That it is very easy for scholars to follow the people instead of leading them, and to side with the view that commands the majority, receives fresh confirmation from the recent utterances of the founder of the Ethical Culture Society in New York. Professor Adler, the son of a rabbi, and at one time a freethinker, has slowly drifted into orthodox waters, after having tried for a period of years the open seas, and has become a more enthusiastic champion of the god of the Christians than many a Christian scholar whom we could name. The pendulum in the Adler case has swung clear to the opposite side. We do not find fault with a man because he changes his views, we only ask for reasons for the change. It will be seen by the following extracts from Adler's printed lectures that he has made absolutely no critical study of the sources of the Jesus story, but has merely, and hurriedly at that, accepted the conventional estimate of Jesus and enlarged upon it. Jesus is entitled to all the praise which is due him, but it must first be shown that in praising him we are not sacrificing the truth. Praising any man at such a cost is merely flattering the masses and bowing to the fashion of the day. Let us hear what Professor Adler has to say about Jesus. He writes: It has been said that if Christ came to New York or Chicago, they would stone him in the very churches. It is not so! If Christ came to New York or Chicago, the publicans and sinners would sit at his feet! For they would know that he cared for them better than they in their darkness knew how to care for themselves, and they would love him as they loved him in the days of yore. This would sound pious in the mouth of a Moody or a Torrey, but, we confess, it sounds like affectation in the mouth of the free thinking son of a rabbi. That Prof. Adler enters here into a field for which his early Jewish training has not fitted him, is apparent from the hasty way in which he has put his sentences together. "It has been said," he writes, "that if Christ came to New York or Chicago, they would stone him in the very churches. It is not so." Why is it not so? And he answers: "If Christ came to New York or Chicago, the publicans and sinners would sit at his feet." But what has the reception which publicans and sinners might give Jesus to do with how _the churches_ would receive him? He proves that Jesus would not be stoned in the churches of New York and Chicago by saying that the "publicans and sinners would sit at his feet." Does he mean that "New York and Chicago churches" and "publicans and sinners" are the same thing? "Publicans and sinners" might welcome him, and still the churches might stone him, which in fact, according to Adler's own admission, was the case in Jerusalem, where the synagogues conspired against Jesus, while Mary Magdalene sat at his feet. Nor are his words about "the publicans and sinners loving Jesus as they loved him in the days of yore" edifying. Who does he mean by the "publicans and sinners," and how many of them loved Jesus in the days of yore, and why should this class of people have felt a special love for him? On the question of the resurrection of Jesus, Prof. Adler says this: "It is sometimes insinuated that the entire Christian doctrine depends on the accounts contained in the New Testament, purporting that Jesus actually rose on the third day and was seen by his followers; and that if these reports are found to be contradictory, unsupported by sufficient evidence, and in themselves incredible, then the bottom falls out of the belief in immortality as represented by Christianity." It was the Apostle Paul himself who said that "if Jesus has not risen from the dead, then is our faith in vain,--and we are, of all men, most miserable." So, you see, friend Adler, it is not "sometimes insinuated," as you say, but it is openly, and to our thinking, logically asserted, that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, the whole fabric of Christian eschatology falls to the ground. But we must remember that Prof. Adler has not been brought up a Christian. He has acquired his Christian predilections only recently, so to speak, hence his unfamiliarity with its Scriptures. Continuing, the Professor says: "But similar reports have arisen in the world time and again, apparitions of the dead have been seen and have been taken for real; and yet such stories, after being current for a time, invariably have passed into oblivion. Why did this particular story persist, despite the paucity and the insufficiency of the evidence? Why did it get itself believed and take root?" What shall we think of such reasoning from the platform of a presumable rationalist movement? Does not the Professor know that the story of the resurrection of Jesus is not original, but a repetition of older stories of the kind? Had the world never heard of such after- death apparitions before Jesus' day, it would never have invented the story of his resurrection. And how does the Professor know that the story of Jesus' resurrection is not going to meet the same fate which has overtaken all other similar stories? Is it not already passing into the shade of neglect? Are not the intelligent among the Christians themselves beginning to explain