Systematic Theology by Charles Hodge

Part 00: Introduction 01: On Method


On Method

§ 1. Theology a Science.    § 2. Theological Method.    § 3. The Speculative Method.
§ 4. The Mystical Method.    § 5. The Inductive Method.    § 6. The Scriptures contain all the Facts of Theology.

§ 1. Theology a Science.

    IN every science there are two factors: facts and ideas; or, facts and the mind. Science is more than knowledge. Knowledge is the persuasion of what is true on adequate evidence. But the facts of astronomy, chemistry, or history do not constitute the science of those departments of knowledge. Nor does the mere orderly arrangement of facts amount to science. Historical facts arranged in chronological order, are mere annals. The philosophy of history supposes those facts to be understood in their causal relations. In every department the man of science is assumed to understand the laws by which the facts of experience are determined; so that he not only knows the past, but can predict the future. The astronomer can foretell the relative position of the heavenly bodies for centuries to come. The chemist can tell with certainty what will be the effect of certain chemical combinations. If, therefore, theology be a science, it must include something more than a mere knowledge of facts. It must embrace an exhibition of the internal relation of those facts, one to another, and each to all. It must be able to show that if one be admitted, others cannot be denied.

    The Bible is no more a system of theology, than nature is a system of chemistry or of mechanics. We find in nature the facts which the chemist or the mechanical philosopher has to examine, and from them to ascertain the laws by which they are determined. So the Bible contains the truths which the theologian has to collect, authenticate, arrange, and exhibit in their internal relation to each other. This constitutes the difference between biblical and systematic theology. The office of the former is to ascertain and state the facts of Scripture. The office of the latter is to take those facts, determine their relation to each other and to other cognate truths, as well as to vindicate them and show their harmony and consistency. This is not an easy task, or one of slight importance.

Necessity for System in Theology

    It may naturally be asked, why not take the truths as God has seen fit to reveal them, and thus save ourselves the trouble of showing their relation and harmony?

    The answer to this question is, in the first place, that it cannot be done. Such is the constitution of the human mind that it cannot help endeavoring to systematize and reconcile the facts which it admits to be true. In no department of knowledge have men been satisfied with the possession of a mass of undigested facts. And the students of the Bible can as little be expected to be thus satisfied. There is a necessity, therefore, for the construction of systems of theology. Of this the history of the Church affords abundant proof. In all ages and among all denominations, such systems have been produced.

    Second, A much higher kind of knowledge is thus obtained, than by the mere accumulation of isolated facts. It is one thing, for example, to know that oceans, continents, islands, mountains, and rivers exist on the face of the earth; and a much higher thing to know the causes which have determined the distribution of land and water on the surface of our globe; the configuration of the earth; the effects of that configuration on climate, on the races of plants and animals, on commerce, civilization, and the destiny of nations. It is by determining these causes that geography has been raised from a collection of facts to a highly important and elevated science. In like manner, without the knowledge of the laws of attraction and motion, astronomy would be a confused and unintelligible collection of facts. What is true of other sciences is true of theology. We cannot know what God has revealed in his Word unless we understand, at least in some good measure, the relation in which the separate truths therein contained stand to each other. It cost the Church centuries of study and controversy to solve the problem concerning the person of Christ; that is, to adjust and bring into harmonious arrangement all the facts which the Bible teaches on that subject.

    Third, We have no choice in this matter. If we would discharge our duty as teachers and defenders of the truth, we must endeavor to bring all the facts of revelation into systematic order and mutual relation. It is only thus that we can satisfactorily exhibit their truth, vindicate them from objections, or bring them to bear in their full force on the minds of men.

    Fourth, Such is evidently the will of God. He does not teach men astronomy or chemistry, but He gives them the facts out of which those sciences are constructed. Neither does He teach us systematic theology, but He gives us in the Bible the truths which, properly understood and arranged, constitute the science of theology As the facts of nature are all related and determined by physical laws, so the facts of the Bible are all related and determined by the nature of God and of his creatures. And as He wills that men should study his works and discover their wonderful organic relation and harmonious combination, so it is his will that we should study his Word, and learn that, like the stars, its truths are not isolated points, but systems, cycles, and epicycles, in unending harmony and grandeur. Besides all this, although the Scriptures do not contain a system of theology as a whole, we have in the Epistles of the New Testament, portions of that system wrought out to our hands. These are our authority and guide.

§ 2. Theological Method.

    Every science has its own method, determined by its peculiar nature. This is a matter of so much importance that it has been erected into a distinct department. Modern literature abounds in works on Methodology, i. e., on the science of method. They are designed to determine the principles which should control scientific investigations. If a man adopts a false method, he is like one who takes a wrong road which will never lead him to his destination. The two great comprehensive methods are the a priori and the a posteriori. The one argues from cause to effect, the other from effect to cause. The former was for ages applied even to the investigation of nature. Men sought to determine what the facts of nature must be from the laws of mind or assumed necessary laws. Even in our own day we have had Rational Cosmogonies, which undertake to construct a theory of the universe from the nature of absolute being and its necessary modes of development. Every one knows how much it cost to establish the method of induction on a firm basis, and to secure a general recognition of its authority. According to this method, we begin with collecting well-established facts, and from them infer the general laws which determine their occurrence. From the fact that bodies fall toward the centre of the earth, has been inferred the general law of gravitation, which we are authorized to apply far beyond the limits of actual experience. This inductive method is founded upon two principles: First, That there are laws of nature (forces) which are the proximate causes of natural phenomena. Secondly, That those laws are uniform; so that we are certain that the same causes, under the same circumstances, will produce the same effects. There may be diversity of opinion as to the nature of these laws. They may be assumed to be forces inherent in matter; or, they may be regarded as uniform modes of divine operation; but in any event there must be some cause for the phenomena which we pereeive around us, and that cause must be uniform and permanent. On these principles all the inductive sciences are founded; and by them the investigations of natural philosophers are guided.

    The same principle applies to metaphysics as to physics; to psychology as well as to natural science. Mind has its laws as well as matter, and those laws, although of a different kind, are as permanent as those of the external world.

    The methods which have been applied to the study of theology are too numerous to be separately considered. They may, perhaps, be reduced to three general classes: First, The Speculative; Second, The Mystical; Third, The Inductive. These terms are, indeed, far from being precise. They are used for the want of better to designate the three general methods of theological investigation which have prevailed in the Church.

§ 3. The Speculative Method.

    Speculation assumes, in an a priori manner, certain principles, and from them undertakes to determine what is and what must be. It decides on all truth, or determines on what is true from the laws of the mind, or from axioms involved in the constitution of the thinking principle within us. To this head must be referred all those systems which are founded on any a priori philosophical assumptions. There are three general forms in which this speculative method has been applied to theology.

Deistic and Rationalistic Form.

    1. The first is that which rejects any other source of knowledge of divine things than what is found in nature and the constitution of the human mind. It assumes certain metaphysical and moral axioms, and from them evolves all the truths which it is willing to admit. To this class belong the Deistical and strictly Rationalistical writers of the past and present generations.

Dogmatic Form.

    2 The second is the method adopted by those who admit a a supernatural divine revelation, and concede that such a revelation is contained in the Christian Scriptures, but who reduce all the doctrines thus revealed to the forms of some philosophical system. This was done by many of the fathers who endeavored to exalt pi,stij into gnw/sij i. e., the faith of the common people into philosophy for the learned. This was also to a greater or less degree the method of the schoolmen, and finds an illustration even in the "Cur Deus Homo" of Anselm, the father of scholastic theology. In later times Wolf applied the philosophy of Leibnitz to the explanation and demonstration of the doctrines of revelation. He says, "Scripture serves as an aid to natural theology. It furnishes natural theology with propositions which ought to be demonstrated; consequently the philosopher is bound not to invent but to demonstrate."1 This method is still in vogue. Men lay down certain principles, called axioms, or first truths of reason, and from them deduce the doctrines of religion by a course of argument as rigid and remorseless as that of Euclid. This is sometimes done to the entire overthrow of the doctrines of the Bible, and of the most intimate moral convictions not only of Christians but of the mass of mankind. Conscience is not allowed to mutter in the presence of the lordly understanding. It is in the spirit of the same method that the old scholastic doctrine of realism is made the basis of the Scriptural doctrines of original sin and redemption. To this method the somewhat ambiguous term Dogmatism has been applied, because it attempts to reconcile the doctrines of Scripture with reason, and to rest their authority on rational evidence. The result of this method has always been to transmute, as far as it succeeded, faith into knowledge, and to attain this end the teachings of the Bible have been indefinitely modifed. Men are expected to believe, not on the authority of God, but on that of reason.


    3. Thirdly, and preeminently, the modern Transcendentalists are addicted to the speculative method. In the wide sense of the word they are Rationalists, as they admit of no higher source of truth other Reason. But as they make reason to be something very different from what it is regarded as being by ordinary Rationalists, the two classes are practically very far apart. The Transcendentalists also differ essentially from the Dogmatists. The latter admit an external, supernatural, and authoritative revelation. They acknowledge that truths not discoverable by human reason are thereby made known. But they maintain that those doctrines when known may be shown to be true on the principles of reason. They undertake to give a demonstration independent of Scripture of the doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, Redemption, as well as of the immortality of the soul and a future state of retribution. Transcendentalists admit of no authoritative revelation other than that which is found in man and in the historical development of the race. All truth is to be discovered and established by a process of thought. If it be conceded that the Bible contains truth, it is only so far as it coincides with the teachings of philosophy. The same concession is freely made concerning the writings of the heathen sages. The theology of Daub, for example, is nothing more than the philosophy of Scheiling. That is, it teaches just what that philosophy teaches concerning God, man, sin, redemption, and the future state. Marheinecke and Strauss find Hegelianism in the Bible, and they therefore admit that so far the Bible teaches truth. Rosenkranz, a philosopher of the same school, says Christianity is the absolute religion, because its fundamental principle, namely, the oneness of God and man, is the fundamental principle of his philosophy. In his "Encyklopadie" (p. 3) he says: "The only religion which conforms to reason is Christianity, because it regards man as the form in which God has revealed himself. Its theology is therefore anthropology, and its anthropology is theology. The idea of (Gottmenschheit) the godhead of man, is the key of Christianity, in which as Lessing says, lies its rationality."

    These are the principal forms of the speculative method in its application to theology. These topics will present themselves for fuller consideration in a subsequent chapter.

§ 4. The Mystical Method.

    Few words have been used with greater latitude of meaning than mysticism. It is here to be taken in a sense antithetical to speculation. Speculation is a process of thought; mysticism is matter of feeling. The one assumes that the thinking faculty is that by which we attain the knowledge of truth. The other, distrusting reason, teaches that the feelings alone are to be relied upon, at least in the sphere of religion. Although this method has been unduly pressed, and systems of theology have been constructed under its guidance, which are either entirely independent of the Seriptures, or in which the doctrines of the Bible have been modified and perverted, it is not to be denied that great authority is due to our moral nature in matters of religion. It has ever been a great evil in the Church that men have allowed the logical understanding, or what they call their reason, to lead them to conclusions which are not only contrary to Scripture, but which do violence to our moral nature. It is conceded that nothing contrary to reason can be true. But it is no less important to remember that nothing contrary to our moral nature can be true. It is also to be admitted that conscience is much less liable to err than reason; and when they come into conflict, real or apparent, our moral nature is the stronger, and will assert its authority in spite of all we can do. It is rightfully supreme in the soul, although, with the reason and the will, it is in absolute subjection to God, who is infinite reason and infinite moral excellence.

Mysticism as applied to Theology.

    Mysticism, in its application to theology, has assumed two principal forms, the supernatural and the natural. According to the former, God, or the Spirit of God, holds direct communion with the soul; and by the excitement of its religious feelings gives it intuitions of truth, and enables it to attain a kind, a degree, and an extent of knowledge, unattainable in any other way. This has been the common theory of Christian mystics in ancient and modern times. If by this were meant merely that the Spirit of God, by his illuminating influence, gives believers a knowledge of the truths objectively revealed in the Scriptures, which is peculiar, certain, and saving, it would be admitted by all evangelical Christians. And it is because such Christians do hold to this inward teaching of the Spirit, that they are often called Mystics by their opponents. This, however, is not what is here meant. The mystical method, in its supernatural form, assumes that God by his immediate intercourse with the soul, reveals through the Feelings and by means, or in the way of intuitions, divine truth independently of the outward teaching of his Word; and that it is this inward light, and not the Scriptures, which we are to follow.

    According to the other, or natural form of the mystical method, it is not God, but the natural religious consciousness of men, as excited and influenced by the circumstances of the individual, which becomes the source of religious knowledge. The deeper and purer the religious feelings, the clearer the insight into truth. This illumination or spiritual intuition is a matter of degree. But as all men have a religious nature, they all have more or less clearly the apprehension of religious truth. The religious consciousness of men in different ages and nations, has been historically developed under diverse influences, and hence we have diverse forms of religion, -- the Pagan, the Mohammedan, and the Christian. These do not stand related as true and false, but as more or less pure. The appearance of Christ, his life, his work, his words, his death, had a wonderful effect on the minds of men. Their religious feelings were more deeply stirred, were more purified and elevated than ever before. Hence the men of his generation, who gave themselves up to his influence, had intuitions of religious truth of a far higher order than mankind had before attained. This influence continues to the present time. All Christians are its subjects. All, therefore, in proportion to the purity and elevation of their religious feelings, have intuitions of divine things, such as the Apostles and other Christians enjoyed. Perfect holiness would secure perfect knowledge.

Consequences of the Mystical Method.

    It follows from this theory, -- (1.) That there are no such things as revelation and inspiration, in the established theological meaning of those terms. Revelation is the supernatural objective presentation or communication of truth to the mind, by the Spirit of God. But according to this theory there is, and can be, no such communication of truth. The religious feelings are providentially excited, and by reason of that excitement the mind perceives truth more or less clearly, or more or less imperfectly. Inspiration, in the Scriptural sense, is the supernatural guidance of the Spirit, which renders its subjects infallible in the communicating truth to others. But according to this theory, no man is infallible as a teacher. Revelation and inspiration are in different degrees common to all men. And there is no reason why they should not be as perfect in some believers now as in the days of the Apostles. (2.) The Bible has no infallible authority in matters of doctrine. The doctrinal propositions therein contained are not revelations by the Spirit. They are only the forms under which men of Jewish culture gave expression to their feelings and intuitions. Men of different culture, and under other circumstances, would have used other forms or adopted other doctrinal statements. (3.) Christianity therefore, neither consists in a system of doctrines, nor does it contain any such system. It is a life, an influence, a subjective state; or by whatever term it may be expressed or explained, it is a power within each individual Christian determining his feelings and his views of divine things. (4.) Consequently the duty of a theologian is not to interpret Scripture, but to interpret his own Christian consciousness; to ascertain and exhibit what truths concerning God are implied in his feelings toward God; what truths concerning Christ are involved in his feelings toward Christ; what the feelings teach concerning sin, redemption, eternal life, etc., etc.

    This method found its most distinguished and influential advocate in Schleiermacher, whose "Glaubenslehre" is constructed on this principle. By Twesten -- his successor in the chair of Theology in the University of Berlin -- it is held in greater subjection to the normal authority of Scripture. By others, again, of the same school, it has been carried out to its utmost extreme. We are at present, however, concerned only with its principle, and neither with the details of its application, nor with its refutation.

§ 5. The Inductive Method.

    It is so called because it agrees in everything essential with the inductive method as applied to the natural sciences.

    First, The man of science comes to the study of nature with certain assumptions. (1.) He assumes the trustworthiness of his sense perceptions. Unless he can rely upon the well-authenticated tesimony of his senses, he is deprived of all means of prosecuting his investigations. The facts of nature reveal themselves to our faculties of sense, and can be known in no other way. (2.) He must also assume the trustworthiness of his mental operations. He must take for granted that he can perceive, compare, combine, remember, an infer; and that he can safely rely upon these mental faculties in their legitimate exercise. (3.) He must also rely on the certainty of those truths which are not learned from experience, but which are given in the constitution of our nature. That every effect must have a cause; that the same cause under like circumstances, will produce like effects; that a cause is not a mere uniform antecedent, but that which contains within itself the reason why the effect occurs.

    Second, The student of nature having this ground on which to stand, and these tools wherewith to work, proceeds to perceive, gather, and combine his facts. These he does not pretend to manufacture, nor presume to modify. He must take them as they are. He is only careful to be sure that they are real, and that he has them all, or, at least all that are necessary to justify any inference which he may draw from them, or any theory which he may build upon them.

    Third, From facts thus ascertained and classified, he deduces the laws by which they are determined. That a heavy body falls to the ground is a familiar fact. Observation shows that it is not an isolated fact; but that all matter tends toward all other matter, that this tendency or attraction is in proportion to the quantity of matter; and its intensity decreases in proportion to the square of the distance of the attracting bodies. As all this is found to be universally and constantly the case within the field of observation, he mind is forced to conclude that there is some reason for it; in other words, that it is a law of nature which may be relied upon beyond the limits of actual observation. As this law has always operated in the past, the man of science is sure that it will operate in the future. It is in this way the vast body of modern science has been built up, and the laws which determine the motions of the heavenly bodies; the chemical changes constantly going on around us; the structure, growth, and propagation of plants and animals, have, to a greater or less extent, been ascertained and established. It is to be observed that these laws or general principles are not derived from the mind, and attributed to external objects, but derived or deduced from the objects and impressed upon the mind.

A. The Inductive Method as applied tc Theology.

    The Bible is to the theologian what nature is to the man of science. It is his store-house of facts; and his method of ascertaining what the Bible teaches, is the same as that which the natinral philosopher adopts to ascertain what nature teaches. In the first place, he comes to his task with all the assumptions above mentioned. He must assume the validity of those laws of belief which God has impressed upon our nature. In these laws are included some which have no direct application to the natural sciences. Such, for example, as the essential distinction between right and wrong; that nothing contrary to virtue can be enjoined by God; that it cannot be right to do evil that good may come; that sin deserves punishment, and other similar first truths, which God has implanted in the constitution of all moral beings, and which no objective revelation can possibly contradict. These first principles, however, are not to be arbitrarily assumed. No man has a right to lay down his own opinions, however firmly held, and call them "first truths of reason," and make them the source or test of Christian doctrines. Nothing can rightfully be included under the category of first truths, or laws of belief, which cannot stand the tests of universality and necessity, to which many add selg-evidence. But self-evidence is included in universality and necessity, in so far, that nothing which is not self-evident can be universally believed, and what is self-evident forces itself on the mind of every intelligent creature.

Facts to be collected.

    In the second place, the duty of the Christian theologian is to ascertain, collect, and combine all the facts which God has revealed concerning himself and our relation to Him. These facts are all in the Bible. This is true, because everything revealed in nature, and in the constitution of man concerning God and our relation to Him, is contained and authenticated in Scripture. It is in this sense that "the Bible, and the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants." It may be admitted that the truths which the theologian has to reduce to a science, or, to speak more humbly, which he has to arrange and harmonize, are revealed partly in the external works of God, partly in the constitution of our nature, and partly in the religious experience of believers; yet lest we should err in our inferences from the works of God, we have a clearer revelation of all that nature reveals, in his word; and lest we should misinterpret our own consciousness and the laws of our nature, everything that can be legitimately learned from that source will be found recognized and authenticated in the Scriptures; and lest we should attribute to the teaching of the Spirit the operations of our own natural affections, we find in the Bible the norm and standard of all genuine religious experience. The Scriptures teach not only the truth, but what are the effects of the truth on the heart and conscience, when applied with saving power by the Holy Ghost.

The Theologian to be guided by the same rules as the Man of Science.

    In the third place, the theologian must be guided by the same rules in the collection of facts, as govern the man of science.

    1. This collection must be made with diligence and care. It is not an easy work. There is in every department of investigation great liability to error. Almost all false theories in science and false doctrines in theology are due in a great degree to mistakes as to matters of fact. A distinguished naturalist said he repeated an experiment a thousand times before he felt authorized to announce the result to the scientific world as an established fact.

    2. This collection of facts must not only be carefully conducted, but aiso comprehensive, and if possible, exhaustive. An imperfect induction of facts led men for ages to believe that the sun moved round the earth, and that the earth was an extended plain. In theology a partial induction of particulars has led to like serious errors. It is a fact that the Scriptures attribute omniscience to Christ. From this it was inferred that He could not have had a finite intelligence, but that the Logos was clothed in Him with a human body with its animal life. But it is also a Scriptural fact that ignorance and intellectual progress, as well as omniscience, are ascribed to our Lord. Both facts, therefore, must be included in our doctrine of his person. We must admit that He had a human, as well as a divine intelligence. It is a fact that everything that can be predicated of a sinless man, is in the Bible, predicated of Christ; and it is also a fact that everything that is predicated of God is predicated of our Lord; hence it has been inferred that there were two Christs, --two persons, -- the one human, the other divine, and that they dwelt together very much as the Spirit dwells in the believer; or, as evil spirits dwelt in demoniacs. But this theory overlooked the numerous facts which prove the individual personality of Christ. It was the same person who said, "I thirst;" who said, "Before Abraham was I am." The Scriptures teach that Christ's death was designed to reveal the love of God, and to secure the reformation of men. Hence Socinus denied that his death was an expiation for sin, or satisfaction of justice. The latter fact, however, is as clearly revealed as the former; and therefore both must be taken into account in our statement of the doctrine concerning the design of Christ's death.

Necessity of a complete Induction.

    Illustrations without end might be given of the necessity of a comprehensive induction of facts to justify our doctrinal conclusions. These facts must not be willfully denied or carelessly overlooked, or unfairly appreciated. We must be honest here, as the true student of nature is honest in his induction. Even scientific men are sometimes led to suppress or to pervert facts which militate against their favorite theories; but the temptation to this form of dishonesty is far less in their case, than in that of the theologian. The truths of religion are far more important than those of natural science. They come home to the heart and conscience. They may alarm the fears or threaten the hopes of men, so that they are under strong temptation to overlook or pervert them. If, however, we really desire to know what God has revealed we must be conscientiously diligent and faithful in collecting the facts which He has made known, and in giving them their due weight. If a geologist should find in a deposit of early date implements of human workmanship, he is not allowed to say they are natural productions. He must either revise his conclusion as to the age of the deposit, or carry back to an earlier period the existence of man. There is no help for it. Science cannot make facts; it must take them as they are. In like manner, if the Bible asserts that Christ's death was a satisfaction to justice, the theologian is not allowed to merge justice into benevolence in order to suit his theory of the atonement. If the Scriptures teach that men are born in sin, we cannot change the nature of sin, and make it a tendency to evil and not really sin, in order to get rid of difficulty. If it be a Scriptural fact that the soul exists in a state of conscious activity between death and the resurrection, we must not deny this fact or reduce this conscious activity to zero, because our anthropology teaches that the soul has no individuality and no activity without a body. We must take the facts of the Bible as they are, and construct our system so as to embrace them all in their integrity.

Principles to be deduced from facts.

    In the fourth place, in theology as in natural science, principles are derived from facts, and not impressed upon them. The properties of matter, the laws of motion, of magnetism, of light. etc., are not framed by the mind. They are not laws of thought. They are deductions from facts. The investigator sees, or ascertains by observation, what are the laws which determine material phenomena; he does not invent those laws. His speculations on matters of science unless sustained by facts, are worthless. It is no less unscientific for the theologian to assume a theory as to the nature of virtue, of sin, of liberty, of moral obligation, and then explain the facts of Scripture in accordance with his theories. His only proper course is to derive his theory of virtue, of sin, of liberty, of obligation, from the facts of the Bible. He should remember that his business is not to set forth his system of truth (that is of no account), but to ascertain and exhibit what is God's system, which is a matter of the greatest moment. If he cannot believe what the facts of the Bible assume to be true, let him say so. Let the sacred writers have their doctrine, while he has his own. To this ground a large class of modern exegetes and theologians, after a long struggle, have actually come. They give what they regard as the doctrines of the Old Testament; then those of the Evangelists: then those of the Apostles; and then their own. This is fair. So long, however, as the binding authority of Scripture is acknowledged, the temptation is very strong to press the facts of the Bible into accordance with our preconceived theories. If a man be persuaded that certainty in acting is inconsistent with liberty of action; that a free agent can always act contrary to any amount of influence (not destructive of his liberty) brought to bear upon him, he will inevitably deny that the Scriptures teach the contrary, and thus be forced to explain away all facts which prove the absolute control of God over the will and volitions of men. If he hold that sinfulness can be predicated only of intelligent, voluntary action in contravention of law, he must deny that men are born in sin, let the Bible teach what it may. If he believes that ability limits obligation, he must believe independently of the Scriptures, or in opposition to them, it matters not which, that men are able to repent, believe, love God perfectly, to live without sin, at any, and all times, without the least assistance fromn the Spirit of God. If he deny that the innocent may justly suffer penal evil for the guilty, he must deny that Christ bore our sins. If he deny that the merit of one man can be the judicial ground of the pardon and salvation of other men, he must reject the Scriptural doctrine of justification. It is plain that complete havoc must be made of the whole system of revealed truth, unless we consent to derive our philosophy from the Bible, instead of explaining the Bible by our philosophy. If the Scriptures teach that sin is hereditary, we must adopt a theory of sin suited to that fact. If they teach that men cannot repent, believe, or do anything spiritually good, without the supernatural aid of the Holy Spirit, we must make our theory of moral obligation accord with that fact. If the Bible teaches that we bear the guilt of Adam's first sin, that Christ bore our guilt, and endured the penalty of the law in our stead, these are facts with which we must make our principles agree. It would be easy to show that in every department of theology, -- in regard to the nature of God, his relation to the world, the plan of salvation, the person and work of Christ, the nature of sin, the operations of divine grace, men, instead of taking the facts of the Bible, and seeing what principles they imply, what philosophy underlies them, have adopted their philosophy independently of the Bible, to which the facts of the Bible are made to bend. This is utterly unphilosophical. It is the fundamental principle of all sciences, and of theology among the rest, that theory is to he determined by facts, and not facts by theory. As natural science was a chaos until the principle of induction was admitted and faithfully carried out, so theology is a jumble of human speculations, not worth a straw, when men refuse to apply the same principle to the study of the Word of God.

§ 6. The Scriptures contain all the Facts of Theology.

    This is perfectly consistent, on the one hand, with the admission of intuitive truths, both intellectual and moral, due to our constitution as rational and moral beings; and, on the other hand, with the controlling power over our beliefs exercised by the inward teachings of the Spirit, or, in other words, by our religious experience. And that for two reasons: First, All truth must be consistent. God cannot contradict himself. He cannot force us by the constitution of the nature which He has given us to believe one thing, and in his Word command us to believe the opposite. And second, All the truths taught by the constitution of our nature or by religious experience, are recognized and authenticated in the Scriptures. This is a safeguard and a limit. We cannot assume this or that principle to be intmuitively true, or this or that conclusion to be demonstrably certain, and make them a standard to which the Bible must conform. What is self-evidently true, must be proved to be so, and is always recognized in the Bible as true. Whole systems of theologies are founded upon intuitions, so called, and if every man is at liberty to exalt his own intuitions, as men are accustomed to call their strong convictions, we should have as many theologies in the world as there are thinkers. The same remark is applicable to religious experience. There is no form of conviction more intimate and irresistible than that which arises from the inward teaching of the Spirit. All saving faith rests on his testimony or demonstrations (1Co 2:4). Believers have an unction from the Holy One, and they know the truth, and that no lie (or false doctrine) is of the truth. This inward teaching produces a conviction which no sophistries can obscure, and no arguments can shake. It is founded on consciousness, and you might as well argue a man out of a belief of his existence, as out of confidence that what he is thus taught of God is true. Two things, however, are to be borne in mind. First, That this inward teaching or demonstration of the Spirit is confined to truths objectively revealed in the Scriptures. It is given, says the Apostle, in order that we may know things gratuitously given, i. e., revealed to us by God in His Word (1Co 2:10-16). It is not, therefore, a revelation of new truths, but an illumination of the mind, so that it apprehends the truth, excellence, and glory of things already revealed. And second, This experience is depicted in the Word of God. The Bible gives us not only the facts concerning God, and Christ, ourselves, and our relations to our Maker and Redeemer, but also records the legitimate effects of those truths on the minds of believers. So that we cannot appeal to our own feelings or inward experience, as a ground or guide, unless we can show that it agrees with the experience of holy men as recorded in the Scriptures.

The Teaching of the Spirit.

    Although the inward teaching of the Spirit, or religious experience, is no substitute for an external revelation, and is no part of the rule of faith, it is, nevertheless, an invaluable guide in determining what the rule of faith teaches. The distinguishing feature of Augustinianism as taught by Augustin himself, and by the purer theologians of the Latin Church throughout the Middle Ages, which was set forth by the Reformers, and especially by Calvin and the Geneva divines, is that the inward teaching of the Spirit is allowed its proper place in determining our theology. The question is not first and mainly, What is true to the understanding, but what is true to the renewed heart? The effort is not to make the assertions of the Bible harmonize with the speculative reason, but to subject our feeble reason to the mind of God as revealed in his Word, and by his Spirit in our inner life. It might be easy to lead men to the conclusion that they are responsible only for their voluntary acts, if the appeal is made solely to the understanding. But if the appeal be made to every man's, and especially to every Christian's inward experience, the opposite conclusion is reached. We are convinced of the sinfulness of states of mind as well as of voluntary acts, even when those states are not the effect of our own agency, and are not subject to the power of the will. We are conscious of being sold under sin; of being its slaves; of being possessed by it as a power or law, immanent, innate, and beyond our control. Such is the doctrine of the Bible, and such is the teaching of our religious consciousness when under the influence of the Spirit of God. The true method in theology requires that the facts of religious experience should be accepted as facts, and when duly authenticated by Scripture, be allowed to interpret the doctrinal statements of the Word of God. So legitimate and powerful is this inward teaching of the Spirit, that it is no uncommnon thing to find men having two theologies, -- one of the intellect, and another of the heart. The one may find expression in creeds and systems of divinity, the other in their prayers and hymns. It would be safe for a man to resolve to admit into his theology nothing which is not sustained by the devotional writings of true Christians of every denomination. It would be easy to construct from such writings, received and sanctioned by Romanists, Lutherans, Reformed, and Remonstrants, a system of Pauline or Augustinian theology, such as would satisfy any intelligent and devout Calvinist in the world.

    The true method of theology is, therefore, the inductive, which assumes that the Bible contains all the facts or truths which form the contents of theology, just as the facts of nature are the contents of the natural sciences. It is also assumed that the relation of these Biblical facts to each other, the principles involved in them, the laws which determine them, are in the facts themselves, and are to be deduced from them, just as the laws of nature are deduced from the facts of nature. In neither case are the principles derived from the mind and imposed upon the facts, but equally in both departments, the principles or laws are deduced from the facts and recognized by the mind.


1.  Theol. Nat. Prolegg. § 22; Frankf and Leipz. 1736, vol. i. p. 22.

Part 00: Introduction 02: Theology



§ 1. Its Nature.   § 2. The Facts of Nature Reveal God. 
§ 3. Insufficiency of Natural Theology.    § 4. Christian Theology.

§ 1. Its Nature.

    IF the views presented in the preceding chapter be correct, the question, What is Theology? is already answered. If natural science be concerned with the facts and laws of nature, theology is concerned with the facts and the principles of the Bible. If the object of the one be to arrange and systematize the facts of the external world, and to ascertain the laws by which they are determined; the object of the other is to systematize the facts of the Bible, and ascertain the principles or general truths which those facts involve. And as the order in which the facts of nature are arranged cannot be determined arbitrarily, but by the nature of the facts themselves, so it is with the facts of the Bible. The parts of any organic whole have a natural relation which cannot with impunity be ignored or changed. The parts of a watch, or of any other piece of mechanism, must be normally arranged, or it will be in confusion and worthless. All the parts of a plant or animal are disposed to answer a given end, and are mutually dependent. We cannot put the roots of a tree in the place of the branches, or the teeth of an animal in the place of its feet. So the facts of science arrange themselves. They are not arranged by the naturalist. His business is simply to ascertain what the arrangement given in the nature of the facts is. If he mistake, his system is false, and to a greater or less degree valueless. The same is obviously true with regard to the facts or truths of the Bible. They cannot be held in isolation, nor will they admit of any and every arrangement the theologian may choose to assign them. They bear a natural relation to each other, which cannot be overlooked or perverted wthout the facts themselves being perverted. If the facts of Scripture are what Augustinians believe them to be, then the Augustinian system is the only possible system of theology. If those facts be what Romanists or Remonstrants take them to be, then their system is the only true one. It is important that the theologian should know his place. He is not master of the situation. He can no more construct a system of theology to suit his fancy than the astronomer can adjust the mechanism of the heavens according to his own good pleasure. As the facts of astronomy arrange themselves in a certain order, and will admit of no other, so it is with the facts of theology. Theology, therefore, is the exhibition of the facts of Scripture in their proper order and relation, with the principles or general truths involved in the facts themselves, and which pervade and harmonize the whole.

    It follows, also, from this view of the subject, that as the Bible contains one class of facts or truths which are not elsewhere revealed, and another class which, although more clearly made known in the Scriptures than anywhere else, are, nevertheless, so far revealed in nature as to be deducible therefrom, theology is properly distinguished as natural and revealed. The former is concerned with the facts of nature so far as they reveal God and our relation to him, and the latter with the facts of Scripture. This distinction, which, in one view is important, in another, is of little consequence, inasmuch as all that nature teaches concerning God and our duties, is more fully and more authoritatively revealed in his Word.

Definitions of Theology.

    Other definitions of Theology are often given

    1. Sometimes the word is restricted to its etymological meaning, "a discourse concerning God." Orpheus and Homer were called theologians among the Greeks, because their poems treated of the nature of the gods. Aristotle classed the sciences under the heads of physics, mathematics, and theology, i. e., those which concern nature, number and quantity, and that which concerns God. The Fathers spoke of the Apostle John as the theologian, because in his gospel and epistles the divinity of Christ is rendered so prominent. The word is still used in this restricted sense when opposed to anthropology, soteriology, ecclesiology, as departments of theology in its wider sense.

    2. Theology is sometimes said to be the science of the supernatural. But what is the supernatural? The answer to that question depends on the meaning assigned to the word nature. If by nature is meant the external world as governed by fixed laws, then the souls of men and other spiritual beings are not included under the term. In this use of the word nature, the supernatural is synonymous with the spiritual, and theology, as the science of the supernatural, is synonymous with pneumatology. If this view be adopted, psychology becomes a branch of theology, and the theologian must, as such, teach mental philosophy.

    The word nature is, however, often taken in a wider sense, so as to include man. Then we have a natural and a spiritual world. And the supernatural is that which transcends nature in this sense, so that what is supernatural is of necessity also superhuman. But it is not necessarily super-angelic. Again, nature may mean everything out of God; then the supernatural is the divine, and God is the only legitimate subject of theology. In no sense of the word, therefore, is theology the science of the supernatural. Hooker1 says, "Theology is the science of divine things." If by divine things, or "the things of God," he meant the things which concern God, then theology is restricted to a "discourse concerning God;" if he meant the things revealed by God, according to the analogy of the expression "things of the Spirit," as used by the Apostle in 1Co 2:14, then the definition amounts to the more definite one given above.

    3. A much more common definition of Theology, especially in our day, is that it is the science of religion. The word religion, however, is ambiguous. Its etymology is doubtful. Cicero2refers it to relegere, to go over again, to consider. "Religio" is then consideration, devout observance, especially of what pertains to the worship and service of God. "Religens" is devout, conscientious. "Religiosus," in a good sense, is the same as our word religious; in a bad sense, it means scrupulous, superstitious. "Religentem esse oportet, religiosum nefas."3 Augustin and Lactantius derive the word from religare, to bind back. Augustin4 says: "Ipse Deus enim fons nostrae beatudinis, ipse omnis appetitionis est finis. Hunc eligentes vel potius religentes amiseramus enim negligentes: hunc ergo religentes, unde et religio dicta perhibetur, ad eum dilectione tendimus ut perveniendo quiescamus." And Lactantius, "Vinculo pietatis obstricti, Deo religati sumus, unde ipsa religio nomen accepit, non, ut Cicero interpretatus est, a religendo."5 According to this religlo is the ground of obligation. It is that which binds us to God. Subjectively, it is the inward necessity of union with God. Commonly the word religion, in its objective sense, means "Modus Deum colendi," as when we speak of the Pagan, the Mohammedan, or the Christian religion. Subjectively, it expresses a state of mind. What that state characteristically is, is very variously stated. Most simply it is said to be the state of mind induced by faith in God, and a due sense of our relation to him. Or as Wegscheider expresses it, " AEqualis et cow stans animi affectio, qua homo, necessitudinem suam eandemque aeternam, quae ei cum summo omnium rerum auctore ac moderatore sanctissimo intercedit, intimo sensu complexus, cogitationes, voluntates et actiones suas ad eum referre studet." Or, as more concisely expressed by Bretschneider, "Faith in the reality of God, with a state of mind and mode of life in accordance with that faith." Or, more vaguely, "Recognition of the mutual relation between God and the world" (Fischer), or, "The recognition of a superhuman causality in the human soul and life" (Theile). "Faith founded on feeling in the reality of the ideal" (Jacobi). "The feeling of absolute dependence" (Schleiermacher). " The observance of the moral law as a divine institution" (Kant). "Faith in the moral order of the universe" (Fichte). "The union of the finite with the infinite or God's coming to self-consciousness in the world" (Schelling).6

    This diversity of views as to what religion is, is enough to prove how utterly vague and unsatisfactory must be the definition of theology as "the science of religion." Besides, this definition makes theology entirely independent of the Bible. For, as moral philosophy is the analysis of our moral nature, and the conclusions to which that analysis leads, so theology becomes the analysis of our religious consciousness, together with the truths which that analysis evolves. And even Christian theology is only the analysis of the religious consciousness of the Christian; and the Christian consciousness is not the natural religious consciousness of men as modified and determined by the truths of the Christian Scriptures, but it is something different. Some say it is to be referred to a new life transmitted from Christ. Others refer everything distinctive in the religious state of Christians to the Church, and really merge theology into ecclesiology.

    We have, therefore, to restrict theology to its true sphere, as the science of the facts of divine revelation so far as those facts concern the nature of God and our relation to him, as his creatures, as sinners, and as the subjects of redemption. All these facts, as just remarked, are in the Bible. But as some of them are revealed by the works of God, and by the nature of man, there is so far a distinction between natural theology, and theology considered distinctively as a Christian science.

    With regard to natural theology, there are two extreme opinions. The one is that the works of nature make no trustworthy revelation of the being and perfections of God; the other, that much revelation is so clear and comprehensive as to preclude the necessity of any supernatural revelation.

§ 2. The Facts of Nature Reveal God.

    Those who deny that natural theology teaches anything reliable concerning God, commonly understand by nature the external, material universe. They pronounce the ontological and teleological arguments derived from the existence of the world, and from the evidences of design which it contains, to be unsatisfactury. The fact that the world is, is a proof that it always has been, in the absence of all evidence to the contrary. And the argument from design, it is said, overlooks the difference between dead mechanism and a living organism, between manufacture and growth. That a locomotive cannot make itself, is no proof that a tree cannot grow. The one is formed ab extra by putting its dead parts together; the other is developed by a living principle within. The one necessitates the assumption of a maker external and anterior to itself, the other excludes, as is said, such assumption. Besides, it is urged that religious truths do not admit of proof. They belong to the same category with aesthetic and moral truths. They are the objects of intuition. To be perceived at all, they must be perceived in their own light. You cannot prove a thing to be beautiful or good to the man who does not perceive its beauty or excellence. Hence, it is further urged, that proof of religious truth is unnecessary. The good do not need proof; the evil cannot appreciate it. All that can be done is to affirm the truth, and let it awaken, if possible, the dormant power of perception.

A. Answer to the above Arguments.

    All this is sophistical. For the arguments in support of the truths of natural religion are not drawn exclusively from the external works of God. Those which are the most obvious and the most effective are derived from the constitution of our own nature. Man was made in the image of God, and he reveals his parentage as unmistakably as any class of inferior animals reveal the source from which they sprung. If a horse is born of a horse, the immortal spirit of man, instinct with its moral and religious convictions and aspirations, must be the offspring of the Father of Spirits. This is the argument which Paul on Mars' Hill addressed to the cavilling philosophers of Athens. That the sphere of natural theology is not merely the facts of the material universe is plain from the meaning of the word nature, which, as we have seen, has many legitimate senses. It is not only used to designate the external world, but also for the Forces active in the material universe, as when we speak of the operations and laws of nature, sometimes for all that falls into the chain of cause and effect as distinguished from the acts of free agents; and, as natura is derived from nascor, nature means whatever is produced, and therefore includes everything out of God, so that God and nature include all that is.

    2. The second objection to natural theology is that its arguments are inconclusive. This is a point which no man can decide for other men. Every one must judge for himself. An argument which is conclusive for one mind may be powerless for other minds. That the material universe began to be; that it has not the cause of its existence within itself, and therefore must have had an extramundane cause; and that the infinitely numerous manifestations of design which it exhibits show that that cause must be intelligent, are arruments for the being of God, which have satisfied the minds of the great body of intclligent men in all ages of the world. They should not, therefore, be dismissed as unsatisfactory, because all men do not feel their force. Besides, as just remarked, these arguments are only confirmatory of others more direct and powerful derived from our moral and religious nature.

    3. As to the objection that religious truths are the objects of intuition, and that intuitive truths neither need nor admit of proof, it may be answered that in one sense it is true. But self-evident truths may be illustrated; and it may be shown that their denial involves contradictions and absurdities. All geometry is an illustration of the axioms of Euclid; and if any man denies any of those axioms, it may be shown that he must believe impossibilities. In like manner, it may be admitted that the existence of a being on whom we are dependent, and to whom we are responsible, is a matter of intuition; and it may be acknowledged that it is self-evident that we can be responsible only to a person, and yet the existence of a personal God may be shown to be a necessary hypothesis to account for the facts of observation and consciousness, and that the denial of his existence leaves the problem of the universe unsolved and unsolvable. In other words, it may be shown that atheism, polytheism, and pantheism involve absolute impossiblities. This is a valid mode of proving that God is, although if be admitted that his existence after all is a self-evident truth. Theism is not the only self-evident truth that men are wont to deny.

B. Scriptural Argument for Natural Theology.

    The Scriptures clearly recognize the fact that the works of God reveal his being and attributes. This they do not only by frequent reference to the works of nature as manifestations of the perfections of God, but by direct assertions. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." (Ps 19:1-4.) "The idea of perpetual testimony," says Dr. Addison Alexander7, "is conveyed by the figure of one day and night following another as witnesses in unbroken succession The absence of articulate language, far from weakening the testimony, makes it stronger. Even without speech or words, the heavens testify of God to all men."

    The sacred writers in contending with the heathen appeal to the evidence which the works of God bear to his perfections: "Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?" (Ps 94:8-10.) Paul said to the men of Lystra, "Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." (Ac 14:15--17.) To the men of Athens he said:
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, 'For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device." (Ac 17:24-29.)

    Not only the fact of this revelation, but its clearness is distinctly asserted by the Apostle: "That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful." (Ro 1:19-21.)

    It cannot, therefore, be reasonably doubted that not only the being of God, but also his eternal power and Godhead, are so revealed in his works, as to lay a stable foundation for natural theology. To the illustration of this subject many important works have been devoted, a few of which are the following: "Wolf de Theologia Naturali," "The Bridgewater Treatises," Butler's "Analogy," Paley's "Natural Theology."

§ 3. Insufficiency of Natural Theology.

    The second extreme opinion respecting Natural Theology is, that it precludes the necessity of a supernatural revelation. The question whether the knowledge of God derived from his works, be sufficient to lead fallen men to salvation, is answered affirmatively by Rationalists, but negatively by every historical branch of the Christian Church. On this point the Greek, the Latin, the Lutheran, and the Reformed Churches are unanimous. The two former are more exclusive than the two latter. The Greeks and Latins, in making the sacraments the only channels of saving grace, deny the possibility of the salvation of the unbaptized, whether in heathen or Christian lands. This principle is so essential to the Romish system as to be included in the very definition of the Church, as given by the authoritative writers of the Papal Church. That definition is so framed as to exclude from the hope of salvation not only all unbaptized infants and adults, but all, no matter however enlightened in the knowledge of the Scriptures, and however holy in heart and life, who do not acknowledge the supremacy of the bishop of Rome.

    The question as to the sufficiency of natural theology, or of the truths of reason, is to be answered on the authority of the Scriptures. No man can tell a priori what is necessary to salvation. Indeed, it is only by supernatural revelation that we know that any sinner can be saved. It is from the same source alone, we can know what are the conditions of salvation, or who are to be its subjects.

A. What the Scriptures teach as to the Salvation of Men. Salvation of Infants.

    What the Scriptures teach on this subject, according to the common doctrine of evangelical Protestants is first : --

    1. All who die in infancy are saved. This is inferred from what the Bible teaches of the analogy between Adam and Christ. "As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many (oi. polloi, = pa,ntej) were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many (oi. polloi, = pa,ntej) be made righteous." (Rom. v 18, 19.) We have no right to put any limit on these general terms, except what the Bible itself places upon them. The Scriptures nowhere exclude any class of infants, baptized or unbaptized, born in Christian or in heathen lands, of believing or unbelieving parents, from the benefits of the redemption of Christ. All the descendants of Adam, except Christ, are under condemnation; all the descendants of Adam, except those of whom it is expressly revealed that they cannot inherit the kingdom of God, are saved. This appears to be the clear meaning of the Apostle, and therefore he does not hesitate to say that where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded, that the benefits of redemption far exceed the evils of the fall; that the number of the saved far exceeds the number of the lost.

    This is not inconsistent with the declaration of our Lord, in Mt 7:14, that only a few enter the gate which leadeth unto life. This is to be understood of adults. What the Bible says is intended for those in all ages, to whom it is addressed. But it is addressed to those who can either read or hear. It tells them what they are to believe and do. It would be an entire perversion of its meaning to make it apply to those to whom and of whom it does not speak. When it is said, "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (Joh 3:36), no one understands this to preclude the possibility of the salvation of infants.

    Not only, however, does the comparison, which the Apostle makes between Adam and Christ, lead to the conclusion that as all are condemned for the sin of the one, so all are saved by the righteousness of the other, those only excepted whom the Scriptures except; but the principle assumed throughout the whole discussion teaches the same doctrine. That principle is that it is more congenial with the nature of God to bless than to curse, to save than to destroy. If the race fell in Adam, much more shall it be restored in Christ. If death reigned by one, much more shall grace reign by one. This "much more" is repeated over and over. The Bible everywhere teaches that God delighteth not in the death of the wicked; that judgment is his strange work. It is, therefore, contrary not only to the argument of the Apostle, but to the whole spirit of the passage (Ro 5:12-21), to exclude infants from "the all" who are made alive in Christ.

    The conduct and language of our Lord in reference to children are not to be regarded as matters of sentiment, or simply expressive of kindly feeling. He evidently looked upon them as the lambs of the flock for which, as the good Shepherd, He laid down his life, and of whom He said they shall never perish, and no man could pluck them out of his hands. Of such He tells us is the kingdom of heaven, as though heaven was, in great measure, composed of the souls of redeemed infants. It is, therefore, the general belief of Protestants, contrary to the doctrine of Romanists and Romanizers, that all who die in infancy are saved.

B. Rule of Judgment for Adults.

    2. Another general fact clearly revealed in Scripture is, that men are to be judged according to their works, and according to the light which they have severally enjoyed. God "will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile, for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law." (Ro 2:6-12.) Our Lord teaches that those who sinned with knowledge of God's will, shall be beaten with many stripes; and that those who sinned without such knowledge shall be beaten with few stripes; and that it will be more tolerable in the day of judgment for the heathen, even for Sodom and Gomorrah, than for those who perish under the light of the gospel. (Mt 10:15; 11:20-24.) The Judge of all the earth will do right. No human being will suffer more than he deserves, or more than his own conscience shall recognize as just.

C. All Men under Condemnation.

    3. But the Bible tells us, that judged according to their works and according to the light which they have severally enjoyed, all men will be condemned. There is none righteous; no, not one. The whole world is guilty before God. This verdict is confirmed by every man's conscience. The consciousness of guilt and of moral pollution is absolutely universal.

    Here it is that natural theology utterly fails. It cannot answer the question, How can man be just with God? or, How can God be just and yet justify the ungodly? Mankind have anxiously pondered this question for ages, and have gained no satisfaction. The ear has been placed on the bosom of humanity, to catch the still, small voice of conscience, and got no answer. It has been directed heavenward, and received no response. Reason, conscience, tradition, history, unite in saying that sin is death; and, therefore, that so far as human wisdom and resources are concerned, the salvation of sinners is as impossible as raising the dead. Every conceivable method of expiation and purification has been tried without success.

    4. The Scriptures, therefore, teach that the heathen are "without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God." (Eph 2:12.) They are declared to be without excuse, "Because, that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God, into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." (Ro 1:21-25.) The Apostle says of the Gentiles that they "walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of thicir heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lascivousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." (Eph 4:17-19.)

    5. All men being sinners, justly chargeable with inexcusable impiety and immorality, they cannot be saved by any effort or resource of their own. For we are told that "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1Co 6:9.) "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Eph 5:5.) More than this, the Bible teaches us that a man may be outwardly righteous in the sight of men, and yet be a whitened sepulchre, his heart being the seat of pride, envy, or malice. In other words, he may be moral in his conduct, and by reason of inward evil passions, be in the sight of God the chief of sinners, as was the case with Paul himself. And more even than this, although a man were free from outward sins, and, were it possible, from the sins of the heart, this negative goodness would not suffice. Without holiness "no man shall see the Lord." (Heb 12:14.) "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (Joh 3:3.) "He that loveth not, knoweth not God." (1Jo 4:8.) "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1Jo 2:15.) "He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me." (1Jo 4:8.) Who then can be saved? If the Bible excludes from the kingdom of heaven all the immoral; all whose hearts are corrupted by pride, envy, malice, or covetousness; all who love the world; all who are not holy; all in whom the love of God is not the supreme and controlling principle of action, it is evident that, so far as adults are concerned, salvation must be confined to very narrow limits. It is also evident that mere natural religion, the mere objective power of general religious truth, must bc as inefficacious in preparing men for the presence of God, as the waters of Syria to heal the leprosy.

D. The necessary Conditions of Salvation.

    6. Seeing then that the world by wisdom knows not God; seeing that men when left to themselves inevitably die in their sins; it has "pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1Co 1:21.) God has sent his Son into the world to save sinners. Had any other method of salvation been possible, Christ is dead in vain. (Ga 2:21; 3:21.) There is, therefore, no other name whereby men can be saved. (Ac 4:12.) The knowledge of Christ and faith in Him are declared to be essential to salvation. This is proved: (1.) Because men are declared to be guilty before God. (2.) Because no man can expiate his own guilt and restore himself to the image of God. (3.) Because it is expressly declared that Christ is the only Saviour of men. (4.) Because Christ gave his Church the commission to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven, as the appointed means of salvation. (5.) Because the Apostles in the execution of this commission went everywhere preaching the Word, testifying to all men, Jews and Gentiles, to the wise and the unwise, that they must believe in Christ as the Son of God in order to be saved. Our Lord himself teaching through his forerunner said, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (Joh 3:36.) (6.) Because faith without knowledge is declared to be impossible. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent?" (Ro 10:13-15.)

    It is, therefore, as before stated, the common faith of the Christian world, that, so far as adults are concerned, there is no salvation without the knowledge of Christ and faith in Him. This has ever been regarded as the ground of the obligation which rests upon the Church to preach the gospel to every creature.

E. Objections.

    To the objection that this doctrine is inconsistent with the goodness and justice of God, it may be answered: (1.) That the doctrine only assumes what the objector, if a Theist, must admit, namely, that God will deal with men according to their character and conduct, and that He will judge them according to the light which they have severally enjoyed. It is because the judge of all the earth must do right that all sinners receive the wages of sin by an inexorable law, unless saved by the miracle of redemption. In teaching, therefore, that there is no salvation for those ignorant of the gospel the Bible only teaches that a just God will punish sin. (2.) The doctrine of the Church on this subject does not go beyond the facts of the case. It only teaches that God will do what we see He actually does. He leaves mankind, in a large measure, to themselves. He allows them to make themselves sinful and miserable. It is no more difficult to reconcile the doctrine than the undeniable fact with the goodness of our God. (3.) In the gift of his Son, the revelation of his Word, the mission of the Spirit, and the institution of the Church, God has made abundant provision for the salvation of the world. That the Church has been so remiss in making known the gospel is her guilt. We must not charge the ignorance and consequent perdition of the heathen upon God. The guilt rests on us. We have kept to ourselves the bread of life, and allowed the nations to perish.

    Some of the older Lutheran divines were disposed to meet the objection in question by saying that the plan of salvation was revealed to all mankind at three distinct epochs. First, immediately after the fall, to Adam; second, in the days of Noah; and third, during the age of the Apostles. If that knowledge has been lost it has been by the culpable ignorance of the heathen themselves. This is carrying the doctrine of imputation to its utmost length. It is making the present generation responsible for the apostasy of their ancestors. It leaves the difficulty just where it was.

    The Wesleyan Arminians and the Friends, admitting the insufficiency of the light of nature, hold that God gives sufficient grace, or an inward supernatural light, which, if properly cherished and followed, will lead men to salvation. But this is merely an amiable hypothesis. For such universal and sufficient grace there is no promise in the Scripture, and no evidence in experience. Besides, if admitted it does not help the matter. If this sufficient grace does not actually save, if it does not deliver the heathen from those sins upon which the judgment of God is denounced, it only aggavates their condemnation. All we can do is to adhere closelly to the teachings of the Bible, assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right; that although clouds and darkness are round about Him, and his ways past finding out, justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne.

§ 4. Christian Theology.

    As science, concerned with the facts of nature, has its several departments, as Mathematics, Chemistry, Astronomy, etc., so Theology having the facts of Scripture for its subject, has its distinct and natural departments. First --

Theology Proper,

Which includes all the Bible teaches of the being and attributes of God; of the threefold personaiity of the Godhead, or, that the Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct persons, the same in substance and equal in power and glory; the relation of God to the world, or, his decrees and his works of Creation and Providence. Second, --


Which includes the origin and nature of man; his original state and probation; his fall; the nature of sin; the effect of Adam's first sin upon himself and upon his posterity. Third, --


Including the purpose or plan of God in reference to the salvation of man; the person and work of the Redeemer; the application of the redemption of Christ to the people of God, in their regeneration, justification, and sanctification; and the means of grace. Fourth, --


That is, the doctrines which concern the state of the soul after death; the resurrection; the second advent of Christ; the general judgment and end of the world; heaven and hell. And fifth, --


The idea, or nature of the Church; its attributes; its prerogatives; its organization.

    It is the suggestive remark of Kliefoth in his "Dogmengeschichte," that to the Greek mind and to the Greek Church, was assigned the task of elaborating the doctrine of the Bible concerning God, i. e., the doctrines of the Trinity and Person of Christ; to the Latin Church the doctrines concerning man; that is, of sin and grace; to the German Church, Soteriology, or the doctrine of justification. Ecclesiology, he says, is reserved for the future, as the doctrine concerning the Church has not been settled by oecumenical authority as have been the doctrines of Theology and Anthropology, and that of justification at least for the Protestant world.

    The above classification. although convenient and generally received, is far from being exhaustive. It leaves out of view the law (or at least subordinates it unduly), or rule of moral duty. This is a department in itself; and under the title of Moral Theology, is sometimes, as in the Latin Church, regarded as the most important. Among Protestants it is often regarded as a mere department of Philosophy.

    It has been assumed that Theology has to do with the facts or truths of the Bible; in other words, that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the only infallible rule of faith and practice. This, however, is not a conceded point. Same claim for Reason a paramount, or, at least a coordinate authority in matters of religion. Others assume an internal supernatural light to which they attribute paramount, or coordinate authority. Others rely on the authority of an infallible church. With Protestants, the Bible is the only infallible source of knowledge of divine things. It is necessary, therefore, before entering on our work, briefly to examine these several systems, namely, Rationalism, Mysticism, and Romanism.


1.  Eccles. Pol. iii. 8.
2.  Nat. Deor. ii. 28.
3.  Poet. ap. Gell. iv. 9.
4.  De Civitate Dei, x. 3. Edit. of Benedictines, Paris, 1838.
5.  Instt. Div. iv. 28.
6.  See Hase's Hutterus Redivivus, § 2.
7.  Comm. on Psalms, in loc.

Part 00: Introduction 03: Rationalism



§1. Meaning and Usage of the Word.    § 2. Deistical Rationalism.    § 3. The Second Form of Rationalism.
§ 4. Dogmatism, or the Third Form of Rationalism.   § 5. Proper Office of Reason in Matters of Religion.
§ 6. Relation of Philosophy and Revelation.    § 7. Office of the Senses in Matters of Faith.


§ 1. Meaning and Usage of the Word.

    BY Rationalism is meant the system or theory which assigns undue authority to reason in matters of religion. By reason is not to be understood the Logos as revealed in man, as held by some of the Fathers, and by Cousin and other modern philosophers, nor the intuitional faculty as distinguished from the understanding or the discursive faculty. The word is taken in its ordinary sense for the cognitive faculty, that which perceives, compares, judges, and infers.

    Rationalism has appeared under different forms. (1.) The Deistical, which denies either the possibility or the fact of any supernatural revelation, and maintains that reason is both the source and ground of all religious knowledge and conviction. (2.) That which while it admits the possibility and the fact of a supernatural revelation, and that such a revelation is contained in the Christian Scriptures, nevertheless maintains that the truths revealed are the truths of reason; that is, truths which reason can comprehend and demonstrate. (3.) The third form of Rationalism has received the name of Dogmatism, which admits that many of the truths of revelation are undiscoverable by human reason, and that they are to be received upon authority. Nevertheless, it maintains that those truths when revealed admit of being philosophically explained and establishedand raised from the sphere of faith into that of knowledge.

    Rationalism in all its forms proceeds on the ground of Theism, that is, the belief of an extramundane personal God. When, therefore, Monism, which denies all dualism and affirms the identity of God and the world, took possession of the German mind, Rationalism, in its old form, disappeared. There was no longer any room for the distinction between reason and God, between the natural and the supernatural. No class of men, therefore, are more contemptuous in their opposition to the Rationalists, than the advcates of the modern, or, as it perhaps may be more properly designated, the modern pantheistic philosophy of Germany.

    Although in a measure banished from its recent home, it continues to prevail in all its forms, variously modified, both in Europe and America. Mansel, in his "Limits of Religious Thought,"1 includes under the head of Rationalism every system which makes the final test of truth to be "the direct assent of the human consciousness, whether in the form of logical deduction, or moral judgment, or religious intuition, by whatever previous process these faculties may have been raised to their assumed dignity as arbitrators." This, however, would include systems radically different in their nature.

§ 2. Deistical Rationalism.

A. Possibility of a Supernatural Revelation.

    The first point to be determined in the controversy with the Deistical Rationalists, concerns the possibility of a supernatural revelation. This they commonly deny, either on philosophical or moral grounds. It is said to be inconsistent with the nature of God, and with his relation to the world, to suppose that He interferes by his direct agency in the course of events. The true theory of the universe, according to their doctrine, is that God having created the world and endowed his creatures with their attributes and properties, He has done all that is consistent with his nature. He does not interfere by his immediate agency in the production of effects. These belong to the efficiency of second causes. Or if the metaphysical possibility of such intervention be admitted, it is nevertheless morally impossible, because it would imply imperfection in God. If his work needs his constant interference it must be imperfect, and if imperfect, it must be that God is deficient either in wisdom or power.

    That this is a wrong theory of God's relation to the world is manifest. (1.) Becasse it contradicts the testimony of our moral nature. The relation in which we stand to God, as that relation reveals itself in our consciousness, implies that we are constantly in the presence of a God who takes cognizance of our acts, orders our circumstances, and interferes constantly for our correction or protection. He is not to us a God afar off, with whom we have no immediate concern; but a God who is not far from any one of us, in whom we live, move, and have our being, who numbers the hairs of our head, and without whose notice a sparrow does not fall to the ground. (2.) Reason itself teaches that the conception of God as a ruler of the world, having his creatures in his hands, able to control them at pleasure, and to hold communion with them, is a far higher conception and more consistent with the idea of infinite perfection, than that on which this system of Rationalism is founded. (3.) The common consciousness of men is opposed to this doctrine, as is plain from the fact that all nations, the most cultivated and the most barbarous, have been forced to conceive of God as a Being able to take cognizance of human affairs, and to reveal himself to his creatures. (4.) The argument from Scripture, although not admitted by Rationalists, is for Christians conclusive. The Bible reveals a God who is constantly and everywhere present with his works, and who acts upon them, not only mediately, but immediately, when, where, and how He sees fit.

B. Necessity of a Supernatural Revelation.

    Admitting, however, the metaphysical possibility of a supernatural revelation, the next question is whether such a revelation is necessary. This question must be answered in the affirmative. (1.) Because every man feels that he needs it. He knows that there are questions concerning the origin, nature, and destiny of man; concerning sin, and the method in which it can be pardoned and conquered, which he cannot answer. They are questions, however, which must be answered. So long as these problems are unsolved, no man can be either good or happy. (2.) He is equally certain that no man answers these questions for his felilow-men. Every one sees intuitively that they relate to matters beyond the reach of human reason. What can reason decide as to the fate of the soul after death? Can he who has been unable to make himself holy or happy here, secure his own well-being in the eternal future? Every man, without a supernatural revelation, no matter how much of a philosopher, knows that death is the entrance on the unknown. It is the gate into darkness. Men must enter that gate conscious that they have within them an imperishable life combined with all the elements of perdition. Is it not self-evident then that immortal sinners need some one to answer with authority the question, What must I do to be saved? To convince a man that there is no sin, and that sin does not involve misery, is as impossible as to convince a wretch that he is not unhappy. The necessity of a divine revelation, therefore, is a simple matter of fact, of which every man is in his heart convinced. (3.) Admitting that philosophers could solve these great problems to their own satisfaction, What is to become of the mass of mankind? Are they to he left in darkness and despair? (4.) The experience of ages proves that the world by wisdom knows not God. The heathen nations, ancient and modern, civilized and savage, have without exception, failed by the light of nature to solve any of the great problems of humanity. This is the testimony of history as well as of Scripture. (5.) Even where the light of revelation is enjoyed, it is found that those who reject its guidance, are led not only to the most contradictory conclusions, but to the adoption of principles, in most cases, destructive of domestic virtue, social order, and individial worth and happiness. The reason of man has led the great body of those who know no other guide, into what has been well called, "The Hell of Pantheism."

C. The Scriptures contain such a Revelation.

    Admitting the possibility and even the necessity of a supernatural revelation, Has such a revelation been actually made? This the Deistical Rationalist denies, and the Christian affirms. He confidently refers to the Bible as containing such a revelation, and maintains that its claims are authenticated by an amount of evidence which renders unbelief unreasonable and criminal.

    1. In the first place, its authors claim to be the messengers of God, to speak by his authority and in his name, so that what they teach is to be received not on the authority of the writers themselves, nor on the ground of the inherent evidence in the nature of the truths communicated, but upon the authority of God. It is He who affirms what the sacred writers teach. This claim must be admitted, or the sacred writers must be regarded as fanatics or impostors. It is absolutely certain that they were neither. It would be no more irrational to pronounce Homer and Newton idiots, than to set down Isaiah and Paul as either impostors or fanatics. It is as certain as any self-evident truth, that they were wise, good, sober-minded men. That such men should falsely assume to be the authoritative messengers of God, and to be endowed with supernatural powers in confirmation of their misson, is a contradiction. It is to affirm that wise and good men are foolish and wicked.

    2. The Bible contains nothing inconsistent with the claim of its authors to divine authority as teachers. It contains nothing impossible, nothing absurd, nothing immoral, nothing inconsistent with any well-authenticated truth. This itself is well-nigh miraculous, considering the circumstances under which the different portions of the Scriptures were written.

    3. More than this, the Bible reveals truths of the highest order, not elsewhere made known. Truths which meet the most urgent necessities of our nature; which solve the problems which reason has never been able to solve. It recognizes and authenticates all the facts of consciousness, all the truths which our moral and religious nature involve, and which we recognize as true as soon as they are presented. It has the same adaptation to the soul that the atmosphere has to the lungs, or the solar influences to the earth on which we live. And what the earth would be without those influences, is, in point of fact, what the soul is without knowledge of the truths which we derive solely from the Bible.

    4. The several books of which the Scriptures are composed were written by some fifty different authors living in the course of fifteen hundred years and yet they are found to be an organic whole, the product of one mind. They are as clearly a development as the oak from the acorn. The gospels and epistles are but the expansion, fulfilment, the culmination of the protevangelium, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpents head," as uttered to our first parents (Ge 3:15). All that intervenes is to the New Testament what the roots, stem, branches, and foliage of the tree are to the fruit. No one book of Scripture can be understood by itself, any more than any one part of a tree or member of the body can be understood without reference to the whole of which it is a part. Those who from want of attention do not perceive this organic relation of the different parts of the Bible, cannot appreciate the argument thence derived in favor of its divine origin. They who do perceive it, cannot resist it.

Argument from Prophecy.

    5. God bears witness to the divine authority of the Scriptures by signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost. The leading events recorded in the New Testament were predicted in the Old. Of this any man may satisfy himself by a comparison of the two. The coincidence between the prophecies and the fulfilment admits of no rational solution, except thst the Bible is the work of God; or, that holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The miracles recorded in the Scriptures are historical events, which are not only entitled to be received on the same testimony which authenticates other facts of history, but they are so implicated with the whole structure of the New Testament, that they cannot be denied without rejecting the whole gospel, which rejection involves the denial of the best authenticated facts in the history of the world.

Argument from the Effects of the Gospel.

    Besides this external supernatural testimony, the Bible is everywhere attended by "the demonstration of the Spirit," which gives to its doctrines the clearness of self-evident truths, and the authority of the voice of God; analogous to the authority of the moral law for the natural conscience.

    6. The Bible ever has been and still is, a power in the world. It has determined the course of history. It has overthrown false religion wherever it is known. It is the parent of modern civilization. It is the only guarantee of social order, of virtue, and of human rights and liberty. Its effects cannot be rationally accounted for upon any other hypothesis than that it is what it claims to be, "The Word of God."

    7. It makes known the person, work, the acts, and words of Christ, who is the clearest revelation of God ever made to man. He is the manifested God. His words were the words of God. His acts were the acts of God. His voice is the voice of God, and He said, "The Scripture cannot be broken" (Joh 10:35). If any man refuse to recognize him as the Son of God, as the infallible teacher, and only Saviour of men, nothing can be said save what the Apostle says, "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2Co 4:3-4,6.)

    Deistical Rationalism is in Germany sometimes called Naturalism, as distinguished from Supernaturalism; as the former denies, and the latter affirms, an agency or operation above nature in the conduct of events in this world. More commonly, however, by Naturalism is meant the theory which denies the existence of any higher power than nature, and therefore is only another name for atheism. It is, consequently, not a proper designation of a system which assumes the existence of a personal God.

§ 3. The Second Form of Rationalism.

A. Its Nature.

    The more common form of Rationalism admits that the Scriptures contain a supernatural revelation. It teaches, however, that the object of that revelation is to make more generally known, and to authenticate for the masses, the truths of reason, or doctrines of natural religion. These doctrines are received by cultivated minds not on the ground of authority, but of rational evidence. The fundamental principle of this class of Rationalists is, that nothing can be rationally believed which is not understood. "Nil credi posse, quod a ratione capi et intelligi nequeat." If asked, Why he believes in the immortality of the soul? the Rationalist answers, Because the doctrine is reasonable. To his mind, the arguments in its favor outweigh those against it. If asked, Why he does not believe the doctrine of the Trinity? he answers, Because it is unreasonable. The philosophical arguments against it outweigh the arguments from reason, in its favor. That the sacred writers teach the doctrine is not decisive. The Rationalist does not feel bound to believe all that the sacred writers teach. The Bible, he admits, contains a Divine revelation. But this revelation was made to fallible men, men under no supernatural guidance in communicating the truths revealed. They were men whose mode of thinking, and manner of arguing, and of presenting truth, were modified by their culture, and by the modes of thought prevailing during the age in which they lived. The Scriptures, therefore, abound with misapprehensions, with inconclusive arguments, and accommodations to Jewish errors, superstitions, arid popular beliefs. It is the office of reason to sift these incongruous materials, and separate the wheat from the chaff. That is wheat which reason apprehends in its own light to be true; that is to be rejected as chaff which reason cannot understand, and cannot prove to be true. That is, nothing is true to us which we do not see for ourselves to be true.

B. Refutation.

    It is sufficient to remark on this form of Rationalism, --

    1. That it is founded upon a false principle. It is not necessary to the rational exercise of faith that we should understand the truth believed. The unknown and the impossible cannot be believed; but every man does, and must believe the incomprehensible. Assent to truth is founded on evidence. That evidence may be external or intrinsic. Some things we believe on the testimony of our senses; other things we believe on the testimony of men. Why, then, may we not believe on the testimony of God? A man may believe that paper thrown upon fire will burn, although he does not understand the process of combustion. All men believe that plants grow, and that like begets like; but no man understands
the mystery of reproduction. Even the Positivist who would reduce all belief to zero, is obliged to admit the incomprehensible to be true. And those who will believe neither in God nor spirit because they are invisible and intangible, say that all we know is the unknowable, -- we know only force, but of force we know nothing but that it is, and that it persists. If, therefore, the incomprehensible must be believed in every other department of knowledge, no rational ground can be given why it should be banished from religion.

    2. Rationalism assumes that the human intelligence is the measure of all truth. This is an insane presumption on the part of such a creature as man. If a child believes with implicit confidence what it cannot understand, on the testimony of a parent, surely man may believe what he cannot understand, on the testimony of God.

    3. Rationalism destroys the distinction between faith and knowledge, which all men and all ages admit. Faith is assent to truth founded on testimony, "credo quod non video." Knowledge is assent founded on the direct or indirect, the intuitive or discursive, apprehension of its object. If there can be no rational faith, if we are to receive as true only what we know and understand, the whole world is beggared. It loses all that sustains, beautifies, and ennobles life.

    4. The poor cannot be Rationalists. If we must understand what we believe, even on the principles of the Rationalists, only philosophers can be religious. They alone can comprehend the rational grounds on which the great truths of even natural religion are to be received. Widespread, therefore, as has been the influence of a Rationalistic spirit, it has never taken hold of the people; it has never controlled the creed of any church; because all religion is founded on the incomprehensible and the infinite.

    5. The protest, therefore, which our religious nature makes against the narrow, cold, and barren system of Rationalism, is a sufficient proof that it cannot be true, because it cannot meet our most urgent necessities. The object of worship must be infinite, and of necessity incomprehensible.

    6. Faith implies knowledge. And if we must understand in order to know, faith and knowledge become alike impossible. The principle, therefore, on which Rationalism is founded, leads to Nihilism, or universal negation. Even the latest form of philosophy, taking the lowest possible ground as to religious faith, admits that we are surrounded on every side by the incomprehensible.

    Herbert Spencer, in his "First Principles of a New Philosophy," asserts, p. 45, "the omnipresence of something which passes comprehension." He declares that the ultimate truth in which all forms of religion agree, and in which religion and science are in harmony, is, "That the Power which the universe manifests to us is utterly inscrutable."2 The inscrutable, the incomprehensible, what we cannot understand, must therefore of necessity be rationally the object of faith. And consequently reason, rational demonstration, or philosophical proof is not the ground of faith. We may rationally believe what we cannot understand. We may be assured of truths which are encompassed with objections which we cannot satisfactorily answer.

C. History.

    The modern form of Deistic Rationalism had its rise in England during the latter part of the seventeenth, and the first half of the eighteenth centuries. Lord Herbert, who died as early as 1648, in his work, "De Veritate, prout distinguitur a Revelatione," etc., taught that all religion consists in the acknowledgment of the following truths: 1. The existence of God. 2. The dependence of man on God, and his obligation to reverence him. 3. Piety consists in the harmony of the human faculties. 4. The essential difference between good and evil. 5. A future state of rewards and punishment. These he held to be intuitive truths, needing no proof, and virtually believed by all men. This may be considered as the confession of Faith of all Deists, and even of those Rationalists who admit a supernatural revelation; for such revelation, they maintain, can only authenticate what reason itself teaches. Other writers quickly followed in the course opened by Lord Herbert; as, Toland in his "Christianity without Mystery," 1696, a work which excited great attention, and drew out numerous refutations. Toland ended by avowing himself a Pantheist. Hobbes was a Materialist. Lord Shaftesbury, who died 1773, in his "Characteristics," "Miscellaneous Treatises," and "Moralist," made ridicule the test of truth. He declared revelation and inspiration to be fanaticism. Collins (died 1729) was a more serious writer. His principal works were, "An Essay on Free-thinking," and "The Grounds and Reasons of Christianity." Lord Bolingbroke, Secretary of State under Queen Anne, "Letters on the Study and Utility of History." Matthew Tindal, "Christianity as Old as the Creation " Tindal, instead of attacking Christianity in detail, attempted to construct a regular system of Deism. He maintained that God could not intend that men should ever be without a religion adequate to all their necessities, and therefore that a revelation can only make known what every man has in his own reason. This internal and universal revelation contains the two truths: 1. The existence of God. 2. That God created man not for his own sake, but for man's. By far the most able and influential of the writers of this class was David Hume. His "Essays" in four volumes contain his theological views. The most important of these are those on the Natural History of Religion, and on Miracles. His "Dialogues on Natural Religion" is regarded as the ablest work ever written in support of the Deistical, or rather, Atheistical system.

    From England the spirit of infidelity extended into France. Voltaire, Rousseau, La Mettrie, Holbach, D'Alembert, Diderot, and others, succeeded for a time in overthrowing all religious faith in the governing classes of society.

Rationalism in Germany.

    In Germany the Rationalistic defection began with such men as Baumgarten, Ernesti, and John David Michaelis, who did not deny the divine authority of the Scriptures, but explained away their doctrines. These were followed by such men as Semler, Morus, and Eichhorn, who were thoroughly neological. During the latter part of the last, and first part of the present century, most of the leading church historians, exegetes, and theologians of Germany, were Rationalists. The first serious blow given to their system was by Kant. The Rationalists assumed that they were able to demonstrate the truths of natural religion on the principles of reason. Kant, in his "Critic of Pure Reason," undertook to show that reason is incompetent to prove any religious truth. The only foundation for religion he maintained was our moral consciousness. That consciousness involved or implied the three great doctrines of God, liberty, and immortality. His successors, Fichte and Schelling, carried out the principles which Kant adopted to prove that the outward world is an unknown something, to show that there was no such world; that there was no real distinction between the ego and non-ego, the subjective and objective; that both are modes of the manifestation of the absolute. Thus all things were merged into one. This idealistic Pantheism having displaced Rationalism, has already yielded the philosophic throne to a subtle form of Materialism.

    Bretschneiders "Entwickelung aller in der Dogmatik vorkommenden Begriffe," gives a list of fifty-two works on the rationalistic controversy in Germany. The English books written against the Rationalists or Deists of Great Britain, and on the proper office of reason in matters of religion, are scarcely less numerous. Some of the more important of these works are the following: "Boyle on Things above Reason," Butler's "Analogy of Religion and Nature," Conybeare's "Defence of Religion," "Hulsean Lectures," Jackson's "Examination," "Jew's Letters to Voltaire," Lardner's "Credibility of the Gospel History," Leland's "Advantage and Necessity of Revelation," Leslie's "Short and Easy Method with Deists." Warburton's "View of Bolingbroke's Philosophy," and his "Divine Legation of Moses," John Wilson's "Dissertation on Christianity," etc., etc. See Staudlin's "Geschichte des Rationalismus," and a concise and instructive history of theology during the eighteenth century, by Dr. Tholuck in "Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review" for 1828. Leibnitz's "Discours de la Conformite de la Foi avec la Raison," in the Preface to his "Theodicee," and Mansel's "Limits of Religious Thought," deserve the careful perusal of the theological student. The most recent works on this general subject are Lecky's "History of Rationalism in Europe, and "History of Rationalism, embracing a survey of the present state of Protestant Theology," by Rev. John F. Hurst, A. M. The latter is the most instructive publication in the English language on modern skepticism.

§ 4. Dogmatism, or the Third Form of Rationalism.

A. Meaning of the Term.

    It was a common objection made in the early age of the Church against Christianity, by the philosophical Greeks, that its doctrines were received upon authority, and not upon rational evidence. Many of the Fathers, specially those of the Alexandrian school, answered that this was true only of the common people. They could not be expected to understand philosophy. They could receive the high spiritual truths of religion only on the ground of authority. But the educated classes were able and were bound to search after the philosophical or rational evidence of the doctrines taught in the Bible, and to receive those doctrines on the ground of that evidence. They made a distinction, therefore, between pi,stij and gnw/sij,faith and knowledge. The former was for the oommon people, the latter for the cultivated. The objects of faith were the doctrinal statements of the Bible in the form in which they are there presented. The ground of faith is simply the testimony of the Scriptures as the Word of God. The objects of knowledge were the speculative or philosophical ideas which underlie the doctrines of the Bible, and the ground on which those ideas or truths are received and incorporated in our system of knowledge, is their own inherent evidence. They are seen to be true by the light of reason. Faith is thus elevated into knowledge, and Christianity exalted into a philosophy. This method was carried out by the Platonizing fathers, and continued to prevail to a great extent among the schoolmen. During the Middle Ages the authority of the Church was paramount, and the freest thinkers did not venture openly to impugn the doctrines which the Church had sanctioned. For the most part they contented themselves with philosophizing about those doctrines, and endeavoring to show that they admitted of a philosophical explanation and proof.


    As remarked in the preceding chapter, this method was revived and extensively propagated by Wolf (1679-1754, Professor at Halle and Marburg). His principal works were "Theologia Naturalis," 1736, "Philos. Practicalis Universalis," 1738, "Philos. Moralis s. Ethica," 1750, "Vernunftige Gedanken von Gott, der Welt und der Seele des Menschen, auch allen Dingen uberhaupt," 1720. Wolf unduly exalted the importance of natural religion. Although he admitted that the Scriptures revealed doctrines undiscoverable by the unassisted reason of man, he yet insisted that all doctrines, in order to be rationally received as true, should be capable of demonstration on the principles of reason. "He maintained," says Mr. Rose (in his "State of Protestantisin in Germany," p. 39), "that philosophy was indispensable to religion, and that, together with Biblical proofs, a mathematical or strictly demonstrative dogmatical system, according to the principles of reason, was absolutely necessary. His own works carried this theory into practice, and after the first clamors had subsided, his opinions gained more attention, and it was not long before he had a school of vehement admirers, who far outstripped him in the use of his own principles. We find some of them not content with applying demonstration to the truth of the system, but endeavoring to establish each separate dogma, the Trinity, the nature of the Redeemer, the Incarnation, the eternity of punishment, on philosophical, and strange as it may appear, some of these truths on mathematical grounds." The language of Wolf himself on this subject has already been quoted on page 5. He expressly states that the office of revelation is to supplement natural religion, and to present propositions which the philosopher is bound to demonstrate. By demonstration is not meant the adduction of proof that the proposition is sustained the Scriptrres, but that the doctrine must be admitted as true on the principles of reason. It is philosophical demonstration that is intended. "Theological Dogmatism," says Mansel3, "is an application of reason to the support and defense of preexisting statements of Scripture. . . . Its end is to produce a coincidence between what we believe and what we think; to remove the boundary which separates the comprehensible from the incomprehensible."4 It attempts, for example, to demonstrate the doctrine of the Trinity from the nature of an infinite being; the doctrine of the Incarnation from the nature of man and his relation to God, etc. Its grand design is to transmute faith into knowledge, to elevate Christianity as a system of revealed truth into a system of Philosophy.

B. Refutation.

    The objections to Dogmatism, as thus understood, are, -- That it is essentially Rationalistic. The Rationalist demands philosophical proof of the doctrines which he receives. He is not willing to believe on the simple authority of Scripture. He requires his reason to be satisfied by a demonstration of the truth independent of the Bible. This demand the Dogmatist admits to be reasonable, and he undertakes to furnish the required proof. In this essential point, therefore, in making the reception of Christian doctrine to rest on reason and not on authority, the Dogmatist and the Rationalist are on common ground. For although the former admits a supernatural revelation, and acknowledges that for the common people faith must rest on authority, yet he maintains that the mysteries of religion admit of rational or philosophical demonstration, and that such demonstration cultivated minds have a right to demand.

    2. In thus shifting faith from the foundation of divine testimony, and making it rest on rational demonstration, it is removed from the Rock of Ages to a quicksand. There is all the difference between a conviction founded on the well-authenticated testimony of God, and that founded on so-called philosophical demonstration, that there is between God and man, the divine and human. Let any man read the pretended philosophical demonstrations of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the resurrection of the body, or any other of the great truths of the Bible, and he will feel at liberty to receive or to reject it at pleasure. It has no authority or certainty. It is the product of a mind like his own, and therefore can have no more power than belongs to the fallible human intellect.

    3. Dogmatism is, therefore, in its practical effect, destructive of faith. In transmuting Christianity into a philosophy, its whole nature is changed and its power is lost. It takes its place as one of the numberless phases of human speculation, which in the history of human thought succeed each other as the waves of the sea, -- no one ever abides.

    4. It proceeds on an essentially false principle. It assumes the competency of reason to judge of things entirely beyond its sphere. God has so constituted our nature, that we are authorized and necessitated to confide in the well-authenticated testimony of our senses, within their appropriate sphere. And in like manner, we are constrained to confide in the operation of our minds and in the conclusions to which they lead, within the sphere which God has assigned to human reason. But the senses cannot sit in judgment on rational truths. We cannot study logic with the microscope or scalpel. It is no less irrational to depend upon reason, or demand rational or philosophical demonstration for truths which become the objects of knowledge only as they are revealed. From the nature of the case the truths concerning the creation, the probation, and apostasy of man, the purpose and plan of redemption, the person of Christ, the state of the soul in the future world, the relation of God to his creatures, etc., not depending on general principles of reason, but in great measure on the purposes of an intelligent, personal Being, can be known only so far as He chooses to reveal them, and must be received simply on his authority.

The Testimony of the Scriptures against Dogmatism.

    5. The testimony of the Scriptures is decisive on this subject. From the beginning to the end of the Bible the sacred writers present themselves in the character of witnesses. They demand faith in their teachings and obedience to their commands not on the ground of their own superiority in wisdom or excellence; not on the ground of rational demonstration of the truth of what they taught, but simply as the organs of God, as men appointed by Him to reveal his will. Their first and last, and sufficient reason for faith is, "Thus saith the Lord." The New Testament writers, especially, repudiate all claim to the character of philosophers. They taught that the Gospel was not a system of truth derived from reason or sustained by its authority, but by the testimony of God. They expressly assert that its doctrines were matters of revelation, to be received on divine testimony. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?" (1Co 2:9-11.) Such being the nature of the Gospel, if received at all it must be received on authority. It was to be believed or taken on trust, not demonstrated as a philosophical system. Nay, the Bible goes still further. It teaches that a man must become a fool in order to be wise; he must renounce dependence upon his own reason or wisdom, in order to receive the wisdom of God. Our Lord told his disciples that unless they were converted and became as little children, they could not enter into the kingdom of God. And the Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, and in those addressed to the Ephesians and Colossians, that is, when writing to those imbued with the Greek and with the oriental philosophy, made it the indispensable condition of their becoming Christians, that they should renounce philosophy as a guide in matters of religion, and receive the Gospel on the testimony of God. Nothing, therefore, can be more opposed to the whole teaching and spirit of the Bible, than this disposition to insist on philosophical proof of the articles of our faith. Our duty, privilege, and security are in believing, not in knowing; in trusting God, and not our own understanding. They are to be pitied who have no more trustworthy teacher than themselves.

    6. The instructions of the Bible on this subject are abundantly confirmed by the lessons of experience. From the time of the Gnostics, and of the Platonizing fathers, the attempt has been made in every age to exalt faith into knowledge, to transmute Christianity into philosophy, by demonstrating its doctrines on the principles of reason. These attempts have always failed. They have all proved ephemeral and worthless, -- each successive theorizer viewing with more or less contempt the speculations of his predecessors, yet each imagining that he has the gifts for comprehending the Almighty.

    These attempts are not only abortive, they are always evil in their effects upon their authors and upon all who are influenced by them. So far as they succeed to the satisfaction of those who make them, they change the relation of the soul to the truth, and, of course, to God. The reception of the truth is not an act of faith or of trust in God; but of confidence in our own speculations. Self is substituted for God as the ground of confidence. The man's whole inward state is thereby changed. History, moreover, proves that Dogmatism is the predecessor of Rationalism. The natural tendency and the actual consequences of the indulgence of a disposition to demand philosophical demonstration for articles of faith, is a state of mind which revolts at authority, and refuses to admit as true what it cannot comprehend and prove. And this state of mind, as it is incompatible with faith, is the parent of unbelief and of all its consequences. There is no safety for us, therefore, but to remain within the limits which God has assigned us. Let us rely on our senses, within the sphere of our sense perceptions; on our reason within the sphere of rational truths; and on God, and God alone, in all that relates to the things of God. He only truly knows, who consents with the docility of a child to be taught of God.

§ 5. Proper Office of Reason in Matters of Religion.

