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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/348

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tion to the fact that, in this controversy, it is Prof. Huxley who finds it requisite for his argument to insinuate that his opponents are biased by sordid motives; and I shall for the future leave him and his sneers out of account, and simply consider his arguments for as much, or as little, as they may be worth. For a similar reason I shall confine myself as far as possible to the issue which I raised at the Church Congress, and for which I then made myself responsible. I do not care, nor would it be of any avail, to follow over the wide and sacred field of Christian evidences an antagonist who resorts to the imputation of mean motives, and who, as I shall show, will not face the witnesses to whom he himself appeals. The manner in which Prof. Huxley has met the particular issue he challenged will be a sufficient illustration to impartial minds of the value which is to be attached to any further assaults which he may make upon the Christian position.

Let me then briefly remind the reader of the simple question which is at issue between us. What I alleged was that "an agnosticism which knows nothing of the relation of man to God must not only refuse belief to our Lord's most undoubted teaching, but must deny the reality of the spiritual convictions in which he lived and died." As evidence of that teaching and of those convictions I appealed to three testimonies—the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's Prayer, and the story of the Passion—and I urged that whatever critical opinion might be held respecting the origin and structure of the four Gospels, there could not be any reasonable doubt that those testimonies "afford a true account of our Lord's essential belief and cardinal teaching." In his original reply, instead of meeting this appeal to three specific testimonies. Prof. Huxley shifted the argument to the question of the general credibility of the Gospels, and appealed to "the main results of biblical criticism, as they are set forth in the works of Strauss, Baur, Reuss, and Volkmar." He referred to these supposed "results" in support of his assertion that we know "absolutely nothing" of the authorship or genuineness of the four Gospels, and he challenged my reference to Renan as a witness to the fact that criticism has established no such results. In answer, I quoted passage after passage from Renan and from Reuss showing that the results at which they had arrived were directly contradictory of Prof. Huxley's assertions. How does he meet this evidence? He simply says, in a foot-note, "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." I might ask by what right Prof. Huxley thus presumes to pronounce, as it were ex cathedra, without adducing any evidence, that the statements of another writer are "surprisingly erroneous"? But I in