A vast multitude of its teachers, I fear it must be said, have been either unbelievers or sceptics, or at least have denied to Christianity any teaching, distinctive or special, over the Religion of Nature.
The natural and divine associations are not indeed exactly coincident, nor ever have been. As the territory of Civilization has varied with itself in different ages, while on the whole it has been the same, so, in like manner, Christianity has fallen partly outside Civilization, and Civilization partly outside Christianity; but, on the whole, the two have occupied one and the same orbis terrarum.
Of the many side streams into which Western Christianity has split, the majority may be spoken of collectively as Protestant. Protestantism claims to have liberated a large part of Christendom from the yoke of Rome; and it is therefore right that we should ask ourselves in what sense and to what extent it has brought freedom to the human spirit.
To my mind they are synonymous, for Man only came into being when he ceased to be animal by developing the idea of citizenship. In my view, the source of all our troubles is found in that commonly accepted duality. He didn't exist in the progressive ancient world. The dualism of Man and State began with the decline of Graeco-Roman civilisation, and was perpetuated by the teaching of Christianity.
In considering these relations of science to our faith, the matter should be dealt with in a philosophical way, and with a sense of the differences between our own and earlier ages. To the student of the relations between Christianity and science it must appear doubtful whether the criticism or the other consequences which the men of science had to meet from the Church was harmful to their work.
Now, I say, if this be not the central idea of Christianity, I do not understand it. If God cannot do this for me if Jesus Christ cannot do this for me, what is my advantage at all by His coming?
Such is the simple story of the mission and the life for we read nothing about his life but his mission of Augustine, the first archbishop of Canterbury. He was not able to carry out the whole scheme of Gregory. He was not the first to introduce Christianity into Britain.
The progress of Christianity was not confined to the Roman empire; and according to the primitive fathers, who interpret facts by prophecy, the new religion, within a century after the death of its divine Author, had already visited every part of the globe.
The chapter entitled, "The Convulsions of the Church," a brief history of Christianity, is one of the most brilliant passages to be found in any of the works of this very brilliant writer. Indeed, if you are searching for the soul of Saltus you could not do better than turn to this chapter. Of Jesus he says, "He was the most entrancing of nihilists but no innovator."
What, then, is the service rendered to the world by Christianity? The proclamation of "good news." And what is this "good news?" The pardon of sin. The God of holiness loving the world and reconciling it to himself by Jesus, in order to establish the kingdom of God, the city of souls, the life of heaven upon earth here you have the whole of it; but in this is a revolution.