he conceived the idea that, to make this vindication of any actual and permanent service to those conceptions, it must itself be actual; it must itself be scientific, it must itself be something decidedly more than merely theological. In other words, whatever inherited conceptions, about either the Bible or religion, he found he could not establish by valid evidence and by legitimate reasoning, he resolutely determined that he would never make the effort to establish either by any such distortion of evidence, or by any such illegitimate reasoning, as he had fortunately come to discover to be only too characteristic of the mediæval apologists."
Pursuing his biblical studies from this independent point of view, Mr. Blauvelt, in the spirit of the liberal scholarship of the time, was led to the formation of opinions widely differing from the orthodox traditions. The general results which he reached are given with their proofs in the first eight chapters of the little volume before us, the subjects of which are: I. The Crisis; II. Dogmatic Theology; III. The Validity of the Biblical Canon; IV. The Inspiration of the Bible; V. The Historical Character of the Gospels; VI. The Religion of the Bible; VII. Religion; VIII. The Religion of Jesus. These chapters are full of information in relation to the work of modern criticism on biblical subjects, and they afford an excellent introduction to the general inquiry, for those who wish to know how the register of theological liberality stands at present.
But the sequel of honest and fearless research proved to be in this case, what it had always been before, repression of free thought. In Chapter IX, Mr. Blauvelt gives us some examples of the treatment extended to religious men who have undertaken to inquire for themselves. He tells us that "when, in 1835, Strauss published the initial volume of his first 'Life of Jesus,' he was occupying the position of a theological instructor at Tübingen, with the most brilliant prospects before him, and beloved and honored of all. But even before the appearance of the second volume he was summarily ejected from his position. As the unparalleled commotion created by his work continued to increase, his own father turned away from him in anger; his early teachers in divinity hastened to disavow all complicity with his opinions, and 'as for the friends and companions of my studies,' says Strauss himself, 'these I had the mortification of seeing exposed to so much suspicion and annoyance for their merely rumored intimacy with me, that it became a point of conscientious duty not to expose them to still greater odium by any public memorial of our friendship."
Again, "The faculty of the Theological Seminary of St. Sulpice were once engaged in preparing their annual examinations, when a young candidate for the deaconship, who had always been noted for his great modesty and studious habits, asked leave to submit a number of questions which perplexed his mind and seemed to depress his religious spirit. Unless they were solved to his satisfaction, he could not hope to enter into holy orders. His earnestness astonished and alarmed the entire faculty. They refused at once to examine questions which to them appeared novel or subversive, and, justly fearing that a neophyte who on the threshold of the priesthood was besieged with such misgivings might become a cause of strife in the Church, they withheld their protection, and bade him depart from the consecrated place. This inquisitive and conscientious student was Joseph Ernest Renan." How he subsequently succeeded in passing with the highest honors his examination for University Professor of Philosophy; how he became Professor of Hebrew, Chaldaic, and Syriac Languages and Literature in the oldest chair of the oldest institution in the land; and how he was howled down by the clerical party so that he could not be even heard on the day of his inauguration; and how this was followed by a governmental decree suspending his course of lectures indefinitely—is now well-known matter of history.
When the volume entitled "Essays and Reviews," containing some independent theological thought, appeared in England, the authorities were besieged to prosecute the writers for heresy; and there was one petition which is said to have contained the signatures of not less than nine thousand clergymen of the Established Church, to promote this end. Bishop Colenso was subsequently