A. Reason Necessary for the Reception of a Revelation.

    Christians, in repudiating Rationalism in all its forms, do not reject the service of reason in matters of religion. They acknowledge its high prerogatives, and the responsibility involved in their exercise.

    In the first place, reason is necessarily presupposed in every revelation. Revelation is the communication of truth to the mind. But the communication of truth supposes the capacity to receive it. Revelations cannot he made to brutes or to idiots. Truths, to be received as objects of faith, must be intellectually apprehended A proposition, to which we attach no meaning, however important the truth it may contain, cannot be an object of faith. If it be affirmed that the soul is immortal, or God is a spirit, unless we know the meaning of the words nothing is communicated to the mind, and the mind can affirm or deny nothing on the subject. In other words, knowledge is essential to faith. In believing we affirm the truth of the proposition believed. But we can affirm nothing of that of which we know nothing. The first and indispensable office of reason, therefore, in matters of faith, is the cognition, or intelligent apprehension of the truths proposed for our reception. This is what theologians are accustomed to call the usus organicus, seu, instrumentalis, rationis. About this there can be no dispute.

Difference between Knowing and Understanding.

    It is important, however, to bear in mind the difference between knowing and understanding, or comprehending. A child knows what the words "God is a spirit" mean. No created being can comprehend the Almighty unto perfection. We must know the plan of salvation; but no one can comprehend its mysteries. This distinction is recognized in every department. Men know unspeakably more than they understand. We know that plants grow; that the will controls our voluntary muscles; that Jesus Christ is God and man in two distinct natures, and one person forever; but here as everywhere we are surrounded by the incomprehensible. We can rationally believe that a thing is, without knowing how or why it is. It is enough for the true dignity of man as a rational creature, that he is not called upon by his Creator to believe without knowledge, to receive as true propositions which convey no meaning to the mind. This would be not only irrational, but impossible.

B. Reason must judge of the Credibility of a Revelation.

    In the second place, it is the prerogative of reason to judge of the credibility of a revelation. The word "credible" is sometimes popularly used to mean, easy of belief, i. e., probable. In its proper sense, it is antithetical to incredible. The incredible is that which cannot be believed. The credible is that which can be believed. Nothing is incredible but the impossible. What may be, may be rationally (i. e., on adequate grounds) believed.

    A thing may be strange, unaccountable, unintelligible, and yet perfectly credible. What is strange or unaccountable to one mind may be perfectly familiar and plain to another. For the most limited intellect or experience to make itself the standard of the possible and true, would be as absurd as a man's making his visible horizon the limit of space. Unless a man is willing to believe the incomprehensible, he can believe nothing, and must dwell forever in cuter darkness. The most skeptical form of modern philosophy, which reduces faith and knowledge to a minimum, teaches that the incomprehensible is all we know namely, that force is, and that it is persistent. It is most unreasonable, therefore, to urge as an objection to Christianity that it demands faith in the incomprehensible.

The Impossible cannot be believed.

    While this is true and plain, it is no less true that the impossible is incredible, and therefore cannot be an object of faith. Christians concede to reason the judicium contradictionis, that is, the prerogative of deciding whether a thing is possible or impossible. If it is seen to be impossible, no authority, and no amount or kind of evidence can impose the obligation to receive it as true. Whether, however, a thing be possible or not, is not to be arbitrarily determined. Men are prone to pronounce everything impossible which contradicts their settled convictions, their preconceptions or prejudices, or which is repugnant to their feelings. Men in former times did not hesitate to say that it is impossible that the earth should turn round on its axis and move through space with incredible rapidity, and yet we not perceive it. It was pronounced absolutely impossible that information should be transmitmed thousands of miles in the fraction of a second. Of course it would be folly to reject all evidence of such facts as these on the ground of their being impossible. It is no less unreasonable for men to reject the truths of revelation on the assumption that they involve the impossible, when they contradict our previous convictions, or when we cannot see how they can be. Men say that it is impossible that the same person can be both God and man; and yet they admit that man is at once material and immaterial, mortal and immortal, angel and animal. The impossible cannot be true; but reason in pronouncing a thing impossible must act rationally and not capriciomisly. Its judgments must be guided by principles which commend themselves to the commnon consciousness of men. Such principles are the following: -

What is Impossible.

    (1.) That is impossible which involves a contradiction; as, that a thing is and is not; that right is wrong, and wrong right. (2.) It is imnossible that God should do, approve, or command what is morahy wrong. (3.) It is impossible that He should require us to believe what contradicts any of the laws of belief which He has impressed upon our nature. (4.) It is impossible that one truth should contradict another. It is impossible, therefore, that God should reveal anything as true which contradicts any well authenticated truth, whether of intuition, experience, or previous revelation.

    Men may abuse this prerogative of reason, as they abuse their free agency. But the prerogative itself is not to be denied. We have a right to reject as untrue whatever it is impossible that God should require us to believe. He can no more require us to believe what is absurd than to do what is wrong.

Proof of this Prerogative of Reason.

    1. That reason has the prerogative of the judicium contradictionis, is plain, in the first place, from the very nature of the case. Faith includes an affirmation of the mind that a thing is true. But it is a contradiction to say that the mind can affirm that to be true which it sees cannot by possibility be true. This would be to affirm and deny, to believe and disbelieve, at the samne time. From the very constitution of our nature, therefore, we are forbidden to believe the impossible. We are, consequently, not only authorized, but required to pronounce anathema an apostle or angel from heaven, who should call upon us to receive as a revelation from God anything absurd, or wicked, or inconsistent with the intellectual or moral nature with which He has endowed us. The subjection of the human intelligence to God is indeed absolute; but it is a subjection to infinite wisdom and goodness. As it is impossible that God should contradict himself, so it is impossible tlmat He should, by an external revelation, declare that to be true which by the laws of our nature He has rendered it impossible we should believe.

    2. This prerogative of reason is constantly recognized in Scripture. The prophets called upon the people to reject the doctrines of the heathen, because they could not be true. They could not be true because they involved contradictions and absurdities; because they were in contradiction to our moral nature, and inconsistent with known truths. Moses taught that nothing was to be believed, no matter what amount of external evidence should be adduced in its support, which contradicted a previous, duly authenticated revelation from God. Paul does the same thing when he calls upon us to pronounce even an angel accursed, who should teach another gospel. He recognized the paramount authority of the intuitive judgments of the mind. He says that the damnation of any man is just who calls upon us to believe that right is wrong, or that men should do evil that good may come.

    3. The ultimate ground of faith and knowledge is confidence in God. We can neither believe nor know anything unless we confide in those laws of belief which God has implanted in our nature. If we can be required to believe what contradicts those laws, then the foundations are broken up. All distinction between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong, would disappear. All our ideas of God and virtue would be confounded, and we should become the victims of every adroit deceiver, or minister of Satan, who, by lying wonders, should call upon us to believe a lie. We are to try the spirits. But how can we try them without a standard? and what other standard can there be, except the laws of our nature and the authenticated revelations of God.

C. Reason must judge of the Evidences of a Revelation.

    In the third place, reason must judge of the evidence by which a revelation is supported.

    On this point it may be remarked, --

    1. That as faith involves assent, and assent is conviction produced by evidence, it follows that faith without evidence is either irrational or impossible.

    2. This evidence must be appropriate to the nature of the truth believed. Historical truth requires historical evidence; empirical truths, the testimony of experience; mathematical truth, mathematical evidence; moral truth, moral evidence; and "the things of the Spirit," the demonstration of the Spirit. In many cases different kinds of evidence concur in the support of the same truth. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, for example, is sustained by evidence, historical, moral, and spiritual, so abundant that our Lord says of those who reject it, that the wrath of God abideth on them.

    3. Evidence must be not only appropriate, but adequate. That is, such as to command assent in every well-constituted mind to which it is presented.

    As we cannot believe without evidence, and as that evidence must be appropriate and adequate, it is clearly a prerogative of reason to judge of these several points. This is plain.

    1. From the nature of faith, which is not a blind, irrational assent, but an intelligent reception of the truth on adequate grounds.

    2. The Scriptures never demand faith except on the ground of adequate evidence. "If I had not done among them," says our Lord, "the works which none other man did, they had not had sins" (Joh 15:24); clearly recognizing the principle that faith cannot be required without evidence. The Apostle Paul proves that the heathen are justly liable to condemnation for their idolatry and immorality, because such a revelation of the true God and of the moral law had been made to them, as to leave them withoul excuse.

    3. The Bible regards unbelief as a sin, and the great sin for which men will be condemned at the bar of God. This presumes that unbelief cannot arise from the want of appropriate and adoquate evidence, but is to be referred to the wicked rejection of the truth notwithstanding the proof by which it is attended. The popular misconception that men are not responsible for their faith arises from a confusion of ideas. It is true that men are not blameworthy for not believing in speculative truths, when the cause of their unbelief is ignorance of the fact or of its evidence. It is no sin not to believe that he earth moves round the sun, if one be ignorant of the fact or of the evidence of its truth. But wherever unbelief arises from an evil heart, then it involves all the guilt which belongs to the cause whence it springs. If the wicked hate the good and believe them to be as wicked as themselves, this is only a proof of their wickedness. If a man does not believe in the moral law; if he holds that might is right, that the strong may rob, murder, or oppress the weak, as some philosophers teach, or if he disbelieve in the existence of God, then it is evident to men and angels that he has been given up to a reprobate mind. There is an evidence of beauty to which nothing but want of taste can render one insensible; there is evidence of moral excellence to which nothing but an evil heart can render us blind. Why did the Jews reject Christ, notwithstanding all the evidence presented in his character, in his words, and in his works, that he was the Son of God? "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemnned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (Joh 3:18.) The fact, however, that unbelief is a great sin, and the special ground of the condemnation of men, of necessity supposes that it is inexcusable, that it does not arise from ignorance or want of evidence. "How shall they believe," asks the Apostle, "in him of whom they have not heard." (Ro 10:14.) And our Lord says, "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (Joh 3:19.)

    4. Another evidence that the Scriptures recognize the necessity of evidence in order to faith, and the right of those to whom a revelation is addressed to judge of that evidence, is found in the frequent command to consider, to examine, to try the spirits, i.e., those who claim to be the organs of the Spirit of God. The duty of judging is enjoined, and the standard of judgment is given. And then men are held respousible for their decision.

    Christians, therefore, concede to reason all the prerogatives it can rightfully claim. God requires nothing irrational of his rational creatures. He does not require faith without knowledge, or faith in the impossible, or faith without evidence. Christianity is equally opposed to superstition and Rationalism. The one is faith without appropriate evidence, the other refuses to believe what it does not understand, in despite of evidence which should command belief. The Christian, conscious of his imbecility as a creature, and his ignorance and blindness as a sinner, places himself before God, in the posture of a child, and receives as true everything which a God of infinite intelligence and goodness declares to be worthy of confidence. And in thus submitting to be taught, he acts on the highest principles of reason.

§ 6. Relation of Philosophy and Revelation.

     Cicero5defines philosophy as "Rerum divinarum et humanarum, causarumque quibus hae res continentur, scientia." Peemans6 says, "Philosophia est scientia rerum per causas primas, recto rationis usu comparata." Or, as Ferrier7 more concisely expresses it, "Philosophy is the attainment of truth by the way of reason." These and other definitions are to be found in Fleming's "Vocabulary of Philosophy."

    There is, however, a philosophia prima, or first philosophy, which is concerned not so much with what is to be known, as with the faculty of knowledge, which examines the cognitive faculty, determines its laws and its limits. It is the philosophy of philosophy.

    Whether we take the word to mean the knowledge of God and nature attained by reason, or the principles which should guide all efforts for the attainment of knowledge, the word is intended to cover the whole domain of human intelligence. Popularly, we distinguish between philosophy and science; the former having for its sphere the spiritual, the latter, the material. Commonly, philosophy is understood as comprising both departments. Hence we speak of natural philosophy as well as of the philosophy of mind. Such being the compass of the domain which philosophers claim as their own, the proper relation between philosophy and theology becomes a question of vital importance. This is, indeed, the great question at issue in the Rationalistic controversy; and therefore, at the conclusion of this chapter, all that remains to be done is to give a concise statement of familiar principles.

Philosophy and Theology occupy Common Ground.

    1. Philosophy and Theology occupy common ground. Both assume to teach what is true concerning God, man, the world, and the relation in which God stands to his creatures.

    2. While their objects are so far identical, both striving to attain a knowledge of the same truths, their methods are essentially different. Philosophy seeks to attain knowledge by speculation and induction, or by the exercise of our own intellectual faculties. Theology relies upon authority, receiving as truth whaterer God in his Word has revealed.

    3. Both these methods are legitimate. Christians do not deny that our senses and reason are reliable informants; that they enable us to arrive at certainty as to what lies within their sphere.

    4. God is the author of our nature and the maker of heaven and earth, therefore nothing which the laws of our nature or the facts of the external world prove to be true, can contradict the teaching of God's Word. Neither can the Scriptures contradict the truths of philosophy or science.

Philosophers and Theologians should Strive after Unity.

    5. As these two great sources of knowledge must be consistent in their valid teachings, it is the duty of all parties to endeavor to exhibit that consistency. Philosophers should not ignore the teachings of the Bible, and theologians should not ignore the teachings of science. Much less should either class needlessly come into collision with the other. It is unreasonable and irreligious for philosophers to adopt and promulgate theories inconsistent with the facts of the Bible, when those theories are sustained by only plausible evidence, which does not command the assent even of the body of scientific men themselves. On the other hand, it is unwise for theologians to insist on an interpretation of Scripture which brings it into collision with the facts of science. Both of these mistakes are often made. The Bible, for example, clearly teaches the unity of the existing races of men, both as to origin and species. Many Naturalists, however, insist that they are diverse, some say, both in origin and kind, and others, in origin if not in species. This is done not only on merely plausible evidence, being one of several possible ways of accounting for acknowledged diversities, but in opposition to the most decisive proof to the contrary. This proof, so far as it is historical and philological, does not fall within the sphere ot natural science, and therefore the mere Naturalist disregards it. Comparative philologists hold up their hands at the obtuseness of men of science, who maintain that races have had different origins, whose languages render it clear to demonstration that they have been derived from a comnion stock. Considering the overwhelming weight of evidence of the divine authority of the Scriptures, and the unspeakable importance of that authority being maintained over the minds and hearts of men, it evinces fearful recklessness on the part of those who wantonly impugn its teachings. On the other hand, it is unwise in theologians to array themselves needlessly against the teachings of science. Romanists and Protestants vainly resisted the adoption of the Copernican theory of our solar system. They interpreted the Bible in a sense contradictory to that theory. So far as in them lay, they staked the authority of the Bible on the correctness of their interpretation. The theory proved to be true, and the received interpretation had to be given up. The Bible, however, has received no injury, although theologians have been taught an important lesson; that is, to let science take its course, assured that the Scriptures will accommodate themselves to all well-authenticated scientific facts in time to come, as they have in time past.

The Authority of Facts.

    6. The relation between Revelation and Philosophy (taking the word in its restricted sense) is different from that between Revelation and Science. Or, to express the same idea in different words, the relation between revelation and facts is one thing; and the relation between revelation and theories another thing. Facts do not admit of denial. They are determined by the wisdom and will of God. To deny facts, is to deny what God affirms to be true. This the Bible cannot do. It cannot contradict God. The theologian, therefore, acknowledges that the Scriptures must be interpreted in accordance with established facts. He has a right, however, to demand that those facts should be verified beyond the possibility of doubt. Scientific men in one age or country affirm the truth of facts, which others deny or disprove. It would be a lamentable spectacle to see the Church changing its doctrines, or its interpretation of Scripture, to suit the constantly changing representations of scientific men as to matters of fact.

    While acknowledging their obligation to admit undeniable facts, theologians are at liberty to receive or reject the theories deduced from those facts. Such theories are human speculations, and can have no higher authority than their own inherent probability. The facts of light, electricity, magnetism, are permanent. The theories concerning them are constantly changing. The facts of geology are to be admitted; the theories of geologists have no coercive authority. The facts of physiology and comparative anatomy may be received; but no man is bound to receive any of the various conflicting theories of development. Obvious as this distinction between facts and theories is, it is nevertheless often disregarded. Scientific men are disposed to demand for their theories, the authority due only to established facts. And theologians, because at liberty to reject theories, are sometimes led to assert their independence of facts.

The Authority of the Bible higher than that of Philosophy.

    7. Philosophy, in its widest sense, being the conclusions of the human intelligence as to what is true, and the Bible being the declaration of God, as to what is true, it is plain that where the two contradict each other, philosophy must yield to revelation; man must yield to God. It has been admitted that revelation cannot contradict facts; that the Bible must be interpreted in accordance with what God has clearly made known in the constitution of our nature and in the outward world. But the great body of what passes for philosophy or science, is merely human speculation. What is the philosophy of the Orientals, of Brahmins and Buddhists, of the early Gnostics, of the Platonists, of the Scotists in the Middle Ages; of Leibnitz with his monads and preestabhished harmony; of Des Cartes and his vortices; of Kant and his categories; of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, with their different theories of idealistic pantheism? The answer to that question is, that these systems of philosophy are so many forms of human speculation; and consequently that so far as these speculations agree with the Bible they are true; and so far as they differ from it, they are false and worthless. This is the ground which every believer, learned or unlearned, is authorized and bound to take. If the Bible teaches that God is a person, the philosophy that teaches that an infinite being cannot be a person, is false. If the Bible teaches that God creates, controls, regenerates, the philosophy that forbids the assumption that He acts in time, is to be rejected. If the Bible teaches that the soul exists after the dissolution of the body, the philosophy which teaches that man is only the ephemeral manifestation of a generic life in connection with a given corporoal organization, is to be dismnissed without further examination. In short, the Bible teaches certain doctrines concerning the nature of God and his relation to the world; concerning the origin, nature, and destiny of man; concerning the nature of virtue, the ground of moral obligation, human liberty and responsibility; what is the rule of duty, what is right and what is wrong in all our relations to God and to our fellow creatures. These are subjects on which philosophy undertakes to speculate and dogmatize; if in any case these speculations come into conflict with what is taught or necessarily implied in the Bible, they are thereby refuted, as by a reductio ad absurdum. And the disposition which refuses to give up these speculations in obedience to the teaching of the Bible, is inconsistent with Christianity. It is the indispensable condition of salvation through the gospel, that we receive as true whatever God has revealed in his Word. We must make our choice between the wisdom of men and the wisdom of God. The wisdom of men is foolishness with God; and the wisdom of God is foolishness to the wise of this world.

The relation, therefore, between philosophy and revelation, as determined by the Scriptures themselves, is what every right-minded man must approve. Everything is conceded to philosophy and science, which they can rightfully demand. It is admitted that they have a large and important sphere of investigation. It is admitted that within that sphere they are entitled to the greatest deference. It is cheerfully conceded that they have accomplished much, not only as means of mental discipline, but in the enlargement of the sphere of human knowledge, and in promoting the refinement and well-being of men. It is admitted that theologians are not infallible, in the interpretation of Scripture. It may, therefore, happen in the future, as it has in the past, that interpretations of the Bible, long confidently received, must be modified or abandoned, to bring revelation into harmony with what God teaches in his works. This change of view as to the true meaning of the Bible may be a painful trial to the Church, but it does not in the least impair the authority of the Scriptures. They remain infallible; we are merely convicted of having mistaken their meaning.

§ 7. Office of the Senses in Matters of Faith.

    The question, What authority is due to the senses in matters of faith, arose out of the controversy between Romanists and Protestants. The doctrine of transubstantiation, as taught by the Romish Church, contradicts the testimnony of our senses of sight, taste, and touch. It was natural for Protestants to appeal to this contradiction as decisive evidence against the doctrine. Romanists reply by denying the competency of the senses to bear testimony in such cases.

    Protestants maintain the validity of that testimony on the following grounds: (1.) Confidence in the well-authenticated testimony of our senses, is one of those laws of belief which God has impressed upon our nature; from the authority of those laws it is impossible that we should emancipate ourselves. (2.) Confidence in our senses is, therefore, one form of confidence in God. It supposes him to have placed us under the necessity of error, to assume that we cannot safely trust the guides in which, by a law of our nature, he constrains us to confide. (3.) All ground of certainty in matters either of faith or knowledge, is destroyed, if confidence in the laws of our nature be abandoned. Nothing is then possible but absolute skepticism. We, in that case, cannot know that we ourselves exist, or that the world exists, or that there is a God, or a moral law, or any responsibility for character or conduct. (4.) All external supernatural revelation is addressed to the senses. Those who heard Christ had to trust to their sense of hearing; those who read the Bible have to trust to their sense of sight; those who receive the testimony of the Church, receive it through their senses. It is suicidal, therefore, in the Romanists to say that the senses are not to be trusted in matters of faith.

    All the arguments derived from the false judgments of men when misled by the senses, are answered by the simple statement of the proposition, that the senses are to be trusted only within their legitimate sphere. The eye may indeed deceive us when the conditions of correct vision are not present; but this does not prove that it is not to be trusted within its appropriate limits.


1. Page 47, edit. Boston, 1859.
2. First Principles of a New Philosophy, p. 42.
3. Limits of Religious Thought, p. 47
4. Ibid. p. 50.
5. De Officiis, lib. ii. c. 2.
6. Inst. of Metaphys. p. 2.
7. Introd. ad Philosophiam, sect. 107.

Part 00: Introduction 04: Mysticism



 § 1. Meaning of the Words Enthusiasm and Mysticism.   § 2. Mysticism in the Early Church.
§ 3. Mysticism during the Middle Ages.
  § 4. Mysticism at, and after the Reformation.    § 5. Quietism.
§ 6. The Quakers or Friends.    § 7. Objections to the Mystical Theory.


§ 1. Meaning of the Words Enthusiasm and Mysticism.

    IN the popular sense of the word, enthusiasm means a high state of mental excitement. In that state all the powers are exalted, the thoughts become more comprehensive and vivid, the feelings more fervid, and the will more determined. It is in these periods of excitement that the greatest works of genius, whether by poets, painters, or warriors, have been accomplished. The ancients referred this exaltation of the inner man to a divine influence. They regarded persons thus excited as possessed, or having a God within them. Hence they were called enthusiasts (e;nqeoj). In theology, therefore, those who ignore or reject the guidance of the Scriptures, and assume to be led by an inward divine influence into the knowledge and obedience of the truth, are properly called Enthusiasts. This term, however, has been in a great measure superseded by the word Mystics.

    Few words indeed have been used in such a vague, indefinite sense as Mysticism. Its etymology does not determine its meaning. A mu,sthj was one initiated into the knowledge of the Greek mysteries, one to whom secret things had been revealed. Hence in the wide sense of the word, a Mystic is one who claims to see or know what is hidden from other men, whether this knowledge be attained by immediate intuition, or by inward revelation. In most cases these methods were assumed to be identical, as intuition was held to be the immediate vision of God and of divine things. Hence, in the wide sense of the word, Mystics are those who claim to be under the immediate guidance of God or of his Spirit.

A. The Philosophical Use of the Word.

    Hence Mysticism, in this sense, includes all those systems of philosophy, which teach either the identity of God and the soul, or the immediate intuition of the infinite. The pantheism of the Brahmins and Buddhists, the theosophy of the Sufis, the Egyptian, and many forms of the Greek philosophy, in this acceptation of the term, are all Mystical. As the same system has been reproduced in modern times, the same designation is applied to the philosophy of Spinoza, and its various modifications. According to Cousin, "Mysticism in philosophy is the belief that God may be known face to face, without anything intermediate. It is a yielding to the sentiment awakened by the idea of the infinite, and a running up of all knowledge and all duty to the contemplation and love of Him."1

    For the same reason the whole Alexandrian school of theology in the early Church has been called Mystical. They characteristically depreciated the outward authority of the Scriptures, and exalted that of the inward light. It is true they called that light reason, but they regarded it as divine. According to the new Platonic doctrine, the Lo,goj, or impersonal reason of God, is Reason in man; or as Clemens Alexandrinus said, The Logos was a light common to all men. That, therefore, to which supreme authority was ascribed in the pursuit of truth, was "God within us." This is the doctrine of modern Eclecticism as presented by Cousin. That philosopher says, "Reason is impersonal in its nature. It is not we who make it. It is so far from being individual, that its peculiar characteristics are the opposite of individuality, namely, universality and necessity, since it is to Reason we owe the knowledge of universal and necessary truths, of principles which we all obey, and cannot but obey It descends from God, and approaches man. It makes its appearance in the consciousness as a guest, who brings intelligence of an unknown world, of which it at once presents the idea and awakens the want. If reason were personal, it would have no value, no authority beyond the limits of the individual subject. . . . . Reason is a revelation, a necessary and universal revelation which is wanting to no man, and which enlightens every man on his coming into the world. Reason is the necessary mediator between God and man, the Lo,goj of Pythagoras and Plato, the Word made Flesh, which serves as the interpreter of God, and teacher of man, divine and human at the same time. It is not indeed the absolute God in his majestic individuality, but his manifestation in spirit and in truth. It is not the Being of beings, but it is the revealed God of the human race."2

    Reason, according to this system, is not a faculty of the human soul, but God in man. As electricity and magnetism are (or used to be) regarded as forces diffused through the material world, so the Lo,goj, the divine impersonal reason, is diffused through the world of mind, and reveals itself more or less potentially in the souls of all men. This theory, in one aspect, is a form of Rationalism, as it refers all our higher, and especially our religious knowledge, to a subjective source, which it designates Reason. It has, however, more points of analogy with Mysticism, because, (1.) It assumes that the informing principle, the source of knowledge and guide in duty, is divine, something which does not belong to our nature, but appears as a guest in our consciousness. (2.) The office of this inward principle, or light, is the same in both systems. It is to reveal truth and duty, to elevate and purify the soul. (3.) Its authority is the same; that is, it is paramount if not exclusive. (4.) Its very designations are the same. It is called by philosophers, God, the Lo,goj, the Word; by Christians, Christ within us, or, the Spirit. Thus systems apparently the most diverse (Cousin and George Fox!) run into each other, and reveal themselves as reproductions of heathen philosophy, or of the heresies of the early Church.

    Although the Alexandrian theologians had these points of agreement with the Mystics, yet as they were speculative in their whole tendency, and strove to transmute Christianity into a philosophy, they are not properly to be regarded as Mystics in the generally received theological meaning of the term.

B. The Sense in which Evangelical Christians are called Mystics.

    As all Evangelical Christians admit a supernatural influence of the Spirit of God upon the soul, and recognize a higher form of knowledge, holiness, and fellowship with God, as the effects of that influence, they are stigmuatized as Mystics, by those who discard everything supernatural from Christianity. The definitions of Mysticism given by Rationalists are designedly so framed as to include what all evangelical Christians hold to be true concerning the illumination, teaching, and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thus Wegscheider3 says, "Mysticismus est persuasio de singulari animae facultate ad immediatum ipsoque sensu percipiendumu cum numine aut naturis coelestibus commercium jam in hac vita perveniendi, quo mens immediate cognitione rerum divinarum ac beatitate perfruatur." And Bretschneider4 defines Mysticism as a " Belief in a continuous operation of God on the soul, secured by special religious exercise, producing illumination, holiness, and beatitude." Evangelical theologians so far acquiesce in this view, that they say, as Lange,5and Nitsch,6 "that every true believer is a Mystic." The latter writer adds, "That the Christian ideas of illumination, revelation, incarnation, regeneration, the sacraments and the resurrection, are essentially Mystical elements. As often as the religious and church-life recovers itself from formalism and scholastic barrenness, and is truly revived, it always appears as Mystical, and gives rise to the outcry that Mysticism is gaining the ascendency." Some writers, indeed, make a distinction between Mystik and Mysticismus. "Die innerliche Lebendigkeit der Religion ist allezeit Mystik" (The inward vitality of religion is ever Mystik), says Nitsch, but "Mysticismus ist eine einseitige Herrschaft und eino Ausartung der mystischen Richtung" That is, Mysticism is an undue and perverted development of the mystical element which belongs to true religion. This distinction, between Mystik and Mysticismus, is not generally recognized, and cannot be well expressed in English. Lange, instead of using different words, speaks of a true and false Mysticism. But different things should be designated by different words. There has been a religious theory, which has more or less extensively prevailed in the Church, which is distinguished from the Scriptural doctrine by unmistakable characteristics, and which is known in church history as Mysticism, and the word should be restricted to that theory. It is the theory, variously modified, that the knowledge, purity, and blessedness to be derived from communion with God, are not to be attained from the Scriptures and the use of the ordinary means of grace, but by a supernatural and immediate divine influence, which influence (or communication of God to the soul) is to be secured by passivity, a simple yielding the soul without thought or effort to the divine influx.

C. The System which makes the Feelings the Source of Knowledge.

    A still wider use of the word Mvsticism has to some extent been adopted. Any system, whether in philosophy or religion, which assigns more importance to the feelings than to the intellect, is called Mystical. Cousin, and after him, Morell, arrange the systems of philosophy under the heads of Sensationalism, Idealism, Skepticism, and Mysticism. The first makes the senses the exclusive or predominant source of our knowledge; the second, the self, in its constitution and laws, as understood and apprehended by the intellect; and Mysticism, the feelings. The Mystic assumes that the senses and reason are alike untrustworthy and inadequate, as sources of knowledge; that nothing can be received with confidence as truth, at least in the higher departments of knowledge, in all that relates to our own nature, to God, and our relation to Him, except what is revealed either naturally or supernaturally in the feelings. There are two forms of Mysticism, therefore: the one which assumes the feelings themselves to be the sources of this knowledge; the other that it is through the feelings that God makes the truth known to the soul.7 "Reason is no longer viewed as the great organ of truth; its decisions are enstamped as uncertain, faulty, and well-nigh valueless, while the inward impulses of our sensibility, developing themselves in the form of faith or of inspiration, are held up as the true and infallible source of human knowledge. The fundamental process, therefore, of all Mysticism, is to reverse the true order of nature, and give the precedence to the emotional instead of the intellectual element of the human mind."8 This is declared to be "the common ground of all Mysticism."

Schleiermacher's Theory.

    If this be a correct view of the nature of Mysticism; if it consists in giving predominant authority to the feelings in matters of religion; and if their impulses, developing themselves in the form of faith, are the true and infallible source of knowledge, then Schleiermacher's system, adopted and expounded by Morell himself in his "Philosophy of Religion," is the most elaborate system of theology ever presented to the Church. It is the fundamental principle of Schleiermacher's theory, that religion resides not in the intelligence, or the will or active powers, but in the sensibility. It is a form of feeling, a sense of absolute dependence. Instead of being, as we seem to be, individual, separate free agents, originating our own acts, we recognize ourselves as a part of a great whole, determined in all things by the great whole, of which we are a part. We find ourselves as finite creatures over against an infinite Being, in relation to whom we are as nothing. The Infinite is everything; and everything is only a manifestation of the Infinite. "Although man," says even Morell, "while in the midst of finite objects, always feels himself to a certain extent free and independent; yet in the presence of that which is self-existent, infinite, and eternal, he may feel the sense of freedom utterly pass away, and become absorbed in the sense of absolute dependence."9 This is said to be the essential principle of religion in all its forms from Fetichism up to Christianity. It depends mainly on the degree of culture of the individual or community, in what way this sense of dependence shall reveal itself: because the more enlightened and pure the individual is, the more he will be able to apprehend aright what is involved in this sense of dependence upon God. Revelation is not the communication of new truth to the understanding, but the providential influences by which the religious life is awakened in the soul. Inspiration is not the divine influence which controls the mental operations and utterances of its subject, so as to render him infallible in the communication of the truth revealed, but simply the intuition of eternal verities due to the excited state of the religious feelings. Christianity, subjectively considered, is the intuitions of good men, as occasioned and determined by the appearance of Christ. Objectively considered, or, in other words, Christian theology, it is the logical analysis, and scientific arrangement and elucidation of the truths involved in those intuitions. The Scriptures, as a rule of faith, have no authority. They are of value only as means of awakening in us the religious life experienced by the Apostles, and thus enabling us to attain like intuitions of divine things. The source of our religious life, according to this system, is the feelings, and if this be the characteristic feature of Mysticism, the Schleiermaeher doctrine is purely Mystical.

D. Mysticism as known in Church History.

    This, however, is not what is meant by Mysticismn, as it has appeared in the Christian Church. The Mystics, as already stated, are those who claim an immediate communication of divine knowledge and of divine life from God to the soul, independently of the Scriptures and the use of the ordinary means of grace. "It despairs," says Fleming, "of the regular process of science; it believes that we may attain directly, without the aid of the senses or reason, and by an immediate intuition, the real and absolute principle of all truth, -- God."10

    Mystics are of two classes; the Theosophists, whose object is knowledge, and with whom the organ of communication with God, is the reason; and the Mystics proper, whose object is, life, purity, and beatitude; and with whom the organ of communication, or receptivity, is the feelings. They agree, first, in relying on the immediate revelation or communication of God to the soul; and secondly, that these communications are to be attained, in the neglect of outward means, by quiet or passive contemplation. "The Theosophist is one who gives a theory of God, or of the works of God, which has not reason, but an inspiration of his own for its basis."11 "The Theosophists, neither contented with the natural light of reason, nor with the simple doctrines of Scripture understood in their literal sense, have recourse to an internal supernatural light superior to all other illuminations, from which they profess to derive a mysterious and divine philosophy manifested only to the chosen favorites of heaven."12

Mysticism not identical with the Doctrine of Spiritual Illumination.

    Mysticism, then, is not to he confounded with the doctrine of spiritual illumination as held by all evangelical Christians. The Scriptures clearly teach that the mere outward presentation of the truth in the Word, does not suffice to the conversion or sanctification of men; that the natural, or unrenewed man, does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them; that in order to any saving knowledge of the truth, i. e., of such knowledge as produces holy affections and secures a holy life, there is need of an inward supernatural teaching of the Spirit, producing what the Scriptures call "spiritual discernment," This supernatural teaching our Lord promised to his disciples when He said that He would send them the Spirit of truth to dwell in them, and to guide them into the knowledge of the truth. For this teaching the sacred writers pray that it may be granted not to themselves only, but to all who heard their words or read their writings. On this they depended exclusively for their success in preaching or teaching. Hence believers were designated as pneumatikoi,, a Spiritu Dei illuminati, qui reguntur a Spiritu. And men of the world, unrenewed men, are described as those who have not the Spirit. God, therefore, does hold immediate intercourse with the souls of men. He reveals himself unto his people, as He does not unto the world. He gives them the Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of himself. (Eph 1:17.) He unfolds to them his glory, and fills them with a joy which passes understanding. All this is admitted; but this is very different froir Mysticism. The two things, namely, spiritual illumination and Mysticism, differ, firstly, as to their object. The object of the inward teaching of the Spirit is to enable us to discern the truth and excellence of what is already objectively revealed in the Bible. The illumination claimed by the Mystic communicates truth independently of its objective revelation. It is not intended to enable us to appreciate what we already know, but to communicate new knowledge. It would be one thing to enable man to discern and appreciate the beauty of a work of art placed before his eyes, and quite another thing to give him the intuition of all possible forms of truth and beauty, independent of everything external. So there is a great difference between that influence which enables the soul to discern the things "freely given to us of God" (1Co 2:12) in his Word, and the immediate revelation to the mind of all the contents of that word, or of their equivalents.

    The doctrines of spiritual illumination and of Mysticism differ not only in the object, but secondly, in the manner in which that object is to be attained. The inward teaching of the Spirit is to be sought by prayer, and the diligent use of the appointed means; the intuitions of the Mystic are sought in the neglect of all means, in the suppression of all activity inward and outward, and in a passive waiting for the influx of God into the soul. They differ, thirdly, in their effects. The effect of spiritual illumination is, that the Word dwells in us "in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (Col 1:9). What dwells in the mind of the Mystic are his own imaginings, the character of which depends on his own subjective state; and whatever they are, they are of man and not of God.

It differs from the Doctrine of the "Leading of the Spirit."

    Neither is Mysticism to be confounded with the doctrine of spiritual guidance. Evangelical Christians admit that the children of God are led by the Spirit of God; that their convictions as to truth and duty, their inward character and outward conduct, are moulded by his influence. They are children unable to guide thelnselves, who are led by an ever-present Father of infinite wisdom and love. This guidance is partly providential, ordering their external circumstances; partly through the Word, which is a lamp to their feet; and partly by the inward influence of the Spirit on the mind. This last, however, is also through the Word, making it intelligible and effectual; bringing it suitably to remembrance. God leads his people by the cords of a man, i.e., in accordance with the laws of his nature. This is very different from the doctrine that the soul, by yielding itself passively to God, is filled with all truth and goodness; or, that in special emergencies it is centrolled by blind, irrational impulses.

It differs from the Doctrine of "Common Grace."

    Finally, Mysticism differs from the doctrine of common graces as held by all Augustinians, and that of sufficient grace as held by Arminians. All Christians believe that as God is everywhere present in the material world, guiding the operation of second causes so that they secure the results which He designs; so his Spirit is everywhere present with the minds of men, exciting to good and restraining from evil, effectually controlling human character and conduct, consistently with the laws of rational beings. According to the Arminian theory this "common grace" is sufficient, if properly cultured and obeyed, to lead men to salvation, whether Pagans, Mohammedans, or Christians. There is little analogy, however, between this doctrine of common, or sufficient grace, and Mysticism as it has revealed itself in the history of the Church. The one assumes an influence of the Spirit on all men analogous to the providential efficiency of God in nature, the other an influence analogous to that granted to prophets and apostles, involving both revelation and inspiration. 

§ 2. Mysticism in the Early Church.

A. Montanism.

    The Montanists who arose toward the close of the second century had, in one aspect, some affinity to Mysticism. Montanus taught that as the ancient prophets predicted the coming of the Messiah through whom new revelations were to be made; so Christ predicted the coming of the Paraclete through whom further communications of the mind of God were to be made to his people. Tertullian, by whom this system was reduced to order and commended to the higher class of minds, did indeed maintain that the rule of faith was fixed and immutable; but nevertheless that there was need of a continued supernatural revelation of truth, at least as to matters of duty and discipline. This supernatural revelation was made through the Paraclete; whether, as was perhaps the general idea among the Montanists, by communications granted, from lime to time, to special individuals, who thereby became Christian prophets; or by an influence common to all believers, which however some more than others experienced and improved. The following passage from Tertullian13 gives clearly the fundamental principle of the system, so far as this point is concerned: "Regula quidem fidei una omnino est, sola immobilis et irreformabilis. . . . Hac lege fidei manente, cetera jam disciplinae et conversationis admiittunt novitatem correctionis; operante scilicet et proficiente usque in finem gratia Dei. . . . Propterea Paracletum misit Dominus, ut, quoniam humana mediocritas omunia semel capere non poterat, paulatim dirigeretur et ordinaretur et ad perfectum perduceretur disciplina ab illo vicario Domini Spiritu Sancto. Quae est ergo Paracleti administratio nisi haec, quod disciplina dirigitur, quod Scripturae revelantur, quod intellectus reformatur, quod ad meliora proficitur? . . . . Justitia primo fuit in rudimentis, natura Deum metuens; dehinc per legem et prophetas promovit in infantiam; dehinc per evangelium efferbuit in juventutem; nunc per Paracletum componitur in maturitatem."

    The points of analogy between Montanism and Mysticism are that both assume the insufficiency of the Scriptures and the ordinances of the Church for the full development of the Christian life; and both assert the necessity of a continued, supernatural, revelation from the Spirit of God. In other respects the two tendencies were divergent. Mysticism was directed to the inner life; Montanism to the outward. It concerned itself with the reformation of manners and strictness of discipline. It enjoined fasts, and other ascetic practices. As it depended on the supernatural and continued guidance of the Spirit, it was on the one hand opposed to speculation, or the attempt to develop Christianity by philosophy; and on the other to the domninant authority of the bishops. Its denunciatory and exclusive spirit led to its condemnation as heretical. As the Montanists excommunicated the Church, the Church excommunicated them.14

B. The so-called Dionysius, the Areopagite.

    Mysticism, in the common acceptation of the term, is antagonistic to speculation. And yet they are often united. There have been speculative or philosophical Mystics. The father indeed of Mysticism in the Christian Church, was a philosopher. About the year A. D. 523, during the Monothelite controversy certain writings were quoted as of authority as being the productions of Dionysius the Areopagite. The total silence respecting them during the preceding centuries; the philosophical views which they express; the allusions to the state of the Church with which they abound, have produced the conviction, universally entertained, that they were the work of some author who lived in the latter part of the fifth century. The most learned investigators, however, confess their inability to fix with certainty or even with probability on any writer to whom they can be referred. Though their authorship is unknown, their influence has been confessedly great. The works which bear the pseudonym of Dionysius are, "The Celestial Hierarchy," "The Terrestrial Hierarchy," "Mystical Theology," and "Twelve Epistles." Their contents show that their author belonged to the school of the New Platonists, and that his object was to propagate the peculiar views of that school in the Christian Church. The writer attempts to show that the real, esoteric doctrines of Christianity are identical with those of his own school of philosophy. In other words, he taught New Platonism, in the terminology of the Church. Christian ideas were entirely excluded, while the language of the Bible was retained. Thus in our day we have had the philosophy of Schelling and Hegel set forth in the formulas of Christian theology.

New Platonism.

    The New Platonists taught that the original ground and source of all things was simple being, without life or consciousness; of which absolutely nothing could be known, beyond that it is. They assumed an unknown quantity, of which nothing can be predicated. The pseudo-Dionysius called this original ground of all things God, and taught that God was mere being without attributes of any kind, not only unknowable by man, but of whom there was nothing to be known, as absolute being is in the language of the modern philosophy, -- Nothing; nothing in itself, yet nevertheless the du,namij tw/n pa,ntwn.

    The universe proceeds from primal being, not by any exercise of conscious power or will, but by a process or emanation. The familiar illustration is derived from the flow of light from the sun. With this difference, however. That the sun emits light, is a prool that it is itself luminous but the fact that intelligent beings emanate from the "ground-being," is not admitted as proof that it is intelligent. The fact that the air produces cheerfulness, say these philosophers, does not prove that the atmosphere experiences joy. We can infer nothing as to the nature of the cause from the nature of the effects.

    These emanations are of different orders; decreasing in dignity and excellence as they are distant from the primal source. The first of these emanations is mind, nou/j, intelligence individualized in different ranks of spiritual beings. The next, proceeding from tbe first, is soul, which becomes individualized by organic or vital connection with matter. There is, therefore, an intelligence of intelligences, and also a soul of souls; hence their generic unity. Evil arises from the connection of the spiritual with the corporeal, and yet this connection so far as souls are concerned, is necessary to their individuality. Every soul, therefore, is an emanation from the soul of the world, as that is from God, through the Intelligence.

    As there is no individual soul without a body, and as evil is the necessary consequence of union with a body, evil is not only necessarv or unavoidable, it is a good.

    The end of philosophy is the immediate vision of God, which gives the soul supreme blessedness and rest. This union with God is attained by sinking into ourselves; by passivity. As we are a form, or mode of God's existence, we find God in ourselves, and are consciously one with him, when this is really apprehended; or, when we suffer God, as it were, to absorb our individuality.

    The primary emanations from the ground of all being, which the heathen called gods (as they had gods many and lords many) the New Platonists, spirits or intelligences; and the Gnostics, aeons; the pseudo-Dionysius called angels. These he divided into three triads: (1.) thrones, cherubim, and seraphim; (2.) powers, lordships, authorities; (3.) angels, archangels, principalities. He classified the ordinances and officers and members of the Church into corresponding triads: (1.) The sacraments, -- baptism, communion, anointing, -- these were the means of initiation or consecration ; (2.) The initiators,-- bishops, priests, deacons; (3.) The initiated, -- monks, the baptized, catechumens.

    The terms God, sin, redemption, are retained in this system, but the meaning attached to them was entirely inconsistent with the sense they bear in the Bible and in the Christian Church. The pseudo-Dionysius was a heathen philosopher in the vestments of a Christian minister. The philosophy which he taught he claimed to be the true sense of the doctrines of the Church, as that sense had been handed down by a secret tradition. Notwithstanding its heathen origin and character, its influence in the Church was great and long continued. The writings of its author were translated, annotated and paraphrased, centuries after his death. As there is no effect without an adequate cause, there must have been power in this system and an adaptation to the cravings of a large class of minds.

Causes of the Influence of the Writings of the pseudo-Dionysius.

    To account for its extensive influence it may be remarked: (1.) That it did not openly shock the faith or prejudices of the Church. It did not denounce any received doctrine or repudiate any established institution or ordinance. It pretended to be Christian. It undertook to give a deeper and more correct insight into the mysteries of religion. (2.) It subordinated the outward to the inward. Some men are satisfied with rites, ceremonies, symbols, which may mean anything or nothing; others, with knowledge or clear views of truth. To others, the inner life of the soul, intercourse with God, is the great thing. To these this system addressed itself. It proposed to satisfy this craving after God, not indeed in a legitimate way, or by means of Gods appointment. Nevertheless it was the high end of union with liimn that it proposed, and which it professed to secure. (3.) This system was only one form of the doctrine which has such a fascination for the human mind, and which underlies so many forms of religion in every age cf the world; the doctrine, namely, that the universe is an efflux of the life of God, -- all things flowing from him, and back again to him from everlasting to everlasting. This doctrine quiets the conscience, as it precludes the idea of sin; it gives the peace which flows from fatalism; and it promises the absolute rest of unconsciousness when the individual is absorbed in the bosom of the Infinite.15  

§ 3. Mysticism during the Middle Ages.

A. General Characteristics of this Period.

    The Middle Ages embrace the period from the close of the sixth century to the Reformation. This period is distinguished by three marked characteristics. First, the great development of the Latin Church in its hierarchy, its worship, and its formulated doctrines, qs well as in its superstitions, corruptions, and power. Secondly, the extraordinary intellectual activity awakened in the region of speculation, as manifested in the multiplication of seats of learning, in the number and celebrity of their teachers, and in the great multitude of students by which they were attended, and in the interest taken by all classes in the subjects of learned discussion. Thirdly, by a widespread and variously manifested movement of, so to speak, the inner life of the Church, protesting against the formalism, the corruption, and the tyranny of the external Church. This protest was made partly openly by those whom Protestants are wont to call "Witnesses for the Truth;" and partly within the Church itself. The opposition within the Church manifested itself partly among the people, in the formation of fellowships or societies for benevolent effort and spiritual culture, such as the Beguines, the Beghards, the Lollards, and afterwards, "The Brethren of the Common Lot;" and partly in the schools, or by the teachings of theologians.

    It was the avowed aim of the theologians of this period to justify the doctrines of the Church at the bar of reason; to prove that what was received on authority as a matter of faith, was true as a matter of philosophy. It was held to be the duty of the theologian to exalt faith into knowledge. Or, as Anselm16 expresses it: "rationabili necessitate intelligere, esse oportere omnia illa, quae nobis fides cathohica de Christo credere praecipit." Richard a St. Victore still more strongly asserts that we are bound, "quod tenemus ex fide, ratione apprehendere et demonstrativae certitudinis attestatione firmare."

The First Class of Mediaeval Theologians.

    Of these theologians, however, there were three classes. First, those who avowedly exalted reason above authority, and refused to receive anything on authority which they could not for themselves, on rational grounds, prove to be true. John Scotus Erigena (Eringeborne, Irish-born) may be taken as a representative of this class. He not only held, that reason and revelation, philosophy and religion, are perfectly consistent, but that religion and philosophy are identical. "Conficitur," he says, "inde veram philosophiam esse veram religionem conversimque veram religionem esse veram philosophiam."17 And on the crucial question, Whether faith precedes science, or science faith, he decided for the latter. Reason, with him, was paramount to authority, the latter having no force except when sustained by the former. "Auctoritas siquidem ex vera ratione processit, ratio vero nequaquam ex auctoritate. Omnis autem auctoritas, quae vera ratione non approbatur, infirma videtur esse. Vera autem ratio, quum virtutibus suis rata atque immutabilis munitur, nullius auctoritatis adstipulatione roborari indiget."18 His philosophy as developed in his work, "De Divisione Naturae," is purely pantheistic. There is with him but one being, and everything real is thought. His system, therefore, is nearly identical with the idealistic pantheism of Hegel; yet he had his trinitarianism, his soteriology, and his eschatology, as a theologian.

The Second Class.

    The second and more numerous class of the mediaeval theologians took the ground that faith in matters of religion precedes science; that truths are revealed to us supernaturally by the Spirit of God, which truths are to be received on the authority of the Scriptures and the testimony of the Church. But being believed, then we should endeavor to comprehend and to prove them; so that our conviction of their truth should rest on rational grounds. It is very evident that everything depends on the spirit with which this principle is applied, and on the extent to which it is carried. In the hands of many of the schoolmen, as of the Fathers, it was merely a form of rationalism. Many taught that while Christianity was to be received by the people on authority as a matter of faith, it was to be received by the cultivated as a matter of knowledge. The human was substituted for the divine, the authority of reason for the testimony of God. With the better class of the schoolmen the principle in question was held with many limitations. Anselm, for example taught: (1.) That holiness of heart is the essential condition of true knowledge. It is only so far as the truths of religion enter into our personal experience, that we are able properly to apprehend them. Faith, therefore, as including spiritual discernment, must precede all true knowledge. "Qui secundum carnem vivit, carnalis sive animalis est, de quo dicitur: animalis homo non percipit ea, quae sunt Spiritus Dei. . . . Qui non crediderit, non intelliget, nam qui non crediderit, non experietur, et qui expertus non fuerit, non intelliget."19 "Neque enim quaero intelligere, ut credam, sed credo, ut intelligam. Nam et hoc credo, quia, nisi credidero, non intelligam."20 (2.) He held that rational proof was not needed as a help to faith. It was as absurd, he said, for us to presume to add authority to the testimony of God by our reasoning, as for a man to prop up Olympus. (3.) He taught that there are doctrines of revelation which transcend our reason, which we cannot rationally pretend to comprehend or prove, and which are to be received on the simple testimony of God. "Nam Christianus per fidem debet ad intellectum proficere, non per intellectum ad fidem accedere, aut si intelligere non valet, a fide recedere. Sed cum ad intellectum valet pertingere, delectatur, cum vero nequit, quod capere non potest, veneratur."21

    A third class of the schoolmen, while professing to adhere to the doctrines of the Church, consciously or unconsciously, explained them away.

B. Mediaeval Mystics..

    Mystics were to be found in all these classes, and therefore they have been divided, as by Dr. Shedd,22into the heretical, the orthodox, and an intermediate class, which he designates as latitudinarian. Much to the same effect, Neudecker,23classifies them as Theosophist, Evangelical, and Separatist. Ullmann24 makes a somewhat different classification. The characteristic common to these classes, which differed so much from each other, was not that in all there was a protest of the heart against the head, of the feelings against the intellect, a reaction against the subtleties of the scholastic theologians, for some of the leading Mystics were among the most subtle dialecticians. Nor was it a common adherence to the Platonic as opposed to the Aristotelian philosophy, or to realism as opposed to nominalism. But it was the belief, that oneness with God was the great end to be desired and pursued, and that that union was to be sought, not so much through the truth, or the Church, or ordinances, or Christian fellowship; but by introspection, meditation, intuition. As very different views were entertained of the nature of the "oneness with God," which was to be sought, so the Mystics differed greatly from each other. Some were extreme pantheists; others were devout theists and Christians. From its essential nature, however, the tendency of Mysticism was to pantheism. And accordingly undisguised pantheism was not only taught by some of the most prominent Mystics, but prevailed extensively among the people.

Pantheistic tendency of Mysticism.

    It has already been remarked, that the system of the pseudo-Dionysius, as presented in his "Mystical Theology" and other writings, was essentially pantheistic. Those writings were translated by Scotus Erigena, himself the most pronounced pantheist of the Middle Ages. Through the joint influence of these two men, a strong tendency to pantheism was developed to a greater or less degree among the mediaeval Mystics. Even the associations among the people, such as the Beghards and Lollards, although at first exemplary and useful, by adopting a system of mystic pantheism became entirely corrupt.25 Believing themselves to be modes of the divine existence, all they did God did, and all they felt inclined to do was an impulse from God, and therefore nothing could be wrong. In our own day the same principles have led to the same consequences in one wing of the German school of philosophy.

    It was not only among the people and in these secret fellowships that this system was adopted. Men of the highest rank in the schools, and personally exemplary in their deportment, became the advocates of the theory which lay at the foundation of these practical evils. Of these scholastic pantheistical Mystics, the most distinguished and influential was Henry Eckart, whom some modern writers regard "as the deepest thinker of his age, if not of any age." Neither the time nor the place of his birth is known. He first appears in Paris as a Dominican monk and teacher. In 1304 he was Provincial of the Dominicans in Saxony. Soon after he was active in Strasburg as a preacher. His doctrines were condemned as heretical, although he denied that he had in any respect departed from the doctrines of the Church. From the decision of his archbishop and his provincial council, Eckart appealed to the Pope, by whom the sentence of condemnation was confirmed. This decision, however, was not published until 1329, when Eckart was already dead. It is not necessary here to give the details of his system. Suffice it to say, that he held that God is the only being; that the universe is the self-manifestation of God; that the highest destiny of man is to come to the consciousness of his identity with God; that that end is to be accomplished partly by philosophical abstraction and partly by ascetic self renunciation.

    "Although union with God is effected mainly by thinking and consciousness, still it also requires a corresponding act of the will, something practical, such as self-denial and privation, by which man rises above all that is finite. Not only must he lay aside all created things, the world and earthly good, and mortify desire, but more than all he must resign his 'I,' reduce himself to nothing, and become what he was before he issued forth into this temporal state. Nay, man must rise above the chief good, above virtue, piety, blessedness, and God himself, as things external and superior to his spirit, and it is only when he has thus annihilated self, and all that is not God within him, that nothing remains except the pure and simple divine essence, in which all division is brought into absolute unity."26

    Another distinguished and influential writer of the same class was John Ruysbroek, born 1293, in a village of that name not far from Brussels. Having entered the service of the Church he devoted himself to the duties of a secular priest until his sixtieth year, when he became prior of a newly instituted monastery. He was active and faithful, gentle and devout. Whether he was a theist or a pantheist is a matter of dispute. His speculative views were formed more or less under the influence of the writings of the pseudo-Dionysius and of Eckart. Gerson, himself a Mystic, objected to his doctrines as pantheistic; and every one acknowledges that there are not only forms of expression but also principles to be found in his writings which imply the pantheistic theory. He speaks of God as the super-essential being including all beings. All creatures, he taught, were in God, as thoughts before thieir creation. "God saw and recognized them in himself, as somehow, but not wholly, different from himself, for what is in God, is God." "In the act of self-depletion, the spirit loses itself in the enjoyment of love, and imbibes directly the brightness of God, yea, becomes the very brightness which it imbibes. All who are raised to the sublimity of this contemplative life are one with deifying (deifica) brightness, and become one and the same light as that which they behold. To such a height is the spirit elevated above itself, and made one with God, in respect that in the oneness of that living original in which, according to its uncreated being, it possesses itself, it enjoys and contemplates boundless treasures in the same manner as God himself." Ullmann, who quotes these and similar passages, still maintains that Ruysbroek was a theist, because, as he says, Ruysbroek "distinctly recognizes not only the immanence of God, but what no pantheist can do, his transcendence." Moreover, he "too frequently and too solicitously avers that, in the oneness of the contemplative man with God, he still recognizes a difference between the two, to permit us to ascribe to him the doctrine of an absolute solution of the individual into the Divine substance."27 A man may aver a difference between the waves and the ocean, between the leaves and the tree, and yet in both cases assert a substantial unity. It is true that no one can intelligently affirm the transcendence of God, and still hold the extreme form of pantheism which makes the world the existence-form of God, his whole intelligence, power, and life. But he may be a Monist. He may believe that there is but one Being in the universe, that everything is a form of God, and all life the life of God. Pantheism is Protean. Some moderns speak of a Christian Pantheism. But any system which hinders our saying "Thou," to God, is fatal to religion.

Evangelical Mystics.

    Bernard of Clairvaux, Hugo and Richard of St. Victor, Gersorn, Thomas a Kempis and others, are commonly referred to the class of evangelical Mystics. These eminent and influential men differed much from each other, but they all held union within God, not in the Scriptural, but in the mystical sense of that term, as the great object of desire. It was not that they held that "the beatific vision of God," the intuition of his glory, which belongs to heaven, is attainable in this world and attainable by abstraction, ecstatic apprehension, or passive reception, but that the soul becomes one with God, if not in substance, yet in life. These men, however, were great blessings to the Church. Their influence was directed to the preservation of the inward life of religion in opposition to the formality and ritualism which then prevailed in the Church; and thus to free the conscience from subjection to human authority. The writings of Bernard are still held in high esteem, and "The Imitation of Christ," by Thomas a Kempis, has diffused itself like incense through all the aisles and alcoves of the Universal Church.28

§ 4. Mysticism at, and after the Reformation.

A. Effect of the Reformation on the Popular Mind.

    Such a great and general movement of the public mind as occurred during the sixteenth century, when the old foundations of doctrine and order in the Church, were overturned, could hardly fail to be attended by irregularities and extravacancies in the inward and outward life of the people. There are two principles advanced, both Scriptural and both of the last importance, which are specially liable to abuse in times of popular excitement.

    The first is, the right of private judgment. This, as understood by the Reformers, is the right of every man to decide what a revelation made by God to him, requires him to believe. It was a protest against the authority assumed by the Church (i. e. the Bishops), of deciding for the people what they were to believe. It was very natural that the fanatical, in rejecting the authority of the Church, should reject all external authority in matters of religion. They understood by the right of private judgment, the right of every man to determine what he should believe from the operations of his own mind and from his own inward experience, independently of the Scriptures. But as it is palpably absurd to expect, on such a subject as religion, a certainty either satisfactory to ourselves or authoritative for others, from our own reason or feelings, it was inevitable that these subjective convictions should be referred to a supernatural source. Private revelations, an inward light, the testimony of the Spirit, came to be exalted over the authority of the Bible.

    Secondly, the Reformers taught that religion is a matter of the heart, that a man's acceptance with God does not depend on his membership in any external society, on obedience to its officers, and on sedulous observance of its rites and ordinances; but on the regeneration of his heart, and his personal faith in the Son of God, manifesting itself in a holy life. This was a protest against the fundamental principle of Romanism, that all within the external organization which Romanists call the Church, are saved, and all out of it are lost. It is not a matter of surprise that evil men should wrest this principle, as they do all other truths, to their own destruction. Because religion does not consist in externals, many rushed to the conclusion that externals, -- the Church, its ordinances, its officers, its worship, -- were of no account. These principles were soon applied beyond the sphere of religion. Those who regarded them themselves as the organs of God, emancipated from the authority of the Bible and exalted above the Church, came to claim exemption from the authority of the State. To this outbreak the grievous and long-continued oppression of the peasantry grcatly contributed, so that this spirit of fanaticism and revolt rapidly spread over all Germany, and into Switzerland and Holland.

The Popular Disorders not the Effects of the Reformation.

    The extent to which these disorders spread, and the rapidity with which they diffused themselves, show that they were not the mere outgrowth of the Refommation. The principles avowed by the Reformers, and the relaxation of papal authority occasioned by the Reformation, served but to inflame the elements which had for years been slumbering in the minds of the people. The innumerous associations and fellowships, of which mention was made in the preceding section, had leavened the public mind with the principles of panthieistic Mysticism, which were the prolific source of evil. Men who imagined themselves to be forms in which God existed and acted, were not likely to be subject to any authority human or divine, nor were they apt to regard anything as sinful which they felt inclined to do.

    These men also had been brought up under the Papacy. According to the papal theory, especially as it prevailed during the Middle Ages, the Church was a theocracy, whose representatives were the subjects of a constant inspiration rendering them infallible as teachers and absolute as rulers. All who opposed the Church were rebels against God, whom to destroy was a duty both to God and man. These ideas Munzer and his followers applied to themselves. They were the true Church. They were inspired. They were entitled to determine what is true in matters of doctrine. They were entitled to rule with absolute authority in church and state. All who opposed them, opposed God, and ought to be exterminated. Munzer died upon the scaffold: thus was fulfilled anew our Lord's declaration, "Those who take the sword, shall perish by the sword."

B. Mystics among the Reformers.

    Few of the theologians contemporary with Luther took any part in this fanatical movement. To a certain extent this however was done by Carlstadt (Bodenstein), archdeacon and afterwards professor of theology at Wittenberg. At first he cooperated zealously with the great Reformer, but when Storch and Stubener claiming to be prophets, came to Wittenberg during Luther's confinement at Wartburg, and denounced learning and Church institutions, and taught that all reliance was to be placed on the inward light, or supernatural guidance of the Spirit, Carlstadt gave them his support and exhorted the students to abandon their studies and to betake themselves to manual labor. Great disorder following these movements, Luther left his place of seclusion, appeared upon the scene, and succeeded in allaying the tumult. Carlstadt then withdrew from Wittenberg, and ultimately united himself with Schnwenkfeld, a more influential opponent of Luther and who was equally imbued with the spirit of Mysticism.


    Schwenkfeld, a nobleman born 1490, in the principality of Lignitz, in Lower Silesia, was a man of great energy and force of character, exemplary in his conduct, of extensive learning and indefatigable diligence. He at first took an active part in promoting the Reformation, and was on friendly terms with Luther, Moiancthon, and the other leading Reformers. Being a man not only of an independent way of thinking, but confident and zealous in maintaining his peculiar opinions, he soon separated himself from other Protestants and passed his whole life in controversy; condemned by synods and proscribed by the civil authorities, he was driven from city to city, until his death, which occurred in 1561.

    That Schwenkfeld differed not only from the Romanists, but from Lutherans and Reformed on all the great doctrines then in controversy, is to be referred to the fact that he held, in common with the great body of the Mystics of the Middle Ages, that union or oneness with God, not in nature or chaaracter only, but also in being or substance, was the one great desideratum and essential condition of holiness and felicity. To avoid the pantheistic doctrines into which the majority of the Mystics were led, he held to a form of dualism. Creatures exist out of God, and are due to the exercise of his power. In them there is nothing of the substance of God, and therefore nothing really good. With regard to men, they are made good and blessed by communicating to them the substance of God. This communication is made through Christ. Christ is not, even as to his human nature, a creature. His body and soul were formed out of the substance of God. While on earth, in his state of humiliation, this substantial unity of his humanity with God, was undeveloped and unrevealed. Since his exaltation it is completely deified, or lost in the divine essence. It followed from these principles, First, That the external church, with its ordinances and means of grace, was of little importance. Especially that the Scriptures are not, even instrumentally, the source of the divine life. Faith does not come by hearing, but from the Christ within; i. e. from the living substance of God communicated to the soul. This communication is to be sought by abnegation, renunciation of the creature, by contemplation and prayer. Secondly, as to the sacrament of the supper, which then was the great subject of controversy, Schwenkfeld stood by himself. Not admitting that Christ had any material body or blood, he could not admit that the bread and wine were transubstantiated into his body and blood, as Romanists teach; nor that his body and blood were focally present in the sacrament, in, with, and under the bread and wine, as Luther held; nor could he admit the dynamic presence of Christ's body, as taught by Calvin; nor that the Lord's Supper was merely a significant and commemorative ordinance, as Zwingle taught. He held his own doctrine. He transposed the words of Christ. Instead of "This (bread) is my body," he said, the true meaning and intent of Christ was, "My body is bread;" that is, as bread is the staff and source of life to the body, so my body, formed of the essence of God, is the life of the soul.

    A third inference from Schnwenkfeld's fundamental principle was that the redemption of the soul is purely subjective; something wrought in the soul itself. He denied justification by faith as Luther taught that doctrine, and which Luther regarded as the life of the Church. He said that we are justified not by what Christ has done for us, but by what He does within us. All we need is the communication of the life or substance of Christ to the soul. With him, as with Mystics generally, the ideas of guilt and expiation were ignored.

Later Mystics.

    The succession of mystical writers was kept up by such men as Paracelsus, Weigel, Jacob Boehmne, and others. The first named was a physician and chemist, who combined natural philosophy and alchemy with his theosophy. He was born in 1493 and died in 1541. Weigel, a pastor, was born in Saxony in 1533, and died in 1588. His views were formed under the influence of Tauler, Schwenkfeld, and Paracelsus. He taught, as his predecessors had done, that the inner word, and not the Scriptures, was the source of true knowledge, that all that God creates is God himself, and that all that is good in man is of the substance of God. The most remarkable writer of this class was Jacob Boehme, who was born near Gorlitz in Silesia, in 1575. His parents were peasants, and he himself a shoemaker. That such a man should write books which have proved a mine of thoughts to Schelling, Hegel, and Coleridge, as well as to a whole class of theologians, is decisive evidence of his extraordinary gifts. In character he was mild, gentle, and devout; and although denounced as a heretic, he constantly professed his allegiance to the faith of the Church. He regarded himself as having received in answer to prayer, on three different occasions. commnunications of divine light and knowledge which he was impelled to reveal to others. He did not represent the primordial being as without attributes or qualities of which nothing could be predicated, but as the seat of all kinds of forces seeking development. What the Bible teaches of the Trinity, he understood as an account of the development of the universe out of God and its relation to him. He was a theosophist in one sense, in which Vaughan29 defines the term, "One who gives you a theory of God or of the works of God, which has not reason, but an inspiration of his own for its basis." "The theosophists," says Fleming,30 "are a school of philosophers who mix enthusiasm with observation, alchemy with theology, metaphysics with medicine, and clothe the whole with a form of mystery and inspiration."31

§ 5. Quietism.

A. Its general character.

    Tholuck32says "There is a law of seasons in the spiritual, as well as in the physical world, in virtue of which when the time has come, without apparent connection, similar phenomena reveal themselves in different places. As towards the end of the fifteenth century an ecclesiastical-doctrinal reformatory movement passed over the greater part of Europe, in part without apparent connection; so at the end of the seventeenth a mystical and spiritual tendency was almost as extensively manifested. In Germany, it took the form of Mysticism and Pietism; in England, of Quakerism; in France, of Jansenism and Mysticism; and in Spain and Italy, of Quietism." This movement was in fact what in our day would be called a revival of religion. Not indeed in a form free from grievous errors, but nevertheless it was a return to the religion of the heart, as opposed to the religion of forms. The Mystics of this period, although they constantly appealed to the mediaeval Mystics, even to the Areopagite, and although they often used the same forms of expression, yet they adhered much more faithfully to Scriptural doctrines and to the faith of the Church. They did not fall into Pantheism, or believe in the absorption of the soul into the substance of God. They held, however, that the end to be attained was union with God. By this was not meant what Christians generally understand by that term; congeniality with God, delight in his perfections, assurance of his love, submission to his will, perfect satisfaction in the enjoymemit of his favour. It was something more than all this, something mystical and therefore inexplicable; a matter of feeling not something to be understood or explained; a state in which all thought, all activity was suspended; a state of perfect quietude in which the soul is lost in God, -- an "ecoulement et liquefaction de l'ame en Dien," as it is expressed by St. Francis de Sales. This state is reached by few. It is to be attained not by the use of the means of grace or ordinances of the Church. The soul should be raised above the need of all such aids. It rises even above Christ, insomuch that it is not He whom the soul seeks, nor God in him; but God as God; the absolute, infinite God. The importance of the Scriptures, of prayer, of the sacraments, and of the truth concerning Christ, was not denied; but all these were regarded as belonging to the lower stages of the divine life. Nor was this rest and union with God to be attained by meditation; for meditation is discursive. It implies an effort to bring truth before the mind, and fixing the attention upon it. All conscious self-activity must be suspended in order to this perfect rest in God. It is a state in which the soul is out of itself; a state of ecstasy, according to the etymological meaning of the word.

    This state is to be reached in the way prescribed by the older Mystics; first, by negation or abstraction; that is, the abstraction of the soul from everything out of God, from the creature, from all interest, concern, or impression from sensible objects. Hence the connection between Mysticism, in this form, and asceticism. Not only must the soul become thus abstracted from the creature, but it must be dead to self. All regard to self must be lost. There can be no prayer, for prayer is asking something fom self; no thanksgiving, for thanksgiving implies gratitude for good done to self. Self must be lost. There must be no preference for heaven over hell. One of the points most strenuously insisted upon was a willingness to be damned, if such were the will of God. In the controversy between Fenelon and Bossuet, the main question concerned disintenested love, whether in loving God the soul must be raised above all regard to its own holiness and happiness. This pure or disinterested love justifies, or renders righteous in the sight of God. Although the Mystics of this period were eminently pure as well as devout, they nevertheless sometimes laid down principles, or at least used expressions, which gave their enemies a pretext for charging them with Antinomianisin. It was said, that a soul filled with this love, or reduced to this entire negation of self, cannot sin; "sin is not in, but outside of him :" which was made to mean, that nothing was sin to the perfect. It is an instructive psychological fact that when men attempt or pretend to rise above the law of God, they sink below it; that Perfectionism has so generally led to Antinomianism.

B. Leaders of this Movement.

    The principal persons engaged in promoting this remarkable religious movement were Molinos, Madame Guyon, and Archhishop Fenelon. Michael Molinos, born 1640, was a Spanish priest. About 1670 he became a resident of Rome, where he gained a great reputation for piety and mildness, and great influence from his position as confessor to many families of distinction. He enjoyed the friendship of the highest authorities in the Church, including several of tile cardinals, and the Pope, Innocent XI., himself. In 1675 he published his "Spiritual Guide," in which the principles above stated were presented. Molinos did not claim originality, but professed to rely on the Mystics of the Middle Ages, several of whom had already been canonized by the Church. This, however, did not save him from persecution. His first trial indeed before the Inquisition resulted in his acquittal. But subsequently, through the influence of the Jesuits and of the court of Louis XIV., he was, after a year's imprisonment, condemned. Agreeably to his principle of entire subjection to the Church, he retracted his errors, but failed to secure the confidence of his judges. He died in 1697. His principal work, "Manuductio Spiritualis," or Spiritual Guide, was translated into different languages, and won for him many adhenents in every part of the Catholic world. When he was imprisoned, it is said, that twenty thousand letters from all quarters, and many of them from persons of distinction, were found among his papers, assuring him of the sympathy of their authors with him in his spirit and views. This is proof that there were at that time thousands in the Romish Church who had not bowed the knee to the Baal of formalism.

Madame Guyon.

    The most prominent and influential of the Quietists, as they were called, was Madame Guyon, born 1648 and died 1717. She belonged to a rich and noble family; was educated in a cloister, married at sixteen to a man of rank and wealth and of three times her age; faithful and devoted, but unhappy in her domestic relations; adhering zealously to her Church, she passed a life of incessant labour, and that, too, embittered by persecution. When still in the cloister she came under the influence of the writings of St. Francis de Sales, which determined her subsequent course. Enthusiastic in temperament, endowed with extraordinary gifts, she soon came to regard herself as the recipient of visions, revelations, and inspirations by which she was impelled to write, and, in the first instance, to devote herself to the conversion of Protestants. Failing in this, she considered it her vocation to become the mother of spiritual children, by bringing them to adopt her views of the inner life. To this object she devoted herself with untiring energy and great success, her adherents, secret and avowed, being numbered by thousands, or, as she supposed, by millions. She thus drew upon herself, although devoted to the Church, the displeasure of the authorities, and was imprisoned for seven years in the Bastile and other prisons in France. The latter years of her life she spent in retirement in the house of her daughter, burdened withn physical infirmities, hearing mass every day in her private chapel and communicating every other day. Her principal works were, "La Bible avec des Explications et Reflexions, qui regardent la Vie Interieure," "Moyen court et tres-facile de faire Oraison." This little work excited great attention and great opposition. She was obliged to defend it in an "Apologie du Moyen Court," in 1690, and "Justifications" in 1694, and in 1695 she was forced to retract thirty-five propositions selected therefrom. She published an allegorical poem under the title "Les Torrens." Her minor poetic pieces called "Poesies Spirituelles," in four volumes, are greatly admired for the genius which they display.

    Archbishop Fenelon, one of the greatest lights of the Gallican Church, espoused the cause of Madame Guyon, and published, 1697, "Explication des Maximnes des Saints sur la Vie Interieure." As the title intimates, the principles of this book are derived from the earlier Mystics, and specially from the latest of the saints, St. Francis de Sales, who was canonized in 1665, only thirty-three years after his death. Although Fenelon carefully avoided the extravagances of the Mystics of his own day, and althouoh he taught nothing which men venerated in the Church had not taught before him, his book forfeited for him the favour of the court, and was finally condemned by the authorities at Rome. To this condemnation he submitted with the greatest docility. He not only made no defence, but read the brief of condemnation in his own pulpit, and forbade his book being read within his diocese. To this his conscience constrained him, although he probably did not change his views. As the Pope decided against him he was willing to admit that what he said was wrong, and yet what he intended to say he still held to be right.

§ 6. The Quakers or Friends.

    This widely extended and highly respected body of professing Christians constitute the most permanent and best organized representatives of the principles of Mysticism which have appeared in the Church. They have existed as an organized society nearly two centuries and a half, and number in Europe and America several hundred thousands.

A. Their Origin and Early History.

    They took their origin and name from George Fox, who was born at Drayton, Leicestershire, England, in 1624. He received only the rudiments of an English education, and was by trade a shoemaker. From boyhood he was remarkable for his quiet, secluded habits. He devoted his leisure to the reading of the Scriptures and meditatioin. The age in which he lived was one of corruption in the Church and agitation in the State. He was so impressed by the evils which he saw around him that he lost confidence in the teachers of religion and in the ordinances of the church. At last he felt himself called of God, by direct revelation and inspiration, to denounce the existing Church, its organization and officers, and to proclaim a new and spiritual dispensation. This dispensation was to be new only relatively to what had long existed. It was designed as a restoration of the apostolic age, when the church was guided and extended by the Spirit, without the intervention of the written Word, or, as Fox and his followers maintained, of a special order of ministers, but every man and every woman spake as the Spirit gave them utterance.33

    They were called Quakers either because they themselves trembled when under the influence of the Spirit, or because they were in the habit of calling on those whom they addressed to quake in fear of the judgment of God. The designation has long ceased to be appropriate, as they are characteristically quiet in their worship, and gentle toward those who are without. They call themselves Friends because opposed to violence, contention, and especially to war. At first, however, they were chargeable with many irregularities, which, in connection with their refusing to pay tithes, to take oaths, and to perform military service, gave pretext to frequent and long continued persecutions.

    The Quakers were at first, as a class, illiterate, but men from the educated classes soon joined them, and by their influence the irregularities connected with the movement were corrected, and the society reduced to a regularly organized form. The most prominent of these men were George Keith, Samuel Fisher, and William Penn. The last named, the son of a British admiral, proved his sincerity by the sacrifices and sufferings to which his adherence to a sect, then despised and persecuted, subjected him. From the influence which he possessed, as the friend and favorite of James II, he was able to do much for his brethren, and having received a grant from the crown, of what is now Pennsylvania, he transported a colony of them to this country and founded one of the most important States of the American Union. The man, however, who did most to reduce the principles of George Fox to order, and to commend them to the religious and literary public, was Robert Barclay. Barclay was a member of a prominent Scottish family, and received the benefit of an extended and varied education. He was born in 1648, and died in 1690. His principal work, "Theologiae Christianae Apologia," is an exposition of fifteen theses which he had previously written and printed under the title, "Theses Theologicae onnnibus Clericis et praesertim universis Doctoribus, Professoribus et Studiosis Theologiae in Academiis Europae versantibus sive Pontificis sive Protestantibus oblatae."

B. Their Doctrines.

    It is impossible to give a satisfactory view of the doctrines of the Quakers. They have no authoritative creed or exposition of doctrine which all who call themselves Quakers acknowledge. Their most prominent writers differ in their views on many important points. The opinions of no one, nor of several authors, can be fairly taken as representing the views of the Society. There are in fact three classes of Quakers.

    First. Those who call themselves orthodox, and who differ very little from the great body of evangelical Christians. To this belongs the great majority of the Society both in this country and in Great Britain. This appears from the testimonies repeatedly issued by the "Yearly Meetings," the representative bodies of the Society. This is a much more satisfactory witness of the general faith of the body than the declarations of individual writers, however eminent, for which the Society is not responsible. A very clear and comprehensive summary of the doctrine of Friends is to be found in the "History of Religious Denominations in the United States," compiled by I. Daniel Rupp. The articles in this work were written by eminent men belonging to the several denominations whose views are represented. That which relates to the Quakers was written by the late Thomas Evans, a prominent minister of the Society, and a truly representative man. Without referring to the peculiar doctrines of the Society, the following extracts show how near the orthodox Quakers (i.e., the Society itself, as represented in its yearly meetings) come to the common faith of Protestant churches.

Doctrines of the Orthodox Friends.

    1. As to God, it is said, Quakers "Believe in one only wise, omnipotent, and everlasting God, the creator and upholder of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, the mediator between God and man; and in the Holy Spirit which proceedeth from the Father and the Son; one God blessed forever. In expressing their views relative to the awful and mysterious doctrine of "the Three that bear record in heaven," they have carefully avoided the use of unscriptural terms, invented to define Him who is undefinable, and have scrupulously adhered to the safe and simple language of Holy Scripture, as contained in Mt 28:18-19."

    2. As to the person and work of Christ, "They own and believe in Jesus Christ, the beloved and only begotten Son of God, who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary. . . . They believe that He alone is the Redeemer and Saviour of man, the captain of salvation, who saves from sin as well as from hell and the wrath to come, and destroys the works of the devil. He is the seed of the woman that bruises the serpent's head; even Christ Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, the first and last. He is, as the Scriptures of truth say of him, our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we may be saved."

    "The Society of Friends have uniformly declared their belief in the divinity and manhood of the Lord Jesus: that He was both true God and perfect man, and that his sacrifice of himself upon the cross was a propitiation and atonement for the sins of the whole world, and that the remission of sins which any partake of, is only in, and by virtue of, that most satisfactory sacrifice."

    3. As to the Holy Ghost, "Friends believe in the Holy Spirit, or Comforter, the promise of the Father, whom Christ declared he would send in his name, to lead and guide his followers, into all truth, to teach them all things, and to bring all things to their remembrance. . . . They believe that the saving knowledge af God and Christ cannot be attained in any other way than by the revelation of this Spirit; -- for the Apostle says, 'What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God. If, therefore, the things which properly appertain to man cannot be discerned by any lower principle than the spirit of man; those things which properly relate to God and Christ, cannot be known by any power inferior to that ot the holy Spirit."

    4. As to man, "They believe that man was created in the image of God, capable of understanding the divine law, and of molding communion with his Maker. Through transgression he fell from this blessed state, and lost the heavenly image. His posterity come into the world in the image of the earthly man; and, until renewed by the quickenning and regenerating power of the heavenly man, Chrnist Jesus, manifested in time soul, they are fallen, degenerated, and dead to the divine life in which Adam originally stood, and are subject to the power, nature, and seed of the serpent; and not only their words and deeds, but their imaginations, are evil perpetually in the sight of God. Man, therefore, in this state can know nothing aright concerning God; his thoughts and conceptions of spiritual things, until he is disjoined from this evil seed and united to the divine light, Christ Jesus, are unprofitable to himself and to others."

    5. As to the futume state, "The Society of Friends believe that there will be a resurrection both of the righteous and the wicked; the one to eternal life and blessedness, and the other to everlasting misery and torment, agreeably to Mt 25:31-46; Joh 5:25-30; 1Co 15:12-58. That God will judge the world by that man whom He hath ordained, even Christ Jesus the Lord, who will render unto every man according to his works."

    6. As to the Scriptures, "The religious Society of Friends has always believed that the Holy Scriptures were written by divine inspiration, and contain a declaration of all the fundamental doctrines and principles relating to eternal life and salvation, and that whatsoever doctine or practice is contrary to them, is to be rejectecd as false and erroneous; that they are a declaration of the mind and will of God, in and to the several ages in which they were written and are obligatory on us, and are to be read, believed, and fulfilled by the assistance of divine grace. . . . It looks upon them as the only fit outward judge and test of controversies among Christians, and is very willing that all its doctrines and practices should be tried by them, freely admitting that whatsoever any do, pretending to the Spirit, which is contrary to the Scriptures, be condemned as a delusion of the devil."

    It thus appears that the orthodox Frienids are in sympathy, on all fundamental doctrines, with the great body of their fellow Christians.

Heterodox Friends.

    Secondly. There is a class calling themselves Friends, and retaining the organization of the Society, and its usages as to dress, language, and mode of worship, who are really Deists. They admit of no higher authority, in matters of religion, than the natural reason and conscience of man, and hold little if anything as true beyond the truths of natural religion. This class has been disowned by the Society in its representative capacity.

    Thirdly. There is a third class which does not constitute an organized or separate body, but includes men of very different views. As has been already remarked, great diversity of opinion existed among the Quakers, especially during the early period of their history. This diversity related to the common doctrines of Christianity, to the nature of the inward guiding light in which all professed to believe, and to the authority due to the sacred Scriptures. Some explicitly denied the doctrine of the Trinity and the satisfaction of Christ; some seemed to ignore the historical Christ altogether, and to refer everything to the Christ within. Others, while admitting the historical verity of the life of Christ, and of his work on earth, regarded his redemption as altogether subjective. He saves us not by what He has done for us, but exclusively by what He does in us. This, as we have seen, is the characteristic tendency of Mysticism in all its modifications.

C. The Doctrine of Friends as to the Inward Light given to all Men.

    Still greater diversity of views prevailed as to the nature of the inward light which constitutes the distinguishing doctrine of the Society. The orthodox Quakers on this subject, in the first place, carefully distinguish this "light" from the natural reason and conscience of men; and also from spiritual discernmnent, or that inward work of the Spirit, which all Christians acknowledge, by which the soul is enabled to know "the things of the Spirit" as they are revealed in the Scriptures, and without which there can be no saving faith, and no holiness of heart or life. This spiritual illumination is peculiar to the the people of God; the inward light, in which the Quakers believe, is common to all men. The design and effect of the "inward light" are the communication of new truth or of truth not objectively revealed, as well as the spiritual discernment of the truths of Scripture. The design and effect of spiritual illumination are the proper apprehension of truth already speculatively known.

    Secondly. By the inner light the orthodox Quakers understand the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit, concerning which they teach,-- (1.) That it is given to all men. (2.) That it not only convinces of sin, and enables the soul to apprehend aright the truths of Scripture, but also communicates a knowledge of "the mysteries of salvation." "A manifestation of this Spirit they believe is given to every man to profit withal; that it convicts of sin, and, as attended to, gives power to the soul to overcome and forsake it; it opens the mind to the mysteries of salvation, enables it savingly to understand the truths recorded in the Holy Scriptures, and gives it the living, practical, and heartfelt experience of those things which pertain to its everlasting welfare." "He hath communicated a measure of the light of his own Son, a measure of the grace of the Holy Spirit -- by which he invites, calls, exhorts, and strives with every man, in order to save him; which light or grace, as it is received and not resisted, works the salvation of all, even of those who are ignorant of Adam's fall, and of the death and sufferings of Christ; both by bringing them to a sense of their own misery, and to be sharers of the sufferings of Christ, inwardly; and by making them partakers of his resurrection, in becoming holy, pure, and righteous, and recovered out of their sins."34

    Thirdly. The orthodox Friends teach concerning this inward light, as has been already shown, that it is subordinate to the Holy Scriptures, inasmuch as the Scriptures are the infallible rule of faith and practice, and everything contrary thereto is to be rejected as false and destructive.

Barclay's Views.

    While such are the views of the orthodox FTiends, it must be admitted that many hold a different doctrine. This is true not only of those whom the Society has disowned, but of many men most prominent in their history. This difference relates both to what this light is, and to its authority. As to the former of these points the language employed is so diverse, and so figurative, that it is difficult to determine its real meaning. Some of the early Quakers spoke as though they adopted the doctrine of the earlier Mystics, that this inward principle was God himself, the divine substance. Others speak of it as Christ, or even the body of Christ, or his life. Others as "a seed," which is declared to be no part of the nature of man; no remains of the image of God in which Adam was created; neither is it the substance of God. Nevertheless, it is declared to be "a spiritual substance," in which the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are present. This seed comes from Christ, and is communicated to every man. In some it lies as a seed upon a rock, which never shows any sign of life. But when the soul receives a visitation of the Spirit, if his influence be not resisted, that seed is vivified, and develops into holiness of heart and life; by which the soul is purified and justified. We are not justified by our works. Everything is due to Christ. He is both "the giver and the gift." Nevertheless our justification consists in this subjective change.35 A distinction is made between a twofold redemption; the one "performed and accomplished by Christ for us in his crucified body without us; the other is the redemption wrought by Christ in us. "The first is that whereby a man, as he stands in the fall, is put in a capacity of salvation, and hath conveyed unto him a measure of that power, virtue, spirit, life, and grace that was in Christ Jesus, which, as the free gift of God, is able to counterbalance, overcome, and root out the evil seed, wherewith we are naturally, as in the fall, leavened. The second is that whereby we witness and know this pure and perfect redemptioin in ourselves, purifying, cleansing, and redeeming us from the power of corruption, and bringing us into unity, favour, and friendshnip with God."36

    With regard to the authority of this inward light, while the orthodox make it subordinate to the Scriptures, many of the early Friends made the written, subordinate to the inner, word; and others, as Barclay himself, make the two coordinate. Although in this matter he is hardly consistent with himself. He expressly denies that the Scriptures are to us "the fountain" of truth; that they are "the principal ground of all truth and knowledge, or yet the adequate primary rule of faith and manners." They are, however, "to be esteemed a secondary role subordinate to the Spirit." Nevertheless, he teaches with equal plainness that what "cannot be proved by Scripture, is no necessary article of faith."37 Again, he says: We are "willing to admit it as a positive and certain maxim, that whatsoever any do, pretending to the Spirit, which is contrary to the Scriptures, be accounted and reckoned a delusion of the devil."38 He "freely subscribes to that saying, Let him that preacheth any other gospel than that which hath already been preached by the Apostles, and according to the Scriptures, be accursed."39 We look on the Scriptures, he says, "as the only fit outward judge of controversies among Christians, and that whatsoever doctrine is contrary unto their testimony, may therefore justly be rejected as false."40 His whole book, therefore, is an effort to prove from Scripture all the peculiar doctrines of Quakerism.

