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In 1839, not fifty years ago, Greece broke free of the Turkish yoke. Mean while the Romance States, hetween Hungary, Russia, and the Danube, became so far emancipated that the Porte exercised no further right than to receive tribute and to designate and depose ruling princes. Servia, the remnant of an ancient Sclav State, all this time paid tribute, and maintained Turkish garrisons in certain of its cities. But in 1867 these garrisons were finally withdrawn.
In 1878, not ten years ago, a flood of change passed over the land. Roumania was made independent, with the addition of the district of Dobrutcha, giving coastline and ports on the Black Sea. Servia was declared independent, and her territory increased. Bulgaria was erected into a Principality, in practical independence. The country to the south, between the new Bulgaria and the Balkans, was given administrative autonomy,'' and entitled Eastern Roumelia. More recently, this province has joined itself, for better for worse, to Bulgaria.
These are the bald facts on the surface. And it is well to remember that Roumania, which is the buffer State between the other Danubian Principalities and Russia, is Latin in race and language. Next to it comes Bulgaria, in blood and tongue a mixture of Sclav and Turanian. Beyond this to the west is Servia, of which Freeman writes: "The Servian people, the unmixed Slavs as unmixed, that is, as any nation can be, made a longer resistance to the Turks than the Bulgarian people they were the first to throw off his yoke; one part of them never submitted to his yoke at all." To the south we have Macedonia and Thrace, where Greeks and Turks chiefly face one another; but where Home Rule has not as yet stepped in and led to separation.
It is interesting to remember that these bald results of the century have a
long run of precedents in previous centuries. The distinct races of the peninsula have been from time immemorial antagonistic in the extreme, and have been from time to time subdued by alien conquerors, chiefly because of their domestic divisions and jealousies. So long ago as the year 970 A.D., the Russian leader Sviatoslaf overran the Bulgarian kingdom, and actually occupied Philippopolis. In 1346 the Servians, under their Czar Stephen, estab'ished an empire that practically included all the lands from the Danube to the sea. Afterward the Turks entered into possession. And now one main political undercurrent of the peninsula is the determined and persistent endeavor of Russia to supplant and succeed to the Turk.
But on sundry occasions, and especially in this recent ebullition in Bulgaria, another and second undercurrent has given proof of great and growing power. Administrative autonomy may be the half-way house between bondage to the Turk and national freedom. But when it is extorted by the hand of Russia the fear at once grows strong that after all it may prove to be but the halfway house between bondage to the Sultan and bondage to the Czar. At all events this is the conviction which is laying firm hold of the hearts and heads of the natives of the Danubian Principalities.
These peoples number ten million souls, already independent, and there are ten million others, mostly of their kith and kin, who may in time to come find themselves separated from the Turkish dominion. Turkish dominion. Will these peoples recognize the teachings of history, and see that their only weakness lies in their dissensions; and that none can place them in bondage if they will but unite for the one great purpose of resisting all foreign interference or domination? Roumania, Servia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece might to-morrow join hands in an alliance, offensive and defensive, with the view to resisting all outside pressure or interference. There is no reason why such an alliance should not secure the goodwill both of Austria and the Porte. It is significant to note that the Czar sends messages of a peremptory character to the Bulgarians, in the name of the "Sovereign Emperor,"
and offers to Bulgaria his "bounteously loving protection ;' "and his agent holds cautious language ; Russia never thought of enslaving Bulgaria, she de sires only to see the Principality develop, and it is only by leaning trustingly on Russia as an elder brother that Bulgaria can solve the question which agitates her internally, and exposes her to danger from the outside;" and then calls upon the Bulgarians to act with blind full confidence upon the advice, or rather the specific instructions, given by Russia. Austria-Hungary, on the other hand, exhibits an entirely different spirit. The Hungarian Minister Tisza used very significant and carefully weighed words: Austria-Hungary must concentrate its whole endeavors and all its influence with a view to promote the independent development of these States, and to prevent the establishment of a protectorate not provided by treaties, or the permanent influence of any single foreign Power there." Such a confederation would not offend any European Power or Powers, except such as have it at heart to gain absolute dominion over these States. It is, indeed, probable that Europe would lock with complacency on the meeting of these States in Constantinople itself, under the hegemony of Turkey, for the purpose of consulting in common over the mutual defence.
