I have a two-fold agenda (at least two that I’m admitting to here) for pasting this excerpt of correspondence written by James C. Maxwell – the greatest physicist of the 19th century.
It may be fruitful for exposure and reactions in this very forum given the encouragement many Christians need to reclaim their stolen mantle of skeptical examination.
Since I want to use much of this in my classroom - I would really like to know what the phrase “Hebrew O’ Clo” means in the last displayed paragraph below. Any scholars out there willing to help me out on that?
James Clerk Maxwell in published correspondence with Lewis Campbell, p. 178
The Rule of the Plan is to let nothing be willfully left unexamined. Nothing is to be holy ground consecrated to Stationary Faith, whether positive or negative. All fallow land is to be ploughed up, and a regular system of rotation followed. All creatures as agents or as patients are to be pressed into the service, which is never to be willingly suspended till nothing more remains to be done; i.e. till A.D. + ∞. The part of the rule which respects self-improvement by means of others is: – Never hide anything, be it weed or no, nor seem to wish it hidden. So shall all men passing by pluck up the weeds and brandish them in your face, or at least display them for your inspection (especially if you make no secret of your intention to do likewise). … Again I assert the Right of Trespass on any plot of Holy Ground which any man has set apart … to the power of Darkness. Such places must be exorcised and desecrated till they become fruitful fields. Again, if the holder of such property refuse admission to the exorcist, he ipso facto admits that it is consecrated, and that he fears the power of Darkness. It may be that no such darkness really broods over the place, and that the man has got a habit of shutting his eyes in that field, which makes him think so.
Now I am convinced that no one but a Christian can actually purge his land of these holy spots. Any one may profess that he has none, but something will sooner or later occur to every one to show him that part of his ground is not open to the public. Intrusions on this are resented, and so its existence is demonstrated. Now, I do not say that no Christians have enclosed places of this sort. Many have a great deal, and every one has some. No one can be sure of all being open till all has been examined by competent persons, which is the work, as I said before, of eternity. But there are extensive and important tracts in the territory of the Scoffer, the Pantheist, the Quietist, Formalist, Dogmatist, Sensualist, and the rest, which are openly and solemnly Tabooed, as the Polynesians say, and are not to be spoken of without sacrilege.
Christianity—that is, the religion of the Bible – is the only scheme or form of belief which disavows any possessions on such a tenure. Here alone all is free. You may fly to the ends of the world and find no God but the Author of Salvation. You may search the Scriptures and not find a text to stop you in your explorations.
The Old Testament and the Mosaic Law and Judaism are commonly supposed to be “Tabooed” by the orthodox. Sceptics pretend to have read them, and have found certain witty objections and composed several transcendental arguments against “Hebrew O’ Clo’,” which too many of the orthodox unread admit, and shut up the subject as haunted. But a Candle is coming to drive out all Ghosts and Bugbears. Let us all follow the Light.
[[end of excerpt]]
I have my ideas on how to interpret his 2nd to last paragraph above as he speaks of “finding no other God but the God of salvation” – but I wouldn’t mind any commentary on that too to make sure I don’t misunderstand him.
Powerful witness from a faithful man, no?