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Title: Christianity and Ethics - A Handbook of Christian Ethics
Author: Alexander, Archibald B. C.
Language: English
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A Handbook of Christian Ethics



Author of 'A Short History of Philosophy,'
  'The Ethics of St. Paul,' etc.

London: Duckworth & Co.
3 Henrietta St., Covent Garden
All rights reserved



The object of this volume is to present a brief but comprehensive view
of the Christian conception of the moral life.  In order to conform
with the requirements of the series to which the volume belongs, the
writer has found the task of compression one of almost insurmountable
difficulty; and some topics, only less important than those dealt with,
have been necessarily omitted.  The book claims to be, as its title
indicates, simply a handbook or introduction to Christian Ethics.  It
deals with principles rather than details, and suggests lines of
thought instead of attempting an exhaustive treatment of the subject.
At the same time, in the author's opinion, no really vital question has
been overlooked.  The treatise is intended primarily for students, but
it is hoped that it may prove serviceable to those who desire a
succinct account of the moral and social problems of the present day.

A fairly full bibliography has been added, which, along with the
references to authorities in the body of the work, may be helpful to
those who wish to prosecute the study.  For the convenience of readers
the book has been divided into four sections, entitled, Postulates,
Personality, Character, and Conduct; and a detailed synopsis of
contents has been supplied.

To the Rev. W. R. Thomson, B.D. of Bellshill, Scotland, who read the
chapters in type, and generally put at his disposal much valuable
suggestion, the author would record his most sincere thanks.







THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF ETHICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    9

   I. General Definition.
  II. Distinctive Features--1. Ideal; 2. Norm; 3. Will.
 III. Is Ethics a Science?
  IV. Relation to--1. Logic; 2. Aesthetics; 3. Politics.
   V. Dependence upon--1. Metaphysics; 2. Psychology.


THE POSTULATES OF CHRISTIAN ETHICS . . . . . . . . . . . . .   22

   I. Philosophical Ethics.
  II. Dogmatics.
 III. Theological Presuppositions--
      1. Christian Idea of God.
      2. Christian Doctrine of Sin.
      3. Human Responsibility.
  IV. Authority and Method.


ETHICAL THOUGHT BEFORE CHRIST  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   36

   I. In Greece and Rome--Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Stoics.
      Stoicism and St. Paul.
  II. In Israel--1. Law; 2. Prophecy; 3. Poetry.
      Preparatory Character of pre-Christian Morality.



THE ESTIMATE OF MAN  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   55

   I. Conflicting Views of Human Nature--
      1. Man by nature Morally Good.
      2. Man by nature Totally Depraved.
      3. The Christian View.
  II. Examination of Man's Psychical Nature--
      1. The Unity of the Soul.
      2. The Divine in Man.
      3. The Physical and Mental Life.
 III. Appeal of Christianity to the Mind.


THE WITNESS OF CONSCIENCE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   68

   I. Treatment of Conscience--
      1. In Greek Poetry and Philosophy.
      2. In Old Testament.
      3. In New Testament.
  II. Nature and Origin of Conscience--
      1. Intuitionalism.
      2. Evolutionalism.
 III. Validity of Conscience--
      1. The Christian View.
      2. The Moral Imperatives.
      3. The Permanence of Conscience


'THE MIRACLE OF THE WILL'  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   82

   Is Man free to choose the Good?
   Creative Power of Volition.
   Aspects of Problem raised.
   I. Scientific--
      Man and Physical Necessity.
  II. Psychological--
      Determinism and Indeterminism.
      Criticism of James and Bergson.
      Spontaneity and Necessity.
 III. Theological--
      Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom.
      Jesus and Paul--Challenge to the Will.
      Freedom--a Gift and a Task.



MODERN THEORIES OF LIFE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   99

   I. Naturalistic Tendency--
      1. Materialistic--
         (1) Idyllic or Poetic--Rousseau.
         (2) Philosophic--Feuerbach.
         (3) Scientific--Haeckel.
      2. Utilitarian--Hobbes, Bentham, Mill.
      3. Evolutionary--Spencer.
      4. Socialistic--Marx, Engels.
      5. Individualistic--
         (1) Aestheticism--Goethe, Schiller.
         (2) Subjectivism--
             (_a_) Pessimism--Schopenhauer.
             (_b_) Optimism--Nietzsche.
  II. Idealistic Tendency--
      1. Kant--Categorical Imperative.
      2. Fichte and Hegel--Idea of Personality.
      3. James--Pragmatism.
      4. Bergson--Vitalism.
      5. Eucken--Activism.


THE CHRISTIAN IDEAL  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    127

   Life, as the highest Good.
   I. Life, in its Individual Aspect--
      1. Its Intensity.
      2. Its Expansion.
      3. 'Eternal Life.'
  II. Life, in its Social Aspect--
      1. 'The Kingdom of God'--
         Eschatological Interpretation.
         Untenableness of _Interimsethik_.
      2. Christ's View of Kingdom--
         (1) A Present Reality--a Gift.
         (2) A Gradual Development--a Task.
         (3) A Future Consummation--a Hope.
 III. Life, in its Godward Aspect--
      1. Holiness.
      2. Righteousness.
      3. Love.


STANDARD AND MOTIVE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  146

   I. Christ as Example--
      1. Portrayal by Synoptists--
         (1) Artlessness of Disciples.
         (2) Naturalness of Jesus,
      2. Impression of Power--
         (1) Power of Loyalty to Calling.
         (2) Power of Holiness.
         (3) Power of Sympathy.
      3. Value of Jesus' Example for Present Life--
         Misconception of Phrase 'Imitation of Christ.'
  II. The Christian Motive--
      1. Analysis of Springs of Conduct--
         (1) Divine Forgiveness.
         (2) Fatherhood of God.
         (3) Sense of Vocation.
         (4) Brevity of Life.
         (5) Idea of Immortality.
      2. Question as to Purity of Motive--
         (1) Charge of Asceticism.
         (2) Charge of Hedonism.
      3. Doctrine of Rewards--
         (1) In Philosophy.
         (2) In Christianity--(_a_) Jesus; (_b_) Paul.


THE DYNAMIC OF THE NEW LIFE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  164

   I. Divine Power--
      Operative through Christ's
      1. Incarnation and Life.
      2. Death and Sacrifice.
      3. Resurrection and Indwelling Presence.
  II. Human Response--
      1. Repentance--
         (1) Contrition--Confession--Resolution.
         (2) Question of 'Sudden Conversion.'
         (3) 'Twice Born' or 'Once Born.'
      2. Faith--
         (1) In Ordinary Life.
         (2) In Teaching of Jesus.
         (3) The Pauline Doctrine.
      3. Obedience--
         (1) Active Appropriation of Grace.
         (2) Determination of Whole Personality.
         (3) Gradual Assimilation.



VIRTUES AND VIRTUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  183

   Definition of Virtue.
   I. The Natural Basis of the Virtues--
      'The Cardinal Virtues.'
  II. The Christian Transformation of the Virtues--
      1. The New Testament Account.
      2. Cardinal Virtues, Elements of Christian Character.
      3. Place of Passive Virtues in Life.
 III. The Unification of the Virtues--
      1. Unity in Relation to God.
      2. Love, Spring of all Virtues,
      3. 'Theological Virtues,' Aspects of Love.


THE REALM OF DUTY  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  199

   I. Aspects of Duty--
      1. Duty and Vocation.
      2. Conflict of Duties--
         (1) Competing Obligations.
         (2) 'Counsels of Perfection.'
         (3) Indifferent Acts.
      3. Rights and Duties--
         (1) Claim of 'Natural Rights.'
         (2) Based on Worth of Individual.
         (3) Christian Idea of Liberty.
  II. Spheres of Duty--
      1. Duties in Relation to Self--
         (1) Self-Respect.
         (2) Self-Preservation.
         (3) Self-Development--
             Self-regarding Duties not prominent in Scripture.
             Self-Realisation through Self-Sacrifice.
      2. Duties in Relation to Others--
         (1) Regard for Man: Brotherly Love--
             (_a_) Justice.
             (_b_) Veracity.
             (_c_) Judgment.
         (2) Service--
             (_a_) Sympathy.
             (_b_) Beneficence.
             (_c_) Forgiveness.
         (3) Example and Influence.
      3. Duties in Relation to God--
         (1) Recognition.
         (2) Obedience--Passive and Active.
         (3) Worship--Reverence, Prayer, Thanksgiving.


SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   230

   I. The Family--
      1. Origin and Evolution of Family.
      2. Christian view--
         (1) Christ's Teaching on Marriage.
         (2) State Regulation and Eugenics.
         (3) Tendencies to Disparagement.
      3. Family Relationships--
         (1) Parents and Children.
         (2) Woman's Place and Rights.
         (3) Child Life and Education.
  II. The State--
      1. Basis of Authority--
         Tolstoy and Anarchism.
         'Social Contract.'
      2. State, in New Testament.
      3. Modern Conceptions--
         Views of Augustine and Hegel.
         (1) Duty of State to Citizens.
         (2) Duty of Citizens to State.
         (3) The Democratic Movement--
             Reciprocity of Service and Sense of Brotherhood.
 III. The Church--
      1. Relation of Church and State.
      2. Purpose and Ideal of Church--
         (1) Worship and Edification.
         (2) Witness to Christ.
         (3) Evangelisation of Mankind.
      3. The Church and the Social Problem--
         (1) Christ's Teaching as to Industry and Wealth.
         (2) Attitude of Early Church to Society.
         (3) Of Roman and Reformed Churches.
      4. Duty of Christianity to the World--
         The Missionary Imperative and Opportunity.



BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  248

INDEX  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  263





If, as Matthew Arnold says, conduct is three-fourths of life, then a
careful inquiry into the laws of conduct is indispensable to the proper
interpretation of the meaning and purpose of life.  Conduct of itself,
however, is merely the outward expression of character; and character
again has its roots in personality; so that if we are to form a just
conception of life we have to examine the forces which shape human
personality and raise it to its highest power and efficiency.  In
estimating the value of man all the facts of consciousness and
experience must be considered.  Hence no adequate account of the end of
life can be given without regard to that which, if it is true, must be
the most stupendous fact of history--the fact of Christ.

If the Christian is a man to whom no incident of experience is secular
and no duty insignificant, because all things belong to God and all
life is dominated by the spirit of Christ, then Christian Ethics must
be the application of Christianity to conduct; and its theme must be
the systematic study of the ideals and forces which are alone adequate
to shape character and fit man for the highest conceivable
destiny--fellowship with, and likeness to, the Divine Being in whose
image he has been made.  This, of course, may be said to be the aim of
all theology.  The theologian must not be content to discuss merely
speculative problems about God and man.  He must seek above {2} all
things to bring the truths of revelation to bear upon human practice.
All knowledge has its practical implicate.  The dogma which cannot be
translated into duty is apt to be a vague abstraction.

In all ages there has been a tendency to separate truth and duty.  But
knowledge has two sides; it is at once a revelation and a challenge.
There is no truth which has not its corresponding obligation, and no
obligation which has not its corresponding truth.  And not until every
truth is rounded into its duty, and every duty is referred back into
its truth shall we attain to that clearness of vision and consistency
of moral life, to promote which is the primary task of Christian Ethics.

It is this practical element which gives to the study of morals its
justification and makes it specially important for the Christian
teacher.  In this sense Ethics is really the crown of theology and
ought to be the end of all previous study.

As a separate branch of study Christian Ethics dates only from the
Reformation.  It was natural, and perhaps inevitable that the first
efforts of the Church should be occupied with the formation and
elaboration of dogma.  With a few notable exceptions, among whom may be
mentioned Basil, Clement, Alquin and Thomas Aquinas, the Church fathers
and schoolmen paid but scanty attention to the ethical side of
religion.  It was only after the Reformation that theology, Roman and
Protestant alike, was divided into different branches.  The Roman
Catholic name for what we style Ethics is 'moral philosophy,' which,
however, consists mainly of directions for father confessors in their
dealing with perplexed souls.  Christian Ethics appears for the first
time as the name of a treatise by a French theologian of the
Calvinistic persuasion--Danaeus, whose work, however, is confined to an
exposition of the Decalogue.  The first recorded work of the Lutheran
church is the _Theologia Moralis_, written in 1634, by George Calixtus.

But the modern study of the subject really dates from {3}
Schleiermacher (1768-1834), who divides theology into two sections,
Dogmatics and Ethics, giving to the latter an independent treatment.
Since his time Ethics has been regarded as a separate discipline, and
within the last few decades increasing attention has been devoted to it.

This strong ethical tendency is one of the most noticeable features of
the present age.  Everywhere to-day the personal human interest is in
evidence.  We see it in the literature of the age and especially in the
best poetry, beginning already with Coleridge and Wordsworth, and
continued in Tennyson and Browning.  It is the inner life of man as
depicted to us by these master singers, the story of the soul, even
more than the delineation of nature which appeals to man's deepest
experience and evokes his finest response.  We see it in the art of our
times, which, not content to be a mere expression of sensuous beauty or
lifeless nature, seeks to be instinct with human sympathy and to become
the vehicle of the ideas and aims of man.  We see it in modern fiction,
which is no longer the narration of a simple tale, but the subtle
analysis of character, and the intricate study of the passions and
ambitions of common life.  History to-day is not concerned so much with
recording the intrigues of kings and the movements of armies as with
scrutinising the motives and estimating the personal forces which have
shaped the ages.  Even in the domain of theology itself this tendency
is visible.  Our theologians are not content with discussing abstract
doctrines or recounting the decisions of church councils, but are
turning to the gospels and seeking to depict the life of Jesus--to
probe the secret of His divine humanity and to interpret the meaning
for the world of His unique personality.

Nor is this tendency confined to professional thinkers and theologians,
it is affecting the common mind of the laity.  'Never was there a
time,' says a modern writer, 'when plain people were less concerned
with the metaphysics or the ecclesiasticism of Christianity.  The
construction of systems and the contention of creeds which once
appeared the central themes of human interest are now {4} regarded by
millions of busy men and women as mere echoes of ancient controversies,
if not mere mockeries of the problems of the present day.'  The Church
under the inspiration of this new feeling for humanity is turning with
fresh interest to the contemplation of the character of Jesus Christ,
and is rising to a more lofty idea of its responsibilities towards the
world.  More than ever in the past, it is now felt that Christianity
must vindicate itself as a practical religion; and that in view of the
great problems--scientific, social and industrial, which the new
conditions of an advancing civilisation have created, the Church, if it
is to fulfil its function as the interpreter and guide of thought, must
come down from its heights of calm seclusion and grapple with the
actual difficulties of men, not indeed by assuming a political rôle or
acting as a divider and judge amid conflicting secular aims, but by
revealing the mind of Christ and bringing the principles of the gospel
to bear upon the complex life of society.

No one who reflects upon the spirit of the times will doubt that there
are reasons of urgent importance why this aspect of Christian life and
duty, which we have been considering, should be specially insisted upon
to-day.  Of these the first and foremost is the prevalence of a
materialistic philosophy.  Taking its rise in the evolutionary theories
of last century, this view is now being applied with relentless logic
as an interpretation of the problems of society by a school of
socialistic writers.  Man, it is said, is the creature of heredity and
environment alone.  Condition creates character, and relief from the
woes of humanity is to be sought, not in the transformation of the
individual but in the revolutionising of the circumstances of life.  As
a consequence of this philosophy of externalism there is a filtering
down of these materialistic views to the multitude, who care, indeed,
little for theories, but are quick to be affected by a prevailing tone.
Underlying the feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction, so marked a
feature of our present day life, there is distinctly discernible among
the masses a loosening of religious faith and a slackening {5} of moral
obligation.  The idea of personality and the sense of duty are not so
vivid and strong as they used to be.  A vague sentimentalising about
sin has taken the place of the more robust view of earlier times, and
evil is traced to untoward environment rather than to feebleness of
individual will.  And finally, to name no other cause, there is a
tendency in our day among all classes to divorce religion from life--to
separate the sacred from the secular, and to regard worship and work as
belonging to two entirely distinct realms of existence.

For these reasons, among others, there is a special need, as it seems
to us, for a systematic study of Christian Ethics on the part of those
who are to be the leaders of thought and the teachers of the people.
The materialistic view of life must be met by a more adequate Christian
philosophy.  The unfaith and pessimism of the age must be overcome by
the advocacy of an idealistic conception which insists not only upon
the personality and worth of man, involving duties as well as rights,
but also upon the supremacy of conscience in obedience to the law of
Christ.  Above all, we need an ethic which will show that religion must
be co-extensive with life, transfiguring and spiritualising all its
activities and relationships.  Life is a unity and all duty is one,
whether it be duty to God or duty to man.  It must be all of a piece,
like the robe of Christ, woven from the top to the bottom without seam.
It takes its spring from one source and is dominated by one spirit.  In
the Christianity of Christ there stand conspicuous two great ideas
bound together, indeed, in a higher--love to God the Father.  These are
personal perfection and the service of mankind--the culture of self and
the care of others.  'Be ye perfect' and 'love your neighbour as
yourself.'  It is the glory of Christianity to have harmonised these
seemingly competing aims.  The disciple of Christ finds that he cannot
realise his own life except as he seeks the good of others; and that he
cannot effectively help his fellows except by giving to them that which
he himself is.  This, as we take it, is the Christian conception of the
moral life; and it is {6} the business of Christian Ethics to show that
it is at once reasonable and practical.

The present volume will be divided into _four_ main parts, entitled,
_Postulates_, _Personality_, _Character_ and _Conduct_.  The _first_
will deal with the meaning of Ethics generally and its relation to
cognate subjects; and specially with the Philosophical, Psychological
and Theological presuppositions of Christian Ethics.  The _second_ part
will be devoted to man as moral subject, and will analyse the
capacities of the soul which respond to the calls and claims of the new
Life.  The _third_ Section will involve a consideration of the
formative Principles of Character, the moulding of the soul, the
Ideals, Motives and Forces by means of which the 'New Man' is
'recreated' and fashioned.  _Finally_, under Conduct, the Virtues,
Duties and Rights of man will be discussed; and the various spheres of
service and institutions of society examined in relation to which the
moral life in its individual and social aspects is manifested and







Philosophy has been defined as 'thinking things together.'  Every man,
says Hegel, is a philosopher, and in so far as it is the natural
tendency of the human mind to connect and unify the manifold phenomena
of life, the paradox of the German thinker is not without a measure of
truth.  But while this is only the occasional pastime of the ordinary
individual, it is the conscious and habitual aim of the philosopher.
In daily life people are wont to make assumptions which they do not
verify, and employ figures of speech which of necessity are partial and
inadequate.  It is the business of philosophy to investigate the
pre-suppositions of common life and to translate into realities the
pictures of ordinary language.  It was the method of Socrates to
challenge the current modes of speaking and to ask his fellow-men what
they meant when they used such words as 'goodness,' 'virtue,'
'justice.'  Every time you employ any of these terms, he said, you
virtually imply a whole theory of life.  If you would have an
intelligent understanding of yourself and the world of which you form a
part, you must cease to live by custom and speak by rote.  You must
seek to bring the manifold phenomena of the universe and the various
experiences of life into some kind of unity and see them as
co-ordinated parts of a whole.

When men thus begin to reflect on the origin and connection of things,
three questions at once suggest themselves--what, how, and why?  What
is the world?  How do I know it? and why am I here?  We might briefly
classify the three great departments of human thought as attempts {10}
to answer these three inquiries.  What exists is the problem of
Metaphysics.  What am I and how do I know? is the question of
Psychology.  What is my purpose, what am I to do? is the subject of
Ethics.  These questions are closely related, and the answer given to
one largely determines the solution of the others.  The truths gained
by philosophical thought are not confined to the kingdom of abstract
speculation but apply in the last resort to life.  The impulse to know
is only a phase of the more general impulse to be and to act.  Beneath
all man's activities, as their source and spring, there is ever some
dim perception of an end to be attained.  'The ultimate end,' says
Paulsen, 'impelling men to meditate upon the nature of the universe,
will always be the desire to reach some conclusion concerning the
meaning of the source and goal of their lives.'  The origin and aim of
all philosophy is consequently to be sought in Ethics.

I.  If we ask more particularly what Ethics is, definition affords us
some light.  It is to Aristotle that we are indebted for the earliest
use of this term, and it was he who gave to the subject its title and
systematic form.  The name _ta ethika_ is derived from _êthos_,
character, which again is closely connected with _ethos_, signifying
custom.  Ethics, therefore, according to Aristotle is the science of
character, character being understood to mean according to its
etymology, customs or habits of conduct.  But while the modern usage of
the term 'character' suggests greater inwardness than would seem to be
implied in the ancient definition, it must be remembered that under the
title of Ethics Aristotle had in view, not only a description of the
outward habits of man, but also that which gives to custom its value,
viz., the sources of action, the motives, and especially the ends which
guide a man in the conduct of life.  But since men live before they
reflect, Ethics and Morality are not synonymous.  So long as there is a
congruity between the customs of a people and the practical
requirements of life, ethical questions do not occur.  It is only when
difficulties arise as to matters of right, for which the {11} existing
usages of society offer no solution, that reflection upon morality
awakens.  No longer content with blindly accepting the formulae of the
past, men are prompted to ask, whence do these customs come, and what
is their authority?  In the conflict of duties, which a wider outlook
inevitably creates, the inquirer seeks to estimate their relative
values, and to bring his conception of life into harmony with the
higher demands and larger ideals which have been disclosed to him.
This has been the invariable course of ethical inquiry.  At different
stages of history--in the age of the Sophists of Ancient Greece, when
men were no longer satisfied with the old forms of life and truth: at
the dawn of the Christian era, when a new ideal was revealed in Christ:
during the period of the Reformation, when men threw off the bondage of
the past and made a stand for the rights of the individual conscience:
and in more recent times, when in the field of political life the
antithesis between individual and social instincts had awakened larger
and more enlightened views of civic and social responsibility--the
study of Ethics, as a science of moral life, has come to the front.

Ethics may, therefore, be defined as the science of the end of
life--the science which inquires into its meaning and purpose.  But
inasmuch as the end or purpose of life involves the idea of some good
which is in harmony with the highest conceivable well-being of
man--some good which belongs to the true fulfilment of life--Ethics may
also be defined as the science of the highest good or _summum bonum_.

Finally, Ethics may be considered not only as the science of the
highest good or ultimate end of life, but also as the study of all that
conditions that end, the dispositions, desires and motives of the
individual, all the facts and forces which bear upon the will and shape
human life in its various social relationships.

II.  Arising out of this general definition three features may be
mentioned as descriptive of its distinctive character among the


1.  Ethics is concerned with the _ideal_ of life.  By an ideal we mean
a better state of being than has been actually realised.  We are
confessedly not as we should be, and there floats before the minds of
men a vision of some higher condition of life and society than that
which exists.  Life divorced from an ideal is ethically valueless.
Some conception of the supreme good is the imperative demand and moral
necessity of man's being.  Hence the chief business of Ethics is to
answer the question: What is the supreme good?  For what should a man
live?  What, in short, is the ideal of life?  In this respect Ethics as
a science is distinguished from the physical sciences.  They explain
facts and trace sequences, but they do not form ideals or endeavour to
move the will in the direction of them.

2.  Ethics again is concerned with a _norm_ of life, and in this sense
it is frequently styled a normative science.  That is to say, it is a
science which prescribes rules or maxims according to which life is to
be regulated.  This is sometimes expressed by saying that Ethics treats
of what _ought to be_.  The ideal must not be one which simply floats
in the air.  It must be an ideal which is possible, and, therefore, as
such, obligatory.  It is useless to feel the worth of a certain idea,
or even to speak of the desirability of it, if we do not feel also that
it ought to be realised.  Moral judgments imply an 'ought,' and that
'ought' implies a norm or standard, in the light of which, as a
criterion, all obligation must be tested, and according to which all
conduct must be regulated.

3.  Ethics, once more, is concerned with the _will_.  It is based
specifically on the fact that man is not only an intellectual being
(capable of knowing) and a sensitive being (possessed of feeling) but
also a volitional being; that is, a being endowed with self-determining
activity.  It implies that man is responsible for his intentions,
dispositions and actions.  The idea of a supreme ideal at which he is
to aim and a norm or standard of conduct according to which he ought to
regulate his life, would have no meaning if we did not presuppose the
power of self-determination.  {13} Whatever is not willed has no moral
value.  Where there is no freedom of choice, we cannot speak of an
action as either good or evil.[1]  When we praise or blame a man's
conduct we do so under the assumption that his action is voluntary.  In
all moral action purpose is implied.  This is the meaning of the
well-known dictum of Kant, 'There is nothing in the world . . . that
can be called good without qualification except a good will.  A good
will is good, not because of what it performs or effects, not by its
aptness for the attainment of some proposed end, but simply by virtue
of the volition.'[2]  It is the inner aim, the good will which alone
gives moral worth to any endeavour.  It is not what I do but the reason
why I do it which is chiefly of ethical value.  The essence of virtue
resides in the will, not in the achievement; in the intention or
motive, not in the result.

III.  The propriety of styling Ethics a science has sometimes been
questioned.  Science, it is said, has to do with certain necessary and
uniform facts of experience; its object is simply to trace effects from
causes and to formulate laws according to which sequences inevitably
result from certain ascertained causes or observed facts.  But is not
character, with which Ethics confessedly deals, just that concerning
which no definite conclusions can be predicted?  Is not conduct,
dependent as it is on the human will, just the element in man which
cannot be explained as the resultant of calculable forces?  If the will
is free, and is the chief factor in the moulding of life, then you
cannot forecast what line conduct will take or predict what shape
character will assume.  The whole conception of Ethics as a science
must, it is contended, fall to the ground, if we admit a variable and
incalculable element in conduct.

Some writers, on this account, are disposed to regard Ethics as an art
rather than a science, and indeed, like every normative science, it may
be regarded as lying midway between them.  A science may be said to
teach us to know {14} and an art to do: but as has been well remarked,
'a normative science teaches to know how to do.'[3]  Ethics may indeed
be regarded both as a science and an art.  In so far as it examines and
explains certain phenomena of character it is a science: but in so far
as it attempts to regulate human conduct by instruction and advice it
is an art.[4]  Yet when all is said, in so far as Ethics has to do with
the volitional side of man,--with decisions and acts of will,--there
must be something indeterminate and problematic in it which precludes
it from being designated an exact science.  A certain variableness
belongs to character, and conduct cannot be pronounced good or bad
without reference to the acting subject.  Actions cannot be wholly
explained by law, and a large portion of human life (and that the
highest and noblest) eludes analysis.  A human being is not simply a
part of the world.  He is able to break in upon the sequence of events
and set in motion new forces whose effects neither he himself nor his
fellows can estimate.  It is the unique quality of rational beings that
in great things and in small things they act from ideas.  The magic
power of thought cannot be exaggerated.  Great conceptions have great
consequences, and they rule the world.  A new spiritual idea shoots
forth its rays and enlightens to larger issues generations of men.
There is a mystery in every forth-putting of will-power, and every
expression of personality.  Character cannot be computed.  The art of
goodness, of living nobly, if so unconscious a thing may be called an
art, is one certainly which defies complete scientific treatment.  It
is with facts like these that Ethics has to do; and while we may lay
down broad general principles which must underlie the teaching of every
true prophet and the conduct of every good man, there will always be an
element with which science cannot cope.

IV.  It will not be necessary, after what has been said, to trace at
any length the relations between Ethics and the {15} special mental
sciences, such as Logic, Aesthetics, and Politics.

1.  _Logic_ is the science of the formal laws of thought, and is
concerned not with the truth of phenomena, but merely with the laws of
correct reasoning about them.  Ethics establishes the laws according to
which we ought to act.  Logic legislates for the reason, and decerns
the laws which the intellect must obey if it would think correctly.
Both sciences determine what is valid; but while Logic is confined to
the realm of what is valid in reasoning, Ethics is occupied with what
is valid in action.  There is, indeed, a logic of life; and in so far
as all true conduct must have a rational element in it and be guided by
certain intelligible forms, Ethics may be described as a kind of logic
of character.

2.  The connection between Ethics and _Aesthetics_ is closer.
Aesthetics is the science of the laws of beauty, while Ethics is the
science of the laws of the good.  But in so far as Aesthetics deals
with the emotions rather than the reason it comes into contact with
Ethics in the psychological field.  In its narrower sense Aesthetics
deals with beauty merely in an impersonal way; and its immediate object
is not what is morally beautiful, but rather that which is beautiful in
itself irrespective of moral considerations.  Ethics, on the other
hand, is concerned with personal worth as expressed in perfection of
will and action.  Conduct may be beautiful and character may afford
Aesthetic satisfaction, but Ethics, in so far as it is concerned with
judgments of virtue, is independent of all thought of the mere beauty
or utility of conduct.  Aesthetic consideration may indeed aid
practical morality, but it is not identical with it.  It is conceivable
that what is right may not be immediately beautiful, and may indeed in
its pursuit or realisation involve action which contradicts our ideas
of beauty.  But though both sciences have different aims they are
occupied largely with the same emotions, and are connected by a common
idealising purpose.  In the deepest sense, what is good is beautiful
and what is beautiful is good; and {16} ultimately, in the moral and
spiritual life, goodness and beauty coincide.  Indeed, so close is the
connection between the two conceptions that the Greeks used the same
word, _to kalon_, to express beauty of form and nobility of character.
And even in modern times the expression 'a beautiful soul,' indicates
the intimate relation between inner excellence of life and outward
attractiveness.  Both Aesthetics and Ethics have regard to that
symmetry or proportion of life which fulfils our ideas at once of
goodness and of beauty.  In this sense Schiller sought to remove the
sharpness of Kant's moral theory by claiming a place in the moral life
for beauty.  Our actions are, indeed, good when we do our duty because
we ought, but they are beautiful when we do it because we cannot do
otherwise, because they have become our second nature.  The purpose of
all culture, says Schiller, is to harmonise reason and sense, and thus
to fulfil the idea of a perfect manhood.[5]

  'When I dared question: "It is beautiful,
  But is it true?" Thy answer was, "In truth lives beauty."'[6]

3.  _Politics_ is still more closely related to Ethics, and indeed
Ethics may be said to comprehend Politics.  Both deal with human action
and institution, and cover largely the same field.  For man is not
merely an individual, but is a part of a social organism.  We cannot
consider the virtues of the individual life without also considering
the society to which he is related, and the interaction of the whole
and its part.  Politics is usually defined as the science of
government, which of course, involves all the institutions and laws
affecting men's relations to each other.  But while Politics is
strictly concerned only with the outward condition of the state's
well-being and the external order of {17} the community, Ethics seeks
the internal good or virtue of mankind, and is occupied with an ideal
society in which each individual shall be able to realise the true aim
and meaning of life.  But after all, as Aristotle said, Politics is
really a branch of Ethics, and both are inseparable from, and
complementary of each other.  On the one hand, Ethics cannot ignore the
material conditions of human welfare nor minimise the economic forces
which shape society and make possible the moral aims of man.  On the
other hand, Economics must recognise the service of ethical study, and
keep in view the moral purposes of life, otherwise it is apt to limit
its consideration to merely selfish and material ends.

V.  While Ethics is thus closely connected with the sciences just
named, there are two departments of knowledge, pre-supposed indeed in
all mental studies, which in a very intimate way affect the science of
Ethics.  These are Metaphysics on the one hand and Psychology on the

1.  Metaphysics is pre-supposed by all the sciences; and indeed, all
our views of life, even our simplest experiences, involve metaphysical
assumptions.  It has been well said that the attempt to construct an
ethical theory without a metaphysical basis issues not in a moral
science without assumptions, but in an Ethics which becomes confused in
philosophical doubts.  Leslie Stephen proposes to ignore Metaphysics,
and remarks that he is content 'to build upon the solid earth.'  But,
as has been pertinently asked, 'How does he know that the earth is
solid on which he builds?'  This is a question of Metaphysics.[7]  The
claim is frequently made by a certain class of writers, that we
withdraw ourselves from all metaphysical sophistries, and betake
ourselves to the guidance of commonsense.  But what is this commonsense
of which the ordinary man vaunts himself?  It is in reality a number of
vague assumptions borrowed unconsciously from old exploded
theories--assertions, opinions, beliefs, accumulated, no one knows how,
{18} and accepted as settled judgments.[8]  We do not escape philosophy
by refusing to think.  Some kind of theory of life is implied in such
words, 'soul,' 'duty,' 'freedom,' 'power,' 'God,' which the
unreflecting mind is daily using.  It is useless to say we can dispense
with philosophy, for that is simply to content ourselves with bad
philosophy.  'To ignore the progress and development in the history of
Philosophy,' says T. H. Green,[9] 'is not to return to the simplicity
of a pre-philosophic age, but to condemn ourselves to grope in the maze
of cultivated opinion, itself the confused result of these past systems
of thought which we will not trouble ourselves to think out.'  The aim
of all philosophy, as Plato said, is just to correct the assumptions of
the ordinary mind, and to grasp in their unity and cohesion the
ultimate principles which the mind feels must be at the root of all
reality.  We have an ethical interest in determining whether there be
any moral reality beneath the appearances of the world.  Ethical
questions, therefore, run back into Metaphysics.  If we take
Metaphysics in its widest sense as involving the idea of some ultimate
end, to the realisation of which the whole process of the world as
known to us is somehow a means, we may easily see that metaphysical
inquiry, though distinct from ethical, is its necessary
pre-supposition.  The Being or Purpose of God, the great first cause,
the world as fashioned, ordered and interpenetrated by Him, and man as
conditioned by and dependent upon the Deity--are postulates of the
moral life and must be accepted as a basis of all ethical study.  The
distinction between Ethics and Philosophy did not arise at once.  In
early Greek speculation, almost to the time of Aristotle, Metaphysics
and Morals were not separated.  And even in later times, Spinoza and to
some extent Green, though they professedly treat of Ethics, hardly
dissociate metaphysical from ethical considerations.  Nor is that to be
wondered at when men are dealing with the first principles of all being
and life.  Our view of God and of the {19} world, our fundamental
_Welt-Anschauung_ cannot but determine our view of man and his moral
life.  In every philosophical system from Plato to Hegel, in which the
universe is regarded as having a rational meaning and ultimate end, the
good of human beings is conceived as identical with, or at least as
included in the universal good.

