23 FEBRUARY 1889, Page 14



SrR,—I cannot agree with you in your definition of " infidel " as "a man who is unfaithful to one to whom he feels he owes fidelity." I am perfectly certain Professor Huxley does not mean this by the term, nor is this its general usage. If so, no one could be theologically an infidel who was not a Christian, at least in name. The absconding clerk is not called "infidel." Nor does the word dziaro;-, in its New Testament usage, seem to warrant this application. That, however, is of little con- sequence, if only all agree to use the word in any one sense. By " infidel," I mean one who is without faith in the creed of his country, and most assuredly the name ought not neces- sarily to carry with it reproach. While we are thus playing at battledore and shuttlecock with these words, we shall get nothing but cork and feather for our pains, however earnest the players may be. Can you, Sir, use your great influence to obtain a congress of representative men, so as to decide what shall be the recognised usages of many words now drifting hopelessly and helplessly nowhere, knocking against friends and making them foes, knocking against foes and making them friends And all the while, these same words uniformly understood might be as oil on the waters smoothing the waves, enabling foe to come near to presumed foe, and find in him only a friend. If you can and will arrange such a conference, I am persuaded you will do more for the interests of truth and for the brotherhood of difference than has been done by all the controversies that have been ever held. For example, with what scorn do some Christians call other men "agnostics," and yet every Christian confesses himself an agnostic when he says "I believe," for the man who believes does not know. With all my heart, and as the result of a long experience, I feel that a message of peace is to be found in the reversal of the confusion of Babel. I need not say that, should you determine to arrange such a conference, I and many friends will give you all the assistance in our power.—I am, Sir, &c., [There are far too many conferences as it is. Such a con- ference would be pure waste of energy. Nobody abides by definitions thus laid down. It is impossible to get rid of the obvious connection between " infidelity " and " fidelity " in popular parlance, define as you may.—En. Spectator.]