most abandoned sinners" in many cases became "the most eminent saints." The "Union" then proceeds to remark: "If 'The Popular Science Monthly' desires further information as to the actual effect which evangelical religion has produced on the morals of the community, it will be found in abundance in Lecky's 'History of European Morals,' in the same author's 'History of England in the Eighteenth Century,' and in Professor Draper's 'History of the Intellectual Development of Europe,' and none of these authors can be accused of being eulogists of Christianity. We leave the 'Review' to settle it with Gibbon which horn of the dilemma it will accept."
We have no issue with Lecky or Draper, and nothing to settle with Gibbon. If we had no other source of information respecting the relations of faith and morals as manifested in human conduct, than what was written a hundred years ago about what took place sixteen hundred years earlier, it would be different; but the illustrations of the relation of religious belief to ethical practice are too clear, familiar, and impressive all around us to make this course necessary. On living questions we prefer living authorities, and judgments based upon immediate observation and experience, to historic inferences regarding what took place at remote periods. Accordingly, we value the testimony of the editor of the "Christian Union" higher than even that of Gibbon, while his record is far more to the point. The article entitled "A Very Ancient Reproach" is immediately followed by another which serves as an instructive comment upon it by showing that the "reproach" is also both very modern and very real. Its title is "A Missouri Saint," and the editor writes upon the subject with an openness which "The Popular Science Monthly" has never emulated. He says:
Death seems to settle all accounts; and no sooner was this murderous villain dead, than the whole community set to work with extraordinary unanimity to canonize him. His funeral was an ovation; the attendant throng crowded the Baptist church, "where he was converted in 1866"—heavens! what sort of a man would he have been if he had not been converted?—the sheriff and under-sheriff acted among the pall-bearers; the services were opened with the hymn "What a friend we have in Jesus!" the officiating ministers comforted the stricken community with extracts from the plaints of Job and David, and with a comforting discourse on Christ's forbearance and forgiveness of sins; and, finally, the procession to the grave was one of immense proportions.Out upon such a religion as this! If a Dr. Thomas intimates that there may be perhaps a probation in another world for those who seem to have had no true probation in this, he is turned out of the fellowship of the church as a heretic. If a Mr. Jones and a Mr. Martin send a freebooter and a life-long robber and murderer straight to heaven in a chariot of fire without as much as a baptismal bath by the way, will any church call them to account for their falseness to the law of God and the sacredness of morality? We shall see.
Excellent, certainly! But, if exactly the same sentiments, only pitched in a lower key of indignation, appear in "The Popular Science Monthly," we are accused of reviving the obsolete reproaches of infidelity, and the "Christian Advocate" breaks into a pious diatribe about "Sugar-coated Poison."
The view of the "Christian Union" is well confirmed by "The Nation," as follows: