16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 11


Christus Futures. (Macmillan and Co. 5s. net.)—Some years ago an anonymous author published a small book called " Pro Christo et Ecolesia." The book made a good deal of stir, and was widely road and admired for breadth of thought, depth of religious conviction, originality of standpoint, and a eertain exaltation of religious tone. Christus ./xuturus, which has been lately published by the same author, fulfils in a great measure the promise of the earlier work ; or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that some chapters more than fulfil that promise, while in others the shadow of modern superstition darkens the lucidity of the thought. The writer eloquently urges upon his readers a more complete faith. Of the refinements of doctrine he takes little account, but he laments the want of con- fidence in God which has so long kept Christendom at a stand- still:— " Jesus came to a suffering and vicious world, and proclaimed a God who required from every man, whatever his heredity, what- ever his circumstance, not only the righteousness then acknow- ledged, but a far more vigorous, more perfect life ; a goodness, not only in action but in imagination, in desire and motive, in every chance thought; an earnest purpose of love multiplied by every possible opportunity of doing good. Such a God asks the impossible. Good men on all sides, then and ever since, have arisen to welcome the beautiful ideal and explain that it was meant to be impossible,—a star for moths to desire, a morrow which humanity would never see, demanded of man by God only in order that his creature might constantly strain himself here in attempting what he could not perform, to the end that he might be a little bigger and a little better hereafter. And for nineteen centuries we have been learning more and more clearly that man, here and now, is, and since we have any history of him always has been, so hampered by the imperfections of body and brain, the taint of his fathers' fathers, the accidents of his infancy and the limitations of his age, as to be quite unable to fulfil the law of Christ in any rounded and adequate way."

Have we not acquiesced too easily, he (or should it not be she ?) asks, in these conclusions ? Might we not make far greater pro- gress than we do if we dwelt less upon supposed impossibilities, if we could but take courage to walk down "a still untried path leading to an unknown region in human life " ? For instance, he firmly believes that all diseases, both functional and organic, may be healed by faith. At this point many readers will be apt to lay aside the book with a sigh of disappointment. No one who believes in God would be so foolish as to imagine a limit to His power ; but He educates us by experience. Our author is apt to forget how continually and with what reiteration Christ appealed to men's common-sense.