    His theory is, (1.) That all men since the fall are in a state of spiritual death from which they are utterly unable to deliver themselves. He is severe in his denunciation of all Pelagian and semi-Pelagian doctrine. (2.) That God determined, through his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, to make provision for the salvation of all men. (3.) The work of Christ secures the opportunity and means of salvation for every man (4.) Tlnrough him and for his sake "a seed" is given to every man which, under the influence of the Spirit, may be developed into righteousness and holiness, restoring the soul to the image and fellowship of God. (5.) To every man is granted "a day of visitation" in which the Spirit comes to him and exerts an influence which, if not resisted, vivifies this divine seed, and thus gives the opportunity of being saved (6.) The measure of this divine influence is not the same in all cases. In some it is irresistible, in others, not. In some it is as abundant as in the prophets and Apostles, rendering its subjects as authoritative as teachers as the original Apostles. (7.) The office of the Spirit is to teach and to guide. It is not merely intended to enlighten the mind in the knowledge of truths contained un the Scriptures. It presents truth objectively to the mind. It does not reveal new doctrines, much less doctrines opposed to those revealed in the Scriptures; but it makes a new and independent revelation of old doctrines. On this point Barclay is very explicit.41 His discussion of his second and third propositions, -- the one concerning- "immediate revelation," and the other, "the Scriptures," -- sets forth this doctrine at length. "We distinguish," he says, "between a revelation of a new gospel and new doctrines, and a new revelation of the good old gospel and doctrines; the last we plead for, but the first we utterly deny." Natural reason reveals certain doctrines, but this is not inconsistent with a new revelation of the same doctrines in the Scriptures. So the fact that the gospel is revealed in the Scriptures is not inconsistent with its immediate objective revelation to the soul by the Spirit.

    Besides the great doctrines of salvation, there are many things the Christian needs to know which are not contained in the Scriptures. In these matters he is not left to his own guidance. The Spirit "guides into all truth." "Therefore," says Barclay, "the Spirit of God leadeth, instructeth, and teacheth every true Christian whatsoever is needful for him to know." For example, whether He is to preach; and, if called to preach, when, where, and what he shall preach; where he is to go, and in any emergency what he ought to do. So the Spirit teaches us when and where we are to pray, and what we are to pray for. As the Spirit's guidance extends to everything, it should be sought and obeyed in all things.

    Quakerism ignores the distinction between inspired and uninspired men, except as to the measure of the Spirit's influence. He dwells in all believers, and performs the same office in all. As the saints of old, before the giving of the law, were under his instruction and guidance, so they continued to enjoy his teaching after the law was given. All through the Old Testament dispensation the people of God received immediate revelations and directions. When Christ came there was a more copious communication of this influence. These communications were not confined to either sex, or to any class in the Church. They were not peculiar to the Apostles, or to ministers, but to every one was given a manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. The state of the Church, as set forth in the New Testament as to this matter, continues to the present time, except that the gifts bestowed are not of the same miraculous character now that they were then. But as to his revealing, enlightening, teaching, guiding operations, He is as much present with believers now as during the apostolic age. Then all spake as the Spirit gave them utterance. When Christians assembled together every one had his gift: one a psalm, one a doctrine, another a revelation, another an interpretation. Every one could speak; but it was to be done decently and in order. If anything were revealed to one sitting by, he was to hold his peace until his time came; for God is not the author of confusion. In 1Co 14. we have the Quaker ideal or model of a Christian assembly. And as the Apostles went hither and thither, not according to their own judgment, but supernaturally guided by the Spirit, so the Spirit guides all believers in the ordinary affairs of life, it they wait for the intimations of his will.

    As this doctrine of the Spirit's guidance is the fundamental principle of Quakerism, it is the source of all the peculiarities by which the Society of Friends has ever been distinguished. If every man has within himself an infallible guide as to truth and duty, he does not need external teaching. If it be the office of the Spirit to reveal truth objectively to the mind, and to indicate on all occasions the path of duty; and if his revealing and guiding influence be universal, and immediate, self-evidencing itself as divine, it must of necessity supersede all others; just as the Scriptures supersede reason in matters of religion. The Quakers, therefore, although, as has been shown, acknowledging the divine authority of the Scriptures, make far less of them than other denominations of evangelical Christians. They make very little of the Church and its ordinances; of the Sabbath; of a stated ministry; and nothing of the sacraments as external ordinances and means of grace. In all these respects their influence has been hurtful to the cause of Christ, while it is cheerfully admitted that some of the best Christians of our age belong to the Society of Friends.

§ 7. Objections to the Mystical Theory.

    The idea on which Mysticism is founded is Scriptural and true. It is true that God has access to thne human soul. It is true that He can, consistently with his own nature and with the laws of our being, supernaturally and immediately reveal truth objectively to the mind, and attend that revelation with evidence which produces an infallible assurance of its truth and of its divine origin. It is also true that such revelations have often been made to the children of men. But these cases of immediate supernatural revelation belong to the category of miracles. They are rare and are to be duly authenticated.

    The common doctrine of the Christian Church is, that God has at sundry times and in divers manners spoken to the children of men; that what eye hath not seen, or ear heard, what never could have entered into the heart of man, God has revealed by his Spirit to those whom He selected to be his spokesmen to their fellow-men; that these revelations were authenticated as divine, by their character, their effects, and by signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost; that these holy men of old who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, communicated the revelations which they had received not only orally, but in writing, employing not the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; so that we have in the sacred Scriptures the things of the Spirit recorded in the words of the Spirit; which Scriptures, therefore, are the Word of God, -- i.e., what God says to man; what He declares to be true and obligatory, -- and constitute for his Church the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

    Romanists, while admnitting the infallibility of the written Word, still contend that it is not sufficient; and hold that God continues in a supernatural manner to guide the Church by rendering its bishops infallible teachers in all matters pertaining to truth and duty.

    Mystics, making the same admission as to the infallibility of Scripture, claim that the Spirit is given to every man as an inward teacher and guide, whose instructions and influence are the highest rule of faith, and sufficient, even without the Scriptures, to secure the salvation of the soul.

Mysticism has no Foundation in the Scriptures.

    The objections to the Romish and Mystical theory are substantially the same.

    1. There is no foundation for either in Scriptures. As the Scriptures contain no promise of infallible guidance to bishops, so they contain no promise of the Spirit as the immediate revealer of truth to every man. Under the Old Testament dispensation the Spirit did indeed reveal the mind and purposes of God; but it was to selected persons chosen to be prophets, authenticated as divine messengers, whose instructions the people were bound to receive as coming from God. In like manner, under the new dispensation, our Lord selected twelve men, endowed them with plenary knowledge of the Gospel, rendered them infallible as teachers, and required all men to receive their instructions as the words of God. It is true that during the apostolic age there were occasional communications made to a class of persons called prophets. But this "gift of prophecy," that is, the gift of speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, was analogous to the gift of miracles. The one has as obviously ceased as the other.

    It is true, also, that our Lord promised to send the Spirit, who was to abide with the Church, to dwell in his people, to be their teacher, and to guide them into the knowledge of all truth. But what truth? Not historical or scientific truth, but plainly revealed truth; truth which He himself had taught, or made known by his authorized messengers. The Spirit is indeed a teacher; and without his instructions there is no saving knowledge of divine things, for the Apostle tells us, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1Co 2:14.) Spiritual discernment, therefore, is the design and effect of the Spirit's teaching. And the things discerned are "the things freely given to us of God," i. e., as the context shows, the things revealed to the Apostles and clearly made known in the Scriptures.

    The Apostle John tells his readers, "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things" (1Jo 2:20), and again, ver. 27, "The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." These passages teach what all evangelical Christians admit. First, that true knowledge, or spiritual discernment of divine things, is due to the inward teaching of the Holy Spirit; and secondly, that true faith, or the infallible assurance of the truths revealed, is due in like manner to the "demonstration of tine Spirit." (1Co 2:4.) The Apostle John also says: "He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself." (1Jo 5:10.) Saving faith does not rest on the testinnony of the Church, nor on the outward evidence of miracles and prophecy, but on the inward testimony of the Spirit with and by the truth in our hearts. He who has this inward testimony needs no other. He does not need to be told by other men what is truth; this same anointing teaches him what is truth, and that no lie is of the truth. Christians were not to believe every spirit. They were to try the spirits whether they were of God. And the test or criterion of trial was the external, authenticated revelation of God, as spiritually discerned and demonstrated by the inward operations of the Spirit. So now when errorists come and tell the people there is no God, no sin, no retribution, no need of a Saviour, or of expiation, or of faith; that Jesus of Nazareth is not the Son of God, God manifest in the flesh, the true Christian has no need to be told that these are what the Apostle calls lies. He has an inward witness to the truth of the record which God has given of his Son.

    If the Bible gives no support to the Mystical doctrine of the inward, supernatural, objective revelation of truth made by the Spirit to every man, that doctrine is destitute of all foundation, for it is only by the testimony of God that any such doctrine can be established.

Mysticism is contrary to the Scriptures.

    2. The doctrine in question is not only destitute of support from Scripture, but it contradicts the Scriptures. It is not only opposed to isolated declarations of the Word of God, but to the whole revealed plan of God's dealing with his people. Everywhere, and under all dispensations, the rule of faith and duty has been the teaching of authenticated messengers of God. The appeal has always been "to the law and testimony." The prophets came saying, "Thus saith the Lord." Men were required to believe and obey what was communicated to them, and not what the Spirit revealed to each individual. It was the outward and not the inward word to which they were to attend. And under the gospel the command of Christ to his disciples, was, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mr 16:15-16), -- believeth, of course, the gospel which they preached. Faith cometh by hearing. "How," asks the Apostle, "shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Ro 10:14.) God, he tells us, hath determined to save men by the foolishness of preaching. (1Co 1:21.) It is the preaching of the cross he declares to be the power of God. (Verse 18.) It is the gospel, the external revelation of the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, he says in Ro 1:16, which "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek; for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." This idea runs through the whole New Testament. Christ commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel. He declared that to be the way in which men were to be saved. They accordingly went forth preaching everywhere. This preaching was to continue to the end of the world. Therefore, provision was made for continuing the ministry. Men called and qualified by the Spirit, were to be selected and set apart to this work by divine command. And it is in this way, so far, the world has been converted. In no case do we find the Apostles calling upon the people, whether Jews or Gentiles, to look within themselves, to listen to the inner Word. They were to listen to the outward Word; to believe what they heard, and were to pray for the Holy Spnrit to enable them to understand, receive, and obey what was thus externally made known to them.

Contrary to the Facts of Experience.

    3. The doctrine in question is no less contrary to fact than it is to Scripture. The doctrine teaches that by the inward revelation of the Spirit saving knowledge of truth and duty is given to every man. But all experience shows that without the written Word, men everywhere and in all ages, are ignorant of divine things, without God, without Christ, and without hope in the world. The sun is not more obviously the source of light, than the Bible is the source of divine knowledge. The absence of the one is as clearly indicated as the absence of the other. It is incredible that an inward revelation of saving truth is made to every man by the Holy Spirit, if the appropriate effects of that revelation are nowhere manifested. It is to be remembered that without the knowledge of God, there can be no religion. Without right apprehensions of the Supreme Being, there can be no right affections towards him. Without the knowledge of Christ, there can be no faith in him. Without truth there can be no holiness, any more than there can be vision without light. As right apprehensions of God, and holiness of heart and life, are nowhere found where the Scriptures are unknown, it is plain that the Scriptures, and not an inward light common to all men, are, by the ordinance of God, the only source to us of saving and sanctifying kmnowledge.

    There is a sense in which, as all evangelical Christians believe, the Spirit is given to every man. He is present with every human mind exciting to good and restraining from evil. To this the order, and what there is of morality in the world, are due. Without this "common grace," or general influence of the Spirit, there would be no difference between our world and hell; for hell is a place or state in which men are finally given up of God. In like manner, there is a general providential efficiency of God by which He cooperates with second causes, in the productions of the wonderful phenomena of the external world. Without that cooeration -- the continued guidance of mind -- the cosmos would become chaos. But the fact that this providential efficiency of God is universal, is no proof that He everywhere works miracles, that He constantly operates without the intervention of second causes. So, also, the fact that the Spirit is present with every human mind, and  constantly enforces the truth present to that mind, is no proof that He makes immediate, supernatural revelations to every human being. The fact is, we cannot see without light. We have the sun to give us light. It is vain to say that every man has an inward light sufficient to guide him without the sun. Facts are against the theory.

No Criterion by which to judge of the Source qf Inward Suggestions.

    4. A fourth objection to the Mystical doctrine is that there is no criterion by which a man can test these inward impulses or revelations, and determine which are from the Spirit of God, and which are from his own heart or from Satan, who often appears and acts as an angel of light. This objection, Barclay says, "Bespeaketh much ignorance in the opposers. . . . For it is one thing to affirm that the true and undoubted revelation of God's Spirit is certain and infallible; and another thing to affirm that this or that particular person or people is led infallibly by this revelation in what they speak or write, because they affirm themselves to be so led by the inward and immediate revelation of the Spirit."42 It is admitted that there is an inward and infallible testimony of the Spirit in the hearts of believers to the truths objectively revealed in the Scriptures. It is admitted, also, that there have been immediate revelations of truth to the mind, as in the case of the prophets and Apostles, and that these revelations authenticate themselves, or are attended with an infallible assurance that they come from God. But these admissions do not invalidate the objection as above stated. Granted that a man who receives a true revelation knows that it is from God; how is the man who receives a false revelatioun to know that it is not from God? Many men honestly believe themselves to be inspired, who are under the influence of some evil spirit, -- their own it may be. The assurance on certainty of conviction may be as strong in one case as in the other. In the one it is well founded, in the other it is a delusion. Irresistible conviction is not enough. It may satisfy the subject of it himself. But it cannot either satisfy others, or be a criterion of truth. Thousands have been, and still are, fully convinced that the false is true, and that what is wrong is right. To tell men, therefore, to look within for an authoritative guide, and to trust to their irresistible convictions, is to give them a guide which will lead them to destruction. When God really makes revelations to the soul, He not only gives an infallible assurance that the revelation is divine, but accompanies it with evidence satisfactory to others as well as to the recipient that it is from God. All his revelations have had the seal both of internal and external evidence. And when the believer is assured, by the testimony of the Spirit, of the truths of Scripture, he has only a new kind of evidence of what is already anthenticated beyond all rational contradiction. Our blessed Lord Himself said to the Jews, "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works." (Joh 10:37-38.) He even goes so far as to say, "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin." (Joh 15:24.) The inward teaching and testimony of the Spirit are Scriptural truths, and truths of inestimable value. But it is ruinous to put them in the place of the divinely authenticated written Word.

The Doctrine productive of Evil.

    5. Our Lord says of men, "By their fruits ye shall know them." The same rule of judgmnent applies to doctrines. Mvsticismn has always been productive of evil. It has led to the neglect or undervaluing of divine institutions, -- of the Church, of the ministry, of the sacraments, of the Sabbath, and of the Scriptures. History shows that it has also led to the greatest excesses and social evils. The Society of Friends has in a good degree escaped these evils but it has been by a happy inconsistency. They have not carried out their principle. For, while they teach that the inward revelations of the Spirit present the "formal object" of faith; that they are clear and certain, forcing "the well-disposed understanding to assent, irresistibly moving it thereto;" that they are the primary, immediate, and principal source of divine knowledge; that they are not "to be subjected to the examination either of the outward testimony of the Scriptures, or of the natural reason of man, as to a more noble or certain rule or touchstone;"43 yet they also teach that nothing not contained in the Scriptures can be an article of faith; that we are bound to believe all the Bible teaches; that everything contrary to its teaching is to be rejected as "a delusion of the devil," no matter from what source it may come; and that the Scriptures are the judge of controversies among Christians; and thus they, as a society, have been preserved from the excesses into which Mystics have generally run. Nevertheless, the Mystical principle of immediate, objective revelation of truth to every man, as his principal and primary rule of faith and practice, has wrought with Friends its legitimate fruit, inasmuch as it has led to comparative neglect of the Scriptures and of the ordinances of the Church.


1. Cours de la Hist. de la Phil. Mod. Prem. Ser. Paris, 1846, vol. ii. lec. 9, 10. pp. 95, 120.
2. Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature, edited by George Ripley. vol. i; Philosophical Miscellanies from Cousin, et al., pp. 125, 149.
3. Inst. § 5.
4. Systematische Entwickelung, fourth edit. p. 19.
5. In Herzog's Encyklopadie, art. "Mystik."
6. System der Christlichen Lehre, fifth edit. p. 35.
7. See Cousin's Cours de l'Histoire de la Philosophie, and Morell's History of Modern Philosophy, p. 556ff.
8. Morell, p. 560.
9. Philosophy of Religion, p. 75.
10. Word "Mysticism."
11. Vaughan, Hours with the Mystics, vol. i. p. 45.
12. Taylor, Elements of Thought. See Fleming, word "Theosophism."
13. De Virgg. Veland c. 1 -- Edit. Basle, 1562, p. 490.
14. See Neader's Dogmengeschichte, vol. i. Schwegler, F.O. (disciple of Baur) Der Monsanismus und die Christliche Kirche des Zweiten Jahrhunderts, Tub. 1841-1848. A concise and clear account of Montanism is given in Mosehim's Commentary on the Affairs of Christians before the Time of Constantine. vol. i. § 66, pp. 497ff. of Murdock's edition.
15. See Rixner's Geschichte der Philosophie, vol. i. §§ 168-172. Ritter's Gerschicte der Christlichen Philosophie, vol. ii. pp. 15-135. Herzog's Encyklopadie.
16. Cur Deus Homo, lib. i. cap. 25.
17. De Praedest. cap. i. 1, Migne, Patr. vol. cxxii. p. 358.
18. De div. Nat., i. 69f., Migne, ut supra, p.513, b.
19. De Fide Trinitatis, 2; Opera, Paris, 1721, p. 42, B. b. c.
20. Proslogium, i.; Ibid. p. 30, B. a.
21. Epistolae, lib. ii. epis. 41; Opera, Paris, 1721, p. 357, B, a.
22. History of Christian Doctrine, vol. i. p.79.
23. Lexicon, art. "Mystik."
24. Reformers before the Reformation.

25. Ullmann, vol. 2Ch 2.
26. Ullmann, Translation in Clark's Library, vol. ii. p. 27.
27. Ibid. p. 47.
28. See Tholuck, Sufismus seu Theosophia Persarum Pantheistica. C. Schmidt, Essas sur les Mystiques du 14me Siecle. This writer is the author of most of the excellent articles in Herzog's Encyklopadie on the Mediaeval Mystics. Ullmann's Reformers before the Reformation. Poiret, Bibliotheca Mysticorum. Vaughan's Hours with the Mystics. Helfferich's Christliche Mystik. Dorner, Geschichte der Protestantishcen Theologie, 48-59.
29. Hours with Mystics, vol. i. p. 45.
30. Vocabulary of Philosophy.
31. See Baur's Christliche Gnosis; Dorner's History of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ and his History of Protestant Theology; Hamberger, Die Lehre des Deutschen Philosophen Boehme, 1844.
32. Herzog's Encyklopadie, art. "Molinos."
33. One of the most important works of William Penn bears the title Primitive Christianity revived in the Faith and Practice of the People called Quakers.
34. Evans.
35. See Barclay's Apology, Philadelphia edition, pp. 152, 153.
36. Ibid., p. 218.
37. Barclay's Apology, p. 106.
38. Ibid., p. 100.
39. Ibid., p. 105.
40. Ibid., p. 100.
41. See pp. 62-64, 105.
42. Barclay's Apology, p. 67.
43. Barclay's Second Proposition.

Part 00: Introduction 05: Roman Catholic Doctrine Concerning the Rule of Faith


Roman Catholic Doctrine Concerning the Rule of Faith

§ 1. Statement of the Doctrine.   § 2. Roman Catholic Doctrine concerning the Scriptures.   § 3. Tradition.
§ 4. The Office of the Church as Teacher.    § 5. Examination of the Romish Doctrine.
§ 6. Examination of the Romish Doctrine.
  § 7. Office of the Church as a Teacher.

§ 1. Statement of the Doctrine.

    1. ROMANISTS reject the doctrine of the Rationalists who make human reason either the source or standard of religious truth. It is one of their principles, that faith is merely human when either its object or ground is human. Faith to be divine must have truth supernaturally revealed as its object, and the evidence on which it rests must be the supernatural testimony of God.

    2. They reject the Mystical doctrine that divine truth is revealed to every man by the Spirit. They admit an objective, supernatural revelation.

    3. They maintain, however, that this revelation is partly written and partly unwritten, that is, the rule of faith includes both Scripture and tradition. Moreover, as the people cannot certainly know what books are of divine origin, and, therefore, entitled to a place in the canon; and as they are incompetent to decide on the meaning of Scripture, or which among the multitude of traditionary doctrines and usages are divine, and which are human, God has made the Church an infallible teacher by which all these points are determined, whose testimony is the proximate and sufficient ground of faith to the people.

    So far as the Romish doctrine concerning the Rule of Faith differs from that of Protestants, it presents the following points for consideration: First, The doctrine of Romanists concerning the Scriptures. Second, Their doctrine concerning tradition. Third, Their doctrine concerning the office and authority of the Church as a teacher.

§ 2. Roman Catholic Doctrine concerning the Scriptures.

    On this subject Romanists agree with Protestants, (1.) In teaching the plenary inspiration and consequent infallible authority of the sacred writings. Of these writings the Council of Trent says that God is their author, and that they were written by the dictation of the Holy Spirit ("Spiritu sancto dictante.") (2.) They agree with us in receiving into the sacred canon all the books which we regard as of divine authority.

    Romanists differ from Protestants in regard to the Scriptures, --

    1. In receiving into the canon certain books which Protestants do not admit to be inspired, namely: Tobit, Judith, Sirach, parts of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Frst, Second, and Third Books of the Maccabees (the Third Book of Maccabees, however, is not included in the Vulgate), Baruch, the Hymn of the Three Children, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon. These books are not all included by name in the list given by the Council of Trent. Several of them are parts of the books there enumerated. Thus, the Hymn of the Three Children, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon, appear as parts of the book of Daniel. Some modern theologians of the Romish Church refer all the apocryphal books to what they call "The Second Canon," and admit that they are not of equal authority with those belonging to the First Canon.1 The Council of Trent, however, makes no such distinction.

Incompleteness of the Scriptures.

    2. A second point of difference is that Romanists deny, and Protestants affirm, the completeness of the sacred Scriptures. That is, Protestants maintain that all the extant supernatural revelations of God, which constitute the rule of faith to his Church, are contained in his written word. Romanists, on the other hand, hold that some doctrines which all Christians are bound to believe, are only imperfectly revealed in the Scriptures; that others are only obscurely intimated; and that others are not therein contained at all. The Preface to the Romish Catechism (Quest. 12) says, "Omnis doctrinae ratio, quae fidelibus tradenda sit, verbo Dei continetur, quod in scripturam traditionesque distributum est." Bellarmin2 says expressly, "Nos asserimus, in Scripturis non contineri expresse totam doctrinam necessariam, sive de fide sive de moribus; et proinde praeter verbum Dei scriptum requiri etiamn verbum Dei non-scriptum, i. e., divinas et apostolicas traditiones." On this point the Romish theologians are of one mind; but what the doctrines are, which are thus imperfectly revealed in the Scriptures, or merely implied, or entirely omitted, has never been authoritatively decided by the Church of Rome. The theologians of that Church, with more or less unanimity. refer to one or the other of these classes the following doctrines: (1.) The canon of Scripture. (2.) The inspiration of the sacred writers. (3.) The full doctrine of the Trinity. (4.) The personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit. (5.) Infant baptism (6.) The observance of Sunday as the Christian Sabbath. (7.) The threefold orders of the ministry. (8.) The government of the Church by bishops. (9.) The perpetuity of the apostleship. (10.) The grace of orders. (11.) The sacrificial nature of the Eucharist. (12.) The seven sacraments. (13.) Purgatory. It lies in the interests of the advocates of tradition to depreciate the Scriptures, and to show how much the Church would lose if she had no other source of knowledge of divine truth but the written word. On this subject the author of No. 85 of the Oxford Tracts, when speaking even of essential doctrines, says,3 "It is a near thing that they are in the Scriptures at all. The wonder is that they are all there. Humanly judging they would not be there but for God's interposition; and, therefore, since they are there by a sort of accident, it is not strange they shall be but latent there, and only indirectly producible thence." "The gospel doctrine," says the same writer, "is but indirectly and covertly recorded in Scripture under the surface."

    Tradition is always represented by Romanists as not only the interpreter, but the complement of the Scriptures. The Bible, therefore, is, according to the Church of Rome, incomplete. It does not contain all the Church is bound to believe; nor are the doctrines which it does contain, therein fully or clearly made known.

Obscurity of the Scriptures.

    3. The third point of difference between Romanists and Protestants relates to the perspicuity of Scripture, and the right of private judgment. Protestants hold that the Bible; being addressed to the people, is sufficiently perspicuous to be understood by them, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and that they are entitled and bound to search the Scriptures and to judge fbr themselves what is its true meaning. Romanists, on the other hand, teach that the Scriptures are so obscure that they need a visible, present, and infallible interpreter; and that the people, being incompetent to understand them, are bound to believe whatever doctrines the Church, through its official organs, declares to be true and divine. On this subject the Council of Trent (Sess. 4), says: "Ad coercenda petulantia ingenia decernit (Synodus), ut nemo, suae prudentiae innixus in rebus fidei et morum ad aedificationem doctrinae Christiana pertinentium, Sacram Scripturam ad suas sensus contorquens contra eum sensum, quem tenuit et tenet sancta mater Ecclesia, cujus est judicare de vero sensu et interpretatione Scripturarum Sanctarum, aut etiam contra unanimem consensum patrum ipsam scripturam sacram interpretari audeat, etiamsi hujus modi interpretationes nullo unquam tempore in lucem edendae forent. Qui contravenerint, per ordinarios declarentur et poenis a jure statutis puniantur." Bellarmin4 says: "Non ignorabat Deus multas in Ecclesia exorituras difficultates circa fidem, debuit igitur judicem aliquem Ecclesiae providere. At iste judex non potest esse Scriptura, neque Spiritus revelans privatus, neque princeps secularis, igitur princeps ecclesiasticus vel solus vel certe cum consilio et consensu coepiscoporum."

    From this view of the obscurity of Scripture it follows that the use of the sacred volume by the people, is discountenanced by the Church of Rome, although its use has never been prohibited by any General Council. Such prohibitions, however, have repeatedly been issued by the Popes; as by Gregory VII., Innocent III., Clemens XI., and Pius IV., who made the liberty to read any vernacular version of the Scriptures, dependent on the permission of the priest. There have been, however, many Romish prelates and theologians who encouraged the general reading of the Bible. The spirit of the Latin Church and the effects of its teaching, are painfully manifested by the fact that the Scriptures are practically inaccessible to the mass of the people in strictly Roman Catholic countries.

The Latin Vulgate.

    4. The fourth point of difference concerns the authority due to the Latin Vulgate. On this subject the Council of Trent (Sess. 4), says: "Synodus considerans non parum utilitatis accedere posse Ecclesiae Dei, si ex omnibus Latinis editionibus quae circumferentur, sacrorum librorum, quaenam pro authentica habenda sit, innotescat: statuit et declarat, ut haec ipsa vetus et vulgata editlo, quae longo tot seculorum usu in ipsa Ecclesia probata est, in publicis lectionibus, disputationibus, praedicationibus et expositionibus pro authentica habeatur et nemo illam rejicere quovis praetextu audeat vel praesumat." The meaning of this decree is a matter of dispute among Romanists themselves. Some of the more modern and liberal of their theologians say that the Council simpy intended to determine which among several Latin versions was to be used in the service of the Church. They contend that it was not meant to forbid appeal to the original Scriptures, or to place the Vulgate on a par with them in authority. The earlier and stricter Romanists take the ground that the Synod did intend to forbid an appeal to the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, and to make the Vulgate the ultimate authority. The language of the Council seems to favor this interpretation. The Vulgate was to be used not only for the ordinary purposes of public instruction, but in all theological discussions, and in all works of exegesis.  

§ 3. Tradition.

    The word tradition (para,dosij)means, (1.) The art of delivering over from one to another. (2.) The thing delivered or communicated. In the New Testament it is used (a.)For instructions delivered from some to others, without reference to the mode of delivery, whether it be orally or by writing; as in 2Th 2:15, "Hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle;" and iii. 6, "Withdraw yourself from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us." (b.) For the oral instructions of the fathers handed down from generation to generation, but not contained in the Scriptures, and yet regarded as authoritative. In this sense our Lord so frequently speaks of "the traditions of the Pharisees." (c.) In Ga 1:14, where Paul speaks of his zeal for the traditions of his fathers, it may include both the written and unwritten instructions which he had received. What he was so zealous about, was the whole system of Judaism as he had been taught it.

    In the early Church the word was used in this wide sense. Appeal was constantly made to "the traditions," i. e., the instructions which the churches had received. It was only certain churches at first which had any of the written instructions of the Apostles. And it was not until the end of the first century that the writings of the Evangelists and Apostles were collected, and formed into a canon, or rule of faith. And when the books of the New Testament had been collected, the fathers spoke of them as containing the traditions, i. e., the instructions derived from Christ and his Apostles. They called the Gospels "the evangelical traditions," and the Epistles "the apostolical traditions." In that age of the Church the distinction between the written and unwritten word had not yet been distinctly made. But as controversies arose, and disputants on both sides of all questions appealed to "tradition," i. e., to what they had been taught; and when it was found that these traditions differed, one church saying their teachers had always taught them one thing, and another that theirs had taught them the opposite, it was felt that there should be some common and authoritative standard. Hence the wisest and best of the fathers insisted on abiding by the written word, and receiving nothing as of divine authority not contained therein. In this, however, it must be confessed they were not always consistent. Whenever prescription, usage, or conviction founded on unwritten evidence, was available against an adversary, they did not hesitate to make the most of it. During all the early centuries, therefore, the distinction between Scripture and tradition was not so sharply drawn as it has been since the controversies between Romanists and Protestants, and especially since the decisions of the Council of Trent.

Tridentine Doctrine.

    That Council, and the Latin Church as a body, teach on this subject, -- (1.) That Christ and his Apostles taught many things which were not committed to writing, i. e., not recorded in the Sacred Scriptures. (2.) That these instructions have been faithfully transmitted, and preserved in the Church. (3.) That they constitute a part of the rule of faith for all believers.

    These particulars are included in the following extracts from the acts of the Council: "Synodus -- perspiciens hanc veritatem et disciplinam contineri in libris scriptis et sine scripto traditionibus, quae ex ipsius Christi ore ab apostolis acceptae, aut ab ipsis apostolis, Spiritu Sancto dictante, quasi per manus traditae, ad nos usque pervenerunt; orthodoxorum patrum exempla secuta, omnes libros tam Veteris quam Novi Testamenti, cum utriusque unus Deus sit auctor, nec non traditiones ipsas, tum ad fidem tum ad mores pertinentes, tanquam vel ore tenus a Christo, vel a Spiritu Sancto dictatas, et continua successione in Ecclesia Catholica conservatas, pari pietatis affectu et reverentia suscipit et veneratur."5

    Bellarmin6 divides traditions into three classes: divine, apostolical, and ecclesiastical. "Divinae dicuntur quae acceptae sunt ab ipso Christo apostolos docente, et nusquam in divinis literis in veniuntur. . . . Apostolicae traditiones proprie dicuntus illae, quae ab apostolis institutae sunt, non tamen sine assistentia Spiritus Sancti et nihilominus non extant scriptae in eorum epistolis. . . . Ecclesiasticae traditiones proprie dicuntur consuetudines quaedam antiquae vel a praelatis vel a populis inchoatae, quae paulatim tacito consensu populorum vim legis obtinuerunt. Et quidem traditiones divinae eandem vim habent, quam divinae praecepta sive divina doctrina scripta in Evangeliis. Et similiter apostolicae traditiones non scriptae eandem vim habent, quam apostolica, traditiones scriptae. . . . . Ecclesiasticae autem traditiones eandem vim habent, quam decreta et constitutiones ecclesiasticae, scriptae."

    Petrus a Soto, quoted by Chemnitz7 says, "Infallibilis est regula et catholica. Quacunque credit, tenet, et servat Romana Ecelesia, et in Scripturis non habentur, illa ab apostolis esse tradita; item quarum observationum initium, author et origo ignoretur, vel inveniri non potest, illas extra omnem dubitationem ab apostolia tradita esse."

    From this it appears, 1. That these traditions are called unwritten because not contained in the Scriptures. They are, for the most part, now to be found written in the works of the Fathers, decisions of councils, ecclesiastical constitutions, and rescripts of the Popes.

    2. The office of tradition is to convey a knowledge of doctrines, precepts, and institutions not contained in Scripture; and also to serve as a guide to the proper understanding of what is therein written. Tradition, therefore, in the Church of Rome, is both the supplement and interpretation of the written word.

    3. The authority due to tradition is the same as that which belongs to the Scriptures. Both are to be received "pari pietatis affectu et reverentia." Both are derived from the same source; both are received through the same channel; and both are authenticated by the same witness. This authority, however, belongs properly only to traditions regarded as divine or apostolical. Those termed ecclesiastical are of less importance, relating to rites and usages. Still for them is claimed an authority virtually divine, as they are enjoined by a church which claims to have been endowed by Christ with full power to ordain rites and ceremonies.

    4. The criteria by which to distinguish between true and false traditions, are either antiquity and catholicity, or the testimony of the extant Church. Sometimes the one, and sometimes the other is urged. The Council of Trent gives the former; so does Bellarmin, and so do the majority of Romish theologians. This is the famous rule established by Vincent of Lerins in the fifth century, "quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus." On all occasions, however, the ultimate appeal is to the decision of the Church. Whatever the Church declares to be a part of the revelation committed to her, is to be received as of divine authority, at the peril of salvation.

§ 4. The Office of the Church as Teacher.

    1. Romanists define the Church to be the company of men professing the same faith, united in the communion of the same sacraments, subject to lawful pastors, and specially to the Pope. By the first clause they exclude from the Church all infidels and heretics; by the second, all the unbaptized; by the third, all who are not subject to bishops having canonical succession; and by the fourth, all who do not acknowledge the Bishop of Rome to be the head of the Church on earth. It is this external, visible society thus constituted, that God has made an authoritative and infallible teacher.

    2. The Church is qualified for this office: first, by the communication of all the revelations of God, written and unwritten; and secondly, by the constant presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit preserving it from all error in its instructions. On this point the "Roman Catechism,"8 says: "Quemadmodum haec una Ecclesia errare non potest in fidei ac morum disciplina tradenda, cum a Spiritu Sancto gubernetur; ita ceteras omnes, quae sibi ecclesiae nomen arrogant, ut quae Diaboli spiritu ducantur, in doctrinae et morum perniciosissimis erroribus versari necesse est." And Bellarmin,9"Nostra sententia est Ecclesiam absolute non posse errare nec in rebus absolute necessariis nec in aliis, quae credenda vel facienda nobis proponit, sive habeantur expresse in Scripturis, sive non."

    3. The Church, according to these statements, is infallible only as to matters of faith and morals. Its infallibility does not extend over the domains of history, philosophy, or science. Some theologians would even limit the infallibility of the Church, to essential doctrines. But the Church of Rome does not make the distinction, recognised by all Protestants, between essential and non-essential doctrines. With Romanists, that is essential, or necessary, which the Church pronounces to be a part of the revelation of God. Bellarmin -- than whom there is no greater authority among Romish theologians -- says that the Church can err "nec in rebus absolute necessariis nec in aliis," i. e., neither in things in their own nature necessary, nor in those which become necessary when determined and enjoined. It has been disputed among Romanists, whether the Church is infallible in matters of fact as well as in matters of doctrine. By facts, in this discussion, are not meant facts of history or science, but facts involved in doctrinal decisions. When the Pope condemned certain propositions taken from the works of Jansenius, his disciples had to admit that those propositions were erroneous; but they denied that they were contained, in the sense condemned, in the writings of their master. To this the Jesuits replied, that the infallibility of the Church extended in such cases as much to the fact as to the doctrine. This the Jansenists denied.

The Organs of the Church's Infallibility.

    4. As to the organs of the Church in its infallible teaching, there are two theories, the Episcopal and Papal, or, as they are designated from their principal advocates, the Gallican and the Transmontane. According to the former, the bishops, in their collective capacity, as the official successors of the Apostles, are infallible as teachers. Individual bishops may err, the body or college of bishops cannot err. Whatever the bishops of any age of the Church unite in teaching, is, for that age, the rule of faith. This concurrence of judgment need not amount to entire unanimity. The greater part, the common judgment of the episcopate, is all that is required. To their decision all dissentients are bound to submit. This general judgment may be pronounced in a council, representing the whole Church, or in any other way in which agreement may be satisfactorily indicated. Acquiescence in the decisions of even a provincial council, or of the Pope, or the several bishops, each in his own diocese, teaching the same doctrine, is sufficient proof of consent.

The Transmontane Theory.

    According to the Papal, or Transmontane theory, the Pope is the organ through which the infallible judgment of the Church is pronounced. He is the vicar of Christ. He is not subject to a general council. He is not required to consult other bishops before he gives his decision. This infallibility is not personal, but official. As a man the Pope may be immoral, heretical, or infidel; as Pope, when speaking ex cathedra, he is the organ of the Holy Ghost. The High-Priest among the Jews might be erroneous in faith, or immoral in conduct, but when consulting God in his official capacity, he was the mere organ of divine communication. Such, in few words, is the doctrine of Romanists concerning the Rule of Faith.

    In the recent Ecumenical Council, held in the Vatican, after a protracted struggle, the Transmontane doctrine was sanctioned. It is, therefore, now obligatory on all Romanists to believe that the Pope, when speaking ex cathedra, is infallible.

§ 5. Examination of the Romish Doctrine.

    Hundreds of volumes have been written in the discussion of the various points included in the theory above stated. Only a most cursory view of the controversy can be given in such a work as this. So far as Romanists differ from us on the canon of Scripture, the examination of their views belongs to the department of Biblical literature. What concerns their doctrine of the incompleteness and obscurity of the written word, and the consequent necessity of an infallible, visible interpreter, can better be said under the head of the Protestant doctrine of the Rule of Faith. The two points to be now considered are Tradition and the office of the Church as a teacher. These subjects are so related that it is difficult to keep them distinct. Tradition is the teaching of the Church, and the teaching of the Church is tradition. These subjects are not only thus intimately related, but they are generally included under the same head in the Catholic Symbols. Nevertheless, they are distinct, and involve very different principles. They should, therefore, be considered separately.

§ 6. Examination of the Doctrine of the Church of Rome on Tradition.

A. Difference between Tradition and the Analogy of Faith.

    1. The Romish doctrine of tradition differs essentially from the Protestant doctrine of the analogy of faith. Protestants admit that there is a kind of tradition within the limits of the sacred Scriptures themselves. One generation of sacred writers received the whole body of truth taught by those who preceded them. There was a tradition of doctrine, a traditionary usus loquendi, traditionary figures, types, and symbols. The revelation of God in his Word begins in a fountain, and flows in a continuous stream ever increasing in volume. We are governed by this tradition of truth running through the whole sacred volume. All is consistent. One part cannot contradict another. Each part must be interpreted so as to bring it into harmony with the whole. This is only saying that Scripture must explain Scripture.

    2. Again, Protestants admit that as there has been an uninterrupted tradition of truth from the protevangelium to the close; of the Apocalypse, so there has been a stream of traditioniary teaching flowing through the Christian Church from the day of Pentecost to the present time. This tradition is so far a rule of faith that nothing contrary to it can be true. Christians do not stand isolated, each holding his own creed. They constitute one body, having one common creed. Rejecting that creed, or any of its parts, is the rejection of the fellowship of Christians, incompatible with the communion of saints, or membership in the body of Christ. In other words, Protestants admit that there is a common faith of the Church, which no man is at liberty to reject, and which no man can reject and be a Christian. They acknowledge the authority of this common faith for two reasons. First, because what all the competent readers of a plain book take to be its meaning, must be its meaning. Secondly, because the Holy Spirit is promised to guide the people of God into the knowledge of the truth, and therefore that which they, under the teachings of the Spirit, agree in believing must be true. There are certain fixed doctrines among Christians, as there are among Jews and Mohammedans, which are no longer open questions. The doctrines of the Trinity, of the divinity and incarnation of the eternal Son of God; of the personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit; of the apostasy and sinfulness of the human race; the doctrines of the expiation of sin through the death of Christ and of salvation through his merits; of regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Ghost; of the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and of the life everlasting, have always entered into the faith of every recognized, historical church on the face of the earth, and cannot now be legitimately called into question by any pretending to be Christians.

    Some of the more philosophical of the Romish theologians would have us believe that this is all they mean by tradition. They insist, they say, only on the authority of common consent. Thus Moehler, Professor of Theology at Munich, in his "Symbolik, oder Darstellung der Dogmatischen Gegensatze," says, "Tradition, in the subjective sense of the word, is the common faith, or consciousness of the Church."10 "The ever-living word in the hearts of believers.11 It is, he says, what Eusebius means by by evkklhqiaspiko.n fro,nhma; what Vincent of Lerins intends by the ecclesiastica intelligentia, and the Council of Trent by the universus ecelesicae sensus. "In the objective sense of the word," Moehler says that "Tradition is the common faith of the Church as presented in external, historical witnesses through all centuries." "ln this latter sense," he tells us, "tradition is commonly viewed when spoken of as a guide to the interpretation of the rule of Faith."12 He admits that in this sense "Tradition contains nothing beyond what is taught in Scripture; the two as to their content, are one and the same."13 Nevertheless, he acknowledges that in the Church of Rome many things were handed down from the Apostles which are not contained in the Scriptures. This fact he does not deny. He admits that such additional revelations, or such revelations in addition to those contained in the written word, are of the highest importance. But he soon dismisses the subject, and devotes his strength to the first-mentioned view of the nature and office of tradition, and holds that up as the peculiar doctrine of Romanism as opposed to the Protestant doctrine. Protestants, however, admit the fact and the authority of a common consciousness and a common faith, or commnon sense of the Church, while they reject the real and peculiar doctrine of Rome on this subject.

B. Points of Diference between the Romish
Doctrine and that of Protestants on Common Consent.

    The points of difference between the Protestant doctrine concerning the common faith of the Church and the Roman Catholic doctrine of tradition are : -- First. When Protestants speak of common consent of Christians, they understand by Christians the true people of God. Romanists on the other hand, mean the company of those who profess the true faith, and who are subject to the Pope of Rome. There is the greatest possible difference between the authority due to the common faith of truly regenerated, holy men, the temples of the Holy Ghost, and that due to what a society of nominal Christians profess to believe, the great majority of whom may be worldly, immoral, and irreligious.

    Secondly. The common consent for which Protestants plead concerns only essential doctrines; that is, doctrines which enter into the very nature of Christianity as a religion, and which are necessary to its subjective existence in the heart, or which if they do not enter essentially into the religious experience of believers, are so connected with vital doctrines as not to admit of separation from them. Romanists, on the contrary, plead the authority of tradition for all kinds of doctrines and precepts, for rites and ceremonies, and ecclesiastical institutions, which have nothing to do with the life of the Church, and are entirely outside of the sphere of the promised guidance of the Spirit. Our Lord, in promising the Spirit to guide his people into the knowledge of truths necessary to their salvation, did not pronise to preserve them from error in subordinate matters, or to give them supernatural knowledge of the organization of the Church, the number of the sacraments, or the power of bishops. The two theories, therefore, differ not only as to the class of persons who are guided by the Spirit, but also as to the class of subjects in relation to which that guidance is promised.

    Thirdly. A still more important difference is, that the common faith of the Church for which Protestants contend, is faith in doctrines plainly revealed in Scripture. It does not extend beyond those doctrines. It owes its whole authority to the fact that it is a common understanding of the written word, attained and preserved under that teaching of the Spirit, which secures to believers a competent knowledge of the plan of salvation therein revealed. On the other hand, tradition is with the Romanists entirely independent of the Scriptures. They plead for a common consent in doctrines not contained in the Word of God, or which cannot be proved therefrom.

    Fourthly. Protestants do not regard "common consent" either as an informant or as a ground of faith. With them the written word is the only source of knowledge of what God has revealed for our salvation, and his testimony therein is the only ground of our faith. Whereas, with Romanists, tradition is not only an informant of what is to be believed, but the witness on whose testimony faith is to be yielded. It is one thing to say that the fact that all the true people of God, under the guidance of the Spirit, believe that certain doctrines are taught in Scripture, is an unanswerable argument that they are really taught therein, and quite another thing to say that because an external society, composed of all sorts of men, to whom no promise of divine guidance has been given, agree in holding certain doctrines, therefore we are bound to receive those doctrines as part of the revelation of God.

C. Tradition and Development.

    The Romish doctrine of tradition is not to be confounded with the modern doctrine of development. All Protestants admit that there has been, in one sense, an uninterrupted development of theology in the Church, from the apostolic age to the present time. All the facts, truths, doctrines, and principles, which enter into Christian theology, are in the Bible. They are there as fully and is clearly at one time as at another; at the begimlning as they are now. No addition has been made to their number, and no new explanation has been afforded of their nature or relations. The same is true of the facts of nature. They are now what they have been from the beginning. They are, however, far better known, and more clearly understood now than they were a thousand years ago. The mechanism of the heavens was the same in the days of Pythagoras as it was in those of La Place; and yet the astronomy of the latter was immeasurably in advance of that of the former. The change was effected by a continual and gradual progress. The same progress has taken place in theological kuowledge. Every believer is conscious of such progress in his own experience. When he was a child, he thought as a child. As he grew in years, he grew in knowledge of the Bible. He increased not only in the compass, but in the clearness, order, and harmony of his knowledge. This is just as true of the Church collectively as of the individual Christian. It is, in the first place, natural, if not inevitable, that it should be so. The Bible, although so clear and simple in its teaching, that he who runs may read and learn enough to secure his salvation, is still full of the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God; full of ta. ba,qh tou/ qeou/, the profoundest truths concerning all the great problems which have taxed the intellect of man from the beginning. These truths are not systematically stated, but scattered, so to speak, promiscuously over the sacred pages, just as the facts of science are scattered over the face of nature, or hidden in its depths. Every man knows that there is unspeakably more in the Bible than he has yet learned, as every man of science knows that there is unspeakably more in nature than he has yet discovered, or understands. It stands to reason that such a book, being the subject of devout and laborious study, century after century, by able and faithful men, should come to be better and better understood. And as in matters of science, although one false theory after another, founded on wrong prnciples or on an imperfect induction of facts, has passed away, yet real progress is made, and the ground once gained is never lost, so we should naturally expect it to be with the study of the Bible. False views, false inferences, misapprehensions, ignoring of some facts, and misinterpretations, might be expected to come and go, in endless succession, but nevertheless a steady progress in the knowledge of what the Bible teaches be accomplished. And we might also expect that here, too, the ground once surely gained would not again be lost.

    But, in the second place, what is thus natural and reasonable in itself is a patent historical fact. The Church has thus advanced in theological knowledge. The difference between the confused and discordant representations of the early fathers on all subjects connected with the doctrines of the Trinity and of the person of Christ, and the clearness, precision, and consistency of the views presented after ages of discussion, and the statement of these doctrines by the Councils of Chalcedon and Constantinople, is as great almost as between chaos and cosmos. And this ground has never been lost. The same is true with regard to the doctrines of sin and grace. Before the long-continued discussion oif these subjects in the Augustinian period, the greatest confusion and contradiction prevailed in the teachings of the leaders of the Church; during those discussions the views of the Church became clear and settled. There is scarcely a principle or doctrine concerning the fall of man, the nature of sin and guilt, inability, the necessity of the Spirits influence, etc., etc., which now enters into the faith of evangelical Christians, which was not then clearly stated and authoritatively sanctioned by the Church. In like manner, before the Reformation, similar confusion existed with regard to the great doctrine of justification. No clear line of discrimination was drawn between it and sanctification. Indeed, during the Middle Ages, and among the most devout of the schoolmen, the idea of guilt was merged in the general idea of sin, and sin regarded as merely moral defilement. The great object was to secure holiness. Then pardon would come of course. The apostolic, Pauline, deeply Scriptural doctrine, that there can be no holiness until sin be expiated, that pardon, justification, and reconciliation, must precede sanctification, was never clearly apprehended. This was the grand lesson which the Church learned at the Reformation, and which it has never since forgot. It is true then, as an historical fact, that the Church has advanced. It understands the great doctrines of theology, anthropology, and soteriology, far better now, than they were understood in the early post-apostolic age of the Church.

Modern Theory of Development.

    Very distinct from the view above presented is the modern theory of the organic development of the Church. This modern theory is avowedly founded on the pantheistic principles of Schelling and Hegel. With them the universe is the self-manifestation and evolution of the absolute Spirit. Dr. Schaff14 says, that this theory "has left an impression on German science that can never be effaced; and has contributed more than any other influence to diffuse a clear conception of the interior organism of history." In his work on the "Principles of Protestantism,"15 Dr. Schaff says that Schelling and Hegel taught the world to recognize in history "the ever opening sense of eternal thoughts, an always advancing rational development of the idea of humanity, and its relations to God." This theory of historical development was adopted, and partially Christianized by Schleiermacher, from whom it has passed over to Dr. Schaff, as set forth in his work above quoted, as well as to many other equally devout and excellent men. The basis of this modified theory is realism. Humanity is a generic life, an intelligent substance. That life became guilty and polluted in Adam. From him it passed over by a process of natural, organic developmnent (the same numerical life and substance) to all his posterity, who therefore are guilty and polluted. This generic life the Son of God assumed into union with his divine nature, and thus healed it and raised it to a higher power or order. He becomes a new starting-point. The origin of this new form of life in Him is supernatural. The constitution of his person was a miracle. But from Him this life is communicated by a natural process of development to the Church. Its members are partakers of this new generic life. It is, however, a germ. What ever lives grows. "Whatever is done is dead." This new life is Christianity. Christianity is not a form of doctrine objectively revealed in the Scriptures. Christian theology is not the knowledge, or systematic exhibition of what the Bible teaches. It is the interpretation of this inner life. The intellectual life of a child expressed itself in one way, of a boy in another way, and of a man in another and higher way. In each stage of his progress the man has views, feelings, and modes of thinking, appropriate to that stage. It would not do for a man to have the same views and thoughts as the child. Yet the latter are just as true, as right, and as proper, for the child, as those of the man for the man. It is thus with the Church. It passes through these stages of childhood, youth, and manhood, by a regular process. During the first centuries the Church had the indistinctness, vagueness, and exaggeration of views and doctrines, belonging to a period of infancy. In the Middle Ages it had a higher form. At the Reformation it advanced to the entrance on another stage. The form assumed by Christianity during the mediaeval period, was for that period the true and proper, but not the permanent form. We have not reached that form as to doctrine yet. That will be reached in the Church of the future.

Development as held by some Romanists.

    There is still another and very different form of the doctrine of development. It does not assume the Mystical doctrine of the indwelling of the substance of Christ, in the soul, the development of which works out its illumnination in the knowledge of the truth, and finally its complete redemption. It admits that Christianity is, or includes a system of doctrine, and that those doctrines are in the Scriptures; but holds that many of them are there only in their rudiments. Under the constant guidance and tuition of the Spirit, the Church comes to understand all that these rudiments contain, and to expand them in their fulness. Thus the Lord's Supper has been expanded into the doctrine of transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the mass; anointing the sick, into the sacrament of extreme unction; rules of discipline into the sacrament of penance, of satisfactions, of indulgences, of purgatory, and masses and prayers for the dead; the prominence of Peter, into the supremacy of the Pope. The Old Testament contains the germ of all the doctrines unfolded in the New; and so the New Testament contains the germs of all the doctrines unfolded, under the guidance of the Spirit, in the theology of the mediaeval Church.

    Although attempts have been made by some Romanists and Anglicans to resolve the doctrine of tradition into one or other of these theories of development, they are essentially different. The only point of analogy between them is, that in both cases, little becomes much. Tradition has made contributions to the faith and institutions of the Christian Church; and development (in the two latter forms of the doctrine above mentioned) provides for a similar expansion.

The Real Question.

    The real status quaestionis, on this subject, as between Romanists and Protestants, is not (1) Whether the Spirit of God leads true believers into the knowledge of the truth; nor (2) whether true Christians agree in all essential matters as to truth and duty; nor (3) whether any man can safely or innocently dissent from this common faith of the people of God; but (4) whether apart from the revelation contained in the Bible, there is another supplementary and explanatory revelation, which has been handed down outside of the Scriptures, by tradition. In other words, whether there are doctrines, institutions, and ordinances, having no warrant in the Scriptures, which we as Christians are bound to receive and obey on the authority of what is called common consent. This Ronmanists affirm and Protestants deny.

D. Arguments against the Doctrine of Tradition.

    The heads of argument against the Romish doctrine on this subject are the following: --

    I. It involves a natural impossibility. It is of course conceded that Christ and his Apostles said and did much that is not recorded in the Scriptures; and it is further admitted that if we had any certain knowledge of such unrecorded instructions, they would be of equal authority with what is written in the Scriptures. But Protestants maintain that they were not intended to constitute a part of the permanent rule of faith to the Church. They were designed for the men of that generation. The showers which fell a thousand years ago, watered the earth and rendered it fruitful for men then living. They cannot now be gathered up and made available for us. They did not constitute a reservoir for the supply of future generations. In like manner the unrecorded teachings of Christ and his Apostles did their work. They were not designed for our instruction. It is as impossible to learn what they were, as it is to gather up the leaves which adorned and enriched the earth when Christ walked in the garden of Gethsemane. This impossibility arises out of the limitations of our nature, as well as its corruption consequent on the fall. Man has not the clearness of perception, the retentiveness of memory, or the power of presentation, to enable him (without supernatural aid) to give a trustworthy account of a discourse once heard, a few years or even months after its delivery. And that this should be done over and over from month to month for thousands of years, is an impossibility. If to this be added the difficulty in the way of this oral transmission, arising from the blindness of men to the things of the Spirit, which prevents their understanding what they hear, and from the disposition to pervert and misrepresent the truth to suit their own prejudices and purposes, it must be acknowledged that tradition cannot be a reliable source of knowledge of religious truth. This is universally acknowledged and acted upon, except by Romanists. No one pretends to determine what Luther and Calvin, Latimer and Cranmer, taught, except from contemporaneous written records. Much less will any sane man pretend to know what Moses and the prophets taught except from their own writings.

    Romanists admit the force of this objection. They admit that tradition would not be a trustworthy informant of what Christ and the Apostles taught, without the supernatural intervention of God. Tradition is to be trusted not because it comes down through the hands of fallible men, but because it comes through an infallibly guided Church. This, however, is giving up the question. It is merging the authority of tradition into the authority of the Church. There is no need of the former, if the latter be admitted. Romanists, however, keep these two things distinct. They say that if the Gospels had never been written, they would know by historical tradition the facts of Christ's life; and that if his discourses and the epistles of the Apostles had never been gathered up and recorded, they would by the same means know the truths which they contain. They admit, however, that this could not be without a special divine intervention.

No Promise of Divine Intervention.

    2. The second objection of Protestants to this theory is, that it is unphilosophical and irreligious to assume a supernatural intervention on the part of God, without promise and without proof, merely to suit a purpose, -- Deus ex machina.

    Our Lord promised to preserve his Church from fatal apostasy; He promised to send his Spirit to abide with his people, to teach them; He promised that He would be with them to the end of the world. But these promises were not made to any external, visible organization of professing Christians, whether Greek or Latin; nor did they imply that any such Church should be preserved from all error in faith or practice; much less do they imply that instructions not recorded by the dictation of the Spirit, should be preserved and transmitted from generation to generation. There is no such promise in the Word of God, and as such preservation and transmission without divine, supernatural interposition, would be impossible, tradition cannot be a trustworthy informant of what Christ taught.

No Criterion.

    3. Romanists again admit that many false traditions have prevailecl in different ages and in different parts of the Church. Those who receive them are confident of their genuineness, and zealous in their support. How shall the line be drawn between the true and false? By what criterion can the one be distinguished from the other? Protestants say there is no such criterion, and therefore, if the authority of tradition be admitted, the Church is exposed to a flood of superstition and error. This is their third argument against the Romish doctrine on this subject. Romanists, however say they have a sure criterion in antiquity and universality. They have formulated their rule of judgment in the famous dictum of Vincent of Lerins: "Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus."

Common Consent not a Criterion.

    To this Protestants reply, -- First, That they admit the authority of commnon consent among true Christians as to what is taught in the Scriptures. So far as all the true people of God agree in their interpretation of the Bible, we acknowledge ourselves bound to submit. But this consent is of authority only, (a) So far as it is the consent of true believers; (b) So far as it concerns the meaning of the written word; and, (c) So far as it relates to tho practical, experimental, or essential doctrines of Christianity. Such consent as to matters outside of the Bible, or even supposed to be in the Bible, if they do not concern the foundation of our faith, is of no decisive weight. The whole Christian world, without one dissenting voice, believed for ages that the Bible taught that the sun moves round the earth. No man now believes it.

    Secondly, Common consent as to Christian doctrine cannot be pleaded except within narrow limits. It is only on the gratuitous and monstrous assumption that Romanists are the only Christians, that the least plausibility can be given to the claim of common consent. The argument is really this: The Church of Rome receives certain doctrines on the authority of tradition. The Church of Rome includes all true Christians. Therefore, the common consent of all Christians may be claimed in favour of those doctrines.

    But, thirdly, admitting that the Church of Rome is the whole Church, and admitting that Church to be unanimous in holding certain doctrines, that is no proof that that Church has always held them. The rule requires that a doctrine must be held not only ab omnibus, but semper. It is, however, a historical fact that all the peculiar doctrines of Romanism were not received in the early Church as matters of faith. Such doctrines as the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome; the perpetuity of the apostleship, the grace of orders; transubstantiation; the propitiatory sacrifice of the Mass; the power of the priests to forgive sins; the seven sacraments; purgatory: the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, etc., etc., can all be historically traced in their origin, gradual development, and final adoption. As it would be unjust to determnine the theology of Calvin and Beza from the Socinianism of modern Geneva; or that of Luther from the theology of the Germans of our day; so it is utterly unreasonable to infer that because the Latin Church believes all that the Council of Trent pronounced to be true, that such was its faith in the first centuries of its history. It is not to be denied that for the first hundred years after the Reformation the Church of England was Calvinistic; then under Archbishop Laud and the Stuarts it became almost thoroughly RRomnanized; then it became to a large extent Rationalistic, so that Bishop Burnet said of the men of his day, that Christianity seemed to be regarded as a fable "among all persons of discernment." To this succeeded a general revival of evangelical doctrine and piety, and that has been followed by a like revival of Romanism and Ritualism. Mr. Newman16 says of the present time: "In the Church of England, we shall hardly find ten or twenty neighboring clergymen who agree together; and that, not in non-essentials of religion, but as to what are its elementary and necessary doctrines; or as to the fact whether there are any necessary doctrines at all, any distinct and definite faith required for salvation." Such is the testimomly of history. In no external, visible Church, has there been a consent to any form of faith, semper et ab omnibus.

    The Latin Church is no exception to this remark. It is an undeniable fact of history that Arianism prevailed for years both in the East and West; that it received the sanction of the vast majority of the bishops, of provincial and ecumnenical councils, and of the Bishop of Rome. It is no less certain that in the Latin Church, Augustinianism, including all the characteristic doctrines of what is now called Calvinism, was declared to be the true faith by council after council, provincial and general, and by bishops and popes. Soon, however, Augustinianism lost its ascendency. For seven or eight centuries no one form of doctrine concerning sin, grace, and predestination prevailed in the Latin Church. Augustinianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Mysticism (equally irreconcilable with both), were in constant conflict; and that, too, on questions on which the Church had already pronounced its judgment. It was not until the beginning of the sixteenth century that the Council of Trent, after long conflict within itself, gave its sanction to a modifled form of Semi-Pelagianism.

    The claim, therefore, for comumon consent, as understood by Romanists, is contrary to history. It is inconsistent with undeniable facts. This is virtually admitted by Romanists themselves. For with them it is common to say, We believe because the fifth century believed. But this is a virtual admission that their peculiar faith is not historically traceable beyond the fifth century. This admission of a want of all historical evidence of "common consent" is also involved, as before remarked, in their constant appeal to the authority of the Church. What the Church says is a matter of faith, we, the traditionists affirm, are bound to believe, has always been a matter of faith. The passage from "Petrus a, Soto ," quoted above, puts the case very concisely: "Quaecunque credit, tenet et servat Romana ecclesia, et in Scripturis non habentur illa ab Apostolis esse tradita." The argument amounts to this. The Church believes on the ground of common consent. The proof that a thing is a matter of common consent, and always has been, is that the Church now believes it.

Inadequacy of the Evidences of Consent.

    The second objection to the argument of Romanists from common consent in support of their traditions, is, that the evidence which they adduce of such consent is altogether inadequate. They appeal to the ancient creeds. But there was no creed generally adopted before the fourth century. No creed adopted before the eighth century contains any of the doctrines peculiar to the Church of Rome. Protestants all receive the doctrinal statements contained in what is called the Apostles' creed, and in those of Chalcedon and of Constantinople, adopted A. D. 681.

    They appeal also to the decisions of councils. To this the same reply is made. There were no general councils before the fourth century. The first six ecumnenical councils gave no doctrinal decisions from which Protestants dissent. They, therefore, present no evidence of consent in those doctrines which are now peculiar to the Church of Rome.

    They appeal again to the writings of the fathers. But to this Protestants object, -- First. That the writings of the apostolic fathers are too few to be taken as trustworthy representatives of the state of opinion in the Church for the first three hundred years. Ten or twenty writers scattered over such a period cannot reasonably be assumed to speak the mind of the whole Church.

    Secondly. The consent of these fathers, or of the half of them, cannot be adduced in favour of any doctrine in controversy between Protestants and Rornanists.

    Thirdly. Almost unanimous consent can be quoted in support of doctrines which Romanists and Protestants unite in rejecting. The Jewish doctrine of the millennium passed over in its grossest form to the early Christian Church. But that doctrine the Church of Rome is specially zealous in denouncing..........

    Fourthly. The consent of the fathers cannot be proved in support of doctrines which Protestants and Romanists agree in accepting. Not that these doctrines did not then enter into the faith of the Church, but simply that they were not presented.

    Fifthly. Such is the diversity of opinion among the fathers themselves, such the vagueness of their doctrinal statements, and such the unsettled usus loquendi as to important words, that the authority of the fathers may be quoted on either side of any disputed doctrine. There is no view, for example, of the nature of the Lord's supper, which has ever been held in the Church, for which the authority of some early father cannot be adduced. And often the same father presents one view at one time, and another at a different time.

    Sixthly. The writings of the fathers have been notoriously corrupted. It was a matter of great complaint in the early Church that spurious works were circulated; and that genuine works were recklessly interpolated. Some of the most important works of the Greek fathers are extant only in a Latin translation. This is the case with the greater part of the works of Irenaeus, translated by Rufinus, whom Jerome charges with the most shameless adulteration.

    Another objection to the argument from consent is, that it is a Procrustean bed which may be extended or shortened at pleasure. In every Catena Patrum prepared to prove this consent in certain doctrines, it will be found that two or more writers in a century are cited as evincing the unanimous opinion of that century, while double or fourfold the number, of equally important writers, belonging to the same period, on the other side, are passed over in silence. There is no rule to guide in the application of this test, and no uniformity in the manner of its use.

    While, therefore, it is admitted that there has been a stream of doctrine flowing down uninterruptedly from the days of the Apostles, it is denied, as a matter of fact, that there has been any uninterrupted or general consent in any doctrine not clearly revealed in the Sacred Scriptures; and not even in reference to such clearly revealed doctrines, beyond the narrow limits of essential truths. And it is, moreover, denied that in any external, visible, organized Church, can the rule, quod semper, quod ab omnibus, be applied even to essential doctrines. The argument, therefore, of Romanists in favor of their peculiar doctrines, derived from general consent, is utterly untenable and fallacious. This is virtually admitted by the most zealous advocates of tradition. "Not only," says Professor Newman,17 "is the Church Catholic bound to teach the truth, but she is divinely guided to teach it; her witness of the Christian faith is a matter of promise as well as of duty; her discernmen of it is secured by a heavenly, as well as by a human rule. She is indefectible in it; and therefore has not only authority to enforce it, but is of authority to declaring it. The Church not only transmits the faith by human means, but has a supernatural gift for that purpose; that doctrine which is true, cnsidered as an historical fact, is true also because she teaches it." The author of the Oxford Tract, No. 85, after saying, "We believe mainly because the Church of the fourth and fifth centuries unanimously believed,"18 adds, "Why should not the Church be divine? The burden of proof surely is on the other side. I will accept her doctrines, and her rites, and her Bible -- not one, and not the other, but all, -- till I have clear proof that she is mistaken. It is I feel God's will that I should do so; and besides, I love these her possessions -- I love her Bible, her doctrines, and her rites; and therefore, I believe."19 The Romanist then believes because the Church believes. This is the ultimate reason. The Church believes, not because she can historically prove that her doctrines have been received from the Apostles, but because she is supernaturally guided to know the truth. "Common consent," therefore, is practically abandoned, and tradition resolves itself into the present faith of the Church.

Tradition not available by the People.

    4. Protestants object to tradition as part of the rule of faith, because it is not adapted to that purpose. A rule of faith to the people must be something which they can apply; a standard by which they can judge. But this unwritten revelation is not contained in any one volume accessible to the people, and intelligible by them. It is scattered through the ecclesiastical records of eighteen centuries. It is absolutely impossible for the people to learn what it teaches. How can they tell whether the Church in all ages has taught the doctrine of transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the Mass, or any other popish doctrine. They must take all such doctrines upon trust, i. e., on the faith of the extant Church. But this is to deny that to them tradition is a rule of faith. They are required to believe, on the peril of their souls, doctrines, the pretended evidence of which it is impossible for them to ascertain or appreciate.

    5. Romanists argue that such is the obscurity of the Scriptures, that not only the people, but the Church itself needs the aid of tradition in order to their being properly understood. But if the Bible, a comparatively plain book, in one portable volume, needs to be thus explained, What is to explain the hundreds of folios in which these traditions are recorded? Surely a guide to the interpretation of the latter must be far more needed than one for the Scriptures.

Tradition destroys the Authority of the Scriptures.

    6. Making tradition a part of the rule of faith subverts the authority of the Scriptures. This follows as a natural and unavoidable consequence. If there be two standards of doctrine of equal authority, the one the explanatory, and infallible interpreter of the other, it is of necessity the interpretation which determines the faith of the people. Instead, therefore, of our faith resting on the testimony of God as recorded in his Word, it rests on what poor, fallible, often fanciful, prejudiced, benighted men, tell us is the meaning of that word. Man and his authority take the place of God. As this is the logical consequence of making tradition a rule of faith, so it is an historical fact that the Scriptures have been made of no account wherever the authority of tradition has been admitted. Our Lord said, that the Scribes and Pharisees made the word of God of no effect by their traditions; that they taught for doctrines the commandments of men. This is no less historically true of the Church of Rome. A great mass of doctrines, rites, ordinances, and institutions, of which the Scriptures know nothing, has been imposed on the reason, conscience, and life of the people. The Roman Catholic religion of our day, with its hierarchy, ritual, image and saint worship; with its absolutions, indulgences, and its despotic power over the conscience and the life of the individual, is as little like the religion of the New Testament, as the present religion of the Hindus with its myriad of deities, its cruelties, and abominations, is like the simple religion of their ancient Vedas. In both cases similar causes have produced similar effects. In both there has been a provision for giving divine authority to the rapidly accumulating errors and corruptions of succeeding ages.

    7. Tradition teaches error, and therefore cannot be divinely controlled so as to be a rule of faith. The issue is between Scripture and tradition. Both cannot be true. The one contradicts the other. One or the other must be given up. Of this it least no true Protestant has any doubt. All the doctrines
peculiar to Romanism, and for which Remanists plead the authority of Scripture, Protestants believe to be anti-scriptural; and therefore they need no other evidence to prove that tradition is not to be trusted either in matters of faith or practice.

The Scriptures not received on the Authority of Tradition.

    8. Romanists argue that Protestants concede the authority of tradition, because it is on that authority they receive the New Testament as the word of God. This is not correct. We do not believe the New Testament to be divine on the ground of the testimony of the Church. We receive the books included in the canonical Scriptures on the twofold ground of internal and external evidence. It can be historically proved that those books were written by the men whose names they bear; and it can also be proved that those men were the duly authenticated organs of the Holy Ghost. The historical evidence which determines the authorship of the New Testament is not exclusively that of the Christian fathers. The testimony of heathen writers is, in some respects, of greater weight than that of the fathers themselves. We may believe on the testimony of English history, ecclesiastical and secular, that the Thirty-Nine Articles were framed by the English Reformers, without being traditionists. In like manner we may believe that the books of the New Testament were written by the men whose names they bear without admitting tradition to be a part of the rule of faith.

    Besides, external evidence of any kind is a very subordinate part of the ground of a Protestant's faith in the Scripture. That ground is principally the nature of the doctrines therein revealed, and the witness of the Spirit, with and by the truth, to the heart and conscience. We believe the Scriptures for much the same reason that we believe the Decalogue.

    The Church is bound to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made it free, and not to be again entangled with the yoke of bondage, -- a bondage not only to human doctrines and institutions, but to soul-destroying errors and superstitions.

§ 7. Office of the Church as a Teacher.

A. The Romish Doctrine on this subject.

    Romanists teach that the Church, as an external, visible society, consisting of those who profess the Christian religion, united in communion of the same sacraments and subjection to lawful pastors, and especially to the Pope of Rome, is divinely appointed to be the infallible teacher of men in all things pertaining to faith and practice. It is qualified for this office by the plenary revelation of the truth in the written and unwritten word of God, and by the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit vouchsafed to the bishops as official successors of the Apostles, or, to the Pope as the successor of Peter in his supremacy over the whole Church, and as vicar of Christ on earth.

    There is something simple and grand in this theory. It is wonderfully adapted to the tastes and wants of men. It relieves them of personal responsibility. Everything is decided for them. Their salvation is secured by merely submitting to be saved by an infallible, sin-pardoning, and grace-imparting Church. Many may be inclined to think that it would have been a great blessing had Christ left on earth a visible representative of himself clothed with his authority to teach and govern, and an order of men dispersed through the world endowed with the gifts of the original Apostles, -- men everywhere accessible, to whom we could resort in all times of difficulty and doubt, and whose decisions could be safely received as the decisions of Christ himself. God's thoughts, however, are not as our thoughts. We know that when Christ was on earth, men did not believe or obey Him. We know that when the Apostles were still living, and their authority was still confirmed by signs, and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, the Church was nevertheless distracted by heresies and schisms. If any in their sluggishness are disposed to think that a perpetual body of infallible teachers would be a blessing, all must admit that the assumption of infallibility by the ignorant, the erring, and the wicked must be an evil inconceivably great. The Romish theory if true might be a blessing; if false it must be an awful curse. That it is false may be demonstrated to the satisfaction of all who do not wish it to be true, and who, unlike the Oxford Tractarian. are not determined to believe it because they love it.

B. The Romish definition of the Church
is derived from what the Church of Rome now is.

    Before presenting a brief outline of the argument against this theory, it may be well to remark that the Romish definition of the Church is purely empirical. It is not derived from the signification or usage of the word evkklhsi,a in the New Testament; nor from what is there taught concerning the Church. It is merely a statement of what the Church of Rome now is. It is a body professing the same faith, united in the communion of the same sacraments, subject to pastors (i. e., bishops) assumed to be lawful, and to the Pope as the vicar of Christ. Now in this definition it is gratuitously assumed, -- 1. That the Church to which the promise of divine guidance is given, is an external, visible organization; and not the people of God as such in their personal and individual relation to Christ. In other words, it is assumed that the Church is a visible society, and not a collective term for the people of God; as when it is said of Paul that he persecuted the Church; and of Christ that He loved the Church and gave himself for it. Christ certainly did not die for any external, visible, organized Society.

    2. The Romish theory assumes, not only that the Church is an external organization, but that it must be organized in one definite, prescribed form. But this assumption is not only unreasonable, it is unscriptural, because no one form is prescribed in Scripture as essential to the being of the Church; and because it is contrary to the whole spirit and character of the gospel, that forms of government should be necessary to the spiritual life and salvation of men. Moreover, this assumption is inconsistent with historical facts. The Church in all its parts has never been organized according to one plan.

    3. But conceding that the Church is an external society, and that it must be organized according to one plan, it is a gratuitous and untenable presumption, that that plan must be the episcopal. It is a notorious fact that diocesan episcopacy did not exist during the apostolic age. It is equally notorious that that plan of government was gradually introduced. And it is no less notorious that a large part of the Church in which Christ dwells by his presence, and which He in every way acknowledges and honours, has no bishops until the present day. The government of the Church by bishops, Romanists admit is one of the institutions which rest not on Scripture, but on tradition for their authority.

    4. But should everything else be conceded, the assumption that subjection to the Pope, as the vicar of Christ, is necessary to the existence of the Church, is utterly unreasonable. This is the climax. There is not the slightest evidence in the New Testament or in the apostolic age, that Peter had any such primacy among the Apostles as Rornanists claim. There is not only the absence of all evidence that he exercised any jurisdiction over them, but there is abundant evidence to the contrary. This is clear from Peter, James, and John, being mentioned together as those who appeared to be pillars (Ga 2:9), and this distinction was due not to office, but to character. It is moreover clear from the full equality in gifts and authority which Paul asserted for himself, and proved to the satisfaction of the whole Church that he possessed. It is clear from the subordinate position occupied by Peter in the Council of Jerusalem (Ac 15.),.and from the severe reproof he received from Paul at Antioch (Ga 2:11-21). It is a plain historical fact, that Paul and John were the master-spirits of the Apostolic Church. But admitting the primacy of Peter in the college of Apostles, there is no evidence that such primacy was intended to be perpetual. There is no command to elect a successor to him in that office; no rules given as to the mode of such election, or the persons by whom the choice was to be made; and no record of such election having actually been made. Everything is made out of the air. But admitting that Peter was constituted the head of the whole Church on earth, and that such headship was intended to be continued, what evidence is there that the Bishop of Rome was to all time entitled to that office? It is very doubtful whether Peter ever was in Rome. The sphere of his labors was in Palestine and the East. It is certain he never was Bishop of the Church in that city. And even if he were, he was Primate, not as Bishop of Rome, but by appointment of Christ. According to the theory, he was Primate before he went to Rome, and not because he went there The simple historical fact is, that as Rome was the seat of the Roman empire, the Bishop of Rome aspired to be the head of the Church, which claim after a long struggle came to be acknowledged, at least in the West.

    It is on the four gratuitous and unreasonable assumptions above mentioned, namely, that the Church to which the promise of the Spirit was made is an external, visible organization; that a particular mode of organization is essential to its existence; that that mode is the episcopal; and that it must be papal, i. e., the whole episcopacy be subject to the Bishop of Rome; -- it is on these untenable assumptions that the whole stupendous system of Romanism rests. If any one of them fail, the whole falls to the ground. These assumptions are so entirely destitute of any adequate historical proof, that no reasonable man can accept them on their own evidence. It is only those who have been taught or induced to believe the extant Church to be infallible, who can believe them. And they believe not because these points can be proved, but on the assertion of the Church. The Romish Church says that Christ constituted the Church on the papal system, and thererore, it is to be believed. The thing to be proved is taken for granted. It is a petitio principii from beginning to end.

C. The Romish Doctrine of Infallibility founded on a Wrong Theory of the Church.

    The first great argument of Protestants against Romanism concerns the theory of the Church.

    God entered into a covenant with Abraham. In that covenant there were certain promises which concerned his natural descendants through Isaac, which promises were suspended on the national obedience of the people. That covenant, however, contained the promise of redemption through Christ. He was the seed in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed. The Jews came to believe that this promise of redemption, i. e., of the blessings of the Messiah's reign, was made to them as a nation; and that it was conditioned on membership in that nation. All who were Jews either by descent or proselytism, and who were circumcised, and adhered to the Law, were saved. All others would certainly perish forever. This is the doctrine which our Lord so pointedly condemned, and against which St. Paul so strenuously argued. When the Jews claimed that they were the children of God, because they were the children of Abraham, Christ told them that they might be the children of Abraham, and yet the children of the devil (Joh 8:33-44); as John, his forerunner, had before said, say not "We have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." (Mt 3:9) It is against this doctrine the epistles to the Romans and Galatians are principally directed. The Apostle shows, (1.) That the promise of salvation was not confined to the Jews, or to the members of any external organization. (2.) And therefore that it was not conditioned on descent from Abraham, nor on circumcision, nor on adherence to the Old Testament theocracy. (3 ) That all believers (oi` evk pi,stewj) are the sons and, therefore, the heirs of Abraham. (Ga 3:7.) (4.) That a man might be a Jev, a hebrew of the Hebrews, circumcised on the eighth day, and touching the righteousness which is of the law blameless, and yet it avail him nothing. (Php 3:4-6.) (5.) Because he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; and circumcision is of the heart. (Ro 2:28-29.) (6.) And consequently that God could cast off the Jews as a nations without acting inconsistently with his covenant with Abraham, because the promise was not made to the Israel kata. sa,rka, but to the Israel kata. pneu/ma. (Ro 9:6-8.)

    Romanists have transferred the whole Jewish theory to the Christian Church; while Protestants adhere to the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles. Romanists teach, (1.) That the Church is essentially an external, organized community, as the commonwealth of Israel. (2.) That to this external society, all the attributes, prerogatives, and promises of the true Church belong. (3.) That membership in that society is the indispensable condition of salvation; as it is only by union with the Church that men are united to Christ, and, through its ministrations, become partakers of his redemption. (4.) That all who die in communion with this external society, although they may, if not perfect at death, suffer for a longer or shorter period in purgatory, shall ultimately be saved (5.) All outside of this external organization perish eternally. There is, therefore, not a single element of the Jewish theory which is not reproduced in the Romish.

Protestant Doctrine of the Nature of the Church.

    Protestants, on the other hand, teach on this subject, in exact accordance with the doctrine of Christ and the Apostles: (1.) That the Church as such, or in its essential nature, is not an external oroanization. (2.) All true believers, in whom the Spirit of God dwells, are members of that Church which is the body of Christ, no matter with what ecclesiastical organization they may be connected, and even although they have no such connection. The thief on the cross was saved, though he was not a member of any external Church. (3.) Therefore, that the attributes, prerogatives, and promises of the Church do not belong to any external society as such, but to the true people of God collectively considered; and to external societies only so far as they consist of true believers, and are controlled by them. This is only saying what every man admits to be true, that the attributes, prerogatives, and promises pertaining to Christians belong exclusively to true Christians, and not to wicked or worldly men who call themselves Christians. (4.) That the condition of membership in the true Church is not union with any organized society, but faith in Jesus Christ. They are the children of God by faith; they are the sons of Abraham, heirs of the promise of redemption made to him by faith; whether they be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free; whether Protestants or Romanists, Presbyterians or Episcopalians; or whether they be so widely scattered, that no two or three of them are able to meet together for worship.

    Protestants do not deny that there is a visible Church Catholic on earth, consisting of all those who profess the true religion, together with their children. But they are not all included in any one external society. They also admit that it is the duty of Christians to unite for the purpose of worship and mutual watch and care. They admit that to such associations and societies certain prerogatives and promises belong; that they have, or ought to have the officers whose qualifications and duties are prescribed in the Scriptures; that there always have been, and probably always will be, such Christian organizations, or visible churches. But they deny that any one of these societies, or all of them collectively, constitute the Church for which Christ died; in which He dwells by his Spirit; to which He has promised perpetuity, catholicity, unity, and divine guidance into the knowledge of the truth. Any one of them, or all of them, one after another, may apostatize from the faith, and all the promises of God to his Church be fulfilled. The Church did not fail, when God reserved to himself only seven thousand in all Israel who had not bowed the knee unto Baal.

    Almost all the points of difference between Protestants and Romanists depend on the decision of the question, "What is the Church?" If their theory be correct; if the Church is the external society of professing Christians, subject to apostle-bishops (i. e., to bishops who are apostles), and to the Pope as Christ's vicar on earth; then we are bound to submit to it; and then too beyond the pale of that communion there is no salvation. But if every true believer is, in virtue of his faith, a member of that Church to which Christ promises guidance and salvation, then Romanism falls to the ground.

The Opposing Theories of the Church.

    That the two opposing theories of the Church, the Romish and Protestant, are what has been stated above is so generally known and so unquestioned, that it is unnecessary to cite authorities on either side. It is enough, so far as the doctrine of Romanists is concerned, to quote the language of Belhlarmin,20 that the marks of the Church are three: "Professio verae fidei, sacramentorum communio. et subjectio ad legitimum pastorem, Romanum Pontificem. -- Atque hoc interest inter sententiam nostram et alias omnes, quod omnes aliae requirunt internas virtutes ad constituendum aliquem in Ecclesia, et propterea Ecclesiam veram invisibilem faciunt; nos autem credimus in Ecclesia inveniri omnes virtutes, -- tamen ut aliquis aliquo modo dici possit pars verae Ecclesiae, -- non putamus requiri ullam internam virtutem, sed tantum externam professionem fidei, et sacramentorum communionem, quae sensu ipso percipitur. Ecciesia enim est coetus hominum ita visibilis et palpabilis, ut est coetus Populi Romani, vel regnum Galliae ant respublica Venetorum." The Lutheran Symbols define the Church as, "Congregatio sanctorumn."21 "Congregatio sanctorum et vere credentium."22 "Societas fidei et Spiritus Sancti in cordibus."23 "Congregatio sanctorum, qui habent inter se societatem ejusdem evangelii seu doctrinae, et ejusdem Spiritus Sancti, qui corda eorum renovat, sanctificat et gubernat;" and24 "Populus spiritualis, non civilibus ritibus distinctus a gentibus, sed verus populus Dei renatus per Spiritum Sanctum."25

    The Symbols of the Reformed Churches present the same doctrine.26 The Confessio Helvetica says, "Oportet semper fuisse, nunc esse et ad finem usque seculi futuram esse Ecclesiam, i. e., e mundo evocatum vel collectumn coetum fidelium, sanctorum inquam omnium communionem, eorumn videlicet, qui Deum verum in Christo servatore per verbum et Spiritum Sanctum vere cognoscunt et rite colunt, denique omnibus bonis per Christum gratuito oblatis fide participant."27 Confessio Gallicana: "Affirmamus ex Dei verbo, Ecclesiam esse fidelium coetum, qui in verbo Dei sequendo et pura religione colenda consentiunt, in qua etiam quotidie proficiunt."28 Confessio Belgica: "Credimus et confitemur unicam Ecclesiam catholicam seu universalem, quae est sancta congregatio seu coetus omnium fidelium Christianorum, qui totam suam salutem ab uno Jesu Christo exspectant, abluti ipsius sanguine et per Spiritum ejus sanctificati atque obsignati. Haec Ecclesia sancta nullo est aut certo loco sita et circumscripta, aut ullis certis personis astricta aut alligata: sed per omnem orbem terrarum sparsa atque diffusa est."29 The same doctrine is found in the answer to the fifty-fourth question in the Heidelberg Catechism. In the Geneva Catechism to the question, "Quid est Ecclesia?" the answer is, "Corpus ac societas fidelium, quos Deus ad vitam aeternam praedestinavit."30

    Winer in his "Comparative Darstellung,"31 thus briefly states the two theories concerning the Church. Romanists, he says, "define the Church on earth, as the community of those baptized in the name of Christ, united under his Vicar, the Pope, its visible head. Protestants, on the other hand, as the communion of saints, that is, of those who truly believe on Christ, in which the gospel is purely preached and the sacraments propcrly administered."

Proof of the Protestant Doctrine of the Church.

    This is not the place to enter upon a formal vindication of the Protestant doctrine of the nature of the Church. That belongs to the department of ecclesiology. What follows may suffice for the present purpose.

