay it down.  However, the names of Hatch and Lightfoot alone, not to mention the living, are sufficient to warrant the assertions above made.

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More than once in these chapters we have spoken of the service rendered to the progress of Christian thought by the criticism and interpretation of religion at the hands of literary men.  That country and age may be esteemed fortunate in which religion occupies a place such that it compels the attention of men of genius.  In the history of culture this has by no means always been the case.  That these men do not always speak the language of edification is of minor consequence.  What is of infinite worth is that the largest minds of the generation shall engage themselves with the topic of religion.  A history of thought concerning Christianity cannot but reckon with the opinions, for example, of Carlyle, of Emerson, of Matthew Arnold—­to mention only types.


Carlyle has pictured for us his early home at Ecclefechan on the Border; his father, a stone mason of the highest character; his mother with her frugal, pious ways; the minister, from whom he learned Latin, ’the priestliest man I ever beheld in any ecclesiastical guise.’  The picture of his mother never faded from his memory.  Carlyle was destined for the Church.  Such had been his mother’s prayer.  He took his arts course in Edinburgh.  In the university, he says, ’there was much talk about progress of the species, dark ages, and the like, but the hungry young looked to their spiritual nurses and were bidden to eat the east wind.’  He entered Divinity Hall, but already, in 1816, prohibitive doubts had arisen in his mind.  Irving sought to help him.  Irving was not the man for the task.  The Christianity of the Church had become intellectually incredible to Carlyle.  For a time he was acutely miserable, bordering upon despair.  He has described his spiritual deliverance:  ’Precisely that befel me which the Methodists call their conversion, the deliverance of their souls from the devil and the pit.  There burst forth a sacred flame of joy in me.’  With Sartor Resartus

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An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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