the resurrection of Jesus allegorically, denying altogether that he rose from the dead in a literal sense? Moreover, the pre-Christian stories of similar resurrections lived to an old age,--two or three thousand years--before they died, and the story of Jesus' resurrection has yet to prove its ability to live longer. All miraculous beliefs are disappearing, and the story of the Christian resurrection will not be an exception. But Prof. Adler's motive in believing that the story of the resurrection of Jesus shall live, is to offer it as an argument for immortality, and in so doing he strains the English language in lauding Jesus. He says: "In my opinion, people believed in the resurrection of Jesus because of the precedent conviction in the minds of the disciples that such a man as Jesus could not die, because of the conviction that a personality of such superlative excellence, so radiant, so incomparably lofty in mien and port and speech and intercourse with others, could not pass away like a forgotten wind, that such a star could not be quenched." We regret to say that there are as many assumptions in the above sentence as there are lines in it. Of course, if we are for emotionalism and not for exact and accurate conclusions, Adler's estimate of Jesus is as rhetorical as that of Jones or Boyle, but if we have any love for historical truth, there is not even the shadow of evidence, for instance, that the disciples could not believe "that such a man as Jesus could die." On the contrary, the disciples left him at the cross and fled, and believed him dead, until it was reported to them that he had been seen alive, and even then "some doubted," and one wished to feel the flesh with his fingers before he would credit his eyes. Jesus had to eat and drink with them, he had to "open their eyes," and perform various miracles before they would believe that he was not dead. The text which says that the apostles hesitated to believe in the resurrection because "as yet they knew not the scripture, that he would rise from the dead," shows conclusively how imaginary is the idea that there was a "precedent conviction" in the minds of the disciples that such a man as Jesus could not die. Apparently it was all a matter of prophecy, not of moral character at all. Yet in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, Prof. Adler tells his Carnegie Hall audience, who unfortunately are even less informed in Christian doctrine than their leader, that "there was a precedent conviction in the minds of the disciples that such a man as Jesus could not die." And what gave the disciples this supposed "precedent conviction?" "That a personality of such superlative excellence, so radiant, so incomparably lofty in mien and port and speech and intercourse with others, could not pass away like a forgotten wind, that such a star could not be quenched." We are simply astonished, and grieved as well, to see the use which so enlightened a man as Prof. Adler makes of his gifts. Will this Jewish admirer of the god of Christendom kindly tell us wherein Jesus was superlatively excellent, or incomparably lofty in mien and port and speech and intercourse with others? Was there a weakness found in men like Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, etc., from which Jesus was free? That Jesus created no such ideal impression upon his disciples, is shown by the fact that they represented him as a sectarian and an egotist who denounced all who had preceded him as unworthy of respect and to be despised. And how could a man whose public life did not cover more than two or three years of time, and who lived as a celibate and a monk, returning every night to his cave in the Mount of Olives, taking no active part in the business life--supporting no family or parents, assuming no civil or social duties--how can such a man, we ask, be held up as a model for the men and women of today? Jesus, according to his biographers, believed he could raise the dead, and announced himself the equal of God. "I and my father are one," he is reported to have said; and one of his apostles writes: "He (Jesus) thought it no robbery to be equal to God." Either this report is true, or it is not. If it is, what shall we think of a man who thought he was a god and could raise the dead? If the report is not true, what reliance can we place in his biographers when the things which they affirm with the greatest confidence are to be rejected? Yet Prof. Adler, swept off his feet by the popular and conventional enthusiasm about Jesus, describes him as "a personality of such superlative excellence, so radiant, so incomparably lofty in mien and port and speech and intercourse with others," that his followers could not believe he was a mere mortal. But where is the Jesus to correspond to this rhetorical language? He is not in the anonymous gospels. There we find only a fragmentary character patched or pieced together, as it were, by various contributors--a character made up of the most contradictory elements, as we have tried to show in the preceding pages. The Jesus of Adler is not in history, he is not even in mythology. There is no one of that name and answering that description in the four gospels. That a loose way of speaking