    The question is not whether the word Church is not properly used, and in accordance with the Scriptures, for visible, organized bodies of professing Christians, or for all such Christians collectively considered. Nor is it the question, whether we are to regard as Christians those who, being free from scandal, profess their faith in Christ, or societies of such professors organized for the worship of Christ and the administration of his discipline, as being true churches. But the question is, whether the Church to which the attributes, prerogatives, and promises pertaining to the body of Christ belong, is in its nature a visible, organized community; and specially, whether it is a community organized in some one exclusive form, and most specially on the papal form; or, whether it is a spiritual body consisting of true believers. Whether when the Bible addresses a body of men as "the called of Jesus Christ," "beloved of God," "partakers of the heavenly calling:" as "the children of God, joint heirs with Christ of a heavenly inheritance;" as "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification and sprinkling of the blood of Christ; "as partakers of the like precious faith with the Apostles;" as "those who are washed, and sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God;" as those who being dead in sin, had been "quickened and raised up and made to sit together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus; "it means the members of an external society as such, and because such, or, the true people of God? The question is, whether when to the men thus designated and described, Christ promised to be with them to the end of the world, to give them his Spirit, to guide them unto the kmowledge of the truth, to keep them through the power of the Spirit, so that the gates of hell should not prevail against them -- he means his sincere or his nominal disciples, -- believers or unbelievers? These questions admit of but one answer. The attributes ascribed to the Church in Scripture belong to true believers alone. The promises made to the Church are fulfilled only to believers. The relation in which the Church stands to God and Christ is sustained alone by true believers. They only are the children and heirs of God; they only are the body of Christ in which He dwells by his Spirit; they only are the temple of God, the bride of Christ, the partakers of his glory. The doctrine that a man becomes a child of God and an heir of eternal life by membership in any external society, overturns the very foundations of the gospel, and introduces a new method of salvation. Yet this is the doctrine on which the whole system of Romanism rests. As, therefore, the Apostle shows that the promises made to Israel under the Old Testament, the promise of perpetuity, of extension over the whole earth, of the favour and fellowship of God, and all the blessings of the Messiah's reign, were not made to the external Israel as such, but to the true people of God; so Protestants contend that the promises made to the Church as the body and bride of Christ are not made to the external body of professed Christians, but to those who truly believe on him and obey his gospel.

    The absurdities which flow from the substitution of the visible Church for the invisible, from transferring the attributes, prerogatives, and promises which belong to true believers, to an organized body of nominal or professed believers, are so great that Romanists cannot be consistent. They cannot adhere to their own theory. They are forced to admit that the wicked are not really members of the Church. They are "in it" but not "of it." Their connection with it is merely external, as that of the chaff with the wheat. This, however, is the Protestant doctrine. The Romish doctrine is precisely the reverse. Romanists teach that the chaff is the wheat; that the chaff becomes wheat by external connection with the precious grain. Just so certain, therefore, as that chaff is not wheat; that nominal Christians, as such, are not true Christians; just so certain is it that no external society consisting of good and bad, is that Church to which the promise of Christ's presence and salvation is made. It is as Turrettin says,32 "prw/ton yeu/doj pontificiorum in tota controversia est, ecclesiam metiri velle ex societatis civilis modulo, ut ejus essentia in externis tantumn et in sensus incurrentibus consistat, et sola professio fidei sufficiat ad membrum ecclesiae constituendum, nec ipsa fides et pietas interna ad id necessario requirantur.

D. The Doctrine of Infallibility founded on
the False Assumption of the Perpetuity of the Apostleship.

    As the first argument against the doctrine of Romanists as to the infallibility of the Church is, that it makes the Church of Rome to be the body to which the attributes, prerogatives, and promises of Christ to true believers belong; the second is that it limits the of the teaching of the Spirit, to the bishops as successors of the Apostles. In other words, Romanists falsely assume the perpetuity of the apostleship. If it be true that the prelates of Church of Romne, or of any other church, are apostles, invested the same authority to teach and to rule as the original messengers of Christ, then we must be bound to yield the same faith to their teaching, and the same obedience to their commands, as are due to the inspired writings of the New Testament. And such is the doctrine of the Church of Rome.

Modern Prelates are not Apostles.

    To determine whether modern bishops are apostles, it is necessary in the first place to determine thee nature of the Apostleship, and ascertain whether modern prelates have the gifts, qualifications, credentials of the office. Who then were the Apostles? They were a definite number of men selected by Christ to be his witnesses, to testify to his doctrines, to the facts of his life, to his death, and specially to his resurrection. To qualify them for this office of authoritative witnesses, it was necessary, (1.) That they should have independent and plenary knowledge of the gospel. (2.) That they should have seen Christ after his resurrection. (3.) That they should be inspired, i. e., that they should be individually and severally so guided by the Spirit as to be infallible in all their instructions. (4.) That they should be authenticated as the messengers of Christ, by adherence to the true gospel, by success in preaching (Paul said to the Corinthians that they were the seal of his apostleship, 1Co 9:2); and by signs and wonders and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Such were the gifts and qualifications and credentials of the original Apostles; and those who claimed the office without possessirig these gifts and credentials, were pronounced false apostles and messengers of Satan.

    When Paul claimed to be an apostle, he felt it necessary to prove, (1.) That he had been appointed not by man nor through men, immediately by Jesus Christ. (Ga 1:1.) (2.) That he had not been taught the gospel by others, but received his knowledge by immediate revelation. (Ga 1:12.) (3.) That he had see Christ after his resurrection. (1Co 9:1; 15:8.) (4.) That he was inspired, or infallible as a teacher, so that men were bound to recognize his teachings as the teaching of Christ (1Co 14:37.) (5.) That the Lord had authenticated his apostolic mission as fully as he had done that of Peter. (Ga 2:8.) (6.) "The sins of an apostle," he tells the Corinthians, "were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." (2 Cor. xii. 12.)

    Modern prelates do not claim to possess any one of these gifts. Nor do they pretend to the credentials which authenticated the mission of the Apostles of Christ. They claim no inmmediate commission; no independent knowledge derived from immediate revelation; no personal infallibility; no vision of Christ; and no gift of miracles. That is, they claim the authority of the office, but not its reality. It is very plain, therefore, that they are not apostles. They cannot have the authority of the office without having the gifts on which that authority was founded, and from which it emanated. If a man cannot be a prophet without the gift of prophecy; or a miracle-worker without the gift of miracles; or have the gift of tongues without the ability to speak other languages than his own; no man can rightfully claim to be an apostle without possessing the gifts which made the original Apostles what they were. The deaf and dumb might as reasonably claim to have the gift of tongues. The world has never seen or suffered a greater imposture than that weak, ignorant, and often immoral men, should claim the same authority to teach and rule that belonged to men to whom the truth was supernaturally revealed, who were confessedly infallible in its communication, and to whose divine mission God himself bore witness in signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost. The office of the Apostles as described in the New Testament, was, therefore, from its nature incapable of being transmitted, and has not in fact been perpetuated.

    There is no command given in the New Testament to keep up the succession of the Apostles. When Judas had apostatized, Peter said his place must be filled, but the selection was to be confined to those, as he said, "which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day that He was taken up from us." (Ac 1:21-22.) The reason assigned for this appointment was not that the Apostleship might be continued, but that the man selected might be "a witness with us of his resurrection." "And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles." And that was the end. We never hear of Matthias afterward. It is very doubtful whether this appointment of Matthias had any validity. What is here recorded (Acts, i. 15-26), took place before the Apostles had been endued with power from on high (Ac 1:8), and, therefore, before they had any authority to act in the premises. Christ in his own time and way completed the number of his witnesses by caIling Paul to be an Apostle. But, however this may be, here if ever exceptio probat regulam. It proves that the ranks of the Apostles could be filled, and the succession continued only from the number of those who could bear independent witness of the resurrection and doctrines of Christ.

    Besides the fact that there is no command to appoint apostles, there is clear evidence that the office was not designed to be perpetuated. With regard to all the permanent officers of the Church, there is, (1.) Not only a promise to continue the gifts which pertained to the office, and the command to appoint suitable persons to fill it, but also a specification of the qualifications to be sought and demanded; and (2.) a record of the actual appointment of incumbents; and (3.) historical evidence of their continuance in the Church from that day to this. With regard to the Apostleship, all this is wanting. As we have seen, the gifts of the office have not been continued, there is no command to perpetuate the office, no directions to guide the Church in the selection of proper persons to be apostles, no record of their appointment, and no historical evidence of their continuance; on the contrary, they disappear entirely after the death of the original twelve. It might as well be asserted that the Pharaohs of Egypt, or the twelve Caesars of Rome have been continued, as that the race of apostles has been perpetuated.

    It is true that there are a few passages in which persons other than the original twelve seem to be designated as apostles. But from the beginning of the Church until of late, no one has ventured on that account to regard Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, and Titus, as apostles, in the official sense of the word. All the designations given to the officers of the Church in the New Testament, are used in different senses. Thus, "presbyter" or "elder," means, an old man, a Jewish officer, an officer of the Church. The word "deacon," means, a domestic, sometimes a secular officer, sometimes any minister of the Church; sometimes the lowest order of church officers. Because Paul and Peter call themselves "deacons," it does not prove that their office was to serve tables. In like manner the word "apostle" is sometimes used in its etymological sense "a messenger," sometimes in a religious sense, as we use the word "missionary;" and sometimes in its strict official sense, in which it is confined to the immediate messengers of Christ. Nothing can be plainer from the New Testament than that neither Silas nor Timothy, nor any other person, is ever spoken of as the official equal of the twelve Apostles. These constitute a class by themselves. They stand out the New Testament as they do in all Church history, as the authoritative founders of the Christian Church, without peers or colleagues.

    If, then, the Apostleship, from its nature and design, was incapable of transmission; if there be this decisive evidence from Scripture and history, that it has not been perpetuated, then the whole theory of the Romanists concerning the Church falls to the ground. That theory is founded on the assumption that prelates are apostles, invested with the same authority to teach and rule, as the original messengers of Christ. If this assumption is unfounded, then all claim to the infallibility of the Church must be given up; for it is not pretended that the mass of the people is infallible nor the priesthood, but simply the episcopate. And bishops are infallible only on the assumption that they are apostles, in the official sense of the term. This they certainly are not. The Church may make priests, and bishops, and even popes; but Christ alone can make an Apostle. For an Apostle was a man endowed with supernatural knowledge, and with supernatural power.

E. Infallibility founded on a False Interpretation of the Promise of Christ.

    The third decisive argument against the infallibility of the Church is, that Christ never promised to preserve it from all error. What is here meant is that Christ never promised the true Church, that is, "the company of true believers," that they should not err in doctrine. He did promise that they should not fatally apostatize From the truth. He did promise that He would, grant his true disciples such a measure of divine guidance by his Spirit, that they should know enough to be saved. He, moreover, promised that He would call men into the ministry, and give them the qualifications of faithful teachers, such as were the presbyters whom the Apostles ordained in every city. But there is no promise of infallibility either to the Church as a whole, or to any class of men in the Church. Christ promised to sanctify his people; but this was not a promise to make them perfectly holy in this life. He promised to give them joy and peace in believing; but this is not a promise to make them perfectly happy in this life, --- that they should have no trials or sorrows. Then, why should the promise to teach be a promise to render infallible. As the Church has gone through the world bathed in tears and blood, so has she gone soiled with sin and error. It is just as manifest that she has never been infallible, as that she has never been penfectly holy. Christ no more promised the one than the other.

F. The Doctrine contradicted by Facts.

    The fourth argument is that the Romish doctrine of the infallibility of the Church is contradicted by undeniable historical facts. It therefore cannot be true. The Church has often erred, and therefore it is not infallible.

    Protestants believe that the Church, under all dispensations, has been the same. It has always had the same God; the same Redeemer; the same rule of faith and practice (the written Word of God, at least from the time of Moses), the same promise of the presence and guidance of the Spirit, the same pledge of perpetuity and triumph. To them, therefore, the fact that the whole visible Church repeatedly apostatized during the old economy -- and that, not the people only, but all the representatives of the Church, the priests, the Levites, and the elders -- is a decisive proof that the external, visible Church may fatally err in matters of faith. No less decisive is the fact that the whole Jewish Church and people, as a church and nation, rejected Christ. He came to his own, and his own received him not. The vast majority of the people, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, refused to recognize him as the Messiah. The Sanhedrim, the great representative body of the Church at that time, pronounced him worthy of death, and demanded his crucifixion. This, to Protestants, is overwhelming proof that the Church may err.

    Romanists, however, make such a difference between the Church before and after the advent of Christ, that they do not admit the Force of this argument. That the Jewish Church erred, they say, is no proof that the Christian Church can err. It will be necessary, therefore, to show that according to the principhes and admissions of Romanists themselves, the Church has erred. It taught at one time what it condemned at another, and what the Church of Rome now condemns. To prove this, it will suffice to refer to two undeniable examples.

    It is to be borne in mind that by the Church, in this connection, Romanists do not mean the true people of God; nor the body of professing Christians; nor the majority of priests, or doctors of divinity, but the episcopate. What the body of bishops of any age teach, all Christians are bound to believe, because these bishops are so guided by the Spirit as to be infallible in their teaching.

The Arian Apostasy.

    The first great historical fact inconsistent with this theory is, that the great majority of the bishops, both of the Eastern and Western Church, including the Pope of Rome, taught Arianism, which the whole Church, both before and afterwards, condemned. The decision of three hundred and eighty bishops at the Council of Nice, satified by the assent of the great majority of those who did not attend that Council, is fairly taken as proof that the visible Church at that time taught, as Rome now teaches, that the Son is consubstantial within time Father. The fact that some dissented at the time, or that more soon joined in that dissent; or, that in a few years in the East, the dissentients were in the majority, is not considered as invalidating the decision of that Council as the decision of the Church; because a majority of the bishops, as a body, were still in favor of the Nicene doctrine. Then, by parity of reasoning, the decisions of the two contemporary councils, one at Seleucia in the East, the other at Ariminum in the West, including nearly eight hundred bishops, ratified as those decisions were by the great majority of the bishops of the whole Church (including Liberius, the bishop of Rome), must be accepted as the teaching of the visible Church of that age. But those decisions, according to the previous and subsequent judgment of the Church, were heretical. It has been urged that the language adopted by the Council of Arminum admits of an orthodox interpretation. In answer to this, it is enough to say, (1.) That it was drawn up, proposed, and urged by the avowed opponents of the Nicene Creed. (2.) That it was strenuously resisted by the advocates of that creed, and renounced as soon as they gained the ascendency. (3.) That Mr. Palmer himself admits that the Council repudiated the word "consubstantial" as expressing the relation of the Son to the Father. But this was the precise point in dispute between the Orthodox and semi-Arians.

    Ancients and moderns unite in testifying to the general prevalence of Arianism at that time. Gregory Nazianzen says,33 "Nam si perpaucos exceperis . . . . omnes (pastores) tempori obsecuti sunt: hoc tantum inter eos discriminis fuit, quod alii citius, alii seriu.s in eam fraudem inciderunt, atque, alii impietatis duces antistitesque se praebuerunt." Jerome says: "Ingemuit totus orbis terrarum, et Arianum se esse miratus est."34 He also says:35 "Ecclesia non parietibus consistit, sed in dogmatum veritate, Ecclesia ibi est ubi fides vera est. Ceterum ante annos quindecim aut viginti parietes omnes hic ecclesiarum haeretici (Ariani) possidebant, Ecclesia autem vera illic erat, ubi vera fides erat." It is here asserted that the whole world had become Arian; and that all the churches were in the possession of heretics. These statements must be taken with due allowance. They nevertheless prove that the great majority of the bishops had adopted the Arian, or semi-Arian Creed. To the same effect Athanasius says: "Quae nunc ecclesia libere Christum adorat? Si quidem ea, si pia est, periculo subjacet? . . . . Nam si alicubi pii et Christi studiosi (sunt autem ubique tales permulti) illi itidem, ut Prophetae et magnus ille Elias, absconduntur, . . . . et in speluncas et cavernas terram sese abstrudunt, aut in solitudine aberrantes commorantur."36 Vincent of Lerins37 says: "Arianorum venenum non jam portiunculam quamdam, sed pene orbem totum contaminaverat, adeo ut prope cunctis Latini sermonis episcopis partim vi partim fraude deceptis caligo quaedam mentibus effunderetur." To these ancient testimonies any number of authorities from modern theologians might be added. We give only the testimony of Dr. Jackson, one of the most distinguished theologians of the Church of England: "After this defection of the Romish Church in the bishop Liberius, the whole Roman empire was overspread within Arianism."38

    Whatever doubt may exist as to details, the general fact of this apostasy cannot be doubted. Through defection from the truth, through the arts of the dominant party, through the influence of the emperor, the great majority of the bishops did join in condemnation of Athanasius, and in subscribing a formula of doctrine drawn up in opposition to the Nicene Creed; a formula afterwards renounced and condemned; a formula which the Bishop of Rome was banished for two years for refusing to sign, and restored to his see when he consented to subscribe. If, then, we apply to this case the same rules which are applied to the decisions of the Nicene Council, it must be admitted that the external Church apostastized as truly under Constantius, as it professed the true faith under Constantine. If many signed the Eusebian or Arian formula insincerely, so did many hypocritically assent to the decrees of Nice. If many were overborne by authority and fear in the one case, so they were in the other. If many revoked their assent to Arianism, quite as many withdrew their consent to the Athanasian doctrine.

The Romish Evasion of this Argument.

    In dealing within this undeniable fact, Romanists and Romanizers are forced to abandon their principle. Their doctrine is that the external Church cannot err, that the majority of the bishops living at any one time cannot fail to teach the truth. But under the reign of the Emperor Constantius, it is undeniable that the vast majority, including the Bishop of Rome, did renounce the truth. But, says Bellarmin,39 the Church continued and was conspicuous in Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius, and others. And Mr. Palmer, of Oxford says,40"The truth was preserved under even Arian bishops." But the question is not, whether the truth shall be preserved and confessed by the true children of God, but, whether any external, organized body, and specially the Church of Rome, can err in its teaching. Romanists cannot be allowed, merely to meet an emergency, to avail themselves of the Protestant doctrine that the Church may consist of scattered believers. It is true as Jerome teaches in the passage above quoted, "Ubi fides vera est, ibi Ecclesia est." But that is our doctrine, and not the doctrine of Rome. Protestants say with full confidence, "Ecclesia manet et manebit." But whether in conspicuous glory as in the time of David, or in scattered believers as in the days of Elias, is not essential.

The Church of Rome rejects the Doctrines of Augustine.

    A second case in which the external church (and specially the Church of Rome) has departed from what it had itself declared to be true, is in the rejection of the doctrines known in history as Augustinian. That the peculiar doctrines of Augustine, including the doctrine of sinful corruption of nature derived from Adam, which is spiritual death, and involves entire inability on the part of the sinner to convert himself or to cooperate in his own regeneration; the necessity of the certainly efficacious operation of divine grace; the sovereignty of God in election and reprobation, and the certain perseverance of the saints; were sanctioned by the whole Church, and specially by the Church of Rome, cannot be disputed. The eighteenth chapter of Wiggers' "Augustinianism and Pelagianism," is headed, "The final adoption of the Augustinian system for all Christendom by the third ecumenical council of Ephesus. A.D. 431." It is not denied that many of the eastern bishops, perhaps the majority of them, were secretly opposed to that system in its essential features. All that is insisted upon is that the whole Church, through what Romanists recognize as its official organs, gave its sanction to Augustine's peculiar doctrines; and that so far as the Latin Church is concerned this assent was not only for the time general but cordial. It is no less certain that the Council of Trent, while it condemned Pelagianism, and even the peculiar doctrine of semi-Pelagians, who said that man began the work of conversion, thus denying the necessity of preventing grace (gratia preveniens), nevertheless repudiated the distinguishing doctrines of Augustine and anathematized all who held them.

G. The Church of Rome now teaches Error.

    A fifth argument against the infallibility of the Church of Rome, is that, that Church now teaches error. Of this there can be no reasonable doubt, if the Scriptures be admitted as the standard of judgment.

    1. It is a monstrous error, contrary to the Bible, to its letter and spirit, and shocking to the common sense of mankind, that the salvation of men should be suspended on their acknowledging the Pope to be the head of the Church in the world, or the vicar of Christ. This makes salvation independent of faith and character. A man may be sincere and intelligent in his faith in God and Christ, and perfectly exemplary in his Christian life, yet if he does not acknowledge the Pope, he must perish forever.

    2. It is a grievous error, contrary to the express teachings of the Bible, that the sacraments are the only channels of communicating to men the benefits of redemption. In consequence of this false assumption, Romanists teach that all who die unbaptized, even infants, are lost.

    3. It is a great error to teach as the Church of Rome does teach, that the ministers of the gospel are priests; that the people have no access to God or Christ, and cannot obtain the remission of sins or other saving blessings, except through their intervention and by their ministrations; that the priests have the power not only of declarative, but of judicial and effective absolution, so that those and those only whom they absolve stand acquitted at the bar of God. This was the grand reason for the Reformation, which was a rebellion against this priestly domination; a demand or the part of the people for the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free, -- the liberty to go immediately to him with their sins and sorrows, and find relief without the intervention or permission of any man who has no better right of access than themselves.

    4. The doctrine of the merit of good works as taught by Romanists is another most prolific error. They hold that works done after regeneration have real merit (meritum condigni), and that they are the ground of the sinners justification before God. They hold that a man may do more than the law requires of him, and perform works of supererogation, and thus obtain more merit than is necessary for his own salvation and beatification. That this superfluous merit goes into the treasury of the Church, and may be dispensed for the benefit of others. On this ground indulgences are granted or sold, to take effect not only in this life but in the life to come.

    5. With this is connected the further error concerning Purgatory. The Church of Rome teaches that those dying in the communion of the Church, who have not in this life made full satisfaction for their sins, or acquired sufficient merit to entitle them to admission into heaven, do at death pass into a state of suffering, there to remain until due satisfaction is made and proper purification is effected. There is no necessary termination to this state of purgatory but the day of judgment or the end of the world. It may last for a thousand or many thousands of years. But Purgatory is under the power of the keys. The sufferings of souls in that state may be alleviated or shortened by the authorized ministers of the Church. There is no limit to the power of men who are believed to hold the keys of heaven in their hand, to shut and no man opens, and open and no man shuts. Of all incredibilities the most incredible is that God would commit such power as this, to weak, ignorant, and often wicked men.

    6. The Romish Church teaches grievous error concerning the Lord's Supper. It teaches, (1.) That when consecrated by the priest the whole substance of the bread and the whole substance of the wine are transmuted into the substance of the body and blood of Christ. (2.) That as his body is inseparable from his soul and divinity, where the one is there the other must be. The whole Christ, therefore, body, soul, and divinity, is present in the consecrated wafer, which is to be worshipped as Christ himself is worshipped. This is the reason why the Church of England in her Homilies pronounces the service of the Mass in the Romish Church idolatrous. (3.) That Church further teaches that the body and blood of Christ thus locally and substantially present in the Eucharist are offered as a true propitiatory sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, the application of which is determined by the intention of the officiating priests.

    7. Idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but in the worship of the true God by images. The second Commandment of the Decalogue expressly forbids the bowing down to, or serving the likeness of anything in heaven above or in the earth beneath. In the Hebrew the words used are, hw"x]T;v.hi and db;[". In the Septuagint the words are, ouv proskunh,seij auvtoi/j, ouvde. mh. latreu,seij auvtoi/j.In the Vulgate it reads, "Non adorabis ea neque coles." The precise thing, therefore, that is forbidden is that which the Church of Rome permits and enjoins, namely, the use of images in religious worship, prostration before them, and doing them reverence.

    8. Another great error of the Church of Rome is the worship of saints and angels, and especially of the Virgin Mary. It is not merely that they are regarded as objects of reverence, but that the service rendered them involves the ascription of divine attributes. They are assumed to be everywhere present, able to hear and answer prayer, to help and to save. They become the ground of confidence to the people, and the objects of their religious affections. They are to them precisely what the gods of the heathen were to the Greeks and Romans.

    Such are some of the errors taught by the Church of Rome, and they prove that that Church instead of being infallible, is so corrupt that it is the duty of the people of God to come out of it and to renounce its fellowship.

H. The Recognition of an Infallible Church
incompatible with either Religious or Civil Liberty.

    A church which claims to be infallible, ipso facto, claims to be the mistress of the world; and those who admit its infallibility, thereby admit their entire subjection to its authority. It avails nothing to say that this infallibility is limited to matters of faith and morals, for under those heads is included the whole life of man, religious, moral, domestic, social, and political.

    A church which claims the right to decide what is true in doctrine and obligatory in morals, and asserts the power to enforce submission to its decisions on the pain of eternal perdition, leaves no room for any other authority upon earth. In the presence of the ahthorinty of God, every other disappears.

    With the claim to infallibility is inseparably connected the claim to pardon sin. The Church does not assume merely the right to declare the conditions on which sin will be forgiven at the bar of God, but it asserts that it has the prerogative to grant, or to withhold that forgiveness. "Ego te absolvo," is the formula the Church puts into the mouth of its priesthood. Those who receive that absolution are saved;those whom the Church refuses to absolve must bear the penalty of their offences.

    An infallible church is thus the only institute of salvation. All within its pale are saved; all without it perish. Those only are in the Church who believe what it teaches, who do what it commands, and are subject to its officers, and especially its head, the Roman pontiff. Any man, therefore, whom the Church excommunicates is thereby shut out of the kingdom of heaven; any nation placed under its ban is not only deprived of the consolations of religious services, but of the necessary means of salvation.

    If the Church be infallible, its authority is no less absolute in the sphere of social and political life. It is immoral to contract or to continue an unlawful marriage, to keep an unlawful oath, to enact unjust laws, to obey a sovereign hostile to the Church. The Church, therefore, has the right to dissolve marriages, to free men from the obligations of their oaths, and citizens from their allegiance, to abrogate civil laws, and to depose sovereigns. These prerogatives have not only been claimed, but time and again exercised by the Church of Rome. They all of right belong to that Church, if it be infallible. As these claims are enforced by penalties involving the loss of the soul, they cannot be resisted by those who admit the Church to be infallible. It is obvious, therefore, that where this doctrine is held there can be no liberty of opinion, no freedom of conscience, no civil or political freedom. As the recent ecumenical Council of the Vatican has decided that this infallibility is vested in the Pope, it is henceforth a matter of faith with Romanists, that the Roman pontiff is the absolute sovereign of the world. All men are bound, on the penalty of eternal death, to believe what he declares to be true, and to do whatever he decides is obligatory.


1. See B. Lamy, Apparatus Bibl., lib. ii. c. 5. Jahn's Einleitung, Th. i. § 29; 2d ed. Vienna, 1802, p. 132. Mohler's Symbolik.
2. De Verbo Dei, iv. 3, tom. i; p. 163, e. edit, Paris, 1608.
3. Pages 34 and 35.
4. De Verbo Dei, iii. 9, tom. i, p. 151, d. ut sun.
5. Trent. Sess. iv.
6. De Verbo Dei, iv. 1.
7. Examen Concilii Tridentini, p. 85, edit. Frankfort, 1574.
8. Part I. cap. x. quest. 15.

9. De Ecclesia Mustante, c. 14.
10. Page 356.
11. Page 357.
12. Page 358.
13. Page 373.
14. What is Church History? p. 75.
15. Page 150.
16. Lectures on Prophetic Office of the Church, Lond. 1837, pp. 394, 395.
17. Lectures, ut supra, pp. 225, 226.
18. Oxford Tracts, No. 85, p. 108.

19. Ibid. p. 115.
20. De Ecclesia Militante, II. Disputationes, edit. Paris, 1608, vol. ii. p. 108. d.
21. Augsburg Confession, art. 7.
22. Ibid. art. 8.
23. Apol. A. C., art. 4, pp. 144, 145, Hase.
24. Ibid. p. 146.
25. See Hase, Libri Symbolici.
26. See Niemeyer, Coll. Confess.
27. II. cap. 17, p. 499, Niem.
28. Art. 27, p. 336, ibid.
29. Art. 27, p. 379, ibid.
30. Page 135, ibid.
31. Page 165.
32. Locus xviii. ii. 12.
33. Orat. xxi. t. i. p. 387, edition Paris, 1609.
34. Dialogues contra Luciferanos, 19 vol. ii. p. 172 c., edit. Migue, Paris, 1845.
35. Comment. on Ps 133., vol. vii. p. 1223 a, edit. Migne.
36. "Ad Solitariam Vitam Agentes Epist.," Works, p. 846. edit. Paris, 1627.
37. Comm. I. iv. p. 642, vol. 1. Migne, Patrol., Paris, 1846.
38. On the Church, p. 160. Edited by W. Goode. Philadelphia, 1844.
39. Ecclesia. lib. iii. c. 16.
40. On the Church, vol. ii. p. 187

Part 00: Introduction 06: The Protestant Rule of Faith


The Protestant Rule of Faith

§ 1. Statement of the Doctrine.    § 2. The Scriptures are Infallible, i. e., given by Inspiration of God. 
§ 3. Adverse Theories.  § 4. The Completeness of the Scriptures.
§ 5. Perspicuity of the Scriptures. The Right of Private Judgment.    § 6. Rules of interpretation.

§1. Statement of the Doctrine.

    All Protestants agree in teaching that "the word of God, ascontained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only infallible rule of faith and practice."

    In the Smalcald Articles,1 the Lutheran Church says "Ex patrum -- verbis et factis non sunt exstrueudi articuli fidei -- Regulam autem aliain habemus, ut videlicet verbum Dei condat articulos tidei et praeterea nemo, ne angelus quidem." In the "Form of Concord,"2 it is said: "Credimus, confitemur et docemus, unicam regulam et normam secundum quam omnia dogmata omnesque doctores aestimari et judicari oporteat, nullam omnino aliam esse, quam prophetica et apostolica scripta cum V. tum N. Testamenti."

    The symbols of the Reformed churches teach the same doctrine. Confessio Helvetica, II.3 says: "In scriptura sancta habet unversalis Christi Ecclesia plenissime exposita, quaecunque pertinent cum ad salvificam fidem, tum ad vitam Deo placentem.4 Non alium in causa fidei judicem, quam ipsum Deum per Scripturas sacras pronuntiantem, quid verum sit, quid falsum, quid sequendum sit quidne fugiendum. Confessio Gallicana:5 Quum haec (SS.) sit omnis veritatis summa, complectens quidquid ad cultum Dei et salutem nostram requiritur, neque hominibus neque ipsis etiam angelis fas esse dicimus quicquam ei verbo adjicere vel detraliere vel quicquam prorsus in eo immutare " In the Thirty-Nine Articles ot the Church of England,6 it is said : "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation." The Westminster Confession7 teaches: "Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these: etc. . . . All which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.8 The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture; unto which nothing at any time is to be added whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men.9 All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them."

    From these statements it appears that Protestants hold, (1.) That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and are therefore infallible, and of divine authority in all things pertaining to faith and practice, and consequently free from all error whether of doctrine, fact, or precept. (2.) That they contain all the extant supernatural revelations of God designed to be a rule of faith and practice to his Church. (3.) That they are sufficiently perspicuous to be understood by the people, in the use of ordinary means and by the aid of the Holy Spirit, in all things necessary to faith or practice, without the need of any infallible interpreter.

The Canon.

    Before entering on the consideration of these points, it is necessary to answer the question, What books are entitled to a place in the canon, or rule of faith and practice? Ronmanists answer this question by saying, that all those which the Church has decided to be divine in their origin, and none others, are to be thus received. Protestants answer it by saying, so far as the Old Testament is concerned, that those books, and those only, which Christ and his Apostles recognized as the written Word of God, are entitled to be regarded as canonical. This recognition was afforded in a twofold manner: First, many of the books of the Old Testament are quoted as the Word of God, as being given by the Spirit; or the Spirit is said to have uttered what is therein recorded. Secondly, Christ and his Apostles refer to the sacred writings of the Jews -- the volume which they regarded as divine -- as being what it claimed to be, the Word of God. When we refer to the Bible as of divine authority, we refer to it as a volume and recognize all the writings which it contains as given by the inspiration of the Spirit. In like manner when Christ or his Apostles quote the "Scriptures," or the "law and the prophets," and speak of the volume then so called, they give their sanction to the divine authority of all the books which that volume contained. All, therefore, that is necessary to determine for Christians the canon of the Old Testament, is to ascertain what books were included in the "Scriptures" recognized by the Jews of that period. This is a point about which there is no reasonable doubt. The Jewish canon of the Old Testament included all the books and no others, which Protestants now recognize as constituting the Old Testament Scriptures. On this ground Protestants reject the so-called apocryphal books. They were not written in Hebrew and were not included in the canon of the Jews. They were, therefore, not recognized by Christ as the Word of God. This reason is of itself sufficient. It is however confirmed by considerations drawn from the character of the books themselves. They abound in errors, and in statements contrary to those found in the undoubtedly canonical books.

    The principle on which the canon of the New Testament is determined is equally simple. Those books, and those only which can be proved to have been written by the Apostles, or to have received their sanction, are to be recognized as of divine authority. The reason of this rule is obvious. The Apostles were the duly authenticated messengers of Christ, of whom He said, "He that heareth you, heareth me."

§2. The Scriptures are Infallible, i. e., given by Inspiration of God.

    The infallibility and divine authority of the Scriptures are due to the fact that they are the word of God; and they are the word of God because they were given by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

A. The Nature of Inspiration. Definition.

    The nature of inspiration is to be learnt from the Scriptures; from their didactic statements, and from their phenomena. There are certain general facts or principles which underlie the Bible, which are assumed in all its teachings, and which therefore must be assumed in its interpretation. We must, for example, assume, (1.) That God is not the unconscious ground of all things; nor an unintelligent force; nor a name for the moral order of the universe; nor mere causality; but a Spirit, -- a self-conscious, intelligent, voluntary agent, possessing all the attributes of our spirits without limitation, and to an infinite degree. (2.) That He is the creator of the world, and extra-mundane, existing before, and independently of it; not its soul, life, or animating principle; but its maker, preserver, and ruler. (3.) That as a spirit He is everywhere present, and everywhere active, preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions. (4.) That while both in the external world and in the world of mind He generally acts according to fixed laws and through secondary causes, He is free to act, and often does act immediately, or without the intervention of such causes, as in creation, regeneration, and miracles. (5.) That the Bible contains a divine, or supernatural revelation. The present question is not, Whether the Bible is what it claims to be; but, What does it teach as to the nature and effects of the influence under which it was written?

    On this subject the common doctrine of the Church is, and ever has been, that inspiration was an influence of the Holy Spirit on the minds of certain select men, which rendered them the organs of God for the infallible communication of his mind and will. They were in such a sense the organs of God, that what they said God said.

B. Inspiration Supernatural.

    This definition includes several distinct points. First. Inspiration is a supernatural influence. It is thus distinguished, on the one hand from the providential agency of God, which is everywhere and always in operation; and on the other hand, from the gracious operations of the Spirit on the hearts of his people. According to the Scriptures, and the common views of men, a marked distinction is to be made between those effects which are due to the efficiency of God operating regularly through second causes, and those which are produced by his immediate efficiency without the intervention of such causes. The one class of effects is natural; the other, supernatural. Inspiration belongs to the latter class. It is not a natural effect due to the inward state of its subject, or to the influence of external circumstances.

    No less obvious is the distinction which the Bible makes between the gracious operations of the Spirit and those by which extraordinary gifts are bestowed upon particular persons. Inspiration, therefore, is not to be confounded with spiritual illumination. They differ, first, as to their subjects. The subjects of inspiration are a few selected persons; the subjects of spiritual illumination are all true believers. And, secondly, they differ as to their design. The design of the former is to render certain men infallible as teachers. the design of the latter is to render men holy; and of course they differ as to their effects. Inspiration in itself has no sanctifying influence. Balaam was inspired. Saul was among the prophets. Caiaphas uttered a prediction which "he spake not of himself." (Joh 11:51.) In the last day many will be able to say to Christ, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" To whom he will say: "I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Mt 7:22-23.)

C. Distinction between Revelation and Inspiration.

    Second. The above definition assumes a difference between revelation and inspiration. They differ, first, as to their object. The object of revelation is the communication of knowledge. The object or design of inspiration is to secure infallibility in teaching. Consequently they differ, secondly, in their effects. The effect of revelation was to render its recipient wiser. The effect of inspiration was to preserve him from error in teaching. These two gifts were often enjoyed by the same person at the same time. That is, the Spirit often imparted knowledge, and controlled in its comunication orally or in writing to others. This was no doubt the case with the Psalmists, and often with the Prophets and Apostles. Often, however, the revelations were made at one time, and were subsequently, under the guidance of the Spirit, committed to writing. Thus the Apostle Paul tells us that he received his knowledge of the gospel not from man, but by revelatioin from Jesus Christ; and this knowledge he communicated from time to time in his discourses and epistles. In many cases these gifts were separated. Many of the sacred writers, although inspired, received no revelations. This was probably the fact with the authors of the historical books of the Old Testament. The evangelist Luke does not refer his knowledge of the events which he records to revelation, but says he derived it from those which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word." (Lu 1:2.) It is immaterial to us where Moses obtained his knowledge of the events recorded in the book of Genesis; whether from early documents, from tradition, or from direct revelation. No more causes are to be assumed for any effect than are necessary. If the sacred writer had sufficient sources of knowledge in themselves, or in those about them, there is no need to assume any direct revelation, it is enough for us that they were rendered infallible as teachers. This distinction between revelation and inspiration is commonly made by systematic writers. Thus Quenstedt (1685)10 says: "Distingue inter revelationem et inspirationem. Revelatio vi vocis est manifestatio rerum ignotarum et occultarum, et potest fieri multis et diversis modis Inspiratio . . . . est interna conceptum suggestio, sen infusio, sive res conceptae jam ante scriptori fuerint cognitae, sive occultae. Illa potuit tempore antecedere scriptionem, haec cum scriptione semper fuit conjuncta et in ipsam scriptionem influebat." Often, however, the distinction in question is overlooked. In popular language, inspiration is made to include both the supernatural communication of truth to the mind, and a supernatural control in making known that truth to others. The two gifts, however, differ in their nature, and should therefore be distinguished. Confounding them has sometimes led to serious error. When no revelation was necessary, no inspiration is admitted. Thus Grotius says: "Vere dixi non omnes libros qui sunt in Hebraeo Canone dictatos a Spiritu Sancto. Scriptos esse cum pic animi motu, non nego; et hoc est quod judicavit Synagoga Magna, cujus judicio in hac re stant Hebraei. Sed a Spiritu Sancto dictari historias nihil fuit opus: satis fuit scriptorem memoria valere circa res spectatas, aut diligentia in describendis veterum commentariis."11 It is an illogical conclusion, however, to infer that because a historian did not need to have the facts dictated to him, that therefore he needed no control to preserve him from error.

D. Inspired Men the Organs of God.

    A third point included in the Church doctrine of inspiration is, that the sacred writers were the organs of God, so that what they taught, God taught. It is to be remembered, however, that when God uses any of his creatures as his instruments, He uses them according to their nature. He uses angels as angels, men as men, the elements as elements. Men are intelligent voluntary agents; and as such were made the organs of God. The sacred writers were not made unconscious or irrational. The spirits of the prophets were subject to the prophets. (1Co 14:32.) They were not like calculating machines which grind out logarithms with infallible correctness. The ancients, indeed, were accustomed to say, as some theologians have also said, that the sacred writers were as pens in the hand of the Spirit; or as harps, from which He drew what sounds He pleased. These representations were, however intended simply to illustrate one point, namely, that the words uttered or recorded by inspired men were the words of God. The Church has never held what has been stigmatized as thc mechanical theory of inspiration. The sacred writers were not machines. Their self-consciousness was not suspended; nor were their intellectual powers superseded. Holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. It was men, not machines; not unconscious instruments, but living, thinking, willing minds, whom the Spirit used as his organs. Moreover, as inspiration did not involve the suspension or suppression of the human faculties, so neither did it interfere with the free exercise of the distinctive mental characteristics of the individual. If a Hebrew was inspired, he spake Hebrew; if a Greek, he spake Greek; if an educated man, he spoke as a man of culture; if uneducated, he spoke as such a man is wont to speak. If his mind was logical, he reasoned, as Paul did; if emotional and contemplative, he wrote as John wrote. All this is involved in the fact that God uses his instruments according to their nature. The sacred writers impressed their peculiarities on their several productions as plainly as though they were the subjects of no extraordinary influence. This is one of the phenomena of the Bible patent to the most cursory reader. It lies in the very nature of inspiration that God spake in the language of men; that He uses men as his organs, each according to his peculiar gifts and endowments. When He ordains praise out of the mouth of babes, they must speak as babes, or the whole power and beauty of the tribute will be lost. There is no reason to believe that the operation of the Spirit in inspiration revealed itself any more in the consciousness of the sacred writers, than his operations in sanctification reveal themselves in the consciousness of the Christian. As the believer seems to himself to act, and in fact does act out of his own nature; so the inspired penmen wrote out of the fulness of their own thoughts and feelings, and employed the language and modes of expression which to them were the most natural and appropriate. Nevertheless, and none the less, they spoke as they were proved by the Holy Ghost, and their words were his words.

E. Proof of the Doctrine.

    That this is the Scriptural view of inspiration; that inspired men were the organs of God in such a sense that their words are to be received not as the words of men, but as they are in truth, as the words of God (1Th 2:13), is proved, --

    1. From the signification and usage of the word. It is, of course, admitted that words are to be understood in their historical sense. If it can be shown what idea the men living in the apostolic age attached to the word qeo,pneustoj and its equivalents, that is the idea which the Apostles intended to express by them. All nations have entertained the belief not only that God has access to the human mind and can control its operations, but that He at times did take such possession of particular persons as to make them the organs of his communications. Such persons were called by the Greeks qeofo,roi(those who bore a God within them); or, e;qioj (those in whom a God dwelt). In the Septuagint the word pneuhatofo,rojis used in the same sense. In Josephus,12 the idea is expressed by the plmrase "tw/| qei,w| pneu,hati kekinh,menoj" to which the words of Peter (2Pe 1:21) exactly answer, u`po. pneu,matoj fero,menoi; and what is written by men under this influence of the Spirit is called grafh. qeo,pneustoj.(2Ti 3:16.) Gregory of Nyssa,13 having quoted the words of our Lord in Mt 22:43, "How then doth David in Spirit call him Lord," adds, ouvkou/n th/| duna,mei tou/ Pneu,matoj oi` qeoforou,menoi tw/n a`gi,wn empne,ontai, kai. dia. tou/to pa/sa grafh. qeo,pneustoj le,getai, dia. to. th/j qei,aj evmpneu,sewj eivnai didaskali,an,that is, "Hence those of the saints who by the power of the Spirit are full of God are inspired, and therefore all Scripture is called qeo,pneustoj, because the instruction is by divine inspiration." The idea of inspiration is therefore fixed. It is not to be arbitrarily determined. We must not interpret the word or the fact, according to our theories of the relation of God to the world, but according to the usage of antiquity, sacred and profane, and according to the doctrine which the sacred writers and the men of their generation are known to have entertained on the subject. According to all antiquity, an inspired man was one who was the organ of God in what he said, so that his words were the words of the god of which he was the organ. When, therefore, the sacred writers use the same words and forms of expression which the ancients used to convey that idea, they must in all honesty be assumed to mean the same thing.

Argument from the Meaning of the Word Prophet.

    2. That this is the Scriptural idea of inspiration is further proved from the meaning of the word prophet. The sacred writers divide the Scriptures into the "law and the prophets." As the law was written by Moses, and as Moses was the greatest of the prophets, it follows that all the Old Testament was written by prophets. If, therefore, we can determine the Scriptural idea of a prophet, we shall thereby determine the character of their writings and the authority due to them. A prophet, then, in the Scriptural sense of the term, is a spokesman, one who speaks for another, in his name, and by his authority; so that it is not the spokesman but the person for whom he acts, who is responsible for the truth of what is said. In Ex 7:1, it is said, "See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet," i. e., thy spokesman. This is explained by what is said in Ex 4:14-16, "Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. . . . Thou shalt speak unto him, and put words into his mouth; and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people; and he shall be, even he shall be, to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God." (See Jer 36:17-18.) This determines definitely, what a prophet is. He is the mouth of God; one through whom God speaks to the people; so that what the prophet says God says. So when a prophet was consecrated, it was said, "Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth." (Jer 1:9 ; Is. Ii. 16.) That this is the Scriptural idea of a prophet is moreover evident from the formulas, constantly recurring, which relate to his duties and mission. He was the messenger of God; he spoke in the name of God; the words, "Thus saith the Lord," were continually in his mouth. "The word of the Lord" is said to have come to this prophet and on that; "the Spirit came upon," "the power," or "hand" of God was upon him; all implying that the prophet was the organ of God, that what he said, he said in God's name and by his authority. It is true, therefore, as Philo14 says, profh,thj ga,r i;dion ouvde.n avpofqe,ggetai avllo,tria de. pa,nta u`phcou/ntoj e`te,ron.

    This is precisely what the Apostle Peter teaches when he says (2Pe 1:20-21), "No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men spake as they were moved (fero,menoi, borne along as a ship by the wind) by the Holy Ghost." Prophecy, i. e., what a prophet said, was not human, but divine. It was not the prophet's own interpretation of the mind and will of God. He spoke as the organ of the Holy Ghost.

What the Prophets said God said.

    3. lt is another decisive proof that the sacred writers were the organs of God in the sense above stated, that whatever they said the Spirit is declared to have said. Christ himself said that David by the Spirit called the Messiah Lord. (Mt 22:43.) David in the 95th Psalm said, "To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart;" but the Apostle (Heb 3:7), says that these were the words of the Holy Ghost. Again, in ch. x. 15, the same Apostle says, "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord." Thus quoting the language of Jer 31:33, as the language of the Holy Ghost. In Ac 4:25, the assembled Apostles said, "with one accord," "Lord thou art God. . . . Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage?" In Ac 28:25, Paul said to the Jews, "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers." It is in this way that Christ and his Apostles constantly refer to the Scriptures, showing beyond doubt that they believed and taught, that what the sacred writers said the Holy Ghost said.

Inspiration of the New Testament Writers.

    This proof bears specially, it is true, only on the writings of the Old Testament. But no Christian puts the inspiration of the Old Testament above that of the New. The tendency, and we may even say the evidence, is directly the other way. If the Scriptures of the old economy were given by inspiration of God, much more were those writings which were penned under the dispensation of the Spirit. Besides, the inspiration of the Apostles is proved, (1.) From the fact that Christ promised them the Holy Spirit, who should bring all things to their remembrance, and render them infallible in teaching. It is not you, He said, that speak, but the Spirit of my Father speaketh in you. He that heareth you heareth me. He forbade them to enter upon their office as teachers until they were endued with power from on high. (2) This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit descended upon the Apostles as a mighty rushing wind, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance (dabat eloqui, as the Vulgate more literally renders the words). From this moment they were new men, with new views, with new spirit, and with new power and authority. The change was sudden. It was not a development. It was something altogether supernatural; as when God said, Let there be light, and there was light. Nothing can be more unreasonable than to ascribe this sudden transformation of the Apostles from narrow-minded, bigoted Jews, into enlightened, large-minded, catholic Christians, to mere natural causes. Their Jewish prejudices had resisted all the instructions and influence of Christ for three years, but gave way in a moment when the Spirit came upon them from on high. (3.) After the day of Pentecost the Apostles claimed to be the infallible organs of God in all their teachings They required men to receive what they taught not as the word of man but as the word of God (1Th 2:13); then declared as Paul does (1Co 14:37), that the things which they wrote were the commandments of the Lord. They made the salvation of men to depend on faith in the doctrines which they taught. Paul pronounces anathema even an angel from heaven who should preach any other gospel than that which he had taught. (Ga 1:8.) John says that whoever did not receive the testimony which he bore concerning Christ, made God a liar, because John's testimony was God's testimony. (1Jo 5:10.) "He that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth not us." (iv. 6.) This assertion of infallibility, this claim for the divine authority of their teaching, is characteristic of the whole Bible. The sacred writers all, and everywhere, disclaim personal authority; they never rest the obligation to faith in their teachings, on their own knowledge or wisdom; they never rest it on the truth of what they taught as manifest to reason or as capable of being proved by argument. They speak as messengers, as witnesses, as organs. They declare that what they said God said, and, therefore, on his authority it was to be received and obeyed.

The Testimony of Paul.

    The Corinthians objected to Paul's preaching that he did not attempt any rational or philosophical proof of the doctrines which he propounded; that his language and whole manner of discourse were not in accordance with rhetorical rules. He answers these objections, -- first, by saying that the doctrines which he taught were not the truths of reason, were not derived from the wisdom of men, but were matters of divine revelation; that he simply tanght what God declared to be true; and secondly, that as to the manner of presenting these truths, he was the mere organ of the Spirit of God. In 1Co 2:7-13, he sets forth this whole subject in the clearest and most concise manner. The things which he taught, which he calls "the wisdom of God," "the things of the Spirit," i. e., the gospel, the system of doctrine taught in the Bible, he says, had never entered into the mind of man. God had revealed those truths by his Spirit; for the Spirit is the only competent source of such knowledge. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." So much for the source of knowledge, and the ground on which the doctrines he taught were to be received. As to the second objection, which concerned his language and mode of presentation, he says, These things of the Spirit, thus revealed, we teach "not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth; but which the Holy Ghost teacheth," pneumatikoi/j pneumatika. sugkri,nontej, combining spiritual with spiritual, i. e., clothing the truths of the Spirit in the words of the Spirit. There is neither in the Bible nor in the writings of men, a simpler or clearer statement of the doctrines of revelation and inspiration. Revelation is the act of communicating divine knowledge by the Spirit to the mind. Inspiration is the act of the same Spirit, controlling those who make the truth known to others. The thoughts, the truths made known, and the words in which they are recorded, are declared to be equally from the Spirit. This, from first to last, has been the doctrine of the Church, notwithstanding the endless diversity of speculations in which theologians have indulged on the subject. This then is the ground on which the sacred writers rested their claims. They were the mere organs of God. They were his messengers. Those who heard them, heard God; and those who refused to hear them, refused to hear God. (Mt 10:40; Joh 13:20.)

    4. This claim to infallibility on the part of the Apostles was duly authenticated, not only by the nature of the truths which they communicated, and by the power which those truths have ever exerted over the minds and hearts of men, but also by the inward witness of the Spirit of which St. John speaks, when he says, "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself" (1Jo 5:10); "an unction from the Holy One." (1Jo 2:20.) It was confirmed also by miraculous gifts. As soon as the Apostles were endued with power from on high, they spake in "other tongues;" they healed the sick, restored the lame and the blind, "God also," as the Apostle says (Heb 2:4), "bearing them witness, both with signs, and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will." And Paul tells the Corinthians that the signs of an Apostle had been wrought among them "in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." (2Co 12:12.) The mere working of miracles was not an evidence of a divine commission as a teacher. But when a man claims to be the organ of God, when he says that God speaks through him, then his working of miracles is the testimony of God to the validity of his claims. And such testimony God gave to the infallibility of the Apostles.

    The above considerations are sufficient to show, that according to the Scriptures, inspired men were the organs, or mouth of God, in the sense that what they said and taught has the sanction and authority of God.

F. Inspiration extends equally to all Parts of Scripture.

    This is the fourth element of the Church doctrine on this subject. It means, first, that all the books of Scripture are equally inspired. All alike are infallible in what they teach. And secondly, that inspiration extends to all the contents of these several books. It is not confined to moral and religious truths, but extends to the statements of facts, whether scientific, historical, or geographical. It is not confined to those facts the importance of which is obvious, or which are involved in matters of doctrine. It extends to everything which any sacred writer asserts to be true.

    This is proved, (1) Because it is involved in, or follows as a necessary consequence from, the proposition that the sacred writers were the organs of God. If what they assert, God asserts, which, as has been shown, is the Scriptural idea of inspiration, their assertions must be free from error. (2.) Because our Lord expressly says, "The Scripture cannot be broken" (Joh 10:35), i. e., it cannot err. (3.) Because Christ and his Apostles refer to all parts of the Scriptures, or to the whole volume, as the word of God. They make no distinction as to the authority of the Law, the Prophets, or the Hagiographa. They quote the Pentateuch, the historical books, the Psalms, and the Prophets, as all and equally the word of God. (4.) Because Christ and the writers of the New Testament refer to all classes of facts recorded in the Old Testament as infallibly true. Not only doctrinal facts, such as those of the creation and probation of man; his apostasy; the covenant with Abraham; the giving the law upon Mount Sinai not only great historical facts, as the deluge, the deliverance of the people out of Egypt, the passage of the Red Sea, and the like but incidental circumstances, or facts of apparently minor importance, as e. g. that Satan tempted our first parents in the form of serpent; that Moses lifted up a serpent in the wilderness: that Elijah healed Naaman, the Syrian, and was sent to the widow in Sarepta; that David ate the shew-bread in the temple; and even that great stumbling-block, that Jonah was three days in the whale's belly, are all referred to by our Lord and his Apostles with the sublime simplicity and confidence with which they are received by little children. (5.) It lies in the very idea of the Bible, that God chose some men to write history; some to indite psalms; some to unfold the future; some to teach doctrines. All were equally his organs, and each was infallible in his own sphere. As the principle of vegetable life pervades the whole plant, the root, stem, and flower; as the life of the body belongs as much to the feet as to the head, so the Spirit of God pervades the whole Scripture, and is not more important than in other. Some members of the body are more in one part than in another; and some books of the Bible could be far better spared than others. There may be as great a difference between St. John's Gospel and the Book of Chronicles as between a man's brain and his hair; nevertheless the life of the body is as truly in the hair as in the brain.

G. The Inspiration of the Scriptures extends to the Words.

    1. This again is included in the infallibility which our Lord ascribes to the Scriptures. A mere human report or record of a divine revelation must of necessity be not only fallible, but more or less erroneous.

    2. The thoughts are in the words. The two are inseparable. If the words, priest, sacrifice, ransom, expiation, propitiation, purification by blood, and the like, have no divine authority, then the doctrine which they embody has no such authority.

    3. Christ and his Apostles argue from the very words of Scripture. Our Lord says that David by the Spirit called the Messiah Lord, i. e., David used that word. It was in the use of a particular word, that Christ said (Joh 10:35), that the Scriptures cannot be broken. "If he call them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken," etc. The use of that word, therefore, according to Christ's view of the Scripture, was determined by the Spirit of God. Paul, in Ga 3:16, lays stress on the fact, that in the promise made to Abraham, a word used is singular and not plural, "seed," "as of one," and not "seeds as of many." Constantly it is the very words of Scripture which are quoted as of divine authority.

    4. The very form in which the doctrine of inspiration is taught in the Bible, assumes that the organs of God in the communication of his will were controlled by Him in the words which they used. "I have put my words in thy mouth." (Jer 1:9.) "It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." (Mt 10:20.) They spake "as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Ac 2:4.) "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2Pe 1:21.) All these, and similar modes of expression with which the Scriptures abound, imply that the words uttered were the words of God. This, moreover, is the very idea of inspiration as understood by the ancient world. The words of the oracle were assumed to be the words of the divinity, and not those selected by the organ of communication. And this, too, as has been shown, was the idea attached to the gift of prophecy. The words of the prophet were the words of God, or he could not be God's spokesman and mouth. It has also been shown that in the most formally didactic passage in the whole Bible on this subject (1Co 2:10-13), the Apostle expressly asserts that the truths revealed by the Spirit, he communicated in words taught by the Spirit.

Plenary Inspiration.

    The view presented above is known as the doctrine of plenary inspiration. Plenary is opposed to partial. The Church doctrine denies that inspiration is confined to parts of the Bible; and affirms that it applies to all the books of the sacred canon. It denies that the sacred writers were merely partially inspired; it asserts that they were fully inspired as to all that they teach, whether of doctrine or fact. This of course does not imply that the sacred writers were infallible except for the special purpose for which they were employed. They were not imbued with plenary knowledge. As to all matters of science, philosophy, and history, they stood on the same level with their contemporaries. They were infallible only as teachers, and when acting as the spokesmen of God. Their inspiration no more made them astronomers than it made thcm agriculturists. Isaiah was infallible in his predictions, although he shared with his countrymen the views then prevalent as to the mechanism of the universe. Paul could not err in anything he taught, although he could not recollect how many persons he had baptized in Corinth. The sacred writers also, doubtless, differed as to insight into the truths which they taught. The Apostle Peter intimates that the prophets searched diligently into the meaning of their own predictions. When David said God had put "all things" under the feet of man, he probably little thought that "all things" meant the whole universe (Heb 4:8.) And Moses, when he recorded the promise that childless Abraham was to be the father "of many nations," little thought that it meant the whole world (Ro 4:13). Nor does the Scriptural doctrine on this subject imply that the sacred writers were free from errors in conduct. Their infallibility did not arise from their holiness, nor did inspiration render them holy. Balaam was inspired, and Saul was among the prophets. David committed many crimes, although inspired to write psalms. Peter erred in conduct at Antioch; but this does not prove that he erred in teaching. The influence which preserved him from mistakes in teaching was not designed to preserve him from mistakes in conduct.

H. General Considerations in Support of the Doctrine.

    On this point little need be said. If the questions, What is the Scriptural doctrine concerning inspiration? and, What is the true doctrine? be considered different, then after showing what the Scriptures teach on the subject, it would be necessary to prove that what they teach is true. This, however, is not the position of the Christian theologian. It is his business to set forth what the Bible teaches. If the sacred writers assert that they are the organs of God; that what they taught He taught through them; that they spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, so that whnat they said the Holy Spirit said, then, if we believe their divine mission, we must believe what they teach as to the nature of the influence under which they spoke and wrote. This is the reason why in the earlier period of the Church there was no separate discussion of the doctrine of inspiration. That was regarded as involved in the divine origin of the Scriptures. If they are a revelation from God, they must be received and obeyed; but they cannot be thus received without attributing to them divine authority, and they can not have such authority without being infallible in all they teach.

    The organic unity of the Scriptures proves them to be the product of one mind. They are not only so united that we cannot believe one part without believing the whole; we cannot believe the New Testament without believing the Old; we cannot believe the Prophets without believing the Law; we cannot believe Christ without believing his Apostles; but besides all this they present the regular development, carried on through centuries and millenniums, of the great original promise, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." This development was conducted by some forty independent writers, many of whom understood very little of the plan they were unfolding, but each contributed his part to the progress and completion of the whole.

    If the Bible be the work of one mind, that mind must be the mind of God. He only knows the end from the beginning. He only could know what the Bible reveals. No one, says the Apostle, knows the things of God but the Spirit of God. He only could reveal the nature, the thoughts, and purposes of God. He only could tell whether sin can be pardoned. No one knows the Son but the Father. The revelation of the person and work of Christ is as clearly the work of God as are the heavens in all their majesty and glory.

    Besides, we have the witness in ourselves. We find that the truths revealed in the Bible have the same adaptation to our souls that the atmosphere has to our bodies. The body cannot live without air, which it receives and appropriates instinctively, with full confidence in its adaptation to the end designed. In like manner the soul receives and appropriates the truths of Scripture as the atmosphere in which alone it can breathe and live. Thus in receiving the Bible as true, we necessarily receive it as divine. In believing it as a supernatural revelation, we believe its plenary inspiration.

    This doctrine involves nothing out of analogy with the ordinary operations of God. We believe that He is everywhere present in the material world, and controls the operations of natural causes. We know that He causes the grass to grow, and gives rain and fruitful seasons. We believe that He exercises a like control over the minds of men, turning them as the rivers of water are turned. All religion, natural and revealed, is founded on the assumption of this providential government of God. Besides this, we believe in the gracious operations of his Spirit, by which He works in the hearts of his people to will and to do; we believe that faith, repentance, and holy living are due to the ever-present influence of the Holy Spirit. If, then, this wonder-working God everywhere operates in nature and in grace, why should it be deemed incredible that holy men should speak as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, so that they should say just what He would have them say, so that their words should be his words.

    After all Christ is the great object of the Christian's faith. We believe him and we believe everything else on his authority. He hands us the Old Testament and tells us that it is the Word of God; that its authors spoke by the Spirit; that the Scriptures cannot be broken. And we believe on his testimony. His testimony to his Apostles is no less explicit, although given in a different way. He promised to give them a mouth and a wisdom which their adversaries could not gainsay or resist. He told them to take no thought what they should say, "For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." (Lu 12:12.) "It is not ye that speak but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." He said to them "he that receiveth you receiveth me"; and He prayed for those who should believe on Him through their word. We believe the Scriptures, therefore, because Christ declares them to be the Word of God. Heaven and earth may pass away, but his word cannot pass away.

I. Objections.

    A large class of the objections to the doctrine of inspiration, which for many minds are the most effective, arise from the rejection of one or other of the presumptions specified on a preceding page. If a man denies the existence of a personal, extramundane God, he must deny the doctrine of inspiration, but it is not necessary in order to prove that doctrine that we should first prove the being of God. If he denies that God exerts any direct efficiency in the government of the world, and holds that everything is the product of fixed laws, he cannot believe what the Scriptures teach of inspiration. If the supernatural be impossible, inspiration is impossible. It will be found that most of the objections, especially those of recent date, are founded on unscriptural views of the relation of God to the world, or on the peculiar philosophical views of the objectors as to the nature of man or of his free agency.

    A still larger class of objections is founded on misconceptions of the doctrine. Such objections are answered by the correct statement of what the Church believes on the subject. Even a man so distinguished for knowledge and ability as Coleridge, speaks with contempt of what he regards as the common theory of inspiration, when he utterly misunderstands the real doctrine which he opposes. He says: "All the miracles which the legends of monk or rabbi contain, can scarcely be put in competition, on the score of complication, inexplicableness, the absence of all intelligible use or purpose, and of circuitous self-frustration, with those that must be assumned by the maintainers of this doctrine, in order to give effect to the series of miracles by which all the nominal composers of the Hebrew nation before the time of Ezra, of whom there are any remains, were successively transformed into automaton compositors,"15 etc. But if the Church doctrine of inspiration no more assumes that the sacred writers "were transformed into automaton compositors," than that every believer is thus transformed in whom God "works to will and to do," then all such objections amount to nothing. If God, without interfering with a man's free agency, can make it infallibly certain that he will repent and believe, He can render it certain that he will not err in teaching. It is in vain to profess to hold the common doctrine of Theism, and yet assert that God cannot control rational creatures without turning them into machines.

Discrepancies and Errors.

    But although the theologian may rightfully dismiss all objections founded in the denial of the common principles of natural and revealed religion, there are others which cannot be thus summarily disposed of. The most obvious of these is, that the sacred writers contradict each other, and that they teach error. It is, of course, useless to contend that the sacred writers were infallible, if in point of fact they err. Our views of inspiration must be determined by the phenomena of the Bible as well as from its didactic statements. If in fact the sacred writers retain each his own style and mode of thought, then we must renounce any theory which assumes that inspiration obliterates or suppresses all individual peculiarities. If the Scriptures abound in contradictions and errors, then it is vain to contend that they were written under an influence which precludes all error. The question, therefore, is a question of fact. Do the sacred writers contradict each other? Do the Scriptures teach what from any source can be proved not to be true? The question is not whether the views of the sacred writers were incorrect, but whether they taught error? For example, it is not the question Whether they thought that the earth is the centre of our system? but, Did they teach that it is?

    The objection under consideration, namely, that the Bible contains errors, divides itself into two. The first, that the sacred writers contradict themselves, or one the other. The second, that the Bible teaches what is inconsistent with the facts of history or science.

    As to the former of these objections, it would require, not a volume, but volumes to discuss all the cases of alleged discrepancies. All that can be expected here is a few general remnarks: (1.) These apparent discrepancies, although numerous, are for the most part trivial; relating in most cases to numbers or dates. (2.) The great majority of them are only apparent, and yield to careful examination. (3.) Many of them may fairly be ascribed to errors of transcribers. (4.) The marvel and the miracle is that there are so few of any real importance. Considering that the different books of the Bible were written not only by different authors, but by men of all degrees of culture, living in the course of fifteen hundred or two thousand years, it is altogether unaccountable that they should agree perfectly, on any other hypothesis than that the writers were under the guidance of the Spirit of God. In this respect, as in all others, the Bible stands alone. It is enough to impress any mind with awe, when it contemplates the Sacred Scriptures filled with the highest truths, speaking with authority in the name of God, and so miraculously free from the soiling touch of human fingers. The errors in matters of fact which skeptics search out bear no proportion to the whole. No sane man would deny that the Parthenon was built of marble, even if here and there a speck of sandstone should be detected in its structure. Not less unreasonable is it to deny the inspiration of such a book as the Bible, because one sacred writer says that on a given occasion twenty-four thousand, and another says that twenty-three thousand, men were slain. Surely a Christian may be allowed to tread such objections under his feet.

    Admitting that the Scriptures do contain, in a few instances, discrepancies which with our present means of knowledge, we are unable satisfactorily to explain, they furnish no rational ground for denying their infallibility. "The Scripture cannot be broken." (Joh 10:35.) This is the whole doctrine of plenary inspiration, taught by the lips of Christ himself. The universe teems with evidences of design, so manifold, so diverse, so wonderful, as to overwhelm the mind with the conviction that it has had an intelligent author. Yet here and there isolated cases of monstrosity appear. It is irrational, because we cannot account for such cases, to deny that the universe is the product of intelligence. So the Christian need not renounce his faith in the plenary inspiration of the Bible, although there may be some things about it in its present state which he cannot account for.

Historical and Scientific Objections.

    The second great objection to the plenary inspiration ot the Scripture is that it teaches what is inconsistent with historical and scientific truth.

    Here again it is to be remarked, (1.) That we must distinguish between what the sacred writers themselves thought or believed, and what they teach. They may have believed that the sun moves round the earth, but they do not so teach. (2.) The language of the Bible is the language of common life; and the language of common life is founded on apparent,. and not upon scientific truth. It would be ridiculous to refuse to speak of the sun rising and setting, because we know that it is not a satellite of our planet. (3.) There is a great distinction between theories and facts. Theories are of men. Facts are of God. The Bible often contradicts the former, never the latter. (4.) There is also a distinction to be made between the Bible and our interpretation. The latter may come into competition with settled facts; and then it must yield. Science has in many things taught the Church how to understand the Scriptures. The Bible was for ages understood and explained according to the Ptolemaic system of the universe; it is now explained without doing the least violence to its language, according to the Copernican system. Christians have commonly believed that the earth has existed only a few thousands of years. If geologists finally prove that it has existed for myriads of ages, it will be found that the first chapter of Genesis is in full accord with the facts, and that the last results of science are embodied on the first page of the Bible. It may cost the Church a severe struggle to give up one interpretation and adopt another, as it did in the seventeenth century, but no real evil need be apprehended. The Bible has stood, and still stands in the presence of the whole scientific world with its claims unshaken. Men hostile or indifferent to its truths may, on insufficient grounds, or because of their personal opinions, reject its authority; but, even in the judgment of the greatest authorities in science, its teachings cannot fairly be impeached.

    It is impossible duly to estimate the importance of this subject. If the Bible be the word of God, all the great questions which for ages have agitated the minds of men are settled with infallible certainty. Human reason has never been able to answer to its own satisfaction, or to the assurance of others, the vital questions, What is God? What is man? What lies beyond the grave? If there be a future state of being, what is it? and How may future blessedness be secured? Without the Bible, we are, on all these subjects, in utter darkness. How endless and unsatisfying have been the answers to the greatest of all questions, What is God? The whole Eastern world answers by saying, "That He is the unconscious ground of being." The Greeks gave the same answer for philosophers, and made all nature God for the people. The moderns have reached no higher doctrine. Fichte says the subjective Ego is God. According to Schelling. God is the eternal movement of the universe, subject becoming object, object becoming subject, the infinite becoming finite, and the finite infinite. Hegel says, Thought is God. Cousin combines all the German answers to form his own. Coleridge refers us to Schelling for an answer to the question, What is God? Carlyle makes force God. A Christian child says: "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." Men and angels veil their faces in the presence of that answer. It is the highest, greatest, and most fruitful truth ever embodied in human language. Without the Bible, we are without God and without hope. The present is a burden, and the future a dread.  

§3. Adverse Theories.

    Although substantial unanimity as to the doctrine of inspiration has prevailed among the great historical Churches of Christendom, yet there has been no little diversity of opinion among theologians and philosophical writers. The theories are too numerous to be examined in detail. They may, perhaps, be advantageously referred to the following classes.

A. Naturalistic Doctrine.

    There is a large class of writers who deny any supernatural agency in the affairs of men. This general class includes writers who differ essentially in their views.

    First. There are those who, although Theists, hold the mechanical theory of the universe. That is, they hold that God having created the world, including all that it contains, organic and inorganic, rational and irrational, and having endowed matter with its properties and minds with their attributes, leaves it to itself. Just as a ship, when launched and equipped, is left to the winds and to its crew. This theory precludes the possibility not only of all miracles, prophecy, and supernatural revelation, but even of all providential government, whether general or special. Those who adopt this view of the relation of God to the world, must regard the Bible from beginning to end as a purely human production. They may rank it as the highest, or as among the lowest of the literary works of men; there is no possibility of its being inspired in any authorized sense of that word.

    Secondly. There are those who do not so entirely banish God from his works. They admit that He is everywhere present, and everywhere active; that his providential efficiency and control are exercised in the occurrence of all events. But they maintain that He always acts according to fixed laws; and always in connection and cooperation with second causes. According to this theory also, all miracles and all prophecy, properly speaking, are excluded. A revelation is admitted, or at least, is possible. But it is merely providential. It consists in such an ordering of circumstances, and such a combination of influences as to secure the elevation of certain men to a higher level of religious knowledge than that attained by others. They may also, in a sense, be said to be inspired in so far as that inward, subjective state is purer, and more devout, as well as more intelligent than that of ordinary men. There is no specific difference, however, according to this theory, between inspired and uninspired men. It is only a matter of degrees. One is more and another less purified and enlightened. This theory also makes the Bible a purely human production. It confines revelation to the sphere of human knowledge. No possible degree of culture or development can get anything more than human out of man. According to the Scriptures, and to the faith of the Church, the Bible is a revelation of the things of God; of his thoughts and purposes. But who knoweth the things of God, asks the Apostle, but the Spirit of God? The things which the Bible purports to make known, are precisely those things which lie beyond the ken of the human mind. This theory, therefore, for bread gives us a stone; for the thoughts of God, the thoughts of man.

Schleiermacher's Theory.

    Thirdly. There is a theory far more pretentious and philosophical, and which of late years has widely prevailed, which in reality differs very little from the preceding. It agrees with it in the main point in that it denies anything supernatural in the origin or composition of the Bible. Schleiermacher, the author of this theory, was addicted to a philosophy which precluded all intervention of the immediate efficiency of God in the world. He admits, however, of two exceptions: the creation of man, and the constitution of the person of Christ. There was a supernatural intervention in the origin of our race, and in the manifestation of Christ. All else in the history of the world is natural. Of course there is nothing supernatural in the Bible; nothing in the Old Testament which the Adamic nature was not adequate to produce; and nothing in the New Testament, which Christianity, the life of the Church, a life common to all believers, is not sufficient to account for.

    Religion consists in feeling, and specifically in a feeling or absolute dependence (or an absolute feeling of dependence) i.e., the consciousness that the finite is nothing in the presence of the Infinite, -- the individiual in the presence of the universal. This conciousness involves the unity of the one and all, of God and man. "This system," says Dr. Ulmann, one of its more moderate and effective advocates, "is not absolutely new. We find it in another form in ancient Mysticism, especially in the German Mystics of the Middle Ages. Within them, too, the ground and central point of Christianity is the oneness of Deity and humaniny effected through the incarnation of God, and deification of man."16

    Christianity, therefore, is not a system of doctrine; it is not, subjectively considered, a form of knowledge. It is a life. It is the life of Christ. Ulmann again says explicitly: "The life of Christ is Christianity."17 God in becoming man did not take upon himself, "a true body and a reasonable soul," but generic humanity; i.e., humanity as a generic life. The effect of the incarnation was to unite the human and divine as one life. And this life passes over to the Church precisely as the life of Adam passed over to his descendants, by a process of natural development. And this life is Christianity. Participation of this divine-human life makes a man a Christian.

    The Christian revelation consists in the providential dispensations connected within the appearance of Christ on the earth. The effect of these dispensations and events was the elevation of the religious consciousness of the men of that generation, and specially of those who came most directly under the influence of Chmist. This subjective state, this excitement and elevation of their religious life, gave them intuitions of religious truths, "eternal verities." These intuitions were by the logical understanding clothed in the form of doctrines. This, however, was a gradual process as it was effected only by the Church-life, i. e., by the working of the new divine-human life in the body of believers.18 Mr. Mormell in expounding this theory, says:19 "The essential germ of the religious life is concentrated in the absolute feeling of dependence, -- a feeling which implies nothing abject, but, on the contrary, a high and hallowed sense of our being inseparably related to Deity." On the preceding page he had said, "Let the subject become as nothing -- not, indeed, from its intrinsic insignificance or incapacity of moral action, but by virtue of the infinity of the object to which it stands consciously opposed; and the feeling of dependence must become absolute;for all finite power is as nothing in relation to the Infinite."

    Christianity, as just stated, is the life of Christ, his human life, which is also divine, and is communicated to us as the life of Adam was communicated to his descendants. Morell, rather more in accordance with English modes of thought, says,20 "Christianity, like every other religion, consists essentially in a state of man's inner consciousness, which develops itself into a system of thought and activity only in a community of awakened minds; and it was inevitable, therefore, that such a state of consciousness should require time, and intercourse, and mutual sympathy, before it could become moulded into a decided and distinctive form." He represents the Apostles as often meeting together and deliberating on essential points, correcting each other's views; and, after years of such fellowship, Christianity was at last brought into form.

    Revelation is declared to be a communication of truth to our intuitional consciousness. The outward world is a revelation to our sense-intuitions; beauty is a revelation to our esthetic intuitions; and "eternal verities," when intuitively perceived, are said to be revealed; and this intuition is brought about by whatever purifies and exalts our religious feelings. "Revelation," says Morell, "is a process of the intuitional consciousness, gazing upon eternal verities; while theology is the reflection of the understanding upon those vital intuitions, so as to reduce them to a logical and scientific expression."21

    Inspiration is the inward state of mind which enables us to apprehend the truth. "Revelation and inspiration," says Morell, "indicate one united process, the result of which upon the human mind is, to produce a state of spiritual intuition, whose phenomena are so extraordinary, that we at once separate the agency by which they are produced from any of the ordinary principles of human developmnent. And yet this agency is applied in perfect consistency with the laws and natural operations of our spiritual nature. Inspiration does not imply anything generically new in the actual processes of the human mind; it does not involve any form of intelligence essentially different from what we already possess; it indicates rather the elevation of the religious consciousness, and with it, of course, the power of spiritual vision, to a degree of intensity peculiar to the individuals thus highly favoured of God."22 The only difference, therefore, between the Apostles and ordinary Christians is as to their relative holiness.

    According to this theory there is no specific difference between genius and inspiration. The difference is simply in the objects apprehended and the causes of the inward excitement to which the apprehension is due. "Genius," says Morell, "consists in the possession of a remarkable power of intuition with reference to some particular object, a power which arises from the inward nature of a man being brought into unusual harmony with that object in its reality and its operations."23 This is precisely his account of inspiration. "Let," he says, "there be a due purification of the moral nature, -- a perfect harmony of the spiritual being with the mind of God, -- a removal of all inward disturbances from the heart, and what is to prevent or disturb this immediate intuition of divine things."24

    This theory of inspiration, while retaining its essential elements, is variously modified. With those who believe with Schleiermacher, that man "is the form in which God comes to conscious existence on our earth," it has one form. With Realists who define man to be "the manifestation of generic humanity in connection with a given corporeal organization;" and who believe that it was generic humanity which Christ took and united in one life with his divine nature, which life is communicated to the Church as his body, and thereby to all its members; it takes a somewhat different form. With those again who do not adopt either of these anthropological theories, but take the common view as to the constitution of man; it takes still a different, and in some respects, a lower, form. In all, however, inspiration is the intuition of divine truths due to the excitement of the religious nature, whatever that nature may be.

Objections to Schleiermacher's Theory.

    To this theory in all its forms it may be objected, -- 1. That it proceeds upon a wrong view of religion in general and of Cirristianity in particular. It assumes that religion is a feeling, a life. It denies that it is a form of knowledge, or involves the reception of any particular system of doctrine. In the subjective sense of the word, all religions (i. e., all religious doctrines) are true, as Twesten says,25 but all are not equally pure, or equally adequate expressions of the inward religious principle. According to the Scriptures, however, and the common conviction of Christians, religion (subjectively considered) is the reception of certain doctrines as true, and a state of heart and course of action in accordance with those doctrines. The Apostles propounded a certain system of doctrines; they pronounced those to be Christians who received those doctrines so as to determine their character and life. They pronounced those who rejected those doctrines, who refused to receive their testimony, as antichristian; as having no part or lot with the people of God. Christ's command was to teach; to convert the world by teaching. On this principle the Apostles acted and the Church has ever acted from that day to this. Those who deny Theism as a doctrine, are atheists. Those who reject Christianity as a systemn of doctrine, are unbelievers. They are not Christians. The Bible everywhere assumes that without truth there can be no holiness; that all conscious exercises of spiritual life are in view of truth objectively revealed in the Scriptures. And hence the importance everywhere attributed to knowledge, to truth, to sound doctrine, in the Word of God.

    2. This theory is inconsistent with the Scriptural doctrine of revelation. According to the Bible, God presents truth objectively to the mind, whether by audible words, by visions, or by the immnediate operations of his Spirit. According to this theory, revelation is merely the providential ordering of circumstances which awaken and exalt the religious feelings, and which thus enable the mind intuitively to apprehend the things of God.

    3. It avowedly confines these intuitions, and of course revealed truth, to what are called "eternal verities." But the great body of truths revealed in Scripture are not "eternal verities." The fall of man; that all men are sinners; that the Redeemer from sin was to be of the seed of Abraham, and of the house of David; that He was to be born of a virgin, to be a man of sorrows; that He was crucified and buried; that He rose again the third day; that He ascended to heaven; that He is to come again without sin to salvation, although truths on which our salvation depends, are not intuitive truths; they are not truths which any exaltation of the religious consciousness would enable any man to discover of himself.

    4. According to this theory the Bible has no normal authority as a rule of faith. It contains no doctrines revealed by God, and to be received as true on his testimony. It contains only the thoughts of holy men; the forms in which their understandings, without supernatural aid, clothed the "intuitions" due to their religious feelings. "The Bible," says Morell,26 "cannot in strict accuracy of language be termed a revelation, since a revelation always implies an actual process of intelligence in a living mind; but it contains the records in which those minds who enjoyed the preliminamy training or the first brighter revelatior of Christianity, have described the scenes which awakened their own religious nature to new life, and the high ideas and aspirations to which that new life gave origin." The Old Testament is the product of "the religious consciousness of men who lived under a rude state of culture; and is of no authority for us. The New Testament is the product of "the religious consciousness of men who had experienced the sanctifying influence of Christ's presence amnong them. But those men were Jews, they had Jewish modes of thinking. They were familiar with the services of the old dispensation, were accustomed to think of God as approachable only tlnrough a priesthood; as demanding expiation for sin, and regeneration of heart; and promising certain rewards and forms of blessedness in a future state of existence. It was natural for them, therefore, to clothe their "intuitions" in these Jewish modes of thought. We, in this nineteenth century, may clothe ours in very different forms, i.e., in very different doctrines, and yet "the eternal verities" be the same.

    Different men carry this theory to very different lengths. Some have such an inward experience that they can find no form for expressing what they feel, so suitable as that given in the Bible, and therefore they believe all its great doctrines. But the ground of their faith is purely subjective. It is not the testimony of God given in his Word, but their own experience. They take what suits that, and reject the rest. Others with less Christian experience, or with no experience distinctively Christian, reject all the distinctive doctrines of Christianity, and adopt a form of religious philosophy which they are willing to call Christianity.

    5. That this theory is antiscriptural has already been said. The Bible makes revelation as therein contained to be the communication of doctrines to the understanding by the Spirit of God. It makes those truths or doctrines the immediate source of all right feeling. The feelings come from spiritual apprehension of the truth, and not the knowledge of truth from the feeling. Knowledge is necessary to all conscious holy exercises. Hence the Bible makes truth of the greatest importance. It pronounces those blessed who receive the doctrines which it teaches, and those accursed who reject them. It makes the salvation of men to depend upon their faith. This theory makes the creed of a man or of a people of comparatively little consequence.

    In the Church, therefore, Christianity has always been regarded as a system of doctrine. Those who believe these doctrines are Christians; those who reject them, are, in the judgment of the Church, infidels or heretics. If our faith be formal or speculative, so is our Christianity; if it be spiritual and living, so is our religion. But no mistake can be greater than to divorce religion from truth, and make Christianity a spirit or life distinct from the doctrines which the Scriptures present as the objects of faith.

B. Gracious Inspiration.

    This theory belongs to the category of natural or supernatural, according to the meaning assigned to those terms. By natural effects are commonly understood those brought about by natural causes under the providential control of God. Then the effects produced by the gracious operations of the Spirit, such as repentance, faith, love, and all other fruits of the Spirit, are supernatural. And consequently the theory which refers inspiration to the gracious influence of the Spirit, belongs to the class of the supernatural. But this word is often used in a more limited sense, to designate events which are produced by the immediate agency or volition of God without the intervention of any second cause. In this limited sense, creation, miracles, immediate revelation, regeneration (in the limited sense of that word), are supernatural. As the sanctification of men is carried on by the Spirit by the use of the means of grace, it is not a supernatural work, in the restricted sense of the term.

    There are many theologians who do not adopt either of the philosophical theories of the nature of man and of his relation to God, above mentioned; and who receive the Scriptural doctrine as held by the Church universal, that the Holy Spirit renews, sanctifies, illuminates, guides, and teaches all the people of God; and yet who regard inspiration to be one of the ordinary fruits of the Spirit. Inspired and uninspired men are not distinguished by any specific difference. The sacred writers were merely holy men under the guidance of the ordinary influence of the Spirit. Some of those who adopt this theory extend it to revelation as well as to inspiration. Others admit a strictly supernatural revelation, but deny that the sacred writers in communicating the truths revealed were under any influence not uncommon to ordinary believers. And as to those parts of the Bible (as the Hagiographa and Gospels), which contain no special revelations, they are to be regarded as the devotional writings or historical narratives of devout but fallible men. Thus Coleridge, who refers inspiration to that "grace and communion with the Spirit which the Church, under all circumstances, and every regenerate member of the Church, in permitted to hope and instructed to pray for;" makes an exception in favour of "the law and the prophets, no jot or tittle of which can pass unfulfilled."27 The remainder of the Bible, he holds, was written under the impulse and guidance of the gracious influence of the Spirit given to all Christian men. And his friends and followers, Dr. Arnold, Archdeacon Hare, and specially Maurice, ignore this distinction and refer the whole Bible "to an inspiration the same as what every believer enjoys."28Thus Maurice says,29 "We must forego the demand which we make on the conscience of young men, when we compel them to declare that they regard the inspiration of the Bible as generically unlike that which God bestows on His children in this day."

Objections to the Doctrine that Inspiration is common to all Believers.

    That this theory is anti-scriptural is obvious. 1. Because the Bible makes a marked distinction between those whom God chose to be his messengers, his prophets, his spokesmen, and other men. This theory ignores that distinction, so far as the people of God is concerned.

    2. It is inconsistent with the authority claimed by these special messengers of God. They spoke in his name. God spoke through them. They said, "Thus saith the Lord," in a sense and way in which no ordinary believer dare use those words. It is inconsistent with the authority not only claimed by the sacred writers, but attributed to them by our Lord himself. He declared that the Scripture could not be broken, that it was infallible in all its teachings. The Apostles declare those anathema who did not receive their doctrines. This claim to divine authority in teaching was confirmed by God himself in signs, and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost.

    3. It is inconsistent with the whole nature of the Bible, which is and professes to be a revelation of truths not only undiscoverable by human reason, but which no amount of holiness could enable the mind of man to perceive. This is true not only of the strictly prophetic revelations relating to the future, but also of all things, concerning the mind and will of God. The doctrines of the Bible are called musth,ria, things concealed, unknown and unknowable, except as revealed to the holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit. (Eph 3:5.)

    4. It is inconsistent with the faith of the Church universal, which has always made the broadest distinction between the writings of the inspired men and those of ordinary believers. Even Romanists, with all their reverence for the fathers, never presumed to place their writings on a level with the Scriptures. They do not attribute to them any authority but as witnesses of what the Apostles taught. If the Bible has no more authority than is due to the writings of pious men, then our faith is vain and we are yet in our sins. We have no sure foundation for our hopes of salvation.

C. Partial Inspiration.

    Under this head are included several different doctrines.

    1. Many hold that only some parts of Scripture are inspired, i. e., that the writers of some books were supernaturally guided by the Spirit, and the writers of others were not. This, as mentioned above, was the doctrine of Coleridge, who admitted the inspiration of the Law and the Prophets, but denied that of the rest of the Bible. Others admit the New Testament to be inspired to an extent to which the Old was not. Others again hold the discourses of Christ to be infallible, but no other part of the sacred volume.

    2. Others limit the inspiration of the sacred writers to their doctrinal teaching. The great object of their commission was to give a faithful record of the revealed will and purpose of God, to be a rule of faith and practice to the Church. In this they were under an influence which rendered them infallible as religious and moral teachers. But beyond these limits they were as liable to error as other men. That there should be scientific, historical, geographical mistakes; errors in the citation of passages, or in other unessential matters; or discrepancies as to matters of fact between the sacred writers, leaves their inspiration as religious teachers untouched.

    3. Another form of the doctrine of partial, as opposed to plenary insprration, limits it to the thoughts, as distinguished from the words of Scripture. Verbal inspiration is denied. It is assumed that the sacred writers selected the words they used without any guidance of the Spirit, to prevent their adopting improper or inadequate terms in which to express their thoughts.

