WITHIN the limits of these lectures it will not be practicable to go over all the ground which is indicated by this word. The attempt will rather be to lay out a general scheme, and to discuss some of the fundamental questions, especially the urgent ones of the present day. This branch of theology has been developed into a system only in recent times, and j chiefly through the labors of German scholars. But the materials for it are found running through the whole history of the Church. There have always been apologies. The earliest Christian literature of the Church, especially the Western or Latin, was preeminently apologetic. The present Christian literature, in all civilized and Christian countries, takes on the same general character. The same questions about man, about each individual man, about the world—whence is it, what is it, for what is it—have always been agitated. They come up in new forms for each generation, and with them comes the necessity for renewed, honest, and patient investigation for every new age. The substance of the matter at issue remains the same, but the forms of attack and the methods of defense constantly change.

Christianity has never been assailed so vigorously and persistently, and from so many sides, as now. Hence the special need of giving prominence to its grounds and reasons, to its establishment and defense. The whole of human civilization is bound up in the inquiry whether Christianity is to stand or fall. Its fall would be the most disastrous moral and spiritual wreck the world has ever known. Its victory in such a contest is to be the sublimest victory in the annals of time.