grows upon one if one is not careful, and that sounding phrases and honest historical criticism are not the same thing, will be seen by Prof. Adler's lavish praise of John Calvin. He speaks of him in terms almost as glowing as he does of Jesus. He calls Calvin "that mighty and noble man." That Calvin ruled Geneva like a Russian autocrat; that he was "mighty" in a community in which Jacques Gruet was beheaded because he had "danced," and also because he had committed the grave offense of saying that "Moses was only a man and no one knows what God said to him," and in which Michael Servetus was burned alive for holding opinions contrary to those which the Genevan pope was interested in,--is readily conceded. But was Calvin "mighty" in a beneficent sense? Did his power save people from the Protestant inquisition? Was not the Geneva of his day called _the Protestant Rome?_ And if he did not use his powerful influence to further religious tolerance and intellectual honesty; if he did not use his position to save men from the grip of superstition and the fear of hell, how can Prof. Adler refer to him as "that mighty and noble man--John Calvin?" It is not our purpose to grudge Calvin any compliments which Felix Adler wishes to pay him. What we grieve to see is, that he should, indirectly at least, recommend to the admiration of his readers a man who, if he existed today and acted as he did in the Geneva of the sixteenth century, would be regarded by every morally and intellectually awakened man, as a criminal. Has not Felix Adler examined the evidence which incriminates Calvin and proves him beyond doubt as the murderer of Servetus? "If he (Servetus) comes to Geneva, I shall see that he does not escape alive," wrote John Calvin to Theodore Beza. And he carried out his fearful menace; Servetus was put to death by the most horrible punishment ever invented--he was burned alive in a smoking fire. What did this mighty and noble man do to save a stranger and a scholar from so atrocious a fate? Let his eulogist, Prof. Adler, answer. It will not do to say that those were different times. A thousand voices were raised against the wanton and cruel murder of Servetus, but Calvin's was not among them. In fact, when Calvin himself was a fugitive and a wanderer, he had written in favor of religious tolerance, but no sooner did he become the Protestant pope of Geneva, than he developed into an exterminator of heresy by fire. Such is the "mighty and noble man" held up for our admiration. "Mighty" he was, but we ask again, was he mighty in a noble sense? Had Calvin been considered a "mighty and noble man" by the reformers who preceded Prof. Adler, there would have been no Ethical Culture societies in America today. Prof. Adler is indebted for the liberties which he enjoys in New York to the Voltaires and the Condorcets, who regarded Calvin and his "isms" as pernicious to the intellectual life of Europe, and did all they could to lead the people away from them. Think of the leader of the Ethical Societies exalting a persecutor, to say nothing of his abominable theology, or of his five _aliases,_ as "that mighty and noble man;--John Calvin!" We feel grateful to Prof. Adler for organizing the Ethical Societies in American, but we would be pleased to have him explain in what sense a man of Calvin's small sympathies and terrible deeds could be called both "noble and mighty." [Footnote: See "The Kingdom of God in Geneva Under Calvin."--M. M. Mangasarian.] It was predicted some years ago that the founder of the Ethical Societies will before long return to the Jewish faith of his fathers. However this may be, we have seen, in his estimate of Jesus and John Calvin, evidences of his estrangement from rationalism, of which in his younger days he was so able a champion. In his criticism of the Russian scientist, Metchnikoff, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Prof. Adler, endorsing the popular estimate of Jesus, accepts also the popular attitude toward science. He appears to prefer the doctrine of special creation to the theory of evolution. We would not have believed this of Felix Adler if we did not have the evidence before us. We speak of this to show the relation between an exaggerated praise of a popular idol, and a denial of the conclusions of modern science. It is the popular view which Prof. Adler champions in both instances. In his criticism of Metchnikoff's able book, _The Nature of Man,_ Prof. Adler writes: And to account for the reason in man, this divine spark that has been set ablaze in him, it is not sufficient to point to an ape as our ancestor. If we are descended from an anthropoid ape on the physical side, we are not descended from him in any strict sense of the word on our rational side; for as life is born of life, so reason is born of reason, and if the anthropoid ape does not possess reason as we possess it, it cannot be said that on our rational side we are his progeny. If the above had been written fifty years ago, when the doctrine of evolution was a heresy, or by an orthodox clergyman of today, we would have taken no note of it. But coming as it does from the worthy founder of the Ethical Movement in America, it deserves attention. "If," says Dr. Adler, "we are