    4. A fourth form of the doctrine of partial inspiration was early introduced and has been widely adopted. Maimonides, the greatest of the Jewish doctors since the time of Christ, taught as early as the twelfth century that the sacred writers of the Old Testament enjoyed different degrees of divine guidance. He placed the inspiration of the Law much above that of the Prophets; and that of the Prophets higher than that of the Hagiographa. His idea of different degrees of inspiration was adopted by many theologians, and in England for a long time it was the common mode of representation. The idea was that the writers of Kings and Chronnicles needed less, and that they received less of the divine assistance than Isaiah or St. John.30

    In attempting to prove the doctrine of plenary inspiration the arguments which bear against all these forms of partial inspiration were given or suggested. The question is not an open one. It is not what theory is in itself most reasonable or plausible, but simply, What does the Bible teach on the subject? If our Lord and his Apostles declare the Old Testament to be the Word of God; that its authors spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; that what they said, the Spirit said; if they refer to the facts and to the very words of Scripture as of divine authority; and if the same infallible divine guidance was promised to the writers of the New Testament, and claimed by themselves; and if their claim was authenticated by God himself: then there is no room for, as there is no need of, these theories of partial inspiration. The whole Bible was written under such an influence as preserved its human authors from all error, and makes it for the Church the infallible rule of faith and practice.

§ 4. The Completeness of the Scriptures.

    By the completeness of the Scriptures is meant that they contain all the extant revelations of God designed to be a rule of faith and practice to the Church. It is not denied that God reveals himself, even his eternal power and Godhead, by his works, and has done so from the beginning of the world. But all the truths thus revealed are clearly made known in his written Word. Nor is it denied that there may have been, and probably were, books written by inspired men, which are no longer in existence. Much less is it denied that Christ and his Apostles delivered many discourses which were not recorded, and which, could they now be known and authenticated, would be of equal authority with the books now regarded as canonical. All that Protestants insist upon is, that the Bible contains all the extant revelations of God, which He designed to be the rule of faith and practice for his Church; so that nothing can rightfully be imposed on the consciences of men as truth or duty which is not taught directly or by necessary implication in the Holy Scriptures. This excludes all unwritten traditions, not only, but also all decrees of the visible Church; all resolutions of conventions, or other public bodies, declaring this or that to be right or wrong, true or false. The people of God are bound by nothing but the Word of God. On this subject little need be said. The completeness of Scripture, as a rule of faith, is a corollary of the Protestant doctrine concerning tradition. If that be true, the former must also be true. This Romanists do not deny. They make the Rule of Faith to consist of the written and unwritten word of God, i.e., of Scripture and tradition. If it be proved that tradition is untrustworthy, human, and fallible, then the Scriptures by common consent stand alone in their authority. As the authority of tradition has already been discussed, further discussion of the completeness of the Scriptures becomes unnecessary.

    It is well, however, to bear in mind the importance of this doctrine. It is not by Romanists only that it is denied, practically at least, if not theoretically. Nothing is more common among Protestants, especially in our day, than the attempt to coerce the conscience of men by public opinion; to make the opinions of men on questions of morals a rule of duty for the people, and even for the Church. If we would stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, we must adhere to the principle that in matters of religion and morals the Scriptures alone have authority to bind the conscience.

§ 5. Perspicuity of the Scriptures. The Right of Private Judgment.

    The Bible is a plain book. It is intelligible by the people. And they have the right, and are bound to read and interpret it for themselves; so that their faith may rest on the testimony of the Scriptures, and not on that of the Church. Such is the doctrine of Protestants on this subject.

    It is not denied that the Scriptures contain many things hard to be understood; that they require diligent study; that all men need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to right knowledge and true faith. But it is maintained that in all things necessary to salvation they are sufficiently plain to be understood even by the unlearned.

    It is not denied that the people, learned and unlearned, in order to the proper understanding of the Scriptures, should not only compare Scripture with Scripture, and avail themselves of all the means in their power to aid them in their search after the truth, but they should also pay the greatest deference to the faith of the Church. If the Scriptures be a plain book, and the Spirit performs the functions of a teacher to all the children of God, it follows inevitably that they must agree in all essential matters in their interpretation of the Bible. And from that fact it follows that for an individual Christian to dissent from the faith of the universal Church (i. e., the body of true believers), is tantamount to dissenting from the Scriptures themselves.

    What Protestants deny on this subject is, that Christ has appointed any officer, or class of officers, in his Church to whose interpretation of the Scriptures the people are bound to submit as of final authority. What they affirmn is that He has made it obligatory upon every man to search the Scriptures for himself, and determine on his own discretion what they require him to believe and to do.

    The arguments in support of the former of these positions have already been presented in the discussion concerning the infallibility of the Church. The most obvious reasons in support of the right of private judgment are, --

    1. That the obligations to faith and obedience are personal. Every man is responsible for his religious faith and his moral conduct. He cannot transfer that responsibility to others; nor can others assume it in his stead. He must answer for himself; and if he must answer for himself, he must judge for himself. It will not avail him in the day of judgment to say that his parents or his Church taught him wrong. He should have listened to God, and obeyed Him rather than men.

    2. The Scriptures are everywhere addressed to the people, and not to the officers of the Church either exclusively, or specially. The prophets were sent to the people, and constantly said, "Hear, O Israel," "Hearken, O ye people." Thus, also, the discourses of Christ were addressed to the people, and the people heard him gladly. All the Epistles of the New Testament are addressed to the congregation, to the "called of Jesus Christ;" "to the beloved of God;" to those "called to be saints;" "to the sanctified in Christ Jesus;" "to all who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord;" "to the saints which are in (Ephesus), and to the faithful in Jesus Christ;" or "to the saints and faithful brethren which are in (Colosse);" and so in every instance. It is the people who are addressed. To them are directed these profound discussions of Christian doctrine, and these comprehensive expositions of Christian duty. They are everywhere assumed to be competent to understand what is written, and are everywhere required to believe and obey what thus came from the inspired messengers of Christ. They were not referred to any other authority from which they were to learn the true import of these inspired instructions. It is, therefore, not only to deprive the people of a divine right, to forbid the people to read and interpret the Scriptures for themselves; but it is also to interpose between them and God, and to prevent their hearing his voice, that they may listen to the words of men.

The People commanded to search the Scriptures.

    3. The Scriptures are not only addressed to the people, but the people were called upon to study them, and to teach them unto their children. It was one of the most frequently recurring injunctions to parents under the old dispensation, to teach the Law unto their children, that they again might teach it unto theirs. The "holy oracles" were committed to the people, to be taught by the people; and taught immediately out of the Scriptures, that the truth might be retained in its purity. Thus our Lord commanded the people to search the Scriptures, saying, "They are they which testify of me." (Joh 5:39.) He assumed that they were able to understand what the Old Testament said of the Messiah, although its teachings had been misunderstood by the scribes and elders, and by the whole Sanhedrim. Paul rejoiced that Timothy had from his youth known the Holy Scriptures, which were able to make him wise unto salvation. He said to the Galatians (i. 8, 9), "Though we, or an angel from heaven, -- if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." This implies two things, -- first, that the Galatian Christians, the people, had a right to sit in judgment on the teaching of an Apostle, or of an angel from heaven; and secondly, that they had an infallible rule by which that judgment was to be determined, namely, a previous authenticated revelation of God. If, then, the Bible recognizes the right of the people to judge of the teaching of Apostles and angels, they are not to be denied the right of judging of the doctrines of bishops and priests. The principle laid down by the Apostle is precisely that long before given by Moses (De 13:1-3), who tells the people that if a prophet should arise, although he worked wonders, they were not to believe or obey him, if he taught them anything contrary to the Word of God. This again assumes right to judge, and that the people had the ability and the right to judge, and that they had an infallible rule of judgment. It implies, moreover, that their salvation depended upon their judging rightly. For if they allowed these false teachers, robed in sacred vestments, and surrounded by the insignia of authority, to lead them from the truth, they would inevitably perish.

    4. It need hardly be remarked that this right of private judgment is the great safeguard of civil and religious liberty. If the Bible be admitted to be the infallible rule of faith and practice in accordance with which men are bound on the peril of their souls, to frame their creed and conduct; and if there be a set of men who have the exclusive right of interpreting the Scripture, and who are authorized to impose their interpretations on the people as of divine authority, then they may impose on them what conditions of salvation they see fit. And the men who have the salvation of the people in their hands are their absolute masters. Both reason and experience fully sustain the dictum of Chillingworth,31 when he says, "He that would usurp an absolute lordship and tyranny over any people, need not put himself to the trouble and difficulty of abrogating and disannulling the laws, made to maintain the common liberty; for he may frustrate their intent, and compass his own design as well, if he can get the power and authority to interpret them as he pleases, and add to them what he pleases, and to have his interpretations and additions stand for laws; if he can rule his by his lawyers." This is precisely what the Church of Rome has done, and thereby established a tyranny for which there is no parallel in the history of the world. What renders this tyranny the more intolerable, is, that, so far as the mass of the people is concerned, it resolves itself into the authority of the parish priest. He is the arbiter of the faith and morals of his people. No man can believe unless the ground of faith is present to his mind. If the people are to believe that the Scriptures teach certain doctrines, then they must have the evidence that such doctrines are really taught in the Bible. If that evidence be that the Church so interprets the sacred writings, then the people must know what is the Church, i. e., which of the bodies claiming to be the Church, is entitled to be so regarded. How are the people, the uneducated masses, to determine that question? The priest tells them. If they receive his testimony on that point, then how can they tell how the Church interprets the Scriptures? Here again they must take the word of the priest. Thus the authority of the Church as an interpreter, which appears so imposing, resolves itself into the testimony of the priest, who is often wicked, and still oftener ignorant. This cannot be the foundation of the faith of God's elect. That foundation is the testimony of God himself speaking his word, and authenticated as divine by the testimony of the Spirit with and by the truth in the heart of thc believer.

§ 6. Rules of interpretation.

    If every man has the right, and is bound to read the Scriptures, and to judge for himself what they teach, he must have certain rules to guide him in the exercise of this privilege and duty. These rules are not arbitrary. They are not imposed by human authority. They have no binding force which does not flow from their own intrinsic truth and propriety. They are few and simple.

    1. The words of Scripture are to be taken in their plain historical sense. That is, they must be taken in the sense attached to them in the age and by the people to whom they were addressed. This only assumes that the sacred writers were honest, and meant to be understood.

    2. If the Scriptures be what they claim to be, the word of God, they are the work of one mind, and that mind divine. From this it follows that Scripture cannot contradict Scripture. God cannot teach in one place anything which is inconsistent with what He teaches in another. Hence Scripture must explain Scripture. If a passage admits of different interpretations, that only can be the true one which agrees with what the Bible teaches elsewhere on the same subject. If the Scriptures teach that the Son is the same in substance and equal in power and glory with the Father, then when the Son says, "The Father is greater than I," the superiority must be understood in a manner consistent with this equality. It must refer either to subordination as to the mode of subsistence and operation, or it must be official. A king's son may say, "My father is greater than I," although personally his father's equal. This rule of interpretation is sometimes called the analogy of Scripture, and sometimes the analogy of faith. There is no material difference in the meaning of the two expressions.

    3. The Scriptures are to be interpreted under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which guidance is to be humbly and earnestly sought. The ground of this rule is twofold: First, the Spirit is promised as a guide and teacher. He was to come to lead the people of God into the knowledge of the truth. And secondly, the Scriptures teach, that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1Co 2:14.) The unrenewed mind is naturally blind to spiritual truth. His heart is in opposition to the things of God. Congeniality of mind is necessary to the proper apprehension of divine things. As only those who have a moral nature can discern moral truth, so those only who are spiritually minded can truly receive the things of the Spirit.

    The fact that all the true people of God in every age and in every part of the Church, in the exercise of their private judgment, in accordance with the simple rules above stated, agree as to the meaning of Scripture in all things necessary either in faith or practice, is a decisive proof of the perspicuity of the Bible, and of the safety of allowing the people the enjoyment of the divine right of private judgment.


1. Part ii. 2, 15; Hase Lib. Sym. p. 308.
2. Page 570, Ibid.
3. C. i. p. 467, Ibid.
4. C. ii. p. 479, Ibid.
5. Art. v. p. 330, Ibid.
6. Art. 6
7. Ch. i. § 2.
8. Ibid. § 6.
9. Ibid. § 7.
10. Theologia, I. IV. ii. qu. iii. e;cqesij, 3; edit. Wittenberg, 1685, pp. 68, a.
11. "Votum pro Pace Ecclesiastica." Opera, Londini, 1679, t. iii. p. 672.
12. Antiquities, iv. 6, 5.
13. Contra Eunomium Orat. vi. t. ii. p. 187, Paris, 1615.
14. Opera, t. iv. p. 116, ed. Pfeiff.
15. "Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit," Works, Harpers, N.Y.,  1853, vol. v. p. 612.
16. Studien und Kritiken, 1845, p. 59.
17. Studien und Kiriken, January 1845; translated in The Mystical Presence, by Dr. J.W. Nevin.
18. The English reader may find this theory set forth, in Morell's Philosophy of Religion, in Archdeacon Wilberforce's work on the Incarnation; in Maurice's Theological Essays; in the Mystical Presence, by Dr. John W. Nevin, and in the pages of the Mercersburg Quarterly Review, a journal specially devoted to the defense of Schleiermacher's doctrines and of those of the same general character.
19. Philosophy of Religion, p. 77.

20. Philosophy of Religion, p. 104.
21. Page 141.
22. Page 151.
23. Philosophy of Religion, page 184.
24. Page 186.
25. Dogmatik, vol. i. p. 2. "Das Verhaltniss des Erkennen zur Religion." Hase's Dogmatik. "Jede Religion als Ergebniss einer Volksbildung ist angemesen oder subj. wahr; wahr an sich ist die, welche der vollendeten Ausbildung der Menschheit entspricht." See also his Hutterus Redivivus.
26. Philosophy of Religion, ch,. 8, p. 143, London, ed. 1849.
27. "Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit," Letter 7. Works, N.Y., 1853, vol. v. p. 619.
28. See Bannerman, Inspiration of the Scriptures. Edinburg, 1865; pp. 145, 232.
29. Theological Essays, p. 339, Cambridge, 1853.
30. This view of different degrees of inspiration was adopted by Lowth: Vindication of the Divine Authority and Inspiration of the Old and New Testaments. Whitby, in the Preface to his Commentary. Doddridge, Dissertation on the Inspiration of the New Testament. Hill, Lectures on Divinity. Dick, Essays on the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Wilson, Evidences of Christianity. Henderson, Divine Inspiration.
31. Works, p. 105.

Part 01: Theology Proper 01: Origin of the Idea of God


Origin of the Idea of God

§ 1. The Knowledge of God is Innate.    § 2. The Knowledge of God is not due to a Process of Reasoning.
§ 3. Knowledge of God not due exclusively to Tradition.   § 4. Can the Existence of God be proved?

    ALL men have some knowledge of God. That is, they have the conviction that there is a Being on whom they are dependent, and to whom they are responsible. What is the source of this conviction? In other words, what is the origin of the idea of God? To this question three answers have been given. First, that it is innate. Second, that is a deduction of reason; a conclusion arrived at by a process of generalization. Third, that it is to be referred to a supernatural revelation, preserved by tradition  

§ 1. The Knowledge of God is Innate.

A. What is meant by Innate Knowledge.

    By innate knowledge is meant that which is due to our constitution, as sentient, rational, and moral beings. It is opposed to knowledge founded on experience; to that obtained by ab extra instruction; and to that acquired by a process of research and reasoning.

    It cannot be doubted that there is such knowledge, i. e., that the soul is so constituted that it sees certain things to be true immediately in their own light. They need no proof. Men need not be told or taught that the things thus perceived are true. These immediate perceptions are called intuitions, primary truths, laws of belief, innate knowledge, or ideas. Provided we understand what is meant, the designation is of minor importance. The doctrine of innate knowledge, or intuitive truths, does not imply that the child is born with knowledge in conscious exercise in the mind. As knowledge is a form or state of the intelligence, and as that is a state of consciousness, knowledge, in the sense of the act of knowing, must be a matter of consciousness; and, therefore, it is said, cannot be innate. The new-born child has no conscious conviction of the existence of God. But the word knowledge is sometimes used in a passive sense. A man knows what lies dormant in his mind. Most of our knowledge is in that state. All the facts of history stored in the memory, are out of the domain of consciousness, until the mind is turned to them. It is not inconceivable, therefore, that the soul as it comes into the world may be stored with these primary truths which lie dormant in the mind, until roused by the due occasion. This, however, is not what is meant by innate knowledge. The word innate simply indicates the source of the knowledge. That source is our nature; that which is born with us. Nor does the doctrine of innate knowledge imply that the mind is born with ideas, in the sense of "patterns, phantasms, or notions," as Locke calls them; nor that it is furnished by nature with a set of abstract principles, or general truths. All that is meant is, that the mind is so constituted that it perceives certain things to be true without proof and without instruction.

    These intuitive truths belong to the several departments of the senses, the understanding, and our moral nature. In the first place, all our sense perceptions are intuitions. We apprehend their objects immediately, and have an irresistible conviction of their reality and truth. We may draw erroneous conclusions from our sensations; but our sensations, as far as they go, tell us the truth. When a man feels pain, he may refer it to the wrong place, or to a wrong cause; but he knows that it is pain. If he sees an object, he may be mistaken as to its nature; but he knows that he sees, and that what he sees is the cause of the sensation which he experiences. These are intuitions, because they are immediate perceptions of what is true. The conviction which attends our sensations is due not to instruction but to the constitution of our nature.

    In the second place, there are intuitions of the intellect. That is, there are certain truths which the mind perceives to be true immediately, without proof or testimony. Such are the axioms of geometry. No man needs to have it proved to him that the part of a thing is less than the whole; or that a straight line is the shortest distance between two given points. It is an intuitive truth that "nothing" cannot be a cause; that every effect must have a cause. This conviction is not founded on experience, because experience is of necessity limited. And the conviction is not merely that every effect which we or other men have observed has had a cause; but that in the nature of things there can be no effect without an adequate cause. This conviction is said to be an innate truth, not because the child is born with it so that it is included in its infant consciousness, nor because the abstract principle is laid up in the mind, but simply because such is the nature of the mind, that it cannot but see these things to be true. As we are born with the sense of touch and sight, and take cognizance of their appropriate objects as soon as they are presented; so we are born with the intellectual faculty of perceiving these primary truths as soon as they are presented.

    In the third place, there are moral truths which the mind intuitively recognizes as true. The essential distinction between right and wrong; the obligation of virtue; responsibility for character and conduct; that sin deserves punishment; are examples of this class of truths. No man needs to be taught them. No one seeks for further evidence of their being truths than that which is found in their nature.

    There is another remark to be made in reference to the intuitions of the mind. The power of intuitional perception is capable of being increased. It is in fact greater in one man than in other men. The senses of some persons are far more acute than those of others. The senses of hearing and touch are greatly exalted in the case of the blind. It is the same with the intellect. What is self-evident to one man, has to be proved to another. It is said that all the propositions of the First Book of Euclid were as plain at first sight to Newton as the axioms. The same is true in our moral and religious nature. The more that nature is purified and exalted, the clearer is its vision, and the wider the scope of its intuitions. It is not easy to see, therefore, why Sir William Hamilton should make simplicity a characteristic of intuitive truths. If a proposition be capable of resolution into simpler factors, it may still to a powerful intellect be seen as self-evidently true. What is seen immediately, without the intervention of proof, to be true, is, according to the common mode of expression, said to be seen intuitively.

    It is, however, only of the lower exercises of this power that we can avail ourselves in our arguments with our fellow men. Because a truth may be self-evident to one mind, it does not follow that it must be so to all other minds. But there is a class of truths so plain that they never fail to reveal themselves to the human mind, and to which the mind cannot refuse its assent. Hence the criteria of those truths which are accepted as axioms, and which are assumed in all reasoning, and the denial of which renders all faith and all knowledge impossible, are universality and necessity. What all believe, and what all men must believe, is to be assumed as undeniably true. These criteria indeed include each other. If a truth be universally admitted, it must be because no man can
rationally call it to question. And if it be a matter of necessary belief it must be accepted by all who possess the nature out of the constitution of which the necessity arises.

II. Proof that the Knowledge of God is Innate.

    The question now is, Whether the existence of God is an intuitive truth? Is it given in the very constitution of our nature? Is it one of those truths which reveal themselves to every human mind, and to which the mind is forced to assent? In other words, has it the characteristics of universality and necessity? It should be remarked that when universality is made a criterion of intuitive truths, it is intended to apply to those truths only which have their foundation or evidence in the constitution of our nature. As to the external world, if ignorance be universal, error may be universal. All men, for example, for ages believed that the sun moves round the earth; but the universality of that belief was no evidence of its truth.

    When it is asked, Whether the existence of God is an intuitive truth, the question is equivalent to asking, Whether the belief in his existence is universal and necessary? If it be true that all men do believe there is a God, and that no man can possibly disbelieve his existence, then his existence is an intuitive truth. It is one of those given in the constitution of our nature; or which, our nature being what it is, no man can fail to know and to acknowledge.

    Such has been the common opinion in all ages. Cicero1 says: "Esse Deos, quoniam insitas eorum, vel potius innatas cognitiones habemus." Tertullian2 says of the heathen of his day, that the common people had a more correct idea of God than the phtilosophers. Calvin3 says "Hoc quidem recte judicantibus semper constabit, insculptum mentibus humanis esse divinitatis sensua, qui deleri nunquam potest." The whole tendency in our day is, to make the existence of God so entirely a matter of intuition as to lead to the disparagement of all argument in proof of it. This extreme, however, does not justify the denial of a truth so important as that God has not left any human being without a knowledge of his existence and authority.

    The word God, however, is used in a very wide sense. In the Christian sense of the word, "God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." This sublime idea of God no human mind ever attained either intuitively or discursively, except under the light of a supernatural revelation. On the other hand, some philosophers dignify motion, force, or the vague idea of the infinite, with the name of God. In neither of these senses of the word is the knowledge of God said to be innate, or a matter of intuition. It is in the general sense of a Being on whom we are dependent, and to whom we are responsible, that the idea is asserted to exist universally, and of necessity, in every human mind. It is true that if this idea is analyzed, it will be found to embrace the conviction that God is a person, and that He possesses moral attributes, and acts as a moral governor. Nothing is asserted as to how far this analysis is made by uneducated and uncivilized men. All that is maintained is that this sense of dependence and accountability to a being higher than themselves exists in the minds of all men.

The Knowledge of God is Universal.

    In proof of this doctrine, reference may be made --

    1. To the testimony of Scripture. The Bible asserts that the knowledge of God is thus universal. This it does both directly and by necessary implication. The Apostle directly asserts in regard to the heathen as such without limitation, that they have the knowledge of God, and such knowledge as to render their impiety and immorality inexcusable. "Because that when they knew God," he says, "they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful." (Ro 1:19-2 1.) He says of the most depraved of men, that they know the righteous judgment of God, that those who commit sin are worthy of death. (Ro 1:32.) The Scripture everywhere addresses men as sinners; it calls upon them to repent; it threatens them with punishment in case of disobedience: or promises pardon to those who turn from their sins. All this is done without any preliminary demonstration of the being of God. It assumes that men know that there is a God, and that they are subject to his moral government. It is true that the Bible at times speaks of the heathen as not knowing God, and says that they are without God. But this, as explained by the context in which such declarations appear, and by the general teaching of the Scriptures, only means that the heathen are without correct, or saving knowledge of God; that they are without his favour, do not belong to the number of his people, and of course are not partakers of the blessedness of those whose God is the Lord. In teaching the universal sinfulness and condemnation of men: their inexcusableness for idolatry and immorality, and in asserting that even the most degraded are conscious of guilt and just exposure to the divine judgment, the Bible takes for granted that the knowledge of God is universal, that it is written on the heart of every man.

    This is still more apparent from what the Bible teaches of the law as written on the heart. The Apostle tells us that those who have a written revelation, shall be judged by that revelation; that those who have no externally revealed law, shall be judged by the law written on the heart. That the heathen have such a law, he proves first, from the fact that "they do by nature the things contained in the law," i. e., they do under the control of their nature the things which the law prescribes; and secondly, from the operations of conscience. When it condemns, it pronounces something done, to be contrary to the moral law; and when it approves, it pronounces something to be conformed to that law. (Ro 2:12-16.) The recognition of God, therefore, that is, of a being to whom we are responsible, is involved in the very idea of accountability. Hence every man carries in the very constitution of his being as a moral agent, the evidence of the existence of God. And as this sense of sin and responsibility is absolutely universal, so must also, according to the Bible, be the knowledge of God.

    2. The second argument in favor of the universality of this knowledge, is the historical one. History shows that the religious element of our nature is just as universal as the rational or social one. Wherever men exist, in all ages and in all parts of the world, they have some form of religion. The idea of God is impressed on every human language. And as language is the product and revelation of human consciousness, if all languages have some name for God, it proves that the idea of God, in some form, belongs to every human being.

Objections to the Assumption that the Knowledge of God is Universal.

    There are two objections often urged against the doctrine that the knowledge of God results from the very constitution of our nature, and is therefore universal. The one is, that travellers and missionaries report the existence of some tribes so degraded that they could discover in them no traces of this knowledge. Even if the fact be admitted that such tribes have no idea of God, it would not be conclusive. Should a tribe of idiots be discovered, it would not prove that reason is not an attribute of our nature. If any community should come to light in which infanticide was universal, it would not prove that parental love was not one of the instincts of humanity. But the probability is that the fact is not as reported. It is very difficult for foreigners to get acquainted with the interior life of those who differ from themselves so much in their intellectual and moral condition. And besides, Christians attach such an exalted meaning to the word God, that when they see no evidence of the presence of that exalted conception in the minds of the heathen, they are apt to conclude that all knowledge of God is wanting. Unless such people show that they have no sense of right and wrong, no consciousness of responsibility for character and conduct, there is no evidence that they have no knowledge of such a being as God.

    The other objection is drawn from the case of the deaf and dumb, who sometimes say that previous to instruction, the idea of God never entered their minds. To this the same answer may be given. The knowledge obtained by Christian instruction so much surpasses that given by intuition, that the latter seems as nothing. It is hardly conceivable that a human soul should exist in any state of development, without a sense of responsibility, and this involves the idea of God. For the responsibility is felt to be not to self, nor to men, but to an invisible Being, higher than self, and higher than man.

The Belief in God Necessary.

    But if it be admitted that the knowledge of God is universal among men, is it also a necessary belief? Is it impossible for the mind to dispossess itself of the conviction that there is a God? Necessity, as remarked above, may be considered as involved in universality, at least in such a case as this. There is no satisfactory way of accounting for the universal belief in the existence of God, except that such belief is founded on the very constitution of our nature. Nevertheless, these two criteria of intuitive truths are generally distinguished, and are in some aspects distinct.

    The question then is, Is it possible for a sane man to disbelieve in the existence of God? This question is commonly answered in the negative. It is objected, however, that facts prove the contrary. No man has ever been found, who denies that two and two make four, whereas atheists abound in every age and in every part of the world.

    There, are, however, different kinds of necessary truths.

    1. Those the opposite of which is absolutely unthinkable. That every effect must have a cause, that a part of a given thing is less than the whole, are propositions the opposites of which cannot have any meaning. When a man says that something is nothing, he expresses no thought. He denies what he affirms, and therefore says nothing.

    2. There are truths concerning external or material things, which have a power to constrain belief different from that power which pertains to truths concerning the mind. A man cannot deny that he has a body; and he cannot rationally deny that he has a will. The impossibility in both cases may be equal, but they are of different kinds, and affect the mind differently.

    3. Again, there are truths which cannot be denied without doing violence to the laws of our nature. In such cases the denial is forced, and can only be temporary. The laws of our nature are sure sooner or later to assert themselves, and constrain an opposite belief. A pendulum when at rest hangs perpendicularly to the horizon. It may by extraneous force be made to hang at any degree of inclination. But as soon as such force is removed, it is sure to swing back to its normal position. Under the control of a metaphysical theory, a man may deny the existence of the external world, or the obligation of the moral law; and his disbelief may be sincere, and for a time persistent; but the moment the speculative reasons for his disbelief are absent from his mind, it of necessity reverts to its original and natural convictions. It is also possible that a man's hand may be so hardened or cauterized as to lose the sense of touch. But that would not prove that the hand in man is not normally the great organ of touch. So it is possible that the moral nature of a man may be so disorganized by vice or by a false philosophy as to have its testimony for the existence of God effectually silenced. This, however, would prove nothing as to what that testimony really is. Besides this, insensibility and the consequent unbelief cannot last. Whatever rouses the moral nature, whether it be danger, or suffering, or the approach of death, banishes unbelief in a moment. Men pass from skepticism to faith, in many cases, instantaneously; not of course by a process of argument, but by the existence of a state of consciousness with which skepticism is irreconcilable, and in the presence of which it cannot exist. This fact is illustrated continually, not only in the case of the uneducated and superstitious, but even in the case of men of the highest culture. The simple fact of Scripture and experience is, that the moral law as written upon the heart is indelible; and the moral law in its nature implies a lawgiver, one from whom that law emanates, and by whom it will be enforced. And, therefore, so long as men are moral creatures, they will and must believe in the existence of a Being on whom they are dependent, and to whom they are responsible for their character and their conduct. To this extent, and in this sense, therefore, it is to be admitted that the knowledge of God is innate and intuitive; that men no more need to be taught that there is a God, than they need to be taught there is such a thing as sin. But as men are ignorant of the nature and extent of sin, while aware of its existence, until instructed by the Word of God, and enlightened by his Spirit; so they greatly need the same sources of instruction to give them any adequate knowledge of the nature of God, and of their relations to him.

§ 2. The Knowledge of God is not due to a Process of Reasoning.

    Those who are unwilling to admit that the idea of God is innate as given in the very constitution of man, generally hold that it is a necessary, or, at least, a natural deduction of reason. Sometimes it is represented as the last and highest generalization of science. As the law of gravitation is assumed to account for a large class of the phenomena of the universe, and as it not only does account for them, but must be assumed in order to understand them; so the existence of an intelligent first cause is assumed to account for the existence of the universe itself, and for all its phenomena. But as such generalizations are possible only for cultivated minds, this theory of the origin of the idea of God, cannot account for belief in his existence in the minds of all men, even the least educated.

    Others, therefore, while regarding this knowledge to be the result of a course of reasoning, make the process far more simple. There are many things which children and illiterate persons learn, and can hardly avoid learning, which need not be referred to the constitution of their nature. Thus the existence of God is so obviously manifested, by everything within and around us, the belief in that existence is so natural, so suited to what we see and what we need, that it comes to be generally adopted. We are surrounded by facts which indicate design;by effects which demand a cause. We have a sense of the infinite which is vague and void, until filled with God. We have a knowledge of ourselves as spiritual beings, which suggests the idea of God, who is a spirit. We have the consciousness of moral qualities, of the distinction between good and evil, and this makes us think of God as a being of moral perfections. All this may be very true, but it is not an adequate account of the facts of the case. It does not give a satisfactory reason for the universality and strength of the conviction of the existence of God. Our own consciousness teaches us that this is not the ground of our own faith. We do not thus reason ourselves into the belief that there is a God; and it is very obvious that it is not by such a process of ratiocination, simple as it is, that the mass of the people are brought to this conclusion.

    Moreover, the process above described does not account for the origin of our belief in God, but only gives the method by which that belief is confirmed and developed. Very little is given by intuition in any case, at least to ordinary minds. What is thus discovered needs to be expanded, and its real contents unfolded. If this be true with the intuitions of sense and of the understanding, why should it not be so of our religious nature?

    The truth is, that all the faculties and feelings of our minds and bodies have their appropriate objects; and the possession of the faculties supposes the existence of those objects. The senses suppose the existence and reality of the objects of sense. The eye, in its very structure, supposes that there is such an element as light; the sense of hearing would be unaccountable and inconceivable without sound; and the sense of touch would be inconceivable were there no tangible objects. The same is true of our social affections; they necessitate the assumption that there are relations suited to their exercises. Our moral nature supposes that the distinction between right and wrong is not chimerical or imaginary. In like manner, our religious feelings, our sense of dependence, our consciousness of responsibility, our aspirations after fellowship with some Being higher than ourselves, and higher than anything which the world or nature contains, necessitates the belief in the existence of God. It is indeed said that if this belief is intuitive and necessary, there is no virtue in it. This objection overlooks the fact that the moral character of our feelings depends on their nature and not on their origin. They may spring from the constitution of our nature, and yet be good or evil as the case may be. A mother's love for her child is instinctive; the absence of the maternal affection in a mother is something unnatural and monstrous, the object of universal condemnation. The sense of pity, of justice, the feelings of benevolence, are instinctive, but none the less virtuous. The same is true of our religious feelings, and of the belief which they involve. We cannot help feeling that we are responsible, and it is right that we should feel so. The man who has brought himself to a state of insensibility to all moral obligation, is what the Scriptures call a "reprobate." Adam believed in God the moment he was created, for the same reason that he believed in the external world. His religious nature, unclouded and undefiled, apprehended the one with the same confidence that his senses apprehended the other. It is of great importance that men should know and feel that they are by their very nature bound to believe in God; that they cannot emancipate themselves from that belief, without derationalizing and demoralizing their whole being.


§ 3. Knowledge of God not due exclusively to Tradition.

    There are some theologians who are unable to believe that the knowledge of God can be referred either to the constitution of our nature, or to any process of reasoning. Not only the exalted view of the Divine Being presented in the Bible, but the simple and perverted apprehensions of his nature prevailing among the heathen, they say must be referred to an original supernatural revelation. Such a revelation was made to our first parents and from them passed over to their descendants. When the knowledge thus communicated began to die out among men, God again revealed himself to Abraham, and made him and his posterity the depositaries of the truth. Either, therefore, from the remains of the primitive revelation, or by radiation from the chosen people, all the knowledge of God existing in the world has been derived. The attempt is made to show that the more remote any people were from the Jews, the less did they know of God; and the more any nation enjoyed of intercourse with the people to whom God had committed his oracles, the more correct and extended was their knowledge.

    This view, although arising from reverence for the Word of God, is evidently extreme. It is true that the further we go back in the history of the world, the nearer we approach the primal revelation, the purer is the knowledge concerning Him. It may also be true, as a general rule, that the more any people were brought under the influence of the truth as held by the chosen people of God, the more enlightened they became. It may further be conceded that those who with the Bible in their hands reject its teachings, and give themselves up to their own speculations, turn, as the Apostle expresses it, "the truth of God into a lie," losing all knowledge of the living and true God. All this, however, does not prove that the knowledge of God is not written on the heart. Our intuitive perceptions need to be cherished, developed, and interpreted. We know from Scripture that the law is written in characters which cannot be obliterated, upon the souls of all men, and yet it has been perverted, misinterpreted, or disregarded by men in every age and in every part of the world.

§ 4. Can the Existence of God be proved?

    A large class of theologians and philosophers deny that the existence of God is susceptible of proof. This is done on different grounds.

    First. It is said that the knowledge of God being intuitive, it is not a proper subject of proof. This is the position taken by that class of theologians who resolve all religion into feeling, and by the modern school of speculative philosophers, who make such a wide distinction between the reason and the understanding; the former being the intuitional, and the latter the discursive faculty. Eternal and necessay truths belong to the province of the reason; subordinate truths to the sphere of the understanding. It is the understanding that argues and concludes. The reason apprehends by immediate vision. What relates to God, as the eternal, infinite, necessary Being, belongs to the province of reason, and not to that of the understanding. Even such theistic writers as Twesten4 say that the good need no proof that God is, and that the wicked are not susceptible of conviction. You cannot prove that a thing is beautiful, or that it is good. So neither can you prove that there is a God. The fallacy of this statement is obvious. Beauty and goodness are qualities which must be discerned by the mind, just as the objects of sight are discerned by the eye. As it is true that you cannot prove to a blind man that an object is red, so you cannot prove to a peasant that the "Paradise Lost" is sublime. But the existence of God is an objective fact. It may be shown that it is a fact which cannot be rationally denied. Although all men have feelings and convictions which necessitate the assumption that there is a God; it is, nevertheless, perfectly legitimate to show that there are other facts which necessarily lead to the same conclusion.

    Besides, it is to be remembered that theistical arguments are designed to prove not only that there is a necessity for the assumption of all extra-mundane and eternal Being, but mainly, to show what that Being is; that He is a personal Being, self-conscious, intelligent, moral. All this may lie inclosed in the primary intuition, but it needs to be brought out and established.

    Secondly. Another class of objections against all theistical arguments, relates to the arguments themselves. They are pronounced fallacious, as involving a petitio principii; or declared to be invalid as derived from false premises; or heading to conclusions other than that intended to be established. Of this every man must judge for himself. They have been regarded as sound and conclusive by the wisest men, from Socrates to the present day. Of course the argument on the principle of causation must be invalid to those whc deny that there is any such thing as an efficient cause; and the argument from design can have no force for those who deny the possibility of final causes.

    Most of the objections to the conclusiveness of the arguments in question arises from a misapprehension of what they are intended to prove. It is often assumed that each argument must prove the whole doctrine of Theism; whereas one argument may prove one element of that doctrine; and other arguments different elements. The cosmological argument may prove the existence of a necessary and eternal Being; the teleological argument, that that Being is intelligent; the moral argument that He is a possessing moral attributes. The arguments are not designed so much to prove the existence of an unknown being, as to demonstrate that the Being who reveals himself to man in the very constitution of his nature must be all that Theism declares him to be. Such writers as Hume, Kant, Coleridge, and the whole school of transcendental philosophers, have more or less expressly denied the validity of the ordinary arguments for the existence of a personal God.


1. De Natura Deorum, i. 17.
2. Testimonium Animae.
3. Institutio, I. iii. 2.
4. Vorlesungen.

Part 01: Theology Proper 02: Theism



§1. The Ontological Argument.    §2. The Cosmological Argument.    § 3. The Teleological Argument.
§ 4. Objections to the Argument from Design.    § 5. The Moral, or Anthropological Argument.

    Theism is the doctrine of an extra-mundane, personal God, the creator, preserver, and governor of the world. The design of all arguments on this subject is to show that the facts around us, and the facts of consciousness, necessitate the assumption of the existence of such a Being. The arguments usually urged on this subject are the Ontological, the Cosmological, the Teleological, and the Moral.

§1. The Ontological Argument.

    This is a metaphysical a priori argument. It is designed to show that the real objective existence of God is involved in the very idea of such a Being. It is commonly made to include all arguments which are not a posteriori; that is, which do not proceed from effect to cause. It has, therefore, been presented in different forms. The principal of which are the following: --

    1. That in which it is presented by Anselm in his "Monologium," and more fully and definitely in his "Proslogium." The argument is substantially this. That which exists in re is greater than that which exists only in the mind. We have an idea of an infinitely perfect Being; but actual existence is included, in infinite perfection. Because, if actual existence be a perfection, and if God is not actually existent, then we can conceive of a Being greater than God. His words1 are, "Et certe id, quo majus cogitari nequit, non potest esse in intellectu solo. Si enim vel in solo intellectu est, potest cogitari esse et in re, quod majus est. . . .  Existit ergo procul dubio aliquid, quo majus cogitari non valet, et in intellectu et in re. This argument assumes that existence is of the nature of a perfection. It adds, however, nothing to the idea. The idea in itself may be complete, although there be no objective existence to answer to it. Anselm regarded the negation of the existence of God as impossible; for God is the highest truth, the highest being, the highest good, of whom all other truth and good are the manifestations. Necessity of existence is included, according to this doctrine, in the idea or absolnte perfection. In other words, it is included in the idea of God. And as every man has the idea of God, he must admit his actual existence; for what is necessary is of course actual. It does not follow from our idea of a man, that he actually exists, because man is not necessarily existent. But it is absurd to say that a necessarily existing Being, does not exist. If this argument has any validity, it is unimportant. It is only saying that what must be actually is. If the idea of God as it exists in every man's mind includes that of actual existence, then so far as the idea goes, he who has the one has the other. But the argument does not show how the ideal implies the real.2

Des Cartes' Argument.

    2. Des Cartes' argument was in this form. We have the idea of an infinitely perfect Being. As we are finite, that idea could not have originated with us. As we are conversant only with the finite, it could not have originated from anything around us. It must, therefore, have come from God, whose existence is thus a necessary assumption. "Habemus ideam Dei, hujusque ideae realitas objectiva nec formaliter nec eminenter in nobis continetur, nec in ullo alio praeterquam in ipso Deo potest contineri; ergo haec idea Dei, quae in nobis est, requirit Deum pro causa; Deusque proinde existit."3 It is true we have many ideas or conceptions to which there is no answering existence. But in such cases the ideas are arbitrary, or voluntary creations of our own minds. But the idea of God is necessary; we cannot help having it. And having it, there must be a Being who answers to it. Des Cartes illustrates his argument by saying, that as it is included in our idea of a triangle, that its angles are equal to two right angles, it is so in fact. The cases, however, are not parallel. It is only saying that a triangle is what it is, namely, a three-sided figure, whose angles are equal to two right angles. But the existence of God as a fact is not included in the definition of Him. Kant expresses this in philosoplucal language, saying that if the predicate be removed, the subject is removed; because an analytic judgment is a mere analysis, or full statement of what is in the subject. The judgment that the angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, is only an analysis of the subject. It is a simple statement of what a triangle is; and therefore, if you take away the equality of the angles, you take away the triangle. But in a synthetic judgment, there is a synthesis, a putting together. Something is added in the judgment which is not in the subject. In this case that something is actual existence. We may infer from the idea of a perfect being, that he is wise and good; but not that he actually is; because reality is something added to the mere idea.

    The only difference between the argument of Des Cartes and that of Anselm, appears to be merely formal. The one infers the existence of God, in order to account for the idea; the other argues that actual existence is included in the idea. The same illustration, therefore, is employed by the advocates of both. The argumement of Anselm is the same as that derived from the definition of a triangle. You cannot think of a triangle without thinking of it as having three angles; so you cannot think of God without thinking of Him as actually existent; because actual existence enters as essentially into the idea of God, as "triangularity" enters into that of a triangle. There are, doubtless, minds which are affected by this kind of reasoning; but it has no power over the generality of men.

Dr. Samuel Clarke's Argument.

    3. Dr. Samuel Clarke, equally distinguished as a mathematician, as a linguist, and as a metaphysician, published in 1705, his celebrated "Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God." So far as the Being of God is concerned his argument is a priori. Nothing, he says, is necessarily existent, the non-existence of which is conceivable. We can conceive of the non-existence of the world; therefore the world is not necessarily existing and eternal. We cannot, however, conceive of the non-existence of space and duration; therefore space and duration are necessary and infinite. Space and duration, however, are not substances; therefore, there must he an eternal and necessary substance (i. e., God), of which they are the accidents. This argument at best gives us only the idea of a necessary and infinite something; which no class of anti-theists are disposed to deny. To determine what this eternal substance is, what attributes belong to it, reference must be made to the phenomenal world, and the argument becomes a posteriori. It has been objected to Dr. Clarke's argument that it is not properly a priori. It infers from the existence of the and space the existence of a substantial Being.

Cousin's Argument.

    4. Cousin, in his "Elements of Psychology," repeats continually the same argument in a somewhat different form. The idea of the infinite, he says, is given in that of the finite. We cannot have the one without having the other. "These two ideas are logical correlatives; and in the order of their acquisition, that of the finite and imperfect precedes the other; but it scarcely precedes it. It is not possible for the reason, as soon as consciousness furnishes the mind with the idea of the finite and imperfect, not to conceive the idea of the infinite and perfect. Now, the infinite and perfect is God."4 Here again the argument is, that that is real of which we have an idea. This is not indeed assumed as a general proposition. We can imagine, says Cousin, a gorgon, or centaur, and we can imagine them not to exist; but it is not in our power, when the finite and imperfect are given, not to conceive of the infinite and perfect. This is not a chimera, he says, it is the necessary product of reason; and, therefore, it is a legitimate product. The idea of the finite and imperfect is a primitive idea, given in the consciousness; and therefore, the correlative, idea of the infinite and perfect given by necessity and by the reason, must also be primitive.5 At other times he presents this subject in a different light. He teaches that, as the mind in perception takes cognizance of the object as a real existence, distinct from itself, so the reason has an apprehension, or immediate cognition of the Infinite, with a necessary conviction of its reality as distinguished (in one sense) from itself. Self, nature, and God are alike and equally involved in the intuitive apprehension of the mind; and they are inseparable. This is very different from the common doctrine of the knowledge of God as innate, or intuitive. The latter doctrine only assumes that such is the nature of the human soul that it is intuitively convinced of its dependence on, and responsibility to a Being other than, and higher than itself. The former assumes, with the German philosophers, especially Schelling, the immediate cognition of the Infinite by the reason.

    Admitting with Cousin that the ideas of the finite and infinite are correlative; that we cannot have the one without having the other; and that the mind by a rational necessity is convinced that if there be a finite, there must be an infinite; it remains to be asked. What that Infinite is? With Cousin, the Infinite is the All. Theism therefore gains nothing from these metaphysical arguments.


§2. The Cosmological Argument.

    This is founded on the principle of a sufficient cause. Syllogistically stated, the argument stands thus: Every effect must have an adequate cause. The world is an effect. Therefore the world must have had a cause outside of itself and adequate to account for its existence.

A. Causation.

    The validity and the meaning of this argument, depend on the sense given to the words effect and cause. If an effect be correctly defined to be an event, or product, not due to anything in itself, but produced by something out of itself; and if by cause be understood, an antecedent to whose efficiency the effect is due; then the conclusion is inevitable, that the existence of the world supposes the existence of a cause adequate to its production, provided it can be proved that the world is an effect, i.e., that it is not self-caused or eternal.

    It is well known, however, that since Hume propounded his theory, all efficient causes have been discarded by a large class of philosophers. The senses take cognizance of nothing but the sequence of events. One follows another. That which uniformly precedes, we call cause; that which uniformly follows, we call the effect. As sequence is all the senses detect, that is all we have any right to assume. The idea that there is anything in the antecedent which determines the effect to be as it is and no otherwise, is altogether arbitrary. A cause, therefore, is nothing but an invariable antecedent, and an effect an invariable consequent.

    Mr. Stuart Mill6 modified Hume's definition of cause as Dr. Brown of Edinburgh had done before him. The former says, "It is necessary to our using the word cause, that we should believe not only that the antecedent always has been followed by the consequent, but that, as long as the present constitution of things endures, it always will be so." So Dr. Brown7 says, "A cause in the fullest definition which it philosophically admits of, may be said to be that which immediately precedes any change, and which, existing at any time in similar circumstances, has been always, and will be always immediately followed by a similar change." It is obvious that this definition is not only arbitrary, but that it is inconsistent with the fundamental principles of Hume's philosophy, and that of his followers, namely, that all our knowledge is founded on experience. Experience relates to the past. It cannot guarantee the future. If we believe that a given consequent always will follow a given antecedent, there must be some other ground for that conviction than that it always has done so. Unless there be something in the nature of the antecedent to secure the sequence of the effect, there is no rational ground for the belief that the future must be like the past.

The Common Doctrine on the Subject.

    The common doctrine on this subject includes the following points. (1.) A cause is something. It has a real existence. It is not merely a name for a certain relation. It is a real entity, a substance. This is plain because a nonentity cannot act. If that which does not exist can be a cause, then nothing can produce something, which is a contradiction. (2.) A cause must not only be something real, but it must have power or efficiency. There must be something in its nature to account for the effects which it produces. (3.) This efficiency must be adequate; that is, sufficient and appropriate to the effect. That this is a true view of the nature of a cause is plain. (1.) From our own consciousness. We are causes. We can produce effects. And all three of the particulars above mentioned are included in our consciousness of ourselves as cause. We are real existences; we have power; we have power adequate to the effects which we produce. (2.) We can appeal to the universal consciousness of men. All men attach this meaning to the word cause in their ordinary language. All men assume that every effect has an antecedent to whose efficiency it is due. They never regard mere antecedence, however uniform in the past, or however certain in the future, as constituting a causal relation. The succession of the seasons has been uniform in the past, and we are confident that it will continue uniform in the future; yet no man says that winter is the cause of summer. Every one is conscions that cause expresses an entirely different relation from that of mere antecedence. (3.) This view of the nature of causation is included in the universal and necessary belief, that every effect must have a cause. That belief is not that one thing must always go before another thing; but that nothing can occur, that no change can be produced, without the exercise of power or efficiency somnewhere; otherwise something could come out of nothing.

    This subject is discussed by all the metaphysicians from Aristotle downwards, and especially since the promulgation of the new doctrine adopted by Hume.8 It is one of the great services rendered by Dr. McCosh to the cause of truth, that he has defended the authority of those primary beliefs which lie at the foundation of all knowledge.

Intuitive Conviction of the Necessity of a Cause.

    But admitting a cause to be not merely an invariable antecedent, but that to whose power the effect is due, "Ens quod in se continet rationem, cur aliud existat,"9 as it is defined by Wolf, it remains to be asked, What is the foundation of the universal belief that every effect must have a cause? Hume says it is founded on experience, and therefore is limited by it. We see that every effect within the sphere of our observation is preceded by a cause, and we may reasonably expect that the same is true beyond the sphere of our observation. But of this we know nothing. It would be presumptuous to determine from what takes place on our little globe, what must be the law of the universe. The fact that, as far as we see, every effect has a cause, gives us no right to assume that the universe must have had a cause. Kant says that the law of cause and effect is only in our minds. Men view things in that relation; but they have no assurance that that relation holds in the world outside of themselves.

    The common doctrine of the schools is, that it is an intuitive truth, a first, or self-evident principle. That is, that it is something which all men do believe, and which all men must believe. There are no self-evident, intuitive truths, if the fact that they have been denied by one or more speculative philosophers be considered proof that they are not matters of universal and necessary belief. Personal identity, the real existence of the external world, the essential distinction between right and wrong, have all been denied. Nevertheless, all men do, and all men must believe these truths. The denial of them is forced and temporary. Whenever the mind reverts to its normal state, the belief returns. So the principle of causation has been denied; yet every man is forced by the constitution of his nature to admit it, and constantly to act upon it. A man may believe that the universe is eternal; but that it began to be without a cause -- that it sprang out of nothing -- it is impossible to believe.

    We are reduced, therefore, to this alternative. The universe is. It therefore either has been from all eternity, or it owes its existence to a cause out of itself, adequate to account for its being what it is The theistical argument is, that the world is an effect; that it has not the cause of existence in itself, that it is not eternal, and therefore we are necessitated to assume the existence of a great First Cause to whose efficiency the existence of the universe is to be referred.

B. The World is an Effect.

    1. The first argument to prove that the world as a whole is not self-existent and eternal, is, that all its parts, everything that enters into its composition, is dependent and mutable. A whole cannot be essentially different from its constituent parts. An infinite number of effects cannot be self-existent. If a chain of three links cannot support itself, much less can a chain of a million of links. Nothing multiplied by infinity is nothing still. If we do not find the cause of our existence in ourselves, nor our parents in themselves, nor their progenitors in themselves, going back ad infinitum is only adding nothing to nothing. What the mind demands is a sufficient cause, and no approach to it is made by going back indefinitely from one effect to another. We are forced, therefore, by the laws of our rational nature, to assume the existence of a self-existent cause, i. e., a Being endued with power adequate to produce this ever-changing phenomenal world. In all ages thinking men have been forced to this conclusion. Plato and Aristotle argued from the existence of motion, that there must be an aveiki.nhton e`auto. kinou/n, an eternal self-moving power, or primum movens, as it was called by the Schoolmen. The validity of this argument is acknowledged by almost all classes of philosophers, at least so far as to admit that we are forced to assume the existence of an eternal and necessary Being. The theistical argument is, that if everything in the world be contingent, this eternal and necessary Being must be an extramundane First Cause.

B. Historical Argument.

    2. The second argument is the historical one. That is, we have historical evidence that the race of man, for example, has existed only a few thousand years. That mankind has existed from eternity is absolutely incredible. Even if we adopt the development theory, it affords no relief. It only substitutes millions for thousands of years. Both are equally insignificant when compared to eternity. Darwin's germ-cell as necessarily demands a self-existing cause out of itself, as a fully developed man, or the whole race of man, or the universe itself. We are shut up to the conclusion that the universe sprang out of nothing, or that there is a self-existing, eternal extramundane Being.

Geological Argument.

    3. The geological argument is to the same effect. Geologists as a class agree as to the following facts: (1.) That the extant genera of plants and animals inhabiting our earth, began to be within a comparatively short period in the history of our globe. (2.) That neither experience nor science, neither fact nor reason, justify the assumption of spontaneous generation. That is, there is no evidence that any living organism is ever produced by mere physical causes. Every such organism is either immediately created, or is derived from some other organism having life, already existing. (3.) Genera and species are permanent. One never passes into another. A fish never becomes a bird, nor a bird a quadruped. Modern theorists have indeed questioned these facts; but they still are admitted by the great body of scientific men, and the evidence in their favour is overwhelming to the ordinary mind. If these principles be conceded, it follows that all the extant plants and animals on the earth began to be. And if they began to be, they were created, and therefore there must be a Creator. These considerations are merely collateral. The main argument is the one first mentioned, namely, the absolute impossibility of conceiving either of an infinite succession of contingent events, or of the origin of the universe out of nothing.

C. Objections. Hume's Doctrine.

    There are only two objections to this cosmological argument which need be noticed. The one is directed to the principle on which it is founded, and the other to the conclusion drawn from it. Hume begins his "Treatise on Human Nature," by laying down the principle that the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into impressions and ideas. By impressions he means "all our sensations, passions, and emotions, as they make their first appearance in the soul." By ideas is meant "the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning."10 There can, therefore, be no idea which is not derived from some previous impression. This is the fundamental principle of his whole system. From this it follows that all our knowledge is founded on experience. We have certain impressions made by external things, and certain passions and emotions; these are the only sources of our ideas, and thererore of our knowledge. When11 he comes to apply this principle to the nature and origin of our idea of causation, he says, all we can know on the subject is that one object or event is contiguous and antecedent to another. This is all we perceive; all of which we can have an "impression." We have no impression of power, efficacy, energy, force, or whatever equivalent term we may choose to use. Therefore, there is no such thing. There is no such thing as efficacy or power either in mind or matter. When we use such words we have, he says, "really no distinct meaning."12 When we see events or changes in uniform sequence, we get the habit, or, as he says, "we feel the determination,"13 to expect the consequent when we see its accustomed antecedent. Necessity, force, power, efficacy, therefore, are nothing but "a determination to carry our thoughts from one object to another."14 "The necessity of power, which unites causes and effects, lies in the determination of the mind to pass from the one to the other. The efficacy or energy of causes is neither placed in the causes themselves, nor in the Deity, nor in the concurrence of these two principles; but belongs entirely to the soul, which considers the union of two or more objects in all past instances."15 Hume was fully aware of the paradoxical character of his view of causation and of its far-reaching consequences, although he insisted that his argument in its support was unanswerable. In immediate connection with the preceding quotation, he says: "I am sensible, that of all the paradoxes which I have had, or shall hereafter have, occasion to advance in the course of this treatise, the present one is the most violent, and that 'tis merely by dint of solid proof and reasoning I can ever hope it will have admission, and overcome the inveterate prejudices of mankind"16 What he calls inveterate prejudices, are really laws of belief which God has impressed on our nature, and which all the sophistry of philosophers can never subvert.

    The conclusions which Hume draws from his doctrine show his appreciation of its importance. (1.) It follows, he says, from his principle that there is no difference between causes as efficient, formal, material, exemplary, or final; nor between cause and occasion. (2.) "That the common distinction betwixt moral and physical necessity is without any foundation in nature." "The distinction which we often make betwixt power and the exercise of it, is equally without foundation." (3.) "That the necessity of a cause to every beginning of existence is not founded on any arguments either demonstrative or intuitive."(4.) "We can never have reason to believe that any object exists, of which we cannot form an idea."17 By this fourth corollary, he has reference to such things as substance, from which we receive no impression, and consequently of which we can have no idea, and therefore cannot rationally believe to exist. The same may be said of God.

    In the beginning of the following section,18 Hume with a boldness almost unparalleled says: "According to the precedent doctrine, there are no objects which, by the mere survey, without consulting experience, we can determine to be the causes of any other; and no objects which we can certainly determine in the same manner not to be causes. Anything may produce anything. Creation, annihilation, motion, reason, volition, all these may arise from one another, or from any other object we can imagine. Nor will this appear strange if we compare two principles explained above, that the constant conjunction of objects determines their causation; and that, properly speaking, no objects are contrary to each other but existence and non-existence. Where objects are not contrary, nothing hinders them from having that constant conjunction on which the relation of cause and effect totally depends."

    If there be any such argument as the reductio ad absurdum, surely this theory of Hume refutes itself. (1.) He admits the trustworthiness of consciousness so far as "impressions" are concerned; then how can he reject the intuitions of sense, reason, and conscience? (2.) If we have no knowledge which is not derived from impressions, and no right to believe in the existence of anything of which we have not an idea derived from an impression, then we cannot believe in substance, soul, or God. (3.) For the same reason we cannot believe that there is any such thing as power or efficiency, or any difference between efficient and final causes, i. e., between the expansive force of steam and the intention of the mechanist who makes a steam-engine. (4.) In like manner, we must believe that something can come out of nothing, that there is no reason that what begins to be should have a cause, even an antecedent; and, therefore, that "anything can produce anything," e. g., a human volition, the universe. (5.) He cannot even state his theory without contradicting himself. He speaks of one thing "producing" another. But according to his doctrine there is no such thing as production, because he denies that there is any such thing as power or efficiency.

    It is universally admitted that we have no foundation for knowledge or faith, but the veracity of consciousness. This principle must be kept constantly in view, and must be often reiterated. Any doctrine, therefore, which contradicts the facts of consciousness, or the laws of belief which God has impressed on our nature, must be false. If, therefore, it can be shown that there are certain truths which men are constrained by the constitution of their nature to believe, those truths are to be retained in despite of all the arts of sophistry. If, therefore, it be a fact of consciousness that we ourselves are something, an ens, a substance, and that we have power, that we can produce effects, then it is certain that there is such a thing as power, and efficient cause. If, moreover, it be an intuitive and necessary truth that every effect must have a cause, that ex nihilo nihil fit, then it is absolutely certain that if the world began to be, it had an adequate cause of its existence out of itself. And, therefore, if the arguments to prove that the world is not self-existing and eternal be sound, the cosmological argument is valid and conclusive.

The Second Objection.

    The other form of objection is directed not against the premises on which the cosmological argument is founded, but against the conclusion which Theists draw from them. It is admitted that something now exists; that nonentity cannot be the cause of real existence; therefore, something must have existed from eternity. It is also admitted that a regressus ad infinitum, or an eternal series of effects, is impossible. There must, therefore, be an eternal, self-existing Being. This is all the cosmological argument fairly proves. It does not prove that this necessary Being is extramundane, much less that it is a personal God. It may be an eternal substance of which things mutable are the phenomena.19

    The cosmological argument is not intended to prove all that Theists hold to be true concerning God. It is enough that it proves that we must admit the existence of an eternal and necessary Being. Other arguments prove that that Being is self-conscious and intelligent. The argument, moreover, fairly proves that this Being is extramundane; for the principle of causation is that everything contingent must have the cause of its existence out of itself.


§ 3. The Teleological Argument.

A. Its Nature.

    This argument also admits of being stated in a syllogistic form. Design supposes a designer. The world everywhere exhibits marks of design. Therefore the world owes its existence to an intelligent author.

    By design is intended, -- (1.) The selection of an end to be attained. (2.) The choice of suitable means for its attainment. (3.) The actual application of those means for the accomplishment of the proposed end.

    Such being the nature of design, it is a self-evident truth, or, even an identical proposition, that design is indicative of intelligence, will, and power. It is simply saying that intelligence in the effect implies intelligence in the cause.

    It is moreover true that the intelligence indicated by design is not in the thing desigined. It must be in an external agent. The mind indicated in a book is not in the book itself, but in the author and printer. The intelligence revealed by a calculating machine, or any similar work of art, is not in the material employed, but in the inventor and artist. Neither is the mind indicated in the structure of the bodies of plants and animals, in them, but in Him who made them. And in like manner the mind indicated in the world at large must be in an extramundane Being. There is, indeed, this obvious difference between the works of God and the works of man. In every product of human art dead materials are fashioned and united to accomplish a given end; but the organized works of nature are animated by a living principle. They are fashioned as it were from within outward. In other words, they grow; they are not constructed. In this respect there is a great difference between a house and a tree or the human body. But, nevertheless, in both cases, the mind is external to the thing produced; because the end, the thought, is prior to the product. As the thought or idea of a machine must be in the mind of the mechanist, before the machine is made; so the idea or thought of the eye must be anterior to its formation. "It is a simple and pregnant conclusion," says Trendelenburg,20 "that so far as design is realized in the world, thought as its ground has preceded it." And this thought, he goes on to say, is not dead, as a figure or model, it is connected with will and power. It is, therefore, in the mind of a person who has the ability and purpose to carry it out. He further says, "tiefsinnige Zweckmassigkeit bewustlos und blind," cannot be imagined, i. e., a blind and unconscious adaptation of means to an end is inconceivable.

    As the conviction that design implies an intelligent agent is intuitive and necessary, it is not limited to the narrow sphere of our experience. The argument is not, Every house, ship, telescope, or other instrument or machine, we ever saw had an intelligent maker, therefore we may take it for granted that any similar work of art was not formed by chance or by the operation of blind, unconscious forces. The argument rather is, Such is the nature of design, that it of necessity implies an intelligent agent; and, therefore, where ever, or whenever we see evidence of design we are convinced that it is to be referred to the operation of mind. On this ground we not only authorized, but compelled to apply the argument from design far beyond the limits of experience, and to say: It is just as evident that the world had an intelligent creator, as that a book had an author. If a man can believe that a book was written by chance, or by blind, unconscious force, then, and not otherwise, can he rationally deny the validity of the argument from design in proof of the existence of a personal God.

B. Evidences of Design in the World.

    This is a boundless subject. One of the most important and valuable of the "Bridgewater Treatises," the volume by Dr. Charles Bell, is devoted to "The Hand, its mechanism and vital endowments as evincing design." Hundreds of volumes would not be sufficient to exhibit the evidence of the intelligent adaptation of means to an end, which the world everywhere affords. In the few pages now at command all that can be attempted, is an indication of the nature of this evidence.21

Design in Single Organs.

    1. No work of human art can compare with the nicety and completeness of the separate organs of organized bodies for the purpose for which they are designed. In the eye, for example, there is the most perfect optical instrument constructed in accordance with the hidden laws of light. We find there the only nerve in the body susceptible of the impressions of light and color. That nerve is spread out on the retina. The light is admitted through an orifice in the ball, which opening by the most delicate arrangement of muscles is enlarged or contracted, according to the degree of light which falls on the retina, which enlargement or contraction is not dependent on the will, but on the stimulus of the light itself. Light, however, merely passing through an orifice would make no image of the object fromn which it was reflected. It is, therefore, made to pass through lenses perfect in form so to refract the rays as to bring them to a proper focus on the retina. If the inner chamber of the eye were white, it would so reflect the rays entering the pupil at every angle as to render vision impossible. That chamber, and that alone, is lined with a black pigment. By a delicate muscular arrangement the eye is enabled to adapt itself to the distance of external objects so that the proper focus may be preserved. These are a small part of the wonders exhibited by this single organ of the body. This organ was fashioned in th darkness of the womb, with a self-evident reference to the nature and properties of light, of which the creature for whose use it was fashioned had neither knowledge or experience. If the eye, therefore, does not indicate the intelligent adaptation of means to an end, no such adaptation can be found in any work of human ingenuity.

    The same remarks apply to the ear. In its cavity lies the auditory nerve. A tortuous passage is formed in the bony structure of the skull. The orifice of that passage is covered by a membrane to receive the vibration of the air; on the centre of that membrane rests the termination of a small bone so connected as to convey those vibrations to the only nerve capable of receiving or iterpreting them, or of transmitting them to the brain. It is by this organ, constructed according to the recondite principles of acoustics, that our intercourse with our fellow-men is principally kept up; through which the marvels of speech, all the charms of music and eloquence become possible for man.

    We cannot live without a constant supply of oxygen, which must every moment be brought to act upon the blood, to vitalize it, and by combining with the carbon it contains fit it for renewed use. The infant, therefore, comes into the world with an apparatus prepared for that purpose. In its formative state, it did not breathe. Yet it had lungs. They were given for a foreseen necessity. Nothing can exceed the intricacy, complication, or beauty of the organ or system of organs thus prepared, for the absolutely necessary and continuous purification of the blood, and for its distribution in an uninterrupted flux and reflux to every part of the body. This process goes on without our supervision. It is as regular during sleep as during our waking hours.

    Food is as necessary for our support as air. The unborn infant needs no food. It is included in the circulation of its mother. In the state on which it is soon to enter food will be a necessity. Full provision is made beforehand for its reception and use. Teeth are embedded in the jaw for its mastication; salivary glands to furnish the fluid for its chemical preparation for the stomach; an oesophagus to convey it to the stomach, where it meets with a fluid found nowhere else, capable of dissolving and digesting it. It then comes into contact with a set of absorbent vessels which select from it the elements suited for the wants of the body and reject all the rest. The valuable portion is poured into the blood by which it is distributed, each constituent going to its own place and answering its predestined purpose; carbon to be consumed to keep up the vital heat, lime to the bones, fibrine to the muscles, phosphorus to the brain and nerves.

    The child before birth has no need of organs for locomotion or for apprehending external objects. But it was foreseen that it would need them, and therefore they are prepared beforehand. The bones are grooved for the reception of muscles, and have projections for points of support; joints of all kinds, hinge and ball and socket, for the flexure of the limbs; the instruments for motion, the contractile fibres, arranged and attached, according to the strict laws of mechanics, so as best to secure the two ends of symmetry and power. Thus the body is a perfect marvel of mechanical contrivances. The several organs, therefore, of the animal frame, viewed separately, present the most incontestible evidence of foresight, intelligence, and wisdom. This, however, is only a small part of the evidence of design furnished even by the body.

Design in the Relation of one Organ to Another.

    2. Every animal is a complete whole. Each part has a designed and predetermined reference to every other part. The organs of sight, hearing, breathing, nutrition, locomotion, etc., are so arranged and adjusted as to answer a common purpose to the best advantage. Besides, these organs, although common to all animals (at least to all above the lowest), are modified in each genus and species to meet its peculiar necessities. If the animal is to live on the land all its organs are adapted to that condition. If it is to live in the water or move through the air, all is prepared beforehand for that destination. And more than this, if one organ be designed for some special use, all the rest are modified in accordance with that purpose. If the stomach is suited for the digestion of flesh, then the teeth, the limbs, the claws, are all adapted to secure and prepare the proper aliment. So complete is the adaptation that the anatomist can determine from a single bone the genus or species to which the animal belonged. Birds which wade in the water have long legs and long necks. Those which float on the surface, have web feet, and feathers impenetrable by water; two things which have causal relation, and which are united by a kind of intelligence external to the animal itself. Birds which fly in the air are fitted for their destiny by hollow bones, wide-spread wings, and great accumulation of muscles on the breast. Those which climb trees have feet and tail adapted for that purpose, and, as in the case of the wood-pecker, a sharp bill for boring the tree and a barbed tongue to seize its food. These modifications of animal structure are endless, all showing an external intelligence cognizant of the necessities of every distinct species.

The Adaptation of the Organs to the Instinct of Animals

    3. There is a correspondence between the organs of every animal and the instincts by which it is endowed. Beasts and birds of prey having the instinct to feed on flesh have all the organs requisite to satisfy this inward craving. Those having an instinct for vegetable food, have teeth and stomachs adapted for that purpose. The bee whose body secretes wax, has the instinct to build cells; the spider furnished with the peculiar viscid matter, and apparatus for spinning it, makes a web and watches for its prey. So it is throughout all animated nature. Here then are two very distinct things: instinct and corporeal organs; the instinct cannot account for the organs nor the organs for the instinct; and yet they are never found the one without the other. They of necessity, therefore, imply an intelligence which implants the instinct and furnishes the appropriate organs.

Argument from Prevision.

    4. There cannot be a more decisive proof of intelligence than prevsion; preparation for an event in the future. The world is full of evidence of such prevision. It is seen not only in the preparation of the organs of sight, hearing, breathing, nutrition, etc. for necessities still future; but still more strikingly in the provision made for the support of young animals as soon as they are born. In the mammalia before the birth of the offspring, the breast or udder begins to swell; it commences the secretion of milk, so that the moment the young animal enters the world he finds prepared the most nutritious and suitable food the world contains. The egg furnishes a still more instructive illustration. It consists of albumen and the yolk. To the yolk is attached a minute germ or cell. When by heat the germ begins to develop, if nourishment were not provided and at hand, it would of necessity perish. But the yolk is there to supply the needed material out of which the future animal is fashioned. If this does not indicate a foreseeing mind and a providing power, then the most skilful productions of human skill and kindness do not prove the intelligence of man, Where then is this intelligence? Not in the parent bird, for it understands nothing about it. Not in mere blind forces of nature. There may possibly be room for question where to place it; but to deny that these provisions indicate an intelligent agency somewhere, is altogether irrational.

Vegetable Organisms.

    5. The vegetable kingdom is as full of the indications of benevolent design as the animal. Plants have their organism and their physiology. Their structure, in their organs for growth and reproduction, is quite as marvellous as that of most species of the animal kingdom. They constitute an essential part in the great system of nature, without which there could be no sentient life on our globe. Animals cannot live on inorganic matter. It is the province of the plant to reduce this matter into such a state as to be fit for the support of animal life. If it were not therefore for the functions of the leaf which transmutes the inorganic into the organic, there could be no sentient life on our earth. Is there no design here? Is there no intelligent adaptation of one part of the great system of nature to another?

From the Adaptations of Nature.

    6. This leads to another department of the subject. The evidences of design are not confined to the separate organs of the plant or animal; nor to the relations of these organs to each other, nor, in the case of animals, to the instinct which impels to the proper use of those organs; they are to be found just as abundantly in the adaptation of external nature to the necessities of animal and vegetable life. Neither plants nor animals could exist without light, air, heat, water, and soil, to produce the common food of all living things. Who created the light and heat and diffuses them over the whole earth? Who made the sun from which they radiate? Who constituted the atmosphere with its chemical adjustments, precisely what is necessary for the support of life, everywhere and always the same, and poured it round our globe? How is it that water at a certain temperature evaporates, rises in mist, is gathered into clouds, is carried everywhere by the winds, and falls in rain to fertilize the earth? The eye supposes light, as the lungs suppose air; the appetite of hunger supposes food, and the power of digestion. Food supposes soil, light, heat, and water. Surely this is one great system. There is unity and mutual relation in all its parts. It must have had one author, and He must be infinite in intelligence and goodness.

All living Creatures on the Earth have Organic Relations.

    7. The design indicated in nature is, however, not confined to the individual organisms and to their relations to the world around them, but it has in the progress of science been discovered, that the whole vegetable and animal world has been constructed on one comprehensive plan. As there is a relation of one organ of a given plant or animal to all others and to the whole, so the whole race of plants, and the whole race of animals are related. There are certain typical forms of which all the infinite variety of planta are modifications; and certain other types of which the innumerable genera, species, and varieties of animals are only modifications; and these modifications are precisely of the kind to suit each species for its end, and for the circumstances in which it is to live. So obviously is this the case that Professor Agassiz's "Essay on Classification," is, to say the least, as strong an argumnent for the being of God as any of the "Bridgewater Treatises." And it is so regarded by its illustrious author. On page 10 of his "Contributions to the Natural History of the United States," he says, "I know those who hold it to be very unscientific to believe that thinking is not something inherent in matter, and that there is an essential difference between inorganic and living and thinking beings. I shall not be prevented by any such pretensions of a false philosophy from expressing my conviction that as long as it cannot be shown that matter or physical forces do actually reason, I shall consider any manifestation of thought as evidence of the existence of a thinking Being as the author of such thought, and shall look upon an intelligent and intelligible connection between the facts of nature as direct proof of the existence of a thinking God, as certainly as man exhibits the power of thinking, when he rezognizes their natural relation."

Evidence that the Earth was designed for Man.

    8. It is not only, however, the living organisms inhabiting ouz earth, which exhibit such evidence of an intelligent creator, but also the earth itself. If a father, who when he provides a home for his children, fits it up with all the necessities and all the luxuries which they can possibly need, gives indisputable evidence of intelligence and love, then are those attributes to be ascribed to Him who fitted up this world to be the home of his creatures. This is seen, as already intimated, in the constitution of the atmosphere, in the distribution of light and heat, of electricity and magnetism, in the establishment of those laws which secure the regular succession of the seasons, in the preparation of soil by the disintegration of rocks, the falling of rain, the deposition of dew which falls gently with life-giving power on the thirsty earth; in innumerable other provisions and dispositions of the forces of nature without which neither vegetable nor animnal life could be sustained. There are many special provisions of this kind which fill the mind with gratitude and wonder. It is a general law that bodies contract as they become colder. Water, however, when it freezes expands and becomes lighter. If it were not for this benevolent exception to the general law, not only would the inhabitants of all our rivers perish, but the greater part of the temperate zone would be uninhabitable. It is no answer to this argument to say that there are a few other exceptions to this law. We may not know the final cause why bismuth should expand on cooling; but this does not prevent our knowing why ice is made lighter than water. Our not understanding one sentence in a book, does not prove that it has no meaning, nor that we cannot understand another sentence.

    The whole configuration of the earth, its position in relation to the sun, and the inclination of its axis, are obviously intended to render it a suitable residence for the creatures by which it is inhabited. Their well-being depends on the distribution of land and water on its surface; on the elevation of its mountain ranges and plateaus, and on the ocean currents which are determined by the configuration of its coasts. If North and South America were not connected by the narrow Isthmus of Darien, Great Britain and the northwestern portions of Europe would be uninhabitable. They owe the moderate temperature which they enjoy to the immense body of warm water, which is prevented by that Isthmus from flowing into the Pacific, being floated in a northeasterly direction across the Atlantic. When we see such benevolent arrangements among men, we refer them instinctively and by a rational necessity to a benevolent and intelligent agent. No rational ground exists for refusing to ascribe like arrangements in nature to a similar source. Is it any more an evidence of prudent or benevolent foresight that a man should store away abundant fuel for himself or others, knowing that winter is approaching, than that God has laid up inexhaustible stores of coal in the bowels of the earth, for the use of his children on the earth?

Cosmical Arrangements.

    9. The argument for design founded on cosmical arrangements is so vast a subject that it seems absurd even to refer to it, in a single paragraph. The simple facts are, that our globe is one of eight primary planets which revolve round the sun. The most distant of these planets is some three thousand millions of miles from the central luminary. These planets all move in the same direction, in nearly circular orbits, in nearly the same plane, and with so equable a motion that each performs its revolutions in the proper time. The stability of the system depends on these circumstances. To secure these results matter must attract matter according to its quantity and the square of its distance. The central body must be of such mass as to hold the planets in their course. The centrifugal and centripetal forces must be exactly balanced, tc prevent the planets from flying off into space, or falling into the sun. Each planet must have been projected with a precise definite velocity to secure its orbit being nearly a circle, rather than any other curve. The central body alone, in accordance with the evident plan, is luminous and heat-producing. All the others are opaque and cold. These are facts, which Sir Isaac Newton says he is "forced to ascribe to the counsel and contrivance of a voluntary agent."22 Since the time of Newton, indeed, it has been the commonly received theory that the planets were at one time fluid, highly heated, and luminous; and that they have become opaque in the process of cooling. But this only puts the argument one step back. The fact is that a most wonderful and beneficent result has been accomplished. The question How? is of minor importance. It is the beneficence of the result which indicates mind, and this indication of mind implies a "voluntary agent."

    Our solar systemn itself, therefore, is vast, varied, and well ordered. Our system, however, is one of probably hundreds of millions. At least astronomers assert their knowledge of a hundred million of suns, some of which are incalculably larger than ours. Sirius is calculated to shine with a light equal to two hundred and fifty of our suns; Alcyone with that of twelve thousand suns. The nearest of these stars is separated from the outer planet of our system twenty-one billions of miles. These millions of stars are not scattered equally through space, but are gathered into groups, the members of which bear an obvious relation to each other.

    Besides these systems in which planets are assumed to revolve around suns, there are others in which suns revolve around suns, at distances proportioned to their magnitude. The light emanating from these great luminaries is of different colors, white, red, blue.

    Then more distant in space float the unresolved nebulae. Whether these nebulae are vast continents of stars too distant to be distinguishable, or cosmical matter in a formative state, is still an open question with astronomers. Two thousand have been counted in the northern hemisphere, and one thousand in the southern. They assume every variety of form; some are spherical, some fan-shaped, some spiral, some in circular rings. It is estimated that the light of some of the stars has been many thousand years in reaching our earth, although travelling at the rate of more than ten millions of miles a minute.

    Throughout this vast universe order reigns. In the midst of endless variety, there is unity. The same laws of gravitation, of light, and of heat everywhere prevail. Confusion and disorder are the uniform result of chance or blindly operating forces. Order is the sure indication of mind. What mind! what wisdom! what power! what beneficence! does this all but infinite universe display!

    "The result of our whole experience," said Sir Gilbert Eliot, writing to Hume himself, "seems to amount to this: -- There are but two ways in which we have ever observed the different parcels of matter to be thrown together, -- either at random, or with design and purpose. By the first, we have never seen produced a regular complicated effect, corresponding to a certain end; by the second, we uniformly have. If, then, the works of nature and the productions of men resemble each other in this one general characteristic, will not even experience sufficiently warrant us to ascribe to both a similar, though proportionable, cause."23

    This argument from design is constantly urged in the Old Testamcnt, which appeals to the heavens and the earth as revealing the being and perfections of God. The Apostle Paul says that the living God, who made heaven and earth, and the sea and all that is therein, hath not left himself without a witness. (Ac 14:15-17.) He demonstrated to the Athenians the nature of God from his works and from our relation to him as his offspring. (Ac 17:23-31.) To the Romans he said that the eternal power and Godhead of the Supreme Being, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. (Romn. i. 20.) The ancient philosophers drew the same conclusion from the same premises. Anaxagoras argued that nou/j, mind, must be admitted as controlling everything in the world, because everything indicates design. Socrates constantly dwells on this as the great proof of the being of God. Cicero24 says that it is as impossible that an ordered world could be formed by the fortuitous concurrence of atoms, as that a book should be composed by the throwing about letters at random. Trendelenburg,25 after referring to that passage, says: "It is perhaps more difficult to assume, that by the blind combination of chemical and physical elemnents and forces, any one even of the organs of the body should be formed, -- the eye, for example, so clear, sharp, and all-seeing, -- much less the harmonious union of organs which make up the body, than that a book should be made by chance, by throwing types about."

    Philo presents the argument in its simplest syllogistic form. "No work of art is self-made. The world is the most perfect work of art. Therefore, the world was made by a good and most perfect Author. Thus we have the knowledge of the existence of God."26 All the Christian fathers and subsequent theologians have reasoned in the same way. Even Kant, although denying its conclusiveness, says that the teleological argument should always be treated with respect. It is, he says, the oldest, the clearest, and the best adapted to the human mind.

§ 4. Objections to the Argument from Design.

A. The Denial of Final Causes.

    The doctrine of final causes in nature must stand or fall with the doctrine of a personal God. The one cannot be denied without denying the other. And the admission of the one involves the admission of the other. By final cause is not meant a mere tendency, or the end to which events either actually or apparently tend; but the end contemplated in the use of means adapted to attain it. The contemplation of an end, is a mental act. The selection and use of means adapted to attain such end, are both intelligent and voluntary acts. But an intelligent voluntary agent is a person.27 In other words, the use of means to accomplish a contemplated end is a function of personality, or at least of intelligent agency.

    Such being the nature of final causes, they are of course denied, (1.) By the positivist, who believes nothing but facts of which the senses take cognizance; and who admits of no other causation than regularity of sequence. As efficiency, intention, and mind are not perceived by the senses, they are not, and cannot be philosophically admitted. (2.) By those who, while they admit such a thing as force, and, therefore, in that sense, a cause, allow of no distinction between physical, vital, and mental causes, or forces; and who maintain that the one can be resolved into either of the others. The advocates of this theory make thought a product of the brain; and have as their watch-word, "Ohne Phosphor kein Gedanke." Of course phosphorus must be before thought, and therefore there can be no final cause in the production of phosphorus, or of anything else. (3.) Final causes are denied by those who regard the universe as the developmnent of the infinite Being under the operation of necessary law. Of that Being no intelligence, consciousness, or will can be predicated. Consequently there can be no preconceived design to be accomplished, either by the universe as a whole, or any of its parts. According to Spinoza, therefore, final causes are "humana figmenta et deliria."

    If you should ask a peasant, where a tree or the body of an animal came from, he would probably answer, "Why, it grew." That for him is the final fact. And so it is for all the advocates of the above-named theories. Thus it is that extremes (the peasant's thought and the savant's theory) meet. What more, what deeper thought is found in the words of Stuart Mill than in the peasant's answer, when the logician says: "Sequences entirely physical and material, as soon as they had become sufficiently familiar to the human mind, came to be thought perfectly natural, and were regarded not only as needing no explanation themselves, but as being capable of affording it to others, and even of serving as the ultimate explanation of things in general."28

B. Objections of Hume and Kant.

    Hume's answer to the argument from design, or final causes, is, that our knowledge is limited by experience. We have often seen houses, ships, engines, and other machines made, and therefore, when we see similar products of human skill we are authorized to infer that they too were constructed by an intelligent author. But the world belongs to an entirely different category; we have never seen a world made; and therefore we have no rational ground for assuming that this world had a maker. "When two species of objects," says Hume,29 "have always been observed to be conjoined together, I can infer, by custom, the existence of one whenever I see the existence of the other, and this I call an argument from experience. But how this argument can have place, where the objects, as in the present case, are single, individual, without parallel, or specific resemblance, may be difficult to explain. And will any man tell me with a serious countenance, that an orderly universe must arise from some thought and art, like the human, because we have experience of it? To ascertain this reasoning, it were requisite that we had experience of the origin of worlds; and it is not sufficient surely that we have seen ships and cities arise from human art and contrivance." What experience teaches is that design implies intelligence; i. e., that we never see the adaptation of means to an end without having evidence that such adaptation is the work of an intelligent agent. And, therefore, even under the guidance of experience we infer that wherever we see design, whether in nature or in art, there must be an intelligent agent. But experience is not the ground or limit of this conviction. It is an intuitive truth, self-evident from its nature, that design cannot be accounted for on the ground of chance or necessity. Let any man try to persuade himself that a watch is the product of chance, and he will see how futile is the attempt.

    Kant presents substantially the same objection as Hume when he says that the concatenation of cause and effect is confined to the external world, and therefore that it is illogical to apply the principle of causation to account for the existence of the external world itself. He further objects that the evidences of design in nature would prove only a demiurgus, or world-builder, and not an extramundae God. It is further urged against the sufficiency of the teleologial argument, that even if it proved the author of the world to be distinct from it, it would not prove him to be infinite, because the world is finite, and we cannot infer an infinite cause from a finite effect.

Answer to the Objections.

    In answer to these objections it may be remarked that what the argumnent from design is intended to prove, and what it does prove, is, (1.) That the Author of the universe is an intelligent and voluntary agent. (2.) That He is extramundane and not merely the life, or soul of the world, for the design is shown not simply or chiefly by the moulding of organized bodies by a principle acting from within outward; but by the adaptation of things external to such organisms, to their various necessities; and by the disposition and orderly arrangement of immense bodies of matter, separated by millions, or even billions of miles. (3.) The immensity of the universe through the whole of which design is manifest, proves that its cause must be adequate to the production of such an effect; and if the effect be, as it is to us, incomprehensibly great, the cause must be so also. And incomprehensibly great and infinitely great, are practically equivalent. But besides, the cosmological argument proves that God is not only maker, but creator. And creation implies the possession of infinite power. Not only because the difference between existence and non-existence is infinite, but because in Scripture creation is always represented as the peculiar work of the infinite God. So far as we know all creature power is limited to self-action, or to the more or less limited control of what already exists.

    What has already been said may be a sufficient answer to the objection that while design does indeed prove intelligence, yet that intelligence may be in matter itself, or in nature (a vis insita), as in the soul of the world. These points, as they are generally presented, concern more properly the relation of God to the world, than his existence. They involve the admission of the existenre of an intelligence somewhere, adequate to account for all the phenomena of the universe. They involve consequently the denial that these phenomena are to be referred either to chance, or the action of mere physical laws. Where that intelligence is placed, is not the question. Wherever placed it must be a person; and not merely an unintelligent force acting according to necessary law. For the evidence of voluntary action and of benevolence is as clear as that of intelligence. And the considerations already urged prove that this voluntary, intelligent Being must be extramundane; a conclusion which is rendered still more evident from our relation to Him as responsible and dependent.

C. Miscellaneous Objections.

    1. It is objected that both in the vegetable and animal kingdoms there are malformations, abnormal productions, which are inconsistent with the idea of the control of an infinite intelligence. This is at best merely an argument from our ignorance. Admitting that there are in nature some things which we cannot account for, this does not invalidate the argument drawn from the innumerable cases of benevolent design. If Mr. Babbage's calculating machine should once in many million of times present the wrong number, this would not prove that there was no intelligence manifested in its construction. It is not necessary even to assume that such apparently irregular action is to be referred to the imperfection of the machine. For what we know, its maker may have a reason for such action, which we cannot discover. In every extended piece of music, discords here and there occur, which pain the ear, and which those unskilled in music cannot account for, but which the competently instructed perceive are taken up and resolved into a higher harmony. If a prince should give us a chest containing millions in coin and jewels, we should not question his kind intention, even should we find among them a spurious dime for whose presence we could not account. It would be insane to reject the Bible with all its sublime and saving truths, because there may be in it a few passages which we cannot understand, and which in themselves seem inconsistent with the perfection of its author. No man refuses to believe in the sun and to rejoice in its light because there are dark spots on its surface for which he cannot account. Ignorance is a very healthful condition of our present state of being.

