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WE GIVE liberal extracts from an article following, which confirms our recent statement that the same polished infidelity which for forty years has steadily been leavening all the male colleges and seminaries of the United States, Canada, England and Germany, and which by now has gotten possession of nearly every pulpit and Sunday school, is penetrating and saturating even common school books.
Many parents see this but forbear to protest, because of their lack of spine and their false standard of parental love. Instead of standing up for the Truth and the Bible they surrender to the arrogance of Young America—male and female. They think that they love their children too much to oppose them, when really their trouble is too much self-love—"approbativeness." They fear to have their educated darlings think of them as "old fogies" and behind the times. What they need is more love for their Creator, more love for his Word and more love for their children—to give them backbone to stand up for the Truth at any cost.
But alas! So blighting and stunting has been the misrepresentation of the Gospel of Christ that many dear souls, possessed of a keen faith, have so little knowledge that they cannot defend it. Yea, they know their ignorance and fear even to try.
"My people perish for lack of knowledge," says the Lord. Yet the leaders of all denominations teach them to boast. They are rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing: they know not of their poverty, blindness and nakedness. (Rev. 3:17.) Ah! Thank God for the Millennial Kingdom so near at hand! What would humanity do without it! Soon the half-truth of the dark ages would give way to no creed, no faith. And what direful results would follow!
"Colleges devoted to the education of women have revised the accepted estimate of life, with startling consequences to ancient creeds. Throughout the ages there has been a sad procession of believers who regarded life as a burden to be borne, and endured it to the end, with sighs and tears. And the memory of their sacrifice and suffering has been revered by the thousands that follow them. In contrast with this philosophy, which has produced unnumbered martyrdoms and is still held in some circles, there has been preached a militant gospel. Life is regarded as a warfare in an arena. In the hymn that sings the spiritual triumphs of conquest when the armies of the Lord waged battle, the believer rejects a life of either resignation or ease 'while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas.'
"American educators of women are showing what they believe to be the fallacy of both these philosophies. Life, they say, is neither a burden nor a battle. It is a benediction. It is the great Fact. To live right is to live joyously. And so the thousands of young women coming out of our institutions of learning do not follow the centuries of tearful pilgrimage on the Via Dolorosa, neither do they choose the Field of Mars. They believe that martyrdom in modern times is as anachronistic as the stake, and that to regard life as gladiatorial is to miss its finest meanings.
"The significance of this interpretation of life appears when its application to current activities is studied. 'Non ministrari sed ministrare,' 'not to be ministered unto, but to minister,' is the motto of Wellesley College, and this is the spirit of all the institutions pledged to the higher education of American women. The new evangels do not offer up anguished petitions to a non-resident God. Modern scholarship is, indeed, fulfilling Comte's prophecy that the God of authority would be escorted out of the affairs of man.
"President William De Witt Hyde, of Bowdoin College, who is in demand as a lecturer at many girls' colleges, teaches that as human experience develops, the divine attributes have to be translated into new terms—into terms that are in keeping with the deepening experience of the race; and that 'we know God only through man.' His teaching that a God symbolized by the outgrown experience of bygone ages is little better than no God at all, finds emphasis in the loftiest thinking among the professors in the colleges under consideration. Katharine Lee Bates, professor of English in Wellesley College, a woman of rare endowments and profound spirituality, teaches that the great foundations of Christianity 'plead for ampler walls and gates,' and that 'the heresy of youth is the outworn creed of age.'
"The old idea that the good-will of the Infinite could be secured by sacrificial offerings on the altar, or by lamentations and Te Deums, has been abandoned by the colleges. The futility of such petitionings is emphasized by Dr. Caroline Hazard, president of Wellesley, who is carrying out with distinguished efficiency the work [R4614 : page 164] inaugurated by Alice Freeman Palmer. In a talk recalling some of the scenes of Palestine, which she visited recently, she told of the faithful in Israel who gather at the Wall of Wailing and cry out to the God of their fathers to restore the Temple and reassemble the children of Jerusalem. 'Make speed, make speed, O Deliverer of Zion!' has been the intoned cry of these worshipers throughout the dismal centuries that have crept across the ruins of the great edifice the Preacher built, and yet, in spite of all this supplicating of the Throne of Grace, the very City of the Jews is a Moslem town! Just as it is unnecessary to go back to Sinai to find the covenants of God, so it is idle in our age to look to the skies for help. 'Each soul,' said President Hazard, 'has its Holy City, deep hidden under the accretions of every-day life.'
