something about which I am obliged again to trouble the Bishop of Peterborough, which is certainly no jesting matter. Referring to my question, the bishop says that if they (the terms "infidel" and "miscreant")
According to those "English modes of thought and expression" of which the bishop seems to have but a poor opinion, this is a deliberate assertion that I had said that Christianity is "sorry stuff." And, according to the same standard of fair dealing, it is, I think, absolutely necessary for the Bishop of Peterborough to produce the evidence on which this positive statement is based. I shall be unfeignedly surprised if he is successful in proving it; but it is proper for me to wait and see.
Those who passed from Dr. Wace's article in the last number of this review to the anticipatory confutation of it which followed in "The New Reformation," must have enjoyed the pleasure of a dramatic surprise—just as when the fifth act of a new play proves unexpectedly bright and interesting. Mrs. Ward will, I hope, pardon the comparison, if I say that her effective clearing away of antiquated incumbrances from the lists of the controversy reminds me of nothing so much as of the action of some neat-handed, but strong-wristed, Phyllis, who, gracefully wielding her long-handled "Turk's head," sweeps away the accumulated results of the toil of generations of spiders. I am the more indebted to this luminous sketch of the results of critical investigation, as it is carried out among those theologians who are men of science and not mere counsel for creeds, since it has relieved me from the necessity of dealing with the greater part of Dr. Wace's polemic, and enables me to devote more space to the really important issues which have been raised.
Perhaps, however, it may be well for me to observe that approbation of the manner in which a great biblical scholar, for instance Reuss, does his work does not commit me to the adoption of all, or indeed of any of his views; and, further, that the disagreements of a series of investigators do not in any way interfere with the fact that each of them has made important contributions to the
- "Popular Science Monthly" for May, 1889, p. 83.
- I may perhaps return to the question of the authorship of the Gospels. For the present I must content myself with warning my readers against any reliance upon Dr. Wace's statements as to the results arrived at by modern criticism. They are as gravely as surprisingly erroneous.