Useless Organs.

    2. A second objection of much the same kind is founded on the fact that we find members in organized bodies for which they have no use. For example, men have mammae; the whale has teeth which are never developed and which the animal does not need; animals have bones which they never use; birds and crocodiles have their skulls formed of separate bones as well as viviparous animals, although in their case there seems to be no utility in such arrangement. Even Professor Owen urges this objection. In his work on "Limbs,"30 he says, "I think it will be obvious that the principle of final adaptation fails to satisfy all the conditions of the problem. That every segment and almost every bone which is present in the human hand and arm should exist in the fin of the whale," where they are not needed, does not appear consistent with the principle. Again, in another place, he says,31 "The cranium of the bird, which is composed in the adult of a single bone, is ossified from the same number of points as in the human embryo, without the possibility of a similar purpose being subserved thereby, in the extrication of the chick from the fractured egg-shell. . . . These, and a hundred such facts force upon the contemplative anatomist the inadequacy of the teleological hypothesis."

    On this it may be remarked: (1.) That the objection bears only on the individual organism of plants or animals, whereas the evidences of design are scattered over the whole universe. (2.) This objection also is founded on our ignorance. The argument is that because we cannot see the reason for a certain arrangement, no such reason exists. (3.) It takes the lowest view of utility, namely, that which contemplates the immediate wants of the individual organism. Things which are not needed for its necessities may answer a much higher end. In a great building use is not the only end contemplated; there are symmetry and unity, aesthetic ends of as much value as mere comfort or convenience. Scientific men have demonstrated that all animals are in their structure only modifications of four typical forms. These forms are preserved in all the genera and species included under these general classes. The presence therefore, of these characteristic features of the type, even where not needed for the individual, serve to indicate the unity of the plan on which the whole animal kingdom is constructed We must remember that what we do not see, cannot disprove the realty of what we do see.


    3. A third objection is sometimes derived from the operations of Instinct. Instinct, according to Dr. Reid, is "a natural blind impulse to certain actions, without having any end in view, without deliberation, and very often without any conception of what we do."32 Dr. Whately also says: "An instinct is a blind tendency to a mode of action independent of any consideration on the part of the agent, of the end to which the action leads." Paley defines it to be "a propensity prior to experience and independent of instruction."33 The argument is that as "a blind impulse" contemplating no end, effects all the marvellous contrivances which we see in the works of irrational animals, similar contrivances in nature cannot prove intelligence in the author of nature. The answer to this argument is: --

    1. That it is founded on a wrong definition of instinct. It is not a blind impulse. It is that measure of intelligence given to animals which enables themn to sustain their lives, to continue their race, and to answer the necessities of their being. Within certain limits this form of intelligence, both in man and in irrational animals, acts blindly. The impulse which leads the young of all animals to seek their nourishment in the appropriate way and in the proper place, is no doubt blind. The same is also probably true of the impulse which leads many animals to make provision in summer for the necessities of winter. Neither can it be supposed that the bee has always and everywhere constructed its cell according to the nicest mathematical principles, under the guidance of an intelligent apprehension of those principles. These operations which are performed without instructions, and always from age to age in the same way, indicate a guidance which may be called blind in so far that those under its influence do not devise the plan on which they act, although they may know the end they have in view. But the intelligence of animals goes far beyond these narrow limits. Not only does the beaver construct his dam according to the nature of the locality and the force of the stream on which he fixes his habitations, but we constantly see it, as well as other animals, varying its mode of operation to suit special emergencies. Instinct, therefore, as designating the principle which controls the action of irrational animals, is not blind, but intelligent. It admits of the contemplation of an end, and of the selection and application of means appropriate for its accomplishment. Even admitting, therefore, that the intelligence manifested in nature is of the same kind as that manifested by animals, yet the difference in degree is infinite.

    2. No measure, however, of intellect of the grade or character of instinct is sufficient to account for the phenomena of the universe. Instinct is concerned with the wants of individual organism. But who adapts the organs of an animal to its instincts? Who adapts external nature, air, light, heat, water, food, etc., etc., to its necessities? What relation has instinct to the stellar universe?

    3. Moreover, these instincts themselves are among the phenomena to be accounted for. If they are blind impulses, can they be accounted for, in all their variety and in all their accommodation to the nature and wants of animals, by a blind impulse pervading all things? The fact is that the adaptation of external nature to the instincts of the different classes of animals, and of their instincts to external nature, affords one of the most convincing proofs of an intellect exterior to both, and ordering the one in relation to the other.

    4. It is to be remembered, although the topic of a separate argument, that the soul of man with all its wonderful powers and capacities, intellectual, moral, and religious, is one of the facts to be accounted for. To trace the existence of the soul of man to "a blind impulse," is to assume that the effect immeasurably transcends its cause, which is assumning an effect without a cause.

    5. All these objections take for granted the eternal existence of matter, and the eternity of physical forces. As these are, they must have existed from eternity, or have begun to be. If they began to be they must have had a cause outside of themselves. That cause cannot be nonentity. It must be a self-existing, eternal substance, having the intelligence, power, will, and benevolence adequate to account for the universe and all that it contains. That is, the cause of the universe must be a personal God.

§ 5. The Moral, or Anthropological Argument.

A. Nature of the Argument.

    As the image of the sun reflected from a mirror, or the smooth surface of a lake, reveals to us that the sun is, and what it is; so the soul of man, just as clearly, and just as certainly, reveals that God is and what He is. The reflection of the sun does not teach us everything that is true concerning that luminary; it does not reveal its internal constitution, nor tell us how its light and heat are maintained from age to age. In like manner the soul, as the image of God, does not reveal all that God is. In both cases, and equally in both cases, what is revealed is true, that is, trustworthy.

    It answers to the objective reality. As we know that the sun really is what its reflection represents him as being, so we know that God is what the nature of the human soul declares Him to be. Doubt in the one case is just as unreasonable, and we may say, just as impossible as in the other.

    It has been shown in the preceding chapter that every human has in his own nature the evidence of the existence of God, an evidence which never can be obliterated, and which will force conviction on the most unwilling. It is no less true that every man has in himself the same irresistible evidence that God is an extramundane personal Being; that He is intelligent, voluntary, and moral; that He knows; that He has the right to command; and that He can punish and can save.

    It may naturally be asked, If this be so; if every man has in his own nature a witness whose competency he cannot question, and whose testimony he cannot ignore, What is the use of arguing about the matter? For three reasons, first, because even self-evident truths are often denied; and secondly, because men, in their present moral state, are under a strong temptation to deny the existence of a holy and just God; and thirdly, because efforts are constantly made to pervert or contradict the testimony of our nature to the existence and nature of God.

B. Argument from the Existence of the Mind.

    Every man has in his own consciousness the evidence of the existence of mind. He knows that he is an intelligent, personal being. He knows that his personality does not reside in his body, but in his soul. It is included in the facts of consciousness that the soul and body are distinct, that they are different substances having not only different but incompatible attributes. That such is the general conviction of men is plain fromn all languages recognizing the distinction; and from the fact that it is never denied except by speculative or theoretical writers. The common consciousness of men as revealed by their forms of speech, and by their avowals, and by the universal belief, in some form, of a state of conscious existence after death, bears witness to the truth that the soul is something different from, and far superior to the body. How is the existence of this immaterial, thinking, immortal substance which we call self, to be accounted for? That it has not always existed is undeniable. If it began to be, it must have the cause of its existence out of itself. That cause cannot be the soul of the parent, for that also is an effect. It began to be. And it is universally admitted that an infinite series of effects is unthinkable. If the soul cannot be accounted for by derivation in unending series of steps from those who preceded us, neither can it be conceived of as a product of the body, or of physical forces and combinations. It would seem to be a self-evident proposition, that the effect cannot contain in it more than is in its cause; that intelligence cannot be the product of what is unintelligent. This also is confirmed by all experience.

    We are conversant in our present state, first, with matter, with its properties and laws or forces; secondly, with vegetable life; thirdly, with animal life; and fourthly, with mind, endowed with a life of a much higher order. These different elements, or kinds of existence, although marvellously combined and intermingled, are distinct. As a fact of experience, mere matter with its physical forces never originates vegetable life; vegetable life of itself never originates or passes over into animal life; and animal life never originates, and is never developed into intellectual or spiritual life. There is an impassable gulf between these several departments of being. As soon as the principle of life leaves a plant or animal, the physical forces belonging to matter work its dissolution. These are facts indelibly impressed on the convictions of the mass of mankind. They are conclusions to which universal experience has led the minds of all men. They are indeed denied by certain scientific men; but the theory on which that denial is founded involves the denial of so many intuitive and necessary truths; it does such violence to the laws of belief impressed upon our nature, and on the validity of which all knowledge depends, that it can never be more than a precarious and temporary belief on the part of those who adopt it, and can never have control over the minds of men. This is not the place to enter upon the discussion of the theory of materialism. We have a right to appeal to the general conviction of mankind that mind cannot be the product of matter. If this be so, as our minds are not self-existent and eternal, it must be true, as even the heathen believed, that our spirits owe their existence to Him who is the Father of spirits.

C. From the Nature of the Soul.

    There are two laws, or general facts, which seem to characterize all the works of nature. By nature is here meant all things out of God. The first of these laws is, that whatever capacities, necessities, or desires exist, or are found in any organism, adequate provision is made to meet and satisfy them all. This is obviously true with regard to the vegetable world. Plants have organs for the selection of the materials necessary for their growth and maturity, from the soil; organs for the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere; the capacity of being appropriately affected by light and heat; organs of propagation designed for the continuance of each after its kind. All these necessities are met. Soil, atmosphere, light, heat, and water, are all provided. The same is no less true with regard to the animal world in all its endless variety of forms. Food, light, heat, air, and water, are suited to their several necessities to their organs, and to their instincts. If they have the appetite of hunger, they have organs for the appropriation of their food, and for its digestion; the instinct for its selection, and food suited to each, is ever at hand. So of all the other necessities of their nature.

    The second law, or general fact is, that all these living organisms reach perfection, and fully accomplish the end of their being. That is, they become all they are capable of being. All that belongs to their nature is fully developed. All their capacities are fully exercised, and all their wants fully satisfied.

    These two things are true of every living creature within the compass of human knowledge, except Man. So far as his body is concerned, they are true in regard to him also. His physical necessities are all met by the present circumstances of his being. His body becomes all that it is capable of being, in this stage of existence. But these things are not true with regard to his soul. It has capacities which are not fully developed in this world, and never can be. It has desires, aspirations, and necessities for which the world does not furnish the appropriate objects. It is, therefore, as evidently designed and adapted for a higher and spiritual state of existence, as his body is adapted to the present order of things. The soul of man has, in the first place, intellectual powers capable of indefinite expansion, which in this world never reach their utmost limit. With these is connected a desire of knowledge which is never satisfied. In the second place, the soul of man has a capacity for happiness which nothing in the world, nor the whole world could it be attained, can by possibility fill. The animal is satisfied. Its capacity for happiness is here fully provided for. In the third place, the soul has aspirations to which nothing in this life corresponds. It longs for fellowship with what is far above itself; what is boundless, and eternal. In the fourth place, with all these powers, desires, and aspirations, it is conscious of its weakness, insufficiency, and dependence. It must have an object to worship, to love, to trust; a Being who can satisfy all its necessities, and under whose guardianship it can be safe from those powers of evil to which it knows that it is on all sides and at all times exposed; a Being whose existence, and whose relation to itself, can explain all the mysteries of its own being, and secure its felicity in the future, on which it knows it must soon enter. Just as certainly as hunger in the animal supposes that there is food adapted to still its cravings, so certainly does this hunger of the soul suppose that there is some Being in the universe to satisfy its necessities. In both cases the craving is natural, universal, and imperative.

    It cannot be that man is an exception to the laws above-mentioned; that he alone, of all that lives, has capacities, desires, necessities, for which no provision has been made. God is the correlative of man, in the sense that the existence of such a creature as man necessitates the assumption of such a Being as God.

D. From the Moral Nature of Man.

    The familiar facts of consciousness on this subject are, --

    1. That we have, by the constitution of our nature, a sense of right and wrong; we perceive or judge some things to be right, and others to be wrong. This perception is immediate. As the reason perceives some things to be true, and others false; and as the senses take immediate knowledge of their appropriate objects, so the soul takes immediate cognizance of the moral character of feelings and acts. The reason, the senses, and the conscience are alike infallible within certain limits, and liable to error beyond those limits.

    2. Our moral perceptions or judgments are sui generis. They have their peculiar, distinctive character, which belongs to no other of our states of consciousness. The right is as distinct from the true, the proper, the agreeable, or the expedient, as these latter are from our sensations. The right is that which we are bound to do and to approve; the wrong is that which we are bound to avoid and to disapprove. Moral obligation, as expressed by the word "ought," is a simple and primary idea. It can be understood only by those who have felt it. And it can be confounded with nothing else.

    3. These moral judgments are independent. They are not under the control of the understanding of of the will. No man can will to regard an axiom as false, or think that black is white, or white black. Nor can any sophistry of the understanding lead him to such false judgment. In like manner, no man can will to believe that to be right which his conscience tells him to be wrong; nor can he argue himself into the conviction that he has done righ,t when his conscience tells him he has done wrong.

    4. Our moral judgmnents, or, in other words, the conscience, has an authority from which we cannot emancipate ourselves. We can neither deny nor ignore it. It has a lordship. It commands, and it forbids. And we are bound to obey. It has power also to enforce its decisions. It can reward and punish. Its rewards are among the greatest blessings we can enjoy. Its punishments are the most intolerable agony the human soul can endure.

    5. Our moral judgments involve the idea of law, i. e., of a rule or standard to which we are bound to be conformed. When we judge a thing to be right, we judge it to be conformed to the moral law; when we judge it to be wrong, we judge that is not conformed to that law.

    6. This law has an authority which it does not derive from us. It is essentially different from a sense of propriety, or perception of expediency. It is something imposed upon us, and to which we are required to be conformed by an authority out of ourselves.

    7. Our moral nature involves, therefore, a sense of responsibility. We must answer for what we are, and for what we do. This responsibility is not to ourselves, not to society, nor to being in general. It must be to a person; that is, to a Being who knows what we are, what we do, and what we ought to be and do; who approves of the right, and disapproves of the wrong; and who has the power and the purpose to reward and punish us according to our character and conduct. Sin, from its very nature, as it reveals itself in our consciousness, involves not only a sense of pollution, or moral degradation, but also a sense of guilt; i. e., a conviction that we deserve punishment, that we ought to be punished, and, therefore, that punishment is inevitable.

    If such be the facts of our moral nature, it is plain that we are under the necessity of assuming the existence of an extramundane, personal God, on whom we are dependent, and to whom we are responsible. This is undoubtedly the ground for the conviction of the being of God, which has universally prevailed among men. Having the idea given in the constitution of their nature, or being under an inward necessity of believing in such a Being, cultivated men have sought and found evidence of his existence in the world without them. But these external proofs have neither been as general nor as operative as those derived from what we ourselves are, and from what we know that we deserve. Such men, therefore, as Kant, and Sir William Hamilton, while denying the validity of all other arguments for the existence of God, admit that our nature forces us to believe that He is, and that He is a person.

Our Moral Feelings not due to Education.

    It is indeed objected that these phenomena of our moral nature are due to education or to superstition. To this it is answered, first, that moral truths have a self-evidencing light. They can no more be denied than the intuitions of sense and reason. It may even be said that our moral judgmnents have greater certainty than any other of our convictions. Men believe absurdities. They believe what contradicts the evidence of their senses. But no man ever has, or ever can believe that malignity is a virtue. In the second place, what is universal cannot be accounted for by peculiarities of culture. All men are moral beings; all have this sense of moral obligation, and of responsibility; and no man can free himself from these convictions. The Apostle, therefore, speaking out of the common consciousness of men, as well as under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, speaks of sinners as "knowing the judgment of God" (Ro 1:32); that is, a sense of sin involves the knowledge of a righteous God.

    We then are placed in the midst of a vast universe, of which we constitute a part. We are forced not merely by the desire of knowledge, but from the necessities of our nature, to ask, How did this universe originate? How is it sustained? To what does it tend? What are we? Whence did we come? Whither are we going? These questions must be answered. This complicated problem must be solved. To refer everything to chance, is no solution. It is a frivolous denial that any solution is necessary, that such questions need any answer. To refer everything to necessity, is to say that the existence of things as they are is the ultimate fact. The universe is, and always has been, and always must be. It is the evolution of necessary being by necessary laws. This is all we can know, and all that need be known. This, however, is no solution. It is merely the denial that any solution is possible. Could this theory be accepted with regard to the outward world, it leaves all the phenomena of man's nature -- intellectual, moral, and religious -- unaccounted for. Theism is a solution. It assumes the existence of an eternal and necessary Being; a Spirit, and therefore intelligent, voluntary, self-conscious, and endowed with moral perfections. This hypothesis accounts for the origin of the universe. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." This is a satisfactory answer to the first question. It accounts for all the universe is, its immensity, its variety, its order, its numberless organisms, the adaptation of external nature to the wants of all living things. It accounts for the nature of man. It gives what that nature demands, -- an infinite object of love, confidence, and adoration. It reveals who it is to whom we are responsible, and on whom we are dependent. We know that this solution is true, because it is a solution. It meets all the facts of the case. And it so meets them that it cannot fail to be accepted as true, either intelligently or blindly. The God whom all men ignorantly worship, the Scriptures reveal, not only in the certainty of his existence, but in the plenitude of his perfections.


1. Proslogium ii. Opera, Paris, 1721, p. 30 b.
2. On this argument are Ritter's Geschicte der Christlichen Philosophie, vol. iii, pp. 334-340. Sneed's History of Doctrine, i. pp. 229-237. Baur's Dreieinigkeitslehre ii. 374.
3. Meditationes de Prima Philosophia prop. ii. p 89, edit. Amsterdam, 1685.
4. Elements of Psychology, p. 375. Translated by Prof. Henry, New York, 1856.
5. Page 376.
6. Logic, p. 203.
7. Inquiry, p. 17. Edinburgh, 1818.
8. See Reid's Intellectual Powers; Stewart's Philosophical Essays; Brown's Inquiry, and Essa on Cause and Effect. Sir William Hamilton's Works; Dr. McCosh's Intuitions of the Mind.
9. See his Ontologia, II. iii. 2. § 881.
10. Treatise of Human Nature, Part i. § 1; Works, vol. i. Edinburgh, 1826.
11. In Part iii. § 14.
12. Treatise of Human Nature, vol. i. p. 216.
13. Page 219.
14. Page 219.

15. Page 220.
16. Page 220.
17. Treatise of Human Nature, vol. i. pp. 226-228.
18. § 15.
19. See Strauss' Dogmatik, vol. i. p. 382.
20. Log. Untersuchungen, 2d edit. Leipzig, 1862, vol. ii. p. 28.
21. It may be well to give the titles of the valuable series of the Bridgewater Treatise devoted to this subject, besides the work of Dr. Beill mentioned in the text. The volumes are, The Adaption of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constituion of Man, by Dr. Thomas Chalmers; On the Adaption of External Nature to the Physical Constitution of Man, by John Kidd; Astronomy and General Physics treated in Reference to Natural Theology, by William Whewell; Animal and Vegetable Physiology considered in Reference to Natural Theology, by Peter Mark Roget; Geology and Mineralogy considered in Reference to Natural Theology, by William Buckland; The Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God as manifested in the Creation of Animals, by William Kirby; Chemistry, Meteorology, and the Function of Digestion considered in Reference to Natural Theology, by William Prout. The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, by C. Babbage; Footprints of the Creator, by Hugh Miller; Theologie de la Nature, by H. Durkheim (1852, 3 vols. 8vo.); Butler's Analogy of Religion and Nature; Paley's Natural Theology; Dr. McCosh's Typical Forms and Special Ends in Creation; Dr. James Buchanan's Faith in God and Modern Atheism compared, 2 vols. 3vo; and Dr. John Tulloch's (Principal of St. Mary's College, St. Andrew's) Theism; The Witness of Reason and Nature to an All-Wise and Beneficient Creator, may also be mentioned.

22. Newton's First Letter to Bentley, quoted by Tulloch, Theism, edit. N.Y. 1855, p. 109.
23. Dr. Buchanan's Analogy a Guide to Truth and an Aid to Faith, edit. Edinburgh, 1864, p. 414.
24. De Natura Deorum, ii. 37.
25. Logische Untersuchungen, vol. ii. p. 64.
26. De Monarchia, i. § 4, edit. Leipsig, 1828, vol. iv. p. 290.
27. This is in accordance with the accepted theological definition of a person as a "suprositum intelligens."
28. Logic, edit. London, 1851, vol. i. pp. 366.
29. "Dialogues on Natural Religion," Works, edit. Edinburgh, 1826, vol. ii. p. 449.
30. Page 39.
31. Homologies, p. 73.
32. Active Powers, III. i. 2, vol. iv. p. 48: edit. Charlestown, 1815.
33. Natural Theology, chap. xviii.

Part 01: Theology Proper 03: Anti-Theistic Theories


Anti-Theistic Theories

§ 1. What is meant by Anti-Theism.    § 2.Polytheism.   § 3. Hylozoism.
§ 4. Materialism.  § 5. Pantheism.

§ 1. What is meant by Anti-Theism.

    As Theism is the doctrine of an extramundane, personal God, the creator, preserver, and governor of all things, any doctrine which denies the existence of such a Being is anti-theistic. Not only avowed Atheism, therefore, but Polytheism, Hylozoism, Materialism, and Pantheism, belong to the class of anti-theistic theories.


    Atheism does not call for any separate discussion. It is in itself purely negative. It affirms nothing. It simply denies what Theism asserts. The proof of Theism is, therefore, the refutation of Atheism. Atheist is, however, a term of reproach. Few men are willing to call themselves, or to allow others to call them by that name. Hume, we know, resented it. Hence those who are really atheists, according to the etymological and commonly received meaning of the word, repudiate the term. They claim to be believers in God, although they assign to that word a meaning which is entirely unauthorized by usage. Thus Helvetius1 says, "There is no man of understanding who does not admit an active principle in nature; therefore there is no atheist. He is not an atheist who says that motion is God; because in fact motion is incomprehensible, as we have no clear idea of it, because it only manifests itself by its effects, and by it all things are performed in the universe. Cousin2 says, " Atheism is impossible, because the existence of God is implied in every affirmation. If a man believes that he exists, he must believe in the power of thought, and that is God." In like manner Herbert Spencer claims to be religious. He does not oppose religion, but dogmas. He acknowledges inscrutable power. He reduces all our knowledge to the two facts, "That force is," and "Force is persistent." Force, however, is perfectly inscrutable and incomprehensible. On this principle he attempts to reconcile religion and science. The ultimate principle of religion, that in which all religions agree, is that there is an inscrutable power which is the cause of all things. This also is the ultimate principle of science. They have therefore a common ground. Nothing can be predicated of this cause; not consciousness; not intelligence; not will; only that it is a force. This is all the God the new philosophy leaves us.3

    Language, however, has its rights. The meaning of words cannot be changed at the pleasure of individuals. The word God, and its equivalents in other languages, have a definite meaning, from which no man is at liberty to depart. If any one says he believes in God, he says he believes in the existence of a personal, self-conscious being. He does not believe in God, if he only believes in "motion," in "force," in "thought," in "moral order," in "the incomprehensible," or in any other abstraction.

    Theists also have their rights. Theism is a definite form of belief. For the expression of that belief, the word Theism is the established and universally recognized term. We have the right to retain it; and we have the right to designate as Atheism, all forms of doctrine which involve the denial of what is universally understood by Theism.

Is Atheism possible?

    The question has often been discussed, Whether Atheism is possible? The answer to the question depends on the meaning of the term. If the question be, Whether a man can emancipate himself from the conviction that there is a personal Being to whom he is responsible for his character and conduct, and who will punish him for his sins? it must be answered in the negative. For that would be to emancipate himself from the moral law, which is impossible. If, however, the question means, Whether a man may, by speculation or otherwise, bring himself into such a state as to lose the consciousness of the belief of God as written in his heart, and free himself, for a time, from its power? it must be answered affirmatively. A man may, in this sense, deny his individuality or identity; the real, objective existence of soul or body, mind or matter; the distinction between right and wrong. But this is unnatural, and cannot last. It is like deflecting a spring by force. The moment the force is removed, the spring returns to its normal position. Men, therefore, often pass in a moment from a state of entire skepticism to a state of unquestioning faith; not of course by a process of argument, but by a change in their inward state. This transition from unbelief to faith, though thus sudden, and although not produced by an intellectual process, is perfectly rational. The feelings which rise in the mind contain evidence of the truth which the understanding cannot resist. It is also a familiar psychological fact, that skepticism and faith may, in a certain sense, coexist in the mind. An idealist while abiding by his theory has nevertheless an inward conviction of the reality of the external world. So the speculative atheist lives with the abiding conviction that there is a God to whom he must render an account.

§ 2.Polytheism.

    As the word implies, Polytheism is the theory which assumes the existence of many gods. Monotheism was the original religion of our race. This is evident not only from the teachings of the Scriptures, but also from the fact that the earliest historical form of religious belief is monotheistic. There are monotheistic hymns in the Vedas, the most ancient writings now extant, unless the Pentateuch be an exception.

    The first departure from monotheism seems to have been nature worship. As men lost the knowledge of God as creator, they were led to reverence the physical elements with which they were in conflict, whose power they witnessed, and whose beneficent influence they constantly experienced. Hence not only the sun, moon, and stars, the great representatives of nature, but fire, air, and water, became the objects of popular worship. We accordingly find that the Vedas consist largely of hymns addressed to these natural elements.

    These powers were personified, and soon it came to be generally believed that a personal being presided over each. And these imaginary beings were the objects of popular worship.

    While the mass of the people really believed in beings that were "called gods" (1Co 8:5), many of the more enlightened were monotheists, and more were pantheists. The early introduction and wide dissemination of pantheism are proved frcm the fact that it lies at the foundation of Brahminism and Buddhism, the religions of the larger part of the human race for thousands of years.

    There can be little doubt that when the Aryan tribes entered India, fifteen hundred or two thousand years before Christ, pantheism was their established belief. The unknown, and "unconditioned" infinite Being, reveals itself according to the Hindu system, as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, -- that is, as Creator, Preserver, and Restorer. These were not persons, but modes of manifestation. It was in this form that the idea of an endless process of development of the infinite into the finite, and of the return of the finite into the infinite, was expressed. It was from this pantheistic principle that the endless polytheism of the Hindus naturally developed itself; and this determined the character of their whole religion. As all that is, is only a manifestation of God, everything remarkable, and especially the appearance of any remarkable man, was regarded as an "avatar," or incarnation of God, in one or other of his modes of manifestation, as Brahma, Vishnu, or Shiva. And as evil is as actual as good, the one is as much a manifestation, or, modus existendi, of the infinite Being as the other. And hence there are evil gods as well as good. In no part of the world has pantheism had such a field for development as in India, and nowhere has it brought forth its legitimate effects in such a portentous amount of evil. Nowhere has polytheism been carried to such revolting extremes.

    Among the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans polytheism assumed a form determined by the character of the people. The Greeks rendered it bright, beautiful, and sensual; the Romans were more decorous and sedate. Among barbarous nations it has assumed forms much more simple, and in many cases more rational.

    In the Bible the gods of the heathen are declared to be "vanity," and "nothing," mere imaginary beings, without power either to hurt or to save. (Jer 2:28; Isa 41:29; 42:17; Ps 106:28.) They arc also represented as daimo,nia (1Co 10:20). This word may express either an imaginary, or a real existence. The objects of heathen worship are called gods, even when declared to be nonentities. So they may be called "demons," without intending to teach that they are "spirits." As the word, however, generally in the New Testament, does mean "evil spirits," it is perhaps better to take it in that sense when it refers to the objects of heathen worship. This is not inconsistent with the doctrine that the gods of the heathen are "vanities and lies." They are not what men take them to be. They have no divine power. Paul says of the heathen before their conversion, "evdouleu,sate toij fu,s uh. o=si qeoi/j" (Ga 4:8). The prevalence and persistency of Polytheism show that it must have a strong affinity with fallen human nature. Although, except in pantheism, it has no philosophical basis, it constitutes a formidable obstacle to the progress of true religion in the world. 

§3. Hylozoism.

    Hylozoism, from u[lh, matter, and zwh,, life, is properly the doctrine that matter is endued with life. And this is the form in which the doctrine was held by many of its advocates. All matter, and every particle of matter, besides its physical properties, has a principle of life in itself, which precludes the necessity of assuming any other cause for the phenomena of life exhibited in the world. In this form Hylozoism does not differ from Materialism.

    Most commonly, however, the term is used to designate a system which admits a distinction between mind and matter, but considers them as intimately and inseparably united, as the soul and body in man. God, according to this view, is the soul of the world; an intelligent power everywhere present, to which are to be referred all the manifestations of design in the external world, and all the activity of the human soul. The relation, however, of the soul to the body, is a very imperfect illustration of the relation of God to the world according to the hylozoistic system. The soul is really exterior to the body, and independent of it, at least for its existence and activity. It is not the life of the body. It neither fashions nor preserves it. It is not even conscious of the vital activity by which the body is developed and sustained. Whereas according to the hylozoistic theory, the soul of the world is its plastic principle, the inward source of all its organizations and of all its activities.

    The leading principles of this theory as developed by the Stoics are, (1.) There are two constituent principles of the universe, one active, the other passive. The passive principle is matter, without form and without properties, i. e., inert. The active principle is mind, dwelling in matter its organizing formative power, i. e., God. (2.) The universe is therefore to be viewed under three aspects: (a.) As the all-forming power; the natura naturans, or, h`fu,sij tecnikh,. (b.) The world as formed by this living, inward principle. The living ko,smoj, or natura naturata. (c.) The identity of the two, as they form one whole. It is only by an act of the mind that the one is distinguished from the other. Therefore the world, as including both, or as the identity of both, is formed with the greatest wisdom, and by a necessary process, for the laws of nature are the laws of reason. Cicero,4 expounding this system, says, "Natura, non artificiosa solum, sed plane artifex ab eodem Zenone dicitur; consultrix, et provida utilitatum opportunitatumque omnium. Censet [Zeno] enim artis maxime proprium est creare et gignere, quodque in operibus nostrarum artium manus officiet id multo artificiosius naturam officere."

    (3.) The universe, therefore (The All-one), of which God is the soul and Nature the body, is living, immortal, rational, and perfect (zw/on avqa,naton, logiko.n, te,leion). God, as the controlling, operative principle in all things, acts according to necessary although rational laws. (4.) The souls of men are of the same nature with the soul of the world, but as individual existences, passing away when the life of the body ceases. (5.) The highest end of life is virtue; and virtue is living according to reason.5

    This system in one of its forms is nearly identical with Materialism, and in the other with Pantheism. There is no personal God to whom we are responsible, no freedom of the will; therefore, no sin, and no conscious existence after death.

§ 4. Materialism.

    Materialism is that system which ignores the distinction between matter and mind, and refers all the phenomena of the world, whether physical, vital, or mental, to the functions of matter.

A. The Doctrine of Epicurus.

    Epicurus taught, (1.) That as ex nihilo nihil fit, the universe has always existed, and must continue to exist forever. (2.) That space, and the number of bodies which it contains, are infinite. (3.) These bodies are of two kinds, simple and compound. The simple bodies are atoms possessing form, magnitude, and weight. They are indivisible, unalterable, and indestructible. This is also the doctrine of modern science. Faraday6 says, "A particle of oxygen is ever a particle of oxygen, -- nothing can in the least wear it. If it enters into combination, and disappears as oxygen; if it pass through a thousand combinations, animal, vegetable, and mineral -- if it lie hid for a thousand years, and then be evolved, it is oxygen with its first qualities, neither more nor less. It has all its original force, and only that; the amount of force which it disengaged when hiding itself, has again to be employed in a reverse direction when it is set at liberty." (4.) These atoms have their peculiar forces, distinct from their mere gravity. This, too, is the doctrine of modern science. It is included in what Faraday says in the passage just quoted. "Molecules," say the scientific men of our day, "have been endowed with forces which give rise to various chemical qualities, and these never change either in their nature or in their amount."7 (5.) Epicurus taught that the quantity of matter, and of course the amount of force in the world, is always the same. Neither can be increased or diminished. (6.) The atoms, of which the number is infinite, move through space with incredible velocity under the guidance of necessary physical laws. (7.) By the combination of these atoms under the influence of gravity and other physical forces, the universe was formed, and became a cosmos. This is very nearly the nebular hypothesis. (8.) The soul is material; or, in other words, all mental phenomena are due to the properties of matter. This, also, is proclaimed as the last result of modern science. (9.) The soul, of course, ceases to exist when the body dies; i. e., as death is the cessation of the vital, so it is also of the intellectual functions of the individual. The atoms of which the man is composed, with the forces which belong to them, continue to exist, and may enter into the composition of other men. But the man, as an individual, ceases to exist. This, almost in so many words, is the avowed doctrine of many physicists of the present day. (10.) Sensation is for us the only source of knowledge. By remembering former sensations, we form ideas, and by the combination of ideas we form judgments. Almost the very words of Hume, and the doctrine of the whole school of which he is the representative. (11.) As Epicurus held that nothing is incorporeal except a vacuum, he of necessity includes all the forms of existence under the head of matter. As there is no mind or spirit, there is no God, and no moral law. Virtue is only a prudent regard to happiness. In a certain sense he admitted the existence of God's, but they were corporeal beings having no concern with the affairs of men.8

    A recent German writer,9 in Herzog's "Encyklopadie," under the head of Materialismus, says that notwithstanding the great progress of modern science, the Materialists of our day have not advanced a step upon the system of Epicurus. That system, probably owing to the dominant influence of the higher philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, did not exert much influence on the ancient mind, or on the progress of human thought. It was not until modern times that Materialism gained any great power as a philosophical theory.

B. Materialism in England during the Eighteenth Century.

    Hobbes (1588-1679) anticipated the movement towards Materialism which manifested itself in England during the last century "He made sensation the real basis of every mental operations the sole originator of our ideas, the sole medium and test of truth.10 As, therefore, we can perceive through sensation only what is material, he concluded that matter is the only reality, and that whatever exists to us must accordingly be a part of the material universe. The whole process of scientific investigation was thus reduced to the doctrine of bodies, beyond which, he maintained, there can be no knowledge whatever accessible to the human mind. This knowledge, however, does not refer simply to the existence of bodies, but also to their changes, of all which changes the ultimate principle is motion. The doctrine of bodies, therefore, includes the knowledge of all phenomena in relation to their probable causes; and of all possible causes as known from their observed effects. . . . The mind itself he viewed as wholly material, the phenomena of consciousness being the direct result of our organization. The one great and fundamental fact of mind is sensation, which is nothing more or less than the effect of material objects around us, exerted by means of pressure or impact upon that material organization which we term the mind."11 Thus it appears that Hobbes anticipated the great result of modern science, that all force may be resolved into motion.

Locke (1632-1704).

    The introduction of Materialism into England during the last century is generally attributed to the influence of Locke's philosophy. Locke himself was far from being a Materialist, and the advocates of his system strenuously insist that his principles have no legitimate tendency to obliterate the distinction between matter and mind. Locke, however, in combating the doctrine of "innate ideas," in the sense of abstract truths, seemed to deny that the mind was so constituted as to apprehend truth intuitively, and beyond the range of experience. He compared the mind to a "tabula rasa." This figure suggests that all our knowledge is from without, as the slate contributes nothing to the matter written upon it. He defined ideas to be "anything with which the mind is immediately occupied when we think." The origin of these ideas, he said, was sensation and reflection. If by reflection he meant the observation of the phenomena of the mind, his theory is one thing. If it mean the process of recalling, combining, analyzing, and otherwise elaborating the impressions upon us from without, his theory is another. Probably Locke himself, and certainly many of his followers, took it in the latter sense; and thus the two sources of ideas, or of knowledge, are reduced to one, and that one is sensation. But as sensation can give us the knowledge only of what is external and material, the theory in this form seemed to leave no room for the higher ideas of eternal and necessary truths. Locke attempts to account for our ideas, of time, space, infinity, cause, and even of right and wrong, from observation, i. e., from observation of what is without, or from impressions made upon our senses. It is a common criticism upon Locke's great work, that in it he does not distinguish between the occasion and the source of our ideas. Our experience furnishes the occasion, and it may be the necessary condition, of waking the mind to the perception not only of the fact experienced, but also of the intuitive apprehension of the universal and necessary truth which the fact involves. If we did not see effects produced around us, and did not ourselves exercise efficiency, we might never have the idea of causation; but the conviction that every effect must have a cause is an intuitive judgment, which experience can neither produce nor limit. It is not from the observed tendency of some acts to produce happiness, and of others to produce misery, that we get the idea of the essential distinction between right and wrong; but from the constitution of the mind. Although Locke, and many of his disciples, were satisfied with his method of accounting for our ideas of God, of spirit, and of moral and religious truths, yet it is also certain that many of his followers felt justified on his principles to discard them.

Hartley (1705-1757).

    Hartley was a physician and a physiologist. Physiology and psychology have intimate relations. It is perhaps natural that those who devote themselves specially to the former, should make little of the latter. It is the marked characteristic of our age, so far as physicists are concerned, that it tries to merge psychology entirely into physiology. Hartley adopted the principles of Locke, and endeavored to show how it is that external things produce sensation and thought. This he did by his theory of vibrations. "The objects of the external world affect in some manner the extreme ends of the nerves, which spread from the brain as centre to every part of the body. This affection produces a vibration, which is continued along the nerve by the agency of an elastic 'ether, until it reaches the brain, where it constitutes the phenomenon we term sensation. When a sensation has been experienced several times, the vibratory movement from which it arises acquires the tendency to repeat itself spontaneously, even when the external object is not present. These repetitions or relics of sensations are ideas, which in their turn possess the property of recalling each other by virtue of mutual association among themselves."12 This doctrine of association of ideas is the most important part of his system. He insists principally on the following law: "An idea is sometimes associated with another through the medium of a third; but in process of time this intermediate idea may be disregarded, and yet the connection between the first and third may, notwithstanding, remain. Thus the idea of pleasure, which is so indissolubly connected with money, arises from the conveniences which it is able to procure, while in the mind of the miser the conveniences are lost sight of, and the very possession of the money itself is regarded as containing the whole enjoyment. In this way Hartley accounts for almost all the emotions and passions of the human mind. The domestic affections, for instance, arise from the transference of the pleasure derived from parental kindness to the parent itself; the social and patriotic affections from transferring the pleasures of society to the country which affords them; in like manner, also, the moral and religious affections, the love of virtue and the love of God, arise from the pleasures connected with virtuous and pious conduct, being transferred to the law of action, or to the supreme Lawgiver, from whom these pleasures have emanated."13 The connection of this theory with Materialism is obvious. If vibrations of the brain constitute sensation, and if the relics, or spontaneous repetitions of these vibrations constitute thought and feeling, then all mental and moral acts are mere affections of our material organism. It is also obvious that, according to this theory, there is no more freedom in volition than in sensation. The former is a mode, or relic of the latter. Although this tendency of his system was undeniable, and although his successors drew these conclusions from his principles, Hartley himself was not a Materialist. He was a very religious man. It is not at all uncommon for a man to hold a speculative theory inconsistent with his faith.

    Morell14quotes the following criticism of Hartley's doctrine from the "Edinburgh Review": "There may be," says the reviewer, "little shakings in the brain, for anything we know, and there may even be shakings of a different kind accompanying every act of thought or perception ; -- but that the shakings themselves are the thought or perception, we are so far from admitting, that we find it absolutely impossible to comprehend what is meant by the assertion. The shakings are certain throbbings, vibrations, or stirrings, in a whitish, half-fluid substance like custard, which we might see perhaps, or feel, if we had eyes and fingers sufficiently small or fine for the office. But what should we see or feel, upon the supposition that we could detect by our senses, everything that actually took place in the brain? We should see the particles of this substance change their place a little, move a little up or down, to the right or the left, round about or zigzag, or in some other course or direction. This is all that we could see, if Dr. Hartley's conjecture were proved by actual observation; because this is all that exists in motion, according to our conception of it, and all that we mean when we say that there is motion in any substance. Is it intelligible, then, to say, that this motion, the whole of which we see and comprehend, is thought and feeling, and that thought and feeling will exist, wherever we can excite a similar motion in a similar substance? -- In our humble apprehension the proposition is not so much false, as utterly unmeaning and incomprehensible."15

    If history repeats itself, so does philosophy. What the "Edinburgh Review" said of Hartley nearly seventy years ago, Professor Tyndall says of the Materialists of our day. "The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite thought and a definite molecular action in the brain occur simultaneously; we do not possess the intellectual organ, nor apparently any rudiment of the organ, which would enable us to pass, by a process of reasoning, from the one phenomenon to the other. They appear together, but we do not know why. Were our minds and senses so expanded, strengthened, and illuminated, as to enable us to see and feel the very molecules of the brain; were we capable of following all their motions, all their grouping, all their electric discharges, if such there be; and were we intimately acquainted with the corresponding states of thought and feeling, we should probably be as far as ever from the solution of the problem. How are these physical processes connected with the facts of consciousness? The chasm between the two classes of phenomena would still remain intellectually impassable. Let the consciousness of lose, for example, be associated with a right-handed spiral motion of the molecules of the brain, and the consciousness of hate with a left-handed spiral motion. We should then know when we love that the motion is in one direction, and when we hate that the motion is in the other, but the 'Why?' would still remain unanswered. In affirming that the growth of the body is mechanical, and that thought, as exercised by us, has its correlative in the physics of the brain, I think the position of the 'Materialist' is stated as far as that position is a tenable one. I think the Materialist will be able finally to maintain this position against all attacks; but I do not think, as the human mind is at present constituted, that he can pass beyond it. I do not think he is entitled to say that his molecular grouping and his molecular motions explain everything. In reality they explain nothing."16

Priestley (1733-1804).

    Priestley owes his permanent reputation to his important discoveries in the department of physical science. He was, however, prominent during his life for the part he took in philosophical and theological controversies. Devoted to science, the senses were for him the great sources of knowledge; all others, except supernaturaI revelation which he admitted, he distrusted. He adopted with enthusiasm the theory of Hartley which resolved thought and feeling into vibrations of the brain. Hartley, he said, had done more for the doctrine of mind than Newton accomplished for the theory of the material universe. He did not hesitate to avow himnself a Materialist. " Priestley," says Morell,17 "rested the truth of Materialism upon two deductions. The first was, that thought and sensation are essentially the samne thing -- that the whole variety of our ideas, however abstract and refined they may become, are, nevertheless, but modifications of the sensational faculty. . . .  The second deduction was, that all sensation, and, consequently, all thought, arises from the affections of our material organization, and therefore consists entirely in the motion of the material particles of which the nerves and brain are composed." He was a necessitarian, and in morals a utilitarian. Believing, however, in God and in divine revelation, he admitted a future state of existence. As the Bible teaches the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, Priestley believed that man would be restored to conscious existence when that event occurred. His principal works bearing on this subject are: "Examination of Reid, Beattie, and Oswald," "Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity Explained," "Disquisitions relating to Matter and Spirit," and "Hartley's Theory of the Human Mind, with Essays relating to the subject of it."

    Hume is regarded as their master by the most advanced physicists of the modern scientific school, so far as their general principles and method of philosophizing are concerned. He was neither a Materialist nor an Idealist, but rather a Nihilist, as his great object was to show that no certainty could be attained in any department of knowledge. He affirmed nothing and denied everything. Such knowledge as we have comes fromn sensation, therefore, he maintained that as we have no sensation of efficiency, we can have no idea of it, and no evidence of its reality. A cause is not that which produces an effect, but simply that which uniformly precedes it. Consequently, anything can be the cause of anything. Again, as we have no perception by the senses of substance, there can be no such thing. This applies to mind as well as matter. Nothing exists to us but our thoughts and feelings. We are "nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in perpetual flux and movement."

C. Materialism in Prance during the Eighteenth Century.

    The sensational philosophy, as it is called, found a much more congenial soil in France than in England. Locke's "Essay" was translated into the language of that country and made the subject of comments and lectures. His leading principles were adopted without the limitations and qualifications with which he had presented them, and conclusions drawn from them which Locke would have been the first to repudiate.

    Condillac, one of the first and most influential of the disciples of Locke, in his first work, 'Essai sur l'Origine des Connaissances Humaines," differed comparatively little from the English philosopher. But in his "Traite des Sensations," he virtually discarded "reflection" as a source of our ideas, and regarded all thoughts, feelings, and volitions as "transformed sensations." "While he answered the question concerning the relation between the soul and body, by assuming their identity, he took theistic ground in accounting for the origin of the world. This middle ground was occupied also, at least ostensibly, by Diderot and D'Alembert in the French "Encyclopedie," who, notwithstanding their sensational theory as to the source of our knowledge, and their making happiness the ground of morals and end of life, not only maintained theistic principles, but insisted on the necessity of a divine revelation. This, however, was probably more a matter of prudence than of conviction."18

    These, however, were only the first steps. The extreme of materialistic atheism was soon reached and avowed. La Mettrie published his "L'Histoire Naturelle de l'Ame" in 1745, his "L'Homme Machine," the same year, and his "L'Homme Plante," in 1749. Helvetius published his work "De l'Esprit" in 1758. His book entitled "De l'Homme" was published after his death. The climax was reached by Baron d'Holbach in his " de la Nature," in which Materialism, fatalism, and atheism were openly avowed. According to this system matter and motion are eternal; thought is an agitation of the nerves; the soul the result of our corporeal organization; the will the strongest sensation; the ground of morals a regard to our own happiness. There is no freedom, no morality, no future existence, no God. When these principles got hold of the popular mind, then came the end.

D. Positivism.

    Comte, the author of the "Positive Philosophy," was born in 1798, and died in 1859. The greater part of his life was passed in poverty and neglect. His only occupation was teaching. Ten years were devoted to the preparation of a course of lectures on philosophy which secured him wealth and fame. He called his system "Philosophie Positive," because it purported "to assume nothing beyond the content of observed facts."

    The fundamental principle of the "Positive Philosophy" is the one so often referred to, namely, that the senses are the only source of our knowledge, hence nothing exists but matter. There is no mind distinct from matter; no such thing as efficiency; no causes, whether first or final; no God; no future state of existence for man. Theology and psychology are, therefore, banished from the domain of science. Science is solely occupied in the observation of facts, and in deducing from them the laws by which they are determined. These laws, however, are not forces operating in a uniform manner, but simply statements of the actual order in the sequence of events. This sequence is not only uniform but necessary. Our business is simply to ascertain what it is. The only method by which this can be done is observation. This task is much easier in some departments than in others; for in some the facts to be observed are less numerous and less complicated. In mathematics and astronomy the facts are all of one kind; whereas in physiology and sociology they are of very different kinds, and vastly more complicated. The same rule, however, applies to all departments. In all, the sequence of events is uniform and necessary; and if we can only, by a sufficient induction of facts, ascertain what the law of sequence is, we shall be able to predict the future as certainly in one department as in another. The astronoomer can tell what will be the position of the stars and planets a century hence. The Positivist will he able to foretell with equal certainty how a man will act in any given circumstances, and what will be the progress and state of society in time to come.

    It follows, therefore, according to the Positive Philosophy, (1.) That all our knowledge is confined to physical phenomena. (2.) That all we can know of such phenomena is, that they are, and the relations in which they stand to each other. (3.) That these relations are all included under the heads of sequence and resemblance. (4.) These relations constitute the laws of nature, and are invariable. (5.) As everything that exists is material, these laws, or "invariable relations of succession and resemblance," control all the phenomena of mind, as we call it, and of social life and of history, as well as those of nature, in the common sense of that word. (6.) As everything is included in the department of physics, everything is controlled by physical laws, and there is no more freedom in human acts than in the motions of the stars; and, therefore, the one can be predicted with the same certainty as the other.

    The following quotations from the "Philosophie Positive," "freely translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau,"19 include all the points above mentioned.

    "The first characteristic of the Positive Philosophy is that it regards all phenomena as subjected to invariable natural laws. Our business is, -- seeing how vain is any research into what are called causes, whether first or final, -- to pursue an accurate discovery of these laws, with a view to reducing them to the smallest possible number."20 "Our positive method of connecting phenomena is by one or other of two relations, --- that of similitude or that of succession, -- the mere fact of such resemblance or succession being all that we can pretend to know; and all that we need to know; for this perception comprehends all knowledge which consists in elucidating something by something else, -- in now explaining, and now foreseeing certain phenomena, by means of the resemblance or sequence of other phenomena."21 "If we regard these functions [of the mind] under their statical aspect,-- that is, if we consider the conditions under which they exist, -- we must determine the organic circumstances of the case, which inquiry involves it with anatomy and physiology. If we look at the dynamic aspect, we have to study simply the exercise and results of the intellectual powers of the human race, which is neither more nor less than the general object of the Positive Philosophy."22

    Comte is obliged to use the word "power," and to speak of its exercise, yet all his philosophy denies the existence of any such thing as efficiency. The laws which determine events are nothing more than facts of uniform sequence. According to the passage just quoted, one department of psychology (the statical) belongs to anatomy and physiology; the other (the dynamic) to the observed sequence of certain facts called intellectual. The sequence is invariable. The intervention of will is necessarily excluded, because philosophy, at least Positivism, is nothing unless it secures the power of prevision. But free acts cannot be foreseen by man. Hence Comte says, "The arbitrary can never be excluded while political phenomena are referred to will, divine or human, instead of being connected with invariable natural laws."23 "If social events were always exposed to disturbance by the accidental intervention of the legislator, human or divine, no scientific prevision of them would be possible."24

    Intellectual exercises being regarded as a function of the brain, Comte says, "The positive theory of the intellectual and affective functions is therefore henceforth unchangeably regarded as consisting in the study, both rational and experimental, of the various phenomena of internal sensibility, which are proper to the cerebral ganglia, apart from their external apparatus. It is, therefore, simply a prolongation of animal physiology, properly so called, when this is extended so as to include the fundamental and ultimate attributes."25

    Comte, being an ardent phrenologist, founded one of the arguments for his system on the organization of the brain; but his great dependence was upon the law of human development. He admitted no essential difference between man and irrational animals. The superiority of man is only in the degree of his intelligence, which is due to his better physical organization. According to Comte, the whole human race, and every individual man, passes through three distinct stages, which he calls the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive. During the first stage all events are referred to supernatural causes. In the first part of this stage of their progress, men were fetich-worshippers; then they gradually became polytheists, and monotheists. This he endeavors to prove historically in regard to the Greeks, the Romans, and the inhabitants of western Europe. As men outgrew the fetich age, so they outgrew the polytheistic and monotheistic forms of belief. That is, they ceased to refer phenomena to the agency of supernatural beings.

    During the metaphysical stage, phenomena are referred to unseen causes, to occult powers, or forces, that is, to something which the senses cannot detect. This also has passed away, and men have come to recognize the great fact that there are no spiritual agencies in the universe, no efficient causes, nothing but events to be arranged according to the laws of sequence and resemblance. The order of events is invariable and necessary. What it has been in the past, it will be in the future. As this is the law of the development of the race collectively, so it is of the individual man. Every one, in his progress from infancy to manhood, passes through these several stages, the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive. We first believe in supernatural agencies (witches, ghosts, souls, angels, etc.); then in occult causes; then only in facts discerned by the senses. The history of the race and the experience of the individual man are thus made the broad and sure foundation of the Positive Philosophy.


    1. Considering that the advocates of this philosophy are a mere handful; considering that nine hundred and ninety-nine millions of the thousand millions of our race still believe in God, it is a rather violent assumption that mankind have reached the stage of Positivism. It may be readily admitted that the progress of science and of Christianity has banished alchemy, astrology, witchcraft, and necromancy from enlightened portions of our race, but it has had a scarcely discernible effect in banishing belief in mind as distinct from matter, or in efficient causes, or in God. Admitting, therefore, the principle of the argument to be correct, the conclusion arrived at is contradicted by facts.

    2. The principle itself, however, is a groundless assumption. There has been no such development of the race, and there is no such development of the individual man, as the argument supposes. Much less is it true, as Comte maintains, that these several methods of dealing with phenomena are antagonistic and mutually exclusive; that if we believe in spiritual agents, we cannot believe in unseen, metaphysical causes; and that if we believe in the latter we cannot believe in the former. The fact is, the great mass of mankind, educated and uneducated, believe in both. They believe in God and mind, as well as in occult causes, such as electricity, magnetism, and other physical forces; which, in Comte's sense of the word, are metaphysical.

    With regard to this assumed law of progress, Prof. Huxley, who is as completely emancipated from the trammels of authority as any man of science now living, says, in the first place, that Comte contradicts himself as to this fundamental principle. In proof he quotes a long passage from the "Philosophie Positive," in which Comte teaches, -- "(a.) As a matter of fact, the human intellect has not been invariably subjected to the law of the three states, and, therefore, the necessity of the law cannot be demonstrable a priori. (b.) Much of our knowledge of all kinds has not passed through the three states, and more particularly, as M. Comte is careful to point out, not through the first. (c.) The positive state has more or less coexisted with the theological, from the dawn of human intelligence. And, by way of completing the series of contradictions, the assertion that the three states are 'essentially different and even radically opposed,' is met a little lower on the same page by the declaration that 'the metaphysical state is, at bottom, nothing but a simple general modification of the first.'" "Men of science," he adds, "are not in the habit of paying much attention to 'laws' stated in this fashion."26

    After showing that the individual man does not pass through these several states, Prof. Huxley says, "What is true of the individual is, mutatis mutandis, true of the intellectual development of the species. It is absurd to say of men in a state of primitive savagery, that all their conceptions are in a theological state. Nine tenths of them are eminently realistic, and as 'positive' as ignorance and narrowness can make them."27

    Besides, it is not true that the race of men now existing on the earth, were in their primitive state fetich-worshippers, or that they gradually rose to polytheism and monotheism. The reverse is true. Not only revelation, but all history and tradition, go to show that the primitive state of our race was its highest state, at least so far as religion is concerned. Monotheism was the earliest form of religion among men. To that succeeded nature-worship and pantheism, and to that polytheism. It is a historical fact that monotheism was not reached by a process of development. Monotheism was first; it gradually perished from among men, except as miraculously preserved among the Hebrews, and from them diffused through the medium of, or rather, in the form of, Christianity. It extends nowhere beyond the influence, direct or indirect, of the supernatural revelation contained in the Bible. This is a fact which scientific men should not overlook in their deductions.

    3. Comte was guilty of the unfairness of confining his survey to a small portion of the nations of the earth; and that the portion too which had been brought under the influence of Christianity. If the law which he sought to establish be universal and necessary, it must have operated from the beginning in India and China as well as in Europe. The millions of those regions have not reached the monotheistic, much less the metaphysical, and still less the positive stage of development. India especially furnishes a striking refutation of this theory. The Hindus are a highly intellectual race. Their language and literature are on a par with those of Greece and Rome. Their philosophers, nearly three thousand years ago, anticipated the highest results reached by thie Schellings and Hegels of our day. Yet of all the nations of the earth the Hindus are the least materialistic, or positive, in their views of nature. With them the supernatural or spiritual is alone real. The Hindus, therefore, cannot be subject to that universal and necessary law of development which is assumed as the foundation of the Positive Philosophy.

    4. It is of course presumptuous and idle to attempt to reason men out of their senses, or to convince them that what their very nature teaches them is true, is utterly false and untrustworthy. This, however, Comte not only attempts, but his whole system is rounded on the assumption that our nature is a delusion and a lie. That is, it is founded on the assumption that intuitive truths are false. It is intuitively true that we are free agents. This Comte denies. It is intuitively true that there is a specific and essential difference between right and wrong. This is denied. It is intuitively true that every effect has an efficient cause. This too is denied. It is intuitively true that there is a God to whom men are responsible for their character and conduct. This also is denied. Had all the intellect and all the knowledge ever possessed by men and angels been concentrated in the person of Comte, it had still been folly in him to attempt to found a system involving the denial of such truths as these. The Christian is not afraid to say one thing more. It is intuitively true, to all who have eyes to see, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that his gospel is the wisdom of God and the power of God unto salvation, and that it is absolutely impossible that any theory which is opposed to these divine intuitions can be true.

    Another illustration of the presumptuous character of this philosophy is found in what it teaches concerning Sociology. Scientific men of all countries have long been laboriously engaged in making meteorological observations, and yet such are the number and complexity of the causes which determine the state of the weather, that no man is able to predict how the wind will blow forty-eight hours, much less, a year, in advance. The causes which determine human action in the individual and in society, are far more complex and inscrutable than those which determine the state of the weather. Yet Comte assumes to have reduced Sociology to a science, vying with mathematics in certainty. "I will venture to say," is his confident assertion, "that Sociological science, though only established by this book, already rivals mathematical science itself, not in precision and fecundity, but in positivity and rationality."28

Practical Applications of Positivism.

    The practical applications of this philosophy are very serious. Positivism claims the right of absolute and universal control over all human affairs; over education, politics, social organization, and religion. As the progress of science has banished all liberty of opinion or of action from the departments of mathematics and astronomy, so it must banish it from every other department of human thought and activity. Speaking of liberty of conscience, Comte says: "Negative as we now see this dogma to be, signifying release from old authority, while waiting for the necessity of positive science, the absolute character supposed to reside in it gave it energy to fulfil its revolutionary destination. . . . This dogma can never be an organic principle; and, moreover, it constitutes an obstacle to reorganization, now that its activity is no longer absorbed by the demolition of the old political order. . . .  Can it be supposed," he asks, "that the most important and the most delicate conceptions, and those which by their complexity are accessible to only a small number of highly prepared understandings, are to be abandoned to the arbitrary and variable decisions of the least competent minds."29 This argument is conclusive. If social life, the acts of men, are as much and as certainly determined by physical laws as material changes, those who have ascertained these laws are entitled to control all other men. As it would be preposterous to allow men to build our houses or navigate our ships who would not obey the laws of nature, so it would be absurd, on this hypothesis, to allow those ignorant of social laws to govern society. Comte avows his admiration, not of popish doctrine, but of the papal organization, which in the new order of things he proposes to continue. "Papal infallibility," he says,30 "was a great intellectual and social advance." Prof. Huxley pithily characterizes Positivism, in this regard, as "Catholicism minus Christianity."

    Religion is not excepted from this absolute subjection. The Positive Philosophy, as it denies the existence of the soul and the being of God, would seem to leave no place for religion. Comte placed on the title-page of his "Discours sur l'Ensemble du Positivisime," the announcement that his design was to reorganize society "sans Dieu ni Roi." Nevertheless, as men must have, as they always have had, some religion, a philosophy which aspired to absolute dominion over all the departments of human life, must make some provision for this universal, although imaginary, necessity of our nature. Comte, therefore, published a catechism of religious belief, and a ritual of religious worship. The object of worship was to be the aggregate of humanity formed by the absorption of the successive generations of men. Every great man has two forms of existence: one conscious before death; the other after death, unconscious, in the hearts and intellects of other men. The God of the Positive Philosophy is, therefore, the aggregate of the memories of great men. "Undoubtedly," says Huxley, "'Dieu' disappeared, but the 'Noveau Grand-Etre Supreme,' a gigantic fetich, turned out bran-new by M. Comte's own hands, reigned in his stead. 'Roi' also was not heard of; but in his place I found a minutely-defined social organization, which, if it ever came into practice, would exert a despotic authority such as no sultan has rivalled, and no Puritan presbytery in its palmiest days could hope to excel. While, as for the 'culte syste,matique de l'humnanite,,' I, in my blindness, could not distinguish it from sheer Popery, with M. Comte in the chair of St. Peter, and the names of most of the saints changed."31

    There are, however, to be two forms of worship, the one private, the other public. The special object of the former is woman, because she is the most perfect representative of humanity. As "Mother, she excites veneration; as wife, affection, and as daughter, kindness. To excite these sentiments, ideal woman is to be worshipped. Humanity, or the memory of great men, is the object for public worship, regarding which minute details are given. The new religion is to have ten sacraments, a peculiar architecture, and an extended hierarchy, under the control of one absolute High Priest. Such is the system which Comte was allowed to believe would supersede the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has already almost passed away. Among the advanced men of science in England there is scarcely one so poor as to do it reverence.32

E. Scientific Materialism.
Leading Principles.

    The leading principles of the modern scientific form of Materialism are embraced, by some at least, who do not consider themselves Materialists. They, however, adopt the language of the system, and avow principles which, in their generally accepted meaning, constitute what in the history of human thought is known as Materialism.

    The most important of these principles are the following, many of which, however, are not peculiar to the system.

    1. Matter and force are inseparable. Wherever there is matter there is force, and wherever there is force there is matter. This proposition, at least in the first instance, is to be understood only of physical force.

    2. All physical forces, such as light, heat, chemical affinities, electricity, magnetism, etc., etc., are convertible. Light may be converted into heat, and heat into light; either into electricity, and electricity into either; and so through the whole range. This is what is called the correlation of forces. Count Rumford, in a communication to the Royal Society of London, in 1798, satisfied that the heat generated in boring cannon could not be otherwise accounted for, advanced the doctrine that heat is a peculiar mode of motion. Since then the doctrine has been generalized, and it is now the commonly received opinion that all the physical forces are resolvable into motion. This generalization, however, is not accepted by all scientific men. They find it impossible to conceive how gravitation, which acts instantaneously at all distances, can he motion. It is simply a force which tends to produce motion.

    3. This motion, however, is not of a fluid, or ether, or any other imponderable substance peculiar to each particular kind of force. As sound consists in, or rather is produced by the vibrations ot the atmosphere, it was natural to assume that light was the undulation of one medium, heat of another, electricity of another. This theory is discarded. The motion intended is motion in the molecules of the matter affected. When iron is heated, nothing is added to it. There is no imponderable substance called caloric. All that occurs is, that the molecules of the iron are agitated in a particular way. If the iron be magnetized, it is only a different kind of motion imparted to its constituent atoms. So of all other kinds of force. When, however, light or heat is radiated from a distant object, the motion which constitutes these forces must be transmitted through some medium. For where there is motion, there must be something that moves. And, therefore, if heat be motion in the molecules of the sun, that heat could not reach us unless there was some material medium between us and the sun.

    4. The physical forces are not only convertible one into any of the others, but they are quantitively equivalent; that is, a given amount of heat will produce an amount of light or of electricity, or of any other force, which, if it could be utilized, would reproduce precisely that amount of heat. A cannon-ball, when it impinges on a target, produces heat enough to give it the velocity which it had at the moment of contact. A certain amount of light and heat derived from the sun is expended in the formation of a certain amount of wood or coal; that amount of wood or coal will furnish precisely the amount of light and heat which was expended in its production. Count Rumford experimented to determine the quantitive relation between motion and heat, and arrived at very nearly the same conclusion as that reached by Dr. Joule of Manchester, England, who found that one pound of matter, falling seven hundred and seventy-two feet, will produce heat enough to raise the temperature of a pound of water one degree of Fahrenheit. This is now received as the unit of force.

    5. Force is indestructible. It is never increased or diminished What is lost in one form is taken up in another. Forces are, therefore, indestructible, convertible, and imponderable agents. This correlation and conservation of forces is declared by Dr. Carpenter, the eminent physiologist, to be "now amongst the best established generalizations of physical science," and the greatest scientific triumph of the age; "thanks," as he says, "to the labors of Faraday, Grove, Joule, Thomson, and Tyndall, to say nothing of those of Helmholtz and other distingtlished continental savans."33

Correlation of the Physical and Vital Forces.

    So long as this doctrine of the correlation of forces is confined to the department of physics, it is a purely scientific question, in which the theologian has no special interest. Unhappily it has not been thus confined. Dr. Carpenter, in the paper just quoted, says, "Every thoughtful physiologist must desire to see the same course of inquiry thoroughly pursued in regard to the phenomena of living bodies."34 The first step in that direction, he adds, was taken by Dr. Mayer of Germany, in his remarkable treatise on "Organic Movement in its Relation to Material Changes."

    There appear to be three forms of opinion among scientific men, of the "advanced" school, as to the relation between vital and physical forces. First, there are some, of whom Dr. Carpenter is one, who hold that the forces by which vital processes are carried in, are light, heat, electricity, and so forth, but that these are directed or controlled by a force of a different kind, called "a directing agency."

Dr. Carpenter's Theory.

    Dr. Carpenter denies that there is any such thing as vitality, or vital force, or nisus formativus, or Bildungstrieb. Two germs may be selected between which neither the microscope nor chemical analysis can detect the slightest difference; yet one develops into a fish, another into a bird. Why is this? Dr. Carpenter answers because of a "directing agency" residing in the germ. His language is: "The prevalent opinion has until lately been, that this power is inherent in the germ; which has been supposed to derive from its parent not merely its material substance, but a nisus formativus, Bildungstrieb, or germ-force, in virtue of which it builds itself up into the likeness of its parent, and manmtains itself in that likeness until the force is exhausted, and at the same time imparting a fraction of it to each of its progeny."35 This opinion he rejects; but adds, "When we look carefully into the question, we find that what the germ really supplies, is not the force, but the directive agency; thus rather resembling the control exercised by the superintendent builder, who is charged with working out the design of the architect, than the bodily force of the workmen who labor under his guidance in the construction of the fabric."36 The conclusion at which he arrives is "that the correlation between heat and the organizing force of plants is not less intimate than that which exists between heat and motion. The special attribute of the vegetable germ is its power of utilizing, after its own peculiar fashion, the heat which it receives, and of applying a constructive power to the building up of its fabric after its characteristic type."37

    On this doctrine of Carpenter it may be remarked, (1.) That it seems to be self-contradictory. He denies to the germ a nisas formativus, or, Bildungstrieb, and attributes to it "a constructive power." What is the difference? The English phrase is a literal translation of the German word. (2.) He says that "heat and the organizing force of plants" are correlated, i. e., they are convertible one into the other and are quantitively equivalent; and yet the relation between them is analogous to that between a superintending builder and the strength of the workmen. According to this, the physical strength of the hod man is convertible into the intellect of the builder and is its quantitive equivalent. We do not see how this contradiction is to be avoided, unless he uses the phrases "constructive force," "organizing force," sometimes for the "directing agency" in the germ, and sometimes, for the physical forces which that agency controls. But if he distinguishes between the "directing agency" and "the organizing force," then there is no correlation between the physical force and "the vital activity of the germ."

    3. According not only to the common, but to the latest, opinion of physiologists, the germ supplies something more than "a directing agency" (which must itself be a force). It not only directs, but it effects, or produces changes. It is an operative force, acting not by, but against physical forces or chemical affinities; counteracting them as long as it continues. As soon as the germ or plant or tissue dies, the physical forces obtain ascendency and disintegration takes place. This Dr. Carpenter himself admits. The most marked characteristic, he says, which distinguishes "vital from every kind of physical activity," is, "the fact that a germ endowed with life, develops itself into an organism of a type resembling that of its parent; that this organism is the subject of incessant changes, which all tend, in the first place, to the evolution of its typical form; and subsequently to its maintenance in that form, notwithstanding the antagonism of chemical and physical agencies, which are continually tending to produce its disintegration; but that, as its term of existence is prolonged, its conservative power declines so as to become less and less able to resist these disintegrating forces, to which it finally succumbs, leaving the organism to be resolved by their agency into the components from which its materials were originally drawn."38 This does not mean that chemical agencies have no part to act in the growth and development of plants and animals, but it certainly does mean that the vital force or life is an agency or power different from any kind of physical force. Life and physical force, therefore, are not identical. They are not correlated. The former is not a mere form of the latter.

    On of the most eminent of living physiologists is Dr. John Marshall, and he, although far from belonging to the old school, distinctly takes the ground that there is a vital force which cannot be resolved into any of the physical forces operative in the external, inorganic world. He says:39 "All the strictly physical processes within the body, whether chemical, mechanical, thermic, electric, or photic, are performed by modifications of the common force which produces similar phenomena in the inorganic world around us. There exists, however, in the living animnal, as in the living vegetable organism, a special formative or organizing enemgy, evolving the perfect animal or plant from the primitive ovum or ovule, developing its various tissues and organs, and conserving them from the commencement to the termination of its individual existence. The influence of this force, moreover, extends from the parent to the offspring, generation after generation." This is the commonly received doctrine, that physical phenomena are to be referred to physical forces; vital phenomena to vital force; and mental phenomena to mind. The new doctrine, however, is that all phenomena are to be referred to physical forces, no other forces being either known or knowable.

The more advanced Opinions.

    The second view adopted in reference to the relation of physical to vital force, is, that if there be any difference it cannot be known. Physical forces are known. They can be measured. They can not only be converted one into another, but can be proved to be quantitively equivalent. If any other kind of force be assumed to account for vital phenomena, the assumption is gratuitous. It is taking for granted that something exists of which we know, and can know nothing. It must, therefore, lie beyond the sphere of science and is of no importance. Even Dr. Carpenter uses such language as this: "Another class of reasoners have cut the knot which they could not untie, by attributing all the actions of living bodies for which physics and chemistry cannot account, to a hypothetical 'vital principle;' a shadowy agency that does everything in its own way, but refuses to be made the subject of scientific examination; like the 'od-force,' or the 'spiritual power 'to which the lovers of the marvellous are so fond of attributing the mysterious movements of turning and tilting tables."40 "If a man asks me," says Prof. Huxley, "what the politics of the inhabitants of the moon are, and I reply, that I do not know; that neither I, nor any one else, have any means of knowing; and that, under these circumstances, I decline to trouble myself about the subject at all, I do not think he has any right to call me a skeptic."41 It is thus he banishes vitality from the sphere of science, because everything, except matter and its functions, belongs to the region of the unknown and the unknowable. Prof. Tyndall and Herbert Spencer take, at times, the same ground.

    But, although such writers as Dr. Carpenter, in apparent contradiction to their own admissions, acknowledge the existence of "a directing agency" in the living germ, the majority of the writers of this school refuse to recognize any such agency or force as a scientific truth. The only difference between the second and third views on this general subject, above referred to, is, that according to the one, the assumption of vital as distinct from physical force, is regarded as gratuitous and unnecessary; according to the other, any such assumption is declared to be unphilosophical, and to be utterly discarded. The same writer sometimes takes one, and sometimes the other of these grounds.

The Argument for the correlation of Physical and Vital Forces.

    Thus Prof. Huxley, although a few years since a firm advocate of vital, as distinct from physical force, in his discourse on the "Physical Basis of Life," takes the opposite ground. The argument is this: the elements furnished by the mineral kingdom are taken up by the plant, and, under the influence of light and heat, transformed into organized matter. The products of vegetation, starch, sugar, fibrine, etc., are purely material. This is true even of protoplasm, or living matter, or the physical basis of life, as it is called, which is elaborated by the plant out of the lifeless materials furnished by the soil and the atmosphere. There is indeed a great difference between the products of vegetation and the lifeless elements out of which they are formed. But so there is between the elements of water and water itself. If an electric spark be passed through a volume of oxygen and hydrogen gas, it becomes water, which weighs precisely as much as the volume of the two gases of which it is composed. It is oxygen and hydrogen in combination, and nothing more. Yet the properties of the water are entirely different from those of the oxygen and hydrogen. In like manner there is a great difference between the properties of the carbonic acid, the water, and the ammonia, of which the plant is composed, and the living plant itself. But as it would be unphilosophical to assume the existence of an unknown something called aquosity to account for the difference between water and its elements, it is no less unphilosophical to assume the existence of an unknown something called vitality to account for the difference between it and the lifeless materials of which living matter is composed.

Animal Life.

    In like manner all the phenomena of animal life are referred to the physical forces inseparable from the matter which composes the animal structure. It is true the functions of matter in the animal tissues are higher than in those of the plant. But the advocates of the theory under consideration, endeavor to reduce the difference between animal and vegetable life to a minimum. It is only the upper surface of the leaf which is susceptible of the peculiar effects of light. So it is only the optic nerve that is affected in a way which is necessary to vision. The sensitive plant contracts when touched; and so does the animal muscle when the proper stimulus, nervous or electric, is applied. In short, as all the operations of vegetable life are due to physical forces, so all the phenomena of animal life are due to the same causes.

    On this subject Prof. Huxley says: "The matter of life is composed of ordinary matter, differing from it only in the manner in which its atoms are aggregated. It is built up of ordinary matter, and again resolved into ordinary matter when its work is done."42 By protoplasm, or matter of life, he sometimes means matter which exhibits the phenomnena of life; and sometimes, matter which having been elaborated by the plant or animal, is capable of supporting life. Hence he calls boiled mutton protoplasm.

    The only difference between inorganic, lifeless matter, and living plants or animals, is in the manner in which their atoms are aggregated. "Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, are all lifeless bodies. Of these, carbon and oxygen unite, in certain proportions, and under certain conditions, to give rise to carbonic acid; hydrogen and oxygen produce water; nitrogen and hydrogen give rise to ammonia. These new compounds, like the elementary bodies of which they are composed, are lifeless. But when they are brought together, under certain conditions they give rise to the still more complex body, protoplasm, and this protoplasm exhibits the phenomena of life. I see no break in this series of steps in molecular complication, and I am unable to understand why the language which is applicable to any one term of the series may not be used to any of the others. . . . When hydrogen and oxygen are mimxed in a certain proportion, and an electric spark is passed through them, they disappear, and a quantity of water, equal in weight to the sum of their weights, appears in their place. There is not the slightest parity between the passive and active powers of the water and those of the oxygen and hydrogen which have given rise to it."43 "What justification is there, then, for the assumption of the existence in the living matter of a something which has no representative, or correlative, in the not living matter which gave rise to it? What better philosophical status has 'vitality' than 'aquosity?' And why should 'vitality' hope for a better fate than the other 'itys' which have disappeared since Martinus Scriblerus accounted for the operation of the meat-jack by its inherent 'meat-roasting quality,' and scorned the materialism of those who explained the turning of the spit by a certain mechanism worked by the draught of the chimney? . . . . If the properties of water may be properly said to result from the nature and disposition of its component molecules, I can find no intelligible ground for refusing to say that the properties of protoplasm result from the nature and disposition of its molecules."44

    The doctrine, therefore, is, that carbonic acid, water, and ammonia, lifeless bodies, under certain conditions, become living matter, not in virtue of any new force or principle communicated to them, but solely in virtue of a different arrangement of their molecules. Of this living matter all plants and animals are composed, and to the properties or physical forces inherent in the matter of which they are composed, all the phenomena of vegetable and animal life are to be referred. "Protoplasm," says Prof. Huxley, "is the clay of the potter: which, bake it and paint it as he will, remains clay, separated by artifice and not by nature, from the commonest brick or sun-dried clod."45 As the brick, no matter what its shape or color, can have no properties not inherent in the clay, so vegetable or animal organisms can have no properties which do not belong to protoplasm, which, in the last analysis, is nothing but carbonic acid, water, and ammonma.

    Professor Huxley is not only a distinguished naturalist, but a popular lecturer and preacher of "Lay Sermons," and thus has become a representative man among the advocates of this new form of Materialism. He is, however, very far from standing alone. "Some of the most distinguished living physicists, chemists, and naturalists, says Dr. Beale, "have accepted this physical theory of life. They have taught that life is but a mode of ordinary force, and that the living thing differs from the non-living thing, not in quality, or essence, or kind, but merely in degree."46 "So long," says the same writer, "as the advocates of the physical doctrine of life contented themselves with ridiculing 'vitality' as a fiction and a myth, because it could not be made evident to the senses, measured or weighed, or proved scientifically to exist, their position was not easily assailed; but now when they assert dogmatically that vital force is only a form or mode of ordinary motion they are bound to show that the assertion rests upon evidence, or it will be regarded by thoughtful men as one of a large number of fanciful hypotheses, advocated only by those who desire to swell the ranks of the teachers and expounders of dogmatic science, which, although pretentious and authoritative, must ever be intolerant and unprogressive."47

Mental Phenomena.

    Not only are the operations of vegetable and animal life, according to the new doctrine, due to physical forces, but the same is true of all mental operations. If the argument from analogy is valid in the one case, it is valid in the other. If we must believe that the properties of protoplasm, or living matter, are to be referred to the mode in which its molecules are aggregated, because the properties of water are due to the peculiar aggregation of the atoms of which its elements, hydrogen and oxygen, are composed; then we must believe that all thought and feeling are due to the molecular composition and movements of the brain atoms. Accordingly, Professor Huxley, after saying that "vitality" has no better philosophical standing than "aquosity," warns his readers that they cannot stop with that admission. "I bid you beware," he says, "that in accepting these conclusions, you are placing your feet on the first rung of a ladder, which in most people's estimation is the reverse of Jacob's, and leads to the antipodes of heaven. It may seem a small thing to admit that the dull vital actions of a fungus or a foraminifer are the properties of their protoplasm, and are the direct results of the nature of the matter of which they are composed. But if, as I have endeavored to prove to you, their protoplasm is essentially identical with, and most readily converted into, that of any animal, I can discover no logical halting-place, between the admission that such is the case, and the further concession that all vital action may with equal propriety be said to be the result of the molecular forces of the protoplasm which displays it. And if so, it must be true, in the same sense and to the same extent, that the thoughts to which I am now giving utterance, and your thoughts regarding them, are the expression of molecular changes in that matter of life which is the source of our other vital phenomena."48 "Further," he says, "I take it to be demonstrable that it is utterly impossible to prove that anything whatever may not be the effect of a material and necessary cause, and that human logic is equally incompetent to prove that any act is really spontaneous. A really spontaneous act is one which, by the assumption, has no cause [i. e. no material cause, for he admits no other]; and the attempt to prove such a negative as this is, on the face of the matter, absurd. And while it is thus a philosophical impossibility to demonstrate that any given phenomenon is not the effect of a material cause, any one who is acquainted with the history of science will admit that its progress has in all ages meant, and now more than ever means, the extension of the province of what we call matter and causation, and the concomitant gradual banishment from all regions of human thought of what we call spirit and spontaneity."49 "After all, what do we know of this terrible 'matter,' except as a name for the unknown and hypothetical cause of states of our own consciousness? And what do we know of that 'spirit' over whose threatened extinction by matter a great lamentation is arising except . . . that it is also a name for an unknown and hypothetical cause or condition of states of consciousness? In other words, matter and spirit are but names for the imaginary substrata of groups of natural phenomena."50 "As surely as every future grows out of past and present, so will the physiology of the future gradually extend the realm of matter and law until it is co-extensive with knowledge, with feeling, and with action."51 He cites the often-quoted exhortation of Hume, and enforces "the most wise advice" which it contains. "If we take in our hand," says Hume, "any volume of divinity or school-metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact or existence? No. Commit it, then, to the flames; for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion."52

    The history of human speculation does not furnish a more explicit avowal of Materialism than that contained in the above quotations. All known effects are ascribed to material causes. Spirit is declared to have only an imaginary existence. Spontaneity is pronounced an absurdity. Necessity is affirmed to be inexorable and universal. Yet Huxley says he is no Materialist. This in a sense is true. He is not a Materialist, because he believes in neither matter nor spirit. He avows himself a disciple of Hume, who taught that we know nothing but impressions and ideas. Substance, whether material or spiritual, efficiency, and God, are banished from the sphere of knowledge to that of "sophistry and illusion." He avows his fellowship with Herbert Spencer, the fundamental principle of whose "New Philosophy" is, that all we know, or can know, is, that force is and that it is persistent, while force itself is absolutely inscrutable. This blots the soul and God out of existence, except as those words indicate an unknown force. But as he also holds that all forces are convertible, the distinction between material and mental forces, whether humau or divine, is obliterated. He avails himself of the common assumption that his theory does not degrade spirit, but exalts matter. It is the verdict of history, however, as Julius Maller truly says, "That every attempt to spiritualize matter ends in materializing spirit." On this subject Spencer says: "Men who have not risen above that vulgar conception which unites with matter the contemptuous epithets 'gross' and 'brute,' may naturally feel dismay at the proposal to reduce the phenomena of life, of mind, and of society, to a level with those which they think so degraded. . . . The course proposed does not imply a degradation of the so-called higher, but an elevation of the so-called lower."53 This at least is an avowal that the phenomena of life, mind, and society are to be referred to material or physical causes. This, indeed, he repeatedly asserts. After insisting on the transformation of physical forces into chemical, and these into vital, he adds, "Many will be alarmed by the assertion that the forces which we distinguish as mental, come within the same generalization. Yet there is no alternative but to make this concession.54 . . . . Any hesitation to admit that between the physical forces and the sensations there exists a correlation like that between the physical forces themselves, must disappear on remembering how the one correlation like the other, is not qualitive only, but quantitive."55 "Various classes of facts unite to prove that the law of metamorphosis, which holds among the physical forces, holds equally between them and the mental forces. . . . How this metamorphosis takes place -- how a force existing as motion, light, or heat, can become a mode of consciousness," is mysterious; but he adds, it is not a greater mystery "than the transformations of physical forces into each other."56

    Dr. Maudsley, a distinguished writer of the same school,57 says, "Few, if any, will now be found to deny that with each display of mental power there are correlative changes in the material substratum; that every phenomenon of mind is the result, as manifest in energy, of some change, molecular, chemical, or vital, in the nervous elements of the brain." Again, he says,58 "With regard to the manifold phenomena of mind; by observation of them, and abstraction from the particular, we get the general conception, or the essential idea of mind, an idea which has no more existence out of the mind, than any other abstract idea or general term. In virtue, however, of that powerful tendency in the human mind to make the reality conformable to the idea, a tendency which has been at the bottom of so much confusion in philosophy, this general conception has been converted into an objective entity, and allowed to tyrannize over the understanding. A metaphysical abstraction has been made into a spiritual entity and a complete barrier thereby interposed in the way of positive investigation."

    The passages quoted above are a fair specimen of the kind of reasoning in which scientific men frequently indulge. In the first quotation, there are two clauses presented as equivalent, which are in fact essentially different; and substituting the one for the other is just a silent and subtle begging of the question. The first says that every mental act is attended by a molecular change in the brain. The other in effect says, the molecular change is the mental act. These two propositions are as different as day and night. The theory is that a certain kind of molecular motion in iron is heat; and a certain kind of molecular motion in the brain is thought. And all the proof, as far as the latter is concerned, is that the one attends the other. But the formation of an image on the retina attends sight, and yet does not prove that the image is our consciousness when we see.

    Again, in the second passage, Dr. Maudsley says that "mind is an abstract idea," which has no existence outside "of the mind," i.e., outside of itself. An abstract idea has an abstract idea, which it makes into an objective entity. Men who deny the objective existence of mind, can no more think, speak, or write without recognizing its existence, than an idealist can act without recognizing the existence of the external world. Any theory which involves a denial of the laws of our nature is of necessity absurd.

The German Physicists.

    As might be expected, the scientific men of the continent are more outspoken in their Materialism than those of England. A late German writer, Th. Otto Berger, Oberlehrer fur Mathematik and Physik,59 says: Materialism is the philosophy of the five senses, it admits nothing but on the testimony of sensation, and therefore denies the existence of the soul, of God, and of everything supersensuous. In its modern form, it teaches that as the material is alone true and real, it is uncreated and eternal. It always has been and always will be. It is indestructible, and, in its elements, unchangeable. Force is inseparable from matter. According to the theory no matter is without force, and no force is without matter. No force exists of itself; and, therefore, there is none to which the creation of matter is to be referred. The universe as it now is, is due to the gradual evolution of the two elements, matter and force; which evolution proceeds under the operation of fixed laws. The lower organisms are first formed; then the higher, until man appears. All life, whether animal, vegetable, or spiritual, is due to the working of physical and chemical forces in matter. As no power exists but in matter, there can be no divine Being with creative power nor any created human soul. Berger quotes Virchow as saying, "The scientific naturalist knows only bodies and the properties of bodies." All that is beyond them he pronounces "transcendental, and the transcendental is the chimerical." He also quotes B. C. Vogt, as saying, "We admit of no creator, either in the beginning, or in the course of the world's history; and regard the idea of a self-conscious, extramundane creator as ridiculous." Man, according to these writers, consists only of a material body; all mental acts and states are of the brain. When the body dies, the man ceases to exist. "The only immortality," says Moleschott, "is, that when the body is disintegrated, its ammonia, carbonic acid, and lime, serve to enrich the earth, and to nourish plants, which feed other generations of men."60

F. Refutation.

    As Materialism, in its modern form, in all that is essential to the theory, is the same that it was a thousand years ago, the old arguments against it are as available now as they ever were. Its fundamental affirmation is, that all the phenomena of the universe, physical, vital, and mental, are to be referred to unintelligent physical forces; and its fundamental negation is, that there is no such objective entity as mind or spirit. If, therefore, it can be shown that unintelligent force cannot account for all the phenomena of the universe; and that there is such an objective entity or substance, as mind, the theory is refuted. There are two methods of combating any given theory. The one is the scientific, which calls in question the accuracy or the completeness of the data on which it is founded, or the validity of the inferences deduced from them. The other is the shorter and easier method of the reductio ad absurdum. The latter is just as legitimate and valid as the former. It is to be remembered that every theory includes two factors; facts and principles; or, facts and inferences drawn from them. The facts may be admitted, when the principles or inferences may be denied. Thus the facts on which Materialists insist may, for the most part at least, be acknowledged; while the sweeping inferences which they draw from them, in the eye of reason may not be worth a straw. All such inferences must be rejected whenever they conflict with any well-established truth, whether of intuition, experience, or of divine revelation.