"President Hyde, of Bowdoin, not only tells his own students, but has sent the message out to all the students of this land, that the modern world, at least the intelligent and thoughtful portion, has outgrown the old idea that God sent his Son to earth, announcing his advent by signs and wonders; or that this Son was authorized to forgive sinners who conformed to the terms revealed; or that Jesus transmitted this miraculously tested power to his Apostles.
"From a student at Berkeley, who has also studied at Stanford University, comes the assurance that 'university women are taking a brave and enlightened stand on the subject of teaching their children and all children the vital facts about life.' She adds that the college-bred men and women of the Far West 'seem to have been swept along about equally before the irresistible non-church wave that has left some of them prostrated before crass materialism,' but that 'more and more stagger again to their feet, and move with eager steps towards the dawn of a creedless spirituality.'
"This confirms the teaching of Doctor Brown, of Stanford University, that 'hard and fast theories have been going down before the majesty of fact.' He even goes so far as to say that what Tom Paine and Robert G. Ingersoll taught, as death-blows to faith, is now proclaimed as truth by Christian scholarship.
"But the new gospel has come without bitterness, with humanity as its shrine, and the aspirations of the race its litanies. 'The contemporary kingdom of love,' said one of the lecturers at Wellesley, 'is the only way over which we may pass to the eternal kingdom of love.'
"Not blind petitioning, but active faith and action illumine the new creed. 'We still have our dragons,' said Miss Hazard. 'Perseus and St. George have not exterminated them all. The world is waiting for Andromeda, and still more for the active Dorcas. Under Syrian skies, or in a Western World, the call is the same—a call to service, to high living, to wage war on the powers of evil.' And in the litanies which this president and poet has written, self-indulgence, evasion, and fear are enumerated as the dragons every human spirit has to fight.
"So far as the outlook of American students is concerned, 'the eternal city of the skies,' fabled in Christian legend, lies in ruins under the feet of modern scholarship. But the education of young women, President M. Carey Thomas, of Bryn Mawr, points out, is giving us 'a new heaven and a new earth.' These young women are going out of the colleges not to destroy, but to fulfil. They are taught that Jesus of Nazareth 'never mentioned religion,' that 'it was farthest from his thought'; and that 'life' was the sublime text of his ministry.
"Dr. George A. Gordon, of Boston, who is popular as a lecturer at Wellesley, teaches that 'we lament the loss of belief in angels and seek to revive the doctrine of familiar spirits; we speak of the pathos of these vanished faiths,' but there is infinite gain to man in 'the grandeur of this abolition of all intermediaries'; and President Hazard sets forth that it must always be one of the glories of woman 'that truth can appeal in a direct and concrete form to her mind.'
"The young college women are not dreamers, save as they are inspired by the vision of a new society saved by service. They are carrying what they believe to be the true spirit of Christ and Christmas throughout the year. Though all the recorded miracles may be regarded as folk-lore, and though the Manger itself may be no more than a sacred myth, life remains beautiful and divine, and the call to re-create the spirit of the home and to serve humanity is regarded as a commission from the 'King of kings reigning in the heart of the race.' They indeed constitute an army—an undenominational army—but their banners are unseen. Instead of breaking windows, they are mending hearts. They believe in the integrity of law, and so scout the notion that any sea was ever rolled back by a wand. They believe that in all ages, wherever the Spirit of God has triumphed on earth, dominion has been asserted through the thought of man. And that divine presence, the colleges teach and the activities of college girls give evidence, is as potent today on earth as it ever was in ancient times.
"This, in substance, is the significance of the repudiation by the colleges of what they regard as crude and narrowing theology. The young women do not cringe at the Throne of Grace. To cry out in despair on bended knees is regarded not as an evidence of religious advance, but an expression of timidity and fear. The laws of the spirit are logical and fixed. The electrician does not cross himself before the dynamo. The chemist does not deal in burnt offerings to give divine quickening to the elements."