2.  But if a sound metaphysical basis be a necessary requisite for the
adequate consideration of Ethics, _Psychology_ as the science of the
human soul is so vitally connected with Ethics, that the two studies
may almost be treated as branches of one subject.  An Ethic which takes
no account of psychological assumptions would be impossible.
Consciously or unconsciously every treatment of moral subjects is
permeated by the view of the soul or personality of man which the
writer has adopted, and his meaning of conduct will be largely
determined by the theory of human freedom and responsibility with which
he starts.  Questions as to character and duty invariably lead to
inquiries as to certain states of the agent's mind, as to the functions
and possibilities of his natural capacities and powers.  We cannot
pronounce an action morally good or bad until we have determined the
extent and limits of his faculties and have investigated the questions
of disposition and purpose, of intention and motive, which lie at the
root of all conduct, and without which actions are neither moral nor
immoral.  It is surely a mistake to say, as some do, that as logic
deals with the correctness of reasoning, so Ethics deals only with the
correctness of conduct, and is not directly concerned with the
processes by which we come to act correctly.[10]  On the contrary,
merely correct action may be ethically worthless, and conduct obtains
its moral value from the motives or intentions which actuate and
determine it.  Ethics cannot, therefore, ignore the psychological
processes of feeling, desiring and willing of the acting subject.  It
is indeed true that in ordinary life men are frequently judged to be
good or bad, according to the outward effect of their actions, and
material results are often regarded as the sole {20} measure of good.
But while it may be a point of difficulty in theoretic morality to
determine the comparative worth and mutual relation of good affections
and good actions, all surely will allow that a certain quality of
disposition or motive in the agent is required to constitute an action
morally good, and that it is not enough to measure virtue by its
utility or its beneficial effect alone.  Hence all moralists are agreed
that the main object of their investigation must belong to the
psychical side of human life--whether they hold that man's ultimate end
is to be found in the sphere of pleasure or maintain that his
well-being lies in the realisation of virtue for its own sake.  The
problems as to the origin and adequacy of conscience, as to the meaning
and validity of voluntary action; the questions concerning motives and
desires, as to the historical evolution of moral customs, and man's
relation at each stage of his history to the social, political and
religious institutions amid which he lives--are subjects which, though
falling within the scope of Ethics, have their roots in the science of
the soul.  The very existence of a science of Ethics depends upon the
answers which Psychology gives to such questions.  If, for example, it
be decided that there is in man no such faculty or organ as conscience,
and that what men so designate is but a natural manifestation gradually
evolved in and through the physical and social development of man: or
if we deny the self-determining power of human beings and assume that
what we call the freedom of the will is a delusion (or at least, in the
last resort, a negligible element) and that man is but one of the many
phenomena or facts of a physical universe--then we may continue,
indeed, as some evolutionary and naturalistic thinkers do, to speak of
a science of Ethics, but such a science will not be a study of the
moral life as we understand it and have defined it.

Ethics, therefore, while dependent upon the philosophical sciences, has
its own distinct content and scope.  The end of life, that for which a
man should live, with all its implications, forms the subject of moral
inquiry.  It is {21} concerned not merely with what a man is or
actually does, but more specifically with what he should be and should
do.  Hence, as we have seen, the word 'ought' is the most distinctive
term of Ethics involving a consideration of values and a relation of
the actual and the ideal.  The 'ought' of life constitutes at once the
purpose, law, and reason of conduct.  It proposes the three great
questions involved in all ethical inquiry--whither? how? and why? and
determines the three great words which are constantly recurring in
every ethical system--end, norm, motive.  Moral good is the moral end
considered as realised.  The moral norm or rule impelling the will to
the realisation of this end is called Duty.  The moral motive
considered as an acquired power of the acting will is called Virtue.[11]

[1] Cf. Mackenzie, _Manual of Ethics_, p. 32; also Wuttke, _Christian
Ethics_ (Eng. Trans.), vol. i. p. 14.

[2] _Metaph. of Morals_, sect. i.

[3] Mackenzie, _Manual of Ethics_, p. 8.  See also Muirhead, _Elements
of Ethics_.

[4] Hyslop, _Elements of Ethics_, p. 1.

[5] Schiller, _Über Anmuth und Würde_.  Cf. also Ruskin, _Mod.
Painters_, vol. ii.; Seeley, _Natural Religion_, and Inge, _Faith and
its Psychology_, p. 203 ff.  See also Bosanquet _Hist. of Aesthetic_.
We are indebted to _Romanticism_, and especially to Novalis in Germany
and Cousin in France for the thought that the good and the beautiful
meet and amalgamate in God.

[6] Browning.

[7] Cf. Newman Smyth, _Christian Ethics_, p. 8.

[8] See Author's _History of Philosophy_, p. 585.

[9] Introduction to Hume's _Works_.

[10] Mackenzie seems to imply this view.  _Ethics_, p. 25.

[11] Cf. Haering, _Ethics of the Christian Life_, p. 9.




We now proceed to define Christian Ethics and to investigate the
particular postulates, philosophical and theological, upon which it

Christian Ethics presupposes the Christian view of life as revealed in
Christ, and its definition must be in harmony with the Christian ideal.
The prime question of Christian Ethics is, How ought Christians to
order their lives?  It is therefore the science of morals as
conditioned by Christian faith; and the problems it discusses are, the
nature, meaning and laws of the moral life as dominated by the supreme
good which has been revealed to the world in the Person and Teaching of
Christ.  It is based upon an historical event, and presupposes a
particular development and consummation of the world.


_The Relation of Christian to Philosophical Ethics_.--Christian Ethics
is a branch of general Ethics.  But it is something more; it is Ethics
in its richest and fullest expression--the interpretation of life which
corresponds to the supreme manifestation of the divine will.  For if
the revelation of God in Christ is true, then that revelation is not
merely a factor, but the factor, which must dominate and colour man's
whole outlook and give an entirely new value to all his aims and
actions.  In Christianity we are confronted with the motive-power of a
great Personality who has entered into the current of human history and
{23} given a new direction to the moral life of man.  Man's life at its
highest can only be interpreted in the light of this supreme
revelation, and can only be accounted for as the creation of the
dynamic force of this unique Personality.

But while this truth gives to Christian Ethics its distinctive
character and pre-eminent worth it does not throw discredit upon
philosophical Ethics, nor indeed separate the two departments by any
hard and fast lines.  They have much in common.  A large domain of
conduct is covered by both.  The so-called pagan virtues have their
value for Christian character and are in the line of Christian virtue.
Even in his natural state man is constituted for the moral life, and,
as St. Paul states, is not without some knowledge of right and wrong.
The moral attainments of the ancients are not to be regarded simply as
'splendid vices,' but as positive achievements of good.  Duty may
differ in content, but it is of the same kind under any system.  Purity
is purity and benevolence benevolence, whether manifested in a heathen
or a Christian.  While, therefore, Christian Ethics takes its point of
departure from the special revelation of God and the unique disclosure
of man's possibilities in Christ, it gladly accepts and freely uses the
results of moral philosophy in so far as they throw light upon the
fundamental facts of human nature.  As a system of morals Christianity
claims to be inclusive.  It takes cognisance of all the data of
consciousness, and assumes as its own, from whatever quarter it may
come, all ascertained truth.  The facts of man's natural history, the
conclusions from philosophy, the manifold lights afforded by previous
speculation--all are gathered up, sifted and tried by one
all-authoritative measure of truth--the mind of Christ.  It completes
what is lacking in other systems in so far as their conclusions are
based upon an incomplete survey of facts.  It deals, in short, with
personality in its highest ranges of moral power and spiritual
consciousness and seeks to interpret life by its greatest possibilities
and loftiest attainments as they are revealed in Christ.

But while Christian Ethics is at one with philosophic {24} Ethics in
postulating a natural capacity for spiritual life, it is differentiated
from all non-Christian systems by its distinctive belief in the
possibility of the re-creation of character.  Speculative Ethics
prescribes only what ought ideally to be done or avoided.  It takes no
account of the foes of the spiritual life; nor does it consider the
remedy by which character, once it is perverted or destroyed, can be
restored and transformed.  Christian Ethics, on the other hand, is
concerned primarily with the question, By what power can a man achieve
the right and do the good?  It is not enough to postulate the inherent
capacity of man.  Experience of human nature shows that there are
hostile elements which too often frustrate his natural development.
Hence the practical problem which Christian Ethics has to face is, How
can the spiritual ideal be made a reality?  It regards man as standing
in need of recovery, and it is forced to assume, that which
philosophical Ethics does not recognise, a divine power by which
character can be renewed.  Christianity claims to be 'the power of God
unto salvation to every one that believeth.'  Christian Ethics
therefore is based upon the twofold assumption that the ideal of
humanity has actually been revealed in Christ, and that in Him also is
the power by which man may realise this ideal.


_The relation of Christian Ethics to Dogmatics_.--Within the sphere of
theology proper the two main constituents of Christian teaching are
Dogmatics and Ethics, or Doctrines and Morals.  Though it is convenient
to regard these separately they really form a whole, and are but two
aspects of one subject.  It is difficult to define their limits, and to
say where Dogmatics ends and Ethics begins.  The distinction is
sometimes expressed by saying that Dogmatics is a theoretic science,
whereas Ethics is practical.  It is true that Ethics stands nearer to
everyday life and deals with matters of practical conduct, while
Dogmatics is concerned with beliefs and treats of their origin and
elucidation.  {25} But, on the other hand, Ethics also takes cognisance
of beliefs as well as actions, and is interested in judgments not less
than achievements.  There is a practical side of doctrine and there is
a theoretic side of morals.  Even the most theoretic of sciences,
Metaphysics, though, as Novalis said, it bakes no bread, is not without
its direct bearing upon life.  Dogmatic theology when divorced from
practical interest is in danger of becoming mere pedantry; and ethical
inquiry, if it has no dogmatic basis, loses scientific value and sinks
into a mere enumeration of duties.  Nor is the common statement, that
Dogmatics shows what we should believe and Ethics what we ought to do,
an adequate one.  Moral precepts are also objects of faith, and what we
should believe involves moral requirements and pre-supposes a moral
character.  Schleiermacher has been charged with ignoring the
difference between the two disciplines, but with scant justice.  For,
while he regards the two subjects as but different branches of
Christian theology, and insists upon their intimate connection, he does
not neglect their distinction.  There has been a growing tendency to
accentuate the difference, and recent writers such as Jacoby, Haering
and Lemme, not to mention Martensen, Dorner and Wuttke, claim for
Ethics a separate and independent treatment.  The ultimate connection
between Dogmatics and Ethics cannot be ignored without loss to both.
It tends only to confusion to speak as some do of 'a creedless
morality.'  On the one hand, Ethics saves Dogmatics from evaporating
into unsubstantial speculation, and by affording the test of
workableness, keeps it upon the solid foundation of fact.  On the other
hand, Dogmatics supplies to Ethics its formative principles and
normative standards, and preserves the moral life from degenerating
into the vagaries of fanaticism or the apathy of fatalism.  But while
both sciences form complementary sides of theology and stand in
relations of mutual service, each deals with the human consciousness in
a different way.  Dogmatics regards the Christian life from the
standpoint of divine dependence: Ethics regards it from the {26}
standpoint of human determination.  Dogmatics deals with faith in
relation to God, as the receptive organ of grace: Ethics views faith
rather in relation to man, as a human activity or organ of conduct.
The one shows us how our adoption into the kingdom of God is the work
of divine love: the other shows how this knowledge of salvation
manifests itself in love to God and man, and must be worked out through
all the relationships of life.


We may define more particularly the relation of Ethics to Dogmatics by
enumerating briefly the doctrinal postulates or assumptions with which
Ethics starts.

1.  Ethics assumes the Christian _idea of God_.  God is for Ethics not
an impersonal force, nor even simply the creator of the universe as
philosophy might conceive Him.[1]  Creative power is not of course
denied, but it is qualified by what theology calls the 'moral
attributes of God.'  We do not ignore His omnipotence, but we look
beyond it, to 'the love that tops the power, the Christ in God.'[2]  It
is not necessary here to sketch the Old Testament teaching with regard
to God.  It is sufficient to state that the New Testament writers,
while not attempting to proclaim abstract doctrines, took over
generally the Hebrew conception of the Deity as a God who was at once
almighty, holy and righteous.  The distinctive note which the New
Testament emphasises is the Personality of God, and personality
includes reason, will and love.  The fact that we are His offspring, as
St. Paul argues, is the basis of our true conception of God's nature.
Through that which is highest in man we are enabled to discern
something of His character.  But it is specially in and through Jesus
Christ that the distinctive character of the Divine Personality is
declared.  Christ reveals Him as our Father, and everywhere the New
{27} Testament writers assume that men stand in the closest filial
relations to him.  In the fundamental conception of divine Fatherhood
there are implicitly contained certain elements of ethical
significance.[3]  Of these may be mentioned:

(1) _The Spiritual Perfection of God_.--The Christian doctrine of God
includes not only His personality, but His spiritual perfection.  All
that is highest and best in life is attributed to God.  What we regard
as having supreme moral worth is eternally realised in Him.  It is this
fact that prescribes man's ideal and makes it binding.  'Be ye perfect
even as your Father in heaven is perfect,' says Christ.  Because of
what God is, spiritual and moral excellence takes precedence of all
other aims which can be perceived and pursued by man.  Morality is the
revelation of an ideal eternally existing in the divine mind.  'The
belief in God,' it has been said, 'is the logical pre-supposition of an
objective or absolute morality.'[4]  The moral law, as the norm and
goal of our life, obtains its validity and obligation for us not
because it is an arbitrarily-given command, but because it is of the
very character of God.

(2) _The Sovereignty of God_.--Not only the spiritual perfection but
the moral sovereignty of God is pre-supposed.  He is the supreme
excellence on whom all things depend, and in whom they find their
ultimate explanation.  The world is not merely His creation, it is the
expression of His mind.  He is not related to the universe as an artist
is related to his work, but rather as a personal being to his own
mental and moral activities.[5]  He is immanent in all the phenomena of
nature and movements of life and thought; and in the order and purpose
of the world His character and will are manifested.  The fact that the
meaning and order of things are not imposed from without, but
constitute their inner nature, reveals not only the completeness of His
{28} sovereignty, but the purpose of it.  The highest end of God, as
moral and spiritual, is fulfilled by the constitution and education of
spiritual beings like Himself, and in laying down the conditions which
are necessary for their existence and perfecting.  No definition of
divine sovereignty can exclude the idea of moral freedom and the
consequences bound up with it.  Hence God must not only confer the gift
of individual liberty, but respect it throughout the whole course of
His dealings with man.

(3) _The Supremacy of Love_.--This is the highest and most distinctive
feature of the divine personality.  It is the sum of all the others; as
well as the special characteristic of the Fatherhood of God as revealed
by Christ.  'God is love' is the crowning statement of the Gospel and
the fullest expression of the divine nature.  The essential of all love
is self-giving; and the peculiarity of God's love is the communication
and imparting of Himself to His creatures.  The love of God finds its
highest manifestation in the gift and sacrifice of His Son.  He is the
supreme personality in history, revealing God in and to the world.  In
the light of what Christ is we know what God is, and from His
revelation there flows a new and ever-deepening experience of the
divine Being.

2.  Christian Ethics presupposes the _Christian doctrine of Sin_.  It
is not the province of Ethics to discuss minutely the origin of evil or
propound a theory of sin.  But it must see to it that the view it takes
is consistent with the truths of revelation and in harmony with the
facts of life.  A false or inadequate conception of sin is as
detrimental to Ethics as it is to Dogmatics; and upon our doctrine of
evil depends very largely our interpretation of life in regard to its
difficulties and purposes, its trials and triumphs.  In the meantime it
is enough to remark that considerable vagueness of idea and looseness
of expression exist concerning this subject.

While some regard sin simply as a _defect_ or shortcoming, a missing of
the mark, as the Greek word _hamartia_ implies, others treat it as a
_disease_, or infirmity of the flesh--a malady affecting the physical
constitution which may be {29} incurred by heredity or induced by
environment.  In both cases it is regarded as a misfortune, rather than
a fault, or even as a fate from which the notion of guilt is absent.
While there is an element of truth in these representations, they are
defective in so far as they do not take sufficient account of the
personal and determinative factor in all sinful acts.  The Christian
view, though not denying that physical weakness and the influence of
heredity and environment do, in many cases, affect conduct, affirms
that there is a personal element always present which these conditions
do not explain.  Sin is not merely negative.  It is something positive,
not so much an imperfection as a trespass.  It is to be accounted for
not as an inherited or inherent malady, but as a self-chosen
perversity.  It belongs to the spirit rather than to the body, and
though it has its seat in the heart and in the emotions, it has to do
principally with the will.  'Every man is tempted when he is drawn away
by his own lust and enticed.  Then when lust has conceived it bringeth
forth sin.'[6]  The essence of sin is selfishness.  It is the
deliberate choice of self in preference to God--personal and wilful
rebellion against the known law of righteousness and truth.  There are,
of course, degrees of wrongdoing and undoubtedly extenuating
circumstances which must be taken into account in estimating the
significance and enormity of guilt, but in the last resort Christian
Ethics is compelled to postulate the fact of sin, and to regard it as a
personal rebellion against the holy will of God, the deliberate choice
of self and the wilful perversion of the powers of man into instruments
of unrighteousness.

3.  A third postulate, which is a corollary of the Christian view of
God and of sin, is the _Responsibility of Man_.  Christian Ethics
treats every man as accountable for his thoughts and actions, and
therefore, as capable of choosing the good as revealed in Christ.
While not denying the sovereignty of God, nor minimising the mystery of
evil, Christianity firmly maintains the doctrine of human freedom.  An
Ethic would be impossible if, on the one side, grace were absolutely
{30} irresistible; or, on the other, sin were unalterably necessitated.
Whatever be the doctrine we formulate on these subjects, Ethics demands
that what we call freedom be safeguarded.  An interesting question
emerges at this point as to the possibility, apart from a knowledge of
Christ, of choosing the good.  Difficult as this question is, and
though it was answered by Augustine and many of the early Fathers in
the negative, the modern, and probably the more just view, is that we
cannot hold mankind responsible unless we allow to all men the larger
freedom and judge them according to their light and opportunity.  If
non-Christians are fated to do evil, then no guilt can be imputed.
History shows that a love of goodness has sometimes existed, and that
many isolated acts of purity and kindness have been done, among people
who have known nothing of the historical Christ.  The New Testament
recognises degrees of depravity in nations and individuals, and a
measure of noble aspiration and honest endeavour in ordinary human
nature.  St. Paul plainly assumes some knowledge and performance on the
part of the heathen, and though he denounces their immorality in
unsparing terms, he does not affirm that pagan society was so corrupt
that it had lost all knowledge of moral good.


Before concluding this chapter some remarks regarding the authority and
method of Christian Ethics may be not inappropriate.

1.  Christian Ethics is not directly concerned with critical questions
as to the genuineness and authenticity of the New Testament writings.
It is sufficient for its purpose that these have been generally
received by the Church, and that they present in the Person of Christ
the highest embodiment of the law and spirit of the moral life.  The
writings of the New Testament thus become ethically normative in virtue
of their direct reflection of the mind of Christ and their special
receptivity of His spirit.  Their {31} authority, therefore, is
Christ's own authority, and has a value for us as His word is
reproduced by them.  It does not detract from the validity of the New
Testament as the reflection of the spirit of Christ that there are
discernible in it distinct signs of development of doctrine, a manifest
growth in clearness and depth of insight and knowledge of the mind of
Jesus.  Such evidences of advancement are specially noticeable in the
application of Christian principles to the practical problems of life,
such as the questions of slavery, marriage, work and property.  St.
Paul does not disclaim the possibility of development, and he
associates himself with those who know in part and wait for fuller
light.  In common with all Christians, Paul was doubtless conscious of
a growing enrichment in spiritual knowledge; and his later epistles
show that he had reached to clearer prospects of Christ and His
redemption, and had obtained a fuller grasp of the world-wide
significance of the Gospel than when he first began to preach.

One cannot forget that the battle of criticism is raging to-day around
the inner citadel--the very person and words of Jesus.  If it can be
shown that the Gospels contain only very imperfect records of the
historical Jesus, and that very few sayings of our Lord can be
definitely pronounced genuine, then, indeed, we might have to give up
some of the particular passages upon which we have based our conception
of truth and duty, but nothing less than a wholesale denial of the
historical existence of Jesus[7] would demand of us a repudiation of
the Christian view of life.  The ideals, motives, and sentiments--the
entire outlook and spirit of life which we associate with Christ--are
now a positive possession of the Christian consciousness.  There is a
Christian view of the world, a Christian _Welt-Anschauung_, so living
and real in the heart of Christendom that even though we had no more
reliable basis than the 'Nine Foundation Pillars' which Schmiedel
condescends to leave us, we should not be wholly deprived of the
fundamental principles upon which the Christian life might be reared.
{32} If to these we add the list of 'doubly attested sayings' collected
by Burkitt,[8] which even some of the most negative critics have been
constrained to allow, we should at least have a starting-point for the
study of the teaching of Jesus.  The most reputable scholars, however,
of Germany, America and Britain acknowledge that no reasonable doubt
can be cast upon the general substance and tone of the Synoptic
Gospels, compiled, as they were, from the ancient Gospel of Mark and
the source commonly called 'Q' (_i.e._ the lost common origin of the
non-Markian portions of Matthew and Luke).  To these we should be
disposed to add the Fourth Gospel, which, though a less primary source,
undoubtedly records acts and sayings of our Lord attested by one, who
(whosoever he was) was in close touch with his Master's life, and had
drunk deeply of His spirit.

In the general tone and trend of these writings we find abundant
materials for what may be called the Ethics of Jesus.  It is true, no
sharp line can be drawn between His religious and moral teaching.  But,
taking Ethics in its general sense, as the discussion of the ideals,
virtues, duties of man, the relation of man to God and to his
fellow-men, it will at once be seen that a very large portion of
Christ's teaching is distinctly ethical.  The facts of His own earthly
existence, all His great miracles, His parables, and above all, the
Sermon on the Mount, have an immediate bearing upon human conduct.
They all deal with character, and are chiefly illustrations and
enforcements of the divine ideal of life and of the value of man as a
child of God which He came to reveal.  In the example of Jesus Himself
we have the best possible illustration of the translation of principles
into life.  And in so far as we find our highest good embodied in Him,
He becomes for us, as J. S. Mill acknowledged, a kind of personified
conscience.  No abstract statement of ethical principles can possibly
influence life so powerfully as the personal incarnation of these
principles; and if the greatest means to the true life is personal
association with the high and noble, then it need not seem strange {33}
that love and admiration for the person of Christ have as a matter of
fact proved the mightiest of historical motives to noble living.

However imperfectly we may know the person of Jesus, and however
fragmentary may be the record of His teaching, one great truth looms
out of the darkness--the peerlessness of His character and the
incomparableness of His ideal of life.  He comes to us with a message
of Good, new to man, based on the great conviction of the Fatherhood of
God.  The all-dominating faith that a genuine seeking love is at the
heart of the universe makes Jesus certain that the laws of the world
are the laws of a loving God--laws of life which must be studied,
welcomed, and heartily obeyed.

2.  The Christian ideal, though given in Christ, has to be examined,
analysed, and applied by the very same faculties as are employed in
dealing with speculative problems.  All science must be furnished with
facts, and its task generally is to shape its materials to definite
ends.  The scientist does not invent.  He does not create.  He simply
_discovers_ what is already there: he only moulds into form what is
given.  In like manner, the Christian moralist deals with the
revelation of life which has been granted to him partly in the human
consciousness, and partly through the sacred scriptures.  The
scriptures, however, do not offer a systematic presentation of the life
of Christ, or a formal directory of moral conduct.  The data are
supplied, but these data require to be interpreted and unified so as to
form a system of Ethics.  The authority to which Christian Ethics
appeals is not an external oracle which imposes its dictates in a
mechanical way.  It is an authority embodied in intelligible forms, and
appealing to the rational faculties of man.  Christian Ethics, though
deduced from scripture, is not a cut and dry code of rules prescribed
by God which man must blindly obey.  It has to be thought out, and
intelligently applied to all the circumstances of life.  According to
the Protestant view, at least, Ethics is not a stereotyped compendium
of precepts which {34} the Church supplies to its members to save them
from thinking.  Slavish imitation is wholly foreign to the genius of
the Gospel.  Christ Himself appeals everywhere to the rational nature
of man, and His words are life and spirit only as they are intelligibly
apprehended and become by inner conviction the principles of action.

Authoritative, then, as the scriptures are, and containing as they do
the revelation of an unique historical fact, they do not present a
closed or final system of truth.  Christ has yet many things to say
unto us, and the Holy Spirit is continually adding new facts to human
experience, and disclosing richer and fuller manifestations of God
through history and providence and the personal consciousness of man.
No progress in thought or life can indeed be made which is inconsistent
with, or foreign to, the fundamental facts which centre in Christ: and
we may be justly suspicious of all advancement in doctrine or morals
which does not flow from the initial truths of the Master's life and
teaching.  But, just as progress has been made, both in the increase of
materials of knowledge and in regard to the clearer insight and
appreciation of the meaning of Christian truth, since the apostles'
age, so we may hope that, as the ages go on, we shall acquire a still
fuller conception of the kingdom of God and a richer apprehension of
the divine will.  The task and method of Christian Ethics will be,
consequently, the intelligent interpretation and the gradual
application to human life and society, in all their relationships, of
the mind of Christ under the constant illumination and guidance of the
Divine Spirit.

[1] Cf. Dorner, _System der Christl. Ethik_, p. 48.  See also Newman
Smyth, _Christian Ethics_, p. 44.

[2] Cf. Mackintosh, _Christian Ethics_, p. 11.

[3] Cf. Lidgett, _The Christian Religion_, pp. 106, 485 ff., where the
idea of God's nature is admirably developed.

[4] Rashdall, _The Theory of Good and Evil_, vol. ii. p. 212.

[5] Lidgett, _idem_.  But see Bosanquet, _Principle of Indiv. and
Value_, p. 380 ff.

[6] James i. 13, 14.

[7] As, for example, that of Drew's _Christus Myth_.

[8] Cf. _Gospel History and its Transmission_.




Apart from the writings of the New Testament, which are the primary
source of Christian Ethics, a comprehensive view of our subject would
include some account of the ethical conceptions of Greece, Rome and
Israel, which were at least contributory to the Christian idea of the
moral life.  Whatever view we take of its origin, Christianity did not
come into the world like the goddess Athene, without preparation, but
was the product of many factors.  The moral problems of to-day cannot
be rightly appreciated except in the light of certain concepts which
come to us from ancient thought; and Greco-Roman philosophy as well as
Hebrew religion have contributed not a little to the form and trend of
modern ethical inquiry.

All we can attempt is the briefest outline, first, of the successive
epochs of Greek and Roman Ethics; and second, of the leading moral
ideas of the Hebrews as indicating the preparatory stages in the
evolution of thought which finds its completion in the Ethics of


Before the golden age of Greek philosophy there was no Ethics in the
strictest sense.  Philosophy proper occupied itself primarily with
ontological questions--questions as to the origin and constitution of
the material world.  It was only when mythology and religion had lost
their hold upon the cultured, and the traditions of the poets had come
to be doubted, that inquiries as to the meaning of life and conduct


The Sophists may be regarded as the pioneers of ethical science.  This
body of professional teachers, who appeared about the fifth century in
Greece, drew attention to the vagueness of common opinion and began to
teach the art of conduct.  Of these Protagoras is the most famous, and
to him is attributed the saying, 'Man is the measure of all things.'
As applied to conduct, this dictum is commonly interpreted as meaning
that good is entirely subjective, relative to the individual.  Viewed
in this light the saying is one-sided and sceptical, subversive of all
objective morality.  But the dictum may be regarded as expressing an
important truth, that the good is personal and must ultimately be the
good for man as man, therefore for all men.

1.  It was _Socrates_, however, who, as it was said, first called
philosophy from heaven to the sphere of this earth, and diverted men's
minds from the consideration of natural things to the affairs of human
life.  He was indeed the first moral philosopher, inasmuch as that,
while the Sophists merely talked at large about justice and virtue, he
asked what these terms really meant.  Living in an age when the old
guides of life--law and custom--were losing their hold upon men, he was
compelled to find a substitute for them by reflection upon the meaning
and object of existence.  For him the source of evil is want of
thought, and his aim is to awaken men to the realisation of what they
are, and what they must seek if they would make the best of their
lives.  He is the prophet of clear self-consciousness.  'Know thyself'
is his motto, and he maintains that all virtue must be founded on such
knowledge.  A life without reflection upon the meaning of existence is
unworthy of a man.[1]  Hence the famous Socratic dictum, 'Virtue is
knowledge.'  Both negatively and positively Socrates held this
principle to be true.  For, on the one hand, he who is not conscious of
the good and does not know in what it consists, cannot possibly pursue
it.  And, on the other hand, if a man is once alive to his real good,
how can he do otherwise than pursue it?  No one therefore does {37}
wrong willingly.  Let a man know what is right, and he will do it.
Knowledge of virtue is not, however, distinct from self-interest.
Every one naturally seeks the good simply because he sees that the good
is identical with his ultimate happiness.  The wise man is the happy
man.  Hence to know oneself is the secret of well-being.  Let each be
master of himself, knowing what he seeks, and seeking what he
knows--that, for Socrates, is the first principle of Ethics, the
condition of all moral life.  This view is obviously one-sided and
essentially individualistic, excluding all those forms of morality
which are pursued unconsciously, and are due more to the influence of
intuitive perception and social habit than to clear and definite
knowledge.  The merit of Socrates, however, lies in his demand for
ethical reflection, and his insistence upon man not only acting
rightly, but acting from the right motive.

2.  While Socrates was the first to direct attention to the nature of
virtue, it received from _Plato_ a more systematic treatment.  Platonic
philosophy may be described as an extension to the universe of the
principles which Socrates applied to the life of the individual.  Plato
attempts to define the end of man by his place in the cosmos; and by
bringing Ethics into connection with Metaphysics he asks What is the
idea of man as a part of universal reality?  Two main influences
combined to produce his conception of virtue.  First, in opposition to
the Heraclitean doctrine of perpetual change, he contended for
something real and permanent.  Second, in antagonism to the Sophistic
theory of the conventional origin of the moral law, he maintained that
man's chief end was the good which was fixed in the eternal nature of
things, and did not consist in the pursuit of transient pleasures.
Hence, in two respects, Plato goes beyond Socrates.  He puts opinion,
which is his name for ordinary consciousness, between ignorance and
knowledge, ascribing to it a certain measure of truth, and making it
the starting-point for reflection.  And further, he transforms the
Socratic idea of morality, rejecting the notion that its principle is
to be found in a mere calculation of pleasures, {38} and maintaining
that particular goods must be estimated by the good of life as a whole.
Plato's philosophy rests upon his doctrine of ideas, which, as the
types of permanent reality, represent the eternal nature of things; and
the problem of life is to rise from opinion to truth, from appearance
to reality, and attain to the ideal principle of unity.  The highest
good Plato identifies with God, and man's end is ultimately to be found
in the knowledge of, and communion with, the eternal.

The human soul he conceived to be a mixture of two elements.  In virtue
of its higher spiritual nature it participates in the world of ideas,
the life of God: and in virtue of its lower or animal impulses, in the
corporeal world of decay.  These two dissimilar parts are connected by
an intermediate element called by Plato _thymos_ or courage, implying
the emotions or affections of the heart.  Hence a threefold
constitution of the soul is conceived--the rational powers, the
emotional desires, and the animal passions.  If we ask who is the good
man? Plato answers, it is the man in whom these three elements are
harmonised.  On the basis of this psychology Plato classifies and
determines the virtues--adopting the four cardinal virtues of Greek
tradition as the fundamental types of morality.  Wisdom is the quality,
or condition of all virtue and the crown of the moral life: courage is
the virtue of the emotional part of man; temperance or moderation, the
virtue of the lower appetites: while justice is the unity and the
principle of the others.  Virtue is thus no longer identified with
knowledge simply.  Another source of vice besides ignorance is assumed,
viz., the disorder and conflict of the soul; and the well-being of man
lies in the attainment of a well-ordered and harmonious life.  As
health is the harmony of the body, so virtue is the harmony of the
soul--a condition of perfection in which every desire is kept in
control and every function performs its part with a view to the good of
the whole.  Morality, however, does not belong merely to the
individual, but has its perfect realisation in the state in which the
three elements of the soul have their {39} counterpart in the threefold
rank of society.  Man is indeed but a type of a larger cosmos, and it
is not as an individual but as a citizen that he finds his station and
duties, and is capable of realising his true life.

Thus we see how Plato is led to correct the shortcomings of
Socrates--his abrupt distinction between ignorance and knowledge, his
vagueness as to the meaning of the good, and his tendency to emphasise
the subjective side of virtue and withdraw the individual from the
community of which he is essentially a part.  But in developing his
theory of ideas Plato has represented the true life of man as
consisting in the knowledge of, and indeed in absorption in, God, a
state to which man can only attain by the suppression of his natural
impulses and withdrawal from earthly life: and though there is not
wanting in Plato's later teaching the higher conception of the
transformation of the animal passions, he is not wholly successful in
overcoming the dualism between impulse and reason which besets some of
the earlier dialogues.

It is a striking proof of the vitality of Plato that his teaching has
affected every form of idealism and has helped to shape the history of
religious thought in all ages.  Not only many of the early Fathers,
such as Clement and Origen, but the Neo-Platonists of Alexandria, the
Cambridge Platonists of the seventeenth century, and also the German
theologians, Baur and Schleiermacher, have recognised numerous
coincidences between Christianity and Platonism: as Bishop Westcott has
said, 'Plato points to St. John.'[2]  His influence may be detected in
some of the greatest Christian poetry of our own country, especially in
that of Wordsworth and Tennyson.  For Plato believes, in common with
the greatest of every age, in 'that inborn passion for perfection,'
that innate though often unconscious yearning after the true, the
beautiful, the good,

  'Those obstinate questionings
  Of sense and outward things,'

which are the heritage of human nature.


