The Tests of Christianity.

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BY Rev. Llewelyn Ioan Evans, D.D., LL.D. Ephesians 3 : 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height.
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  THE TESTS OF CHRISTIANITY. BY Rev. Llewelyn Ioan Evans, D.D., LL.D.Ephesians 3 : 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height. In its intellectual aspects the age in which we live is wont to be charged as a critical age. As humanity ad-vances in intellectual power, the spirit of inquiry and personal independence becomes more strongly and generally developed. Men are less disposed than of old to be led by tradition, or lean on authority. They insist on testing whatsoever claims their acceptance. This is so especially in matters of religious faith. Chris-tianity itself is subjected to searching tests, and probed through and through. An impression seems to prevail in some quarters that Christianity is afraid of this trial, that it shrinks from these tests. Nothing can be more unfounded than this impression. Whatever a few timid souls here and there may have thought and said, whatever mistaken policy of proscription or persecution a benighted, corrupt, enervated church may sometimes have adopted, Chris- 1  tianity itself, as represented by the faith of an intelligent, healthy, living church, has ever welcomed the fullest, most searching examination of its claims. Indeed, it is one great duty of the advocates of Christianity to hold it up to this inspection, to help men in applying to (268) SERMONS. 269 it whatever tests are in themselves legitimate and ap-priate. It will be the aim of this discourse to aid in making an application of one such test to Christianity, as we understand it. This test is a quality not very easily defined in a single term, for which no single term is in the nature of the case altogether adequate, and which can not be better described, perhaps, than by that group of terms in which Paul in the text describes the Re- 2  demptive Love of Christ, when he prays that the Ephe-sians may be able to know and comprehend what is the breadth, and length and depth and height. I assume now, as a fundamental axiom, self-evident to every reflecting mind, that a trustworthy system of truth, and especially a true science of Divine things, must possess these properties, spiritually interpreted, of breadth, length, depth and height : that is to say, it must have fulness, richness, (expansiveness,) compre-hensiveness, manifoldness. It must be broad and long and deep and high, full and inexhaustible. It must have, of course, other qualities besides these, such as clearness, consistency, unity, practical utility, and the like : but these qualities being presupposed, it may be safely laid down that that system has the greatest antecedent probability in its favor, which is largest in its contents, widest in its range, most manifold in its relations, most inspiring in its power, most enriching in its contributions to the higher life of the soul. That representation of the world of spiritual facts and Di-vine realities is most likely to be true, which gives one the widest scope of vision, whose horizon is broad-est, whose zenith is highest, whose heavens are 3  most spacious, whose depths most abound in trea-sures of great price. That religion is most Divine which answers for us the most questions, which solves 2J0 LLEWELYN IOAN EVANS. the most doubts, which fills the most wants, which touches the soul at most points, which opens most avenues of communication with God, whose revelation brings to light most sublimity and perfection, and bears the costliest freight of ' ' truths that wake to perish never. I shall not stop to argue at length in favor of this proposition. It is implied in the very being and con-stitution of man. Behold for a moment this product of Divine wisdom ! this being so fearfully and won-derfully made ! Look at the complexity of his organ-ization, the multiplicity of his needs and susceptibil-ities, the boundlessness of his desires, the manifoldness of his relations, the illimitableness of his capabilities. Surely it is no exaggeration when the poet says of the 4
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