3 APRIL 1880, Page 25

Christianity and Reason. By R. S. Wyld, LL.D. (Edinburgh :

Douglas.)—This is a very well-meant little book, but we are afraid it will not do much either for believers or unbelievers. The first will be able to think that too much is claimed for reason ; the latter will not care much for the old, familiar argument from design, and the simple confidence which the author seems to have in the ordinary evidences for the genuineness and authenticity of the four Gospels. Here, for instance, is an assertion which he must well know, or ought to know, has been and is a subject of endless controversy :—" The Synoptical Gospels were certainly written before the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70; the fourth Gospel was composed towards the end of the first century." This will be quite enough for the sceptical reader. As for non-sceptics, we are pretty sure that the author's statement in his preface that "he holds himself to be orthodox," will not satisfy them. In the opinion of many persons (we do not say they are right), he rejects some of the most essential dogmas of -Christianity. The doctrine of the Trinity, it appears, rather tends to confusion, or to a general shipwreck of our reason. The notion of vicarious sacrifice is, indeed, to be found in St. Paul ; but then he was accommodating himself to Jewish beliefs, and if he were alive now, he would turn round on us with a "heavy and well-directed rebuke," for having wrested his figurative language into the support of such a dogma. Mr. Wyld will certainly not conciliate Scotch orthodoxy, and of this, no doubt, he is well aware, as he hints that there "is room for a careful revision of our standards." No doubt of it, and many Scotchmen think the same.