3.  The Ethics of _Aristotle_ does not essentially differ from that of
Plato.  He is the first to treat of morals formally as a science,
which, however, in his hands becomes a division of politics.  Man, says
Aristotle, is really a social animal.  Even more decisively than Plato,
therefore, he treats man as a part of society.  While in Plato there is
the foreshadowing of the truth that the goal of moral endeavour lies in
godlikeness, with Aristotle the goal is confined to this life and is
conceived simply as the earthly well-being of the moral subject.
'Death,' he declares, 'is the greatest of all evils, for it is the
end.'  Aristotle begins his great work on Ethics with the discussion of
the chief good, which he declares to be happiness or well-being.  But
happiness does not consist in sensual pleasure, nor even in the pursuit
of honour, but in an 'activity of the soul in accordance with
reason.'[3]  There are required for this life of right thinking and
right doing not only suitable environment but proper instruction.
Virtue is not virtuous until it is a habit, and the only way to be
virtuous is to practise virtue.  To be virtuous a man's conduct must be
a law for him, the regular expression of his will.  Hence the virtues
are habits of deliberate choice, and not natural endowments.  Following
Plato, Aristotle sees that there is in man a number of impulses
struggling for the mastery of the soul, hence he is led to assume that
the natural instincts need guidance and control.  Moderation is
therefore the one chief virtue; and moral excellence consists in an
activity which at every point seeks to strike a 'mean' between two
opposite excesses.  Virtue in general, then, may be defined as the
observation of the due mean in action.  Aristotle also follows Plato in
assigning the ideal good to contemplation, and in exalting the life of
reason and speculation above all others.  In thus idealising the
contemplative life he was but reflecting the spirit of his race.  This
apotheosis of knowledge infected all Greek thought, and found
exaggerated expression in the religious absorption of Neo-Platonism.


Without dwelling further upon the ethical philosophy of Aristotle, a
defect which at once strikes a modern in regard to his scheme of
virtues is that benevolence is not recognised, except obscurely as a
form of magnanimity; and that, in general, the gentler virtues, so
prominent in Christianity, have little place in the list.  The virtues
are chiefly aristocratic.  Favourable conditions are needed for their
cultivation.  They are not possible for a slave, and hardly for those
engaged in 'mercenary occupations.'[4]  Further, it may be remarked
that habit of itself does not make a man virtuous.  Morality cannot
consist in a mere succession of customary acts.  'One good custom would
corrupt the world,' and habit is frequently a hindrance rather than a
help to the moral life.  But the main defect of Aristotle's treatment
of virtue is that he tends to regard the passions as irrational, and he
does not see that passions if wholly evil could have no 'mean.'  Reason
pervades all the lower appetites of man: and the instincts and desires,
instead of being treated as elements which must be suppressed, ought to
be regarded rather as powers to be transformed and employed as vehicles
of the moral life.  At the same time there are not wanting passages in
Aristotle as well as in Plato which, instead of emphasising the
avoidance of excess, regard virtue as consisting in complementary
elements--the addition of one virtuous characteristic to another--'that
balance of contrasted qualities which meets us at every turn in the
distinguished personalities of the Hellenic race, and which is too
often thought of in a merely negative way, as the avoidance of excess
rather than as the highest outcome of an intense and many-sided

4.  After Aristotle philosophy rapidly declined, and Ethics degenerated
into popular moralising which manifested itself chiefly in a growing
depreciation of good as the end {42} of life.  The conflicting elements
of reason and impulse, which neither Plato nor Aristotle succeeded in
harmonising, gave rise ultimately to two opposite interpretations of
the moral life.  The _Stoics_ selected the rational nature as the true
guide to an ethical system, but they gave to it a supremacy so rigid as
to threaten the extinction of the affections.  The _Epicureans_, on the
other hand, fastening upon the emotions as the measure of truth,
emphasised the happiness of the individual as the chief good--a
doctrine which led some of the followers of Epicurus to justify even
sensual enjoyment.  It is not necessary to dwell upon the details of
Epicureanism, for though its description of the 'wise man,' as that of
a person who prudently steered a middle course between passion and
asceticism, was one which exercised considerable influence upon the
morals of the age, it is the doctrines of Stoicism which more
especially have come into contact with Christianity.  Without
discussing the Stoic conception of the world as interpenetrated and
controlled by an inherent spirit, and the consequent view of life as
proceeding from God and being in all its parts equally divine, we may
note that the Stoics, under the influence of Platonism, regarded
self-realisation as the true end of man.  This idea they expressed in
the formula, 'Life according to nature.'  The wise man is he who seeks
to live in all the circumstances of life in agreement with his rational
nature.  The law of nature is to avoid what is hurtful and strive for
what is appropriate.  Pleasure, though not the immediate object of man,
arises as an accompaniment of a well-ordered life.  Pleasure and pain
are, however, really accidents, to be met by the wise man with
indifference.  He alone is free who acknowledges the absolute supremacy
of reason and makes himself independent of earthly desires.  This life
of freedom is open to all: since all men are members of one body.  The
slave may be as free as the consul, and in every station of life each
may make the world serve him by living in harmony with it.

There is a certain sublimity in the ethics of Stoicism which has always
appealed to noble minds.  'It inspired,' {43} says Mr. Lecky, 'nearly
all the great characters of the early Roman Empire, and nerved every
attempt to maintain the dignity and freedom of the human soul.'[6]  But
we cannot close our eyes to its defects.  Divine providence, though
frequently dwelt upon, signified little more for the Stoic than destiny
or fate.  Harmony with nature was simply a sense of proud
self-sufficiency.  Stoicism is the glorification of reason, even to the
extent of suppressing all emotion.  Sin is unreason, and salvation lies
in an external control of the passions--in indifference and apathy
begotten of the subordination of desire to reason.

The chief merit of Stoicism is that in an age of moral degeneracy it
insisted upon the necessity of integrity in all the conditions of life.
In its preference for the joys of the inner life and its scorn of the
delights of sense; in its emphasis upon individual responsibility and
duty; above all, in its advocacy of a common humanity and its belief in
the relation of each human soul to God, Roman Stoicism, as revealed in
the writings of a Seneca, an Epictetus, and a Marcus Aurelius, not only
showed how high Paganism at its best could reach, but proved in a
measure a preparation for Christianity, with whose practical truths it
had much in common.

The affinities between Stoicism and Paulinism have been frequently
pointed out, and the similarity in language and thought can scarcely be
accounted for by coincidence.  There are, however, elements in Stoicism
which St. Paul would never have dreamt of assimilating.  The material
conception of the world, the self-conscious pride, the absence of all
sense of sin, the temper of apathy, and unnatural suppression of
feelings were ideas which could not but rouse the apostle's strongest
antagonism.  But, on the other hand, there were characteristics of a
nobler order in Stoic morality which, we may well believe, Paul found
ready to his hand and did not hesitate to incorporate in his teaching.
Of these we may mention, the Immanence of God, the idea of Wisdom, the
conception of freedom as {44} the prerogative of the individual, and
the notion of brotherhood as the goal of humanity.[7]

The Roman Stoics, notwithstanding their theoretic interest in moral
questions, lived in an ideal world, and hardly attempted to bring their
views into connection with the facts of life.  Their philosophy was a
refuge from the evil around them rather than an effort to remove it.
They seek to overcome the world by being indifferent to it.  In
Neo-Platonism--the last of the Greek schools of philosophy--this
tendency to withdraw from life and its problems becomes still more
marked.  Absorption in God is the goal of existence and the essence of
religion.  'Man is left alone with God without any world to mediate
between them, and in the ecstatic vision of the Absolute the light of
reason is extinguished.'[8]

Meagre as our sketch of ancient thought has necessarily been, it is
perhaps enough to show that the debt of religion to Greek and Roman
Ethics is incalculable.  It lifted man above vague wonder, and gave him
courage to define his relation to existence.  It caused him to ask
questions of experience, and awakened him to the value of life and the
meaning of freedom, duty, and good.  Finally, it brought into view
those contrasted aims of life and society which find their solution in
the Christian ideal.[9]


Christianity stands in the closest relation with _Hebrew religion_.
Much as the philosophy of Greece and Rome have contributed to
Christendom, there is no such intimate relation between them as that
which connects Christian Ethics with the morality of Israel.  Christ
Himself, and still more the Apostle Paul, assumed as a substratum of
{45} their teaching the revelation which had been granted to the Jews.
The moral and religious doctrines comprehended under the designation of
the 'law' served, as the apostle said, as a _paidagogos_ or usher whose
function it was to lead them to the school of Christ.

At the outset we are impressed by the fact that the Ethics of Judaeism
was inseparable from its religion.  Moral obligations were conceived as
divine commands, and the moral law as a revelation of the divine will.
At first Jehovah was simply a tribal deity, but gradually this
restricted view gave place to the wider conception of God as the
sovereign of all men.  The divine commandment is the criterion and
measure of man's obedience.  Evil, while it has its source and head in
a hostile but subsidiary power, consists in violation of Jehovah's will.

There are three main channels of Hebrew revelation, commonly known as
the _Law_, the _Prophecy_, and _Poetry_ of Old Testament.

1.  LAW

(1) _The Mosaic Legislation_ centering in the Decalogue[10] is the
first stage of Old Testament Ethic.  The ten commandments, whether
derived from Mosaic enactment or representing a later summary of duty,
hold a supreme and formative place in the teaching of the Old
Testament.  All, not even excepting the fourth, are purely moral
requirements.  They are, however, largely negative; the fifth
commandment only rising to positive duty.  They are also merely
external, regulative of outward conduct.  The sixth and seventh protect
the rights of persons, while the eighth guards outward property.
Though these laws may be shown to have their roots in the moral
consciousness of mankind, they were at first restricted by Israel in
their scope and practice to its own tribes.

(2) _The Civil laws_ present a second factor in the ethical education
of Israel.  The 'Book of the Covenant'[11] reveals a certain
advancement in political legislation.  Still the {46} hard and legal
enactments of retaliation--'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a
tooth'--disclose a barbarous conception of right.  Alongside of these
primitive laws must be set those of a more humane nature--laws with
regard to release, the permission of gleaning, the privileges of the
year of jubilee.

(3) _The Ceremonial laws_ embody a third element in the moral life of
Israel.  These had to do chiefly with commands and prohibitions
relative to personal conduct--'Meats and drinks and diverse washings';
and with sacrifices and forms of ritual worship.[12]

With regard to the moral value of the commandments two opposite errors
are to be avoided.  We must not refuse to recognise in the Old
Testament the record of a true, if elementary and imperfect, revelation
of God.  But also we must beware of exalting the commandments of the
Old Dispensation to the level of those of the New; and thus
misunderstanding the nature and relation of both.

The Christian faith is in a sense the development of Judaeism, though
it is infinitely more.  The commandments of Moses, in so far as they
have their roots in the constitution of man, have not been superseded,
but taken up and spiritualised by the Ethic of the Gospel.


The dominant factor of Old Testament Ethics lay in the influence
exerted by the prophets.  They, and not the priests, are the great
moralists of Israel.  The prophets were speakers for God, the
interpreters of His will.  They were the moral guides of the people,
the champions of integrity in political life, not less than witnesses
for individual purity.[13]

We may sum up the ethical significance of the Hebrew prophets in three

(1) They were preachers of _personal righteousness_.  In {47} times of
falsehood and hypocrisy they were witnesses for integrity and truth,
upholding the personal virtues of justice, sincerity, and mercy against
the idolatry and formalism of the priesthood.  'What doth the Lord
require of thee,' said Micah, 'but to do justly, to love mercy, and to
walk humbly with thy God.'[14]  In the same strain Isaiah exclaimed,
'Bring no more vain oblations, but wash you and make you clean.'[15]
And so also Habakkuk has affirmed in words which became the keynote of
Paul's theology and the watchword of the Reformation--'The just shall
live by faith.'[16]

(2) They were the advocates of the _rights of man_, of equity and
justice between man and man.  They denounce the tyranny of kings, and
the luxury of the nobles.  They protest against the oppression of the
poor and befriend the toilers of the cities.  They proclaim the worth
of man as man.  They reveal Jehovah as the God of the common people,
and seek to mitigate the burdens which lie upon the enslaved and

(3) They were the apostles of _Hope_.  Not only did they seek to lift
their fellow-men above their present calamities, but they proclaimed a
message of peace and triumph which was to be evolved out of trouble.  A
great promise gradually loomed on the horizon, and hope began to centre
in an anointed Deliverer.  The Hebrew prophets were not probably
conscious of the full significance of their own predictions.  Like all
true poets, they uttered greater things than they knew.  The prophet
who most clearly outlines this truth is the second Isaiah.  As he looks
down the ages he sees that healing is to be brought about through
suffering, the suffering of a Sinless one.  Upon this mysterious figure
who is to rise up in the latter days is to be laid the burden of
humanity.  No other, not even St. Paul himself, has grasped so clearly
the great secret of atonement or given so touching a picture of the
power of vicarious suffering as this unknown prophet of Israel.



Passing from the prophets to the poets of Israel--and especially to the
book of Psalms--the devotional manual of the people, reflecting the
moral and religious life of the nation at the various stages of its
development--we find the same exalted character of God as a God of
Righteousness, hating evil and jealous for devotion, the same profound
sense of sin and the same high vocation of man.  The Hebrew nation was
essentially a poetic people,[17] and their literature is full of
poetry.  But poetry is not systematic.  It is not safe, therefore, to
deduce particular tenets of faith or moral principles from passages
which glow with intensity of feeling.  But if a nation's character is
revealed in its songs, the deep spirituality and high moral tone of
Israel are clearly reflected in that body of religious poetry which
extends over a period of a thousand years, from David to the Maccabean
age.  It is at once national and personal, and is a wonderful record of
the human heart in its various moods and yearnings.  Underlying all
true poetry there is a philosophy of life.  God, for the Hebrew
psalmist, is the one pervading presence.  He is not a mere
impersonation of the powers of nature, but a personal Being, righteous
and merciful, with whom man stands in the closest relations.  Holy and
awful, indeed, hating iniquity and exacting punishment upon the wicked,
He is also tender and pitiful--a Father of the oppressed, who bears
their burdens, forgives their iniquities, and crowns them with tender
mercy.[18]  All nature speaks to the Hebrew of God.  He is no far-off
creator, but immanent in all His works.[19]  He presides over mankind,
and provides for the manifold wants of his creatures.  It is this
thought which gives unity to the nation, and binds the tribes into a
common brotherhood.  God is their personal friend.  In war and peace,
in worship and labour, at home and in exile, it is to Jehovah they look
{49} for strength and light and joy.  He is their Shepherd and
Redeemer, under whose wings they trust.  Corresponding to this sublime
faith, the virtues of obedience and fidelity are dwelt upon, while the
ideal of personal righteousness and purity is constantly held forth.
It is no doubt largely temporal blessings which the psalmists
emphasise, and the rewards of integrity are chiefly those of material
and earthly prosperity.  The hope of the future life is nowhere clearly
expressed in the Old Testament, and while in the Psalter here and there
a dim yearning for a future with God breaks forth, hardly any of these
poems illumine the destiny of man beyond the grave.  The hope of Israel
was limited mostly to this earth.  The land beyond the shadows does not
come within their purview.  Like a child, the psalmist is content to
know that his divine Father is near him here and now.  When exactly the
larger hope emerged we cannot say.  But gradually, with the breaking up
of the national life and under the pressure of suffering, a clearer
vision dawned.  With the limitations named, it is a sublime outlook
upon life and a high-toned morality which the Psalter discloses.
Poetry, indeed, idealises, and no doubt the Israelites did not always
live up to their aspirations; but men who could give utterance to a
faith so clear, to a penitence so deep, and to longings so lofty and
spiritual as these Psalms contain are not the least among the heralds
of the kingdom of Christ.

We cannot enlarge upon the ethical ideas of the other writings of the
Old Testament, the books of Wisdom, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job.
Their teaching, while not particularly lofty, is generally healthy and
practical, consisting of homely commonplaces and shrewd observations
upon life and conduct.  The motives appealed to are not always the
highest, and frequently have regard only to earthly prosperity and
worldly policy.  It must not, however, be overlooked that moral
practice is usually allied with the fear of God, and the right choice
of wisdom is represented as the dictate of piety not less than the
sanction of prudence.  The writers of the Wisdom literature are the
{50} humanists of their age.  As distinguished from the idealism of the
prophets, they are realists who look at life in a somewhat utilitarian
way.  With the prophets, however, they are at one in regarding the
inferiority of ceremonial to obedience and sincerity.  God is the ruler
of the world, and man's task is to live in obedience to Him.  What God
requires is correct outward behaviour, self-restraint, and
consideration of others.

In estimating the Ethics of Israel the fact that it was a preparatory
stage in the revelation of God's will must not be overlooked.  We are
not surprised, therefore, that, judged by the absolute standard of the
New Testament, the morality of the Old Testament must be pronounced
imperfect.  In two respects at least, in intent and extent, it is

(1) It is lacking in _Depth_.  There is a tendency to dwell upon the
sufficiency of external acts rather than the necessity of inward
disposition.  At the same time, in the Psalter and prophecy inward
purity is recognised.[20]  Further, the character of Jehovah is
sometimes presented in a repellent aspect; as in the threatenings of
the second commandment; the treatment of the children of Achan and the
Sons of Korah; the seeming injustice of God, implied in the complaint
of Moses, and the protests of Abraham and David.  But again there are
not wanting more kindly features of the Divine Being; and the
Fatherhood of God finds frequent expression.  Though the penal code is
severe, a gentler spirit shines through many of its provisions, and
protection is afforded to the wage-earner, the dependent, and the poor;
while the care of slaves, foreigners, and even lower animals is not
overlooked.[21]  Again, it has been noticed that the motives to which
the Old Testament appeals are often mercenary.  Material prosperity
plays an important part as an inducement to well-doing.  The good which
the pious patriarch or royal potentate contemplates is something which
is calculated to enrich himself or advance his people.  But here we
must not forget that {51} God's revelation is progressive, and His
dealing with man educative.  There is naturally a certain accommodation
of the divine law to the various stages of the moral apprehension of
the Jewish people.  Gradually the nation is being carried forward by
the promise of material benefits to the deeper and more inward
appreciation of spiritual blessings.

(2) It is lacking in _Scope_.  In regard to universality the Hebrew
ideal, it must be acknowledged, is deficient.  God is usually
represented as the God of Israel alone, and not as the God of all men,
and the obligations of veracity, honesty, and mercy are confined within
the limits of the nation.  It is true that a prominent commandment
given to Israel and endorsed by our Lord runs thus: 'Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.'[22]  But the extent of the obligation seems
to be restricted by the context: 'Thou shalt not avenge nor bear any
grudge against the children of thy people.'  It is contended that the
word translated 'neighbour' bears a wider import than the English term,
and is really applicable to any person.  The larger idea is expressed
in vv. 33, 34, where the word 'stranger' or 'foreigner' is substituted
for neighbour.  And there are passages in which the stranger is
regarded as the special client of God, and is enjoined to look to Him
for protection.

The Jews were not in practice, however, faithful to the humanitarianism
of their law, and, in keeping with other nations, showed a tendency to
restrict divine favours within the limits of their own land, and to
maintain throughout their history an attitude of aloofness and
repellent isolation which even amounted to intolerance towards other
races.  In early days, however, the obligation of hospitality was
regarded as sacred.[23]  Nor must we forget that, whatever may have
been the Jewish practice, the promise enshrined in their revelation
involves the unity of mankind; while several of the prophecies and
Psalms look forward to a world-wide blessing.[24]  In Isaiah we even
read, 'God of the whole earth shall He be called.'[25]


The stream of preparation for Christianity thus flowed steadily through
three channels, the Greek, the Roman, and the Jew.  Each contributed
something to the fullness of the time.

The problem of Greek civilisation was the problem of _freedom_, the
realisation of self-dependence and self-determination.  In the pursuit
of these ends Greece garnered conclusions which are the undying
possessions of the world.  If to the graces of self-abasement, meekness
and charity it remained a stranger, it gave a new worth to the
individual, and showed that without the virtues of wisdom, courage,
steadfastness and justice man could not attain to moral character.

The Roman's gift was unbending devotion to _duty_.  With a genius for
rule he forced men into one polity; and by levelling material barriers
he enabled the nations to commune, and made a highway for the message
of freedom and brotherhood.  But, intoxicated with material glory, he
became blind to spiritual good, and in his universal toleration he
emptied all faiths of their content, driving the masses to
superstition, and the few who yearned for a higher life to withdrawal
from the world.

The Jewish contribution was _righteousness_.  Not specially
distinguished by intellectual powers, nor gifted in political
enterprise, his endowment was spiritual insight, and by his dispersion
throughout the world he made others the sharers of his inheritance.
But his tendency was to keep his privilege to himself, or so to load it
with legal restrictions as to bar its acceptance for strangers; and in
his pride of isolation he failed to recognise his Deliverer when He

Thus, negatively and positively, by failure and by partial attainment,
the world was prepared for Him who was the desire of all nations.  In
Christ were gathered up the wisdom of the Greek, the courage of the
Roman, the righteousness of the Jew; and He who came not to destroy but
to fulfil at once interpreted and satisfied the longings of the ages.

[1] _Apologia_, pp. 38-9.

[2] Cf. Adam, _Vitality of Platonism_, p. 3.

[3] _Nic. Ethics_, bk. i. chap. 5.

[4] _histharnikai ergasiai_, Arist., _Politics_, iii.  'There is
nothing common between a master and his slave,' _Nic. Ethics_, viii.

[5] Butcher, _Harvard Lectures on Greek Subjects_, quoted by Barbour,
_Philos. Study of Christian Ethics_, p. 11.  Cf. also Burnet, _Ethics
of Aristotle_, p. 73.  'The "mean" is really the true nature of the
soul when fully developed.'

[6] _Hist. of Europ. Morals_, vol. i. chap. ii.

[7] See Author's _Ethics of St. Paul_ for further discussion of
relation of Paul to Stoics.

[8] Cf. E. Caird, _Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers_,
vol. i. p. 48.

[9] Cf. Caird, idem.  Pfleiderer, _Vorbereitung des Christentums in der
Griech. Philos._; Wenley, _Preparation for Christianity_.

[10] Exod. xx.; Deut. v.

[11] Ex. xx.-xxiii.

[12] Amos v. 25; Hos. vi. 6; Isa. i. 11-13.

[13] Cf. Wallace, _Lectures and Essays on Natural Theol. and Ethics_,
p. 183.

[14] Micah vi. 8.

[15] Isa. i. 13-17; Micah vi. 7.

[16] Hab. ii. 4; cf. Rom. i. 17; Gal. iii. 2.

[17] Though Houston Chamberlain, in his recent work, _The Foundations
of the Nineteenth Century_, maintains that they were 'a most prosaic,
materialistic people, without any real sense of poetry.'

[18] Ps. 51.

[19] Ps. 19.

[20] Ps. 51; Isa. 1.

[21] Deut. xxiv. 14, 15; Jer. xxii. 13-17; Matt. iii 5; Deut. xxv. 4.

[22] Lev. xix. 18.

[23] Gen. xviii. xix.

[24] Isa. lxi.; Ps. xxii. 27; xlviii. 2-10; lxxxvii.

[25] Isa. liv. 5.







Having thus far laid the foundations of our study by a discussion of its
presuppositions and sources, we are now prepared to consider man as the
personal subject of the new life.  The spirit of God which takes hold of
man and renews his life must not be conceived as a foreign power breaking
the continuity of consciousness.  The natural is the basis of the
supernatural.  It is not a new personality which is created; it is the
old that is transformed and completed.  If there was not already implicit
in man that which predisposed him for the higher life, a consciousness to
which the spirit could appeal, then Christianity would be simply a
mechanical or magical influence without ethical significance and having
no relation to the past history of the individual.  But that is not the
teaching of our Lord or of His apostles.  We are bound, therefore, to
assume a certain substratum of powers, physical, mental and moral, as
constituting the raw material of which the new personality is formed.
The spirit of God does not quench the natural faculties of man, but works
through and upon them, raising them to a higher value.[1]

I.  But before proceeding to a consideration of these elements of human
consciousness to which Christianity appeals, we must glance at two
opposite theories of human nature, either of which, if the complete view
of man, would be inimical to Christianity.[2]


1.  The first view is that man _by nature is morally good_.  His natural
impulses are from birth wholly virtuous, and require only to be left to
their own operation to issue in a life of perfection.  Those who favour
this contention claim the support of Scripture.  Not only does the whole
tone of the Bible imply the inherent goodness of primitive man, but many
texts both in the Old and New Testaments suggest that God made man
upright.[3]  Among the Greeks, and especially the Stoics, this view
prevailed.  All nature was regarded as the creation of perfect reason,
and the primitive state as one of uncorrupted innocence.  Pelagius
espoused this doctrine, and it continued to influence dogmatic theology
not only in the form of Semi-Pelagianism, but even as modifying the
severer tenets of Augustine.  The theory received fresh importance during
the revolutionary movement of the eighteenth century, and found a strong
exponent in Rousseau.  'Let us sweep away all conventions and
institutions of man's making and get back to the simplicity of a
primitive age.'  The man of nature is guileless, and his natural
instincts would preserve him in uncorrupted purity if they were not
perverted by the artificial usages of society.  So profoundly did this
theory dominate the thoughts of men that its influence may be detected
not only in the political fanaticism which found expression in the French
Revolution, but also in the practical views of the Protestant Church
acting as a deterrent to missionary effort.[4]  This view of human
nature, though not perhaps formally stated, finds expression in much of
the literature of the present day.  Professor James cites Theodore Parker
and other leaders of the liberal movement in New England of last century
as representatives of the tendency.[5]  These writers do not wholly
ignore moral effect, but they make light of sin, and regard it not as
something positive, but merely as a stage in the development of man.


2.  The other theory of human nature goes to the opposite extreme.  Man
by nature is _utterly depraved_, and his natural instincts are wholly
bad.  Those who take this view also appeal to Scripture: 'Man is shapen
in iniquity and conceived in sin.'  Many passages in the New Testament,
and especially in the writings of St. Paul, seem to emphasise the utter
degradation of man.  It was not, however, until the time of Augustine
that this idea of innate depravity was formulated into a doctrine.  The
Augustinean dogma has coloured all later theology.  In the Roman Catholic
Church, even in such a writer as Pascal, and in Protestantism, under the
influence of Calvin, the complete corruption of man's nature has been
depicted in the blackest hues.

These theories of human nature represent aspects of truth, and are false
only in their isolation.

The doctrine that man is innocent by nature is not in agreement with
history.  Nowhere is the noble savage to be found.  The primitive man
exhibits the same tendencies as his more civilised neighbour, and his
animal passions are indulged without control of reason or consideration
for others.  Indeed, Hobbes's view of early society as a state of war and
rapacity is much truer to fact than Rousseau's.  The noble savage is
simply a fiction of the imagination, an abstraction obtained by
withdrawing him from all social environment.  But even could we conceive
of a human being kept from infancy in isolation, he would not fulfil the
true idea of virtue, but would simply develop into a negative creature, a
mutilated being bereft of all that constitutes our notion of humanity.
Such experiences as are possible only in society--all forms of goodness
as suggested by such words as 'love,' 'sympathy,' 'service'--would never
emerge at all.  The native instincts of man are simply potencies or
capacities for morality; they must have a life of opportunity for their
evolution and exercise.  The abstract self prior to and apart from all
objective experience is an illusion.  It is only in relation to a world
of moral beings that the moral life becomes possible for man.  The
innocence which the advocates of this theory contend for is {58}
something not unlike the non-rational existence of the animal.  It is
true that the brute is not immoral, but neither is it moral.  The whole
significance of the passions as they exist in man lies in the fact that
they are not purely animal, but, since they belong to man, are always
impregnated with reason.  It is reason that gives to them their moral
worth, and it is because man must always put his self into every desire
or impulse that it becomes the instrument either of virtue or of vice.[6]

But if the theory of primitive purity is untenable, not less so is that
of innate depravity.  Here, also, its advocates are not consistent with
themselves.  Even the systems of theology derived from Augustine do not
contend that man was created with an evil propensity.  His sin was the
result of an historical catastrophe.  In his paradisiacal condition man
is conceived as possessing a nobility and innocence of nature far beyond
that even which Rousseau depicted.  Milton, in spite of his Calvinistic
puritanism, has painted a picture of man's ideal innocence which for
idyllic charm is unequalled in literature.[7]  Nor does historical
inquiry bear out the theory of the utter depravity of man.  The latest
anthropological research into the condition of primitive man suggests
rather that even the lowest forms of savage life are not without some dim
consciousness of a higher power and some latent capacity for good.[8]
Finally, these writers are not more successful when they claim the
support of the Bible.  Not only are there many examples of virtue in
patriarchal times, but, as we have seen, there are not a few texts which
imply the natural goodness of man.  Our Lord repeatedly assumes the
affinity with goodness of those who had not hitherto come into contact
with the Gospel, as in the case of Jairus, the rich young ruler, and the
Syrophenician woman.  It has been affirmed by Wernle[9] that the Apostle
Paul in the interests of salvation grossly {59} exaggerates the condition
of the natural man.  'He violently extinguished every other light in the
world so that Jesus might shine in it alone.'  But this surely is a
misstatement.  It is true that no more scathing denunciation of sinful
human nature has ever been presented than the account of heathen
immorality to be found in the first chapter of Romans.  Yet the apostle
does not actually affirm, nor even imply, that pagan society was so
utterly corrupt that it had lost all knowledge of moral good.  Though so
bad as to be beyond hope of recovery by natural effort, it was not so bad
as to have quenched in utter darkness the light which lighteth every man.

3.  Christianity, while acknowledging the partial truth of both of these
theories, reconciles them.  If, on the one hand, man were innately good
and could of himself attain to righteousness, there would be no need of a
gospel of renewal.  But history and experience alike show that that is
not the case.  If, on the other hand, man were wholly bad, had no
susceptibility for virtue and truth, then there would be nothing in him,
as we have seen, which could respond to the Christian appeal.[10]
Christianity alone offers an answer to the question in which Pascal
presents the great antithesis of human nature: 'If man was not made for
God, how is it that he can be happy only in God?  And if he is made for
God, how is he so opposite to God?'[11]  However, then, we may account
for the presence of evil in human nature, a true view of Christianity
involves the conception of a latent spiritual element in man, a capacity
for goodness to which his whole being points.  Matter itself may be said
not merely to exist for spirit, but to have within it already the potency
of the higher forms of life; and just as nature is making towards
humanity, and in humanity at last finds itself; as

  'Striving to be man, the worm
  Mounts through all the spires of form,'[13]

{60} so man, even in his most primitive state, has within him the promise
of higher things.  No theory of his origin can interfere with the
assumption that he belongs to a moral Sphere, and is capable of a life
which is shaping itself to spiritual ends.  Whatever be man's past
history and evolution, he has from the beginning been made in God's
image, and bears the divine impress in all the lineaments of body and
soul.  His degradation cannot wholly obliterate his inherent nobility,
and indeed his actual corruption bears witness to his possible holiness.
Granting the hypothesis of evolution, matter even in its crudest
beginnings contains potentially all the rich variety of the natural and
spiritual life.  The reality of a growing thing lies in its highest form
of being.  In the light of the last we explain the first.  If the
universe is, as science pronounces, an organic totality which is ever
converting its promise into actuality, then 'the ultimate interpretation
even of the lowest existence of the world, cannot be given except on
principles which are adequate to explain the highest.'[13]  Christian
morality is therefore nothing else than the morality prepared from all
eternity, and is but the highest realisation of that which man even at
his lowest has ever been, though unconsciously, striving after.  All that
is best and highest in man, all that he is capable of yet becoming, has
really existed within him from the very first, just as the flower and
leaf and fruit are contained implicitly in the seedling.  This is the
Pauline view of human nature.  Jesus Christ, according to the apostle, is
the End and Consummation of the whole creation.  Everywhere in all men
there is a capacity for Christ.  Whatever be his origin, man comes upon
the stage of being bearing within him a great and far-reaching destiny.
There is in him, as Browning says, 'a tendency to God.'  He is not simply
what he is now, but all that he is yet to be.

II.  Assuming, then, the inherent spirituality of man, we may now proceed
to examine his moral consciousness with a view to seeing how its various
constituents form what we have called the substratum of the Christian


1.  We must guard against seeming to adopt the old and discredited
psychology which divides man into a number of separate and independent
faculties.  Man is not made like a machine, of a number of adjusted
parts.  _He is a unity_, a living organism, in which every part has
something of all the others; and all together, animated by one spirit,
constitute a Living whole which we call personality.  While the Bible is
rich in terms denoting the different constituents of man, neither the Old
Testament nor the New regards human nature as a plurality of powers.  A
bind of unity or hierarchy of the natural faculties is assumed, and amid
all the difference of function and variety of operation it is undeniable
that the New Testament writers generally, and particularly St. Paul,
presuppose a unity of consciousness--a single ego, or Soul.  It is
unnecessary to discuss the question, much debated by Biblical
psychologists, as to whether the apostle recognises a threefold or a
twofold division of man.[14] Our view is that he recognised only a
twofold division, body and soul, which, however, he always regarded as
constituting a unity, the body itself being psychical or interpenetrated
with spirit, and the spirit always acting upon and working through the
physical powers.

Man is a unique phenomenon in the world.  Even on his physical side he is
not a piece of dead matter, but is instinct through and through with
spirit.  And on his psychical side he is not an unsubstantial wraith, but
a being inconceivable apart from outward embodiment.  Perhaps the most
general term which we may adopt is _psyche_ or Soul--the living self or
vital and animating principle which is at once the seat of all bodily
sensation and the source of the higher cognitive faculties.

2.  The fact of ethical interest from which we must proceed is that man,
in virtue of his spiritual nature, is _akin to God_, and participates in
the three great elements of the divine Personality--thought, love and
will.[15]  Personality has been called 'the culminating fact of the {62}
universe.'  And it is the task of man to realise his true personality--to
fulfil the law of his highest self.  In this work he has to harmonise and
bring to the unity of his personal life, by means of one dominating
force, the various elements of his nature--his sensuous, emotional, and
rational powers.  By the constitution of his being he belongs to a larger
world, and when he is true to himself he is ever reaching out towards it.
From the very beginning of life, and even in the lowest phases of his
nature he has within him the potency of the divine.  He carries the
infinite in his soul, and by reason of his very existence shares the life
of God.  The value of his soul in this sense is repeatedly emphasised in
scripture.  In our Lord's teaching it is perhaps the most distinctive
note.  The soul, or self-conscious spiritual ego, is spoken of as capable
of being 'acquired' or 'lost.'[16]  It is acquired or possessed when a
man seeks to regain the image in which he was created.  It is lost when
he refuses to respond to those spiritual influences by which Christ
besets him, and by means of which the soul is moulded into the likeness
of God.

3.  A full presentation of this subject would involve a reference even to
the physical powers which form an integral part of man and witness to his
eternal destiny.

(1) The very body is to be redeemed and sanctified, and made an
instrument of the new life in Christ.  The extremes of asceticism and
self-indulgence, both of which found advocates in Greek philosophy and
even in the early Church, have no countenance in scripture.  Evil does
not reside in the flesh, as the Greeks held, but in the will which uses
the flesh for its base ends.  Not mutilation but transformation, not
suppression but consecration is the Christian ideal.  The natural is the
basis of the spiritual.  Man is the Temple of God, every part of which is
sacred.  Christ claims to be King of the body as of every other domain of
life.  The secret of spiritual progress does not consist in the
unflinching destruction of the flesh, but in its firm but kindly
discipline for loyal service.  It is not, therefore, by {63} leaving the
body behind but by taking it up into our higher self that we become
spiritual.  As Browning says,

  'Let us cry all good things
  Are ours, nor soul helps flesh more now
  Than flesh helps soul.'

