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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69


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The following pages have been written as a humble contribution to the sorely-needed work of Theological Reform in Australasia. They have already served as oral lectures on more than one occasion in these colonies, having been delivered last year at Dunedin and Invercargill, and again, on two occasions in the present year, at Sydney, N.S.W. They are now published, in the form in which they were originally composed—an arrangement from which it was found necessary to depart somewhat when delivering them orally from week to week. In other respects, they are left pretty much as they were last delivered, and the reader is accordingly requested to kindly excuse any allusions to time and place which this circumstance may involve. The theory here discussed is at present exciting great interest in Europe, and not least in England; and it is hoped that the colonies also may have some little attention to bestow on a theme involving, whether logically or not, some very grave issues.

We move rapidly in these days. In the fourth of the following lectures I ventured on a prophecy to this effect: That in another quarter of a century the origin of the post-captivity date of the Pentateuch will be as generally accepted amongst biblical critics as that of Darwin is now amongst biologists. This prophecy was made in the first draft of the lectures, written two years ago, and the event now shows that the prophet was deficient in faith. Not twenty-five years, but twenty-five months, would have been amply sufficient time to allow. As these pages are passing through the press a copy of the work which has recently created so much alarm in theological circles at Home, "Lux Mundi," has come into my hands. It is a new manifesto, or text-book of doctrine, written by distinguished members of the High Church section of the English Establishment. In this elaborate work the Rev. Mr. Gore, Principal of Pusey College, Oxford, acknowledges the substantial correctness of the new criticism, both in respect to the Old Testament generally, and the Pentateuch in particular. (See pages 352-353). Doubtless the first impulse of the rationalistic critic at sight of such admissions on the part of the ultra-orthodox is to raise the pæan of page 4 triumph; but, perhaps, we shall act more worthily of a great cause by foregoing the pæan and calling attention to the encouragement which such a confession affords to all truth-seekers, plainly indicating, as it does, that not only are men of all schools of thought earnestly seeking after truth, but that sensible progress is being made, and even rapidly made, towards that unity of opinion which is the very hall-mark of Truth.


Queenstown, N.Z.,

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