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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/359

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CHRISTIANITY AND AGNOSTICISM.

of a far more momentous nature than he recognizes; but it is by no means the most important. It is beyond question that the Christian society, from the earliest moment of its existence, believed in our Lord's resurrection. Baur frankly says that there is no doubt about the church having been founded on this belief, though he can not explain how the belief arose. If the resurrection be a fact, the belief is explained; but it is certainly not explained by the supposition of a fraud on the part of Joseph of Arimathea. As to Prof. Huxley's assertion that the accounts in the three Gospels are "hopelessly discrepant," it is easily made and as easily denied; but it is out of all reason that Prof. Huxley's bare assertion on such a point should outweigh the opinions of some of the most learned judges of evidence, who have thought no such thing. It would be absurd to attempt to discuss that momentous story as a side issue in a review. It is enough to have pointed out that Prof. Huxley discusses it without even taking into account the statements of the very narrative on which he relies. The manner in which he sets aside St. Paul is equally reckless:

According to his own showing, Paul, in the vigor of his manhood, with every means of becoming acquainted, at first hand, with the evidence of eye-witnesses, not merely refused to credit them, hut "persecuted the Church of God and made havoc of it.". . . Yet this strange man, because he has a vision one day, at once, and with equally headlong zeal, flies to the opposite pole of opinion.

"A vision!" The whole question is, what vision? How can Prof. Huxley be sure that no vision could be of such a nature as to justify a man in acting on it? If, as we are told, our Lord personally appeared to St. Paul, spoke to him, and gave him specific commands, was he to disbelieve his own eyes and ears, as well as his own conscience, and go up to Jerusalem to cross examine Peter and John and James? If the vision was a real one he was at once under orders, and had to obey our Lord's injunctions. It is, to say the least, rash if not presumptuous, for Prof. Huxley to declare that such a vision as St. Paul had would not have convinced him; and, at all events, the question is not disposed of by calling the manisfestation "a vision." Two things are certain about St, Paul. One is that he was in the confidence of the Pharisees, and was their trusted agent in persecuting the Christians; and the other is that he was afterward in the confidence of the apostles, and knew all their side of the case. He holds, therefore, the unique position of having had equal access to all that would be alleged on both sides; and the result is that, being fully acquainted with all that the Pharisees could urge against the resurrection, he nevertheless gave up his whole life to attesting its truth, and threw in his lot, at the cost of martyrdom, with those whom he had formerly persecuted. Prof. Huxley reminds us that he did all this in the full vigor of manhood, and in