But even without the actual headship of Turkey, although no doubt with the warm support both of Turkey and of Austria, these abnormally independent States might at once enter upon an offensive and defensive alliance. Other interests and responsibilities and claims would no doubt arise. Conferences might follow, and even some form of common parliament for affairs common to all gradually be developed. The liberty and independence of these States
can only be secured by their union; and this would find firm foundations in a supreme parliament in which all the component States would be duly represented, and in which specific common affairs would alone be dealt with, while each State could retain full individual autonomy in all other matters. Among other points, in these new United States there must be no interference whatever with the religion and the language of each State.
The English people would certainly rejoice to see such a conscious and spontaneous and popular desire for that union which is strength, establish in these troubled regions a strong confederation. A union of Roumania, Servia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro for certain, with the possible adhesion of Greece and the contingent adhesion of the remaining European provinces of Turkey, could thus be formed for the one defined purpose of binding each and all to as sist to repel any attempts at interference and invasion on the part of foreign Powers. Such a confederate union would do more than repel outside interference, and preserve to these States their civil, political, and religious liberties; for it would, if it came into existence, effectually banish those mutual jealousies and local greeds which, on occasion, have led some outsiders to the opinion that the family of States in the Balkan Peninsula most resembles a family of mutually watchful tigers. A Brotherhood in the sacred cause of selfdefence and independence offers those bonds of amity and co-operation which cannot fail to achieve incalculable good for the peoples concerned, and it would give to this eternal Eastern question, at all events, a long respite from its eternal troubles.-Blackwood's Magazine.
CHRISTIANITY AS THE ABSOLUTE RELIGION.
BY REV. CANON WESTCOTT.
CHRISTIANITY claims to be a Gospel; to offer to men that which answers to their needs; to disclose in a form available for life eternal truths which we are so constituted as to recognize, though
we could not of ourselves discover them. Its verification therefore will lie in its essential character; in its fitness to fulfil this work, which is as broad as the world. And it may be worth while, in
the presence of much apparent misunderstanding, to endeavor to indicate the points which must be noticed in any fair estimate of its relations to modern thought.
I assume that men are born religious. By this I mean that they are so constituted as to seek to place themselves in harmony with the powers without them, and to establish a harmony between the forces which are revealed in their own persons. The effort to obtain this twofold harmony will be directed by many partial interpretations of the phenomena of existence. The results of experience gained during the life of humanity and during the life of the individual present the elements with which religion has to deal in various lights. Children and childlike races have of necessity different conceptions of self and the world and God-the final elements of religion -from those which belong to a maturer age or to a later period of national growth. The religion which is able to bring peace at one stage of human development may be wholly ineffective at another.
When, therefore, we look for a religion which shall perfectly satisfy the needs of men, we look for one which is essentially fitted for the support of man as man; which is able to follow him through the changing circumstances of personal and social growth, able to bring from itself new resources for new requirements, able to reveal thoughts out of many hearts, and to meet them with answers of wider knowledge. Such a religion must have a vital energy commensurate with all conceivable human progress.
And yet again: the perfect religion must not only have the power of dealing with man and men throughout the whole course of their manifold development; it must have the power of dealing with the complete fulness of life at any moment. It must have the present power of dealing with the problems of our being and of our destiny in relation to thought and to action and to feeling. The Truth which religion embodies must take account of the conditions of existence, and define the way of conduct, and quicken the energy of enterprise. Such Truth is not for speculation only so far it is the subject of
Philosophy. It is not for discipline only so far it is the subject of Ethics. It is not for embodiment only: so far it is the subject of Art. Religion in its completeness is the harmony of these three, of Philosophy, Ethics, and Art, blended into one by a spiritual force, by a consecration at once personal and absolute. The direction of Philosophy, to express the thought somewhat differently, is theoretic, and its end is the true, as the word is applied to knowledge; the direction of Ethics is practical, and its end is the good; the direction of Art is representative, and its end is the beautiful. Religion includes these several ends, but adds to them that in which they find their consummation, the holy. The holy brings an infinite sanction to that which is otherwise finite and relative. It expresses not only a complete inward peace, but also an essential fellowship with God.