descended from an anthropoid ape on the physical side, we are not descended from him in any strict sense of the word on our rational side." He is not sure, evidently, that even physically man is the successor of the anthropoid ape, but he is sure that "we are not descended from him...on our rational side." Is Dr. Adler, then, a dualist? Does he believe that there are two eternal sources, from one of which we get our bodies, and from the other our "rational side?" And why cannot Dr. Adler be a monist? He answers, "for as life is born of life, so reason is born of reason, and if the anthropoid ape does not possess reason as we possess it, it cannot be said that on our rational side we are his progeny." Not so, good doctor! There is no life without reason. Do we mean to say that the jelly-fish, the creeping worm, or the bud on the tree has reason? Yes; not as much reason as a horse or a dog, and certainly not as much as a Metchnikoff or an Adler, but these lower forms of life could not have survived but for the element of rationality in them. We may call this instinct, sensation, promptings of nature, but what's in a name? The difference between a pump and a watch is only a difference of mechanism. The stone and the soul represent different stages of progression, not different substances. If a charcoal can be transformed into a diamond, why may not nature, with the resources of infinity at her command, refine a stone into a soul? Let us not marvel at this; it is not less thinkable than the proposition of two independent sources of life, the one physical, the other rational. If "life is born of life," where did the first life come from? Let us have an answer to that question. And if, as the professor says, "reason is born of reason," how did the first reason come? Is it not very much simpler to think in monistic terms, than to separate life from reason, and mind from matter, as Prof. Adler does in the words quoted above? Why cannot mind be a state of matter? What objection is there to thinking that matter, refined, elevated, ripened, cultured, becomes both sentient and rational? If matter can feel, can see, can hear, can it not also think? Does not the horse see, hear and think? There is no lowering of the dignity of man to say that he tastes with his palate, sees with his eyes, hears with his ears, and thinks with the gray matter in his brain. Remove his optic nerve and he becomes blind, destroy the ganglia in his brain, and he becomes mindless. Gold is as much matter as the dust, but it is very much more precious; so is mind infinitely more precious than the matter which can only feel, see, taste or hear. "If the anthropoid ape does not possess reason as we possess it, it cannot be said that on our rational side we are his progeny," says Dr. Adler: But, suppose we were to say that if our remote African or Australian savage ancestors did not possess reason as we possess it, "it cannot be said that on our rational side we are their progeny," The child in the cradle does not possess reason "as we do," any more than does the anthropoid ape, but the beginnings of reason are in both. Let the worm climb and he will overtake man. This is a most hopeful, a most beautiful gospel. Its spirit is not one of isolation and exclusiveness from the rest of nature, but one of fellowship and sympathy. We are all--plants, trees, birds, bugs, animals--all members of one family, children at various ages and stages of growth of the same great mother,--Nature. We quote again: "When I ask him (Metchnikoff) whence do I come, he points to the simian stage which we have left behind; but I would look beyond that stage to some ultimate fount of being, to which all that is highest in me and in the world around me can be traced, a source of things equal to the best that I can conceive." But if there is "some ultimate fount of being," to which our "highest" nature "can be traced," whence did our lower nature come? Is Prof. Adler trying to say God? We do not object to the word, we only ask that he give the word a more intelligible meaning than has yet been given. If God is the "ultimate fount of being to which all that is highest in us can be traced," who or what is the ultimate fount to which all that is lowest in us can be traced? Let us have the names of the two ultimate founts of being, and also to what still more ultimate founts _these_ founts may be traced. In our opinion Dr. Adler has failed to do justice to Prof. Metchnikoff. It is no answer to the Darwinian Theory, which the Russian scientist accepts in earnest, and in all its fullness,--not fractionally, as Adler seems to do--to say that it does not explain everything. No one claims that it does. Not all the mystery of life has been cleared. Evolution has offered us only a new key, so to speak, with which to attempt the doors which have not yielded to metaphysics. And if the key has not opened all the doors, it has opened many. Prof. Adler seems to think that the doctrine of evolution explains only the physical descent of man; for the genesis of the spiritual man, he looks for some supernatural "fount" in the skies. Well, that is not science; that is theology, and Adler's estimate of Jesus is just as theological as his criticism of evolution.