Without dwelling further upon the physical elements of man, there are
three constituents or functions of personality prominent in the New
Testament which claim our consideration, reason, conscience and will.  It
is just because man possesses, or _is_ mind, conscience and will, that he
is capable of responding to the life which Christ offers, and of sharing
in the divine character which he reveals.

(2) The term _nous_, or reason, is of frequent occurrence in the New
Testament.  Christianity highly honours the intellectual powers of man
and accords to the mind an important rôle in apprehending and entering
into the thoughts and purposes of God.  'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind,' says
Jesus.  Many are disposed to think that the exercise of faith, the
immediate organ of spiritual apprehension, is checked by the interference
of reason.  But so far from faith and reason being opposed, not only are
they necessary to each other, but in all real faith there is an element
of reason.  In all religious feeling, as in morality, art, and other
spheres of human activity, there is the underlying element of reason
which is the characteristic of all the activities of a self-conscious
intelligence.  To endeavour to elicit that element, to infuse into the
spontaneous and unsifted conceptions of religious experience the
objective clearness, necessity and organic unity of thought--is the
legitimate aim of science, in religion as in other spheres.  It would be
strange if in the highest of all provinces of human experience
intelligence must renounce her claim.[17]  The Ritschlian value-judgment
theory in its disparagement of philosophy is practically a dethronement
of reason.  And the protest of Pragmatism and the voluntarists {64}
generally against what they term 'Intellectualism'[18] and their distrust
of the logical faculty, are virtually an avowal of despair and a resort
to agnosticism, if not to scepticism.  If we are to renounce the quest
for objective truth, and accept 'those ideas only which we can
assimilate, validate, corroborate,'[19] those ideas in short which are
'practically useful in guiding us to desirable issues,' then it would
seem we are committed to a world of subjective caprice and confusion and
must give up the belief in a rational view of the universe.

(3) In spite of the wonderful suggestiveness of M. Bergson's philosophy,
we are unable to accept the distinction which that writer draws between
intuition and intelligence, in which he seems to imply that intuition is
the higher of the two activities.  Intelligence, according to this
writer, is at home exclusively in spatial considerations, in solids, in
geometry, but it is to be repelled as a foreign element when it comes to
deal with life.  Bergson would exclude rational thought and intelligence
from life, creation, and initiative.  The clearest evidence of intuition
is in the works of great artists.  'What is implied is that in artistic
creation, in the work of genius and imagination, we have pure novelty
issuing from no premeditated or rational idea, but simply pure
irrationality and unaccountableness.'[20]  The work of art cannot be
predicated; it is beyond reason, as life is beyond logic and law.[21]
But so far from finding life unintelligible, it would be nearer the truth
to say that man's reason can, strictly speaking, understand nothing
else.[22]  'Instinct finds,' says Bergson, 'but does not search.  Reason
searches but cannot find.'[23]  'But,' adds Professor Dewey, 'what we
find is meaningless save as measured by searching, and so instincts and
passions must be elevated into reason.'[24]  In the lower creatures
instinct does the {65} work of reason--sufficiently for the simple
conditions in which the animal lives.  And in the earlier stages of human
life instinct plays an important part.  But when man, both as an
individual and as humanity, advances to a more complex life, instinct is
unequal to the new task confronting him.  We cannot be content to be
guided by instinct.  Reason asserts itself and seeks to permeate all our
experiences, and give unity and purpose to all our thoughts and acts.

The recent disparagement of intellectualism is probably a reaction
against the extreme absolutism of German idealism which, beginning with
Kant, found fullest expression in Fichte, Schelling and Hegel.  But the
true way to meet exclusive rationalism is not to discredit the function
of mind, but to give to it a larger domain of experience.  We do not
exalt faith by emptying it of all intellectual content and reducing it to
mere subjective feeling; nor do we explain genius by ascribing its acts
to blind, unthinking impulse.  'The real is the rational,' says Hegel.
Truth, in other words, presupposes a rational universe which we, as
rational beings, must assume in all our thought and effort.  To set up
faith against reason, or intuition against intelligence is to set the
mind against itself.  We cannot set up an order of facts, as Professor
James would have us do, outside the intellectual realm; for what does not
fall within our experience can have for us no meaning, and what for us
has no meaning cannot be an object of faith.  An ineradicable belief in
the rationality of the world is the ultimate basis of all art, morality
and religion.  To rest in mere intuition or emotion and not to seek
objective truth would be for man to renounce his true prerogative and to
open the door for all kinds of superstition and caprice.

III.  In the truest sense it may be claimed that this is the teaching of
Christianity.  When Christ says that we are to love God with our minds He
seems to imply that there is such a thing as intelligent affection.  The
distinctive feature of our Lord's claim is that God is not satisfied when
His creatures render a merely implicit obedience; He {66} desires also
the enthusiastic use of their intellect, intent on knowing everything
that it is possible for men to know about His character and ways.  And is
there not something sublime in this demand of God that the noblest part
of man should be consecrated to Him?  God reveals Himself in Christ to
our highest; and He would have us respond to His manifestations with our
highest.  Nor is this the attitude of Christ only.  The Apostle Paul also
honours the mind, and gives to it the supreme place as the organ of
apprehending and appropriating divine truth.  Mr. Lecky brings the
serious charge against Christianity that it habitually disregards the
virtues of the intellect.  If there is any truth in this statement it
refers, not to the genius of the Gospel itself, nor to the earlier
exponents of it, but rather to the Church in those centuries which
followed the conversion of Constantine.  No impartial reader of St.
Paul's Epistles can aver that the apostle made a virtue of ignorance and
credulity.  These documents, which are the earliest exposition of the
mind of Christ, impress us rather with the intellectual boldness of their
attempt to grapple with the greatest problems of life.  Paul was
essentially a thinker; and, as Sabatier says, is to be ranked with Plato
and Aristotle, Augustine and Kant, as one of the mightiest intellectual
forces of the world.  But not content with being a thinker himself, he
sought to make his converts thinkers too, and he does not hesitate to
make the utmost demand upon their reasoning faculties.  He assumes a
natural capacity in man for apprehending the truth, and appeals to the
mind rather than to the emotions.  The Gospel is styled by him 'the word
of truth,' and he bids men 'prove all things.'  Worship is not a
meaningless ebullition of feeling or a superstitious ritual, but a form
of self-expression which is to be enlightened and guided by thought.  'I
will pray with the understanding and sing with the understanding.'

It is indeed a strong and virile Christianity which Paul and the other
apostles proclaim.  It is no magic spell they seek to exert.  They are
convinced that there is that in {67} the mind of man which is ready to
respond to a thoughtful Gospel.  If men will only give their unprejudiced
minds to God's Word, it is able to make them 'wise unto salvation.'  It
would lead us beyond the scope of this chapter to consider the peculiar
Pauline significance of faith.  It is enough to say that while he does
not identify it with intellectual assent, as little does he confine it to
mere subjective assurance.  It is the primary act of the human spirit
when brought into contact with divine truth, and it lies at the root of a
new ethical power, and of a deeper knowledge of God.  If the apostle
appears to speak disparagingly of wisdom it is the wisdom of pride, of
'knowledge that puffeth up.'  He warns Timothy against 'science falsely
so called.'  On the whole St. Paul exalts the intellect and bids men
attain to the full exercise of their mental powers.  'Be not children in
understanding: but in understanding be men.'[25]

If, as we have seen, the body be an integral part of man, and has its
place and function in the Christian life, not less, but even more, has
the mind a special ethical importance.  It is to the intelligence that
Christianity appeals, and it is with the rational faculties that moral
truth is apprehended and applied to life.  Reason in its broadest sense
is the most distinctive feature of man, and by means of it he exerts his
mightiest influence upon the world.  Mental and moral growth are closely
connected, and personal character is largely moulded by thought.  'As a
man thinketh in his heart so is he.'  Not only at the beginning of the
new life, but in all its after stages the mind is an important factor,
and its consecration and cultivation are laid upon us as an obligation by
Him in whose image we have been made, and whom to know and serve is our
highest end.

[1] See Author's _Ethics of St. Paul_.

[2] Cf. Murray, _Sandbank of Christian Ethics_.  See also Hegel, _Phil.
der Religion_, vol. ii. p. 210 ff., where the antithesis is finely worked

[3] Gen. i. 26; Eccles. vii. 29; Col. iii. 10; James iii. 9.

[4] See Hugh Miller's _Essays_, quoted by Murray, _op. cit._, p. 137.

[5] Cf. W. James, _Varieties of Religious Experience_, pp. 81-86.

[6] Cf. Goethe's _Faust_.  See also Nietzsche, _Götzendämmerung_ for
trenchant criticism of Rousseau.

[7] Murray, _idem_.

[8] Max Müller, Fraser, _Golden Bough_, and others.

[9] Anfänge des Christentums.

[10] Cf. Ottley, _Christian Ideas and Ideals_, p. 52.  'Christianity does
justice both to man's inherent instinct that he has been made for God,
and to his sense of unworthiness and incapacity.'

[11] _Pensées_, part ii. art. 1.

[12] Emerson.

[13] Ed. Caird, _Critical Philosophy of Kant_, p. 35.

[14] See Author's _Ethics of St. Paul_.

[15] Ottley, _idem_, p. 55.

[16] Luke xxi. 19.

[17] Cf. John Caird, _Introd. to the Philosophy of Religion_.

[18] Cf. Wm. James's _Pragmatism_ and _A Pluralistic World_.

[19] _Idem_, p. 201.

[20] Cf. Bosanquet, _The Principles of Individuality and Value_.

[21] Bergson, _Evol. Creat._, p. 174 f.

[22] Cf. E. Caird, _Kant_, vol. ii. pp. 530 and 535.

[23] _Evol. Creat._, p. 159.

[24] _Hib. Jour._, July 1911.

[25] Some sentences in the above are borrowed from the writer's _Ethics
of St. Paul_.




Passing from the physical and mental constituents of man, we turn to
the more distinctly moral elements; and in this chapter we shall
consider that aspect of the human consciousness to which mankind has
given the name of 'conscience.'

No subject has presented greater difficulties to the moralist, and
there are few which require more careful elucidation.  From the
earliest period of reflection the question how we came to have moral
ideas has been a disputed one.  At first it was thought that there
existed in man a distinct innate faculty or moral sense which was
capable of deciding categorically man's duty without reference to
history or condition.  But in modern times the theory of evolution has
discredited the inviolable character of conscience, and sought rather
to determine its nature and significance in the light of its origin and
development.  Only the barest outline of the subject can be attempted
here, since our object is simply to show that however we may account
for its presence, there is in man, as we know him, some power or
function which bears witness to divine truth and fits him to respond to
the revelation of Christ.  It will be most convenient to consider the
subject under three heads: I. the history of the Conception; II. the
nature and origin of Conscience; and III. its present validity.

I.  _History of the Conception_.--'The name conscience,' says a writer
on the subject, 'appears somewhat late in {69} the history of the
world: that for which it stands is as old as mankind.'[1]

1.  Without pushing our inquiries back into the legendary lore of
savage life, in which we find evidence of the idea in the social
institutions and religious enactments of primitive races, it is among
the Greeks that the word, if not the idea of conscience, first meets
us.  Perhaps the earliest trace of the notion is to be found in the
mythological conception of the Furies, whose business it was to avenge
crime--a conception which might be regarded as the reaction of man's
own nature against the violation of better instincts, if not as the
reflection or embodiment of what is popularly called conscience.  It
can scarcely be doubted that the Erinnyes of Aeschylus were deities of
remorse, and possess psychological significance as symbols of the
primitive action of conscience.[2]  Though Sophocles is less of a
theologian than Aeschylus, and problems of Ethics count less than the
human interest of his story, the law of Nemesis does find in him
dramatic expression, and the noble declaration put into the mouth of
Antigone concerning the unwritten laws of God that 'know no change and
are not of to-day nor yesterday, but must be obeyed in preference to
the temporary commandments of men,'[3] is a protest on behalf of
conscience against human oppression.  And even in Euripides, regarded
as an impious scoffer by some scholars,[4] there are not wanting,
especially in the example of Alcestis, evidence of belief in that
divine justice and moral order of which the virtues of self-devotion
and sacrifice in the soul of man are the witness.

Socrates was among the first teachers of antiquity who led the way to
that self-knowledge which is of the essence of conscience, and in the
'Daemon,' or inner voice, which he claimed to possess, some writers
have detected the trace {70} of the intuitive monitor of man.  Plato's
discussion of the question, 'What is the highest good?' involves the
capacity of moral judgment, and his conception of reason regulating
desire suggests a power in the mind whose function it is to point to
the highest good and to subordinate to it all the other impulses of
man.  In the ethics of Aristotle there is a reference to a faculty in
man or 'rule within,' which, he says, the beasts lack.

But it is among the Stoics that the word first appears; and it is to
the Roman moralist, Seneca, that we are indebted for the earlier
definite perception of an abiding consciousness bearing witness
concerning a man's own conduct.  The writings of Epictetus, Aurelius,
and Seneca approach in moral sublimity and searching self-analysis the
New Testament Scriptures.  It was probably to the Stoics that St. Paul
was indebted for the word _syneidêsis_ to which he has given so
distinctive a meaning that it has coloured and determined the whole
later history of the moral consciousness.

2.  But if the word as used in the New Testament comes from Greek
sources the idea itself was long prevalent in the Jewish conception of
life, which, even more than the Greek, was constitutive of, and
preparatory to, the Christian view.  The word does not, indeed, occur
in the Old Testament, but the question of God to Adam, 'Where art
thou?' the story of Cain and the curse he was to suffer for the murder
of his brother; the history of Joseph's dealing with his brethren; the
account of David's sin and conviction, are by implication appeals to
conscience.  Indeed, the whole history of Israel, from the time when
the promise was given to Abraham and the law through Moses until the
denunciations of wrong-doing and the predictions of doom of the later
prophets, is one long education of the moral sense.  It is the problem
of conscience that imparts its chief interest to the book of Job; and
one reason why the Psalms in all ages have been so highly prized is
because they are the cries of a wounded conscience, and the confessions
of a convicted and contrite heart.


3. If we turn to the New Testament we find, as we might expect, a much
clearer testimony to the reality of the conscience.  The word came into
the hands of the New Testament writers ready-made, but they gave to it
a richer meaning, so that it is to them we must go if we would
understand the nature and the supremacy of the conscience.  The term
occurs thirty-one times in the New Testament, but it does not appear
once in the Gospels.  It is, indeed, principally a Pauline expression,
and to the apostle of the Gentiles more than to any other writer is due
the clear conception and elucidation of the term.  It would be a
mistake, however, to assume that the doctrine itself depends entirely
upon the use of the word.  Our Lord never, indeed, employs the term,
but surely no teacher ever sounded the depths of the human heart as He
did.  It was His mission to reveal men to themselves, to convict them
of sin, and show the need of that life of righteousness and purity
which He came to give.  'Why even of yourselves,' He said, 'judge ye
not what is right?'  Christ, indeed, might be called the conscience of
man.  To awaken, renew and enlighten the moral sense of individuals, to
make them know what they were and what they were capable of becoming
was the work of the Son of Man, and in contact with Him every one was
morally unveiled.

The word occurs twice in Acts, five times in Hebrews, three times in
the Epistles of Peter, and more than twenty times in the Pauline
Epistles.  St. Paul's doctrine of the conscience is contained in Romans
ii. 14, 15, where he speaks of the Gentiles being 'a law unto
themselves,' inasmuch as they possess a 'law written in their hearts,'
'their conscience bearing witness, therewith accusing or excusing
them.'  The idea underlying the passage is the responsibility of all
men for their actions, their condemnation in sin, and their acceptance
in righteousness.  This applies to Gentiles as well as Jews, and it
applies to them because, though they have not the explicit revelation
of the law, they have a revelation of the good in their hearts.  The
passage therefore teaches two things: (1) That man has received a {72}
revelation of good sufficient at all stages of his history to make him
morally responsible; and (2) That man possesses a moral faculty which
indeed is not a separate power, but the whole moral consciousness or
personality in virtue of which he recognises and approves of the good
which, either as the law written in his heart or as the law
communicated in the Decalogue, has been revealed to him, and by whose
authority he judges himself.

II.  _Nature, and Origin of Conscience_.--While experience seems to
point to the existence of something in man witnessing to the right,
there is great diversity of view as to the nature of this moral
element.  The word 'Conscience' stands for a concept whose meaning is
far from well defined, and the lack of definiteness has left its trace
upon ethical theories.  While some moralists assign conscience to the
rational or intellectual side of man, and make it wholly a faculty of
judgment; others attribute it to feeling or impulse, and make it a
sense of pleasure or pain; others again associate it more closely with
the will, and regard its function to be legislative or imperative.
These differences of opinion reveal the complexity of the nature of
conscience.  The fact is, that it belongs to all these departments--the
intellectual, emotional, and volitional--and ought to be regarded not
as a single faculty distinct from the particular decisions, motives,
and acts of man, not as an activity foreign to the ego, but as the
expression of the whole personality.  The question of the origin of
conscience, though closely connected with its nature, is for ethics
only of secondary importance.  It is desirable, however, to indicate
the two main theories which have been held regarding its genesis.
While there are several varieties, they may be divided broadly into
two--Intuitionalism and Evolutionalism.

1.  _Nativism_, of which Intuitionalism is the most common form,
regards the conscience as a separate natural endowment, coeval with the
creation of man.  Every individual, it is maintained, has been endowed
by nature with a distinct faculty or organ by which he can immediately
and clearly {73} pronounce upon the rightness or wrongness of his own
actions.  In its most pronounced form this theory maintains that man
has not merely a general consciousness of moral distinctions, but
possesses from the very first, apart from all experience and education,
a definite and clear knowledge of the particular vices which ought to
be avoided and the particular virtues which ought to be practised.
This theory is usually connected with a form of theism which maintains
that the conscience is particularly a divine gift, and is, indeed,
God's special witness or oracle in the heart of man.

Though there would seem to be an element of truth in intuitionalism,
since man, to be man at all, must be conceived as made for God and
having that in him which points to the end or ideal of his being, still
in its most extreme form it would not be difficult to show that this
theory is untenable.  It is objectionable, because it involves two
assumptions, of which the one conflicts with experience, and the other
with the psychological nature of man.

(1) Experience gives us no warrant for supposing that duty is always
the same, and that conscience is therefore exempt from change.  History
shows rather that moral convictions only gradually emerge, and that the
laws and customs of one age are often repudiated by the next.  What may
seem right to one man is no longer so to his descendant.  History
records deeds committed in one generation in the name of conscience
which in the same name a later generation has condemned with horror.
Moreover, the possibility of a conflict between duties proves that
unconditional truth exists at no stage of moral development.  There is
no law so sacred that it may not in special cases have to yield to the
sacredness of a higher law.  When duties conflict, our choice cannot be
determined by any _a priori_ principle residing in ourselves.  It must
be governed by that wider conception of the moral life which is to be
gained through one's previous development, and on the basis of a ripe
moral experience.[5]  (2) Nor is this theory consistent with {74} the
known nature of man.  We know of no separate and independent organ
called conscience.  Man must not be divided against himself.  Reason
and feeling enter into all acts of will, since these are not processes
different in kind, but elements of voluntary activity itself and
inseparable from it.  It is impossible for a man to be determined in
his actions or judgments by a mere external formula of duty, a
'categorical imperative,' as Kant calls it, apart from motives.
Moreover, all endowments may be regarded as divine gifts, and it is a
precarious position to claim for one faculty a spiritually divine or
supernatural origin which is denied to others.  Man is related to God
in his whole nature.  The view which regards the law of duty as
something foreign to man, stern and unchangeable in its decrees, and in
nowise dependent upon the gradual development and growing content of
the moral life is not consistent either with history or psychology.

2.  _Evolutionalism_, which since the time of Darwin has been applied
by Spencer and others to account for the growth of our moral ideas,
holds that conscience is the result of a process of development, but
does not limit the process to the life of the individual.  It extends
to the experience of the race.  While admitting the existence of
conscience as a moral faculty in the rational man of to-day, it holds
that it did not exist in his primitive ancestors.  Earlier individuals
accumulated a certain amount of experience and moral knowledge, the
result of which, as a habit or acquired capacity, was handed down to
their successors.  From the first man has been a member of society, and
is what he is in virtue of his relation to it.  All that makes him man,
all his powers of body and mind, are inherited.  His instincts and
desires, which are the springs of action, are themselves the creation
of heredity, association and environment.  The individual takes its
shape at every point from its relation to the social organism of which
it is a part.  What man really seeks from the earliest is satisfaction.
'No school,' says Mr. Spencer, 'can avoid taking for the ultimate moral
aim a desirable {75} state of feeling.'[6]  Prolonged experience of
pleasure in connection with actions which serve social ends has
resulted in certain physiological changes in the brain and nervous
system rendering these actions constant.  Thus, according to Spencer,
is begotten conscience.

While acknowledging the service which the evolutionary theory has done
in calling attention to the place and function of experience and social
environment in the development of the moral life, and in showing that
moral judgment, like every other capacity, must participate in the
gradual unfolding of personality, as a conclusive explanation of
conscience it must be pronounced insufficient.  Press the analysis of
sensation as far back as we please, and make an analysis of instincts
and feelings as detailed as possible, we never get in man a mere
sensation, as we find it in the lower animal; it is always sensation
related to, and modified by, a self.  In the simplest human instincts
there is always a spiritual element which is the basis of the
possibility at once of knowledge and morality.  'That countless
generations,' says Green, 'should have passed during which a
transmitted organism was progressively modified by reaction on its
surroundings, by struggle for existence or otherwise, till its
functions became such that an eternal consciousness could realise or
produce itself through them--might add to the wonder with which the
consideration of what we do and are must always fill us, but it could
not alter the results of that consideration.'[7]

No process of evolution, even though it draws upon illimitable ages,
can evolve what was not already present in the form of a spiritual
potency.  The empiric treatment of conscience as the result of social
environment and culture leads inevitably back to the assumption of some
rudimentary moral consciousness without which the development of a
moral sense would be an impossibility.  The history of mankind,
moreover, shows that conscience, so far from being merely the reflex of
the prevailing customs and institutions of a particular age, has
frequently {76} closed its special character by reacting upon and
protesting against the recognised traditions of society.  The
individual conscience has often been in advance of its times; and the
progress of man has been secured as much by the champions of liberty as
by those who conform to accepted customs.  In all moral advance there
comes a stage when, in the conflict of habit and principle, conscience
asserts itself, not only in revealing a higher ideal, but in urging men
to seek it.

III.  _The Validity and Witness of Conscience_.--It is not, however,
with the origin of conscience, but with its capacities and functions in
its developed state that Ethics is primarily concerned.  The beginning
must be interpreted by the end, and the process by the result to which
it tends.

1.  The Christian doctrine is committed neither to the intuitional nor
the evolutionist theory, but rather may be said to reconcile both by
retaining that which is true in each.  While it holds to the inherent
ability on the part of a being made in God's image to recognise at the
different stages of his growth and development God's will as it has
been progressively revealed, it avoids the necessity of conceiving man
as possessing from the very beginning a full-fledged organ of
infallible authority.  The conscience participates in man's general
progress and enlightenment.  Nor can the moral development of the
individual be held separate from the moral development of the race.  As
there is a moral solidarity of mankind, so the individual conscience is
conditional by the social conscience.  The individual does not start in
life with a full-grown moral apparatus any more than he starts with a
matured physical frame.  The most distinctively spiritual attainments
of man have their antecedents in less human and more animal capacities.
As there is a continuity of human life, so individuals and peoples
inherit the moral assets of previous generations, and incorporate in
their experience all past attainments.  Conscience is involved in man's
moral history.  It suffers in his sin and alienation from God, becoming
clouded in its insight and feeble in its testimony, but it shares also
in his {77} spiritual advancement, growing more sensitive and decisive
in its judgments.

(1) Conscience, as the New Testament teaches, can be _perverted_ and
debased.  It is always open to a free agent to disobey his conscience
and reject its authority.  On the intuitional theory, which regards the
conscience as a separable and independent faculty, it would be
difficult to vindicate the terrible consequences of such conduct.  It
is because the conscience is the man himself as related to the
consciousness of the divine will that the effects are so injurious.
Conscience may be (_a_) _Stained_, defiled, and polluted in its very
texture (1 Cor. viii. 7); (_b_) _Branded_ or seared (1 Tim. iv. 2),
rendered insensible to all feeling for good; (_c_) _Perverted_, in
which the very light within becomes darkness.  In this last stage the
man calls evil good and good evil--the very springs of his nature are
poisoned and the avenues of his soul are closed.

  'This is death, and the sole death,
  When man's loss comes to him from his gain.'[8]

(2) But if conscience can be perverted it may also be _improved_.  The
education is twofold, social and individual.  Through society, says
Green, personality is actualised.  'No individual can make a conscience
for himself.  He always needs a society to make it for him.'[9]  There
is no such thing as a purely individual conscience.  Man can only
realise himself, come to his best, in relation to others.  The
conditions amid which a man is born and reared--the home, the school,
the church, the state--are the means by which the conscience is
exercised and educated.  But the individual is not passive.  He has
also a part to play; and the whole task of man may be regarded as an
endeavour to make his conscience effective in life.  The New Testament
writers refrain from speaking of the conscience as an unerring and
perfect organ.  Their language implies rather the possibility of its
gradual enlightenment; and St. Paul specially dwells upon the necessity
of 'growing in spiritual {78} knowledge and perception.'  As life
advances moral judgment may be modified and corrected by fuller
knowledge, and the perception of a particular form of conduct as good
may yield to the experience of something better.

2.  'It is one of the most wonderful things,' says Professor Wundt,
'about moral development, that it unites so many conditions of
subordinate value in the accomplishment of higher results,'[10] and the
worth of morality is not endangered because the grounds of its
realisation in special cases do not always correspond in elevation to
the moral ideas.  The conscience is not an independent faculty which
issues its mandates irrespective of experience.  Its judgments are
always conditioned by motives.  The moral imperatives of conscience may
be grouped under four heads:[11] (1) _External constraints_, including
all forms of punishment for immoral actions and the social
disadvantages which such actions involve.  These can only produce the
lowest grade of morality, outward propriety, the mere appearance of
virtue which has only a negative value in so far as it avoids what is
morally offensive.  (2) _Internal constraints_, consisting of
influences excited by the example of others, by public opinion and
habits formed through education and training.  (3) _Self-satisfaction_,
originating in the agent's own consciousness.  It may be a sense of
pleasure or feeling of self-approbation: or higher still, the idea of
duty for its own sake, commonly called 'conscientiousness.'  (4) _The
ideal of life_, the highest imperative of conscience.  Here the
nobility of life, as a whole, the supreme life-purpose, gives meaning
and incentive to each and every action.  The ideal of life is not,
however, something static and completed, given once and for all.  It
grows with the enlightenment of the individual and the development of
humanity.  The consciousness of every age comprehends it in certain
laws and ends of life.  The highest form of the ideal finds its
embodiment in what are called noble characters.  These ethical heroes
rise, in rare and exceptional circumstances, above the ordinary level
of {79} common morality, gathering up into themselves the entire moral
development of the past, and radiating their influence into the
remotest distances of the future.  They are the embodiments of the
conscience of the race, at once the standard and challenge of the moral
life of mankind, whose influence awakens the slumbering aspirations of
men, and whose creative genius affects the whole history of the world,
lifting it to higher levels of thought and endeavour.

The supreme example--unique, however, both in kind and degree, and
differing by its uniqueness from every other life which has in some
measure approximated to the ideal--is disclosed in Jesus Christ.  Thus
it is that the moral consciousness of the world generally and of the
individual in particular, of which the conscience is the organ and
expression, develops from less to more, under the influence of the
successive imperatives of conduct, till finally it attains to the
vision of the greatness of life as it is revealed in its supreme and
all-commanding ideal.[12]

3.  Finally, in this connection the question of the _permanence of
conscience_ may be referred to.  Is the ultimate of life a state in
which conscience will pervade every department of a man's being,
dominating all his thoughts and activities? or is the ideal condition
one in which conscience shall be outgrown and its operation rendered
superfluous?  A recent writer on Christian ethics[13] makes the
remarkable statement that where there is no sense of sin conscience has
no function, and he draws the inference that where there is complete
normality and perfect moral health conscience will be in abeyance.
Satan, inasmuch as he lacks all moral instinct, can know nothing of
conscience; and, because of His sinlessness, Jesus must also be
pronounced conscienceless.  Hence the paradox attributed to
Machiavelli: 'He who is without conscience is either a Christ or a
devil.'  But though it is true that the Son of Man had no actual
experience of sin, and could not, indeed, feel remorse or contrition,
yet in so far as He was man there was in Him {80} the possibility of
sin, and in the intimate relation which He bore to the human race He
had a most accurate and clear knowledge both of the meaning and
consequences of evil.  So far from saying that Christ had no
conscience, it would be nearer the truth to say that He had a perfect
conscience, a personality and fullness of consciousness which was a
complete reflection of, and harmony with, the highest conceivable good.
The confusion of thought into which Professor Lemme seems to fall is
due, we cannot help thinking, to the too restricted and negative
signification he gives to conscience.  Conscience is not merely the
faculty of reproving and approving one's own conduct when brought into
relation with actual sin.  It is involved in every moral judgment.  A
good conscience is not only the absence of an evil one.  It has also a
positive sanctioning value.  The 'ought' of life is constantly present.
It is the whole man ever conscious of, and confronted by, his ideal
self.  The conscience participates in man's gradual progress and
enlightenment; so far from the individual growing towards a condition
in which self-judgment ceases, he is progressing rather in moral
discernment, and becoming more and more responsive to the will of Him
whose impress and image he bears upon his soul.

The tendency of modern physiological accounts of conscience has been to
undermine its authority and empty life of its responsibility, but no
theory of the origin of conscience must be permitted to invalidate its
judgments.  If conscience has any moral worth it is that it contains
the promise and witness of God.  The prime question is, What is the
nature of its testimony?  According to the teaching of Scripture it
bears witness to the existence of a higher than man--to a divine Person
with whom he is spiritually akin and to whom he is accountable.

'God's most intimate presence in the soul.'  As the revelation of God's
will grows clearer man's ideal becomes loftier.  Hence a man's
conscience is the measure of his moral life.  It reveals God, and in
the light of God reveals man to himself.  We carry a 'forever' within
our bosom, {81} 'ein Gott in unserer Brust,'[14] as Goethe says, which
reminds us that even while denizens of this earth we are citizens of
heaven and the sharers of an eternal life.  Like another John the
Baptist, conscience points to one greater than itself.  It emphasises
the discord that exists between the various parts of man's nature, a
discord which it condemns but cannot remove.  It can judge, but it
cannot compel.  Hence it places man before Christ, and bids him yield
to the sway of a new transforming power.  As one has finely said, 'He
who has implanted in every breast such irrefragible testimony to the
right, and such unappeasable yearnings for its complete triumph, now
comes in His own perfect way to reveal Himself as the Lord of
conscience, the Guide of its perplexities, the Strength of its weakness
and the Perfecter of its highest hopes.'[15]

[1] Davidson, _The Christian Conscience_.

[2] Cf. Symonds, _Studies of Greek Poets_, first series, p. 191.

[3] _Antigone_, Plumptre's Trans., 455-9.

[4] Cf. Bunsen, _God in History_, vol. ii. p. 224; also Campbell,
_Religion in Greek Literature_.

[5] Cf. Wundt, _Ethik_, vol. ii. p. 66.

[6] _Data of Ethics_, p. 18.

[7] _Proleg._, section 83.

[8] Browning.

[9] _Proleg._, section 321.

[10] _Ethik_, vol. ii. p. 66.

[11] _Idem_.

[12] Cf. Wundt, _Ethik_, vol. ii. pp. 67-74.

[13] Lemme, _Christliche Ethik_, vol. i.

[14] _Tasso_, act iii. scene 2.

[15] Davidson, _The Christian Conscience_, p. 113.




Closely connected with the conscience as a moral capacity is the power of
self-determination, or as it is popularly called--free-will.  If
conscience is the manifestation of man as knowing, will is more
especially his manifestation as a being who acts.  The subject which we
now approach presents at once a problem and a task.  The nature of
freedom has been keenly debated from the earliest times, and the history
of the problem of the will is almost the history of philosophy.  The
practical question which arises is whether the individual has any power
by which the gulf between the natural and the spiritual can be
transcended.  Can man choose and decide for a spiritual world above that
in which he is by nature involved?  The revelation of the good must,
indeed, precede the activity of man.  But at the same time the change
cannot merely happen to him.  He cannot simply be a passive recipient.
The new life must be taken up by his own activity, and be made his by his
own decision and acceptance.  This responsive activity on the part of man
is the task which life presents to the will.

Much obviously depends upon the answer we are able to give to this
question.  If man has no power of choice, no capacity of
self-determination, and is nothing more than a part of the natural world,
then the ethical life is at once ruled out of court.

The difficulties connected with the problem of moral freedom resolve
themselves mainly into three: a scientific, a psychological, and a


I.  On the part of natural science it is claimed that man is subject,
like everything else, to physical necessity.

II.  From the psychological standpoint it is urged that man's actions are
always determined by the strongest motive.

III.  On the theological side it is alleged that human freedom is
incompatible with divine Sovereignty.  A complete doctrine of freedom
would require to be examined in the light of these three objections.  For
our purpose it will be sufficient to indicate briefly the value of these
difficulties, and the manner in which they may be met.


