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IF Christianity, as taught in our evangelical churches, is true, the most important question that one man can ask another is, Are you a Christian? Next to this in importance must be the question, What constitutes a Christian?

Noah Webster says that a Christian is one who believes in Christ, and "especially one whose inward and outward life is conformed to the doctrines of Christ." According to this, there are two classes of Christians, a general class who believe, and a special class who believe, and whose life accords with, the doctrines or teachings of Jesus. To the first class belong, probably, three-fourths of all the people of Christian countries, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, indeed, of Europe generally, and the United States. They regard Jesus as the Messiah, the sent of God, the Christ, and think that salvation can only come by him. They are Christians, as Turks are Mohammedans.

Christians, then, fill our prisons, almshouses, lunatic-asylums, and houses of prostitution. Our thieves are Christian thieves, and our murderers Christian


murderers. How rare it is for infidels to be convicted of theft, or hung for murder! On the gallows it is the name of Jesus the Christ that gives consolation to the dying criminal; and he expects, with the repentant thief, to be with him in Paradise. The late riots in New York were Christian riots. Our rowdies swear Christian oaths; and, when the death-angel appears to call them, they send for a Christian priest to prepare them for their departure.

Constantine the Great was a Christian, he who murdered his son Crispus and his nephew Licinus, and suffocated his wife Faustus in a bath: he may be. regarded, indeed, as the founder of our present Christian sabbath. Theodosius I., another Roman emperor, who murdered in cold blood seven thousand of the inhabitants of Thessalonica, without distinction of age, was a zealous and orthodox Christian; and so was Leo III., who commanded every person in his dominions to be baptized, under pain of banishment, and sentenced those to death who relapsed into idolatry after the ceremony.

Those men of Alexandria who murdered Hypatia were Christians to a man. Though she gave public lectures on philosophy, and proved herself to be one of the most noble women of her time, yet the Christian monks and rowdies, headed by a Christian priest, seized her in the street, dragged her into a Christian Church, stripped her naked, whipped her, cut her in pieces, and burned her mangled remains in the marketplace.

Peter the Hermit was a famous Christian: clad in rags, and bare-footed, he wandered up and down

Europe, stirring up his fellow-Christians to rescue the Holy Land from the hands of the infidel Turks. Millions rallied to his call. "Their track," says Draper, "was marked by robbery, bloodshed, and fire." When they captured Jerusalem, "the brains of young children were dashed out against the walls; infants were pitched over the battlements; every woman that could be seized was violated; men were roasted at fires; some ripped up to see if they had swallowed gold. The Jews were driven into their synagogues, and burned; and nearly seventy thousand persons were massacred."

Father Dominic, who founded the Spanish Inquisition, was a Christian; and so were the wretches who applied its tortures. Torquemada, during his tenure of office as inquisitor-general, burned thousands, most of them fellow-Christians, who differed from him on some unimportant trifles. In less than three hundred years, the Spanish and Christian Inquisition burned alive more than thirty thousand persons, and condemned to various terms of imprisonment nearly three hundred thousand.

The Massacre of St. Bartholomew, in which sixtysix thousand persons were murdered for daring to be Protestants, was performed by Christians. In Rome, the papal Christians fired cannon and kindled bonfires, and Pope Gregory assisted at the celebration of a solemn mass, as a thanksgiving to God for his help in butchering their fellow-Christians. Indeed, to-day Christian Germans and Christian French are fighting; and the victories are duly celebrated by thanks to the Christian's God in the name of Jesus, the object of the Christian's faith.




"I deny that these were Christians," says one. “Think of Christian thieves, murderers, and prostitutes! Why, the statement is its own sufficient refutation.' "Who, then, are Christians?" I inquire. "Those only who obey the doctrines of Christ, and live the life of which he set a perfect example." This must be the second class of Christians to whom Webster refers. Where are we to find the doctrines of Jesus? In the New Testament, and especially in the Gospels, which are supposed to contain the commands that he gave in the very words in which they were uttered, infallibly reported by the inspired evangelists. Let us examine these, and compare them with the conduct of those who claim the Christian name, that we may discover who are the genuine Christians, and separate them from the miserable pretenders whom we have been considering.

Commencing with Matthew, who gives us a report of a famous sermon by Jesus himself, we find one of his commands to be, "Swear not at all let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil " (Matt. v. 34). And James, one of his disciples, who is supposed to have heard the discourse, reiterates the command, and even strengthens it: "Above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay nay; lest ye fall into condemnation" (James v. 12). "Above all things," above lying, then, above stealing, drunkenness, and even murder; and he who swears must, according to this, be the most guilty of all criminals.

Now, walk into one of our courts of justice. Hear what the judge says to a number of men who stand before him: "You solemnly swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that you will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: so help you God." And the men hold up their right hands, and swear. Who can those men be? Are they Mohammedans, or ignorant pagans? One is a Catholic, another a Methodist, a third a Presbyterian, and all professing Christians; and there are none out of the millions professing the Christian name who regard these commands, except a handful of Quakers and Moravians. Can we consider those men Christians of the second class, who so grossly neglect such a plain and positive command of Christ as this?

In the same sermon, Jesus said, "Resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain " (Matt. v. 39-41). In a report by Luke of the same discourse, we have these commands in a still stronger form: "Unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek, offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also" (Luke vi. 29). Again he says, "Love your enemies; do good to them which hate you." These commands are plain; their meaning is evident : but who obeys them? Not the policeman who knocks down the man that strikes him, and takes him off to jail. Not the member of a Christian church who employs the policeman to resist the man whom he is

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