THE subject of these pages is one of the highest interest, and it is only those who are in some way behind the scenes who can judge aright of its peculiar urgency at the present moment. "The greatest achievement in English history" is a distinguished historian’s estimate of the Ref- ormation ; but in this flippant and shallow age we seem to be letting slip what the Reformers won for us. For a national lapse toward superstition upon the one hand, and rationalism upon the other, is one of the marked characteristics of the day. And altogether apart from religious contro- versy these movements deserve the earnest attention of the thoughtful. For the dethronement of the Bible eliminates the most important factor in the formation of our national character, and it is not easy to estimate the effect which this will have on the life of the people of this country.
The superstitious phase of the apostasy, with which the following chapters chiefly deal, was the burden of a volume published ten years ago, with the title The Buddha of Christendom. And as that book is now out of print, the greater part of it is incorporated with the present work. The title, The Bible or the Church? implicitly raises the question whether the Bible can still be accorded the place which it held with the Reformers as a Divine revelation. And I intended to deal with this question in a concluding chapter. But a defence of the Scriptures within such nar- row limits would necessarily be so inadequate that it might serve only to prejudice the issue. I have decided therefore to omit it, trusting that my other writings will be accepted as proof that I do not ignore the subject in any aspect of it. I will only add that my deepening and now settled belief in the authenticity and Divine authority of the Bible owes much to the study of rationalistic criticism.