The wonderful progress of the natural sciences in the second half of the
nineteenth century has tended to banish the old idea of freedom from the
realm of experience.  Science, it is maintained, clearly shows that man
belongs to a great world-movement, in relation to which his whole life
and work are completely determined.  Though even in earlier ages, and
especially in Stoic philosophy, this conception of life was not ignored,
it is more particularly in recent times, under the influence of the
evolutionary theory, that the idea of determination has been applied with
relentless insistence to the structure of the soul.  There is, it is
alleged, no room for change or spontaneity.  Everything, down to the
minutest impulse, depends upon something else, and proceeds from a
definite cause.  The idea of choice is simply the remnant of an
unscientific mode of thinking.  It might be sufficient to reply that in
thus reducing life and experience to a necessary part of a world-whole,
more is surrendered than even science is willing to yield.  The freedom
which some writers reject in the interests of science they attempt to
introduce in an altered form.  Why are these philosophers so anxious to
conserve the ethical consequences of life?  Is it not because they feel
that there is something in man which will not fit into a rigid
world-mechanism, and that conduct would cease {84} to have moral worth if
life were reduced to a causal series of happenings?  But it may be
further argued that, if the mechanical conception of life, which reduces
the spiritual to the natural, were consistently carried out it would lead
not merely to the destruction of the moral life, but to the destruction
of science itself.  If man is merely a part of nature, subject entirely
to nature's law, then the realities of the higher life--love,
self-sacrifice, devotion to ends beyond ourselves--must be radically
re-interpreted or regarded simply as illusions.  But it is also true that
from this standpoint science itself is an illusion.  For if reality lies
only in the passing impressions of our sensible nature, the claim of
science to find valid truth must end in the denial of the very
possibility of knowledge.  Does not the very existence of physical
science imply the priority of thought?  While in one sense it may be
conceded that man is a part of nature, does not the truth, which cannot
be gainsaid, that he is aware of the fact, prove a certain priority and
power which differentiates him from all other phenomena of the universe?
If he is a link in the chain of being, he is at least a link which is
conscious of what he is.  He is a being who knows himself, indeed,
through the objective world, but also realises himself only as he makes
himself its master and the agent of a divine purpose to which all things
are contributing, and for which all things exist.  In all our reasoning
and endeavour we must start from the unity of the self-conscious soul.
Whatever we can either know or achieve, is _our_ truth, _our_ act
presented in and through our self-consciousness.  It is impossible for us
to conceive any standard of truth or object of desire outside of our
experience.  As a thinking and acting being man pursues ends, and has the
consciousness that they are his own ends, subject to his own choice and
control.  It is always the self that the soul seeks; and the will is
nothing else than the man making and finding for himself another world.

The attempt has recently been made to measure mental states by their
physical stimuli and explain mental {85} processes by cerebral reaction.
It is true that certain physical phenomena seem to be invariably
antecedent to thought, but so far science has been unable to exhibit the
form of nexus between these physical antecedents and ideas.  Even if the
knowledge of the topography of the brain were immeasurably more advanced
than it now is, even though we could observe the vast network of
nerve-fibres and filaments of which the brain is composed, and could
discern the actual changes in brain-cells under nerve stimulations, we
should still be a long way off from understanding the nature and genesis
of ideas which can only be known to us as immediate in their own quality.
All that we can ever affirm is that a certain physical excitation is the
antecedent of thought.  It is illegitimate to say that it is the 'cause'
of thought; unless, indeed, the word 'cause' be invested with no other
meaning than that which is involved in such a conception.  It is,
however, in a very general way only, and within an exceedingly narrow
range, that such measurement is possible.  We do not even know at present
what nerves correspond to the sensations of heat and cold, pain and joy;
and all attempts to localise will-centres have proved unavailing.

The finer and more delicate feelings cannot be gauged.  But even though
the alleged parallelism were entirely demonstrated, the immediate and
pertinent question would still remain, Who or what is the investigator?
Is it an ego, a thinking self? or is it only a complex of vibrations or
mechanical impressions bound together in a particular body which, for
convenience, is called an ego?  Are the so-called entities--personality,
consciousness, self--but symbols, as Professor Mach says, useful in so
far as they help us to express our physical sensations, but which with
further research must be pronounced illusions?[1]  Monistic naturalism,
which would explain all psychical experiences in terms of cerebral
action, must not be allowed to arrogate to itself powers which it does
not possess, and quietly brush {86} aside facts which do not fit into its
system.  The moral sanctions so universally and deeply rooted in the
consciousness of mankind, the feelings of responsibility, of guilt and
regret; the soul's fidelities and heroisms, its hopes and fears, its aims
and ideals--the poetry, art, and religion that have made man what he is,
all that has contributed to the uplifting of the world--are, to say the
least, unaccounted for, if it must be held that 'man is born in chains.'
Primary facts must not be surrendered nor ultimate experiences sacrificed
in the interests of theoretic simplicity.  In the recent
anti-metaphysical movement of Germany, of which Haeckel, Avenarius,
Oswald and Mach are representatives, there is presented the final
conflict.  It is not freedom of will only that is at stake, it is the
very existence of a spiritual world.  'Es ist der Kampf um die Seele.'[2]

If the world forms a closed and 'given' system in which every particular
is determined completely by its position in the whole, then there can be
no place for spontaneity, initiative, creation, which all investigation
shows to be the distinctive feature in human progress and upward
movement.  So far from its being true that the world makes man, it would
be nearer the truth to say that man makes the world.  A 'given' world can
never be primary.[3]  There must be a mind behind it.  We fall back,
therefore, upon the principle which must be postulated in the whole
discussion--the unity and self-determining activity of the self-conscious


We may now proceed to the second problem of the will, the objection that
human action is determined by motives, and that what we call freedom is
nothing else than the necessary result of the pressure of motives upon
the will.  In other words, the conduct of the individual is always
determined by the strongest motive.  It will be seen on examination that
this objection is just another form of that which we have already
considered.  Indeed, the {87} analogy of mechanical power is frequently
applied to the motives of the will.  Diverse motives have been compared
to different forces which meet in one centre, and it is supposed that the
result in action is determined by the united pressure of these various
motives.  Now it may be freely admitted at the outset that the individual
never acts except under certain influences.  An uninfluenced man, an
unbiassed character cannot exist.  Not for one moment do we escape the
environment, material and moral, which stimulates our inner life to
reaction and response.  It is not contended that a man is independent of
all motives.  What we do affirm is that the self-realising potentiality
of personality is present throughout.  Much of the confusion of thought
in connection with this subject arises from a false and inadequate notion
of personality.  Personality is the whole man, all that his past history,
present circumstances and future aims have made him, the result of all
that the world of which he is a part has contributed to his experience.
His bodily sensations, his mental acts, his desires and motives are not
detached and extraneous forces acting on him from without, but elements
which constitute his whole being.  The person, in other words, is the
visible or tangible phenomenon of something inward--the phase or function
by which an individual agent takes his place in the common world of human
intercourse and interaction, and plays his peculiar and definite part in
life.[4]  But this totality of consciousness, so far from reducing man to
a 'mere manufactured article,' gives to personality its unique
distinction.  By personality all things are dominated.  'Other things
exist, so to speak, for the sake of their kind and for the sake of other
things: a person is never a mere means to something beyond, but always at
the same time an end in himself.  He has the royal and divine right of
creating law, of starting by his exception a new law which shall
henceforth be a canon and a standard.'[5]


The objection to the freedom of the will which we are now considering may
be best appreciated if we examine briefly the two extreme theories which
have been maintained on the subject.  On the one hand, _determinism_ or,
as it is sometimes called, necessitarianism, holds that all our actions
are conditioned by law--the so-called motive that influences a man's
conduct is simply a link in a chain of occurrences of which his act is
the last.  The future has no possibilities hidden in its womb.  I am
simply what the past has made me.  My circumstances are given, and my
character is simply the necessary resultant of the natural forces that
act upon me.  On the other hand, _indeterminism_, or libertarianism,
insists upon absolute liberty of choice of the individual, and denies
that necessity or continuity determines conduct.  Of two alternatives
both may now be really possible.  You can never predict what will be, nor
lay down absolutely what a man will do.  The world is not a finished and
fixed whole.  It admits of infinite possibilities, and instead of the
volition I have actually made, I could just as easily have made a
different one.

Without entering upon a detailed criticism of these two positions, it may
be said that both contain an element of truth and are not so
contradictory as they seem.  On the one hand, all the various factors of
the complex will may seem to be determined by something that lies beyond
our control, and thus our will itself be really determined.  But, on the
other hand, moral continuity in its last analysis is only a half truth,
and must find its complement in the recognition of the possibilities of
new beginnings.  The very nature of moral action implies, as Lotze has
said, that new factors may enter into the stream of causal sequence, and
that even though a man's life may be, and must be, largely conditioned by
his circumstances, his activity may be really originative and free.  What
the determinists seem to forget is, as Green says, that 'character is
only formed through a man's conscious presentation to himself of objects
as _his_ good, as that in which his self-satisfaction is found.'[6] {89}
Desires are always for objects which have a value for the individual.  A
man's real character is reflected in his desires, and it is not that he
is moved by some outside abstract force, which, being the strongest, he
cannot resist, but it is because he puts _himself_ into the desire or
motive that it becomes the strongest, the one which he chooses to follow.
My motives are really part of myself, of which all my actions are the
outcome.  Human desires, in short, are not merely external tendencies
forcing a man this way or that way.  They are a part of the man himself,
and are always directed towards objects related to a self; and it is the
satisfaction of self that makes them desirable.

On the other hand, the fallacy lurking in the libertarian view arises
from the fact that it also makes a hard and fast distinction between the
self and the will.  The indeterminists speak as if the self had amongst
its several faculties a will which is free in the sense of being able to
act independently of all desires and motives.  But, as a matter of fact,
the will, as we have said, is simply the man, and it cannot be separated
from his history, his character, and the objects which his character
desires.  To speak, as people sometimes do in popular language, of being
free to do as they like--that is, to be influenced by no motive whatever,
is not only an idea absurd in itself, but one which, if pushed to its
consequences, would be subversive of all freedom, and consequently of all
moral value.  'The liberty of indifference,' if the phrase means anything
at all, implies not merely that the agent is free from all external
compulsion, but that he is free from himself, not determined even by his
own character.  And if we ask what it really is that causes him to act,
it must be answered, some caprice of the moment, some accidental impulse
or arbitrary freak of fancy.  The late Professor James makes a valiant
attempt to solve the 'dilemma of determinism' by resorting to the idea of
'chance' which he defines as a 'purely relative term, giving us no
information about that which is predicated, except that it happens to be
disconnected with something else--not controlled, secured or {90}
necessitated by other things in advance of its own actual presence.'[7]
'On my way home,' he says, 'I can choose either of two ways'; and suppose
'the choice is made twice over and each time falls on a different
street.'  'Imagine that I first walk through Divinity Avenue, and then am
set again at the door of this hall just as I was before the choice was
made.  Imagine then that, _everything else being the same_,[8] I now make
a different choice and traverse Oxford Street.  Looking outwardly at
these universes of which my two acts are a part, can you say which is the
impossible and accidental one and which the rational and necessary one?'
Perhaps an outsider could not say, but Professor James, if he examined
his reasons, could say.  He assumes that 'everything else is the same.'
But that is just what cannot be.  A new factor has been introduced, it
may be a whim, a sudden impulse, perhaps even a desire to upset
calculation--a something in his character in virtue of which his second
choice is different from his first.  It is an utter misnomer to call it
'chance.'  Even though he had tossed a coin and acted on the throw, his
action would still be determined by the kind of man he was.

Let us not seek to defend freedom on inadequate grounds, or contend for a
spurious liberty.  No view of the subject should indeed debar us from
acknowledging 'changes in heart and life,' but a misunderstanding of the
doctrine of freedom may tend to paralyse moral initiative.  The attempt
to sunder the will and the understanding and discover the source of
freedom in the realm of the emotions, as the voluntarists seek to do,
cannot be regarded as satisfactory or sound philosophy.  In separating
faith and knowledge the Ritschlian school tends to make subjective
feeling the measure of truth and life; while recent psychological
experiments in America with the phenomena of faith-healing, hypnotism and
suggestion, claim to have discovered hitherto unsuspected potencies of
the will.  This line of thought has been welcomed by many as a relief
from the mechanical theory of life and as a witness to moral {91} freedom
and Christian hope.  But so far from proving the sovereignty and autonomy
of the will, it discloses rather the possibilities of its abject bondage
and thraldom.

No one can doubt the facts which Professor James and others, working from
the side of religious psychology, have recently established, or discredit
the instances of conversion to which the annals of the Christian life so
abundantly testify.  But even conversion must not be regarded as a change
without motives.  There must be some connection between motive, character
and act, otherwise the new spiritual experience would be simply a magical
happening lacking all moral significance.  If there were no continuity of
consciousness, if I could be something to-day irrespective of what I was
yesterday, then all we signify by contrition, penitence, and shame would
have no real meaning.  Even the grace of God works through natural
channels and human influences.  The past is not so much obliterated, as
taken up into the new life and transfigured with a new value.

The truth of spontaneity and initiative in life has lately found in M.
Bergson a fresh and vigorous advocacy, and we cannot be too grateful to
that profound thinker for his reassertion of some neglected aspects of
freedom and his philosophical vindication of the doctrine which puts it
in a new position of prominence and security.  'Life is Creation.'
'Reality is a perpetual growth, a Creation pursued without end.'  'Our
will performs this miracle.'  'Every human work in which there is
invention, every movement that manifests spontaneity brings something new
into the world.  In the composition of the work of genius, as in a simple
free decision, we create what no mere assemblage of materials could have
given.'[9]  But yet he says that 'life cannot create absolutely because
it is confronted with matter. . . .  But it seizes upon this matter which
is necessity itself, and strives to introduce into it the greatest
possible amount of indetermination and liberty.'[10]  Even Bergson,
though he emphasises so strongly immediacy and incalculableness in {92}
all human action, cannot deny that the bodily arrangements and mechanisms
are at least the basis of the working of the soul.  Man cannot produce
any change in the world except in strict co-ordination with the forces
and qualities of material things.  The idea in his consciousness is
powerless save in so far as it is a guide to combinations and
modifications which are latent in reality.  The man who works with his
hands does not create out of nothing a new totality.  Even genius is
conditioned by the elements he works with and upon.  He can do nothing
with his materials beyond what it is in themselves to yield.  This sense
of co-operation is strongly marked in the higher grades of activity.  The
world may be in the making, as Bergson says, but it is being made of
possibilities already inherent in it.  Life may be incalculable, and you
can never know beforehand what a great man, indeed, what any man may
achieve, but even the originality of a Leonardo or a Beethoven cannot
effect the impossible or contradict the order of nature.  The sculptor
feels that the statue is already lying in the marble awaiting only his
creative touch to bring it forth.  The metal is alive in the worker's
hands, coaxing him to make of it something beautiful.[11]  Purpose does
not come out of an empty mind.  Freedom and initiative never begin
entirely _de novo_.  Life is a 'creation,' but it is also, as M. Bergson
labours to prove, an 'evolution.'  Our ideals are made out of realities.
Our heaven must be shaped out of the materials of our earth.

A moral personality is a self-conscious, self-determining being.  But
that is only half the reality.  The other half is that it is a
self-determining consciousness _in a world_.  As Bergson is careful to
tell us, the shape and extent of self-consciousness are determined by our
relation to a world which acts upon us and upon which we act.  Without a
world in which we had personal business we should have no

The co-operation of spontaneity and necessity is implied {93} in every
true idea of freedom.  If a man were the subject of necessity alone he
would be merely the creature of mechanical causation.  If he had the
power of spontaneity only his so-called freedom would be a thing of
caprice.  Necessity means simply that man is conditioned by the world in
which he lives.  Spontaneity means, not that he can conjure up at a wish
a dream-world of no conditions, but that he is not determined by anything
outside of himself, since the very conditions amid which he is placed may
be transmuted by him into elements of his own character.  Moral decisions
are never isolated from ideals and tasks presented by our surroundings.
The self cannot act on any impulse however external till the impulse has
transplanted itself within and become our motive.

'Our life,' says Eucken, 'is a conflict between fate and freedom, between
being "given" and spontaneity.  Spiritual individuality does not come to
any one, but has first to be won by the work of life, elevating that
which destiny brings. . . .  The idea of freedom calls man to independent
co-operation in the conflict of the worlds.  It gives to the simply human
and apparently commonplace an incomparable greatness.  However powerful
destiny may be, it does not determine man entirely: for even in
opposition to it there is liberation from it.'[12]


It will not be necessary to dwell at any length on the third
difficulty--the incompatibility of divine sovereignty and grace with
moral personality.

How to reconcile divine power and human freedom is the great problem
which meets us on the very threshold of the study of man's relation to
God.  The solution, in so far as it is possible for the mind, must be
sought in the divine immanence.  God works through man, and man acts
through God.  Reason, conscience, and will are equally the testimony to
God's indwelling in man and man's {94} indwelling in God.  It is, as St.
Paul says, God who worketh in us both to will and to do.  But just
because of that inherent power, it is we who work out our own character
and destiny.  The divine is not introduced into human life at particular
points or in exceptional crises only.  Every man has something of the
divine in him, and when he is truest to himself he is most at one with
God.  The whole meaning of human personality is a growing realisation of
the divine personality.  God's sovereignty has no meaning except in
relation to a world of which He is sovereign, and His purposes can only
be fulfilled through human agency.  While His thoughts far transcend in
wisdom and sublimity those of His creatures they must be in a sense of
the same kind--thoughts, in other words, which beings made in His image
can receive, love and, in a measure, share.  And though God cannot be
conceived as the author of evil, He may permit it and work through it,
bringing order out of chaos, and evolving through suffering and conflict
His sovereign purposes.

The problem becomes acutest when we endeavour to harmonise the antinomy
of man's moral freedom and the doctrine of grace.  However insoluble the
mystery, it is not lessened by denying one side in the interest of unity.
Scripture boldly affirms both truths.  No writer insists more strenuously
than the Apostle Paul on the sovereign election of God, yet none presents
with greater fervour the free offer of salvation.  In his ethical
teaching, at least, Paul is no determinist.  Freedom is the distinctive
note of his conception of life.  Life is a great and solemn trust
committed to each by God, for the use or abuse of which every man will be
called to account.  His missionary zeal would have no meaning if he did
not believe that men were free to accept or refuse his message.  Paul's
own example, indeed, is typical, and while he knew that he was 'called,'
he knew, too, that it lay with him to yield himself and present his life
as a living sacrifice to God.  Jesus, too, throughout His ministry,
assumed the ability of man freely to accept His call to righteousness,
and though He speaks {95} of the change as a 'new birth,' a creation from
above, beyond the strength of man to effect, He invariably makes His
appeal to the will--'Follow Me,' 'Come unto Me.' He assumes in all His
dealings with individuals that they have the power of decision.  And so
far from admitting that the past could not be undone, and no chain of
habit broken, the whole purpose of His message and lifework was to
proclaim the need and possibility of a radical change in life.  So full
of hope was He for man that He despaired of none, not even of those who
had most grievously failed, or most utterly turned their back on purity.
The parables in the Third Gospel of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and
the lost son lay emphasis upon the possibility of recovery, and, in the
case of the prodigal, specially on the ability to return for those who
have gone astray.

The teaching of Scripture implies that while God is the source of all
spiritual good, and divine grace must be present with and precede all
rightful action of the human will, it rests with man to respond to the
divine love.  No human soul is left destitute of the visiting of God's
spirit, and however rudimentary the moral life may be, no bounds can be
set to the growth which may, and which God intends should, result
wherever the human will is consentient.  While, therefore, no man can
claim merit in the sight of God, but must acknowledge his absolute
dependency upon divine grace, no one can escape loss or blame if he
wilfully frustrates God's design of mercy.  Whatever mystery may attend
the subject of God's sovereign grace, the Bible never presents it as
negating the entire freedom of man to give or withhold response to the
gift and leading of the divine spirit.

In the deepest New Testament sense to be free is to have the power of
acting according to one's true nature.  A man's ideal is his true self,
and all short of that is for him a limitation of freedom.  Inasmuch as no
ideal is ever completely realised, true freedom is not so much a
possession as a progressive appropriation.  It is at once a gift and a
task.  It contains the twofold idea of emancipation {96} and submission.
Mere deliverance from the lower self is not liberty.  Freedom must be
completed by the appropriation of the higher self and the acceptance of
the obligations which that self involves.  It is to be acquired through
submission to the truth.  'Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall
make you free.'  A man is never so free as when he is the bondsman of
Christ.  The saying of St. Paul sums up the secret and essence of all
true freedom: 'The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me
free from the law of sin and death.'

[1] Mach, _Erkenntniss und Irrtum_.  Vorwort.  See also _Die Analyse der
Empfindungen_, p. 20.  'Das Sich ist unrettbar,' he says.

[2] Cf. W. Schmidt, _Der Kampf um die Seele_, p. 13.

[3] Cf. Eucken.

[4] Cf. Wallace, _Logic of Hegel, Proleg._, p. 233.

[5] Wallace, _Idem_, p. 235.  Cf. Aristotle's wise man whose conduct is
not _kata logon_ but _meta logon_.

[6] _Proleg._, section 108.

[7] _The Will to Believe_, p. 154.

[8] _The italics are ours_.

[9] _Creative Evolution_ (Eng. trans.), p. 252.

[10] _Idem_, p. 265.

[11] Cf. Morris, _Lects. on Art_, p. 195; Bosanquet, _Hist. of
Aesthetic_, p. 445; also _Individuality and Value_, p. 166.

[12] _Life's Basis and Life's Ideals_, p. 181 f.







Bearing in mind the three fundamental ideas lying at the root of all
ethical inquiry--End, Norm, and Motive--we have now to deal with the
shaping forces of the Christian life, the making of character.  In this
section, therefore, we shall be engaged in a discussion of the ideals,
laws, and springs of moral action.  And first, What is the supreme good?
What is the highest for which a man should live?  This question
determines the main problem of life.  It forces itself irresistibly upon
us to-day, and the answer to it is the test of every system of morals.

But before endeavouring to determine the distinctively Christian ideal,
as presented in the teaching of Jesus and interpreted by the growing
Christian consciousness of mankind, it may be well to review briefly some
of the main theories of life which are pressing their claims upon our
attention to-day.  Many of these modern views have arisen as a reaction
against traditional religion.  From the seventeenth century onwards, and
especially during the nineteenth, there has been a growing disposition to
call in question the Christian conception of life.  The antagonism
reveals itself not only in a distrust of all forms of religion, but also
in a craving for wider culture.  The old certitudes fail to satisfy men
who have acquired new habits of reflection, and there is a disinclination
to accept a scheme of life which seems to narrow human interests and
exclude such departments as science, art, and politics.  One reason of
this change is to be found in the wonderful advance of science during the
last century.  Men's minds, withdrawn {100} from primary, and fixed upon
secondary causes, have refused to believe that the order of nature can be
disturbed by supernatural intervention.  Whether the modern antipathy to
Christianity is justified is not the question at present before us.  We
may see in the movements of our day not so much a proof that the old
faith is false, as an indication that if Christianity is to regain its
power a radical re-statement of its truths, and a more comprehensive
application of its principles to life as a whole must be undertaken.

In the endeavour to find an all-embracing ideal of life two possibilities
present themselves, arising from two different ways of viewing man.
Human life is in one aspect receptive; in another, active.  It may be
regarded as dependent upon nature for its maintenance, or as a creative
power whose function is not merely to receive what nature supplies, but
to re-shape nature's materials and create a new spiritual world.
Receptivity and activity are inseparable, and form together the
harmonious rhythm of life.

But there has ever been a tendency to emphasise one or other of these
aspects.  The question has constantly arisen, Which is the more important
for life--what we receive or what we create?  Accordingly two contrasted
conceptions of life have appeared--a naturalistic and an idealistic.
Under the first we understand those theories which place man in the realm
of sense and explain life by material conditions; under the second we
group such systems as give to life an independent creative power.



1.  Naturalism has usually taken three forms, an idyllic or poetic, a
philosophic, and a scientific, of which Rousseau, Feuerbach, and Haeckel
may be chosen as representatives.

(1) According to Rousseau, man is really a part of nature, {101} and only
as he conforms to her laws and finds his satisfaction in what she gives
can he be truly happy.  Nature is the mother of us all, and only as we
allow her spirit to pervade and nourish our being do we really live.  The
watchword, 'back to nature' may be said to have given the first impulse
to the later call of the 'simple life,' which has arisen as a protest
against the luxury, ostentation, and artificiality of modern times.

(2) The philosophical form of naturalism, as expounded by Feuerbach,
inveighs against an idealistic interpretation of life.  The author of
_The Essence of Christianity_ started as a disciple of Hegel, but soon
reversed the Hegelian principle, and pronounced the spiritual world to be
a fiction of the mind.  Man belongs essentially to the earth, and is
governed by his senses.  Self-interest is his only motive, and egoism his
sole law of life.  It was only what might be expected, that the ultimate
consequences of this philosophy of the senses should be drawn by a
disciple of Feuerbach, Max Stirner,[1] in whose work, _The Individual and
His Property_, the virtues of egoism are extolled, and contempt is poured
upon all disinterestedness and altruism.

(3) The latest form of naturalism is the scientific or monistic, as
represented by Haeckel.  It may be described as scientific in so far as
its author professes to deduce the moral life from biological principles.
In the chapter[2] devoted to Ethics in his work, _The Riddle of the
Universe_, his pronouncements upon morality are not scientifically
derived, but simply dogmatically assumed.  The underlying principle of
monism is that the universe is a unity in which no distinction exists
between the material and the spiritual.  In this world as we know it
there reigns only one kind of law, the invariable law of nature.  The
so-called spiritual life of man is not an independent realm having its
own rights and aims; it belongs wholly to nature.  The moral world is a
province of the physical, and the key to all the departments of reality
is to be found in science {102} alone.  The doctrine of evolution is
brought into the service of monism, and the attempt is made to prove that
in the very process of biological development human thought, moral
sentiment, and social instincts have been evolved.  With a curious
sacrifice of consistency, Haeckel does not agree with Feuerbach in
exalting egoism to the place of supremacy in the moral life.  He
recognises two kinds of duty--duty to self and duty to society.  The
social sense once created is permanent, and rises to ever-fresh
developments.  But benevolence, like every other obligation, is,
according to evolutionary monism, a product evolved from the battle of
existence.  Traced to its source, it has its spring in the physical
organism, and is but an enlargement of the ego.[3]

The monistic naturalism of Haeckel offers no high ideal to life.  Its
Ethics is but a glorified egoism.  Its dictates never rise above the
impulses derived from nature.  But not religion only with its kingdom of
God, nor morality only with its imperatives, nor art with its power of
idealising the world of nature, but even science itself, with its claim
to unify and organise facts, proves that man stands apart from, and is
higher than, the material world.  The very existence of such activities
in the invisible realm renders vain every attempt to reduce the spiritual
to the natural, and to make truth, goodness and beauty mere outgrowths of

2.  On its ethical side naturalism is closely associated with the theory
of life which bears the name of _utilitarianism_--the theory which
regards pleasure or profit as the aim of man.  In its most independent
form Hedonism can hardly be said to exist now as a reasoned theory.
Carried out to its extreme consequences it reduces man to a mere animal.
Hence a type of reflective egoism has taken the place of animal
gratification, and the idea of ulterior benefit has succeeded to that of
immediate pleasure.

The names associated with this theory of morals are those of Hobbes,
Bentham, and the two Mills.  Hobbes, {103} who preaches undiluted
egoism,[4] may be regarded as the father of utilitarianism.  But the
title was first applied to the school of Bentham.[5]  Bentham's watchword
was 'utility' expressed in his famous formula--'The greatest happiness of
the greatest number.'  While renouncing the abstract ideal of equality,
he yet asserted the equal claim of every individual to happiness.  In its
distribution 'each is to count for one, and no one for more than one.'
Hence Bentham insisted upon an exact quantitative calculation of the
consequences of our actions as the only sufficient guide to conduct.  The
end is the production of the maximum of pleasure and the minimum of pain.

J. S. Mill modified considerably the principle of utility by introducing
the doctrine of the qualitative difference in pleasures.[6] While Bentham
assumed self-interest as the only motive of conduct, Mill affirmed the
possibility of altruism in the motive as well as in the end or criterion
of right actions.[7]  Thus the idea of utility was extended to embrace
higher moral ends.  But the antithesis between the 'self' and the 'other'
was not overcome.  To introduce the notion of sympathy, as Adam Smith and
others did, is to beg the question.  Try as you will, you cannot deduce
benevolence from selfishness.  The question for the utilitarian must
always arise, 'How far ought I to follow my natural desires, and how far
my altruistic?'  There must be a constant conflict, and he can only be at
peace with himself by striking a balance.  The utilitarian must be a
legalist.  The principle of self-sacrifice does not spring from his inner
being.  Truth, love, sacrifice--all that gives to man his true worth as a
being standing in vital relation to God--are only artificial adaptations
based on convenience and general advantage.

3.  Evolutionary ethics, as expounded by Spencer and others, though
employing utilitarian principles, affords an ampler and more plausible
account of life than early {104} Hedonism.[8]  The evolutionists have
enriched the idea of happiness by quietly slipping in many ends which
really belong to the idea of the 'good.'  As the term 'gravitation' was
the magic word of the eighteenth century, so the word 'evolution' is the
talisman of the present age.  It must be admitted that it is a sublime
and fruitful idea.  It explains much in nature and history which the old
static notion failed to account for.  It has a great deal to teach us
even in the spiritual sphere.  But when applied to life as a whole, and
when it is assumed to be the sole explanation of moral action, it is apt
to rob the will of its initiative and reduce all moral achievements to
merely natural factors in an unfolding drama of life.  The soul itself,
with all its manifestations and experiences, is treated simply as the
resultant and harmonious effect of adaptation to environment.  Man is
regarded as the highest animal, the most richly specialised organism--the
last of a long series in the development of life, the outstanding feature
of which is the acquired power of complete adjustment to the world, of
which it is a part.  Strictly speaking, there is no room for a personal
God in this mechanical theory of the universe.  The world becomes
inevitably 'the Be all and the End all.'  Hence, as might be expected,
while evolutionary Ethics claims to cover the whole range of this present
life, it does not pretend to extend into the regions of the hereafter.
It is concerned only with what it conceives to be the highest earthly
good--the material and social well-being of mankind.  But no theory of
life can be pronounced satisfactory which explains man in terms of this
earth alone.  The 'Great Unknown' which Mr. Spencer posits[9] as the
ultimate source of all power, is a force to be reckoned with; and, known
or unknown, is the mightiest factor in all life's experiences.  Man's
spiritual nature in its whole range cannot be treated as of no account.
'The powers of the world to come' have an essential bearing upon human
{105} conduct in this world.  They shape our thoughts and determine our
ideals.  Hence any view of life which excludes from consideration the
spiritual side of man, and limits his horizon by the things of this earth
must of necessity be inadequate and unsatisfactory.

4.  Closely connected with, and, indeed, arising out of, the evolutionary
theory, another type of thought, prevalent to-day, falls to be
noted--_the socialistic tendency_.  It is now universally recognised that
the individual cannot be treated as an isolated being, but only in
relation to society of which he is a part.  The emphasis is laid upon the
solidarity of mankind, and man is explained by such social facts as
heredity and environment.  Marx and Engels, the pioneers of the
socialistic movement, accepted in the fullest sense the scientific
doctrine of evolution.  So far from being a mere Utopian dream, Marx
contends that Socialism is the inevitable outcome of the movement of
modern society.  The aim of the agitation is to bring men to a clear
consciousness of a process which is going forward in all countries where
the modern industrial methods prevail.  Democracy must come to itself and
assume its rights.  The keynote of the past has been the exploitation of
man by man in the three forms of slavery, serfdom, and wage-labour.  The
keynote of the future must be the exploitation of the earth by man
_associated to man_.  The practical aim of Socialism is that industry is
to be carried on by associated labourers jointly owning the means of
production.  Here, again, the all-pervading ideal is--the general good of
society--the happiness of the greatest number.  The reduction of all aims
to a common level, the equalising of social conditions, the direction and
control of all private interests and personal endeavours, are to be means
to one end--the material good of the community.  Socialism is not,
however, confined to an agitation for material welfare.  The industrial
aspect of it is only a phase of a larger movement.  On its ethical side
it is the outcome of a strong aspiration after a higher life.[10]  The
world is awakening to {106} the fact that the majority of the human
family has been virtually excluded from all participation in man's
inheritance of knowledge and culture.  The labouring classes have been
from time immemorial sunk in drudgery and ignorance, bearing the burden
of society without sharing in its happiness.  It is contended that every
man ought to have an opportunity of making the most of his life and
obtaining full freedom for the development of body and mind.  The aim to
secure justice for the many, to protect the weak against the strong, to
mitigate the fierceness of competition, to bring about a better
understanding between capital and labour, and to gain for all a more
elevated and expansive existence, is not merely consistent with, but
indispensable to, a true Christian conception of life.  But the question
which naturally arises is, how this reformation is to be brought about.
Never before have so many revolutionary schemes been proposed, and so
many social panaceas for a better world set forth.  It is, indeed, a
hopeful sign of the times that the age of unconcern is gone and the
temper of cautious inaction has yielded to scientific diagnosis and
courageous treatment.  It must not be forgotten, however, that the
exclusively utilitarian position tends to lower the moral ideal, and that
the exaggerated emphasis upon the social aspect of life fails to do
justice to the independence of the individual.  The tendency of modern
political thought is to increase the control of government, and to regard
all departments of activity as branches of the state, to be held and
worked for the general good of the community.  Thus there is a danger
that the individual may gradually lose all initiative, and life be
impoverished under a coercive mechanical system.

Socialism in its extreme form might easily become a new kind of tyranny.
By the establishment of collectivism, by making the state the sole owner
of all wealth, the sole employer of labour, and the controller of science
and art, as well as of education and religion, there is a danger of
crushing the spiritual side of man, and giving to all life and endeavour
a merely naturalistic character and content.


