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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/444

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

opportunity of worship during Sunday and during the week, and also therewith the greatly increased attention to the organization of the Church for aggressive Christian work. Those who think that the pulpit is everything in the public service naturally suppose that with the decline of the pulpit Christianity declines, but those who think that public worship is the essential thing in the Church rejoice at the changes that are taking place, and hold that Christianity is advancing. They maintain that it is not so important for the Church to gather large crowds to listen to the sermon as it is for the church doors to be ever open, with frequent services for the convenience and help of worshipers at any time, without regard to whether they are few or many, assured that thereby a much greater number of people are reached and benefited than by the former limited methods.

It is sometimes said that biblical criticism has undermined faith in Holy Scripture, and that, therefore, many absent themselves from public worship. But there is no real evidence for it. I doubt not that the opponents of biblical criticism drive many people from their congregations, just as they do when they attack the sure results of modern science, or expose their ignorance in the discussion of political and economical questions in which they have not been trained; but these people simply remove to other congregations where they will not be offended by obscurantism and intolerance. Biblical criticism really makes the Bible more attractive to the people, and its reading and exposition more interesting and influential in the Church.

A careful study of the situation makes it evident that the Christian religion is not declining in our land; but it is passing through a transition state, putting off antiquated dogmas, customs, and methods, and adapting itself to the modern world, and transferring itself so as to better accomplish its work. In no age has Christianity made more advance than in the century now drawing to a close. v

 


 
The Indiana of Bolivia are described by Sir Martin Conway as "an exceedingly bigoted folk, retaining under a mask of Christianity their ancient superstitions, little altered," and are kept in order by priestly management rather than by force. Mr. Conway was seriously interfered with by them in the prosecution of his researches because the nature of his undertaking involved some outrage to their superstitions. They regard the mountains above the level of habitation as part of the other world, and holding, among other fancies, that a golden bull and a golden cross planted by supernatural agency stood on the summit of one of the peaks round the base of Mount Serata, thought that the object of the explorer's expedition could be nothing else than to obtain possession of these priceless treasures. Hence they offered formidable opposition to him.