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EDITOR'S TABLE.

youth. The creed or the articles may be somewhat vague and elastic, but can not honestly be stretched much. Now, the lay world believes in the progress of knowledge, because it has witnessed progress; and it is persuaded that there must be incessant progress in theological science as well as in all other branches of learning. It does not see metaphysicians, physicians, historians, chemists, zoologists, or geologists, committing themselves in youth to a set of opinions which is to last them a lifetime, or even a day; on the contrary, they see all these classes of scholars avowedly holding their present opinions subject to change upon the discovery of new facts, or of better light upon old facts, and, as a rule, actually modifying their opinions in important respects between youth and age. Indeed, fixity of opinion is hardly respectable among scholars. If it be said that there can be no progress in theology, because revelation was a fixed historical quantity, the answer is, that revelation, like creation, must be fluent; or, in other words, that the interpretation of revelation to the mind of man must be like the interpretation of creation, ever flowing, shifting, and, if the mind of man improves, improving. No other profession is under such terrible stress of temptation to intellectual dishonesty as the clerical profession is, and at the same time the public standard of intellectual candor has been set higher than ever before. This is the state of things which deters many young men of ability and independence from entering the profession, and causes the acknowledged dearth of able ministers."

 

HEBER NEWTON AND THE HERESY HUNTERS.

These observations of President Eliot find an apt illustration in the case of the Rev. Heber Newton, which is now attracting a good deal of public attention. Intelligence and liberality have undoubtedly made great headway, and put the theological profession out of joint with the enlightenment of the times; but there is a pious-ignorant class of great influence that is not to be overlooked. Is it indeed so certain whether intelligence or stupidity is in the saddle in the popular theological arena? Certain foolish fanatics have combined to hunt the Rev. Heber Newton out of the Episcopal Church, on the old charge of heresy. And what is the pretext of this action? Why, the reverend gentleman appears to have been doing a little thinking on his own account—the mortal sin of theology! They say he made a solemn bargain, a vow, that he would do no independent thinking, have no opinions of his own, but simply re-echo the authorized creed, and that, having now begun to inquire, he is no longer fit to remain in the Christian Church.

Mr. Newton has ventured to think and to speak about the use and abuse of the Christian Scriptures—a proper subject, one would suppose, for a clerical teacher. He has opinions, sincere opinions, which he deems important, about the inspiration of the Bible, and how that phrase is to be understood. Now, it is incontestable that there has grown up an interesting and important accumulation of knowledge about the Bible in recent years, and knowledge determines opinion, in spite of all the theology in the world. And so it comes about that Mr. Newton, having convictions upon the inspiration of the Bible, must suppress them, and thus go along in comfortable hypocrisy, or express them, and be turned out of the Church. This was the dark age policy, with certain grim accompaniments; but is the stupid bigotry of by-gone ages still in the Episcopal saddle? We shall see.

Meantime, we venture to suggest that the heresy-hunters widen a little the scope of their operations; for, if they are going to make thorough work in purging the Church from all ad-