5.  It was inevitable that an exaggerated insistence upon the importance
of society should provoke an equally one-sided emphasis upon the worth of
the individual, and that as a protest against the demands of Socialism
there should arise a form of subjectivism which aims at complete

(1) This tendency has received the name of _aesthetic-individualism_.  As
a conception of life it may be regarded as intermediate between
naturalism and idealism.  While rooted in a materialistic view of life,
it is moulded in the hands of its best advocates by spiritual
aspirations.  Its standpoint may be characterised as a theory of
existence which seeks the highest value of life in the realm of the
beautiful, and which therefore endeavours to promote the supreme good of
the individual through devotion to art.  Not only does the cultivation of
art tend in itself to elevate life by concentrating the soul upon all
that is fairest and noblest in the world, but the best means of enriching
and ennobling life is to regard life itself as a work of art.  This view
of existence, it is claimed, widens the scope of experience, and leads us
into ampler worlds of interest and enjoyment.  It aims at giving to
personality a rounded completeness, and bringing the manifold powers and
passions of man into harmonious unity.  As a theory of life it is not
new.  Already Plato, and still more Aristotle, maintained that a true man
must seek his highest satisfaction not in the possession of external
things, but in the most complete manifestation of his faculties.
Individual aestheticism largely animated the Romantic movement of Germany
at the beginning of last century.  But probably the best illustration of
it is to be found in Goethe and Schiller; while in our country Matthew
Arnold has given it a powerful and persuasive exposition.  It was the aim
of Goethe to mould his life into a work of art, and all his activities
and poetic aspirations were subordinated to this end.  The beautiful
harmonious life is the true life, the well-rounded whole from which must
be banished everything narrow, vulgar, and distasteful, and in which
{108} everything fair and noble must find expression.  'Each individual,'
says Schiller, 'is at once fitted and destined for a pure ideal manhood.'
And the attainment of this ideal requires from us the most zealous
self-culture and a concentration of effort upon our own peculiar

A new form of aestheticism has lately appeared which pretends to combine
morality and culture.  'The New Ethic,'[12] as it is called, protests
against the sombreness of religious traditions and the rigidity of moral
restrictions, and assigns to art the function of emancipating man and
idealising life.  But what this movement really offers under its new
catchword is simply a subtler form of epicureanism, a finer
self-indulgence.  It is the expression of a desire to be free from all
restraint, to close one's eyes to the 'majesty of human suffering,'
allowing one's thoughts to dwell only upon the agreeable and gay in life.
It regards man as simply the sum-total of his natural inclinations, and
conceives duty to be nothing else than the endeavour to bring these into

That the aesthetic culture of life is a legitimate element in Christian
morality can hardly be denied by any one who has pondered the meaning in
all its breadth of the natural simplicity and spiritual beauty of the
manifestation of the Son of Man.  The beautiful, the good, and the true
are intimately connected, and constitute together all that is conceivably
highest in life.  Christian Ethics ought to include everything that is
gracious and fair; and any theory of life that has no room for joy and
beauty, for laughter and song, for appreciation of artistic or poetic
expression, is surely deficient.  But it is one thing to acknowledge
these things; it is another to make them the whole of existence.  We live
in a world in which much else besides beauty and joy exists, and it is
not by shirking contact with the unlovely phases of experience, but by
resolutely accepting the ministry of sorrow they impose, {109} that we
attain to our highest selves.  The narrow Puritanism of a past age may
need the corrective of the broader Humanism of to-day, but not less must
the Ethic of self-culture be reinforced by the Ethic of self-sacrifice.
We may not cultivate the beauty of life at the cost of duty, nor forget
that it is often only through the immolation of self that the self can be

(2) While the Romantic movement, of which Goethe was the most illustrious
representative, did much to enlarge life and ennoble the whole expanse of
being, its extreme subjectivism and aristocratic exclusiveness found
ultimate expression (_a_) in the pessimism of Schopenhauer, and the
arrogance of Nietzsche.  The alliance between art and morality was
dissolved.  The imagination scorned all fetters and, in its craving for
novelty and contempt of convention, became the organ of individual
caprice and licence.  In Nietzsche--that strange erratic genius--at once
artist, philosopher, and rhapsodist--this philosophy of life found
brilliant if bizarre utterance.  If Schopenhauer reduces existence to
nothing, and finds in oblivion and extinction its solution, (_b_)
Nietzsche seeks rather to magnify life by striking the note of a proud
and defiant optimism.  He claims for the individual limitless rights;
and, repudiating all moral ties, asserts the complete sovereignty of the
self-sufficing ego.  With a deep-rooted hatred of the prevailing
tendencies of civilisation, he combines a vehement desire for a richer
and unrestrained development of human power.  He would not only revalue
all moral values, but reverse all ideas of right and wrong.  He would
soar 'beyond good and evil,' declaring that the prevailing judgments of
mankind are pernicious prejudices which have too long tyrannised over the
world.  He acknowledges himself to be not a moralist, but an
'immoralist,' and he bids us break in pieces the ancient tables of the
Decalogue.  Christianity is the most debasing form of slave-morality.  It
has made a merit of weakness and servility, and given the name of virtue
to such imbecilities as meekness and self-sacrifice.  He calls upon the
individual to exalt himself.  The man of {110} the future is to be the
man of self-mastery and virile force, 'the Superman,' who is to crush
under his heel the cringing herd of weaklings who have hitherto possessed
the world.  The earth is for the strong, the capable, the few.  A mighty
race, self-assertive, full of vitality and will, is the goal of humanity.
The vital significance of Nietzsche's radicalism lies less in its
positive achievement than in its stimulating effect.  Though his account
of Christianity is a caricature, his strong invective has done much to
correct the sentimental rose-water view of the Christian faith which has
been current in some pietistic circles.  The Superman, with all its
vagueness, is a noble, inspiring ideal.  The problem of the race is to
produce a higher manhood, to realise which there is need for sacrifice
and courage.  Nietzsche is the spiritual father and forerunner of the
Eugenics.  The Superman is not born, he is bred.  Our passions must be
our servants.  Obedience and fidelity, self-discipline and courage are
the virtues upon which he insists.  'Be master of life. . . .'  'I call
you to a new nobility.  Ye shall become the procreators and sowers of the

While there is much that is suggestive in Nietzsche's scathing
criticisms, and many passages of striking beauty in his books, he is
stronger in his denials than his affirmations, and it is the negative
side that his followers have fastened upon and developed.  Sudermann, the
novelist, has carried his philosophy of egoism to its extreme.  This
writer, in a work entitled _Sodom's End_, affirms that there is nothing
holy and nothing evil.  There is no such thing as duty or love.  Only
nerves exist.  The 'Superman' becomes a monster.  Such teaching can
scarcely be taken seriously.  It conveys no helpful message.  It is the
perversion of life's ideal.

As a passing phase of thought it is interesting, but it solves no
problems; it advances no truths.  It resembles a whirlwind which helps to
clear the air and drive away superfluous leaves, but it does little to
quicken or expand new seeds of life.




1.  Modern Idealism was inaugurated by Kant.  Kant's significance for
thought lies in his twofold demand for a new basis of knowledge and
morality.  He conceived that both are possible, and that both are
interdependent, and have but one solution.  The solution, however, could
only be achieved by a radical change of method, and by the introduction
of new standards of value.  Kant's theory of morals was an attempt to
reconcile the two opposing ethical principles which were current in the
eighteenth century.  On the one side, the Realists treated man simply as
a natural being, and accordingly demanded a pursuance of his natural
impulses.  On the other side, the Dogmatists conceived that conduct must
be governed by divine sanctions.  Both theories agreed in regarding
happiness as the end of life; the one the happiness of sensuous
enjoyment; the other, that of divine favour.  Both set an end outside of
man himself as the basis of their ethical doctrine.  Kant was
dissatisfied with this explanation of the moral life.  The question,
therefore, which arises is, Whence comes the idea of duty which is an
undeniable fact of our experience?  If it came merely from without, it
could never speak to us with absolute authority, nor claim unquestioning
obedience.  That which comes from without depends for its justification
upon some consequence external to our action, and must be based, indeed,
upon some excitement of reward or pain.  But that would destroy it as a
moral good; since nothing can be morally good that is not pursued for its
own sake.  Kant, therefore, seeks to show that the law of the moral life
must originate within us, must spring from an inherent principle of our
own rational nature.  Hence the distinctive feature of Kant's moral
theory is the enunciation of the 'Categorical Imperative'--the supreme
inner demand of reason.  From this principle of autonomy there arise at
once the notions of man's freedom and the law's {112} universality.
Self-determination is the presupposition of all morality.  But what is
true for one is true for all.  Each man is a member of a rational order,
and possesses the inalienable independence and the moral dignity of being
an end in himself.  Hence the formula of all duty is, 'Act from a maxim
at all times fit to be a universal law.'

It is the merit of Kant that he has given clear expression to the majesty
of the moral law.  No thinker has more strongly asserted man's spiritual
nature or done more to free the ideal of duty from all individual
narrowness and selfish interest.  But Kant's principle of duty labours
under the defect, that while it determines the form, it tells us nothing
of the content of duty.  We learn from him the grandeur of the moral law,
but not its essence or motive-power.  He does not clearly explain what it
is in the inner nature of man that gives to obligation its universal
validity or even its dominating force.  As a recent writer truly says,
'In order that morality may be possible at all, its law must be realised
_in_ me, but while the way in which it is realised is mine, the content
is not mine; otherwise the whole conception of obligation is
destroyed.'[13]  If the soul's function is purely formal how can we
attain to a self-contained life?  Moreover, if the freedom which Kant
assigns to man is really to achieve a higher ideal and bring forth a new
world, must there not be some spiritual power or energy, some dynamic
force, which, while it is within man, is also without, and independent
of, him?  'Duty for duty's sake' lacks lifting power, and is the essence
of legalism.  Love, after all, is the fulfilling of the law.

2.  To overcome the Kantian abstraction, and give content to the formal
law of reason was the aim of the idealistic writers who succeeded him.
Fichte conceived of morality as action--self-consciousness realising
itself in a world of deeds.  Hegel started with the _Idea_ as the source
of all reality, and developed the conception of Personality attaining
self-realisation through the growing consciousness of the world and of
God.  Personality involves capacity.  The {113} law of life, therefore,
is, 'Be a person and respect others as persons.'[14] Man only comes to
himself as he becomes conscious that his life is rooted in a larger self.
Morality is just the gradual unfolding of an eternal purpose whose whole
is the perfection of humanity.  It has been objected that the idea of
life as an evolutionary process, which finds its most imposing embodiment
in the system of Hegel, if consistently carried out, destroys all
personal motive and self-determining activity, and reduces the history of
the world to a soulless mechanism.  Hegel himself was aware of this
objection, and the whole aim of his philosophy was to show that
personality has no meaning if it be not the growing consciousness of the
infinite.  The more recent exponents of his teaching have endeavoured to
prove that the individual, so far from being suppressed, is really
_expressed_ in the process, that, indeed, while the universal life
underlies, unifies, and directs the particular phases of existence, the
individual in realising himself is at the same time determining and
evolving the larger spiritual world--a world already implicitly present
in his earliest consciousness and first strivings.  The absolute is
indeed within us from the very beginning, but we have to work it out.
Hence life is achieved through conflict.  The universe is not a place for
pleasure or apathy.  It is a place for soul-making.  No rest is to be
found by an indolent withdrawal from the world of reality.  'In one way
or another, in labour, in learning, and in religion, every man has his
pilgrimage to make, his self to remould and to acquire, his world and
surroundings to transform. . . .  It is in this adventure, and not apart
from it, that we find and maintain the personality which we suppose
ourselves to possess _ab initio_.'[15] The soul is a world in itself; but
it is not, and must not be treated as, an isolated personality impervious
to the mind of others.  At each stage of its evolution it is the focus
and expression of a larger world.  A man does not value himself as a
detached subject, but as the {114} inheritor of gifts which are focused
in him.  Man, in short, is a trustee for the world; and suffering and
privation are among his opportunities.  The question for each is, How
much can he make of them?  Something above us there must be to make us do
and dare and hope, and the important thing is not one's separate destiny,
but the completeness of experience and one's contribution to it.[16]

3.  It was inevitable that there should arise a reaction against the
extreme Intellectualism of Hegel and his school, and that a conception of
existence which lays the emphasis upon the claims of practical life
should grow in favour.  The pursuit of knowledge tended to become merely
a means of promoting human well-being.

The first definite attempt to formulate a specific theory of knowledge
with this practical aim in view takes the form of what is known as
'Pragmatism.'  The modern use of this term is chiefly connected with the
name of the late Professor James, to whose brilliant writings we are
largely indebted for the elucidation of its meaning.  'Pragmatism,' says
James, 'represents the empiricist attitude both in a more radical and
less objectionable form than it has ever yet assumed.'[17]  It agrees
with utilitarianism in explaining practical aspects, and with positivism
in disdaining useless abstractions.  It claims to be a method rather than
a system of philosophy.  And its method consists in bringing the pursuit
of knowledge into close relationship with life.  Nothing is to be
regarded as true which cannot be justified by its value for man.  The
hypothesis which on the whole works best, which most aptly fits the
circumstances of a particular case, is true.  The emphasis is laid not on
absolute principles, but on consequences.  We must not consider things as
they are in themselves, but in their reference to the good of mankind.
It is useless, for example, to speculate about the existence of God.  If
the hypothesis of a deity works satisfactorily, if the best results
follow for the moral well-being of humanity by believing in a God, {115}
then the hypothesis may be taken as true.  It is true at least for us.
Truth, according to Pragmatism, has no independent existence.  It is
wholly subjective, relative, instrumental.  Its only test is its utility,
its workableness.

This view of truth, though supported by much ingenuity and brilliance,
would seem to contradict the very idea of truth, and to be subversive of
all moral values.  If truth has no independent validity, if it is not
something to be sought for itself, irrespective of the inclinations and
interests of man, then its pursuit can bring no real enrichment to our
spiritual being.  It remains something alien and external, a mere
arbitrary appendix of the self.  It is not the essence and standard of
human life.  If its sole test is what is advantageous or pleasant it
sinks into a merely utilitarian opinion or selfish bias.  'Truth,' says
Eucken, 'can only exist as an end in itself.  Instrumental truth is no
truth at all.'[18]

According to this theory, moreover, truth is apt to be broken up into a
number of separate fragments without correlation or integrating unity.
There will be as many hypotheses as there are individual interests.  The
truth that seems to work best for one man or one age may not be the truth
that serves another.  In the collision of opinions who is to arbitrate?
If it be the institutions and customs of to-day, the present state of
morals, that is to be the measure of what is good, then we seem to be
committed to a condition of stagnancy, and involved in the quest of a
doubtful gain.

As might be expected, Professor James's view of truth determines his view
of the world.  It is pluralistic, not monistic; melioristic, not
optimistic.  It is characteristic of him that when he discusses the
question, Is life worth living? his answer practically is, 'Yes, if you
believe it is.'  Pragmatism is put forward as the mediator between two
opposite tendencies, those of 'tender-mindedness' and 'tough-mindedness.'
'The tendency to rest in the Absolute is the characteristic mark of the
tender-minded; the {116} radically tough-minded, on the other hand, needs
no religion at all.'[19]  There is something to be said for both of these
views, James thinks, and a compromise will probably best meet the case.
Hence, against these two ways of accepting the universe, he maintains the
pragmatic faith which is at once theistic, pluralistic, and melioristic.
He accepts a personal power as a workable theory of the universe.  But
God need not be infinite or all-inclusive, for 'all that the facts
require is that the power should be both other and larger than our common
selves.'[20] Such a conception of God, even on James's own admission, is
akin to polytheism.  And such polytheism implies a pluralistic view of
the universe.  The invisible order, in which we hope to realise our
larger life, is a world which does not grow integrally in accordance with
the preconceived plan of a single architect, 'but piecemeal by the
contributions of its several parts.'[21]  We make the world to our will,
and 'add our fiat to the fiat of the creator.'  With regard to the
supreme question of human destiny Professor James's view is what he calls
'melioristic.'  There is a striving for better things, but what the
ultimate outcome will be, no one can say.  For the world is still in the
making.  Life is a risk.  It has many possibilities.  Good and evil are
intermingled, and will continue so to be.  It is a pluralistic world just
because the will of man is free, and predetermination is excluded.  If
good was assured as the final goal of ill, and there was no sense of
venture, no possibility of loss or failure, then life would lack
interest, and moral effort would be shorn of reality and incentive.

In Professor James's philosophy of life there is much that is original
and stimulating, and it draws attention to facts of experience and modes
of thought which we were in danger of overlooking.  It has compelled us
to consider the psychological bases of personality, and to lay more
stress upon the power of the will and individual choice in the
determining of character and destiny.  It is pre-eminently {117} a
philosophy of action, and it emphasises an aspect of life which
intellectualism was prone to neglect--the function of personal endeavour
and initiative in the making of the world.  It postulates the reality of
a living God who invites our co-operation, and it encourages our belief
in a higher spiritual order which it is within our power to achieve.

Pragmatism has hitherto made headway chiefly in America and Britain, but
on its activistic side it is akin to a new philosophical movement which
has appeared in France and Germany.  The name generally given to this
tendency is 'Activism' or 'Vitalism'--a title chosen probably in order to
emphasise the self-activity of the personal consciousness directed
towards a world which it at once conquers and creates.  The authors of
this latest movement are the Frenchman, Henri Bergson, and the German,
Rudolf Eucken.  Differing widely in their methods and even in their
conclusions, they agree in making a direct attack both upon the realism
and the intellectualism of the past, and in their conviction that the
world is not a 'strung along universe,' as the late Professor James puts
it, but a world that is being made by the creative power and personal
freedom of man.  While Eucken has for many years occupied a position of
commanding influence in the realm of thought, Bergson has only recently
come into notice.  The publication of his striking work, _Creative
Evolution_, marks an epoch in speculation, and is awakening the interest
of the philosophical world.[22]

4.  With his passion for symmetry and completeness Bergson has evolved a
whole theory of the universe, {118} resorting, strange to say, to a form
of reasoning that implies the validity of logic, the instrument of the
intellect which he never wearies of impugning.  Without entering upon his
merely metaphysical speculations, we fix upon his theory of
consciousness--the relation of life to the material world--as involving
certain ethical consequences bearing upon our subject.  The idea of
freedom is the corner-stone of Bergson's system, and his whole philosophy
is a powerful vindication of the independence and self-determination of
the human will.  Life is free, spontaneous, creative and incalculable;
determined neither by natural law nor logical sequence.  It can break
through all causation and assert its own right.  It is not, indeed,
unrelated to matter, since it has to find its exercise in a material
world.  Matter plays at once, as he himself says, the rôle of obstacle
and stimulus.[23]  But it is not the world of things which legislates for
man; it is man who legislates for it.  Bergson's object is to vindicate
the autonomy of consciousness, and his entire philosophy is a protest
against every claim of determinism to dominate life.  By introducing the
creative will before all development, he displaces mechanical force, and
makes the whole evolution of life dependent upon the 'vital impulse'
which pushes forward against all obstacles to ever higher and higher
efficiency.  Similarly, by drawing a distinction between intellect and
intuition, he shows that the latter is the truly creative power in man
which penetrates to the heart of reality and shapes its own world.
Intellect and instinct have been developed along divergent lines.  The
intellect has merely a practical function.  It is related to the needs of
action.[24]  It is the faculty of manufacturing artificial objects,
especially tools to make tools.[25]  It deals with solids and geometrical
figures, and its instrument is logic.  But according to Bergson it has an
inherent incapacity to deal with life.[26]  When we contrast the rigidity
and superficiality of intellect with the fluidity, sympathy and intimacy
of intuition, we see at once wherein {119} lies the true creative power
of man.  Development, when carried too exclusively along the lines of
intellect, means loss of will-power; and we have seen how, not
individuals alone, but entire nations, may be crushed and destroyed by a
too rigid devotion to mechanical and stereotyped methods of thought.
Only life is adequate to deal with life.  Let us give free expression to
the intuitive and sympathetic force within us, 'feel the wild pulsation
of life,' if we would conquer the world and come to our own.  'The
spectacle,' says Bergson, 'of life from the very beginning down to man
suggests to us the image of a current of consciousness which flows down
into matter as into a tunnel, most of whose endeavours to advance . . .
are stopped by a rock that is too hard, but which, in one direction at
least, prove successful, and break out into the light once more.'[27]
But there life does not stop.

  'All tended to mankind,
  But in completed man begins anew
  A tendency to God.'[28]

This creative consciousness still pushes on, giving to matter its own
life, and drawing from matter its nutriment and strength.  The effort is
painful, but in making it we feel that it is precious, more precious
perhaps than the particular work it results in, because through it we
have been making ourselves, 'raising ourselves above ourselves.'  And in
this there is the true joy of life--the joy which every creator
feels--the joy of achievement and triumph.  Thus not only is the self
being created, but the world is being made--original and
incalculable--not according to a preconceived plan or logical sequence,
but by the free spontaneous will of man.

The soul is the creative force--the real productive agent of novelty in
the world.  The strange thing is that the soul creates not the world
only, but itself.  Whence comes this mystic power?  What is the origin of
the soul?  Bergson does not say.  But in one passage he suggests that
{120} possibly the world of matter and consciousness have the same
origin--the principle of life which is the great prius of all that is and
is to be.  But Bergson's 'élan vital,' though more satisfactory than the
first cause of the naturalist, or the 'great unknown' of the
evolutionist, or even than some forms of the absolute, is itself
admittedly outside the pale of reason--inexplicable, indefinable, and

The new 'vitalism' unfolds a living self-evolving universe, a restless,
unfinished and never-to-be-finished development--the scope and goal of
which cannot be foreseen or explained.  An infinite number of
possibilities open out; which the soul will follow no one can tell; why
it follows this direction rather than that, no one can see.  There seems
to be no room here for teleology or purposiveness; and though Bergson has
not yet worked out the theological and ethical implications of his
theory, as far as we can at present say the personality and imminence of
a Divine Being are excluded.  Though Bergson never refers to Hegel by
name, he seems to be specially concerned in refuting the philosophy of
the Absolute, according to which the world is conceived as the evolution
of the infinite mind.  If 'tout est donné,' says Bergson, if all is given
beforehand, 'why do over again what has already been completed, thus
reducing life and endeavour to a mere sham.'  But even allowing the force
of that objection, the idea of a 'world in the making,' though it appeals
to the popular mind, is not quite free from ambiguity.  In one sense it
states a platitude--a truth, indeed, which is not excluded from an
absolute or teleological conception of life.  But if it is implied that
the world, because it is in process of production, may violate reason and
take some capricious form, the idea is absurdly false, so long as we are
what we are, and the human mind is what it is.  The real must always be
the rational.  All enterprise and effort are based on the faith that we
belong to a rational world.  Though we cannot predict what form the world
will ultimately take, we can at least be sure that it can assume no
character which will {121} contradict the nature of intelligence.  Even
in the making of a world, if life has any moral worth and meaning at all,
there must be rational purpose.  There are creation and initiative in man
assuredly, but they must not be interpreted as activities which deviate
into paths of grotesque and arbitrary fancy.  Our actions and ideas must
issue from our world.  Even a poem or work of art must make its appeal to
the universal mind; any other kind of originality would wholly lack human
interest and sever all creation and life from their root in human nature.
But at least we must acknowledge that Bergson has done to the world of
thought the great service of liberating us from the bonds of matter and
the thraldom of a fatalistic necessity.  It is his merit that he has
lifted from man the burden of a hard determinism, and vindicated the
freedom, choice, and initiative of the human spirit.  If he has no
distinctly Christian message, he has at least disclosed for the soul the
possibility of new beginnings, and has shown that there is room in the
spiritual life, as the basis of all upward striving, for change of heart
and conversion of life.

5.  In the philosophy of Eucken there is much that is in harmony with
that of Bergson; but there are also important differences.  Common to
both is a reaction against formalism and intellectualism.  Neither claims
that we can gain more than 'the knowledge of a direction' in which the
solution of the problem may be sought.  It is not a 'given' or finished
world with which we have to do.  'The triumph of life is expressed by
creation,' says Eucken, 'I mean the creation of self by self.'  'We live
in the conviction,' he says again, 'that the possibilities of the
universe have not yet been played out,[29] but that our spiritual life
still finds itself battling in mid-flood with much of the world's work
still before us.'  While Bergson confines himself rigidly to the
metaphysical side of thought, Eucken is chiefly interested in the ethical
and religious aspects of life's problem.  Moreover, while there is an
absence of a distinctly teleological aim in Bergson, the purpose and
ideal {122} of life are prominent elements in Eucken.  Notwithstanding
his antagonism to intellectualism, the influence of Hegel is evident in
the absolutist tendency of his teaching.  Life for Eucken is
fundamentally spiritual.  Self-consciousness is the unifying principle.
Personality is the keynote of his philosophy.  But we are not
personalities to begin with: we have the potentiality to become such by
our own effort.  He bids us therefore forget ourselves, and strive for
our highest ideal--the realisation of spiritual personality.  The more
man 'loses his life' in the pursuit of the ideals of truth, goodness, and
beauty the more surely will he 'save it.'  He realises himself as a
personality, who becomes conscious of his unity with the universal
spiritual life.

Hence there are two fundamental principles underlying Eucken's philosophy
which give to it its distinguishing character.  The first is the
metaphysical conception of _a realm of Spirit_--an independent spiritual
Reality, not the product of the natural man, but communicating itself to
him as he strives for, and responds to, it.  This spiritual reality
underlies and transcends the outward world.  It may be regarded as an
absolute or universal life--the deeper reality of which all visible
things are the expression.  The second cardinal principle is the
_doctrine of Activism_.  Life is action.  Human duty lies in a world of
strife.  We have to contend for a spiritual life-content.  Here Eucken
has much in common with Fichte.[30]  But while Fichte starts with
self-analysis, and loses sight of error, care, and sin, Eucken starts
with actual conflict, and ever retains a keen sense of these hampering
elements.  The evil of the world is not to be solved simply by looking
down upon the world from some superior optimistic standpoint, and
pronouncing it very good.  The only way to solve it is the practical one,
to leave the negative standing, and press on to the deeper
affirmative--the positive truth, that beneath the world of nature there
exists a deeper reality of spirit, of which we become participators by
the freedom and activity of our lives.  We are here to acquire a new
spiritual world, but {123} it is a world in which the past is taken up
and transfigured.  Against naturalism, which acquiesces in the present
order of the universe, and against mere intellectualism, which simply
investigates it, Eucken never wearies of protesting.  He demands, first,
a fundamental cleavage in the inmost being of man, and a deliverance from
the natural view of things; and he contends, secondly, for a spiritual
awakening and an energetic endeavour to realise our spiritual resources.
Not by thought but by action is the problem of life to be solved.  Hence
his philosophy is not a mere theory about life, but is itself a factor in
the great work of spiritual redemption which gives to life its meaning
and aim.

That which makes Eucken's positive idealism specially valuable is his
application of it to religion.  Religion has been in all ages the mighty
uplifting power in human life.  It stands for a negation of the finite
and fleeting, and an affirmation of the spiritual and the eternal.  This
is specially true of the Christian religion.  Christianity is the supreme
type of religion because it best answers the question, 'What can religion
do for life?'  But the old forms of its manifestation do not satisfy us
to-day.  Christianity of the present fails to win conviction principally
for three reasons: (1) because it does not distinguish the eternal
substance of religion from its temporary forms; (2) because it professes
to be the final expression of all truth, thus closing the door against
progress of thought and life; and (3) while emphasising man's redemption
from evil, it forgets the elevation of his nature towards good.  There is
a tendency to depreciate human nature, and to overlook the joyousness of
life.  What is needed, therefore, is the expression of Christianity in a
new form--a reconstruction which shall emphasise the positiveness,
activity, and joy of Christian morality.[31]

While every one must feel the sublimity and inspiration in this
conception of a spiritual world, which it is the task of life to realise,
most people will be also conscious of a {124} certain vagueness and
elusiveness in its presentation.  We are constrained to ask what is this
independent spiritual life?  Is it a personal God, or is it only an
impersonal spirit, which pervades and interpenetrates the universe?  The
elusive obscurity of the position and function which Eucken assigns to
his central conception of the _Geistes-Leben_ must strike every reader.
Even more than Hegel, Eucken seems to deal with an abstraction.  The
spiritual life, we are told, 'grows,' 'divides,' 'advances'--but it
appears to be as much a 'bloodless category' as the Hegelian 'idea,'
having no connection with any living subject.  God, the Spirit, may
exist, indeed Eucken says He does, but there is nowhere any indication of
how the spiritual life follows from, or is the creation of, the Divine
Spirit.  Our author speaks with so great appreciation of Christianity
that it seems an ungracious thing to find fault with his interpretation
of it.  Yet with so much that is positive and suggestive, there are also
some grave omissions.  In a work that professes to deal with the
Christian faith--_The Truth of Religion_--and which indeed presents a
powerful vindication of historical Christianity, we miss any
philosophical interpretation of the nature and power of prayer,
adoration, or worship, or any account, indeed, of the intimacies of the
soul which belong to the very essence of the Christian faith.  While he
insists upon the possibility, nay, the necessity, of a new beginning, he
fails to reveal the power by which the great decision is made.  While he
affirms with much enthusiasm and frankness the need of personal decision
and surrender, he has nothing to say of the divine authority and power
which creates our choice and wins our obedience.  Nowhere does he show
that the creative redemptive force comes not from man's side, but
ultimately from the side of God.  And finally, his teaching with regard
to the person and work of Jesus Christ, notwithstanding its tender
sympathy and fine discrimination, does less than justice to the
uniqueness and historical significance of the Son of Man.  With profound
appreciation and rare beauty of language he depicts the life of Jesus.
'Seldom,' {125} says a recent writer, 'has the perfect Man been limned
with so persuasive a combination of strenuous thought and gracious
word.'[32] 'He who makes merely a normal man of Jesus,' he says, 'can
never do justice to His greatness.'[33]  Yet while he protests rightly
against emptying our Lord's life of all real growth and temptation, and
the claim of practical omniscience for His humanity (conceptions of
Christ's Person surely nowhere entertained by first-class theologians),
he leaves us in no manner of doubt that he does not attach a divine worth
to Jesus, nor regard Him in the scriptural sense as the Supreme
revelation and incarnation of God.  And hence, while the peerless
position of Jesus as teacher and religious genius is frankly
acknowledged, and His purity, power, and permanence are extolled--the
mediatorial and redemptive implicates of His personality are overlooked.

But when all is said, no one can study the spiritual philosophy of Eucken
without realising that he is in contact with a mind which has a sublime
and inspiring message for our age.  Probably more than any modern
thinker, Eucken reveals in his works deep affinities with the central
spirit of Christianity.  And perhaps his influence may be all the greater
because he maintains an attitude of independence towards dogmatic and
organised Christianity.  Professor Eucken does not attempt to satisfy us
with a facile optimism.  Life is a conflict, a task, an adventure.  And
he who would engage in it must make the break between the higher and the
lower nature.  For Eucken, as for Dante, there must be 'the penitence,
the tears, and the plunge into the river of Lethe before the new
transcendent love begins.'  There is no evasion of the complexities of
life.  He has a profound perception of the contradictions of experience
and the seeming paradoxes of religion.  For him true liberty is only
possible through the 'given,' through God's provenience and grace:
genuine self-realisation is only achievable through a continuous
self-dedication to, and {126} incorporation within, the great realm of
spirits; and the Immanence within our lives of the Transcendent.[34]

In styling the tendencies which we have thus briefly reviewed
non-Christian, we have had no intention of disparagement.  No earnest
effort to discover truth, though it may be inadequate and partial, is
ever wholly false.  In the light of these theories we are able to see
more clearly the relation between the good and the useful, and to
acknowledge that, just as in nature the laws of economy and beauty have
many intimate correspondences, so in the spiritual realm the good, the
beautiful, and the true may be harmonised in a higher category of the
spirit.  We shall see that the Christian ideal is not so much
antagonistic to, as inclusive of, all that is best in the teaching of
science and philosophy.  The task therefore now before us is to interpret
these general conceptions of the highest good in the light of Christian
Revelation--to define the chief end of life according to Christianity.

[1] Kasper Schmidt, _Der Einzige und sein Eigentum_.

[2] Haeckel, _op. cit._, chap. xix.

[3] Haeckel, _op. cit._, chap. xix. p. 140.

[4] Hobbes' _Leviathan_, chap. vi.

[5] Cf. Pringle-Pattison, _Philos. Radicals_, and J. Seth's _Eng.
Philosophers_, p. 240.

[6] _Utilitarianism_, chap. ii.

[7] _Idem_, chap. iii.

[8] Cf. Spencer, _Data of Ethics_, p. 275; also _Social Statics_.  In the
former work an attempt is made to exhibit the biological significance of
pleasure and the relation between egoism and altruism.

[9] See _First Principles_, p. 166 ff.

[10] See Kirkup, _An Inquiry into Socialism_, p. 19.

[11] See Lütgert, _Natur und Geist Gottes_, for striking chapter on
Goethe's _Ethik_, p. 121 f.

[12] Cf. Eucken, _Main Currents of Modern Thought_, p. 401 f.

[13] Macmillan, _The Crowning Phase of the Critical Philosophy_, p. 28.

[14] Hegel, _Phil. of Right_, p. 45.

[15] Bosanquet, _The Principles of Individuality and Value_.

[16] Bosanquet, _The Principles of Individuality and Value_.

[17] _Pragmatism_, p. 51.

[18] _Main Currents of Thought_, p. 78.

[19] _Pragmatism_, p. 278 f.; also _Varieties of Relig. Experience_, p.
525 f.

[20] _Idem_, p. 299.

[21] _Idem_, p. 290.

[22] The writer regrets that the work of the Italian, Benedetto Croce,
_Philosophy of the Practical, Economic and Ethic_ (Part II. of
_Philosophy of the Spirit_), came to his knowledge too late to permit a
consideration of its ethical teaching in this volume.  Croce is a thinker
of great originality, of whom we are likely to hear much in the future,
and whose philosophy will have to be reckoned with.  Though independent
of others, his view of life has affinities with that of Hegel.  He
maintains the doctrine of development of opposites, but avoids Hegel's
insistence upon the concept of nature as a mode of reality opposed to the
spirit.  Spirit is reality, the whole reality, and therefore the
universal.  It has two activities, theoretic and practical.  With the
theoretic man understands the universe; with the practical he changes it.
The Will is the man, and freedom is finding himself in the Whole.

[23] _Hibbert Journal_, April 1912.

[24] _Evol. Creat._, p. 161.

[25] _Idem_, p. 146.

[26] _Idem_, p. 165.

[27] _Hibbert Journal_.

[28] Browning.

[29] _Die Geistigen Strömunyen der Gegenwart_, p. 10.

[30] Cf. _Problem of Life_.

[31] Cf. _Life's Basis and Life's Ideal_.

[32] Hermann, _Bergson und Eucken_, p. 103.

[33] _The Problem of Life_, p. 152.

[34] Cf. von Hügel, _Hibbert Journal_, April 1912.