    Three general theories have been proposed to solve the great problem of the universe: the Materialistic, the Pantheistic, and the Theistic. According to the first all the phenomena of the universe are due to matter and its forces; according to the second, in its most rational form, all power, activity, and life, are the power, activity, and life of the one universal mind. The third, or Theistic theory, assumes the existence of an infinite, extramundane God, who created matter, endowed with forces, and finite minds gifted with intelligence and will; and that all the ordinary phenomena of the universe are proximately due to these physical and mental forces as constantly upheld and controlled by the omnipresent wisdom and power of God. It may be doubted whether any amount of argument can deepen the conviction that the Theistic solution of this great problem is the true one. It is seen to be true, because it is seen to be a solution. It satisfactorily accounts for all the facts of consciousness and observation. It satisfies the reason, the heart, and the conscience. It is in fact self-evidently true, in the sense that no man to whom it has been once proposed, can ever permanently shake off the conviction of its truth. The other theories are not solutions. They may account for some classes of facts, but not for others. Our present concern, however, is with Materialism.

Materialism contradicts the Facts of Consciousness.

    1. The primary principle of all knowledge is the knowledge of self. This must be assumed. Unless we are we cannot know. This knowledge of self is a knowledge that we are something; a real existence; not merely a state or mode of something else; but that the self is a substance, a real, objective entity. It is, moreover, a knowledge not only that we are a substance, but also that we are an individual subsistence, which thinks, feels, and wills. Here, then, is mind, i. e., an individual, intelligent, voluntary agent, necessarily included in the first, and the most essential of all truths. If this be denied, then Hume is right, and we can know nothing. It is, moreover, included in this knowledge of the Self, that the body is not the Ego. Although the body is intimately, and even vitally united to the substance in which our personality resides, it is nevertheless objective to it. It is the organ which the Self uses, and by which it holds communion with the external world. That these are really facts of consciousness, and not merely dicta, or arbitrary assumptions, is clear because they are universally and of necessity recognized. They are imbedded in all human languages; they are involved in all expressions of human thought; they are of necessity assumed by those who theoretically deny them. The Materialist cannot think, or speak, or write, without assuming the existence of mind as distinct from matter, any more than the Idealist can live and act without assuming the existence of the external world.

    Our knowledge of mind, therefore, as a thinking substance, is the first, and most certain, and the most indestructible of all forms of knowledge; because it is involved in self-knowledge, or self-consciousness, which is the indispensable condition of all knowledge. That which knows is, in the order of nature, before that which is known. It is impossible, therefore, that the Materialist can have any higher evidence of the existence of matter, or of force, than that which every man has, in his own consciousness, of the existence of mind. To deny the one is as unreasonable as to deny the other. Neither can be denied, except theoretically. As a matter of fact, every man believes in matter, and every man believes in mind. What are our sensations which are relied upon so confidently to give us knowledge of physical phenomena, but states of consciousness? If consciousness is to be trusted in reporting the testimony of the senses, why is it not to be trusted when it reports the facts of our interior life? If it is believed when it says there is something visible and tangible without us, why should it not be believed when it says there is something which thinks and wills within us? If unreliable in the one case, it is unreliable in the other; and if unreliable in either, the whole foundation of knowledge and of all faith is swept away. Confidence in the veracity of consciousness is our only security from the wildest, the most irrational, and the most degrading skepticism.

    It may be said, however, that the Materialist does not deny that there is something within us that thinks and wills. He only says that that something is the brain. This, however, is to ignore one half of the testimony which consciousness really bears. It testifies not only that there are such sensations as those of sight and touch, but that there is a real objective substance which is tangible and visible. That is to say, we believe in virtue of the constitution of our nature, and therefore of necessity, when we see or touch, that the objects of our sense-perceptions have a real, objective existence. This every man believes, and cannot help believing. And in like manner, when he thinks, feels, or wills, he believes, in virtue of the constitution of his nature, and therefore by a like necessity, that he himself is an intelligent, feeling, and voluntary substance. That is, he believes that the Self is mind, or spirit, to which the body is objective, and therefore different front the Self. The belief in mind, therefore, is involved in the belief of self-existence. Consciousness gives us the assurance that the Self is an intelligent, voluntary agent, or spirit.

    2. Another fact of consciousness which Materialism denies, either avowedly or by necessary implication, is the fact of free agency. This, indeed, is involved in what has already been said. Nevertheless there are those who admit the existence of mind who deny that man is a free agent. It needs no proof that consciousness attests that men have the power of self-determination. Every man knows this to be true with regard to himself. Every man recognizes the fact with regard to his fellow-men. This again is a conviction which no obduracy of the conscience, and no sophistry of argument can permanently obliterate from the human mind. This, however, Materialism denies. Physical forces act necessarily and uniformly. In referring all mental action to physical forces, Materialism cannot but exclude all freedom of action. There is no spontaneity in chemical affinity, in light, heat, or electricity; yet to these forces all vital and mental phenomena are referred. If thought be a certain kind of molecular motion of the brain, it is no more free than that other kind of molecular motion called heat. And this is the more obviously true, if they are cordative, the one being changed into the other. Accordingly Materialists, as a general thing, are avowed necessitarians. This is not only true of the Positivists, but the doctrine that human action is determined by necessary laws, is the foundation of their whole system of Social Science. And Professor Huxley, as we have seen, pronounces a spontaneous act, from the nature of the case, an absurdity. It is for him a causeless effect. Every man, therefore, who knows that he is a free agent, knows that Materialism cannot be true.

    3. Materialism contradicts the facts of our moral and religious Consciousness. Our moral perceptions are the clearest, the most certain, and the most authoritative of all of our cognitions. If a man is shut up to deny either the testimony of his senses or the truths of reason, on the one hand, or the testimony of his moral nature on the other, all experience shows that he will give up sense and reason, and bow to the authority of conscience. He cannot help it. No man can free himself from the sense of sin, or of accountability. These moral convictions involve in them, or, at least, necessitate the belief in a God to whom we must give an account. But Materialism, in banishing all mind in man, leaves nothing to be accountable; and in banishing all mind from the universe, leaves no Being to whom an account can be rendered. To substitute for an intelligent, extramundane, personal God, mere "inscrutable force," is a mockery, an insult. Our whole moral and religious nature declares any such theory to be false. It cannot be true unless our whole nature be a lie. And our nature cannot be a lie, unless, as Sir William Hamilton says, the whole universe be "a dream of a dream." To call upon men to worship gravitation, and sing hallelujahs to the whirlwind, is to call upon them to derationahize themselves. The attempt is as idle as it is foolish and wicked.

    This argument from the facts of consciousness against Materialism, is met by the assertion that consciousness is not to be trusted. Dr. Maudsley devotes the greater part of the first chapter of his book on the "Physiology of the Mind," to the establishment of this point. He argues that self-consciousness is unreliable in the information which it does give, and incompetent to give any account of a large part of our mental activity. lt gives no account of the mental phenomena of the infant, of the uncultivated adult, and of the insane; no account of the bodily conditions which underlie every mental manifestation; no account of the large field of unconscious mental action exhibited, not only in the unconscious assimilation of impressions, but in the registrations of ideas and of their associations, in their latent existence and influence when not active, and their recall into activity; and no account of the influence organically exerted on the brain by other organs of the body. That is, consciousness does not tell us all things, and sometimes tells us wrong. Cannot the same be said of the senses? Can they inform us of everything which goes on in the body? Do they not often deceive us? Are not the sensations of the delirious and the maniac altogether untrustworthy? Does it follow from this that our senses are never to be relied upon? What then becomes of the physical sciences, which are founded on the trustworthiness of the senses. The fact is that if the testimony of consciousness is not to be received as to our mental operations, it cannot be received as to our sensations. If we have no trustworthy evidence of the existence of mind, we have no valid evidence of the existence of matter; and there is no universe, no God. All is nothing.

    Happily men cannot emancipate themselves from the laws of their nature. They cannot help believing the well-attested testimony of their senses, and they cannot help believing the testimony of consciousness as to their personal identity, and as to the real, objective existence of the soul as the subject of their thoughts, feelings, and volitions. As no man can refuse to believe that he has a body, so no man can refuse to believe that he has a soul, and that the two are distinct as the Self and the Not-Self.

Materialism contradicts the Truths of Reason.

    1. It is intuitively true that every effect must have a cause. This does not mean merely that every effect must have an antecedent; or, as Hume says, that anything may be the cause of anything. Nor does it mean merely that every effect must have an efficient cause. But it means that the antecedent or cause of every effect must have that kind and degree of efficiency which will rationally account for the effect.

    There are two general classes of effects with which we are familiar, and which are specifically different, and therefore must have specifically different causes. The one class consists of effects which do not, the other of those which do indicate design. In the latter we see evidence of a purpose, of foresight, of provision for the future, of adaptation, of choice, of spontaneity, as well as of power. In the former all these indications are absent. We see around us innumerable effects belonging to each of these classes. We see water constantly flowing from a higher to a lower level; vapor constantly ascending from the sea; heat producing expansion, cord contraction, water extinguishing fire, alkalies correcting acidity, etc., etc. On the other hand, the world is crowded with works of human intelligence; with statues, pictures, houses, ships, complicated machines for different purposes, with books, libraries, hospitals prepared for the wants of the sick, with institutions of learning, etc., etc. No man can help believing that these classes of effects are specifically different, nor can he help believing that they are due to causes specifically different. In other words, it is self-evident that an unintelligent cause cannot produce an intelligent effect; it cannot purpose, foresee, organize, or choose. Professor Joule may determine through what space a weight must fall to produce a given amount of heat; but can he tell how far it must fall to write a poem, or produce a Madonna? Such a cause has no tendency to produce such an effect. And to suppose it to operate from eternity, is only to multiply eternally, nothing by nothing, it is nothing still.

    If every man recognizes the absurdity of referring all the works of human ingenuity and intellect to unintelligent, physical force, how much greater is the absurdity of referring to blind force the immeasurably more stupendous, complicated, and ordered works of God, everywhere indicative of purpose, foresight, and choice. Of this absurdity Materialism is guilty. It teaches, in its modern form, that to carbonic acid, water, and ammonia, with the molecular forces they contain, is the causal efficiency to which all organisms from the fungus to man, and all vital and mental phenomena, are to be referred. This is the doctrine elaborately proposed and defended in Professor Huxley's paper on the "Physical Basis of Life." That paper is devoted to establishing two propositions. The first is, "That all animal and vegetable organisms are essentially alike in power, in form, and in substance; and the second, That all vital and intellectual functions are the properties of the molecular dispositions and changes of the material basis (protoplasm) of which the various animals and vegetables consist."61 He even intimates, after referring to a clock which marks the time, and the phases of the moon, as an illustration of the vital and intellectual phenomena of the universe, as produced by molecular motions and combinations, "that the existing world lay potentially in the cosmic vapor; and that a sufficient intelligence could, from a knowledge of the properties of the molecules of that vapor, have predicted, say the state of the Fauna of Britain in 1869, with as much certainty as one can say what will happen to the vapor of the breath in a cold winters day."62 On this it is obvious to remark, in the first place, that it is not one whit in advance of the theory of Epicurus propounded more than two thousand years ago. As the whole mass of thinking men have turned their backs on that theory from that day to this, it is not probable that the reassertion of it, however confidently made, will have much effect upon men who have either heads or hearts. In the second place, it gives no rational account of the origin of the universe, and of the wonders which it contains. It violates the fundamental intuitive truth that every effect must have an adequate cause, inasmuch as it refers intelligent effects to unintelligent causes; all the libraries in the world, for example, to "the properties of the molecules," of carbonic acid, water, and ammonia.

    2. A second truth of Reason which Materialism contradicts is that an infinite succession of effects is as unthinkable as a self-supporting chain of an infinite number of links. The modern doctrine is that lifeless matter never becomes living except when brought into contact with previous living matter. It is the office of the living plant to take up the dead elements of the inorganic world and imbue them with life. The plant, therefore, must either precede protoplasm, which is impossible, as it is composed of protoplasm; or the protoplasm must precede the plant, which is equally impossible, because the plant alone, in the first instance, can make protoplasm; or there must be an infinite succession. That is, an infinite number of causeless effects, which is no less impossible. The doctrine of spontaneous generation, or of life originating out of dead matter, is repudiated by the most advanced advocates of the modern form of Materialism. Professor Huxley has done the cause of truth good service by his able refutation of that doctrine.63 Whatever may be the ultimate decision of the question as to the origin of life, it is enough for the present that the modern advocates of Materialism admit that living matter can only come from matter already alive. This admission, it is now urged, is fatal to their theory, as it necessitates the assumption of an eternal effect. If dead matter can only be made alive by previous living matter, there must be a source of life outside of matter, or life never could have begun.

Materialism inconsistent with the Facts of Experience.

    It is generally admitted that in nature, i. e., in the external world, there are four distinct spheres, or, as they are sometimes called, planes of existence. First, the common chemical compounds, which constitute the mineral kingdom; second, the vegetable kingdom; third, the irrational animal world; and fourth, Man. It is admitted that all the resources of science are incompetent to raise matter from one of these planes to another. The plant contains ingredients derived from the mineral kingdom, with something specifically different. The animal contains all that is in the plant, with something specifically different. Man contains all that enters into the constitution of the plant and animal, with something specifically different. The lifeless elements of the mineral kingdom, under "the influence of preexistent living matter," and not otherwise, become living and life supporting matter in the plant. The products of vegetable life, in like manner, become the matter of animal tissues and organs, but only under the influence of preexisting living animal tissues. So, also, the products of the vegetable and animal kingdoms are received into the human system, and become connected with the functions and phenomena of the intellectual and moral life of man, but never otherwise than in the person of a man. This outstanding fact, vouched for by the whole history of our globe, proves that there is something in the plant which is not in lifeless matter; somethiing in the animal which is not in the plant, and something in man which is not in the animal. To assume, with the Materialist, that the organizing life of the plant comes out of lifeless matter; that the sensitive and voluntary life of the animal comes out of the insensible and involuntary life of the plant; or that the rational, moral, and spiritual life of Man comes out of the constituents of the animal, is to assume as a fact something which all experience contradicts. We are not forgetful of the theories which refer these different grades or orders of existence to some process of natural development. We here, however, refer only to the outstanding fact of history, that, in the sphere of human experience, lifeless matter does not become organizing and living, in virtue of its own physical forces; nor the plant an animal; nor the animal a man from anything in the plant or animal, but only in virtue of an ab extra vital influence. It is indeed said that as the same chemical elements combined in one way, have certain properties; and when combined in another way, have other properties; so the same elements combined in one way in lifeless matter and in other ways, in plants, animals, and man, may account for all their distinctive characteristics. But it is to be remembered that the properties of chemical compounds, however varied, are chemical, and nothing more; whereas, in vital organisms the properties or phenomena are specifically different from mere chemical effects. They have no relation to each other, any more than gravity to beauty; and, therefore, the one cannot account for the other.

    Atheism is the denial of an extramundane personal God. In saying that Materialism is Atheism, it is not meant that all Materialists are atheists. Some, as for example, Dr. Priestley, confine the application of their principles to the existing order of things. They admit the being of God to whom they refer the creation of the world. The number, however, of such illogical Materialists is small. Leaving out of view these exceptional cases, the philosophers of this school may be divided into three classes, --

    (1.) Avowed atheists. To this class belong the Epicureans; the French skeptics of the last century; the Positivists; and a large part of the physicists of the present generation, especially in Europe. (2.) Those who repudiate the charge of atheism, because they admit the necessary existence of an inscrutable force. But inscrutable force is not God. In rejecting the doctrine of an extramundane Spirit, self-conscious, intelligent, and voluntary, the First Cause of all things, they reject Theism; and the denial of Theism is Atheism. (3.) Those whose principles involve the denial of an extramundane God. To this class belong all those who deny the distinction between matter and mind; who deny the "supersensual," and "supernatural," who affirm that physical force is the only kind of force of which we have any knowledge; and who maintain that thought is in such a sense a product of the brain, that where there is no brain there can be no thought. Buchner, who although an avowed atheist, is, as to this point, a fair representative of the whole school, says that the fundamental principle (der oberste Grundsatz) of our philosophy is, "No matter without force; and no force without matter." "A spirit without a body," he adds, "is as unthinkable as electricity or magnetism without the matter of which they are affections."64 This he makes the ground of his argument to prove the impossibility of the existence of the soul after death. The principle, if admitted, is equally conclusive against the existence of God. As Materialism leaves us no God to reverence and trust, no Being to whom we are responsible; and as it denies any conscious existence after death, it can be adopted only on the sacrifice of the higher attributes of our nature; and its whole tendency must be to demoralize and degrade.

The Correlation of Physical and Vital and Mental Forces.

    Besides the considerations urged above against Materialism as a general theory, it may be proper to say a few words in reference to its modern scientific form. It is admitted that it is the province of scientific men to discuss scientific questions; and that much injury to the cause of truth has followed the attempts of men not devoted to such pursuits, undertaking to adjudicate in such caees. Physicists are wont to take high ground on this subject, and to warn off as intruders all metaphysicians and theologians, all who are devoted to the study of the supersensuous and the supernatural. They are not allowed to be heard on questions of science. The rule must work both ways. If metaphysicians and theolegians must be silent on matters of science, then scientific men devoted to the study of the sensuous, are not entitled to be dictatorial in what regards the supersensuous. A man may be so habituated to deal with quantity and number, as to become incapable of appreciating beauty or moral truth. In like manner a man may be so devoted to the examination of what his senses reveal, as to come to believe that the sensible alone is true and real. The senses have their rights, and so have reason and conscience; and the votaries of sense are not entitled to claim the whole domain of knowledge as exclusively their own.

    While, therefore, it is conceded that it belongs specially to scientific men to deal with scientific subjects, yet other classes have some rights which are not to be denied. They have the right to judge for themselves on the validity of the arguments of scientific men; and they have the right to appeal from one scientific man to another, and from the few to the many. So far as the correlation of physical and vital forces is concerned, it is not only a new doctrine, but as yet is adopted only by "advanced thinkers," as they are called, and call themselves. Dr. H. B. Jones, F. R. S., one of the more modest advocates of the doctrine,65 says, "We are only just entering upon the inquiry how far our ideas of conservation and correlation of energy can be extended to the biological sciences." And certain it is that the leading men of science, both in Europe and America, are firm believers in vital and mental forces, as distinct in kind, from all physical forces operative in the inorganic world.

The Arguments for such Correlation are Invalid.
The Argument from Analogy.

    It has already been stated on the authority of the advocates of the theory, that their first and most important argument in its support is from analogy. The physical forces are all correlated; one is convertible into either of the others; all may be resolved into motion. This creates, as it is said, a strong presumption, that all force, whatever its phenomena, is essentially the same thing. If one kind of motion is heat, another electricity, another light, it is fair to infer that vitality is only another kind of motion, and thought and feeling another. As there is no reason for assuming a specific force for light, and another for heat, therefore it is unnecessary, and unphilosophical, to assume a specific kind of force to account for vital or mental phenomena. Prof. Barker of Yale College, says,66 "Today, as truly as seventy-five years ago when Humboldt wrote, the mysterious and awful phenomena of life, are commonly attributed to some controlling agent residing in the organism -- to some independent presiding deity, holding it in absolute subjection." This presiding agent is called "vital fluid," "materia vitae diffusa," "vital force." "All these names," he adds, "assume the existence of a material or immaterial something, more or less separable from the material body, and more or less identical with the mind or soul, which is the cause of the phenomena of living beings. But as science moved irresistibly onward, and it became evident that the forces of inorganic nature were neither deities nor imponderable fluids, separable from matter, but were simple affections of it, analogy demanded a like concession in behalf of vital force. From the notion that the effects of heat were due to an imponderable fluid called caloric, discovery passed to the conviction that heat was but a motion of material particles, and hence inseparable from matter; to a like assumption concerning vitality [namely, that it also is but a motion of material particles], it was now but a step. The more advanced thinkers in science of today, therefore, look upon the life of the living form as inseparable from its substance, and believe that the former is purely phenomenal, and only a manifestation of the latter. Denying the existence of a special vital force as such, they retain the term only to express the sum of the phenomena of living beings."

    The argument from analogy is presented, as we have seen, in another form, by Huxley and others. The properties of water are very different from those of the hydrogen and oxygen of which it s composed. Yet no one supposes that those properties are due to anything else than the material composition of the water itself. So also the phenomena of living matter, and of the human brain, are very different from those of the elements which enter into their constitution; but this affords no presumption that there is any "vital force" or "mind" to account for this difference any more than the peculiar properties of water justify the assumption of the existence of anything distinct from its material element. Vitality and mind, we are told, have no better philosophical status than aquosity.

    Dr. Stirling67 states the case thus: "If it is by its mere chemical and physical structure that water exhibits certain properties called aqueous, it is also by its mere chemical and physical structure that protoplasm exhibits certain properties called vital. All that is necessary in either case is, 'under certain conditions,' to bring the chemical constituents together. If water is a molecular complication, protoplasm is equally a molecular complication, and for the description of the one or the other, there is no change of language required. A new substance with new qualities results in precisely the same way here, as a new substance with new qualities there; and the derivative qualities are not more different from the primitive qualities in the one instance, than the derivative qualities are different from the primitive qualities in the other. Lastly, the modus operandi of preexistent protoplasm is not more unintelligible than that of the electric spark. The conclusion is irresistible, then, that all protoplasm being reciprocally convertible, and consequently identical, the properties it displays, vitality and intellect included, are as much the result of molecular constitution, as those of water itself." This analogy is two-fold; having reference to chemical composition on the one hand, and to the antecedent stimulus which determines it on the other. "As regards chemical composition, we are asked, by virtue of the analogy obtaining, to identify, as equally simple instances of it, protoplasm here and water there; and, as it regards the stimulus in question, we are asked to admit the action of the electric spark in the one case to be quite analogous to the action of prexisting protoplasm in the other."

    In answer to this argument Dr. Stirling goes on to show that the analogy holds only as to chemical and physical properties. "One step farther and we see not only that protoplasm has, like water, a chemical and physical structure; but that, unlike water, it has also an organized or organic structure. Now this, on the part of protoplasm, is a possession in excess; and with relation to that excess there can be no grounds for analogy." "Living protoplasm, namely, is identical with dead protoplasm," says Dr. Stirling, "only so far as its chemistry is concerned (if even so much as that); and it is quite evident, consequently, that difference between the two cannot depend on that in which they are identical -- cannot depend on the chemistry. Life, then, is no affair of chemical and physical structure, and must find its explanation in somethng else. It is thus that, lifted high enough, the light of the analogy between water and protoplasm is seen to go out."68 Water and its elements, hydrogen and oxygen, are as to the kind of power which they exhibit on a level. "But not so protoplasm, where, with preservation of the chemical and physical likeness there is the addition of the unlikeness of life, of organization, and of ideas. But the addition is a new world -- a new and higher world, the world of a self-realizing thought, the world of an entelechy."69 "There are certainly different states of water, as ice and steam; but the relation of the solid to the liquid, or of either to the vapor, surely offers no analogy to the relation of protoplasm dead to protoplasm alive. That relation is not an analogy but an antithesis, the antithesis of antitheses. In it, in fact, we are in the presence of the one incommunicable gulf -- the gulf of all gulfs -- that gulf which Mr. Huxley's protoplasm is as powerless to efface as any other material expedient that has ever been suggested since the eyes of men first looked into it -- the mighty gulf between death and life."70

    "The differences alluded to (they are, in order, organization and life, the objective idea -- design, and the subjective idea -- thought), it may be remarked, are admitted by those very Germans to whom protoplasm, name and thing, is due. They, the most advanced and innovating of them, directly avow that there is present in the cell 'an architectonic principle that has not yet been detected.' In pronouncing protoplasm capable of active or vital movements, they do by that refer, they admit also, to an immaterial force, and they ascribe the processes exhibited by protoplasm -- in so many words -- not to the molecules, but to organization and life."71

    "Was it molecular powers that invented a respiration -- that perforated the posterior ear to give a balance of air; that compensated the fenestra ovalis by a fenestra rotunda; that placed in the auricular sacs those otolithes, those express stones for hearing? Such machinery! The chordae tendineae are, to the valves of the heart, exactly adjusted check-strings; and the contractile columnae earneae are set in, under contraction and expansion, to equalize their length to their office. . . . Are we to conceive such machinery, such apparatus, such contrivances, merely molecular? Are molecules adequate to such things -- molecules in their blind passivity, and dead, dull, insensibility? . . . . Surely in the presence of these manifest ideas, it is impossible to attribute the single peculiar feature of protoplasm -- its vitality, namely -- to mere molecular chemistry. Protoplasm, it is true, breaks up into carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, as water does into hydrogen and oxygen; but the watch breaks similarly up into mere brass, and steel, and glass. The loose materials of the watch -- even its chemical material if you will -- replace its weight, quite as accurately as the constituents, carbon, etc., replace the weight of the protoplasm. But neither these nor those replace the vanished idea, which was alone the important element."72There is, therefore, something in protoplasm which cannot be weighed or otherwise measured, and to which the vital phenomena are to be referred.

    If then the argument from analogy fails in its application to vital phenomena, there can be no pretence that it is valid in its application to the phenomena of mind. If we refuse to take the first step, even Professor Huxley cannot require us to take those which follow.

Further Arguments of the Materialists.

    Besides the analogical argument, Materialists insist that there is direct evidence of the correlation of physical, with vital, and mental force. Let it be remembered what this means. Correlated forces are such as may be converted, the one into the other, and which are consequently in their nature identical. The thing, therefore, in this case, to be proved is that light, heat, etc., can be changed into life and thought, and that the latter are identical with the former, both classes being resolvable into motion of the molecules of matter.

    The proof is substantially this. The animal body generates heat by the combustion of the carbon of the food which it receives, precisely as heat is produced by the combustion of carbon out of the body. And it has been experimentally proved that the quantity of heat produced in the body, is precisely the same due allowances being made, as the same amount of carbon would produce if burnt out of the body. Vital heat, therefore, is identical with physical heat.

    Again, muscular force is produced precisely in the same way as physical force. The potential energy of the fuel moves the steam engine. Its work or power is measured and determined by the amount of power stored in the wood or coal consumed in its production. The source and measure of muscular power, are in like manner to be found in the food we eat. Its potential energy, derived from the sun as is the case with the potential energy of wood and coal, when liberated, produces its due amount, so much and no more, of muscular power. Muscular power, therefore, is as purely physical, produced in the same way, and measured by the same standard, as the power of the steam-engine.

    In like manner, "nervous energy, or that form of force, which, on the one hand, stimulates a muscle to contract, and on the other, appears in forms called mental," is merely physical. It comes from the food we eat. It moves. The rate of its motion is determined to be ninety-seven feet in a second. Its effects are analogous to those of electricity. It is, therefore, for these and similar reasons, inferred that "nerve-force is a transmuted potential energy." This is no less true of nerve-force when manifested in the form of thought and feeling. Every external manifestation of thought-force, argues Professor Huxley, is a muscular one, and therefore analogous to other forces producing similar effects. Besides, it has been proved that every exercise of thought or feeling is attended by an evolution of heat, which shows that thought is resolved into heat. "Can we longer doubt, then, that the brain, too, is a machine for the conversion of energy? Can we longer refuse to believe that even thought is, in some mysterious way, correlated to the other natural forces? and this, even in face of the fact that it has never yet been measured?"73

    To unscientific men of ordinary intelligence, to men not devoted to the study of the sensuous, it is a matter of astonishment that such arguments should be regarded as valid. Admitting all the above facts,what do they prove? Admitting that animal heat is the same in source and nature with heat outside the body; admitting that muscular power is physical in its nature and mode of production; admitting that nerve-force is also physical; what then? Do these facts give any solution of the mysteries of life, of organization, alimentation, or reproduction? Do they in any measure account for the formation of the eye or ear; for the mutual relations and interdependence of the organs of the body? Admitting these forces to be physical; who or what uses them? What guides their operation so as to answer a preconceived design? Admitting muscular power to be physical, what calls it into exercise at one time and not at another; beginning, continuing, or suspending it, at pleasure? It is plain that the facts adduced, are no solution either of vital or of voluntary phenomena. And when we come to thought, admitting that mental action is attended by a development of heat, does that prove that thought and heat are identical? When ashamed we blush, when afraid we become pale; do these facts prove that shame and fear and their bodily effects are one and the same thing? Does concomitancy prove identity? In proving the former, do you establish the latter? Do the facts adduced prove that shame is heat and heat shame, and that the one may be converted into the other? All the world knows that sorrow produces tears; but no one infers from this coincidence that sorrow and salt water are identical. Even Professor Tyndall, one of "the advanced thinkers," tells the Materialists, that when they have proved everything they claim to prove, they have proved nothing. They leave the connection between mind and body precisely where it was before.74

Direct Arguments against the Theory of the Correlation of
Physical, and Vital, and Mental Forces

    1. They are heterogeneous. All physical forces are alike. They all tend to produce motion. They all tend to equilibrium. They are all measurable, by weight, or velocity, or by their sensible effects. They are all unintelligent. They act by necessity, without choice, without reference to an end. In all these respects mental forces are directly the reverse. They do not produce motion, they only guide and control it. They resist a state of equilibrium. They counteract physical force. As soon as vitality is gone, the chemical forces come into play and the plant or animal decays. They cannot be measured. Forces which do not admit of measurement, do not admit of correlation, for correlation involves sameness in quantity. "Thought," says President Barnard, "cannot be a physical force, because thought admits of no measure. I think it will be conceded without controversy that there is no form of material substance, and no known force of a physical nature (and there are no other forces), of which we cannot in some form definitely express the quantity, by reference to some conventional measuring unit. . . . No such means of measuring mental action has been suggested. No such means can be conceived. . . . Now, I maintain that a thing which is unsusceptible of measure cannot be a quantity; and that a thing that is not even a quantity, cannot be a force."75

    Again, vital and mental force act with intelligence, with forethought, with freedom, and with design. Wherever the intelligence may reside, it is perfectly evident that all vital operations are carried on in execution of a purpose. Heat and electricity can no more fashion an eye than brass and steel can make a watch, or pen and paper write a book. Intelligent force, therefore, differs in kind from unintelligent force. They are not only different, but contradictory; the affirmation of the one is the negation of the other.

Professor Joseph Henry.

    Prof. Joseph Henry, of the Smithsonian Institute, is admitted to be one of the most eminent naturalists of the age; distinguished not only for the thoroughness of his researches, but for soundness of judgment, and for the rare gift of being able to appreciate different kinds of evidence. He admits the correlation of physical forces, but protests against the obliteration of the distinction between them and vitality and mind. "The body," he says, "has been called 'the house we live in,' but it may be more truly denominated the machine we employ, which, furnished with power, and all the appliances for its use, enables us to execute the intentions of our intelligence, to gratify our moral natures, and to commune with our fellow beings. This view of the nature of the body is the furthest removed possible from Materialism; it requires a separate thinking principle. To illustrate this, let us suppose a locomotive engine equipped with steam, water, fuel, -- in short, with the potential energy necessary to the exhibition of immense mechanical power; the whole remains in a state of dynamic equilibrium, without motion, or signs of life or intelligence. Let the engineer now open a valve which is so poised as to move with the slightest touch, and almost with a volition to let on the power to the piston; the machine now awakes, as it were, into life. It rushes forward with tremendous power; it stops instantly, it returns again, it may be, at the command of the master of the train; in short, it exhibits signs of life and intelligence. Its power is now controlled by mind -- it has, as it were, a soul within it."76 This illustration holds just so far as it was intended to hold. The intellect which controls the engine is not in it, nor is it affected by its changes. Nevertheless, in the body, as well as in the engine, the controlling intellect is equally distinct from the physical force, which both so wonderfully exhibit.

    In more direct reference to vitality, Professor Henry says: "Vitality gives startling evidence of the immediate presence of a direct, divine, and spiritual essence, operating with the ordinary forces of nature, but being in itself entirely distinct from them. This view of the subject is absolutely necessary in carrying out the mechanical theory of the equivalency of heat and the correlation of the ordinary physical forces. Among the latter vitality has no place, and knows no subjection to the laws by which they are governed."77

Dr. Beale.

    Dr. Beale78 is equally explicit. He constantly insists that what acts voluntarily, with choice to accomplish an end, cannot be physical; and that in vital and mental operations there is unquestionable evidence of such voluntary action. He says, "I regard 'vitality' as a power of a peculiar kind, exhibiting no analogy whatever to any known forces. It cannot be a property of matter, because it is in all respects essentially different in its actions from all acknowledged properties of matter. The vital property belongs to a different category altogether."79 He argues also to prove that organization cannot be referred to physical force. "It cannot be maintained that the atoms arrange themselves, and devise what positions each is to take up, -- and it would be yet more extravagant to attribute to ordinary force or energy, atomic rule and directive agency. We might as well try to make ourselves believe that the laboratory fire made and lighted it self, that the chemical compounds put themselves into the crucible, and the solutions betook themselves to the beakers in the proper order, and in the exact proportions required to form certain definite compounds. But while all will agree that it is absurd to ignore the chemist in the laboratory, many insist upon ignoring the presence of anything representing the chemist in the living matter which they call the 'cell-laboratory.' In the one case the chemist works and guides, but in the other, it is maintained, the lifeless molecules of matter are themselves the active agents in developing vital phenomena. . . . No one has proved, and no one can prove, that mind and life are in any way related to chemistry and mechanics. . . . Neither can it be said that life works with physical and chemical forces, for there is no evidence that this is so. On the other hand it is quite certain that life overcomes, in some very remarkable and unknown manner, the influence of physical forces and chemical affinities."80 On a former page he had said, "In order to convince people that the actions of living beings are not due to any mysterious vitality or vital force or power, but are in fact physical and chemical in their nature, Professor Huxley gives to matter which is alive, to matter which is dead, and to matter which is completely changed by roasting or boiling, the very same name. The matter of sheep and mutton and man and lobster and egg is the same, and, according to Huxley, one may be transubstantiated into the other. But how? By 'subtle influences,' and 'under sundry circumstances,' answers this authority. And all these things alive, or dead, or roasted, he tells us are made of protoplasm, and this protoplasm is the physical basis of life, or the basis of physical life. But can this discoverer of 'subtle influences' afford to sneer at the fiction of vitality? By calling things which differ from one another in many qualities by the same name, Huxley seems to think he can annihilate distinctions, enforce identity, and sweep away the difficulties which have impeded the progress of previous philosophers in their search after unity. Plants, and worms, and men are all protoplasm, and protoplasm is albuminous matter, and albuminous matter consists of four elements, and these four elements possess certain properties, by which properties all differences between plants, and worms, and men, are to be accounted for. Although Huxley would probably admit that a worm was not a man, he would tell us that by 'subtle influences' the one thing might be easily converted into the other, and not by such nonsensical fictions as 'vitality,' which can neither be weighed, measured, nor conceived."81

    In the latter portion of his book Dr. Beale shows that the brain is not a gland to secrete thought as the liver does bile; nor is thought a function of the brain, nor the result of mechanical or chemical action; nor is the brain a voltaic battery giving shocks of thought, as Stuart Mill conjectures; but it is the organ of the mind, not for generating, but for expressing thought.

Mr. Wallace.

    To quote unly one more authority, we refer to the eminent naturalist Wallace, the friend and associate of Darwin, and the zealous defender of his theory. "If," says he, "a material element, or a combination of a thousand material elements in a molecule, are alike unconscious, it is impossible for us to believe, that the more addition of one, two, or a thousand other material elements to form a more complex molecule, could in any way tend to produce a self-conscious existence. To say that mind is a product or function of protoplasm, or of its molecular changes, is to use words to which we can attach no clear conception. You cannot have, in the whole, what does not exist in any of the parts; . . . either all matter is conscious, or consciousness is something distinct from matter; and in the latter case, its presence in material forms is a proof of the existence of conscious beings, outside of, and independent of, what we term matter."82

Vital and Physical Forces not Convertible.

    2. A second argument against the doctrine of the correlation of vital and physical forces is that in fact they are not convertible. Motion and heat are said to be correlated, because one can be changed into the other, measure for measure. But no one has ever changed death into life, dead matter into living matter. This Professor Huxley admits. If the simplest living cell once dies, all the science in the world cannot make it alive. What is dead can be made alive only by being taken up and assimilated by that which is still living. The life, therefore, is not due to the chemical properties of that which is dead. So far as chemistry is concerned, there is no known difference between protoplasm dead and protoplasm alive; and yet there is all the difference between them of life and death. That difference, therefore, is not chemical. Until scientific men can actually change heat and electricity into life, and go about raising the dead, men will be slow to believe that heat and life are identical; and until they can transmute physical force into intelligence and will, they cannot convert "thinkers" into Materialists.

    3. Another argument against this theory is the inadequacy of the cause to the assumed effect. The doctrine is that the relation between correlated forces is quantitive; so much of the one will produce so much of the other. But we know that great mental agitation may be produced by the mere sight of certain objects, and that these mental states may call into action violent muscular force. According to the hypothesis, the impression on the nerves of sight or hearing is first transformed into mental force, and that again into muscular and molar energy. This, President Barnard, who presents this argument, pronounces to be absurd, "since it makes a small force equivalent to a large one."83

    President Barnard further argues against this theory from the fact that the mental states produced by impressions on the senses are, at least in many cases, obviously due not to the physical impression, but to the idea therewith connected. If you insult a Frenchman in English, it produces no effect; if the insult be expressed in his own language, it rouses him to fury. The meaning of the words is not a physical force, and yet it is to the meaning the effect is due. Dr. Barnard says, "when it is demanded of us to pronounce as physicists that spiritual existence is an absurdity and religion a dream, it seems to me that no choice is left us but to proclaim our dissent, or to be understood by our silence to accept the doctrine as our own. When such is the alternative, for one I feel bound to speak, and to declare my conviction that as physicists we have nothing to do with mental philosophy; and that in endeavouring to reduce the phenomena of mind under the laws of matter, we wander beyond our depth, we establish nothing certain, we bring ridicule upon the name of positive science, and achieve but a single undeniable result, that of unsettling in the minds of multitudes convictions which form the basis of their chief happiness."84

    4. Physicists cannot carry out their own theory. Even those least susceptible of the force of the supersensuous, are compelled to admit that there is more in mental and vital action than blind physical force can account for. Dr. Carpenter, as we have seen, assumes the presence of "a directive agency;" the Germans of an "architectonic principle" unknown, and uncorrelated, in living matter, to explain undeniable facts for which physical force furnishes no solution. Others, whose spiritual nature is not so entirely subjected to the sensible, break down entirely. Thus Professor Barker, of Yale College, after devoting his whole lecture to prove that vital force and even thought "are correlated to other natural forces" (i. e., identical with them), comes at the end to ask: "Is it only this? Is there not behind this material substance, a higher than molecular power in the thoughts which are immortalized in the poetry of a Milton or a Shakespeare, the art creations of a Michael Angelo or a Titan, the harmonies of a Mozart or a Beethoven? Is there really no immortal portion separable from this brain-tissue, though yet mysteriously united to it? In a word, does this curiously fashioned body inclose a soul, God-given, and to God returning? Here science veils her face, and bows in reverence before the Almighty. We have passed the boundaries by which physical science is inclosed. No crucible, no subtle magnetic needle can answer now our questions. No word but His who formed us can break the awful silence. In the presence of such a revelation science is dumb, and faith comes in joyfully to accept that higher truth which can never be the object of physical demonstration."85

    It thus appears, after all, that there is in man a soul; that the soul is not the body, nor a function of it; that it is the subject and agent of our thoughts, feelings, and volitions. But this is precisely the thing which the lecture is devoted to disproving. Thus Professor Barker's science gives up the ghost at the feet of his religion. It quenches its torch in the fountain of an order of truths higher than those which admit of "physical demonstration." The prw/ton yeu/doj of the whole theory is, that nothing is true which cannot be physically demonstrated; that is, which cannot be felt, weighed, or otherwise measured.

Wallace, the Naturalist.

    A still more striking illustration of the insufficiency of materialistic principles is furnished by the distinguished naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, above quoted. After devoting his whole book to the defence of the doctrine of natural selection, which refers the origin of all species arid genera of plants and animals to the blind operation of physical forces, he comes to the conclusion that there are no such forces; that all is "Mind." Matter has no existence. Matter is force, and force is mind; so that "the whole universe is not merely dependent on, but actually is the WILL of higher intelligences, or one Supreme Intelligence."86 He holds that instead of admitting the existence of an unknown something called matter, and that mind is "another thing, either a product of this matter and its supposed inherent forces, or distinct from, and co-existent with it;" . . . it is a "far simpler and more consistent belief, that matter, as an entity distinct from force, does not exist; and that force is a product of MIND. Philosophy," he adds, "had long demonstrated our incapacity to prove the existence of matter, as usually conceived, while it admitted the demonstration to each of us of our own self-conscious, ideal existence. Science has now worked its way up to the same result, and this agreement between them should give us some confidence in their combined teaching."87 Thus, by one step, the gulf between Materialism and idealistic pantheism is passed. This, at least, is a concession that physical forces cannot account for the phenomena of life and mind; and that in conceding that Materialism as a theory is false.

    The great mistake of Materialists is that they begin at the wrong end. They begin with blind, lifeless matter; and endeavor to deduce from it and its molecular changes, all the infinite marvels of organization, life, and intelligence which the universe exhibits. This is an attempt to make everything out of nothing. The human mind, in its normal state, always begins with God; who, as the Bible teaches us, is an Infinite Spirit, and therefore self-conscious, intelligent, and voluntary; the creator of all things; of matter with its properties, and of finite minds with their powers; and who controls all things by his ever present wisdom and might; so that all the intelligence indicated in unintelligent forces is only one form of the infinite intelligence of God. This is the solution of the problem of the universe given in the Scriptures; a solution which satisfies our whole nature, rational, moral, and religious.

    All works on Psychology, and on the history of Philosophy, contain discussions on the principles of Materialism. Chapter iv. of Dr. Buchanan's able work, "Faith in God and Modern Atheism Compared," is devoted to the history and examination of that theory. See also chapter ii. of the Introduction to Professor Porter's elaborate work, "The Human Intellect." Professor Porter gives, on page 40, a copious account of the literature of the subject. In Herzog's "Real-Encyklopadie," article Materialismus, an account is given of the principal recent German works against the modern form of the doctrine.

    Among the most important works on this subject, besides the writings of Comte and his English disciples, J. Stuart Mill, and H. G. Lewes, are Herbert Spencer's "First Principles of a New System of Philosophy," and his "Biology" in two volumes; Maudsley's "Physiology and Pathology of Mind;" Laycock (Professor in the University of Edinburgh), "Mind and Brain;" Huxley's "Discourse on the Physical Basis of Life;" his "Evidence of Man's Place in Nature" and "Introduction to the Classification of Animals:" and his "Lay Sermons and Essays;" Professor Tyndall's "Essay on Heat;" "The Correlation and Conservation of Forces: A Series of Expositions, by Professor Grove, Professom Helmholtz, Dr. Mayer, Dr. Faraday, Professor Liebig, and Dr. Carpenter; with an Introduction by Edward L. Youmans, M. D.; "Alexander Bain (Professor of Logic in the University of Aberdeen), "The Senses and the Intellect;" "The Emotions and the Will;" "Mental and Moral Science;" "Kraft und Stofi von Ludwig Buchner. Zehnte Auflage. Leipzig, 1869." By the same author, "Die Stellung des Menschen in der Natur in Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft. Oder Woher kommen wir? Wer sind wir? Wohin gehen wir? Leipzig, 1869." Also, "Sechs Vorlesungen uber die Darwin'sche Theorie von der Verwandlung der Arten und die erste Entstehung der Organismenwelt. Leipzig, 1868."

§ 5. Pantheism.

A. What Pantheism is.

    If the etymology of the word Pantheism be allowed to determine its meaning, the answer to the question, What is Pantheism? is easy. The universe is God, and God is the universe. To. pa/n Qeoj e;sti. This is not only the signification of the word and the popular idea usually attached to it, but it is the formal definition often given of the term. Thus Wegscheider says, "Pantheismus [est] ea sententia, qua mundum non secretum a numine ac disparatum, sea ad ipsam Dei essentiam pertinere quidam opinati sunt."88 This, however, is pronounced by the advocates of the doctrine to be a gross misrepresentation. The idea that the universe, as the aggregate of individual things, is God, is, they say, a form of thought, which the earliest philosophy of the East had surmounted. It might as well be said that the contents of a man's consciousness, at any one time, were the man himself; or that the waves of the ocean were the ocean itself. It is because so many Pantheists take the word in the sense above indicated, that they deny that they are Pantheists, and affirm their belief in the being of God. As the system which is properly designated Pantheism, does exclude the popular view of the subject, derived from the etymology of the word; and as it has been held in very different forms, it is not easy to give a concise and satisfactory answer to the question, What is Pantheism? The three principal forms in which the doctrine has been presented, are, (1.) That which ascribes to the Infinite and Universal Being, the attributes (to a certain extent at least) of both mind and matter, namely, thought and extension. (2.) That which ascribes to it only the attributes of matter, Materialistic Pantheism. (3.) That which ascribes to it only the attributes of spirit, Idealistic Pantheism.

General Principles of the System.

    For the purpose of theological instruction it is sufficient to stat what these several systems unite in denying, and what they substantially agree in affirming.

    1. They deny all dualism in the universe. The essential distinction between matter and mind, between soul and body, between God and the world, between the Infinite and the Finite is repudiated. There is but one substance, but one real Being. Hence the doctrine is called Monism, or, the All One doctrine. "The idea," says Cousin,89 "of the finite, of the infinite, and of their necessary connection as cause and effect, meet in every act of intelligence, nor is it possible to separate them from each other; though distinct, they are bound together, and constitute at once a triplicity and unity." "The first term (the infinite), though absolute, exists not absolutely in itself, but as an absolute cause which must pass into action, and manifest itself in the second (the finite). The finite cannot exist without the infinite, and the infinite can only be realized by developing itself in the finite."

    All philosophy is founded, he says, on the ideas of "unity and multiplicity," "of substance and phenomenon." "Behold," he says, "all the propositions which we had enumerated reduced to a single one, as vast as reason and the possible, to the opposition of unity and plurality, of substance and phenomenon, of being and appearance, of identity and difference."90 All men, he says, believe, "as it were, in a combination of phenomena which would cease to be at the moment in which the eternal substance should cease to sustain them; they believe, as it were, in the visible manifestation of a concealed principle which speaks to them under this cover, and which they adore in nature and in consciousness."91 "As God is made known only in so far as he is absolute cause, on this account, in my opinion, he cannot but produce, so that the creation ceases to be unintelligible, and God is no more without a world than a world without God."92 It is one of the most familiar aphorisms of the German philosophers, "Ohne Welt kein Gott; und ohne Gott keine Welt."

    Renan in his "Vie de Je,sus," understands by Pantheism, materialism, or the denial of a living God. This would exclude all the forms of the doctrines held by idealistic pantheists in all ages. Dr. Calderwood pronounces Sir William Hamilton's doctrine of creation pantheistic, because it denies that the sum of existence can either be increased or diminished. Sir William Hamilton teaches that when we say God created the world out of nothing, we can only mean that "He evolves existence out of himself." Although all the forms of Pantheism are monistic, except Hylozoism, which is properly dualistic, yet the mere doctrine of the unity of substance does not constitute Pantheism. However objectionable the doctrine may be that everything that exists, even unorganized matter, is of the substance of God, it has been held by many Christian Theists. This does not necessarily involve the denial of the essential distinction between matter and mind.

    2. However they differ as to the nature of the Infinite as such, whether it be matter or spirit; or that of which both thought and extension (potentially) can be predicated; or, whether it be thought itself, or force, or cause, or nothing, i. e., that of which nothing can be affirmed or denied; a simple unknown quantity; they all agree that it has no existence either before or out of the world. The world is, therefore, not only consubstantial, but coeternal with God.

    3. This of course precludes the idea of creation; except as an eternal and necessary process.

    4. They deny that the Infinite and Absolute Being in itself has either intelligence, consciousness, or will. The Infinite comes into existence in the Finite. The whole life, consciousness, intelligence, and knowledge, at any time, of the former, is the life, consciousness, intelligence, and knowledge of the latter, i. e., of the world. "Omnes (mentes)," says Spinoza, "simul Dei aeternum et infinitum intellectum constituunt."93 "God alone is, and out of Him is nothing."94 "Seine Existenz als Wesen ist unser Denken von ihm; aber seine reale Existenz ist die Natur, zu welcher das einzelne Denkende als moment gehort."95

    5. Pantheism denies the personality of God. Personality as well as consciousness implies a distinction between the Self and the Not Self; and such distinction is a limitation inconsistent with the nature of the Infinite. God, therefore, is not a person who can say I, and who can be addressed as Thou. As He comes into existence, intelligence, and consciousness only in the world, He is a person only so far as He comprehends all personalities, and the consciousness of the sum of finite creatures constitutes the consciousness of God. "The true doctrine of Hegel on this subject," says Michelet,96 "is not that God is a person as distinguished from other persons; neither is He simply the universal or absolute substance. He is the movement of the Absolute ever making itself subjective; and in the subjective first comes to objectivity or to true existence." "God," he adds, "according to Hegel, is the only true personal Being." "As God is eternal personality, so He eternally produces his other self, namely, Nature, in order to come to self-consciousness."

    It follows of necessity from the doctrine, that God is the substance of which the universe is the phenomenon; that God has no existence but in the world; that the aggregate consciousness and life of the Finite is, for the time being, the whole consciousness and life of the Infinite; that the Infinite cannot be a person distinct from the world, to whom we can say, Thou. On this point Cousin says, "Take away my faculties, and the consciousness that attests them to me, and I am not for myself. It is the same with God; take away nature, and the soul, and every sign of God disappears."97 What the soul would be without faculties and without consciousness, that is God without the universe. An unconscious God, without life, of whom nothing can be predicated but simple being, is not only not a person, but he is, for us, nothing.

    6. Man is not an individual subsistence. He is but a moment in the life of God; a wave on the surface of the sea; a leaf which falls and is renewed year after year.

    7. When the body, which makes the distinction of persons among men, perishes, personality ceases with it. There is no conscious existence for man after death. Schleiermacher, in his "Discourses," says, the piety in which he was nurtured in his youth, "remained with me when the God and immortality of my childhood disappeared from my doubting sight."98 On this avowal, Mr. Hunt, curate of St. Ives, Hunts, comments: "The 'God and immortality' - of his childhood disappeared. The personal God whom the Moravians worshipped was exchanged for the impersonal Divinity of philosophy. Nor did this theology seem impious. No, it was the very essence of true religion." There is good reason to believe that with regard to the personal existence of the soul after death, Schleiermacher sacrificed his philosophy, as he certainly did in other points, to his religion. This, however, only the more clearly shows how inconsistent the pantheistic view of the nature of God is with the doctrine of conscious existence after death. The absorption of the soul in God, of the Finite into the Infinite, is the highest destiny that Pantheism can acknowledge for man.

    8. As man is only a mode of God's existence, his acts are the acts of God, and as the acts of God are necessary, it follows that there can be no freedom of the will in man. Spinoza says,99 "Hinc sequitur mentem humanam partem esse infiniti intellectus Dei: an proinde cum dicimus, mentem humanam hoc vel illud percipere, nihil aliud dicimus, quam quod Deus, non quatenus infinitus est, sed quatenus per naturam humanae mentis explicatur, sive quatenus humanae mentis essentiam constituit, hanc vel illam habeat ideam." "In mente nulla est absoluta sive libera voluntas. Mens certus et determinatus modus cogitandi est adeoque suarum actionum non potest esse causa libera."100 "Eodem hoc modo demonstratur, in mente nullam dari facultatem absolutam intelligendi, cupiendi, amandi, etc."101

    Cousin says, "We are thus arrived then in the analysis of the me, by the way of psychology still, at a new aspect of ontology, at a substantial activity, anterior and superior to all phenomenal activity, which produces all the phenomena of activity, survives them all, and renews them all, immortal and inexhaustible, in the destruction of its temporary manifestations."102 Thus our activity is only a temporary manifestation of the activity of God. All our acts are his acts.103

    Mr. Hunt, analyzing Spinoza's system, and using mainly his language on this point, says, "Spinoza ascribed to God a kind of freedom: a free necessity. But to created existences even this kind of freedom is denied. 'There is nothing contingent in the nature of beings; all things on the contrary are determined by the necessity of the Divine nature, to exist and to act, after a certain fashion. 'Nature produced' is determined by 'nature producing. It does not act, it is acted upon. The soul of man is a Spiritual automaton. . . . There can be nothing arbitrary in the necessary developments of the Divine essence."104

    As Pantheism makes creation an eternal, necessary, and continuous evolution of the Infinite Being, all liberty of second causes is of necessity excluded. A distinction may be made between the necessity by which a stone falls to the ground, and the necessity by which a mind thinks; but the necessity is as absolute in the one case as in the other. Liberty in man is rational self-determination, that is, spontaneity determined by reason. But reason in man is impersonal, according to Pantheism. It is God as explicated in us. All the acts of the human mind are the acts of God as determined by the necessity of his nature. The same doctrine of fatalism is involved in the idea that history is merely the self-evolution of God. One idea, or phase of the Infinite Being, is exhibited by one age or nation, and a different one by another. But the whole is as much a necessary process of evolution as the growth of a plant.

    Sir William Hamilton, therefore, says that Cousin destroys liberty by divorcing it from intelligence, and that his doctrine is inconsistent not only with Theism but with morality, which cannot be founded "on a liberty which at best only escapes necessity by taking refuge with chance."105 And Morell, a eulogist of Cousin, says, that according to Cousin: "God is the ocean, we are but the waves; the ocean may be one individuality, and each wave another; but still they are essentially one and the same. We see not how Cousin's Theism can possibly be consistent with any idea of moral evil; neither do we see how, starting from such a dogma, he can ever vindicate and uphold his own theory of human liberty. On such Theistic principles, all sin must be simply defect, and all defect must be absolutely fatuitous."106

    9. Pantheism in making man a mode of God's existence, and in denying all freedom of the will, and in teaching that all "phenomenal activity" is "a transient manifestation" of the activity of God, precludes the possibility of sin. This does not mean that there is in man no sentiment of approbation or disapprobation, no subjective difference between right and wrong. This would be as absurd as to say that there is no difference between pleasure and pain. But if God be at once God, nature, and humanity; if reason in us be God's reason; his intelligence our intelligence, his activity our activity; if God be the substance of which the world is the phenomenon, if we are only moments in the life of God, then there can be nothing in us which is not in God. Evil is only limitation, or undeveloped good. One tree is larger and finer than another; one mind is more vigorous than another; one mode of action more pleasurable than another; but all alike are modes of God's activity. Water is water, whether in the puddle or in the ocean; and God is God, in Nero or St. John. Hegel says that sin is something unspeakably higher than the law-abiding motion of the planets, or the innocence of plants. That is, it is a higher manifestation of the life of God.

    Spinoza teaches that "sin is nothing positive. It exists for us but not for God. The same things which appear hateful in men are regarded with admiration in animals. . . . It follows then that sin, which only expresses an imperfection, cannot consist in anything which expresses a reality. We speak improperly, applying human language to what is above human language, when we say that we sin against God, or that men offend God."107

    It is the necessary consequence of the doctrine that God is the universal Being, that the more of being the more of God, and therefore the more of good. And consequently the less of being, the less of good. All limitation, therefore, is evil; and evil is simply limitation of being. Spinoza108 says, "Quo magis unusquisque -- suum esse conservare conatur et potest, eo magis virtute praeditus est; contra quatenus unusquisque -- suum esse conservare negligit, eatenus est impotens." In the demonstration of this proposition, he says, "Virtus est ipsa humana potentia,"109 making power and goodness identical. Professor Baur of Tubingen,110 says: "Evil is what is finite; for the finite is negative; the negation of the infinite."

    It is only, as just said, another form of this doctrine that power, or strength, is in man the only good. This does not mean the strength to submit to injury; the strength of self-sacrifice; the strength to be humble and to resist evil passion, but the power to carry out our own purposes in opposition to the will, interests, or happiness of others. That is, that might is right. The victor is always right, the vanquished is always wrong. This is only one manifestation of God, suppressing or superseding a less perfect manifestation. Spinoza's doctrine is, "To the pursuit of what is agreeable, and the hatred of the contrary, man is compelled by his nature, for 'every one desires or rejects by necessity, according to the laws of his nature, that which he judges good or bad.' To follow this impulse is not only a necessity but it is the right and the duty of every man, and every one should be reckoned an enemy who wishes to hinder another in the gratification of the impulses of his nature. The measure of every one's right is his power. The best right is that of the strongest; and as the wise man has an absolute right to do all which reason dictates, or the right of living according to the laws of reason, so also the ignorant and foolish man has a right to live according to the laws of appetite."111 A more immoral and demoralizing principle was never expressed in human language. To say that it is the duty of every man to seek his own gratification, to satisfy the impulses of his nature; that he is an enemy who attempts to hinder that gratification; that the only limit to such gratification is our power; that men have the right, if so inclined, to live according to the laws of appetite, is to say that there is no such thing as moral obligation; no such thing as right or wrong.

    Cousin repeats ad nauseam the doctrine that might is right; that the strongest is always the best. "We usually see in success," he says, "only a triumph of force,. . . . I hope I have shown that, inasmuch as there always must be a vanquished party, and in asmuch as the vanquished party is always that which ought to be vanquished, to accuse the vanquisher and to take part against victory, is to take part against humanity, and to complain of the progress of civilization. It is necessary to go further; it is necessary to prove that the vanquished party deserves to be vanquished; that the vanquishing party not only serves the cause of civilization, but that it is better, and more moral than the vanquished party." "Virtue and prosperity, misfortune and vice, are in necessary harmony ." "Feebleness is a vice, and, therefore, it is always punished and beaten." "It is time," he says, "that philosophy of history put beneath its feet the declamations of philanthropy."112 It must, of course, be true, if God is the life of the world, all power his power, every act his act, not only that there can be no sin, but that the most powerful are always morally (if that word has any meaning) the best; and that might is right. This is the theory on which hero worship is founded, not only among the heathen, but among Christians, so called, of our day.

    10. Pantheism is self deification. If God comes to existence only in the world, and if everything that is, is a manifestation of God, it Follows that (so far as this earth is concerned, and so far as pantheists allow or acknowledge) the soul of man is the highest form of the existence of God. As the souls of men differ very much one from another, one being much superior to others, the greater the man the more divine he is, i. e., the more does he represent God; the more of the divine essence does he reveal. The highest step of development is reached only by those who come to the consciousness of their identity with God. This is the precise doctrine of the Hindus, who teach that when a man is able to say, "I am Brahm," the moment of his absorption into the infinite Being has arrived. This is the ground on which the pantheistic philosophers rest their claim of preeminence; and the ground on which they concede the preeminence of Christ. He, more than any other man, saw into the depths of his own nature. He was able to say as no other man could say, "I and the Father are one." But the difference between Christ and other men is only one of degree. The human race is the incarnation of God, which is a process from eternity to eternity. "Mankind," says Strauss, "is the Godman; the key of a true Christology is, that the predicates which the Church gives to Christ, as an individual, belong to an idea, a generic whole."113

    11. There is only one step further, and that is, the deification of evil. That step Pantheists do not hesitate to take; so far as evil exists it is as truly a manifestation of God as good. The wicked are only one form of the self-manifestation of God; sin is only one form of the activity of God. This dreadful doctrine is explicitly avowed.

    Rosenkranz says,114 "Die dritte Consequenz endlich ist die, dass Gott der Sohn auch als identisch gesetzt ist mit dem Subject, in welchem die religiose Vorstellung den Ursprung des Bosen anichaut, mit dem Satan, Phosphoros, Lucifer. Diese Verschmelzung begrundet sich darin, dass der Sohn innerhalb Gottes das Moment der Unterscheidung ist, in dem Unterschied aber die Moglichkeit der Entgegensetzung und Entzweiung angelegt ist. Der Sohn ist der selbstbewusste Gott." Such a sentence as the foregoing has never been written in English, and, we trust, never will be. The conclusion it avows, however, is unavoidable. If God be everything, and if there be a Satan, God must be Satan. Rosenkranz says, that the mind is horrified at such language, only because it does not recognize the intimate connection between good and evil; that evil is in good, and good in evil. Without evil there can be no good.

    It me because of this deification of evil, that a recent German writer115 said that this system should be called Pandiabolism instead of Pantheism. He, if we mistake not, is the author of the article in Hengstenberg's "Kirchen-Zeitung,"116 in which it is said. "this is the true positive blasphemy of God -- this veiled blasphemy -- this diabolism of the deceitful angel of light -- this speaking of reckless words, with which the man of sin sets himself in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. The Atheist cannot blaspheme within such power as this; his blasphemy is merely negative. He merely says: 'There is no God. It is only out of Pantheism that a blasphemy can proceed, so wild, of such inspired mockery, so devoutly godless, so desperate in its love of the world, -- a blasphemy so seductive, and so offensive that it may well call for the destruction of the world."

    Pantheism, however, becomes all things to all men. To the pure it gives scope for a sentimental religious feeling which sees God in every thing and every thing in God. To the proud it is the source of intolerable arrogance and self-conceit. To the sensual it gives authority for every form of indulgence. The body being a mode of God's extension, according to Spinoza's theory, as the mind is a mode of the divine intelligence, the body has its divine rights as well as the soul. Even some of the most reputable of the Pantheistic school, do not hesitate to say in reference to the trammels of morality: "It is well that the rights of our sensual nature should, from time to time, be boldly asserted."117 This system, therefore, as even the moderate Tholuck says, "comes to the same result with the materialism of French encyclopedists, who mourned over mankind for having sacrificed the real pleasures of time for the imaginary pleasures of eternity, and the protracted enjoyments of life, for the momentary happiness of a peaceful death."

    Pantheism, therefore, merges everything into God. The universe is the existence-form of God; that is, the universe is his existence. All reason is his reason; all activity is his activity; the consciousness of creatures, is all the consciousness God has of himself; good and evil, pain and pleasure, are phenomena of God; modes in which God reveals himself, the way in which He passes from Being into Existence. He is not, therefore, a person whom we can worship and in whom we can trust. He is only the substance of which the universe and all that it contains are the ever changing manifestation. Pantheism admits of no freedom, no responsibility, no conscious life after death. Cousin sums up the doctrine in this comprehensive paragraph: "The God of consciousness is not an abstract God, a solitary monarch exiled beyond the limits of creation, upon the desert throne of a silent eternity, and of an absolute existence which resembles even the negation of existence. He is a God at once true and real, at once substance and cause, always substance and always cause, being substance only in so far as He is cause, and cause only so far as He is substance, that is to say, being absolute cause, one and many, eternity and time, space and number, essence and life, indivisibility and totality, principle, end, and centre, at the summit of Being and at its lowest degree, infinite and finite together, triple, in a word, that is to say, at the same time God, nature, and humanity. In fact, if God be not everything, He is nothing."118

History of Pantheism.

    Pantheism has proved itself to be the most persistent as well as the most wide-spread form of human thought relative to the origin and nature of tIme universe, and its relation to the Infinite Being, whose existence in some form seems to be a universal and necessary assumption. Pantheistic ideas underlie almost all the forms of religion which have existed in the world. Polytheism, which has been almost universal, has its origin in nature worship; and nature-worship rests on the assumption that Nature is God, or, the manifestation, or existence form of the infinite unknown. Of course it is only the briefest outline of the different forms of this portentous system of error, that can be given in these pages.

B. Brahminical Pantheism.

    Ethnographically the Hindus belong to the same race as the Greeks, Romans, and other great European nations. In prehistoric periods one division of the great Aryan family spread itself westward over the territory which now constitutes Europe. Another division extended south and east and entered India, displacing almost entirely the original inhabitants of that large, diversified, and fertile region.

    Long before Greece or Rome became cultivated communities, and when Europe was the home only of uncivilized barbarians, India was covered with rich and populous cities; the arts had reached the highest state of development; a literature and language which, in the judgment of scholars, rival those of Greece and Rome, had been produced, and systems of philosophy as profound, as subtle, and as diversified as the human mind ever elaborated, were already taught in her schools.

    The Hindus number nearly two hundred millions of souls. They are now, in the essential principles of their philosophy, their religion, and their social organization, what they were a thousand years before the birth of Christ. Never in the history of the world has a form of religious philosophy been so extensively embraced, so persistently adhered to, or so effective in moulding the character and determining the destiny of a people.

    Few questions of the kind, therefore, are of deeper interest than what the true character of the Hindu religion actually is. The decision of that question is not free from difficulty; and it has, therefore, received very different answers. The difficulty in this case arises from various sources.

    1. The religious books of the Hindus are not only written in Sanskrit, a language unintelligible, except to a small class of learned men, but they are exceedingly voluminous. The Vedas, the most ancient and authoritative, fill fourteen volumes folio. The Institutes of Menu, the Puranas, and the sacred poems, "Ramayana" and "Mahabhrata," are equally extensive. The former of these poems consists of a hundred thousand verses, and the latter of four hundred thousand, while the Aeneid has only twelve thousand, and the Iliad twenty-four thousand. Sir William Jones said that the student of the Hindu literature and religion, found himself in time presence of infinity.

    2. lt is not only, however, the voluminousness of the authoritative sacred books, but the character of their contents, which creates the difficulty of getting a clear idea of the system which they teach. The Vedas consist mainly of hymns of various ages, interspersed with brief obscure, philosophical or theological explanations and comments. The Puranas are filled with extravagant legends; which are to be interpreted historically, and which mythically, it is difficult to decide.

    3. The spirit of exaggeration is so characteristic of the Hindu mind that statements meant to be understood literally shock the mind by their extravagance. Thus their books make the earth a circular plane one hundred and seventy millions of miles in diameter; they speak of mountains sixty miles high, and of periods of four thousand millions of millions of years.

The Religion of the Hindus not originally Monotheistic.

    It is a common opinion that the Hindu religion was originally and for centuries monotheistic; that out of monotheism gradually rose the present complicated and monstrous polytheism, and that contemporaneously among the philosophical class, were developed the different forms of Pantheism. But this is contrary to well established facts, and is altogether unsatisfactory as a solution of the great problem of Hindu life.

    It is indeed true, as we know from the Bible, that monotheism was the earliest form of religion among men. And it is also true in all probability that the Vedas, which are collections of ancient hymns, contain some which belong to the monotheistic period. Most of those, however, which appear to assume the existence of one God, are to be understood in a pantheistic and not in a theistic sense. These recognize one divine Being, but that one includes all the other forms of being. The history of religion shows that when monotheism failed among men because "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge," it was replaced by the worship of nature. This nature-worship assumed two forms. The different elements, as fire, air, and water, were personified, endowed with personal attributes and divine powers, giving rise to polytheism. Or nature as a whole was the object of worship, giving rise to Pantheism.

    It is evident that among the highly intellectual Aryans who settled in India, between one and two thousand years before Christ, the pantheistic view had obtained the ascendency, not as a philosophical theory merely, but as a religious doctrine. It became, and has continued until this day, the foundation of the religious, civil, and social life of the Hindu. It is this which gives it its paramount importance. It stands alone in history. In no other case, among no other people, has Pantheism become the controlling form of religious belief among the people, so as to determine their institutions and to mould their character. The Hindus, therefore, have an interest for Christians and for the religious philosopher which attaches to no other heathen nation. They show, and were doubtless intended to show, what are the legitimate effects of Pantheism. That doctrine has had dominant control for millenniums over a highly cultivated and intelligent people, and in their character and state we see its proper fruits.

It was Pantheistic.

    That the religion of the Hindus is fundamentally pantheistic, is evident --

    1. From what their sacred writings teach of the Supreme Being. It is designated by a word in the neuter gender, Brahm. It is never addressed as a person. It is never worshipped. It has no attributes but such as may be predicated of space. It is said to be eternal, infinite, immutable. It is said to have continued for untold ages in the state of unintelligent, unconscious being. It comes to existence, to consciousness, and life, in the world. It unfolds itself through countless ages in all the forms of finite existence; and then by a like gradual process all things are resolved into unconscious being. The illustrations of the origin of the world commonly employed are sparks issuing from a burning mass; or, better, vapour rising from the ocean, condensing and falling back to the source whence it came. Being as such, or the Infinite, is, therefore, viewed in three aspects: as coming to existence, as developing itself in the world, as receiving everything back into the abyss of simple being. These different aspects are expressed by the words, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, to which our terms, Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, answer very imperfectly.

    We have here the constantly recurring pantheistic formula, Thesis, Analysis, Synthesis; Being. Development, Restoration. The Infinite, the Finite, and their Identity. The principal difference between the Brahminical system and the theories of the later pantheists, is that the latter make the universe co-eternal with God. The Infinite from eternity to eternity develops itself in the Finite. Whereas, according to the former, there was an inconceivably long period of repose antecedent to the process of development, and that process after millions of millions of ages, is to be followed by a like period of unconsciousness and rest.

Relation of Infinite Being to the World.

    2. The relation of God to the world, or rather of the Infinite to the Finite, is the same in the Brahminical, as in other pantheistic systems. That relation has been already intimated. It is that of identity. The world is the existence-form of God. God is every thing, good and evil; and everything is God. But in very different degrees. There is more of Being (i. e., of God) in a plant than in unorganized matter; more in an animal than in the plant more in man than in either; more in one man, or race of men, than in another.

Relation of Pantheism to Polytheism.

    3. The vast polytheistic system of the Hindus is founded on Pantheism and is its logical consequence. In the first place, as just remarked, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, commonly called the Hindu Trinity, are not persons, but personifications, or different aspects under which Infinite Being is to be regarded. In the second place, as the Infinite Being manifests itself in different degrees in different persons and things, anything extraordinary in nature, any remarkable man, is regarded as a special manifestation or embodiment of God. Hence the frequent avatars or incarnations of the Hindu mythology. In this way the gods may be, and have been indefinitely multiplied. Any person or thing, or quality, may be deified as a manifestation of infinite Being. In the third place, this accounts for the facts that the Hindu gods are regarded as destitute of moral excellence, and that even evil, as under the name of Kali, the goddess of cruelty and patroness of murderers, may be the special object of reverence. In the fourth place, no god, not even Brahma or Vishnu, is, according to the Hindu system, immortal. All gods and goddesses are at length to be merged in the abyss of infinite, unconscious Being.

Effect of Pantheism on Religion.

    4. Pantheism, as it makes being, God, as it recognizes no attribute but power in the objects of worship, divorces morality from religion. It is not in the power of any system, however sincerely embraced, to reverse the laws of our nature. And, therefore, in despite of the prevalence of a doctrine which denies the possibility of either sin or virtue, and makes everything dependent on fate, or the power of arbitrary being, the people in various ways recognize the obligation of the moral law and the excellence of virtue. But this has nothing to do with their religion. The great object of all religious observances was final absorption in God; their proximate object was to propitiate some power by which the worshipper would be raised one or more steps toward the state in which that absorption is possible. On this point Professor Wilson says:119 "Entire dependence upon Krishna, or any other favorite deity, not only obviates the necessity of virtue, but it sanctifies vice. Conduct is wholly immaterial. It matters not how atrocious a sinner a man may be, if he paints his face, his breast, his arms with certain sectarial marks; or, which is better, if he brands his skin permanently with them with a hot iron stamp; if he is constantly chanting hymns in honor of Vishnu, or, what is equally efficacious, if he spends hours in the simple reiteration of his name or names; if he die with the word Hari, or Rama, or Krishna on his lips, and the thought of him in his mind, he may have lived a monster of iniquity, -- he is certain of heaven." "Certain of heaven," is a Christian form of expression, and conveys an idea foreign to the Hindu mind. What such a worshipper hopes and expects is that when next born into the world it may be in a higher state and so much the nearer his final absorption. As Professor Wilson is not only moderate, but almost apologetic in the account which he gives of the religion of the Hindus, the above quoted statement cannot be suspected of unfairness or exaggeration.

Character of the Hindu Worship.

    The two leading characteristics of the Hindu worship are cruelty and indecency. And these are sufficiently accounted for by the Pantheism which underlies the whole system. Pantheism denies the distinction between virtue and vice; it recognizes no attribute but power; it deifies evil; it "sanctifies vice;" passion, sensual or malignant, is as much a mode of divine manifestation as the most heroic virtue. Indeed, there is no room for the idea of moral excellence. Hence the prescriptions of religion have reference almost exclusively to rites and ceremonies. The Brahmin when he rises must bathe in a certain way, stand in a certain posture, extend his fingers in a prescribed manner; he must salute the rising sun, resting on one foot; he must repeat certain words. When he eats, the dish must be placed according to rule; he must make prescribed motions with his hands, and so on through the whole day. Every act is prescribed, everything is religious; everything either defiles or purifies, ceremonially, but of moral defilement or purity there seems to be in their religion no recognition.

The Anthropology of the Hindus.

    5. The anthropology of the Hindus proves the pantheistic character of their whole system. Man is only a part of God, a mode of his existence. He is compared to a portion of sea-water inclosed in a bottle and thrown into the ocean. The water in the bottle is the same in nature as that without. As soon as the bottle is broken the water within it is lost in the surrounding ocean. Another illustration of the destiny of the soul is that of a lump of salt thrown into the ocean, which immediately disappears. Its individuality is lost. This absorption of the soul is the highest beatification which Pantheism offers to its votaries. But this, in the case of the vast majority of men, can be attained only after a long process of transmigrations extending, it may be, through millions of years. If a man be faithful and punctilious in his religious observances, he comes into the world after death in a higher state. Thus, a Soudra may become a Brahmin. But if unfaithful, he will be born in a lower form, it may be, in that of a reptile. It is thus, by these alternations, that the wished for absorption in Brahm is ultimately attained. With regard to the sacred, or Brahminical caste, the process may be shorter. A Brahmin's life is divided, according to the Institutes of Menu, into four periods: childhood, student life; life as householder; and finally, the ascetic period. As soon as a Brahmin feels the approach of old age, he is directed to retire from the world; to live as a hermit; to subsist only on herbs; to deny himself all business and enjoyment, that by continued self-negation he may not only destroy the power of the body, and free himself from the influence of the things seen and temporal, but also lose the consciousness of his individuality, and be able at last to say, "I am Brahm," and then be is lost in the infinite.

    The Hindu life is dominated by this doctrine of absorption in God after a long series of transmigrations, and by the division of the people into castes, which has in like manner its foundation in their theory of the relation of God to the world, or, of the Infinite to the Finite. The Brahminical, or sacred class, is a higher manifestation of God than the military class; the military, than the mercantile; the mercantile, than the servile. This is popularly expressed by saying that the first proceeds from the head, the second from the arms, the third from the body, and the fourth from the feet of Brahm. The member of one of the lower castes cannot pass into either of those above him, except that by merit (ritual observances) he may on his next birth into the world be advanced to a higher grade; and one of a higher caste, by neglect of the prescribed rule of living, may at his next birth find himself degraded into a lower caste, or even into a beast or a reptile. Hence the horror of losing caste, which places a man out of the line of advancement, and consigns him to an almost endless state of degradation.

The Effect of Pantheism on the Social Life of the Hindus.

    6. The whole religious and social life of the Hindu is controlled by the radical principle that all things are God, or modes of his existence, and all destined to return to Him again. To a Hindu his individual existence is a burden. It is a fall from God. Hence to get back, to be lost in the Infinite, is the one great object of desire and effort. As this end is not to be attained by virtue, but by asceticism, by propitiation of the gods, their religion is simply a round of unmeaning ceremonies, or acts of self-denial, or self-torture. Their religion, therefore, tends to destroy all interest in the present life, which is regarded as a burden and degradation. It cuts the nerves of exertion. It presents no incentive to virtue. it promotes vice. It has all the effects of fatalism. The influence of the worship of deities without moral excellence, some of them monsters of iniquity; the belief that cruelty and obscenity are acceptable to these deities, and secure their favor, cannot be otherwise than debasing. The world, therefore, sees in India the practical working of Pantheism. The system has been in unrestricted operation, not as a philosophy, but as a practical religious belief, for thousands of years, and among a people belonging to the most favored of the various races of men, and the result is before our eyes.

    "Greece and India," says Max Muller,120 "are, indeed, the two opposite poles in the historical development of the Aryan man. To the Greek, existence is full of life and reality; to the Hindu it is a dream, an illusion. . . . The Hindu enters this world as a stranger; all his thoughts are directed to another world; he takes no part even where he is driven to act; and when he sacrifices his life, it is but to be delivered from it. No wonder that a nation like the Indian cared so little for history; no wonder that social and political virtues were little cultivated, and the ideas of the useful and the beautiful scarcely known to them. With all this, however, they had what the Greek was as little capable of imagining as they were of realizing the elements of Grecian life. They shut their eyes to this world of outward seeming and activity, to open them full on the world of thought and rest. Their life was a yearning after eternity; their activity a struggle to return into that divine essence from which this life seemed to have severed them. Believing as they did in a divine and really existing eternal Being (to. o;ntwj o;n), they could not believe in the existence of this passing world. If the one existed, the other could only seem to exist; if they lived in the one, they could not live in the other. Their existence on earth was to them a problem, their eternal life a certainty. The highest object of their religion was to restore that bond by which their own self (atman) was linked to the eternal Self (paramatman); to recover that unity which had been clouded and obscured by the magical illusions of reality, by the so-called Maya of creation."

    In order to show "How largely this idea of the Atman, as the Divine Spirit, entered into the early religious and philosophical speculations of the Indians," he quotes from one of the Vedas a Dialogue in which, among other things, one of the speakers says: "Whosoever looks for this world, for the gods, for all beings, for this universe, elsewhere than in the Divine Spirit, should be abandoned by them all. This Brahmahood, this kshatra-power, this world, these gods, these beings, this universe, all is the Divine Spirit."121 The illustrations used by the speaker to show the relation of the phenomenal universe to God, are derived from the sounds issuing from a drum or a lute, smoke rising from a fire, vapour from the sea. He adds, "It is with us, when we enter into the Divine Spirit, as if a lump of salt was thrown into the sea, it becomes dissolved into the water (from which it was produced), and is not to be taken out again. But wherever you take the water and taste it, it is salt. Thus is this great, endless, and boundless Being but one mass of knowledge. As the water becomes salt, and the salt becomes water again, thus has the Divine Spirit appeared from out the elements and disappears again into them. When we have passed away, there is no longer any name."122

    There can therefore be no reasonable doubt that Pantheism lies at the foundation of all the religion of India. There is, indeed, the same difference between the present complex and corrupt polytheism of the Hindus and the teachings of the Vedas, that there is between the Roman Catholicism of our day and primitive Christianity. There is, however, this important distinction between the two cases. Popery is a perversion of Christianity by the introduction of incongruous elements derived from Jewish and heathen sources, whereas the religion of modern India is the legitimate and logical result of the principles of the earliest and purest of the Hindu sacred writings.

    The most accessible sources of information on the literature and religion of lndia, are the writings of Sir William Jones; the writings of Colebrooke; the Journal of the Asiatic Society; the works of Prof. Wilson of Oxford, specially his "Essays and Lectures on the Religion of the Hindus"; Max Muller's work just quoted. Dr. Duff's "India and Indian Missions," and the histories of India, by Macaulay, Elphinstone. et al.

C. Grecian Pantheism.

    The remark of Max Muller, that "Greece and India are the two opposite poles of the development of the Aryan man," is strikingly correct. The Greek believed in, and lived for the present and the visible; the Indian believed in, and lived for the invisible and the future. Nevertheless there was a tendency in the higher minds among the Greeks to adopt the same speculative views as to God and the universe, the Infinite and the Finite, as prevailed in India. With the Greek, however, it was a matter of speculation; with the Hindu, it was a practical religious belief.

    Speaking in general terms, the different forms of Grecian philosophy are characterized by the effort to reduce all the forms of existence to unity; to discover some one substance, principle, or power, to which all modes of manifestation of being could be referred. Sometimes this one substance was assumed to be material; sometimes spiritual; sometimes the obvious incompatibility between the phenomena of mind and those of matter, forced the admission of two eternal principles: the one active, the other passive; the one spiritual, the other material. The fundamental principle or idea, therefore, of the Grecian philosophy was pantheistic, either in its materialistic, spiritualistic, or hylozoistic form.

The Ionic School.

    The earliest school among the Greeks was the Ionic, represented by Thales the Milesian, Anaximander and Anaximenes also of Miletus, and Heraclitus of Ephesus. These philosophers flourished from about 600 to 500 B. C. They were all materialistic in their theories. With Thales the one primal universal substance was water; with Anaximenes it was air; with Heraclitus it was fire. "It was the endeavour of this oldest of the Ionic philosophies, to reduce the origin of all things from one simple radical cause, a cosmical substance, in itself unchangeable, but entering into the change of phenomena; and this was why these philosophers had no room in their doctrine for gods, or transmundane beings, fashioning and ruling things at will; and, in fact, Aristotle also remarked of the old physiologists, that they had not distinguished the moving cause from matter."123 Of Heraclitus, Dollinger, in his able work "The Gentile and the Jew in the Courts of the Temple of Christ," says he "meant by his 'fire,' an ethereal substance as primal matter, the all-pervading and animating soul of the universe, a matter which he conceived to be not merely actual fire, but caloric, and this being at the same time the only power at work in the world, all-creative and destructive in turns, was, to speak generally, the one real and veritable existence among all things. For everything had its origin only in the constant modification of this eternal and primal fire: the entire world was a fire dying out and rekindling itself in a fixed succession, while the other elements are but fire converted by condensation or rarefaction into a variety of forms. Thus the idea of a permanent being is a delusion; everything is in a state of perpetual flux, an eternal-going to be (Werden), and in this stream spirit is hurried along as well as body, swallowed up and born afresh. . . . Heraclitus, as any thorough-going Pantheist would, called the common soul of the world, the all-comprehending primal fire, Zeus; and the flux of perpetual change and tendency to be, into which it enters, he termed poetically Zeus playing by himself."124

    Cousin says, "For the Ionic school in both its stages, there was no other God than nature. Pantheism is inherent in its system. What is Pantheism? It is the conception of the universe, to. pa/n, as alone existing, as self-sufficient, and having its explanation in itself. All nascent philosophy is a philosophy of nature, and thus is inclined to Pantheism. The sensationalism of the Ionians of necessity took that form; and, to speak honestly, Pantheism is nothing but atheism."125

    Cousin frames the definition of Pantheism so as to exclude his own system. With him the material universe alone is not God. He believes in "God, nature, and humanity." But these three are one. "If God," he says, "be not everything, He is nothing." This, however, is as truly Pantheism (although in a more philosophical form), as the Materialism of the Ionians.

The Eleatic School.

    The Eleatic or Italian school, of which Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Zeno, are the principal representatives, was inclined to the other extreme of denying the very existence of matter. Of these philosophers, Cousin says, "They reduced everything to an existence absolute, which approached nearly to Nihilism, or the denial of all existence."126 Of Xenophanes, born in Colophon 617 B. C., Dollinger127 says, "With all his assertions of monotheistic sound, he was still a Pantheist, and, indeed, a material Pantheist, and is universally understood to be such by the ancients. Certainly there was present to his mind the idea of a being, one and spiritual, embracing the whole complement of existence and thought within himself; yet this being was in his view but the general nature-power; the unity of God was to him identical with the unity of the world, and this again but the manifestation of the invisible being, called God, and therefore also he explained it to be uncreate, everlasting, and imperishable." It is hard to see how this differs from the modern pantheistic doctrine, that God is the substance of which the world is the phenomenon; or why Xenophanes should be regarded as a materialist more than Schelling or Cousin.

    Parmenides of Elea about 500 B. C. was more of an idealist. He attained to the idea of a pure and simple being in opposition to the material principle of the Ionic school. This "being," however, was not a "pure metaphysical idea, for," says Dollinger, "he so expressed himself as to seem to represent it at one time as corporeal, and extended in space, at another as thinking. 'To think, and the object of which the thought is, are one and the same, was a saying of his. . . . There was no bridge for Parmenides that had led from this pure simple 'being' to the world of phenomena, of the manifold, and of motion; and therefore he denied the reality of all we see; the whole world of sense owed its existence only to the illusions of sense and the empty notions of mortal men built thereon."128 Thus Parmenides anticipated Schelling in teaching the identity of subject and object.

The Stoics.

