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" “THE ECLIPSE OF FAITH,”
BY ITS AUTHOR;
THE “REPLY” TO
THE ECLIPSE OF FAITH,"
BY FRANCIS WILLIAM NEWMAN;
HIS CHAPTER ON “THE MORAL PERFECTION OF JESUS,"
THE THIRD EDITION OF 6 PHASES OF FAITH.”
111 WASHINGTON STREET.
18 5 4.
OF THE LELAND ST: STORD JUNIOR
STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY METCALP AND COMPANY.
THE AMERICAN EDITION.
SEVERAL editions of the volume entitled 6 The Eclipse of Faith” have been published and largely circulated in this country. With but one or two exceptions, and those referable to quarters in which the theories so ably assailed in it find more or less indulgence or favor, the criticisms that have been pronounced upon the work have been highly commendatory. Those who have perused it attentively have seen occasion for carefully discriminating the limited design of the writer, and for pronouncing upon his success in accomplishing it with sole reference to the single aim which he had in view, and not according to the pertinency or ability of the book as a complete defence of Revealed Religion against all the assaults of Scepticism. The author assures us that he endeavored to avoid personalities, that he was dealing with a school or a clique, and not with individuals, and that, when he quoted from the printed volumes of two or three prominent writers of that school, it was merely for the sake of convenience, and not to fix a special odium
Mr. Newman, for reasons which had weight with his own mind, regarded “ The Eclipse of Faith” as a direct assault upon himself personally, and under that opinion he has construed some of its arguments and several of its sentences as conveying covert insinuations more goading and annoying than is anything contained in the abstract or impersonal logic of the work. With what justice he has so interpreted the spirit and the contents of the volume, the readers of it may have already decided for themselves; but the following pages will help them to a more full decision. It certainly will be regretted by all those who wish to weigh the force of honest and intelligent arguments on a subject of the most solemn and momentous interest, that so much of the heat of wounded feeling should be manifested by both the parties to the issue here presented. It is not our office, in these introductory remarks, to put ourselves between the two parties as umpire or judge; if it were so, we should have a very emphatic and well-assured opinion to pronounce in the case.
The judgment of a third party would here be obtrusive, and is, of course, withheld.
Mr. Newman introduced his “ Reply to the Eclipse of Faith” into a new edition of his “ Phases of Faith." Besides the specific answers which he makes at length to the arguments or objections advanced in the former work, he has modified several expressions and sentences which he had written in his first edition of the
66 Phases of Faith.” As these modifications are for the most part without the range of the matters treated in the following pages, the reader is referred to the volume itself, which has not been reprinted in this country, but may be easily obtained. But in the new edition of that volume is found a chapter on
66 The Moral Perfection of Jesus," which we feel bound to pronounce upon as the most offensive, tortuous, and unfair piece from the pen of a Christian scholar that we have ever encountered. It is with extreme reluctance, and only with an overruling desire that the strangest and most unworthy speculations on sacred themes may not claim sympathy on the score of being denied liberty of expression, that we have been instrumental in giving to that chapter the extended circulation of a reprint. The ingenuity and sophistry of scepticism never ventured upon a more daring length than in that chapter. The utter absurdity of the pleas which the writer there advances will be so transparently obvious to most readers as to render them nugatory of harm, while the Christian believer may be led to realize all anew, and with intenser reverence, trust, and love, the graces of that divine character, which admits of being assailed indeed, but which turns aside every weapon that every form of passion or prejudice can direct against it. We have felt under an obligation to say this much, because we hold ourselves bound to some sort of an apology or excuse before the community for submitting to them such speculations as they will find in a portion of these pages. The read