MANY times of late I have been asked to put the salient points of Christian doctrine into more popular form than that of my " Systematic Theology." I aim in this little treatise to meet such a demand, by condensing and illustrating what I have previously written, with some additions from modern philosophy and literature.
I wish, however, to say at the very start that the truth which I present is not derived from either philosophy or literature, although I use these to throw light upon it. Before I knew much of philosophy or literature I had learned that truth, from Scripture and from my own experience. I have thought it needful, therefore, to verify my statements of Scripture by definite citations, and to help inquirers by occasional references to my own published books, in which they may find matters more fully discussed.
My allusions to personal experience run the risk of appearing too autobiographical, but I comfort myself with the example of the apostle Paul, who found in his own heart the best confirmation of Scripture teaching.
Although this treatise is a Primer, in the sense of brevity and simplicity of statement, I cannot call it " milk for babes," for the reason that the matters discussed are the greatest and most profound.
I would make it a positive and constructive statement, rather than a refutation or denunciation of false doctrine. I desire to recognize whatever of truth there is in the theory of evolution and in the conclusions of the higher criticism. But I have felt bound to show that there is a downward as well as an upward evolution, and that the higher criticism is not supreme arbiter in the interpretation of Scripture, but that it must be accompanied and qualified by the insight furnished by the Spirit of God. Modern literature furnishes us with methods of composition which are unhistorical, yet well fitted to convey essential truth. I have used these to show the possibility of their use in the composition of the Old Testament.
I hold, therefore, middle ground between the higher critics and the so-called fundamentalists, and believe it possible for them both to reconcile their differences by a larger view of the deity and omnipresence of Christ. He is "our Peace," and he holds in his girdle the key to all our problems. It is with the hope of doing something to bring about such a reconciliation, that I print this new statement of doctrine. Since my aim is above all to exalt Christ as Lord, I commend what I have done to his blessing.
Augustus H. Strong.
Rochester, N. Y>