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SEEKING FOR LIGHT.
REV. ALEXANDER H. CRAUFURD, M.A.,
FORMERLY EXHIBITIONER OF ORIEL COLLEGE, OXFORD.
"O God, wherefore art Thou absent from us so long?"
Psalm lxxiv, 1.
CHARLES DICKENS AND EVANS,
CRYSTAL PALACE PRESS.
POPULAR RELIGION AND SCIENTIFIC
THIS little volume is not addressed either to decided
unbelievers, or to those who are quite satisfied with the present popular form of Christianity. So long as the scientific materialist keeps his present premisses, he cannot do otherwise than adhere to his present conclusions, for they are drawn logically enough. To argue with him is useless. Before he can judge religion fairly, he needs to have a new sense awakened in him. He does not now understand the primary data on which Christianity is founded ; and until he comes to understand them, he cannot do otherwise than reject Christianity.
Some degree of real spirituality of nature is needed in order to comprehend the original premisses
from which Christianity starts. And if this be wanting, no conceivable miracle could produce genuine conviction. On the other hand, I know by experience how hopeless it is to argue with narrowminded dogmatists, with those who cannot or will not see the difficulties which prevent many earnest lovers of truth accepting the religion of Christ.
Some there are, I fully believe, who are so entirely satisfied with current orthodoxy, that they would refuse to alter their conceptions of Christianity, even if St. Paul came back to this world and explained that his teaching had been much misunderstood. Some there are who would refuse to accept such correction, who would brandish in the Apostle's face that rusty old sword of unprogressive dogmatism, the doctrine about “quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus." The Pharisees of old were not more impregnable against the assaults of the innovating teacher of Nazareth, than our modern Pharisees are against the combined voices of experience, wisdom, learning, and mercifulness, calling loudly for some revision of the popular creed.
But, thank God, there are thousands and thousands amongst us who “have not so learned Christ.”
Thousands there are of thoughtful Christian spirits watching eagerly for every ray of light. Perplexed they may be, but not hopeless; cast down they may be, but not in despair ; deeply anxious to understand our Lord better, but never for one moment thinking of leaving Him; mourning over God's strange absence from His own world, but never doubting His existence. To such Christian spirits seeking for light I have addressed these sermons, in the hope of aiding and consoling them ; in the hope of showing them that Christianity, thoughtfully and reasonably interpreted, is now as of old the soul's best friend and guide. I have tried to show to anxious inquirers, that though thick mists of scepticism hem us in, and grievously limit our view, yet our feet may still be planted firmly on a rock; that amidst all the darkness around us we have still our great beacon-light--the Fatherhood of God; that though it is difficult to hear the voice of Christ amidst the horrible din of contending bigots, still He is speaking to us, and has many lessons, of wisdom to teach us, which our fathers were not prepared to receive.
I am convinced that in the original teaching of