Every religion, even the most primitive, will exhibit these three aims, these three elements, at least in a rudimentary form: the perfect religion will exhibit them in complete adjustment and efficacy. A perfect religion-a religion which offers a complete satisfaction to the religious wants of man-must (to repeat briefly what has been said) be able to meet the religious wants of the individual, the society, the race, in the complete course of their development and in the manifold intensity of each separate human faculty.
This being so, I contend that the faith in Christ, born, crucified, risen, ascended, forms the basis of this perfect religion; that it is able, in virtue of its essential character, to bring peace in view of the problems of life under every variety of circumstance and characterto illuminate, to develop, and to inspire every human faculty. My contention rests upon the recognition of the two marks by which Christianity is distinguished from every other religion. It is absolute and it is historical.
On the one side, Christianity is not confined by any limits of place, or time, or faculty, or object. It reaches to the whole sum of being and to the whole of each separate existence. On the other side, it offers its revelation in facts which are an actual part of human experience, so that the peculiar teaching which it
brings as to the nature and relations of God and man and the world is simply the interpretation of events in the life of men and in the life of One who was truly Man. It is not a theory, a splendid guess, but a proclamation of facts.
These, I repeat, are its original, its unalterable claims. Christianity is absolute. It claims, as it was set forth by the Apostles, though the grandeur of the claim was soon obscured, to reach all men, all time, all creation; it claims to effect the perfection no less than the redemption of finite being; it claims to bring a perfect unity of humanity without destroying the personality of any one man; it claims to deal with all that is external as well as with all that is internal, with matter as well as with spirit, with the physical universe as well as with the moral universe; it claims to realize a re-creation co-extensive with creation; it claims to present Him who was the Maker of the world as the Heir of all things; it claims to complete the cycle of existence, and show how all things come from God and go to God.
Christianity is absolute: it is also historical. It is historical, not simply in the sense in which (for example) Mohammedanism is historical, because the facts connected with the origin and growth of this religion, with the person ality and life of the Founder, with the experience and growth of His doctrine, can be traced in documents which are adequate to assure belief; but in a far different sense also. It is historical in its antecedents, in its realization, in itself; it is historical as crowning a long period of religious training, which was accomplished under the influence of divine facts; it is historical as brought out in all its fulness from age to age in an outward society by the action of the Spirit of God; but, above all, and most characteristically, it is historical, because the revelation which it brings is of life and in life. The history of Christ is the Gospel in its light and in its power. His teaching is Himself, and nothing apart from Himself; what He is and what He does. The earliest creed-the creed of our baptism-is the affirmation of facts which include all doctrine.
Dogmatic systems may change, and have changed so far as they reflect tran
sitory phases of speculative thought, but the primitive Gospel is unchangeable as it is inexhaustible. There can be no addition to it. It contains in itself all that will be slowly wrought out in thought and deed until the consummation.
In this sense, Christianity is the only historical religion. The message which it proclaims is wholly unique. Christ said, I am not I declare, or I lay open, or I point to, but I am-the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
At first sight, the two characteristics of Christianity which I have laid down, that it is absolute and that it is historical, appear to be inconsistent. It may seem that a revelation which is not only given under particular conditions of time and place, but also expressed under those conditions, must be limited; that the influence and the meaning of a life, however powerful and sympathetic, must grow fainter in the course of centuries, and cannot extend, even if it has the capacity for extending, through all being.