The highest good is not uniformly described in the New Testament, and
modern ethical teachers have not always been in agreement as to the chief
end of life.  While some have found in the teaching of Jesus the idea of
social redemption alone, and have seen in Christ nothing more than a
political reformer, others have contended that the Gospel is solely a
message of personal salvation.  An impartial study shows that both views
are one-sided.  On the one hand, no conception of the life of Jesus can
be more misleading than that which represents Him as a political
revolutionist.  But, on the other hand, it would be a distinct narrowing
of His teaching to assume that it was confined to the aspirations of the
individual soul.  His care was indeed primarily for the person.  His
emphasis was put upon the worth of the individual.  And it is not too
much to say that the uniqueness of Jesus' teaching lay in the discovery
of the value of the soul.  There was in His ministry a new appreciation
of the possibilities of neglected lives, and a hitherto unknown yearning
to share their confidence.  It would be a mistake, however, to represent
Christ's regard for the individual as excluding all consideration of
social relations.  The kingdom of God, as we shall see, had a social and
corporate meaning for our Lord.  And if the qualifications for its
entrance were personal, its duties were social.  The universalism of
Jesus' teaching implied that the soul had a value not for itself alone,
but also for others.  The assertion, therefore, that the individual has a
value cannot mean that he has a value in isolation.  {128} Rather his
value can only be realised in the life of the community to which he truly
belongs.  The effort to help others is the truest way to reveal the
hidden worth of one's own life; and he who withholds his sympathy from
the needy has proved himself unworthy of the kingdom.

While the writers of the New Testament vary in their mode of presenting
the ultimate goal of man, they are at one in regarding it as an exalted
form of _life_.  What they all seek to commend is a condition of being
involving a gradual assimilation to, and communion with, God.  The
distinctive gift of the Gospel is the gift of life.  'I am the Life,'
says Christ.  And the apostle's confession is in harmony with his
Master's claim--'For me to live is Christ.'  Salvation is nothing else
than the restoration, preservation, and exaltation of life.

Corresponding, therefore, to the three great conceptions of Life in the
New Testament, and especially in the teaching of Jesus--'Eternal Life,'
'the kingdom of God,' and the perfection of the divine Fatherhood,
'Perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect'--there are three aspects,
individual, social, and divine, in which we may view the Christian ideal.


Self-realisation is not, indeed, a scriptural word.  But rightly
understood it is a true element in the conception of life, and may, we
think, be legitimately drawn from the ethical teaching of the New
Testament.[1]  Though the free full development of the individual
personality as we conceive it in modern times does not receive explicit
statement,[2] still one cannot doubt, that before every man our Lord does
present the vision of a possible and perfect self.  Christianity does not
destroy 'the will to live,' but only the will to live at all costs.  Even
mediaeval piety only inculcated self-mortification as a stage towards a
higher {129} self-affirmation.  Christ nowhere condemns the inherent
desire for a complete life.  The end, indeed, which each man should place
before himself is self-mastery and freedom from the world;[3] but it is a
mastery and freedom which are to be gained not by asceticism but by
conquest.  Christ would awaken in every man the consciousness of the
priceless worth of his soul, and would have him realise in his own person
God's idea of manhood.

The ideal of self-realisation includes three distinct elements:

1.  _Life as intensity of being_.--'I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.'[4]  'More life and fuller'
is the passion of every soul that has caught the vision and heard the
call of Jesus.  The supreme good consists not in suppressed vitality, but
in power and freedom.  Life in Christ is a full, rich existence.  The
doctrine of quietism and indifference to joy has no place in the ethic of
Jesus.  Life is manifested in inwardness of character, and not in pomp of
circumstance.  It consists not in what a man has, but in what he is.[5]
The beatitudes, as the primary qualifications for the kingdom of God,
emphasise the fundamental principle of the subordination of the material
to the spiritual, and the contrast between inward and outward good.[6]
Self-mastery is to extend to the inner life of man--to dominate the
thoughts and words, and the very heart from which they issue.  A divided
life is impossible.  The severest discipline, even renunciation, may be
needful to secure that singleness of heart and strenuousness of aim which
are for Jesus the very essence of life.  'Ye cannot serve God and
mammon.'[7]  In harmony with this saying is the opposition in the
Johannine teaching between 'the world' and 'eternal life.'[8]  The
quality of life indeed depends not upon anything contingent or
accidental, but upon an intense inward realisation of blessedness in
Christ in comparison with which even {130} the privations and sufferings
of this world are but as a shadow.[9]  At the same time life is not a
mere negation, not simply an escape from evil.  It is a positive good,
the enrichment and intensifying of the whole being by the indwelling of a
new spiritual power.  'For me to live is Christ,' says St. Paul.  'This
is life eternal,' says St. John, 'that they may know Thee the only true
God, and Him whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ.'[10]

2.  _Life as Expansion of Personality_.--By its inherent power it grows
outwards as well as inwards.  The New Testament conception of life is
existence in its fullest expression and fruitfulness.  The ideal as
presented by Christ is no anaemic state of reverie or ascetic withdrawal
from human interest.  It is by the elevation and consecration of the
natural life, and not by its suppression, that the 'good' is to be
realised.  The natural life is to be transformed, and the very body
presented unto God as a living sacrifice.[11]  So far from Christianity
being opposed to the aim of the individual to find himself in a world of
larger interests, it is only in the active and progressive realisation of
such a life that blessedness consists.  Herein is disclosed, however, the
defect of the modern ideal of culture which has been associated with the
name of Goethe.  In Christ's ideal self-sufficiency has no place.  While
rightly interpreted the 'good' of life includes everything that enriches
existence and contributes to the efficiency and completeness of manhood,
mere self-culture and artistic expression are apt to become perverted
forms of egoism, if not subordinated to the spirit of service which alone
can give to the human faculties their true function and exercise.  Hence
life finds its real utterance not in the isolated development of the
self, but in the fullness of personal relationships.  Only in response to
the needs of others can a man realise his own life.  In answer to the
young ruler who asked a question 'concerning that which is good,' Christ
replied, 'If thou wilt enter into life keep the {131} commandments'; and
the particular duties He mentioned were those of the second table of the
Decalogue.[11]  The abundance of life which Christ offers consists in the
mutual offices of love and the interchange of service.  Thus
self-realisation is attained only through self-surrender.[13]  The
self-centred life is a barren life.  Not by withholding our seed but by
flinging it forth freely upon the broad waters of humanity do we attain
to that rich fruition which is 'life indeed.'

3.  _Life as Eternal Good_.--Whatever may be the accurate signification
of the word 'eternal,' the words 'eternal life,' regarded as the ideal of
man, can mean nothing else than life at its highest, the fulfilment of
all that personality has within it the potency of becoming.  In one sense
there is no finality in life.  'It seethes with the morrow for us more
and more.'  But in another sense, to say that the moral life is never
attained is only a half truth.  It is always being attained because it is
always present as an active reality evolving its own content.  In Christ
we have 'eternal life' now.  It is not a thing of quantity but of
quality, and is therefore timeless.

  'We live in deeds not years, in thoughts not breaths,
  In feelings, not in figures on a dial.'[14]

He who has entered into fellowship with God has within him now the
essence of 'life eternal.'

But the conception of life derived from, and sustained by, God involves
the idea of immortality.  'No work begun shall ever pause for death.'[15]
To live in God is to live as long as God.  The spiritual man pursues his
way through conflict and achievement towards a higher and yet a higher
goal, ever manifesting, yet ever seeking, the infinite that dwells in
him.  All knowledge and quest and endeavour, nay existence itself, would
be a mockery if man had 'no forever.' Scripture corroborates the
yearnings of the heart and represents life as a growing good which is to
attain to ever higher reaches and fuller realisations in the world to
{132} come.  It is the unextinguishable faith of man that the future must
crown the present.  No human effort goes to waste, no gift is delusive;
but every gift and every effort has its proper place as a stage in the
endless process.[16]

  'There shall never be lost one good!  What was shall live as


The foregoing discussion leads naturally to the second aspect of the
highest Good, the Ideal in its social or corporate form--_the kingdom of
God_.  Properly speaking, there is no such thing as an individual.  As
biologically man is only a member of a larger organism, so ethically he
can only realise himself in a life of brotherhood and service.  It is
only within the kingdom of God and by recognition of its social relations
that the individual can attain to his own blessedness.  Viewed in the
light of the mutual relation of its members the kingdom is a brotherhood
in which none is ignored and all have common privileges and
responsibilities; viewed in the light of its highest good it is the
entire perfection of the whole--a hierarchy of interests subordinated to,
and unified by, the sovereignty of the good in the person of God.[18]

1.  By reason of its comprehensiveness the doctrine of the kingdom has
been regarded by many as the most general conception of the ideal of
Jesus.  'In its unique and unapproachable grandeur it dwarfs all the
lesser heights to which the prophetic hopes had risen, and remains to
this day the transcendent and commanding ideal of the possible exaltation
of our humanity.'[19]  The principles implicitly contained in the
teaching of Jesus concerning the kingdom have become the common
possessions of mankind, and are moulding the thoughts and institutions of
the civilised world.  Kant's theory of a kingdom of ends, Comte's idea of
Humanity, and the modern conceptions of scientific and {133} historical
evolution are corroborative of the teaching of the New Testament.  Within
its conception men have found room for the modern ideas of social and
economic order, and under its inspiration are striving for a fuller
realisation of the aspirations and hopes of humanity.[20]

Though frequently upon His lips the phrase did not originate with Jesus.
Already the Baptist had employed it as the note of his preaching, and
even before the Baptist it had a long history in the annals of the Jewish
people.  Indeed the entire story of the Hebrews is coloured by this
conception, and in the days of their decline it is the idea of the
restoration of their nation as the true kingdom of God that dominates
their hopes.  When earthly institutions did not fulfil their promise, and
nothing could be expected by natural means, hope became concentrated upon
supernatural power.  Thus before Jesus appeared there had grown up a mass
of apocalyptic literature, the object of which was to encourage the
national expectation of a sudden and supernatural coming of the kingdom
of heaven.  Men of themselves could do nothing to hasten its advent.
They could only wait patiently till the set time was accomplished, and
God stretched forth His mighty hand.[21]

A new school of German interpretation has recently arisen, the aim of
which is to prove that Jesus was largely, if not wholly, influenced by
the current apocalyptic notions of His time.  Jesus believed, it is said,
in common with the popular sentiment of the day, that the end of the
world was at hand, and that at the close of the present dispensation
there would come suddenly and miraculously a new order into which would
be gathered the elect of God.  Johannes Weiss, the most pronounced
advocate of this view, maintains that Jesus' teaching is entirely
eschatological.  The kingdom is supramundane and still to come.  Jesus
did not inaugurate it; He only predicted its advent.  Consequently there
is no Ethics, strictly so called, in His {134} preaching; there is only
an Ethic of renunciation and watchfulness[22]--an _Interimsethik_.

The whole problem resolves itself into two crucial questions: (1) Did
Jesus expect a gradual coming of the kingdom, or did He conceive of it as
breaking in suddenly by the immediate act of God? and (2) Did Jesus
regard the kingdom as purely future, or as already begun?

In answer to the first question, while there are undoubtedly numerous and
explicit sayings, too much neglected in the past and not to be wholly
explained by mere orientalism, suggesting a sudden and miraculous coming,
these must be taken in connection with the many other passages implying a
gradual process--passages of deep ethical import which seem to colour our
Lord's entire view of life and its purposes.  And in answer to the second
question, while there are not a few utterances which certainly point to a
future consummation, these are not inconsistent with the immediate
inauguration and gradual development of the kingdom.

A full discussion of this subject is beyond the scope of this volume.[23]
There are, however, two objections which may be taken to the apocalyptic
interpretation of Christ's teaching as a whole.  (1) As presented by its
most pronounced champions, this view seems to empty the person and
teaching of Jesus of their originality and universality.  It tends to
reduce the Son of Man to the level of a Jewish rhapsodist, whose whole
function was to encourage His countrymen to look away from the present
scene of duty to some future state of felicity, which had no connection
with the world of reality, and no bearing upon their present character.
It would be surely a caricature to interpret the religion of the New
Testament from this standpoint alone to the exclusion of those directly
ethical and spiritual {135} principles in which its originality chiefly
appeared, and on which its permanence depends.[24]  As Bousset[25] points
out, not renunciation but joy in life is the characteristic thing in
Jesus' outlook.  He does not preach a gloomy asceticism, but proclaims a
new righteousness and a new type of duty.  He recognises the worth of the
present life, and teaches that the world's goods are not in themselves
bad.  He came as a living man into a dead world, and by inculcating a
living idea of God and proclaiming the divine Fatherhood gave a new
direction and inner elevation to the expectations of His age, showing the
true design of God's revelation and the real meaning of the prophetic
utterances of the past.  To interpret the kingdom wholly from an
eschatological point of view would involve a failure to apprehend the
spiritual greatness of the personality with which we are dealing.[26]
(2) This view virtually makes Christ a false prophet.  For, as a matter
of fact, the sudden and catastrophic coming of the kingdom as predicted
by the Hebrew apocalyptics did not take place.  On the contrary the
kingdom of God came not as the Jews expected in a sudden descent from the
clouds, but in the slow and progressive domination of God over the souls
and social relationships of mankind.  In view of the whole spirit of
Jesus, His conception of God, and His relation to human life, as well as
the attitude of St. Paul to the Parousia, it is critically unsound to
deny that Jesus believed in the presence of the kingdom in a real sense
during His lifetime.[27]

2.  If this conception of the kingdom of God be correct we may now
proceed to regard it under three aspects, Present, Progressive, and
Future--as a _Gift_ immediately bestowed by Jesus, as a _Task_ to be
worked out by man in the history of the world, and as a _Hope_ to be
consummated by God in the future.


(1) _The Kingdom as a Present Reality_.--After what has been already said
it will not be necessary to dwell upon this aspect.  It might be
supported by direct sayings of our Lord.[28]  But the whole tenor and
atmosphere of the Gospels, the uniqueness of Christ's personality, His
claim to heal disease and forgive sin, as well as the conditions of
entrance, imply clearly that in Jesus' own view the kingdom was an actual
fact inaugurated by Him and obtaining its meaning and power from His own
person and influence.  Obviously He regarded Himself as the bearer of a
new message of life, and the originator of a new reign of righteousness
and love which was to have immediate application.  Christ came to make
God real to men upon the earth, and to win their allegiance to Him at
once.  No one can fail to recognise the lofty idealism of the Son of Man.
He carries with Him everywhere a vision of the perfect life as it exists
in the mind of God, and as it will be realised when these earthly scenes
have passed away; yet it would be truer to say that His interests were in
'first things' rather than in 'last things,' and would be more justly
designated Protology than Eschatology.[29]  His mission, so far from
having an iconoclastic aim, was really to 'make all things new.'  He was
concerned with the initiation of a new religion, therefore with a
movement towards a regeneration of society which would be virtually a
reign of God in the hearts of men.  'The kingdom of God is within you.'
Not in some spot remote from the world, some beautiful land beyond the
skies, but in the hearts and homes, in the daily pursuits and common
relationships of life must God rule.  The beatitudes, while they
undoubtedly refer to a future when a fuller realisation of them will be
enjoyed, have a present reference as well.  They make the promise of the
kingdom a present reality dependent upon the inner state of the
recipients.  Not in change of environment but in change {137} of heart
does the kingdom consist.  The lowly and the pure in heart, the merciful
and the meek, the seekers after righteousness and the lovers of peace
are, in virtue of their disposition and aspiration, already members.

(2) The kingdom as a _gradual development_.--The inward gift prescribes
the outward task.  It is a power commanding the hearts of men and
requiring for its realisation their response.  It might be argued that
this call to moral effort presented to the first Christians was not a
summons to transform the present world, but to prepare themselves for the
destiny that awaited them in the coming age.[30]  It is true that
watchfulness, patience, and readiness are among the great commands of the
New Testament.[31]  But admitting the importance of these requirements,
they do not militate against the view that Christians were to work for
the betterment of the world.  Christ did not look upon the world as
hopeless and beyond all power of reclaiming; nor did He regard His own or
His disciples' ministry within it as without real and positive effects.
While His contemporaries were expecting some mighty intervention that
would suddenly bring the kingdom ready-made from heaven, He saw it
growing up silently and secretly among men.  He took his illustrations
from organic life.  Its progress was to be like the seed hidden in the
earth, and growing day and night by its own inherent germinating force.
The object of the parables of the sower, the tares, the mustard seed, the
leaven, was to show that the crude catastrophic conception of the coming
of the kingdom must give place to the deeper and worthier idea of
growth--an idea in harmony with the entire economy of God's working in
the world of nature.  In the parable of the fruit-bearing earth Jesus
shows His faith in the growth of the good, and hence in the adaptation of
the truth to the human soul.  In the parables of the leaven, the light,
and salt Jesus illustrates the gradual power of truth to pervade,
illumine, and purify the life of humanity.  His method of bringing about
this {138} good is the contagion of the good life.  His motive is the
sense of the need of men.  And His goal is the establishment of the
kingdom of love--a kingdom in which all the problems of ambition, wealth,
and the relationships of the family, of the industrial sphere, and of the
state, are to be transfigured and spiritualised.[32]

It is surely no illegitimate application of the mind of Christ if we see
in His teaching concerning the kingdom a great social ideal to be
realised by the personal activities and mutual services of its citizens.
It finds its field and opportunity in the realm of human society, and is
a good to be secured in the larger life of humanity.  This ideal, though
only dimly perceived by the early Church, has become gradually operative
in the world, and has been creative of all the great liberating movements
in history.  It lay behind Dante's vision of a spiritual monarchy, and
has been the inspiring motive of those who, in obedience to Christ, have
wrought for the uplifting of the hapless and the down-trodden.  It has
been the soul of all mighty reformations, and is the source of that
conception of a new social order which has begun to mean so much for our

Loyalty to the highest and love for the lowest--love to God and
man--these are the marks of the men of all ages who have sought to
interpret the mind of Christ.  Mutual service is the law of the kingdom.
Every man has a worth for Christ, therefore reverence for the personality
of man, and the endeavour to procure for each full opportunity of making
the most of his life, are at once the aim and goal of the new spiritual
society of which Christ laid the foundations in His own life and
ministry.  Everything that a man is and has, talents and possessions of
every kind, are to be used as instruments for the promotion of the
kingdom of God.

  'For life, with all it yields of joy and woe,
  And hope and fear . . .
  Is just our chance o' the prize of learning love.'


(3) But though the reign of God has begun, it has _yet to be
consummated_.--There is not wanting in the New Testament an element of
futurity and expectancy not inconsistent with, but rather complementary
to, the notion of gradual development.  The eschatological teaching of
Jesus has its place along with the ethical, and may be regarded not as
annulling, but rather reinforcing the moral ideals which He
proclaimed.[33]  There is nothing pessimistic in Christ's outlook.  His
teaching concerning the last things, while inculcating solemnity and
earnestness of life as become those to whom has been entrusted a high
destiny, and who know not at what hour they may be called to give an
account of their stewardship,[34] bids men look forward with certainty
and hope to a glorious consummation of the kingdom.  Though many of our
Lord's sayings with regard to His second coming are couched in figurative
language, we cannot believe that He intended to teach that the kingdom
itself was to be brought about in a spectacular or material way.  He bids
His disciples take heed lest they be deceived by a visible Christ, or led
away by merely outward signs.[35]  His coming is to be as 'the lightning
which cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west'[36]--an
emblem not so much of suddenness as of illuminating and convincing, and
especially, of progressive force.  Not in a visible reign or personal
return of the Son of Man does the consummation of the kingdom consist,
but in the complete spiritual sovereignty of Christ over the hearts and
minds of men.  When the same love which He Himself manifested in His life
becomes the feature of His disciples; when His spirit of service and
sacrifice pervades the world, and the brotherhood of man and the
federation of nations everywhere prevail; then, indeed, shall the sign of
the Son of Man appear in the heavens, and then shall the tribes of {140}
the earth see Him coming in the clouds with power and glory.[37]

Jesus does not hesitate to say that there will be a final judgment and an
ingathering of the elect from all quarters of the earth.[38]  There will
be, as the parable of the Ten Virgins suggests, a division and a shut
door.[39]  But punishment will be automatic.  Sin will bring its own
consequences.  Those only will be excluded at the last who even now are
excluding themselves.  For Christ is already here, and is judging the
world every day.  By the common actions of their present life men are
being tried; and that which will determine their final relation to Christ
will not be their mere perception of His bodily presence, but their moral
and spiritual likeness to Him.

Amidst the imperfections of the present men have ever looked forward to
some glorious consummation, and have lived and worked in the faith of it.
'To the prophets of Israel it was the new age of righteousness; to the
Greek thinkers the world of pure intelligible forms; to Augustine and
Dante the holy theocratic state; to the practical thought of our own time
the renovated social order.  Each successive age will frame its own
vision of the great fulfilment; but all the different ideals can find
their place in the message of the kingdom which was proclaimed by

There is thus opened to our vision a splendid conception of the future of
humanity.  It stands for all that is highest in our expectations because
it is already expressive of all that is best in our present achievements
and endeavours.  The final hope of mankind requires for its fulfilment a
progressive moral discipline.  Only as Christ's twofold command--love to
God and love to man--is made the all-pervasive rule of men's lives will
the goal of a universally perfected humanity be attained.



The chief good may be regarded finally in its _divine_ aspect--as the
endeavour after God-likeness.  In this third form of the ideal the two
others--the personal and the social--are harmonised and completed.  To
realise the perfect life as it is revealed in the character and will of
God is the supreme aim of man, and it embraces all that is conceivably
highest for the individual and for humanity as a whole.  This aspiration
finds its most explicit expression in the sublime word of Christ--'Be ye
perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.'[41] This commandment,
unlike so many generalisations of duty, is no cold abstraction.  It is
pervaded with the warmth of personality and the inspiration of love.  In
the idea of Fatherhood both a standard and motive are implied.  Because
God is our Father it is at once natural and possible for us to be like
Him.  He who would imitate another must have already within him something
of that other.  As there is a community of nature which makes it possible
for the child to grow into the likeness of its parent, so there is a
kinship in man with God to which our Lord here appeals.

1.  Among the ethical qualities of divine perfection set forth in
scripture for man's imitation _Holiness_ stands preeminent.  God, the
perfect being, is the type of holiness, and men are holy in proportion as
their lives are Godlike.  This conception of holiness is fundamental in
the Old Testament.  It is summed up in a command almost identical with
that of our Lord: 'Be ye holy, for I am holy.'[42]  Holiness, as
Christianity understands it, is the name for the undimmed lustre of God's
ethical perfection.  God is 'the Holy one'--the alone 'good' in the
absolute sense.[43]

If God's character consists in 'Holiness,' then that quality determines
the moral end of man.  But holiness, as the most comprehensive name for
the divine moral perfection--the pure white light of God's Being--breaks
up into the {142} separate rays which we designate the special moral
attributes.  These have been grouped under 'Righteousness' (truth,
faithfulness, justice, zeal, etc.), and 'Love' (goodness, pity, mercy,
etc.), though they are really but expressions of one individual life.[44]

2.  In the New Testament _Righteousness_ is almost equivalent to
holiness.  It is the attribute of God which determines the nature of His
kingdom and the condition of man's entrance into it.  As comprising
obedience to the will of God and the fulfilment of the moral law, it is
the basal and central conception of the Christian ideal.[45]  It is the
keynote of the Pauline Epistles.  Life has a supreme sacredness for Paul
because the righteousness of God is its end.  While righteousness is the
distinctive note of the Pauline conception, it is also fundamental in the
Ethics of Jesus.  It is the ruling thought in the Sermon on the Mount.
To be righteous for Jesus simply means to be right and true--to be as one
ought to be.  But human standards are insufficient.  A man must order his
life by the divine standard.  Jesus is as emphatic as any Old Testament
prophet in insisting upon the need of absolute righteousness.  That, for
all who would share in the kingdom of the good, is to be their ideal--the
object of their hunger and thirst.  It is a 'good' which is essential to
the very satisfaction and blessedness of the soul.[46]  It is the supreme
desire of the man who would be at peace with God.  It involves poverty of
spirit, for only those who are emptied of self are conscious of their
need.  They who, in humility and meekness, acknowledge their sins, are in
the way of holiness and are already partakers of the divine nature.

Christ's teaching in regard to righteousness has both a negative and a
positive aspect.  It was inevitable that He should begin with a criticism
of the morality inculcated by the leaders of His day.  The characteristic
feature of Pharisaism was, as Christ shows, its _externalism_.  If a man
fulfilled the outward requirements of the law he was {143} regarded as
holy, by himself and others, whatever might be the state of his heart
towards God.  This outwardness tended to create certain vices of
character.  Foremost amongst these were (1) _Vanity_ or Ostentation.  To
appear well in the opinion of others was the aim of pharisaic conduct.
Along with ostentation appears (2) _Self-complacency_.  Flattery leads to
self-esteem.  He who loves the praise of man naturally begins to praise
himself.  As a result of self-esteem arises (3) _Censoriousness_, since
he who thinks well of himself is apt to think ill of others.  As a system
Pharisaism was wanton hypocrisy--a character of seeming righteousness,
but too often of real viciousness.

But Christ came not to destroy but to fulfil the law.[47]  His aim was to
proclaim the true principles of righteousness in contrast to the current
notions of it.  This He proceeds to do by issuing the law in its ideal
and perfected form.[48]  Hence Jesus unfolds its _positive_ content by
bringing into prominence the virtues of the godly character as opposed to
the pharisaic vices.  _Modesty_ and _humility_ are set over against
ostentation and self-righteousness.[49]  _Single-minded sincerity_ is
commended in opposition to hypocrisy.[50]  The vice of censoriousness is
met by the duty of _self-judgment_ rather than the judgment of others.[51]

The two positive features of the new law of righteousness as expounded by
Jesus are--_inwardness_ and _spontaneity_.  The righteousness of the
Gospel, so far from being laxer or easier of fulfilment, was actually to
exceed that of the Pharisees:[52] (_a_) in _depth and inwardness_.  It is
not enough not to kill or steal or commit adultery.  These commandments
may be outwardly kept yet inwardly broken.  Something more radical is
expected of the man who has set before him the doing of God's will, a
righteousness not of appearance but of reality.  (_b_) In _freedom and
spontaneity_.  It is to have its spring in the heart.  It is to be a
righteousness not of servile obedience, but of willing devotion.  The aim
of life is no longer the painful effort of the bondsman who {144} strives
to perform a distasteful task, but the gladsome endeavour of the son who
knows and does, because he loves, his father's will.  In the Ethics of
the Christian life there is no such thing as mere duty; for a man never
fulfils his duty till he has done more than is legally required of him.
'Whosoever shall compel you to go with him one mile, go with him
twain.'[53]  The 'nicely calculated less or more' is alien to the spirit
of him who would do God's will.  Love is the fulfilling of the law, and
love knows nothing of limits.

3.  Thus the holiness of God is manifested not in righteousness only, but
in the attribute of Love.  The human mind can attain to no higher
conception of the divine character than that which the word 'love'
suggests.  The thought is the creation of Christianity.  It was the
special contribution of one of the innermost circle of Jesus' disciples
to give utterance to the new vision of the divine nature which Christ had
disclosed--'God is love.'[54]  In our Lord's teaching the centre of
gravity is entirely changed.  The Jewish idea of God is enriched with a
fuller content.  He is still the Holy One, but the sublimity of His
righteousness, though fully recognised, is softened by the gentler
radiance of love.[55]  Jehovah the Sovereign is revealed as God the
Father.  Divine righteousness is not simply justice, but goodness
manifested in far-reaching activities of mercy and pity and benevolence.
A new note is struck in the Ethics of Jesus.  A new relationship is
established between God and man--a personal filial relationship which
entirely alters man's conception of life.  To be perfect as our Father in
heaven is perfect, to be, and embody in life all that love means, that is
the sublime aim which Jesus in His own person and teaching sets before
the world.  As God's love is universal, and His care and compassion
world-wide, so, says Christ, not by retaliation or even by the
performance of strict justice, but in loving your enemies, in returning
good for evil and extending your acts of helpfulness and charity to those
'who know not, care not, think {145} not, what they do,' shall ye become
the children of your Father, and realise something of that divine pattern
of every man which has been shown him on the holy mount.

If the view presented in this chapter of the ethical ideal of
Christianity be correct, then the doctrine of an _Interims-ethik_
advocated by modern eschatologists must be pronounced unsatisfactory as a
complete account of the teaching of Jesus.[56]  The three features which
stand out most clearly in the Ethics of Christ are, Absoluteness,
Inwardness, and Universality.  It is an ideal for man as man, for all
time, and for all men.  The personality of God represents the highest
form of existence we know; and the love of God is the sublimest attribute
we can conceive.  But because God is our Father there is a kinship
between the divine and the human; and no higher or grander vision of life
is thinkable than to be like God--to share that which is most distinctive
of the divine Fatherhood--His love of all mankind.  Hence Godlikeness
involves Brotherhood.[57]  In the ideal of love--high as God, broad as
the world--the other aspects of the chief good, the individual and the
social, are harmonised.  In Christian Ethics, the problem of philosophy
how to unite the one and the many, egoism and altruism, has been
practically solved.  The individual realises his life only as he finds
himself in others; and this he can only do as he finds himself in God.
The first and last word of all morality and religion is summed up in
Christ's twofold law of love: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself.'[58]

[1] Cf. Troeltsch, _Die Sociallehren d. Christl. Kirchen_, vol. i. p.
37, where the idea of self-worth and self-consecration is worked out.

[2] Wernle, _Beginnings of Christianity_, vol. i. p. 76.

[3] Wernle, _Beginnings of Christianity_, pp. 76 f.

[4] John x. 10.

[5] Luke xii. 15, 16.

[6] Matt. v.

[7] Matt. vi. 24.

[8] 1 John ii. 15.

[9] Luke x. 21; Matt. xi. 28-30; Mark viii. 35; John iii. 15, x. 28,
xvii. 2.

[10] John xvii. 3.

[11] Rom. xii. 1.

[12] Matt. xix. 17.

[13] Luke xvii. 33; John xii. 25.

[14] Bailey, _Festus_.

[15] Browning.

[16] Jones, _Browning as a Philosophical and Religious Teacher_, p. 354.

[17] Abt Vogler.

[18] Cf. Balch, _Introd. to the Study of Christian Ethics_, p. 150.

[19] Newman Smyth, _Christian Ethics_, p. 97.

[20] Balch, _Introd. to the Study of Christian Ethics_, p. 150.

[21] See Apocalypses of Baruch, Esdras, Enoch, and Pss. of Solomon, and
also Daniel and Ezekiel.  Cf. E. F. Scott, _The Kingdom and the Messiah_,
for Apoc. literature.

[22] J. Weiss, _Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes_.  Cf. also Wernle,
_Die Anfänge unsurer Religion_, who is not so pronounced.  Bousset
rejects this view, and Titius, in his _N. T. Doctrine of Blessedness_,
regards the kingdom of God as a present good.  See also Moffatt, _The
Theology of the Gospels_.

[23] Cf. Dobschütz, _The Eschatology of the Gospels_, also Schweitzer,
_op. cit._, and Sanday, _The Life of Christ in Recent Research_, E.
Scott, _The Kingdom of God and the Messiah_, and Moffatt, _op. cit._

[24] Cf. Barbour, _A Philos. Study of Chr. Ethics_, p. 184.

[25] 'Jesu predigt in ihrem Gegensatz zum Judenthum.'

[26] Cairns, _Christianity in the Mod. World_, p. 173.  See Schweitzer,
_The Quest of the Historical Jesus_, for advocates and opponents of this
view, pp. 222 ff.  Cf. also Troeltsch, _op. cit._, vol. i. p. 35.

[27] Cf. Moffatt, _op. cit._

[28] Luke iv. 21, xvii. 21; Matt. xii. 28, xi. 2-8, xi. 20; Luke xvi.
16.  Cf. also Matt. xiii. 16-17.

[29] Our Lord never uses the word 'final' or 'last' of anything
concerning the kingdom.  Only in the fourth Gospel do we find the phrase
'the last day.'  See art., _Contemporary Review_, Sept. 1912.

[30] The view of Weiss.

[31] Luke xii. 19; Matt xxiv. 13; Mark xiii. 13; 2 Tim. ii. 12.

[32] King, _The Ethics of Jesus_, p. 143.

[33] Mark xiii. 7-31 has been called the 'little Apocalypse' and the
hypothesis has been thrown out that a number of verses (fifteen in all)
form a document by themselves, 'a fly leaf put into circulation before
the fall of Jerusalem, and really incorporated by the Evangelist himself.
See Sanday, art., _Hibbert Journal_, Oct. 1911, and _Life of Christ in
Recent Research_.

[34] Matt. xxiv. 42.

[35] Matt. xxiv. 23.

[36] Matt. xxiv. 27.

[37] Matt. xxiv. 30.

[38] Matt. xxiv. 31.

[39] Matt. xxv.

[40] E. F. Scott, _The Kingdom and the Messiah_, p. 256.

[41] Matt. v. 48.

[42] Lev. iv. 11, xix. 2.

[43] Mark x. 18.

[44] Cf. Orr, _Sin as a Problem of To-day_, chap. iii.

[45] Cf. Jacoby, _Neu-testamentliche Ethik_, p. 1.

[46] Matt. v. 3 f.

[47] Matt. v. 17.

[48] Matt. v. 18.

[49] Matt. vi. 1-6.

[50] Matt. vi. 16-18.

[51] Matt. vii. 1-5.

[52] Matt. v. 20.

[53] Matt. v. 41.

[54] 1 John iv. 8, 16.

[55] John xvii. 11; Heb. x. 31; Rev. xv. 4.

[56] Cf. E. Digges La Touche, _The Person of Christ in Modern Thought_,
pp. 150 ff.

[57] 1 John iv. 21.

[58] Matt. xxii. 37.




In every system of Ethics the three ideas of End, Norm, and Motive are
inseparable.  Christian Ethics is unique in this respect that it presents
not merely a code of morals, but an ideal of good embodied in a person
who is at once the pattern and inspiration of the new life.  In this
chapter we propose to consider these two elements of the good.

_Christ as Example_.--The value of 'concrete examples' has been
frequently recognised in non-Christian systems.  In the 'philosopher
king' of Plato, the 'expert' of Aristotle, and the 'wise man' of the
Stoics we have the imaginary embodiment of the ideal.  A similar tendency
is apparent in modern theories.  Comte invests the abstract idea of
'Humanity' with certain personal perfections for which he claims homage.
But what other systems have conceived in an imaginative form only,
Christianity has realised in an actual person.

The example of Christ is not a separate source of authority independent
of His teaching, but rather its witness and illustration.  Word and deed
in Jesus are in full agreement.  He was what He taught, and every truth
He uttered flowed directly from His inner nature.  He is the prototype
and expression of the 'good' as it exists in the mind of God, as well as
the perfect representative and standard of it in human life.  In Him is
manifested for all time what is meant by the good.