    The Stoics take their origin from Zeno of Cittium, in Cyprus (840-260 B. C.). Their doctrine has already been noticed under the head of Hylozoism. Dollinger, indeed, says, "The Stoic system is utter Materialism, built upon Heraclitic doctrine. It adopted corporeal causes only, and is only acquainted with two principles -- matter, and an activity resident in matter, from eternity, as power and giving it form. Everything real is body; there are no incorporeal things, as our abstractions, space, time, etc., have merely an existence in our thoughts; so all that really exists can only be known through the senses."129 This judgment, however, is modified by what he says elsewhere. It is very plain that the later Stoics, especially among the Latins, as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, regarded the general principle which animated matter as having all the attributes of mind. On this point Dollinger says, "The two principles, matter and power, are to the Stoics but one and the same thing viewed in different relations. Matter required for its existence a principle of unity to give it form and keep it together; and this, the active element, is inconceivable without matter, as a subject in and on which it exists and dwells, and in which it works and moves. Thus, the positive element is matter; yet conceived without properties; the active one, running through and quickening all, is God in matter. But in truth, God and matter are identical; in other words, the Stoic doctrine is hylozoic Pantheism." "God is, therefore, the world-soul, and the world itself no aggregate of independent elements, but an organized, living being, whose complement and life is a single soul, or primal fire, exhibiting divers degrees of expansion and heat. . . . God, then, in his physical aspect, is the world-fire, or vital heat, all-penetrating, the one only cause of all life and all motion, and, at the same time, the necessity that rules in the world: but, on the other side, as the universal cause can only be a soul full of intelligence and wisdom, he is the world-intelligence, a blest being, and the author of the moral law, who is ever occupied with the government of the world, although he is precisely this world itself."130 "The one substance is God and nature together, of which all that comes into being, and ceases to be, all generation and dissolution, are mere modifications. Seneca explains Zeus or God's being at once the world and the world's soul by pointing to man, who feels himself to be a single being and yet again as one consisting of two substances, body and soul."131

    The Stoics adopted the Hindu doctrine of the dissolution of all things, and the redevelopment of God in the world, after long successive periods. "In the great conflagration which takes place after the expiration of a world period or great year," all organized beings will be destroyed, all multiplicity and difference be lost in God's unity; which means, all will become ether again. But forthwith, like the phoenix recovering life from his own ashes, the formation of the world begins afresh; God transforms himself once more by a general renovation into a world in which the same events, under similar circumstances, are again to be repeated down to the minutest detail. Many of these great catastrophes have already happened, and the process of burning by fire will follow again upon this regeneration, and so on ad infinitum.132

    This system as well as every other form of Pantheism, excludes all moral freedom: everything is under the law of absolute necessity. It therefore precludes the idea of sin. "Acts of vice, Chrysippus said, are movements of universal nature, and in conformity with the divine intelligence. In the economy of the great world, evil is like chaff falling, -- as unavoidable and worthless. Evil also was said by this school to do the service of making the good known, and yet at last all must resolve itself into God."133

    Thus the Ionic, the Eleatic, and the Stoic forms of Grecian philosophy were in their fundamental principles pantheistic. The two great philosophic minds of Greece, and of the world, however, were Plato and Aristotle, the one the philosopher of the ideal world, and the other of the natural. The latter was the disciple of the former, although in most points of doctrine, or at least of method, his antagonist. It is only with the views of these mind-controlling men, concerning the nature of the supreme Being, and of his relation to the phenomenal world, that the theologian as such has anything to do. And this, unfortunately, with regard to both, is the point in regard to which their teachings are the most obscure.


    Plato united in his comprehensive intellect, and endeavoured to harmonize the elements of the different doctrines of his predecessors in the field of speculation. "The Socratic doctrine of the absolute good and beautiful, and of the Deity revealing himself to man as a kind Providence, formed the basis on which he started. As channels for the Heraclitic doctrine of the perpetual coming into being and flux of all things, together with the Eleatic one of the eternal immutability of the one and only Being, the dogma of Anaxagoras of a world-ruling spirit was serviceable to him, and with it he had the skill to connect the Pythagorean view of the universe, as an animated intelligent whole, in a spiritualized form."134 These are sufficiently incongruous materials. An intelligent Deity exercising a providential control over the world; the Heraclitic doctrine which involved the denial of all reality and resolved everything into a perpetual flow of phenomena; the Eleatic doctrine of a one and only Being; and the Pythagorean idea of the universe as an animated and intelligent whole. It was not possible but that first one, and then another of these elements should be made the more prominent, and consequently that the great philosopher should speak sometimnes as a Theist and sometimes as a Pantheist. Neither was it possible that these incongruous elements should be moulded into a consistent system. It is not, therefore, a matter of surprise that Dollinger, one of the greatest admirers of Plato and one of the ablest expounders of his writings, should immediately add to the passage above quoted. "Plato never arrived at a finished system, rounded off and perfect in itself; nevertheless there is unmistakable evidence in his works of a continual progress, an effort after an increasing depth of foundation, and a stronger internal articulation, joined to a wonderful exuberance of ideas, often excessively bold."135

    Plato was not a Theist, in the ordinary and Christian sense of that word. He did not recognize the existence of an extramundane God, the creator, preserver, and governor of the world, on whom we are dependent and to whom we are responsible. With him God is not a person. As Anselm and the Realists generally admitted the existence of "rationality" as distinct from rational beings; a general principle which became individual and personal in angels and men; so Plato admitted the existence of an universal intelligence, or nou/j, which becomes individualized in the different orders of intelligent beings, gods, demons, and men. God with him was an Idea; the Idea of the Good; which comprehended and gave unity to all other ideas.


    What then were ideas in Plato's sense of the term? They were not mere thoughts, but the only real entities, of which the phenomenal and sensible are the representations or shadows. He illustrated their nature by supposing a man in a dark cave entirely ignorant of the external world, with a bright light shining behind him, while between him and the light there continually passes a procession of men, animals, trees, etc. The moving shadows of these things would be projected on the wall of the cavern, and the man would necessarily suppose that the shadows were the realities. These ideas are immutable and eternal, constituting the essence or real being of all phenomenal existence. "Plato teaches that for as many general signs of our conceptions as we have, there are so many really existing things, or Ideas, in the intelligible world corresponding: to man these are the only solid and worthy objects of thought and knowledge; for they are eternal and immutable, existing only in themselves, but separate from all things and individual, while their manifold copies, the things perceptible by sense, are ever fluctuating and transitory. Independent of time and space, as well as of our intellect and its conceptions, Ideas belong to a world of their own, of another sphere, transcending sense. They are not the thoughts of God, but the objects of his thought; and, according to them, He created the world in matter. They only and God are really existing beings; and therefore earthly things have but the shadow of an existence, and that only derived from a certain participation in the Ideas, their types."136

The Relation of Ideas, in Plato's Philosophy, to God

    What is the relation of these ideas to God? This is the decisive question so far as the theology of Plato is concerned. Unfortunately it is not a question easily answered. It is a point about which the commentators differ; some saying that Plato leaves the matter undecided, sometimes identifying ideas with God, and at others representing them as distinct; others say that he clearly identifies ideas with God, or includes them in the divine essence; while others again understand him as making a marked distinction between God and the ideas after which the universe was moulded. It is not easy to reconcile what Dollinger says on this subject. In the passage above quoted he says that ideas are not the thoughts of God, but the objects of his thought. But on the same page137 he says, "These Ideas are not to be conceived as beside and external to God. They are founded in God, and God is the all comprehensive Idea, embracing all partial archetypes in an unity." He had before said, that with Plato Ideas and God are the only "really existing beings." If this be so, and if God is "the all comprehensive idea, embracing all others in unity," then God is the only really existing Being; and we have pure Pantheism. According to Cousin, Plato not only gave ideas a real and proper existence, but, "en analyse il les place dans la raison divine: c'estla qu' elles existent substantiellement."138 Dollinger, in commenting on a passage in the Timaeus, in which "God is styled the Father, who has begotten the world like a son, as an image of the eternal gods, i. e., ideas," says, "Had Plato ready intended here to explain the idea of procreation as a communication of essence, he would have been a pure Pantheist."139 Plato, however, he says140 "is no Pantheist; matter is, with him, entirely distinct from God; still he has a pantheistical bias in his system; for all that there is of intelligence in the world, down even to man, belongs, in his view, to the divine substance." Plato, therefore, escapes Pantheism only by admitting the eternity of matter; but this eternal matter is as near nothing as possible. It is not corporeal. It is "something not yet entity."

    As Plato made ideas eternal and immutable; as they were all included in the idea of God, i. e., in God; and as they constitute the only really existing beings, all that is phenomenal or that affects the senses being mere shadows of the real, it can hardly be denied that his system in its essential character is really pantheistical. It is, however, an ideal Pantheism. It does not admit that matter or evil is a manifestation of God, or mode of his existence. Only what is good, is God; but all that really is, is good.

The cosmogony of Plato.

    Plato's cosmogony and anthropology confirm this view of his theology. Nothing has ever been created. All that is, is eternal; not indeed in form, but in substance. Matter, something material, has always existed. This in itself is lifeless, but it has "a soul," an unintelligent force by which chaotic or disorderly agitation or motion is produced. This unintelligent force God endowed with a portion of his own intelligence or nou/j, and it becomes the world-soul, i. e., the Demiurgus, the formative principle of the world. God is not therefore himself even the framer of the world. This is the work of the Demiurgus. This world-soul pervades the visible universe, and constitutes one living, animated whole. This "world-soul" is individualized in star-gods, demons, and human souls. Thus Plato's system makes room for polytheism.

The Nature of the Soul.

    The soul, according to this theory, consists of intelligence which is of the substance of God, and of elements derived from the world-soul as distinguished from the nou/j which did not originally belong to it. All evil arises from the connection of the divine element in man with matter. The object of life is to counteract this evil influence by contemplation and communion with the ideal world. Plato taught the preexistence as well as the immortality of the soul. Its state in the present stage of existence being determined by its course in its previous forms of being. It is, however, according to his common mode of representation, strictly immortal. "Plato's monotheistic conception of God," says Dollinger,141 "is one of the most refined to which ante-Christian speculation attained; yet he contributed nothing whatever to the knowledge of the perfect, living, personality of God, and its absolute and unconditional liberty." His monotheism, it would seem, consisted in the acknowledgment of a universal intelligence which manifested itself as reason in all rational beings.


    Aristotle, although the disciple, was the great opponent of Plato and his philosophy. He rejected Plato's doctrine of ideas as chimerical, as a hypothesis which was unnecessary and without evidence. In like manner he denied the existence of preexistent matter out of which the world was fashioned. He believed the world to be eternal both in matter and form. It is, and there is no reason to doubt that it always has been and always will be. He admitted the existence of mind in man; and, therefore, assumed that there is an infinite intelligence, of which reason in man is a manifestation. But this infinite intelligence, which he called God, was pure intelligence, destitute of power and of will; neither the creator nor the framer of the world; unconscious, indeed, that the world exists; as it is occupied exclusively in thought of which it is itself the object. The world and God are coeternal; and yet, in a certain sense, God is the cause of the world. As a magnet acts on matter, or as the mere presence of a friend stirs the mind, so God unconsciously operates on matter, and awakens its dormant powers. As the universe is a cosmos, an ordered system; and as innumerable organized beings, vegetable and animal, exist in the world, Aristotle assumed that there are "forms" inherent in matter, which determine the nature of all such organizations. This is very much what in modern language would be called "vital force," "vitality," "vis formativa,""Bildungstrieb," or Agassiz's "immaterial principle," which is different in every distint species, and which constitutes the difference between one species and another. The soul is the "forma" of the man. "It is the principle that gives form, motion, and development to the body, the entelecheia of it; i. e., that substance, which only manifests itself in the body which is formed and penetrated by it, and continues energizing in it as the principle of life, determining and mastering matter. Thus, the body is nothing of itself; it is what it is, only through the soul, the nature and being of which it expresses, to which it stands in the relation of a medium in which the object, the soul, is realized; and so it cannot be imagined without the body, nor the body without it; one must be produced contemporaneously with the other."142 Of course there can be no immortality of the soul. As no plant is immortal, as the vital principle does not exist separately from the plant, so the soul has no existence separate from the body. The two begin and end together. "The really human in the soul, that which has come into being, must also pass away, the understanding even; only the divine reason is immortal; but, as the memory belongs to the sensitive soul, and individual thought depends on the understanding or passive nous only, all self-consciousness must cease with death."143 "Thus, then, Aristotle's doctrine of the soul shows that his defect, as well as that of Plato, and indeed of all antiquity, was his imperfect acquaintance with the idea of personality; and on that head he cannot be acquitted of a pantheistic tendency."144 "His God is not a really personal one, or is only an imperfect personality."145"The nous, or reason, allows souls, with their bodies, to sink back into nothingness, from which they severally issued. It alone exists on, ever the same and unalterable, for it is no other than the divine nous in individual existence, the divine intelligence enlightening the night of human understanding, and must be conceived just as much the prime mover of human discursive thought and knowledge, as of his will."146

    This brief review of the Grecian philosophy in its relation to theology, shows that in all its forms it was more or less pantheistic. This remark will not be recognized as correct by those, who with Cousin, limit the use of the word Pantheism to designate either the doctrine which makes the material universe God; or that which denies the existence of anything but matter and physical force, which is atheism; nor by those who take the word strictly as meaning the theory which admits of only one substance, which is the substance of God; and which consequently makes matter as much a mode of God's existence as mind. Its correctness, however, will be admitted by those who mean by Pantheism the doctrine which makes all the intelligence in the world the intelligence of God, and all intellectual activity modes of the activity of God, and which necessarily precludes the possibility of human liberty and responsibility.

    The authorities on this subject are, so far as Plato and Aristotle are concerned, of course their own writings; with regard to those philosophers whose works are not preserved, or of which only fragments are extant, their systems are more or less fully detailed by the ancient writers, as Plutarch and Cicero. The general reader will find the information he needs in one or more of the numerous histories of philosophy; as those of Brucker, Ritter, Tenneman, and Cousin; among the latest and best of which is Dollinger's "The Gentile and the Jew in the Courts of the Temple of Christ," London, 1862.

D. Mediaeval Pantheism.

The Neo-Platonists.

    Pantheism, as it appeared in the Middle Ages, took its form and character from Neo-Platonism. This was an eclectic system in which the Eleatic doctrine of the unity of all being was combined with the Platonic doctrine concerning the phenomenal universe. The philosophers recognized as the representatives of this school are Plotinus (A. D. 205-270), Porphyry (born A. D. 233), Jamblichus in the fourth century, and Proclus in the fifth. Neo-Platonism was monism. It admitted of only one universal Being. This Being considered in itself was inconceivable and indescribable. It was revealed, or self-manifested in the world-soul, and world-reason, which constituted a trinity; one substance in different aspects or modes of manifestation. The world is therefore "the affluence of God," as fire emits heat. The soul of man is a mode of God's existence, a portion of his substance. Its destiny is absorption in the infinite Being. This was not to be attained by thought, or by meditation, but by ecstasy. This constituted the peculiar feature of the Neo-Platonic school. "Union with God" was to be attained by "a mystical self-destruction of the individual person (Ichheit)" in God.147 Schwegler148 says: "From the introduction of Christianity monism has been the character and the fundamental tendency of the whole modern philosophy." This remark, coming from an advocate of that theory, must be taken with no small amount of allowance. It is, however, true that almost all the great departures from the simplicity of the truth as revealed in the sacred Scriptures, have assumed more or less distinctly a pantheistic tendency.

John Scotus Erigena.

    The most pronounced Pantheist among the schoolmen was John Scotus Erigena. Little is known of his origin or history. From his name Scotus and designation Erigena (son of Erin), it has been generally assumed that he was an Irishman. It is known that he enjoyed the protection and patronage of Charles the Bald of France, and that he taught in Paris and perhaps in England.

    His principal work is that "De Divisione Naturae." By nature he means all being. The fourfold divisions which he makes of nature, are only so many manifestations or aspects under which the one Being is revealed or is to be contemplated. Those divisions are: (1.) That which creates and is not created. (2.) That which creates and is created. (3.) That which does not create but is created. (4.) That which neither creates nor is created. "This division of nature," says Ritter,149 "is made simply to show that all is God, since the four natures are only revelations of God."

    Scotus agreed with most philosophers in making philosophy and religion identical, and in admitting no higher source of knowledge than human reason. " Conficitur," he says, "veram esse philosophiam veram religionem, conversimque veram religionem esse veram philosophiam."150

    The leading principles of his philosophy are the following: (1.) The distinction with him between being and not-being, is not that between something and nothing, between substantial existence and non-existence, but between affirmation and negation. Whatever may be affirmed is; whatever is denied is not. (2.) All being consists in thought. Nothing is but as it exists in the mind and consciousness. (3.) With God, being, thought, and creating are identical. God's being consists in thinking, and his thoughts are things. In other words, the thought of God is the real being of all that is. (4.) Consequently the world is eternal. God and the world are identical. He is the "totum omnium."

    His system is, therefore, a form of idealistic Pantheism. Ritter devotes the ninth book of his "Geschichte der Christlichen Philosophie,"151 to the exposition of the philosophy of Scotus. The few following passages from the "De Divisione Naturae," are sufficient to show the correctness of the above statement of his principles.

    "Intellectus enim omnium in Deo essentia omnium est. Siquidem id ipsum est Deo cognoscere, priusquam fiunt, quae facit, et facere, quae cognoscit. Cognoscere ergo et facere Dei unum est."152 "Maximus ait: Quodcunque intellectus comprehendere potuerit, id ipsum fit."153 "Intellectus enim rerum veraciter ipsae res sunt, dicente Sancto Dionysio, 'Cognitio eorum, quae sunt, ea, quae sunt, est.'"154 "Homo est notio quaedam intellectualis in mente divina aeternaliter facta. Verissima et probatissima definitio hominis est ista: et non solum hominis, verum etiam omnium quae in divina sapientia facta sunt."155 Omnis visibilis et invisibilis creatura Theophania, i. e., divina apparitio potest appelari.156 "Num negabis creatorem et creaturam unum esse?"157 "Creation [with Erigena] is nothing else than the Lord of creation; God in some ineffable manner created in the creation."158

    Scotus translated the works of the so-called St. Dionysius, the Areopagite, and in so doing prepared the way for that form of mystical Pantheism which prevailed through the Church down to the period of the Reformation. The pseudo-Dionysius was a Neo-Platonist. His object was to give the doctrine of Plotinus a Christian aspect. He adopted the principle of the unity of all being. All creatures are of the essence of God. But instead of placing the self-manifestation of God in nature, in the world-soul, he placed it principally in the hierarchy of rational being, -- cherubim, seraphim, thrones, principalities, and powers, and souls of men. The destiny of all rational creatures, is reunion with God; and this reunion, as the Neo-Platonists taught, was to be attained by ecstasy and the negation of Self. It was this system, which, in common with all other forms of Pantheism, precluded the idea of sin, which was reproduced by the leading mystics of the Middle Ages, and which, when it found its way among the people as it did with the Beghards and Brethren of the Free Spirit, produced, as substantially the same system has done in India, its legitimate fruits of evil. Of the mystical Pantheism of the Middle Ages, however, enough has already been said in the Introduction, in the chapter on Mysticism

E. Modern Pantheism.


    The revival of Pantheism since the Reformation is principally due to Spinoza; he was born at Amsterdam in 1634, and died at Ghent in the forty-fourth year of his age. He was descended from a wealthy Jewish Portuguese family, and enjoyed the advantage of a highly finished education. He early devoted himself to the study of philosophy, and was at first a disciple of Des Cartes. Leibnitz characterizes the system of Spinoza as Cartesianism run wild. Des Cartes distrusted the testimony of the senses. His starting-point was the consciousness of existence, "I think." In that proposition the existence of a thinking substance is necessarily included. The outward world produces impressions on this thinking substance. But after all, these sensations thus produced, are only states of self-consciousmiess. Self, therefore, and its varying states, are all of which we have direct knowledge. It is not all, however, that Des Cartes believed actually existed. He was a sincere Catholic, and died in communion with the Church. He acknowledged not only the existence of mind, but also of God and of matter. Our knowledge, however, of God and of matter as substances distinct from our minds, was arrived at by a process of reasoning. The validity of that process Spinoza denied. He admitted the existence of only one substance, and gave such a definition of the word as precluded the possibility of there being more substances than one. With him substance is that which exists of itself, of necessity, and is absolutely independent. There is, therefore, but one substance possible. We come, however, everywhere into contact with two classes of phenomena: those of thought and those of extension. Thought and extension, therefore, are the two attributes of the one infinite substance. Individual things are the modes under which the infinite substance is constantly manifested. In Spinoza's system there are the three radical ideas of substance, attribute, and mode. Of these that of substance alone has any reality. The other two are mere appearances. If we look at anything through a glass colored red the object will appear red; if the glass be blue, the object will appear blue; but the color is not really an attribute of the object. Thus substance (the one) appears to us under one aspect as thought and under another as extension. The difference is apparent and not real. The finite has therefore no real existence. The universe is sunk into the Infinite; and the Infinite is a substance of which nothing can be affirmed. Of the Infinite nothing can be denied, and therefore nothing can be affirmed for "omnis deter minatio est negatio." The Infinite, therefore, is practically nothing

    A sufficient account of modern Pantheism in its general features as represented by Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, and their successors and disciples, has been given already at the commencement ol this chapter. More detailed information may be found in the numerous recent histories of philosophy, as those of Morell, Schwegler, Michelet, and Rosenkranz, and in Hunt's "History of Pantheism."

F. Conclusion.

    The fact that Pantheism has so extensively prevailed in every age and in every part of the world, is a proof of its fascination and power. Apart from a divine revelation, it seems to have been regarded as the most probable solution of the great problem of the universe. Nevertheless it is so unsatisfactory, and does such violence to the laws of our nature, that it has never to any extent taken hold on the hearts of the people. India may be regarded as furnishing an exception to this remark. But even there, although Pantheism was the ground form of the popular religion, it had to resolve itself into polytheism in order to meet the necessities of the people. Men must have a personal god whom they can worship and to whom they can pray.

    The most obvious remark to be made of the whole system is that it is a hypothesis. From its very nature it is incapable of proof. It is a mere theory assumed to account for the phenomena of the universe. If it did satisfactorily account for them, and did not contradict the teachings of the Bible, it might be safely admitted. But it is not only inconsistent with all that the Scriptures reveal concerning the nature of God and his relation to the world, but it contradicts the laws of belief which God has impressed on our nature, subverts the very foundation of religion and morality and involves even the deification of sin.

    Had we no divine revelation on the subject, Theism merely as a theory could not fail to secure the assent of every devout mind in preference to Pantheism. Theism supposes the existence of a personal, extramundane God, the creator and preserver of the universe; everywhere present in his wisdom and power, directing all events to the accomplishment of his infinitely wise designs. It supposes the material universe to be distinct from God, dependent on his will, upheld by his power, and pregnant with physical forces ever active under his control. It supposes that man is the creature of God, owing his existence to the will of God, created after his image, a free, rational, moral, and accountable agent, capable of knowing, loving, and worshipping God as a Spirit infinite in his being and perfections. Although this theory may have, for the reason, some problems, such as the origin and prevalence of evil, without a satisfactory solution, yet as it meets and satisfies all the demands of our nature, and solves the problem as to the origin and nature of the universe, it commends itself to the reason, the heart, and the conscience with a force which no sophistry of speculation can resist.

    Pantheism, on the other hand, does violence to our nature, and contradicts the intuitive convictions of consciousness.

    1. We are conscious that we are free agents. This is a truth which no man can deny with regard to himself, and which every man assumes with regard to others. This truth Pantheism denies. It makes our activity only a form of the activity of God, and assumes that his acts are determined by necessity as much as the development of a plant or animal.

    2. It is intuitively certain that there is a real distinction between moral good and evil: that the one is that to which man is bound to be conformed, and the other that which he is bound to hate and to avoid; that the one deserves approbation, and that the other deserves disapprobation, and merits punishment. These are convictions which belong to the rational nature of man; and they cannot be destroyed without destroying his rationality. Pantheism, however, pronounces these convictions delusions; that there is no such thing as sin, in the sense above stated; that what we call sin is mere weakness; imperfect development, as unavoidable as feebleness in an infant. It goes further: it pronounces evil good. It makes the sinful acts and passions of men as much the acts and states of God as holy acts and holy feelings. There is no good but being; and the men of power are the men of being; and, therefore, the strongest are the best; the weak are to be despised; they deserved to be conquered and trodden under foot. Hence where Pantheism has become a religion the deities who represent evil are the most honoured and worshipped.

    3. Pantheism not only destroys the foundation of morals, but it renders all rational religion impossible. Religion supposes a personal Being endowed not only with intelligence and power, but with moral excellence; and to be rational, that Being must be infinite in all his perfections. Pantheism, however, denies that an infinite Being can be a person; that it is intelligent, self-conscious, or possessed of moral attributes. It is just as impossible to worship such a Being as it is to worship the atmosphere, or the law of gravitation, or the axioms of Euclid.

    4. It is no extravagance to say that Pantheism is the worst form of atheism. For mere atheism is negative. It neither deifies man nor evil. But Pantheism teaches that man, the human soul, is the highest form in which God exists; and that evil is as much a maniestation of God as good; Satan as the ever-blessed and adorable Redeemer. Beyond this it is impossible for the insanity of wickedness to go.

    5. Man, according to this system, is no more immortal than the leaves of the forest, or the waves of the sea. We are transient forms of universal Being.

    Our nature is indestructible; as it is impossible that we should not believe in our own individual existence, in our free agency, in our moral obligations; in our dependence and responsibility to a Being capable of knowing what we are and what we do, and of rewarding and punishing as He sees fit, so it is impossible that Pantheism should ever be more than a philosophical speculation, where the moral nature of man has once been developed by the knowiedge of the living and true God. 


1. “De l’Homme.” Works, edit. Paris, 1793, vol. iii. p.221, note.
2. Introduction to the General History of Philosophy, vol. i. p. 169.
3. See First Principles of a New System of Philosophy, by Herbert Spencer.
4. De Natura Deorum, ii. 22, p. 1116, edit. Leipzig, 1850.
5. See Rixner’s Geschichte der Philosophie, vol. i. sect. 120.
6. See Youman’s Conservation and Correlation of Forces, p. 372.
7. Croonian Lectures on Matter and Force. Given at the Royal College of Physicians, in 1868. By Henry Bruce Jones, A.M., M.D., F.R.S., London, 1868, p. 17.
8. Rixner’s Geschichte der Philosophie, i. 303-318. Ritter’s History of Philosophy, translated by A. J. W. Morrison, iii. 399-447.
9. F. Fabri
10. Leviathan, chap. i.
11. Morell’s History of Modern Philosohy, New York, 1848, pp. 71, 72.
12. Observations on Man, chap. i. sect. 2, and Morell, p. 98.
13. Morell, p. 92.
14. Morell, p. 97.

15. Edinburgh Review, Oct. 1806, p. 157.
16. “Address before British Association,” Athenaeum, for August 29, 1868. Quoted by Perowne’s Hulsean Lectures, for 1868. Appendix. Note A.
17. Page 102.
18. F. Fabri in Herzog’s Real-Encyclopadie, art. “Materialismus.”
19. New York, 1855.
20. Vol. i. p. 5.
21. Philosophie Positiva, vol. ii. p. 515.
22. Vol. i. p. 11.
23. Vol. ii. p. 47.
24. Ibid. p. 73.
25. See Prof. Porter’s Human Intellect, p. 54.
26. Lay Sermons, pp. 174, 175.
27. Huxley’s Lay Sermons, Addresses, etc., London, 1870, No. VIII. “The Scientific Aspects of Positivism.” p. 178.
28. Philosophie Positive, vol. ii. p. 516.

29. Philosophie Positive, vol. ii. pp. 14, 15.
30. Ibid. vol. ii. p. 268.
31. Lay Sermons, etc., p. 164.
32. Professor Huxley says: “For these sixteen years, it has been a periodical source of irritation to me to find M. Comte put forward as a representative of scientific thought; and to observe that writers whose philosophy had its legitimate parent in Hume, or in themselves, were labelled ‘Comtists,’ or ‘Positives,’ by public writers, even in spite of vehement protests to the contrary. It has cost Mr. Mill hard rubbings to get that label off; and I watch Mr. Spencer, as one regards a good man struggling with adversity, still engaged in eluding its adhesiveness, and ready to tear away skin and all, rather than let it stick. My own turn might come next; and, therefore, when an eminent prelate of the other day gave currency and authority to the popular confusion, I took an opportunity of incidentally revindicating Hume’s property in the so-called ‘New Philosophy’ and at the same time of repudiating Comtism on my own behalf.” – Ut Supra, p. 165. The mistake complained of as a very natural one, as Comte and Hume have so much in common. Professor Huxley’s quotation from Faust is in point here: –

“Ungefahr sagt das der Pfarrer auch
 Nur mit ein bischen andern Worten.”

33. See Correlation and Conservation of Forces. A collection of papers by distinguished scientific men. By Edward l. Youmans, M.D. New York, 1865, p. 405.
34. Ibid. p. 405.

35. See Correlation and Conservation of Forces, p. 411.
36. Ibid. p 413.
37. Ibid. p. 119. Also, New Quarterly Journal of Science for 1864.
38. Youman’s, p. 407.
39. Outlines of Physiology, Smith’s Philadelphia edition, 1868, p. 932.
40. Youman’s, p. 402.
41. “Physical Basis of Life” in his Lay Sermons, p. 158.
42. Lay Sermons, p. 144.
43. Ibid. p. 149.
44. Lay Sermons, p. 151.
45. Ibid. p. 142.
46. Protoplasm; or Life, Matter, and Mind, by Lionel S. Beale, M.B., F.B.S. Second edition, London, 1870, p. 3.
47. Protoplasm, p. 4.

48. Lay Sermons, pp. 151, 152.
49. Lay Sermons, pp. 155, 156.
50. Ibid. p. 157.
51. Ibid. p. 158.
52. Hume, Works, edit. Edinburgh, 1826, iv. p. 193.
53. First Principles, New York, 1869, p. 556.
54. Ibid. p. 211.
55. Ibid. p. 212.
56. Ibid. p. 217.
57. Physiology and Pathology of Mind, Lond. 1868, p. 42.
58. Ibid. p. 43.
59. Evangelischer Glaube. Romischer Irrglaube. Und weltlicher Unglaube. Gotha, 1870.
60. See Berger, I. iii. 5; part i. pp. 264 to 271.
61. As regards Protoplasm in relation to Professor Huxley’s Essay on the Physical Basis of Life, by James Hutchison Stirling, F.R.C.S., LL. D. Edit. New Haven, p. 15.
62. See Life, Matter, and Mind, by Lionel S. Beale, M.B., F.R.S., London, 1870, p. 17. Dr. Beale quotes from a paper by Professor Huxley in the first number of the Academy, p. 13.
63. See his Address as President of the British Association, reported in the London Athenaeum, September 17th, 1870. The little that is necessary to say on the subject of spontaneous generation in such a work as this, is reserved until the question concerning the origins of man comes up for consideration.

64. Kraft und Stoff, Zehnte Fluflage, Leipzig, 1869, p. 209.
65. Croonian Lectures, p. 66.
66. Correlation of Vital and Physical Forces, p. 5.
67. As Regards Protoplasm in Relation to Professor Huxley’s Essay on the Physical Basis of Life, by James Hutchison Stirling, F.R.C.S., LL. D. Edinburgh, Blackwood & Sons. Republished as one of the Yale University series, p. 39. This is considered to us the best refutation of the theory of the correlation of physical and vital force.
68. As Regards Protoplasm, etc., pp. 41, 42.
69. Ibid. p. 42.
70. Ibid. p. 42.
71. Ibid. p. 43.
72. As regards Protoplasm, etc., pp. 47, 48.
73. See Professor Barker’s Lecture, above referred to, for a summary of these arguments, page 24.
74. Athenaeum for August 29, 1868, quoted Hulsean Lectures for 1868; Appendix, Note A.
75. The Recent Progress of Science, with an Examination of the asserted identity of the Mental Powers with Physical Forces. An Address before the American Association for the Advancement of Science. August, 1868. By Frederick A. P. Barnard, S. T. D., LL. D., pp. 41, 42.

76. Paper in the Agricultural Report, 1854-1855, p. 448.
77. Page 441.
78. Protoplasm; or Life, Matter, and Mind. By Lionel S. Beale, M. B., F. R. S. Second Edition. London, J. Churchill & Sons, 1870, Dr. Beale is an authority in the department of Physiology. His book, How to work with the Microscope, has reached a fourth edition.
79. Page 103.
80. Protoplasm, etc., pp. 116, 117.
81. Ibid. p. 16.
82. Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection. A series of Essays. By Alfred Russel Wallace, author of The Malay Archipelago, etc., etc. McMillan & Co., London, 1870, p. 365.
83. Barnard’s Address, p. 45.
84. Ibid. p. 49.
85. Barker’s Lecture, pp. 26, 27.

86. Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, p. 368.
87. Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, p. 369.
88. Institutiones Theologiae, fifth edit., Halle, 1826, p. 215.
89. Pyschology, by Henry, first edition, p. xviii.
90. History of Philosophy, translated by Wight, N.Y. 1852, p. 78.
91. Ibid. p. 121.
92. Psychology, fourth edition, N.Y. 1856, p. 447.
93. Ethices, v. xl. schol. Jena, 1803, p. 297.
94. Fichte, Von seligen Leben, p. 143, edit. Berlin, 1806.
95. Strauss, Dogmatik i. p. 517.
96. Geschichte der letzen Systeme der Philosophie in Deutschland, vol. ii. p. 647.

97. Lectures on the True, the Beautiful, and the Good, trans. Wight, N.Y. 1854, p. 365.
98. Hunt’s Essay on Pantheism, London, 1866, p. 312.
99. Ethices, part ii. prop. Xi. coroll., vol. ii. p. 87, edit. Jena, 1803.
100. Ibid. prop. xlviii. Demon. vol. ii. p. 121.
101. Ibid. Scholium.
102. Elements of Psychology, translated by Henry, N.Y. 1856, p. 429.
103. Princeton Review, 1856, p. 368.
104. Essay on Pantheism, p. 231.
105. Hamilton’s Discussions, p. 43.
106. History of Modern Philosophy, N.Y. 1848, p. 660.
107. Hunt, p. 231.
108. Ethices, iv. prop. xx., vol. ii. p. 217, edit. Jena, 1803.
109. Ibid.

110. In the Tubingen Zeitschrift, Drittes Heft, p. 233.
111. Hunt, p. 233.
112. Cousin’s History of Modern Philosophy, translated by Wight, New York, 1852, vol. i. pp. 186, 187, 189.
113. Dogmatik, ii. p. 215.
114. Encyklopadie, p. 51.
115. Leo, the historian, we believe.
116. 1836, p. 575.
117. Bischer, quoted in Evangelische Kirchen-Zeitung, 1839, p. 31.
118. Philosophical Fragments, Preface to First Edition. See History of Modern Philosophy, translated by Wight, N.Y. 1852, vol. i. pp. 112. 113.
119. Essays and Lectures chiefly on the Religion of the Hindus, vol. ii. p. 75; edit. London, 1862.
120. A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, so far as it illustrates the Primitive Religion of the Brahmans, pp. 18, 19.
121. History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, etc., p. 23.

122. Ibid. p. 24.
123. Dollinger, The Gentile and the Jew, translated by Darnell, London, 1862, vol. i. p. 250.
124. Ibid. vol. i. p. 252.
125. Histoire Generale de la Philosophie, Paris, 1863, vol. i. p. 107.
126. Historie Generale de la Philosophie, Paris, 1867, vol. i. p. 116; edit. 1863, p. 111.
127. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. p. 260.
128. Ibid. vol. i. p. 261.
129. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. p. 349.
130. Ibid. pp. 349-350.
131. Ibid. p. 350.

132. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. p. 351.
133. Ibid. p. 351.
134. Ibid. p. 307.
135. The Gentile and the Jew, p. 307.
136. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. pp. 308 and 309.
137. Ibid. p. 309.
138. Historie Generale de la Philosophie, Paris, 1863, p. 122.
139. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. p. 339.
140. Ibid. p. 312.

141. The Gentile and the Jew, p. 329.
142. The Gentile and the Jew, p. 338.
143. Ibid. p. 339.
144. Ibid. p. 340.
145. Ibid. p. 336.
146. Ibid. p. 339
147. History of Philosophy. Translated from the German by Julius H. Seelye, p. 157.
148. Ibid. p. 158.
149. Geshichte der Christlichen Philosophie, vol. iii. p. 224.
150. De Praedest. cap. i. 1, Migne, Patr. vol. cxxii. p. 358, a
151. Vol. iii. pp. 206-296.
152. De Divisione Naturae, II. 20; edit. Westphalia, 1838, p. 118.
153. Ibid. I. 9, p. 9.
154. Ibid. II. 8, p. 95.
155. Ibid. IV. 7, p. 330.
156. Ibid. III. 19, p. 240.
157. Ibid. II. 2, p. 88.
158. Ritter, vol. iii. p. 234.

Part 01: Theology Proper 04: The Knowledge of God


The Knowledge of God

§ 1. God can be known.    § 2. God cannot be fully known.    § 3. Hamilton's Doctrine.

    HAVING considered the arguments in favor of the doctrine that God is, and also the various systems opposed to Theism, we come now to consider the question, Can God be known? and if so, How? that is, How does the mind proceed in forming its idea of God, and, How do we know that God really is what we believe Him to be?


§ 1. God can be known.

    It is the clear doctrine of the Scriptures that God can be known. Our Lord teaches that eternal life consists in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. The Psalmist says, "In Judah is God known" (Ps 76:1). Isaiah predicts, that "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord" (Is. xi. 9). Paul says even of the heathen, that they knew God, but did not like to retain that knowledge (Ro 1:19-21,28).

A. State of the Question.

    It is, however, important distinctly to understand what is meant when it is said, God can be known.

    1. This does not mean that we can know all that is true concerning God. There were some among the ancient philosophers who taught that the nature of God can be as fully understood and determined as any other object of knowledge. The modern speculative school teaches the same doctrine. Among the propositions laid down by Spinoza, we find the following: "Cognitio aeternae et infinitae essentiae Dei, quam unaquaeque idea involvit, est adaequata et perfecta."1 Hegel says, that God is, only so far as He is known. The sin against the Holy Ghost, according to Hegel, is to deny that He can be known.2 Cousin holds the same doctrine. "God in fact," he says, "exists to us only in so far as He is known."3

    According to Schelling, God is known in his own nature by direct intuition of the higher reason. He assumes that there is in man a power which transcends the limits of the ordinary consciousness (an Anschauungs Vermogen), which takes immediate cognizance of the Infinite. Hegel says that "Man knows God only so far as God knows Himself in man; this knowledge is God's self-consciousness, but likewise a knowledge of the same by man, and this knowledge of God by man is the knowledge of man by God."4 Cousin finds this knowledge in the common consciousness of men. That consciousness includes the knowledge of the Infinite as well as of the finite. We know the one just as we know the other, and we cannot know the one without knowing the other. These philosophers all admit that we could not thus know God unless we were ourselves God. Self-knowledge, with them, is the knowledge of God. Reason in man, according to Cousin, does not belong to his individuality. It is infinite, impersonal, and divine. Our knowledge of God, therefore, is only God knowing Himself. Of course it is in no such sense as this that the Scriptures and the Church teach that God can be known.

God Inconceivable.

    2. It is not held that God, properly speaking, can be conceived of; that is, we cannot form a mental image of God. "All conception," says Mr. Mansel,5 "implies imagination." To have a valid conception of a horse, he adds, we must be able "to combine" the attributes which form "the definition of the animal" into "a representative image." Conception is defined by Taylor in the same manner, as "the forming or bringing an image or idea into the mind by an effort of the will." In this sense of the word it must be admitted that the Infinite is not an object of knowledge. We cannot form an image of infinite space, or of infinite duration, or of an infinite whole. To form an image is to limit, to circumscribe. But the infinite is that which is incapable of limitation. It is admitted, therefore, that the infinite God is inconceivable. We can form no representative image of Him in our minds. The word, however, is often, and perhaps commonly, used in a less restricted sense. To conceive is to think. A conception is therefore a thought and not necessarily an image. To say, therefore, that God is conceivable, in common language, is merely to say that He is thinkable. That is, that the thought (or idea) of God involves no contradiction or impossibility. We cannot think of a round square, or that a part is equal to the whole. But we can think that God is infinite and eternal.

God Incomprehensible.

    3. When it is said that God can be known, it is not meant that He can be comprehended. To comprehend is to have a complete and exhaustive knowledge of an object. It is to understand its nature and its relations. We cannot comprehend force, and specially vital force. We see its effect, but we cannot understand its nature or the mode in which it acts. It would be strange that we should know more of God than of ourselves, or of the most familiar objects of sense. God is past finding out. We cannot understand the Almighty unto perfection. To comprehend is (1.) To know the essence as well as the attributes of an object. (2.) It is to know not some only, but all of its attributes. (3.) To know the relation in which these attributes stand to each other and to the substance to which they belong. (4.) To know the relation in which the object known stands to all other objects. Such knowledge is clearly impossible in a creature, either of itself or of anything out of itself. It is, however, substantially thus that the transcendentalists claim to know God.

Our Knowledge of God Partial.

    4. It is included in what has been said, that our knowledge of God is partial and inadequate. There is infinitely more in God than we have any idea of; and what we do know, we know imperfectly. We know that God knows; but there is much in his mode of knowing, and in its relation to its objects, which we cannot understand. We know that He acts; but we do not know how He acts, or the relation which his activity bears to time, or things out of Himself. We know that He feels; that He loves, pities, is merciful, is gracious; that He hates sin. But this emotional element of the divine nature is covered with an obscurity as great, but no greater, than that which rests over his thoughts or purposes. Here again our ignorance, or rather, the limitation of our knowledge concerning God, finds a parallel in our ignorance of ourself. There are potentialities in our nature of which, in our present state of existence, we have no idea. And even as to what we are now, we know but little. We know that we perceive, think, and act; we do not know how. It is perfectly inscrutable to us how the mind takes cognizance of matter; how the soul acts on the body, or the body on the mind. But because our knowledge of ourselves is thus partial and imperfect, no sane man would assert that we have no self-knowledge.

    The common doctrine on this subject is clearly expressed by Des Cartes:6 "Sciri potest, Deum esse infinitum et omnipotentem, quanquam anima nostra, utpote finita, id nequeat comprehendere sive concipere; eodem nimirum modo, quo montem manibus tangere possumus, sed non ut arborem, aut aliam quampiam rem brachiis nostris non majorem amplecti: comprehendere enim est cogitatione complecti; ad hoc autem, ut sciamus aliquid, sufficit, ut illud cogitatione attingamus."

    Even Spinoza7 says: "Ad quaestionem tuam, an de Deo tam claram, quam de triangulo habeam ideam, respondeo affirmando. Non dico, me Deum omnino cognoscere; sed me quaedam ejus attributa, non autem omnia, neque maximam intelligere partem, et certum est, plurimorum ignorantiam, quorundam eorum habere notitiam, non impedire. Quum Euclidis elementa addiscerem, primo tres trianguli angulos duobus rectis aequari intelligebam; hancque trianguli proprietatem clare percipiebam, licet multarum aliarum ignarus essem."

    While, therefore, it is admitted not only that the infinite God is incomprehensible, and that our knowledge of Him is both partial and imperfect; that there is much in God which we do not know at all, and that what we do know, we know very imperfectly; nevertheless our knowledge, as far as it goes, is true knowledge. God really is what we believe Him to be, so far as our idea of Him is determined by the revelation which He has made of Himself in his works, in the constitution of our nature, in his word, and in the person of his Son. To know is simply to have such apprehensions of an object as conform to what that object really is. We know what the word Spirit means. We know what the words infinite, eternal, and immutable, mean. And, therefore, the sublime proposition, pregnant with more truth than was ever compressed in any other sentence, "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and immutable," conveys to the mind as distinct an idea, and as true (i. e., trustworthy) knowledge, as the proposition "The human soul is a finite spirit." In this sense God is an object of knowledge. He is not the unknown God, because He is infinite. Knowledge in Him does not cease to be knowledge because it is omniscience; power does not cease to be power because it is omnipotence; any more than space ceases to be space because it is infinite.

B. How do we know God?

    How does the mind proceed in forming its idea of God? The older theologians answered this question by saying that it is by the way of negation, by the way of eminence, and by the way of causality. That is, we deny to God any limitation; we ascribe to Him every excellence in the highest degree; and we refer to Him as the great First Cause every attribute manifested in his works. We are the children of God, and, therefore, we are like Him. We are, therefore, authorized to ascribe to Him all the attributes of our own nature as rational creatures, without limitation, and to an infinite degree. If we are like God, God is like us. This is the fundamental principle of all religion. This is the principle which Paul assumed in his address to the Athenians (Ac 17:29): "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device." For the same reason we ought not to think that He is simple being, or a mere abstraction, a name for the moral order of the universe, or the unknown and unknowable cause of all things, -- mere inscrutable force. If we are his children, He is our Father, whose image we bear, and of whose nature we partake. This, in the proper sense of the word, is Anthropomorphism, a word much abused, and often used in a bad sense to express the idea that God is altogether such a one as ourselves, a being of like limitations and passions. In the sense, however, just explained, it expresses the doctrine of the Church and of the great mass of mankind. Jacobi8 well says: "We confess, therefore, to an Anthropomorphism inseparable from the conviction that man bears the image of God; and maintain that besides this Anthropomorphism, which has always been called Theism, is nothing but atheism or fetichism."

C. Proof that this Method is Trustworthy.

    That this method of forming an idea of God is trustworthy, is proved, --

    1. Because it is a law of nature. Even in the lowest form of fetichism the life of the worshipper is assumed to belong to the object which he worships. The power dreaded is assumed to possess attributes like our own. In like manner under all the forms of polytheism, the gods of the people have been intelligent personal agents. It is only in the schools of philosophy that we find a different method of forming an idea of the Godhead. They have substituted to. o'n for o` w'n, to. qei/on for o` Qeo,j, to. avgaqo,n for o` avgao,j. It is here as with regard to the knowledge of the external world. The mass of mankind believe that things are what they perceive them to be. This philosophers deny. They affirm that we do not perceive the things themselvcs, but certain ideas, species, or images of the things; that we have, and can have, no knowledge of what the things themselves really are. So they say we can have no knowledge of what God is; we only know that we are led to think of Him in a certain way, but we are not only not authorized to believe that our idea corresponds to the reality, but, say they, it is certain that God is not what we take Him to be. As the people are right in the one case, so are they in the other. In other words, our conviction that God is what He has revealed Himself to be, rests on the same foundation as our conviction that the external world is what we take it to be. That foundation is the veracity of consciousness, or the trustworthiness of the laws of belief which God has impressed upon our nature. "Invincibility of belief," according to Sir William Hamilton, "is convertible with the truth of belief,"9 although, unhappily, on this subject, he did not adhere to his own principle, "That what is by nature necessarily believed to be, truly is."10 No man has more nobly or more earnestly vindicated this doctrine, which is the foundation of all science and of all faith. "Consciousness," he says, "once convicted of falsehood, an unconditioned scepticism, in regard to the character of our intellectual being, is the melancholy but only rational result. Any conclusion may now with impunity be drawn against the hopes and the dignity of human nature. Our personality, our immateriality, our moral liberty, have no longer an argument for their defence. 'Man is the dream of a shadow.' God is the dream of that dream."11 The only question, therefore, is, Are we invincibly led to think of God as possessing the attributes of our rational nature? This cannot be denied; for universality proves invincibility of belief. And it is a historical fact that men have universally thus thought of God. Even Mr. Mansel12 exclaims against the transcendentalists, " Fools, to dream that man can escape from himself, that human reason can draw aught but a human portrait of God." True, he denies the correctness of that portrait; or, at least, he asserts that we cannot know whether it is correct or not. But this is not now the question. He admits that we are forced by the constitution of our nature thus to think of God. And by the fundamental principle of all true philosophy, what we are forced to believe must be true. It is true, therefore, that God really is what we take Him to be, when we ascribe to Him the perfections of our own nature, without limitation, and to an infinite degree.

Our Moral Nature demands this Idea of God.

    2. It has already been shown, when speaking of the moral argument for the existence of God, that all men are conscious of their accountability to a being superior to themselves, who knows what they are and what they do, and who has the will and purpose to reward or punish men according to their works. The God, therefore, who is revealed to us in our nature, is a God who knows, and wills, and acts; who rewards and punishes. That is, He is a person; an intelligent, voluntary agent, endowed with moral attributes. This revelation of God must be true. It must make known to us what God really is, or our nature is a lie. All this Mr. Mansel, who holds that God can not be known, admits. He admits that a sense of dependence on a superior power is "a fact of the inner consciousness;" that this superior power is "not an inexorable fate, or immutable law, but a Being having at least so far the attributes of personality, that He can show favour or severity to those dependent upon Him, and can be regarded by them with the feelings of hope, and fear, and reverence, and gratitude."13 No man, however, is, or can be grateful to the sun, or to the atmosphere, or to unintelligent force. Gratitude is a tribute of a person to a person. Again, the same author admits that "the moral reason, or will, or conscience of man, call it by what name we please, can have no authority save as implanted in him by some higher spiritual Being, as a law emanating from a law-giver."14 "We are thus compelled," he says, "by the consciousness of moral obligation, to assume the existence of a moral [and of course of a personal] Deity, and to regard the absolute standard of right and wrong as constituted by the nature of that Deity."15 Our argument from these facts is, that if our moral nature compels us to believe that God is a person, He must be a person, and consequently that we arrive at a true knowledge of God by attributing to Him the perfections of our own nature.

Our Religious Nature makes the same Demand.

    3. The argument from our religious, as distinct from our moral nature, is essentially the same. Morality is not all of religion. The one is as much a law and necessity of our nature as the other. To worship, in the religious sense of the word, is to ascribe infinite perfection to its object. It is to express to that object out aknowledgments for the blessings we enjoy, and to seek their continuance; it is to confess, and praise, and pray, and to adore. We cannot worship the law of gravity, or unconscious force, or the mere order of the universe. Our religious nature, in demanding an object of supreme reverence, love, and confidence, demands a personal God, a God clothed with the attributes of a nature like our own; who can hear our confessions, praises, and prayers; who can love, and be loved; who can supply our wants, and fill all our capacities for good. Thus again it appears that unless our whole nature is a contradiction and a falsehood, we arrive at a true knowledge of God when we ascribe to Him the perfections of our own nature.

    Mr. Mansel admits that our nature does demand a personal and moral Deity; but, he says, "the very conception of a moral nature is in itself the conception of a limit, for morality is the compliance with a law; and a law, whether imposed from within or from without, can only be conceived to operate by limiting the range of possible actions."16 In like manner he says, "The only human conception of personality is that of limitation." Therefore, if God be infinite, he can neither be a person, nor possess moral attributes. This is the argument of Strauss, and of all other pantheists, against the doctrine of a personal God. Mr. Mansel admits the force of the argument, and says we must renounce all hope of knowing what God is, and be content with "regulative knowledge," which teaches not what God really is, but what He wills us to think Him to be. We are thus forbidden to trust to our necessarv beliefs. We must not regard as true what God by the constitution of our nature forces us to believe. This is to subvert all philosophy and all religion, and to destroy the difference between the rational and the irrational. Why is this contradiction between reason and conscience, between our rational and moral nature, assumed to exist? Simply because philosophers choose to give such a definition of morality and personality that neither can be predicated of an infinite Being. It is not true that either morality or personality imply any limitation inconsistent with absolute perfection. We do not limit God when we say He cannot be irrational as well as rational, unconscious as well as conscious, finite as well as infinite, evil as well as good. The only limitation admitted is the negation of imperfection. Reason is not limited when we say it cannot be unreason; or spirit, when we say that it is not matter; or light, when we say it is not darkness; or space, when we say it is not time. We do not, therefore, limit the Infinite, when we exalt Him in our conceptions from the unconscious to the conscious, from the unintelligent to the intelligent, from an impersonal something to the absolutely perfect personal Jehovah. All these difficulties arise from confounding the ideas of infinite and all.

    4. The fourth argument on this subject is, that if we are not justified in referring to God the attributes of our own nature, then we have no God. The only alternative is anthropomorphism (in this sense) or Atheism. An unknown God, a God of whose nature and of whose relation to us we know nothing, to us is nothing. It is a historical fact that those who reject this method of forming our idea of God, who deny that we are to refer to Him the perfections of our own nature, have become atheists. They take the word "spirit," and strip from it consciousness, intelligence, will, and morality; and the residue, which is blank nothing, they call God. Hamilton and Mansel take refuge from this dreadful conclusion in faith. They say that reason forbids the ascription of these, or of any other attributes, to the Infinite and Absolute, but that faith protests against this conclusion of the reason. Such protest, however, is of no account, unless it be rational. When Kant proved that there was no rational evidence of the existence of God, and fell back from the speculative to the practical reason (i. e., from reason to faith), his followers universally gave up all faith in a personal God. No man can believe in the impossible. And if reason pronounces that it is impossible that the Infinite should be a person, faith in His personality is an impossibility. This Mr. Mansel does not admit. For while he says that it is a contradiction to affirm the Infinite to be a person, or to possess moral attributes, he nevertheless says that, "Anthropomorphism is the indispensable condition of all human theology;"17 and he quotes from Kant18 this passage: "We may confidently challenge all natural theology to name a single distinctive attribute of the Deity, whether denoting intelligence or will, which, apart from anthropomorphism, is anything more than a mere word, to which not the slightest notion can be attached, which can serve to extend our theoretical knowledge." It is greatly to be lamented that men should teach that the only way in which it is possible for us to form an idea of God, leads to no true knowledge. It does not teach us what God is, but what we are forced against reason to think He is.

Argument from the Revelation of God in Nature.

    5. A fifth argument is from the fact that the works of God manifest a nature like our own. It is a sound principle that we must refer to a cause the attributes necessary to account for its effects. If the effects manifest intelligence, will, power, and moral excellence, these attributes must belong to the cause. As, therefore, the works of God are a revelation of all these attributes on a most stupendous scale, they must belong to God in an infinite degree. This is only saying that the revelation made of God in the external world agrees with the revelation which He has made of himself in the constitution of our own nature. In other words, it proves that the image of himself which He has enstamped on our nature is a true likeness.

Argument from Scripture.

    6. The Scriptures declare God to be just what we are led to think He is, when we ascribe to Him the perfections of our own nature in an infinite degree. We are self-conscious, so is God. We are spirits, so is He. We are voluntary agents, so is God. We have a moral nature, miserably defaced indeed, God has moral excellence in infinite perfection. We are persons, so is God. All this the Scriptures declare to be true. The great primal revelation of God is as the "I am," the personal God. All the names and titles given to Him; all the attributes ascribed to Him; all the works attributed to Him, are revelations of what He truly is. He is the Elohim, the Mighty One, the Holy One, the Omnipresent Spirit; He is the creator, the preserver, the governor of all things. He is our Father. He is the hearer of prayer; the giver of all good. He feeds the young ravens. He clothes the flowers of the field. He is Love. He so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish but have everlasting life. He is merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth. He is a present help in every time of need; a refuge, a high tower, an exceeding great reward. The relations in which, according to the Scriptures, we stand to God, are such as we can sustain only to a being who is like ourselves. He is our ruler, and father, with whom we can commune. His favour is our life, his loving-kindness better than life. This sublime revelation of God in his own nature and in his relation to us is not a delusion. It is not mere regulative truth, or it would be a deceit and mockery. It makes God known to us as He really is. We therefore know God, although no creature can understand the Almighty unto perfection.

Argument from the Manifestation of God in Christ.

    7. Finally, God has revealed Himself in the person of his Son. No man knoweth the Father but the Son; and he to whom the Son shall reveal Him. Jesus Christ is the true God. The revelation which He made of Himself was the manifestation of God. He and the Father are one. The words of Christ were the words of God. The works of Christ were the works of God. The love, mercy, tenderness, the forgiving grace, as well as the holiness, the severity and power manifested by Christ, were all manifestations of what God truly is. We see, therefore, as with our own eyes, what God is. We know that although infinite and absolute, He can think, act, and will; that He can love and hate; that He can hear prayer and forgive sins, that we can have fellowship with Him, as one person can commune with another. Philosophy must veil her face in the presence of Jesus Christ, as God manifest in the flesh. She may not presume in that presence to say that God is not, and is not known to be, what Christ himself most clearly was. This doctrine that God is the object of certain and true knowledge lies at the foundation of all religion, and therefore must never be given up.


§ 2. God cannot be fully known.

    The modern German philosophers take the ground that all science, all true philosophy, must be founded on the knowledge of being, and not of phenomena. They reject the authority of the senses and of consciousness, and teach that it is only by the immediate cognition of the Absolute that we arrive at any true or certain knowledge. God, or rather, the Infinite, can be as thoroughly known and comprehended as the simplest object of sense or of consciousness; He is, only so far as He is known.

    It would seem impossible that the presumption of men should be so extreme that such a creature as man should pretend to understand the Almighty to perfection, when in fact he cannot understand himself or the simplest objects with which he is in daily contact. The assumption is that being, as such, Infinite and Absolute Being, can be known; that is, that we can determine what it is, and the necessary laws by which it is developed into the phenomenal world. This knowledge is attained apriori;not by any induction or deduction from our own nature or the facts of experience, but by an immediate act of cognition, which transcends all consciousness. The great service rendered by Sir William Hamilton and Mr. Mansel to the cause of truth was to demonstrate the utter futility of this pretended philosophy of the Infinite, on the principles of its advocates. To the common mind it needed no refutation, being intuitively seen to be impossible and absurd.

Sir William Hamilton's Argument.

    Hamilton shows, in the first place, that the immediate intuition of Schelling, which Hegel ridiculed as a mere imagination, the dialectics of Hegel, which Schelling pronounced a mere play of words, and the impersonal reason of Cousin which enters into our consciousness but not into our personality, utterly fail to give us a knowledge of the Infinite. "Existence," he says, "is revealed to us only under specific modifications, and these are known only under the conditions of our faculties of knowledge. Things in themselves, matter, mind, God, all in short that is not finite, relative, and phenomenal, as bearing no analogy to our faculties, is beyond the verge of our our knowledge."19 In what sense Hamilton places God "beyond the verge of our knowledge" will be seen in the sequel. It is, however, self-evident that our knowledge must be limited by our faculties of knowing. Other animals may have senses which we do not possess. It is utterly impossible that we should have the kind of knowledge due to the exercise of those senses. It is probable that there are faculties dormant in our nature which are not called into activity in our present state of being. It is clear that we cannot now attain the knowledge which those faculties may hereafter enable us to attain. It is just as plain that we cannot cognize the Infinite, in the sense of these philosophers, as that we cannot see a spirit, or guide ourselves in space, as does the carrier-pigeon or the migrating salmon.

Only the Infinite can know the Infinite.

    2. In the second place, it is admitted that none but the Infinite can know the Infinite, and to know God in this sense, it is admitted that we must be God. "Schelling claimed for the mind of man, what Kant had demonstrated to be impossible, a faculty of intellectual intuition which is apart from sense, above consciousness, and released from the laws of the understanding, and which comprehends the absolute by becoming the absolute, and thus knows God by being God."20 This assumption that man is God, shocks the reason and common sense of men as well as outrages their religious and moral convictions.

    3. In the third place, Hamilton and Mansel demonstrate that, assuming the definitions of the Absolute and Infinite given by the transcendentalists, the most contradictory conclusions may logically be deduced from them. "There are three terms familiar as household words in the vocabulary of philosophy, which must be taken into account in every system of metaphysical theology. To conceive the Deity as He is, we must conceive him as First Cause, as absolute, and as infinite. By First Cause, is meant that which produces all things, and is itself produced of none. By the Absolute, is meant that which exists in and by itself, having no necessary relation to any other being. By the Infinite, is meant that which is free from all possible limitation; that than which a greater is inconceivable, and which, consequently, can receive no additional attribute or mode of existence which it had not from all eternity."21

    According to these definitions, in the sense in which they are intended to be taken, it follows : --

    1. That the Infinite and Absolute must include the sum of all being. For "that which is conceived as absolute and infinite must be conceived as containing within itself the sum, not only of all actual, but of all possible modes of being. For if any actual mode can be denied of it, it is related to that mode and limited by it; and if any possible mode can be denied of it, it is capable of becoming more than it now is, and such a capability is a limitation."22

    2. If the Absolute and Infinite be as above defined, it cannot be the object of knovledge. To know is to limit. It is to distinguish the object of knowledge from other objects. We cannot conceive, says Hamilton, of an absolute whole; i. e., of a whole so great that we cannot conceive of it as a part of a greater whole. We cannot conceive of an infinite line, or of infinite space, or of infinite duration. We may as well think without thought, as to assign any limit beyond which there can be no extension, no space, no duration. "Goad imagination to the utmost, it still sinks paralyzed within the bounds of time."23 It follows, therefore, from the very nature of knowledge, according to Hamilton, that the Infinite and Absolute cannot be known.

The Infinite cannot Know.

    3. It also follows from these premises, that the Infinite cannot know. All knowledge is limitation and difference. It supposes a distinction between subject and object, between the knower and what is known, inconsistent with the idea of the Absolute.

    4. It follows also that the Absolute cannot be conscious, for consciousness involves a distinction between the self and the not-self. It is knowledge of ourselves as distinct from what is not ourselves. Even if conscious only of itself; there is the same distinction between subject and object; the self as subject and a mode of the self as the object of consciousness. "The almost unanimous voice of philosophy," says Mansel, "in pronouncing that the Absolute is both one and simple must be accepted as the voice of reason also, so far as reason has any voice in the matter." "The conception of an absolute and infinite consciousness contradicts itself."24

The Absolute cannot be Cause.

    5. It is equally clear that the Absolute and Infinite cannot be cause. Causation implies relation; the relation of efficiency to the effect. It also implies change; change from inaction to activity. It moreover implies succession, and succession implies existence in time. "A thing existing absolutely (i. e., not under relation)," says Hamilton, "and a thing existing absolutely as a cause, are contradictory." He quotes Schelling25 as saying, "He would deviate wide as the poles from the idea of the Absolute, who would think of defining its nature by the notion of activity." "But he who would define the Absolute by the notion of a cause," he adds, "would deviate still more widely from its nature, inasmuch as the notion of a cause involves not only the notion of a determination to activity, but of a determination to a particular, nay a dependent, kind of activity."26 "The three conceptions, the Cause, the Absolute, the Infinite, all equally indispensable, do they not," asks Mr. Mansel,27 "imply contradiction to each other, when viewed in conjunction, as attributes of one and the same Being? A cause cannot, as such, be absolute: the Absolute cannot, as such, be cause."

    6. According to the laws of our reason and consciousness, there can be no duration without succession, but succession as implying change cannot be predicated of the Absolute and Infinite, and yet without succession there can be no thought or consciousness; and therefore, to say that God is eternal is to deny that He has either thought or consciousness.

    7. Again, "Benevolence, holiness, justice, wisdom," says Mansel, "can be conceived by us only as existing in a benevolent and holy and just and wise being, who is not identical with any one of his attributes, but the commnon subject of them all; in one word, in a person. But personality, as we conceive it, is essentially a limitation and a relation. -- To speak of an absolute and infinite persons is simply to use language to which, however true it may be in a superhuman sense, no mode of human thought can possibly attach itself."28

The Conclusion to which Hamilton's Argument leads.

    What then is the result of the whole matter? It is, that if the definitions of the Absolute and Infinite adopted by transcendentalists be admitted, the laws of reason lead us into a labyrinth of contradictions. If their idea of an infinite and absolute Being be correct, then it must include all being actual and possible; it can neither know nor be the object of knowledge; it cannot be conscious, or cause, or a person, or the subject of any moral attribute. Hamilton infers from all this, that a philosophy of the Absolute is a sheer impossibility; that the Absolute, from its nature and from the necessary limits of human thought, is unknowable, and consequently that the stupendous systems of pantheistic atheism which had been erected on the contrary assumption, must fall to the ground. Those systems have indeed already fallen by their own weight. Although only a few years ago they claimed the homage of the intellectual world and boasted of immutability, they have at the present time scarcely a living advocate.

    Unhappily, however, Hamilton, like Samson, is involved in the ruin which he created. In overthrowing pantheism he overthrows Theism. All that he says of the Absolute as unknowable, he affirms to be true of God. All the contradictions which attend the assumption of an absolute and infinite being as the ground of philosophy, he says attend the assumption of an infinite God.


§ 3. Hamilton's Doctrine.

A. God an Object of Faith, but not of Knowledge.

    The sense in which Hamilton and his followers represent God as unknowable, has been a matter of dispute. When he says that we can know that God is, but not what He is, he says only what had been said a hundred times before. Plato had said that the search after God was difficult, and that when He is found, it is impossible to declare his nature. Philo still more explicitly teaches that the divine essence is without qualities or attributes, and as we know nothing of any essence but by its distinguishing attributes. God in his own nature is altogether unknowable.29 This is repeated continually by the Greek and Latin fathers; who, however, in most cases at least, meant nothing more than that God is incomprehensible. Others again, in asserting the incapacity of man to know God, refer to his spiritual blindness occasioned by sin. Therefore, while they deny that God can be known by the unregenerate, they affirm that He is known by those to whom the Son has revealed Him. In like manner although the Apostle asserts that even the heathen know God, he elsewhere speaks of a kind of knowledge due to the saving illumination of the Holy Spirit. It is in the sense that God is past finding out that the devout Pascal says,30"We know there is an infinite, but we are ignorant of its nature. . . . We may well know that there is a God, without knowing what He is." And even John Owen says, "All the rational conceptions of the minds of men are swallowed up and lost, when they would exercise themselves directly on that which is absolute, immense, eternal, and infinite. When we say it is so, we know not what we say, but only that it is not otherwise. What we deny of God we know in some measure -- but what we affirm we know not; only we declare what we believe and adore."31 Professor Tyler adds, that while the philosophy of Hamilton "confines our knowledge to the conditioned [the finite], it leaves faith free about the unconditioned [the infinite]; indeed constrains us to believe in it by the highest law of our intelligence."

    Although Hamilton often uses the same language when speaking of God as unknowable, as that employed by others, his meaning is very different. He really teaches an ignorance of God destructive of all rational religion, because inconsistent with the possibility of faith.

Different Kinds of Ignorance.

    There are different kinds of ignorance. First, there is the ignorance of the idiot, which is blank vacuity. In him the statement of a proposition awakens no mental action whatever. Secondly, there is the ignorance of a blind man, of colour. He does not know what colour is; but he knows there is something which answers to that word and which produces a certain effect on the eyes of those who see. He may even understand the laws by which the production of colour is determined. A blind man has written a treatise on optics. Thirdly, there is the ignorance under which the mind labors when it can prove contradictory propositions concerning the same object, as that the same figure is both square and round And fourthly, there is the ignorance of imperfect knowledge. Paul speaks of knowing what passes knowledge.

    Our ignorance of God, according to Hamilton, is neither the ignorance of the idiot nor of imperfect knowledge, but it is analogous to the ignorance of a blind man of colours, and more definitely, the ignorance we labor under with regard to any object of which we can prove contradictions.

Proof that Hamilton Denies that we can Know God.

    That this view of his doctrine is correct is proved, (1.) Because he asserts in such broad terms that God cannot be known; that He is not only inconceivable, but incogitable. (2.) Because, he says, that we know that God is not, and cannot be, what we think He is. It is not merely that we cannot determine with certainty that our idea of God is correct, but we know that it is not correct. "To think that God is, as we can think Him to be," he says, "is blasphemy. The last and highest consecration of all true religion, must be an altar, 'Agnw/stw| Qew/|, 'To the unknown and unknowable God."32 (3.) Because both he and Mansel continually assert that the Infinite cannot be a person; cannot know; cannot be cause; cannot be conscious; cannot be the subject of any moral attributes. To think of God as infinite, and to think of Him as a person is an impossibility. (4.) The illustrations which these writers employ determine clearly their meaning. Our ignorance of God is compared to our incapacity to conceive of two straight lines inclosing a portion of space; or to think "a circular parallelogram." It is not merely that we cannot understand such a figure, but we see that, in the nature of things, any such figure is impossible. So we not only cannot understand how God can be absolute and yet a person, but we see that an absolute person is as much a contradiction as a square circle. (5.) Accordingly Herbert Spencer and others, in carrying out Hamilton's principles, come to the conclusion not only that we cannot know God, but that it is impossible that a personal God should exist. There can be no such being.

Hamiltons Doctrine of God as an object of Faith.

    Hamilton and Mansel, however, are not only Theists, but Christians. They believe in God, and they believe in the Scriptures as a divine revelation. They endeavor to avoid what seem to be the inevitable consequences of their doctrine, by adopting two principies: first, that the unthinkable is possible, and, therefore, may be believed. By the unthinkable is meant that which the laws of reason force us to regard as self-contradictory. On this subject Mansel says: "It is our duty to think of God as personal, and it is our duty to believe that He is infinite. It is true that we cannot reconcile these two representations with each other; as our conception of personality involves attributes apparently contradictory to the notion of infinity. But it does not follow that this contradiction exists anywhere but in our own minds: it does not follow that it implies any impossibihity in the absolute nature of God. . . . It proves that there are limits to man's power of thought; and it proves no more."33 The conclusion is, that as whatever is possible is credible, therefore, as it is possible that God though infinite may be a person, his personality may be rationally believed.

The Unthinkable, or Impossible, cannot be an object of Faith.

    On this it may be remarked, --

    1. That there is a great difference between the irreconcilable and the self-contradictory. In the one case the difficulty arises, or may arise, out of our ignorance or mental weakness; in the other, it arises out of the nature of the things themselves. Many things are irreconcilable to a child which are not so to a man. Many things are irreconcilable to one man and not to another; to men and not to angels. But the self-contradictory is imnpossible, and is seen to be so by all orders of mind. That two and two should make twenty, or that the same figure should be a square and a circle, is just as irreconcilable to an angel as to a child. What is self-contradictory cannot possibly be true. Now, according to Hamilton and Mansel, infinity and personality are not only irreconcilable, but contradictory. The one affirms what the other denies. According to their doctrine the Infinite cannot be a person, and a person cannot be infinite, any more than the Infinite can be finite, or the finite infinite. The one of necessity excludes the other. If you affirm the one, you deny the other. There is a great difference between not seeing how a thing is, and clearly seeing that it cannot be. Hamilton and Mansel constantly assert that an absolute person is a contradiction in terms. And so it is, if their definition of the absolute be correct; and if a contradiction, it is impossible.

    2. If to our reason the personality of an infinite God be a contradiction, then it is impossible rationally to believe that He is a person. It is in vain to say that the contradiction is only in our mind. So is faith in our mind. It is impossible for one and the same mind to see a thing to be false, and believe it to be true. For the reason to see that a thing is a contradiction, is to see it to be false; and to see it to be false, and to believe it to be true, is a contradiction in terms. Even if to other and higher minds the contradiction does not exist, so long as it exists in the view of any particular mind, for that mind faith in its truth is an impossibility.

    It may be said that a man's reason may convince him that the external world does not really exist, while his senses force him to believe in its reality. So reason may pronounce the personality of God a contradiction, and conscience force us to believe that He is a person. This is to confound consecutive with contemporaneous states of mind. It is possible for a man to be an idealist in his study, and a realist out of doors. But he cannot be an idealist and a realist at one and the same time. The mind is a unit. A man's reason is the man himself; so is his conscience, and so are all his other faculties. It is the one substantive self that thinks and believes. To assume, therefore, that by necessity he must think one way and believe another; that the laws of his reason force him to regard as false what his conscience or senses force him to regard as true, is to destroy his rationality. It is also to impugn the wisdom and goodness of our Creator, for it supposes Him to have put one part of our constitution in conflict with another; to have placed us under guides who alternately force us to move in opposite directions. It even places this contradiction in God himself. For what reason, in its legitimate exercise, says, God says; and what conscience, in its legitimate exercise, says, God says. If, therefore, reason says that God is not a person, and conscience says that He is, then -- with reverence be it spoken -- God contradicts Himself.

Knowledge essential to Faith.

    It is one of the distinguishing doctrines of Protestants that knowledge is essential to faith. This is clearly the doctrine of Scripture. How can they believe on Him of whom they have not heard? is the pertinent and instructive query of the Apostle. Faith includes the affirmation of the mind that a thing is true and trustworthy. But it is impossible for the mind to affirm anything of that of which it knows nothing. Romanists indeed say that if a man believes that the Church teaches the truth, then he believes all the Church teaches, although ignorant of its doctrines. It might as well be said that because a child has confidence in his father, therefore he knows all his father knows. Truth must be commnunicated to the mind, and seen to be possible, before, on any evidence, it can be believed. If, therefore, we cannot know God, we cannot believe in Him.

B. Regulative Knowledge.

    The second principle which Hamilton and Mansel adopt to save themselves from scepticism is that of regulative knowledge. We are bound to believe that God is what the Scriptures and our moral nature declare Him to be. This revelation, however, does not teach us what God really is, but merely what He wills us to believe concerning Him. Our senses, they say, tell us that things around us are, but not what they are. We can, however, safely act on the assumption that they really are what they appear to be. Our senses, therefore, give only regulative knowledge; i e., knowledge sufficient to regulate our active life. So we do not, and cannot, know what God really is; but the representations contained in the Scriptures are sufficient to regulate our moral and religious life. We can safely act on the assumption that He really is what we are thus led to think Him to be, although we know that such is not the fact.

    We must be "content," says Mansel,34 "with those regulative ideas of the Deity, which are sufficient to guide our practice, but not to satisfy our intellect, -- which tell us not what God is in Himself, but how He wills that we should think of Him." "Though this kind of knowledge," says Hampden,35 "is abundantly instructive to us in point of sentiment and action; teaches us, that is, both how to feel, and how to act towards God; -- for it is the language that we understand, the language formed by our own experience and practice; -- it is altogether inadequate in point of science." Regulative knowledge, therefore, is that which is designed to regulate our character and practice. It need not be true. Nay, it may be, and is demonstrably false, for Hamilton says it is blasphemy to think that God really is what we take Him to be.

Objections to the Doctrine of Regulative Knowledge.

    1. The first remark on this doctrine of regulative knowledge is, that it is self-contradictory. Regulative truth is truth designed to accomuplish a given end. Design, however, is the intelligent and voluntary adaptation of means to an end; and the intelligent adaptation of means to an end, is a personal act. Unless, therefore, God be really a person, there can be no such thing as regulative knowledge. Mr. Mansel says, we cannot know what God is in Himself, "but only how He wills that we should think of Him." Here "will" is attributed to God; and the personal pronouns are used, and must be used in the very statement of the doctrine. That is, we must assume that God is really (and not merely in our subjective apprehensions) a person, in order to believe in regulative knowledge, which form of knowledge supposes that He is not, or may not be a person. This is a contradiction.

    2. Regulative knowledge is, from the nature of the case, powerless, unless its subjects regard it as well founded. Some parents educate their children in the use of fictions and fairy tales; but belief in the truth of these is essential to their effect. So long as the world believed in ghosts and witches, the belief had power. As soon as men were satisfied that there were no such real existences, their power was gone. Had the philosophers convinced the Greeks that their gods were not real persons, there would have been an end to their mythology. And if Hamilton and his disciples can convince the world that the Infinite cannot be a person, the regulative influence of Theism is gone. Men cannot be influenced by representations which they know are not conformed to the truth.

    3. This theory is highly derogatory to God. It supposes Him to propose to influence his creatures by false representations; revealing Himself as Father, Governor, and Judge, when there is no objective truth to answer to these representations. And worse than this, as remarked above, it supposes Him to have so constituted our nature as to force us to believe what is not true. We are constrained by the laws of our rational and moral being to think of God as having a nature like our own, and yet we are told it is blasphemy so to regard Him. The theory supposes a conflict between reason and conscience, -- between our rational and moral nature. The latter forcing us to believe that God is a person, and the former declaring personality and deity to be contradictory ideas. We do not forget that Mr. Mansel says that the incogitable may be real, that the contradiction is in our own minds, and not necessarily in the nature of things. But this amounts to nothing; for he says continually that the Absolute cannot be a person, cannot be a cause, cannot be conscious, cannot either know or be known. He says, "A thing -- an object -- an attribute -- a person -- or any other term signifying one out of many possible objects of consciousness, is by that very relation necessarily declared to be finite."36 That is, if God be a person, He is of necessity finite. Here the personality of God is said not only to be incogitable, or inconceivable, but impossible. And this is the real doctrine of his book. It must be so. It is intuitively true that the whole cannot be a part of itself; and if the Infinite be "the All," then it cannot be one out of many. If men adopt the principles of pantheists, they cannot consistently avoid their conclusions. Hamilton teaches not merely that God may not be what we think Him to be, but that He cannot so be; that we are ignorant what He is; that He is to us an unknown God. If God, by the laws of our reason, thus forces us to deny his personality, and by the laws of our moral nature makes it not only a duty, but a necessity to believe in his personality, then our nature is chaotic. Man, in that case, is not the noble creature that was formed in the image of God.

    4. This doctrine of regulative knowledge destroys the authority of the Scriptures. If all that the Bible teaches concerning the nature of God and concerning his relation to the world, reveals no objective truth, gives us no knowledge of what God really is, then what it teaches concerning the person, offices, and work of Christ, may all be unreal, and there may be no such person and no such Saviour.

C. Objections to the whole Theory.

    1. The first and most obvious fallacy in the theory of Hamilton and Mansel, as it appears to us, lies in their definition of the Absolute and Infinite, or in the language of Hamilton, the Unconditioned. By the Absolute they mean that which exists in and of itself, and out of all relation. The Infinite is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived or is possible; which includes all actual and all possible modes of being. Mansel subscribes to the dictum of Hegel that the Absolute must include all modes of being, good as well as evil. In like manner the Infinite must be All. For if any other being exists, the Infinite must of necessity be limited, and, therefore, is no longer infinite.

    These definitions determine everything. If the Absolute be that which is incapable of all relation, then it must be alone; nothing but the Absolute can be actual or possible. Then it can neither know nor be known. And if the Infinite be all, then again there can be no finite. Then it is just as certain that the Absolute and Infinite cannot be cause, or conscious, or a person, as that a square cannot be a circle, or the whole a part of itself. When a definition leads to contradictions and absurdities, when it leads to conclusions which are inconsistent with the laws of our nature, and when it subverts all that consciousness, common sense, and the Bible declare to be true, the only rational inference is that the definition is wrong. This inference we have the right to draw in the present case. The very fact that the definitions of the Absolute and Infinite which Hamilton and Mansel have adopted from the transcendentalists, lead to all the fearful conclusions which they draw from them, is proof enough that they must be wrong. They are founded upon purely speculative a priori grounds. They can have no authority. For if, as these philosophers say, the Absolute and Infinite cannot be known, how can it be defined? Neither the etymology nor the usage of the words in question justifies the above given definitions of them. Absolute (ab and solvo) means, free, unrestrained, independent; as when we speak of an absolute monarch or absolute promise; or, unlimited, as when we speak of absolute space. The word is also used in the sense of finished, or perfect. An absolute being is one that is free, unlimited, independent, and perfect. God is absolute, because He is not dependent for His existence, nature, attributes, or acts, on any other being. He is unlimited, by anything out of Himself or independent of his will. But this does not imply that He is the only being; nor that in order to be absolute He must be dead, unconscious, or without thought or will. Much less does the word infinite, as applied to God, imply that He must include all forms of being. Space may be infinite without being duration, and duration may be infinite without being space. An infinite spirit does not include material forms of existence, any more than an infinite line is an infinite surface or an infinite solid. When it is said that anything is infinite, all that is properly meant is that no limit is assignable or possible to it as such. An infinite line is that to which no limit can be assigned as a line; infinite space is that to which no limit can be assigned as space; an infinite spirit is a spirit which is unlimited in all the attributes of a spirit. It is a great mistake to assume that the infinite must be all. Infinite power is not all power, but simply power to whose efficiency no limtation can be assigned; and infinite knowledge is not all knowledge, but simply knowledge to the extent of which no limit is possible. So too an infinite substance is not all substance, but a substance which is not excluded from any portion of space by other substances, or limited in the manifestation of any of its attributes or functions by anything out of itself. God, therefore, may be a Spirit infinite, eternal, and immutable in his being and perfections, without being matter, and sin, and misery.

    It may be said that as infinite space must include all space, so an infinite being must of necessity include all modes of being. This, however, is a mere play on words. Infinite is sometimes inclusive of all, not from the meaning of the word, but from the nature of the subject of which infinitude is predicated. Infinite space must include all space, because space is in its nature one. But an infinite line does not include all lines, because there may be any number of lines; and an infinite being is not all being, because there may be any number of beings.

    It must excite the wonder and indignation of ordinary men to see the fundamental truths of religion and morality endangered or subverted out of deference to the assumption that the Absolute must be unrelated.

Wrong Definition of Knowledge.

    2. The second fallacy involved in Hamilton's theory concerns his idea of knowledge. When it is said that God is unknowable, everything depends on what is meant by knowledge. With him to know is to understand, to have a distinct conception, or mental image. This is evident from his using interchangeably the words unthinkable, unknowable, and inconceivable. Thus on a single page37 Mansel uses the phrases that of which "we do not and cannot think," that "which we cannot conceive," and "that which we are unable to comprehend," as meaning one and the same thing. This is also proved from the manner in which other words and phrases are employed; for example, the Infinite, the Absolute, an absolute beginning, an absolute whole, an absolute part, any increase or diminution of the complement of being. The only sense, however, in which these things are unthinkable, is, that we cannot form a mental image of them. A distinguished German professor, when anything was said to which he could not assent, was accustomed to spread out his hands and close his eyes and say, "Ich kann gar keine Anschauung davon machen." I cannot see it with my minds eye, I cannot make an image of it. This seems to be a materialistic way of looking at things. The same may be said of cause, substance, and soul, of none of which can we frame a mental image; yet they are not unthinkable. A thing is unthinkable only when it is seen to be impossible, or when we can attach no meaning to the words, or proposition, in which it is stated. This impossibility of intelligent thought may arise from our weakness. The problems of the higher mathematics are unthinkable to a child. Or, the impossibility may arise from the nature of the thing itself. That a triangle should have four sides, or a circle be a square, is absolutely unthinkable. But in neither of these senses is the Infinite unthinkable. It is not impossible, for Hamilton and Mansel both admit that God is in fact infinite; nor is that proposition unintelligible. It conveys a perfectly clear and distinct idea to the mind. When the mind affirms to itself that space is infinite, i. e., that it cannot be limited, it knows what it means just as well as when it says that two and two are four. Neither is an absolute beginning unthinkable. If, indeed, by absolute beginuing is meant uncaused beginning, the coming into existence of something out of nothing, and produced by nothing, then it is impossible and therefore incogitable. But the dictum is applied to a creation ex nihilo, which is declared to be unthinkable. This, however, is denied. We will to move a limb, and it moves. God said, Let there be light, and light was. The one event is just as intelligible as the other. In neither case can we comprehend the nexus between the antecedent and the consequent, between the volition and the effect; but as facts they are equally thinkable and knowable.

    It is not possible to give the evidence scattered through the writings of Hamilton and Mansel, that they use the word "to know" in the sense of comprehending, or, forming a mental image of the object known. Mansel38 quotes the following sentence from Dr. McCosh's work on the "Method of the Divine Government," namely, "The mind seeks in vain to embrace the infinite in a positive image, but is constrained to believe, when its efforts fail, that there is a something to which no limits can be put." This sentence Mansel says may be accepted "by the most uncompromising adherent" of Sir W. Hamilton's doctrine, that the infinite is unthinkable and unknowable. To know, therefore, according to Hamilton and Mansel, is to form a mental image of; and as we cannot form such an image of God, God cannot be known. Mansel is disposed to think that this reduces the controversy to a matter matter of words. And Dr. Tyler, in his able exposition of Hamilton's philosophy, says,39 "So it be admitted, as it must, that all our intelligence of God is by analogy, it matters but little, practically, whether the conviction be called knowledge, belief, or faith." It is, however, very far from being a dispute about words. For Hamilton constantly asserts that God is not, and cannot be, what we think He is. Then we have no God. For what is God as infinite, if as Mansel says, "The Infinite, if it is to be conceived at all, must be conceived as potentially everything and actually nothing."40

What is meant by Knowledge.

    Knowledge is the perception of truth. Whatever the mind perceives, whether intuitively or discursively, to be true, that it knows. We have immediate knowledge of all the facts of consciousness; and with regard to other matters, some we can demonstrate, some we can prove analogicallv, some we must admit or involve ourselves in contradictions and absurdities. Whatever process the mind may institute, if it arrives at a clear perception that a thing is, then that thing is an objects of knowledge. It is thus we know the object with which heaven and earth are crowded. It is thus we know our fellow men. With regard to anything without us, when our ideas, or convictions concerning it, correspond to what the thing really is, then we know it. How do we know that our nearest friend has a soul, and that that soul has intelligence, moral excellence, and power? We cannot see or feel it. We cannot form a mental image of it. It is mysterious and imcomprehensible. Yet we know that it is, and what it is, just as certainly as we know that we ourselves are, and what we are. In the same way we know that God is, and what He is. We know that He is a spirit, that He has intelligence, moral excellence, and power to an infinite degree. We know that He can love, pity, and pardon; that He can hear and answer prayer. We know God in the same sense and just as certainly as we know our father or mother. And no man can take this knowledge from us, or persuade us that it is not knowledge, but a mere irrational belief.

Hamilton's Doctrine Leads to Scepticism.

    3. The principles on which Hamilton and Mansel deny that God can be known, logically lead to scepticism. Hamilton has indeed rendered invaluable service to the cause of truth by his defence of what is, perhaps, infelicitously called the "Philosophy of Common Sense." The principles of that philosophy are: (1.) That what is given in consciousness is undoubtedly true. (2.) That whatever the laws of our nature force us to believe, must be accepted as true. (3.) That this principle applies to all the elements of our nature, to the senses, the reason, and the conscience. We cannot rationally or consistently with our allegiance to God, deny what our senses, reason, or conscience pronounce to be true. (4.) Neither the individual man, nor the cause of truth, however, is to be left to the mercy of what any one may choose to say reason or conscience teaches. Nothing is to be accepted as the authoritative judgment of either reason or conscience, which does not bear the criteria of universality and necessity.

    Hamilton has drawn from the stores of his erudition, in this department perhaps unexampled, proof that these principles have been recognized by the leading philosophic minds in all ages. He himself sustains them with earnestness as the safeguards of truth. He impressively asserts that if consciousness once be convicted of falsehood, all is lost; we have then no resting place for either science or religion; that absolute sce