It is a partial and suggestive answer to such objections that, since we have to consider a final revelation given to man, to man as he is in the fulness of his being, such a revelation must come through a true human life; and further, that which is offered to us in a representative life has contact with all life, as the one life is unfolded in its manifold richness; that nothing in the whole realm of Nature can be alien from man, who gathers in himself an epitome of Nature; that nothing, therefore, is incapable of sharing in the consecration and transfigurement by which he is ennobled.
But the complete answer lies in the personality of Him who lived Man among men. The Word, we read, became flesh. Here lives the secret of the power of that one true life. The Son of man was also Son of God. The Incarnation and the Resurrection reconcile the two characteristics of our faiththey establish the right of Christianity to be called historical, they establish its right to be called absolute.
possibly be any antecedent objection to them. They are as unique as the universe itself. There is no standard of experience to which we can bring them, and pronounce in virtue of the comparison that they are "preternatural."
And it may be added that the antithesis of the finite and the infinite which they combine underlies all thought, all life. The antithesis exists; consciousness witnesses to it; Christianity meets it, announcing the vital union of the two terms as the fundamental Gospel, not as a speculation but as a twofold fact. By the Incarnation it gives permanent reality to human knowledge; by the Resurrection it gives permanent reality to human life.
Thus, the Incarnation and the Resurrection furnish the basis for a religion which is intensely human, and which, at every moment, introduces the infinite and the unseen into a vital connection with the things of earth- -a religion which illuminates the dark clouds that lie over our work, which offers an ideal wherein we can recognize the fulfilment of the destiny of humanity, which supplies an inspiration of power flowing from a divine fellowship-a religion, in other words, which is a complete satisfaction of the religious needs of man.
Let me endeavor to make these statements a little clearer in detail. Men, as we have seen-men, as born for religion -are born for knowing, for feeling, for acting; they need light, they need an ideal, they need power. And (this is my contention) the historic Gospel brings the light, the ideal, the power which they need the light, the ideal, the power which we ourselves need in this crisis of our trial.
1. Men need light. No one can look either within or without and fail to see clear marks, not only of imperfection, but of failure. No one can study the pictures which great writers draw of the destiny of humanity, and not feel that the features which he recognizes have been grievously marred. There is a terrible contrast between man's power and man's achievements; there is a terrible contrast between that which (as we are made) we feel must be the purpose of Creation and the facts by which we are encountered. Viewed in themselves, the phenomena which suggest a design
of love in the order of the world issue in deeper sorrow. Naturally-and the words have a manifold application— death closes all. There is not, I think, a more impressive image in literature. than that in which Dr. Newman describes the first effect of the world upon the man who looks there for tokens of the presence of God. "It is," he says, as if I looked in a mirror and saw no reflection of my own face. This is the first, the natural effect.
But the record of the life of Christ, the thought of the presence of Christ, changes all. Christ, as He lived and lives, justifies our highest hope. He opens depths of vision below the surface of things. He transforms suffering; He shows us the highest aspirations of our being satisfied through a way of sorrow. He redresses the superficial inequalities of life by revealing its eternal glory. He enables us to understand how, being what we are, every grief and every strain of sensibility can be made in Him contributory to the working out of our common destiny.
Such reflections have a social, and they have also an individual, application. It was, as we read in St. Paul, the good pleasure of God "to sum up all things in Christ," and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself.
This purpose is, in potency, already accomplished in Him. In one sense all is done already; in another sense, all has still to be realized. The fact at least of a fellowship of earth and heaven is given us in life; and we can all strive toward the sense of the new unity. Under this broadest aspect, the fact of Redemption carries us back to the fact of Creation, and we are enabled to see how the will of God is wrought out in spite of man's self-assertion.
We may not indeed be able to penetrate very far into these great mysteries. We shrink rightly from confining, by any theory in the terms of our present thoughts, truths which pass into another order. But the vision which we can gain is sufficient to change the whole aspect of life. Let us once feel that the anguish of creation is indeed the travail-pain of a new birth, as Scripture teaches, and we shall be strengthened to bear and to wait. And, as I said, these larger sorrows-sorrows