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Rev. Joseph Cook And "the Infidels."

Rev. Joseph Cook And "the Infidels." image
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Editor Courier : In the last number of the Courier you gave a brief report of Mr. Joseph Cook's recent lecture in University Hall, in which the lecturer took occasion to classify Channing and Theodore Parker with intidels, as well as to say almost equally unwarrantable thing8 about other eminent and honored men- both religious teachers and scientisls. May I ask space in your columns for a word on this subject. I desire to say very emphatically that Channing and Theodore Parker were not infidels : they were Christians. The religión they taught was not infidelity : it was Christianity. The religious body of today, which these men represent, is not an infidel body : it is a Chiistian body. Why then did Mr. Cook declare to the contrary in University Hall ? Wrote Channing : " A purer Christianity, however slowly, is to take the place of the Ohrislianity of dogmatic beüefs and lixed creeds. Cannot we becouie heralds of the better day ? Let our hearts bid it welcouie ! Let our lives reveal its eauty and its power." That was exacty what Channing had in view, and what his followers liave ever since been aiming at - to reform Christianity - to raise up in the world a purer Christianity- the Christianity of Jesus- the Christianity of the Sermón on the Mount and the Golden Rule and of "love to God and man,11 to take the place of the Christianity of hard, unreasonable theologians and creeds which has so oppressed the world. The practice of branding one's theologial foes as "infidels" is an old game; but it is as unworthy as it is old. Jesus was branded as an infidel ; so were His lisciples; so were the early Christians generallyi so wa Liithpr; o Iihv been most of tlio grentest scientists of Christen7 doro, from Iioger Bacon and Galileo to Durwin; so have been nearly all tlie mon of the p:ist who have done anytlnnj notable to help the world forward to largor or higlicr truth. IIow long before the name " infidel" will become positively a thing of honor, if the best, the bravest, the most broad-min'ded and progressive, as well as the most truly Christian, men, are to be thus persistently called infidels? Channing classed among infidels ! Baron Bunsen, the eminent Germán theologiau and state&man, aulhor of " God in History " (himselfa trinitaria), calis Clianning " a grand Christian saint and man of God." ''Channing,'' he says, " is an antiqne hero with a Christian he.trt. He is a man like a Hellene, a citizen like a Homan, a Christian like iin apostle.'' Bishop Clarke, of Ithode Island (Kpiscopalian), says of Channing : '"Christians of every name all must reveré his memory." And Fredeiïek W. Kobertson, thegreat preacher of the churcli ot England, says in his diary : "A rellgium lady found B volume of Channing on ray table, a few days ago, and was horror struck. I told her that if she and I ever got to heaven, we should find Dr. Channing revolvlng round the central light in an orbit immeasurably nearer than onrs, almost invisible to us, and lost in a blaze of light." And yet this is the man whom Joseph Cook on the platform of University Hall classiiies among the infidels. Ann Arbor, June 6.


Ann Arbor Courier
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