1.  If Christ is the normative standard of life it is extremely important
to obtain a true perception of Him as He dwelt among men.  But too often
have theology and art presented a Christ embellished with fantastic
colours or obscured by abstract speculations.  Recently, however, there
has been a revival of interest in the actual life of Jesus.  Men are
turning wistfully to the life of the Master for guidance in practical
matters, and it is beginning to dawn upon the world that the highest
ideals of manhood were present in the Carpenter of Nazareth.  We must
therefore go back to the Gospels if we would know what manner of man
Jesus was.  The difficulty of presenting the Man Christ Jesus as the
eternal example to the world must have been almost insurmountable; and we
are at once struck with two remarkable features of the synoptics'
portrayal of Him.  (1) The writers make no attempt to produce a work of
art.  They never dream that they are drawing a model for all men to copy.
There is no effort to touch up or tone down the portrait.  They simply
reflect what they see without admixture of colours of their own.  Hence
the paradox of His personality--the intense humanness and yet the mystery
of godliness ever and anon shining through the commonest incidents of His
life.  (2) Even more remarkable than the absence of subjectivity on the
part of the evangelists is the unconsciousness of Jesus that He is being
portrayed as an example.  We do not receive the impression that the Son
of Man was consciously living for the edification of the world.  His
mental attitude is not that of an actor playing a part, but of a true and
genuine man living his own life and fulfilling his own purpose.  There is
no seeming or display.  Goodness to be effectual as an example must be
unconscious goodness.  We are impressed everywhere with the perfect
naturalness and spontaneity of all that Christ did and uttered.[1]

The character of Jesus has been variously interpreted, and it is one of
the evidences of His moral greatness that each age has emphasised some
new aspect of His {148} personality.  In a nature so rich and complex it
is difficult to fix upon a single category from which may be deduced the
manifold attributes of His character.  Two conceptions of Jesus have
generally prevailed down the centuries.  One view interprets His
character in terms of asceticism; the other in terms of aestheticism.[2]
Some regard Him as the representative of Hebrew sorrow and sacrifice;
others see in Him the type of Hellenic joy and geniality.  There are
passages in Scripture confirmatory of both impressions.  On the one hand,
there is a whole series of virtues of the passive order which are utterly
alien to the Greek ideal; and, on the other hand, there is equally
prominent a tone of tranquil gladness, of broad sympathy with, and keen
appreciation of, the beautiful in nature and life which contrasts with
the spirit of Hebrew abnegation.  But, after all, neither of these traits
reveals the secret of Jesus.  Joy and sorrow are but incidents in life.
They have only moral value as the vehicles of a profounder spiritual
purpose.  To help every man to realise the fullness and perfection of his
being as a child of God is the aim of His life and ministry, and
everything that furthers this end is gratefully recognised by Him as a
good.  He neither courts nor shuns pain.  Neither joy nor sorrow is for
Him an end in itself.  Both are but incidents upon the way of holiness
and love which He had chosen to travel.

2.  Everywhere there was manifest in the life and teaching of Jesus a
note of _self-mastery and authority_ which impressed His contemporaries
and goes far to explain and unify the various features of His personality
and influence.  It is remarkable to notice how often the word 'power' is
applied to Jesus in the New Testament.[3]  Whether we regard His attitude
to God, or His relation to others, it is this note of quiet strength, of
vital moral force which arrests our attention.  It will be sufficient to
mention in passing three directions in which this quality of power is


(1) It is revealed in the consciousness of a _divine mission_.  He goes
steadily forward with the calmness of one who knows himself and his work.
He has no fear or hesitancy.  Courage, earnestness, and singleness of
purpose mark His career.  He is conscious that His task has been given
Him by God, and that He is the chosen instrument of His Father's will.
Life has a greatness and worth for Him because it may be made the
manifestation and vehicle of the divine purpose.

(2) His power is revealed again in the _realisation of Holiness_.
Holiness is to be differentiated, on the one hand, from innocence; and,
on the other, from sinlessness.  Innocence is untried goodness;
sinlessness is negative goodness; holiness is achieved and victorious
goodness.  It was not mere absence of sin that distinguished Jesus.  His
was a purity won by temptation, an obedience perfected through suffering,
a peace and harmony of soul attained not by self-suppression, but by the
consecration of His unfolding life to the will of God.

(3) His power is manifested once more in His _Sympathy with man_.  His
purity was pervasive.  It flowed forth in acts of love.  He went about
doing good, invading the world of darkness and sorrow with light and joy.
It is the wealth of His interests and the variety of His sympathy which
give to the ministry of the Son of Man its impressiveness and charm.
With gladness as with grief, with the playfulness of childhood and the
earnestness of maturity, with the innocent festivities and the graver
pursuits of His fellow-men, with the cares of the rich and the trials of
the poor, He disclosed the most intimate and tender feeling.  His
parables show that He had an open and observant eye for all the life
around Him.  To every appeal He responded with an insight and delicacy of
consideration which betokened that He Himself had sounded the depths of
human experience and knew what was in man.  Humour, irony, and pathos in
turn are revealed in His human intercourse.

But while Jesus delighted to give of Himself freely He knew also how to
withhold Himself.  There can be no true {150} sympathy without restraint.
The passive virtues--meekness, patience, forbearance--which appear in the
life of Christ are 'not the signs of mere self-mortification, they are
the signs of power in reserve.  They are the marks of one who can afford
to wait, who expects to suffer; and that not because he is simply meek
and lowly, but because he is also strong and calm.'[4]

The New Testament depicts Jesus as made in the likeness of men, whose
life, though unique in some of its aspects, was in its general conditions
normal, passing through the ordinary stages of growth, and participating
in the common experiences of mankind.  He had to submit to the same laws
and limitations of the universe as we have.  There was the same call, in
His case as in ours, to obedience and endurance.  There was the same
demand for moral decision.  Temptation, suffering, and toil, which mean
so much for man in the discipline of character, were factors also in the
spiritual development of Christ.  Trust, prayer, thanksgiving were
exercised by the Son of Man as by others; confession alone had no place
in His life.

3.  The question has been seriously asked, Can the example and teaching
of Jesus be really adopted in modern life as the pattern and rule of
conduct?  Is there not something strangely impracticable in His Ethics;
and, however admirably suited to meet the needs of His own time, utterly
inapplicable to the complex conditions of society to-day?  On the one
hand, Tolstoy would have us follow the example of Jesus to the letter,
and rigidly practise the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount, even to the
extent of refusing to resist wrong and possess property, and of holding
aloof from all culture and enterprise, and the interests of life
generally.  On the other hand, philosophers like Paulsen and Bradley,
perceiving the utter impracticableness of Tolstoy's contentions, yet at
the same time recognising his attitude as the only consistent one if the
imitation of Christ is to have vogue at all, are convinced that the
earthly life of Jesus is not the model of our {161} age, and that to
attempt to carry out His precepts consistently would be not only
impossible but injurious to all the higher interests of humanity.[5]

But this conclusion is based, it seems to us, upon a two-fold
misapprehension.  It is founded upon an inadequate interpretation of the
life and teaching of Christ; and also upon a wholly mechanical
understanding of the meaning and value of example.

(1) What was Christ's ideal of the Christian life?  Was it that of the
monk or the citizen?--the recluse who meditates apart on his own
salvation, or the worker who enters the world and contributes to the
betterment of mankind?  Is the kingdom of God a realm apart and separate
from all the other domains of activity?  Or has Christianity, according
to its essence, room within it for an application of its truth to the
complex relations and manifold interests of modern life?  Both views have
found expression in the history of the Church.  But there can be little
doubt as to which is the true interpretation of the mind of Jesus.[6]

(2) But, again, what is meant by the 'imitation of Christ' has been also
misconceived.  Imitation is not a literal mechanical copying.  To make
the character of another your model does not mean that you are to become
his mimic or echo.  In asking us to follow Him, Christ does not desire to
suppress our individuality, but to enrich and ennoble it.  When He says,
on the occasion of the feet-washing of His disciples, 'I have given you
an example, that ye should do as I have done to you,'[7] obviously it was
not the outward literal performance, but the spirit of humility and
service embodied in the act which He desired His disciples to emulate.
From another soul we receive incentives rather than rules.  No teacher or
master, says Emerson, can {152} realise for us what is good.[8]  Within
our own souls alone can the decision be made.  We cannot hope to
interpret the character of another until there be within our own breasts
the same moral spirit from which we believe his conduct to proceed.  The
very nature of goodness forbids slavish reproduction.  Hence there is a
certain sense in which the paradox of Kant is true, that 'imitation finds
no place at all in morality.'[9]  The question, 'What would Jesus do?' as
a test of conduct covers a quite inadequate conception of the intimate
and vital relations Christ bears to our humanity.  'It is not to copy
after Christ,' says a modern writer, 'but to receive His spirit and make
it effective--which is the moral task of the Christian.'[10]  Christ is
indeed our example, but He is more.  And unless He were more He could not
be so much.  We could not strive to be like Him if He were not already
within us, the Principle and Spirit of our life, the higher and diviner
self of every man.

What is meant, then, by saying that Christ is the ideal character or norm
of life is that He represents to us human nature in its typical or ideal
form.  As we behold His perfection we feel that this is what we were made
for, this is the true end of our being.  Every one may, in short, see in
Him the fulfilment of the divine idea and purpose of man--the conception
and end of himself.[11]


_The Christian Motive_.--Rightly regarded Christ is not only the model of
the new life, but its motive as well.  All the great appeals of the
Gospel--every persuasion and plea by which God seeks to awaken a
responsive love in the hearts of men--are centred in, and find expression
through, the Person and Passion of Christ.

1.  The question of motive is a primary one in Ethics.  {153} If,
therefore, we ask, What is the deepest spring of action, what is the
incentive and motive power for the Christian?  The answer is: (1) the
love of God, a love which finds its highest expression in _Forgiveness_.
Of all motives the most powerful is the sense of being pardoned.  Even
when it is only one human being who forgives another, nothing strikes so
deep into the human heart or evokes penitence so tender and unreserved,
or brings a joy so pure and lasting.  It not only restores the old
relation which wrong had dissolved; it gives the offender a sense of
loyalty unknown before.  He is now bound not by law but by honour, and it
would be a disloyalty worse than the original offence if he wounded such
love again.  Thus it is that God becomes the object of reverence and
affection, not because He imposes laws upon us but because He pardons and
redeems.  The consciousness of forgiveness is far more potent in
producing goodness than the consciousness of law.  This psychological
fact lay at the root of Christ's ministry, and was the secret of His hope
for man.  This, too, is the key to all that is paradoxical, and, at the
same time, to all that is most characteristic in St Paul's Gospel.  What
the Law could not do, forgiveness achieves.  It creates the new heart,
and with it the new holiness.  'It is not anything statutory which makes
saints out of sinful men; it is the forgiveness which comes through the
passion of Jesus.'[12]

(2) Next to the motive of forgiveness, and indeed arising from it, is the
new consciousness of the _Fatherhood of God_, and the corresponding idea
of sonship.  This was a motive to which Jesus habitually appealed.  He
invariably sought not only to create in men confidence in God by
revealing His fatherly providence, but also to lift them out of their
apathy and thraldom by kindling in their souls a sense of their worth and
liberty as sons of God.  The same thought is prominent also in the
epistles both of St. Paul and St. John.  As children of God we are no
longer menials and hirelings who do their work merely for pay, and
without {154} intelligent interest, but sons who share our Father's
possessions and co-operate with Him in His purposes.[13]

(3) Closely connected with the idea of Sonship is that of life as a
_Divine Vocation_.  Life is a trust, and as the children of God we are
called to serve Him with all we have and are.  The sense of the vocation
and stewardship of life acts as a motive: (_a_) in giving _dignity and
stability_ to character, saving us, on the one hand, from fatalism, and
on the other from fanaticism, and affording definiteness of purpose to
all our endeavours; and (_b_) in promoting _sincerity and fidelity_ in
our life-work.  Thoroughness will permeate every department of our
conduct, since whatsoever we do in word or deed we do as unto God.  All
duty is felt to be one, and as love to God becomes its motive the
smallest as well as the greatest act is invested with infinite worth.
'All service ranks the same with God.'

(4) Another motive, prominent in the Pauline Epistles, but present also
in the eschatological passages of the Synoptics, ought to be mentioned,
though it does not now act upon Christians in the same form--_the
Shortness and Uncertainty of life_.  Our Lord enjoins men to work while
it is day for the night cometh; and in view of the suddenness and
unexpectedness of the coming of the Son of Man He exhorts to watchfulness
and preparedness.  A similar thought forms the background of the
apostle's conception of life.  His entire view of duty as well as his
estimate of earthly things are tinged with the idea that 'the time is
short,' and that 'the Lord is at hand.'  Christians are exhorted,
therefore, to sit lightly to all worldly considerations.  Our true
citizenship is in heaven.  But neither the apostle nor his Master ever
urges this fact as a reason for apathy or indifference.  Life may be
brief, but it is not worthless.  The thought of life's brevity must not
act as an opiate, but rather as a stimulant.  If our existence here is
short, then there is all the greater necessity that its days should be
nobly filled, and its transient opportunities seized and turned into
occasions of strenuous service.


(5) To the considerations just mentioned must be added a cognate truth
which has coloured the whole Christian view of life, and has been a most
powerful factor in shaping Christian conduct--_the idea of Immortality_.
It is not quite correct to say that we owe this doctrine to Christianity
alone.  Long before the Christian era it was recognised in Egypt, Greece,
and the Orient generally.  But it was entertained more as a surmise than
a conviction.  And among the Greeks it was little more than the shadowy
speculation of philosophers.  Plato, in his _Phaedo_, puts into the mouth
of Socrates utterances of great beauty and far-reaching import; yet,
notwithstanding their sublimity, they scarcely attain to more than a
'perhaps.'  Even in Hebrew literature, as we have seen, while isolated
instances of a larger hope are not wanting, there is no confident or
general belief in an after-life.  But what was only guessed at by the
ancients was declared as a fact by Christ, and preached as a sublime and
comforting truth by the apostles; and it is not too much to say that
survival after death is at once the most distinctive doctrine of
Christianity and the most precious hope of Christendom.  The whole moral
temperature of the world, says Jean Paul Richter, has been raised
immeasurably by the fact that Christ by His Gospel has brought life and
immortality to light.  This idea, which has found expression, not only in
all the creeds of Christendom, but also in the higher literature and
poetry of modern times, has given a new motive to action, has founded a
new type of heroism, and nerved common men and women to the discharge of
tasks from which nature recoils.  The assurance that death does not end
existence, but that 'man has forever,' has not only exalted and
transfigured the common virtues of humanity; but, held in conjunction
with the belief in the divine Fatherhood and human brotherhood, given to
life itself a new solemnity and pathos.[14]

2.  But if these are the things which actuate men in their service of God
and man, can it be legitimately said that the Christian motive is pure
and disinterested?  It is {166} somewhat remarkable that two opposite
charges have been brought against Christian Ethics.[15]  In one quarter
the reproach has been made that Christianity suppresses every natural
desire for happiness, and inculcates a life of severe renunciation.  And
with equally strong insistence there are others who find fault with it
because of its hedonism, because it rests morality upon an appeal to
selfish interests alone.

(1) The first charge is sufficiently met, we think, by our view of the
Christian ideal.  We have seen that it is a full rich life which Christ
reveals and commends.  The kingdom of God finds its realisation, not in a
withdrawal from human interests, but in a larger and fuller participation
in all that makes for the highest good of humanity.  It is a caricature
of Christ's whole outlook upon existence to represent Him as teaching
that this life is an outlying waste, forsaken of God and unblessed, and
that the world is so hopelessly bad that it must be wholly renounced.  On
the contrary, it is for Him one of the provinces of the divine kingdom,
and the most trivial of our occupations and the most transient of our
joys and sorrows find their place in the divine order.  It is not
necessary to endorse Renan's idyllic picture of the Galilean ministry to
believe that for Jesus all life, its ordinary engagements and activities,
had a worth for the discipline and perfecting of character, and were
capable of being consecrated to the highest ends.  There are, indeed, not
a few passages in which the call to self-denial is emphasised.  But
neither Christ nor His apostles represent pain and want as in themselves
efficacious or meritorious.  Renunciation is inculcated not for its own
sake, but always as a means to fuller realisation.  Jesus, indeed,
transcends the common antithesis of life.  For Him it is not a question
as to whether asceticism or non-asceticism is best.  Life is for use.  It
is at once a trust and a privilege.  It may seem to some that He chose
'the primrose path,' but if he did so it was not due to an easy-going
good-nature.  We dare not forget the terrible issues {157} He faced
without flinching.  As Professor Sanday has finely said, 'If we are to
draw a lesson in this respect from our Lord's life, it certainly would
not be that

  "He who lets his feelings run
    In soft luxurious flow,
  Shrinks when hard service must be done,
    And faints at every woe."

It would be rather that the brightest and tenderest human life must have
a stern background, must carry with it the possibility of infinite
sacrifice, of bearing the cross and the crown of thorns.'[16]

(2) The second charge, the charge of hedonism, though seemingly opposed
to the first, comes into line with it in so far as it is alleged that
Christianity, while inculcating renunciation in this world, does so for
the sake of happiness in the next.  It is contended that in regard to
purity of motive the Ethics of Christianity falls below the Ethics of
philosophy.[17]  This statement, so often repeated, requires some

3.  While it may be acknowledged that unselfishness and disinterestedness
are the criterion of moral sublimity, it must be noted at the outset that
considerable confusion of thought exists as to the meaning of motive.
Even in those moral systems in which virtue is represented as wholly
disinterested, the motive may be said to reside in the object itself.
The maxim, 'Virtue for virtue's sake,' really implies what may be called
the 'interest of achievement.'  If virtue has any meaning it must be
regarded as a 'good' which is desirable.  Perseverance in the pursuit of
any good implies the hope of success; in other words, of the reward which
lies in the attainment of the object desired.  The reward sought may not
be foreign to the nature of virtue itself, but none the less, the idea of
reward is present, and, in a sense, is the incentive to all virtuous
endeavour.  This is, indeed, implied by a no less rigorous {168} moralist
than Kant.  For as he himself teaches, the question, 'What should I do?'
leads inevitably to the further question, 'What may I hope?'[18]  The end
striven after cannot be a matter of indifference, if virtue is to have
moral value at all.  It must be a real and desirable end--an end which
fulfils the purpose of a man as a moral being.

(1) But though Kant insists with rigorous logic that reverence for the
majesty of the moral law must be the only motive of duty, and that all
motives springing from personal desire or hope of happiness must be
severely excluded, it is curious to find that in the second part of his
_Critique of Practical Reason_ he proceeds, with a strange inconsistency,
to make room for the other idea, viz., that virtue is not without its
reward, and is indeed united in the end with happiness.  Felicity and
holiness shall be ultimately one, he says; and, at the last, virtue shall
be seen 'to be worthy of happiness,' and happiness shall be the crown of
goodness.[19]  Thus those philosophers, of whom Kant is typical, who
contend for the purity of the moral motive and the disinterested loyalty
to the good, bring in, at the end, the notion of happiness, which, as a
concomitant or consequence of virtue, cannot fail to be also an active

(2) When we turn to Christian Ethics we find that here, not less than in
philosophical Ethics, the motive lies in the object itself.  The end and
the motive are really one, and the highest good is to be sought for
itself and not for the sake of some ulterior gain.  It is true, indeed,
that Christianity has not always been presented in its purest form; too
often have prudence, fear, other-worldliness been set forth as
inducements to goodness, as if the Gospel cared nothing for the
disposition of a man, and was concerned only with his ultimate happiness.
Even a moralist so acute as Paley bases morality upon no higher ground
than enlightened self-interest.  But the most superficial reader of the
Gospels must see at a glance the wide variance between such a view and
that of Christ.  Nothing could be further from the spirit of Jesus than
to estimate the {169} excellence of an action by the magnitude or the
utility of its effects rather than the intrinsic good of its motive.
Otherwise He would not have ranked the widow's mite above the gifts of
vanity, nor esteemed the tribute of the penitent, not so much for the
costliness of her offering, as for the sincerity of affection it
revealed.  Christ looked upon the heart alone, and the worth of an action
lay essentially for Him in its inner quality.  Sin resided not merely in
the overt act, but even more in the secret desire.  A man may be
outwardly blameless, and yet not really good.  He who remains sober or
honest simply because of the worldly advantages attaching to such conduct
may obtain a certificate of respectability from society; but, judged by
the standard of Christ, he is not truly a moral man.  In an age which is
too prone to make outward propriety the gauge of goodness, it cannot be
sufficiently insisted upon that the Ethic of Christianity is an Ethic of
the inner motive and intention, and that, in this respect, it does not
fall a whit behind the demand of the most rigid system of disinterested

(_a_) It must, however, be freely admitted that our Lord frequently
employs the sanctions both of rewards and penalties.  In the time of
Christ the idea of reward, so prominent in the Old Testament, still held
an important place in Jewish religion, being specially connected with the
Messianic Hope and the coming of the kingdom.  It was not unnatural,
therefore, that Jesus, trained in Hebrew religious modes of thought and
expression, should frequently employ the existing conceptions as vehicles
of His own teaching; but, at the same time, purifying them of their more
materialistic associations and giving to them a richer spiritual content.
While the kingdom of God is spoken of as a gift, and promised, indeed, as
a reward, the word 'reward' in this connection is not used in the
ordinary sense, but 'is rather conceived as belonging to the same order
of spiritual experience as the state of heart and mind which ensures its
bestowal.'[20]  Though Jesus does not {160} hesitate to point His
disciples to the blessings of heaven which they will receive in the
future, these are represented for the most part not as material benefits,
but as the intensification and enrichment of life itself.[21]

It was usually the difficulties rather than the advantages of
discipleship upon which Jesus first laid stress.  He would not that any
one should come to Him on false pretences, or without fully counting the
cost.[22]  Even when He Himself called His original disciples, it was of
service and not of recompense He spoke.  'Follow Me, and I will make you
fishers of men.'[23]  The privilege consisted not in outward éclat, but
in the participation of the Master's own purpose and work.  Still, all
service carries with it its own reward, and no one can share the mission
of Christ without also partaking of that satisfaction and joy which are
inseparable from the highest forms of spiritual ministry.[24]

There is, however, one passage recorded by all the Synoptists which seems
at first sight to point more definitely to a reward of a distinctly
material character, and to one that was to be enjoyed not merely in the
future, but even in this present life.  When Peter somewhat boastfully
spoke of the sacrifice which he and his brethren had made for the
Gospel's sake, and asked, 'What shall we have therefor?' Jesus replied,
'Verily, I say unto you, that no man that hath left home, or brethren, or
sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for My sake and the
Gospel's sake, but shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses
and brethren, sisters and mothers, and children and lands, with
persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.'[25]  Now, while
this is a promise of wide sweep and large generosity, it is neither so
arbitrary nor material as it seems.  First, the words, 'with
persecutions,' indicate that suffering is not only the very condition of
the promise, but indeed an essential part of the reward--an element which
would of itself be a true test of the sincerity of the sacrifice.  {161}
But, second, even the promise, 'An hundredfold now in this time,' is
obviously not intended to be taken in a literal sense, but rather as
suggesting that the gain, while apparently of the same nature as the
sacrifice, will have a larger spiritual import.  For, just as Jesus
Himself looked upon all who shared His own devotion as His mother and
brethren; so, in the deepest sense, when a man leaves father and mother,
renouncing home and family ties for the sake of bringing his fellow-men
to God, he seems to be emptying his life of all affectionate
relationships, but in reality he is entering into a wider brotherhood;
and, in virtue of his ministry of love, is being knit in bonds stronger
than those of earthly kinship, with a great and increasing community of
souls which owe to him their lives.[26]  The promise is no arbitrary gift
or bribe capriciously bestowed; it is the natural fruition of moral
endeavour.  For there is nothing so productive as sacrifice.  What the
man who yields himself to the service of Christ actually gives is life;
and what he gets back, increased an hundredfold, is just life again, his
own life, repeated and reflected in the men and women whom he has won to

In some of His parables Christ employs the analogy of the
work-engagement, in which labour and payment seem to correspond.  But the
legal element has a very subordinate place in the simile.  Jesus lifts
the whole relationship into a higher region of thought, and transforms
the idea of wages into that of a gift of love far transcending the legal
claim which can be made by the worker.  He who has the bondsman's mind,
and works only for the hireling's pay, will only get what he works for.
But he who serves from love finds in the service itself that which must
always be its truest recompense--the increased power of service, the
capacity of larger devotion[27]--'The wages of going on.'[28]  In his
latest volume Deissmann has pointed out that we can only do justice to
the utterances of the New Testament regarding work and wages by examining
them _in situ_, {162} amidst their natural surroundings.  Jesus and St.
Paul spoke with distinct reference to the life and habits of the common
people of their day.  'If you elevate such utterances to the level of the
Kantian moral philosophy, and reproach primitive Christianity with
teaching for the sake of reward, you not only misunderstand the words,
but tear them up by the roots.' . . . 'The sordid ignoble suggestions so
liable to arise in the lower classes are altogether absent from the
sayings of Jesus and His apostles, as shown by the parable of the
Labourers in the Vineyard, and the analogous reliance of St. Paul solely
upon grace.'[29]

The same inner relation subsists between Sin and Penalty.  But here,
again, the award of punishment is not arbitrary, but the natural
consequence of disobedience to the law of the spiritual life.  He who
seeks to save his life shall lose it.  He who makes this world his all
shall receive as his reward only what this world can give.  He who buries
his talent shall, by the natural law of disuse, forfeit it.  Not to
believe in Christ is to miss eternal life.  To refuse Him who is the
Light of the world is to remain in darkness.

(6) An examination of the Pauline epistles yields a similar conclusion.
St. Paul does not disdain to employ the sanctions of hope and fear.
'Knowing the terrors of the Lord' he persuades men, and 'because of the
promises' he urges the Corinthians 'to cleanse themselves and perfect
holiness.'  But in Paul's case, as in that of our Lord, the charge of
hedonism is meaningless.  For not only does the conception hold a most
subordinate place in his teaching, but the idea loses the sense of merit,
and is transmuted into that of a free gift.  And in general, in all the
passages where the hope of the future is introduced, the idea of reward
is merged in the yearning for a fuller life, which the Christian, who has
once tasted of its joy here, may well expect in richer measure

Enough has been said to clear Christianity of the charge of hedonism.  So
far from Christian Ethics falling {163} below Philosophical Ethics in
regard to purity of motive, it really surpasses it in the sublimity of
its sanctions.  The Kantian idea of virtue tends to empty the obligation
of all moral content.  Goodness, as the philosopher himself came to see,
cannot be represented as a mere impersonal abstraction.  Virtue has no
meaning except in relation to its ultimate end.  And life in union with a
personal God, in whose image we have been made, is the end and purpose of
man's being.  Noble as it may be to live morally without the thought of
God, the man who so strives to live does not attain to such a high
conception of life as he who lives with God for his object.  Motives
advance with aims, and the higher the ideal the nobler the incentive.
Fear of future punishment and the desire for future happiness may prove
effective aids to the will at certain stages of moral development, but
ultimately the love of God and the beauty of holiness make every other
motive superfluous.  Indeed, the reward of the Christian life is such as
can only appeal to one who has come to identify himself with the divine
will.  The Christian man is always entering upon his reward.  His joy is
his Master's joy.  He has no other interest.  His reward, both here and
hereafter, is not some external payment, something separable from
himself; it is wholly conditioned by what he is, and is simply his own
growth of character, his increasing power of being good and doing good.
And if it be still asked, What is the great inducement?  What is it that
makes the life of the Christian worth living?  The answer can only
be--The hope of becoming what Christ has set before man as desirable, of
growing up to the stature of perfect manhood, of attaining to the
likeness of Jesus Christ Himself.  But so far from this being a selfish
aim, not to seek one's life in God--to be indifferent to all the inherent
blessings and joys involved--would be not the mark of pure
disinterestedness, but the evidence, rather, of a lack of appreciation of
what life really means.  The soul that has caught the vision of God and
been thrilled with the grace of the Son of Man cannot but yield itself to
the best it knows.

[1] Cf. Fairbairn, _The Phil. of the Ch. Religion_, pp. 358 ff.

[2] Peabody, _Christ and the Christian Character_, p. 44.

[3] Peabody, _op. cit._, pp. 53 f.

[4] Peabody, _op. cit._, p. 68.

[5] See Paulsen, _System der Ethik_, pp. 56 ff.; also Troeltsch, _op.
cit._, vol. ii. p. 847.

[6] Cf. Ehrhardt, _Der Grundcharacter d. Ethik. Jesu_, p. 110.  'The
ascetic element in the ethics of Jesus is its transient, the service of
God its permanent element.'  Cf. also Strauss, _Leben Jesu_, who speaks
of 'the Hellenic quality' in Jesus; also Keim, _Jesus of Nazareth, and
Troeltsch_, _op. cit._, vol. i. pp. 34 ff.

[7] John xiii. 15.

[8] _Conduct of Life_.

[9] _Metaphysics of Ethics_, sect. ii.

[10] Schultz, _Grundriss d. evang. Ethik_, p. 5.

[11] Cf. _Ecce Homo_, chap. x.

[12] This thought has been beautifully worked out by Prof. Denney in
_British Weekly_, Jan. 13, 1912.

[13] Luke xv.

[14] Cf. Knight, _The Christian Ethic_, p. 36.

[15] See Haering, _Ethics of the Christian Life_, p. 190.

[16] 'Apocalyptic Element in the Gospels,' _Hibbert Journal_, Oct. 1911.

[17] The question of rewards has been fully discussed by Jacoby,
_Neutestamentliche Ethik_, pp. 41 ff.; also Barbour, _op. cit._, pp.  226

[18] Cf. _Kritik d. prakt. Vernunft_, p. 143.

[19] Kant, _Idem_.

[20] Barbour, _op. cit._, p. 231.

[21] Matt. v. 12, xix. 21, xxv. 34; Luke vi. 23, xviii. 22; Mark x. 21.

[22] Mark viii. 19; Luke ix. 57.

[23] Mark i. 17, ii. 14.

[24] Luke xxii. 29 f.

[25] Mark x. 28-31; cf. Matt. xix. 27-30.

[26] This thought is finely elaborated by Barbour.

[27] Matt. xxv. 21; Luke xix. 17.

[28] Tennyson, _Wages_.

[29] Deissmann, _Light from the Ancient East_, pp. 316 ff.

[30] See also Eph. vi. 5-8; 1 Cor. iii. 14; Rom. v. 2-5, vi. 23, viii.




In the dynamic power of the new life we reach the central and
distinguishing feature of Christian Ethics.  The uniqueness of
Christianity consists in its mode of dealing with a problem which all
non-Christian systems have tended to ignore--the problem of translating
the ideal into life.  The Gospel not only sets before men the highest
good, but it imparts the secret of realising it.  The ideals of the
ancients were but visions of perfection.  They had no objective
reality.  Beautiful as these old-time visions of 'Good' were, they
lacked impelling force, the power to change dreams into realities.
They were helpless in the face of the great fact of sin.  They could
suggest no remedy for moral disease.

Christianity is not a philosophical dream nor the imagination of a few
visionaries.  It claims to be a new creative force, a power
communicated and received, to be worked out and realised in the actual
life and character of common men and women.

In this chapter we have to consider the means whereby man is brought
into a new spiritual relation with God, and enabled to live the new
life as it has been revealed in Christ.  This reconciliation implies a
twofold movement--a redemptive action on God's part, and an
appropriating and determinative response on the part of man.



The urgent problem of the New Testament writers was, How can man
achieve that good which has been embodied {165} in the life and example
of Jesus Christ?  A full answer to this question would lead us into the
realm of dogmatic theology.  And therefore, without entering upon
details, it may be said at once that the originality of the Gospel lies
in this, that it not only reveals the good in a concrete and living
form, but discloses the power which makes the good possible in the
hitherto unattempted derivation of the new life from a new birth under
the influence of the spirit of God.  The power to achieve the moral
life does not lie in the natural man.  No readjustment of
circumstances, nor spread of knowledge, is of itself equal to the task
of creating that entirely new phenomenon--the Christian character.
There must be a cause proportionate to the effect.  'Nothing availeth,'
says Paul, 'but a new creature.'  This new condition owes its origin to
God.  It is a life communicated by an act of divine creative activity.

But while this regenerative energy is represented generally as the work
of God's spirit, it is more particularly set forth as operating through
Christ who is the power of God unto salvation.

There are three great facts in Christ's life with which the New
Testament connects the redemptive work of God.

1.  _The Incarnation_.--In Christ God shares man's nature, and thus
makes possible a union of the divine and human.  On its divine side the
incarnation is the complete revelation of God in human life, and on the
human side it is the supreme expression of the spiritual meaning of
human nature itself.  Christ saves not by a special act of atonement
alone, but emphatically by manifesting in Himself the union of God and
man.  In view of the fact of the world's sin, the Incarnation, as the
revelation of the divine life, includes a gracious purpose.  It
involves the sacrifice of God, which theologians designate by the
theory of _Kenosis_.  The Advent was not only the consummation of the
religious history of the race; it was also the inauguration of a new
era.  The Son of Man initiated a new type of humanity, to be realised
in increasing fullness as men entered into the meaning of the great
revelation.  'He {166} recapitulated in Himself the long unfolding of
mankind.'[1]  Hence in the very fact of the word becoming flesh
atonement is involved.  In Christ God is revealed in the reality of His
love and the persistence of His search for man, while man is disclosed
in the greatness of his vision and vocation.

2.  _The Death of Christ_.--Although already implied in the life, the
atonement culminates in the death of Christ.  Even by being made in the
likeness of men Jesus did not escape from, but willingly took up, the
burdens of humanity and bore them as the Son of Man.  But His passion
upon the cross, as the supreme instance of suffering borne for others,
at once illuminated and completed all that He suffered and achieved as
man's representative.  It is this aspect of Christ's redemptive work
upon which St. Paul delights to dwell.  And though naturally not so
prominent in our Lord's own teaching, yet even there the significance
of the Redeemer's death is foreshadowed, and in more than one passage
explicitly stated.[2]  Here we are in the region of dogmatics, and we
are not called upon to formulate a doctrine of the atonement.  All that
we have to do with is the ethical fact that between man and the new
life there lies the actuality of sin, the real source of man's failure
to achieve righteousness, and the stumbling-block which must be removed
before reconciliation with God the Father can be effected.  The act, at
once divine and human, which alone meets the case is represented in
Scripture as the Sacrifice of Christ.  In reference to the efficacy of
the sacrifice upon the cross Bishop Butler says: 'How and in what
particular way it had this efficacy, there are not wanting persons who
have endeavoured to explain; but I do not find that the Scripture has
explained it.'[3]  Though, indeed, the fact is independent of any
theory, the truth for which the cross stands must be brought by us into
some kind of intelligible relation with our view of the world,
otherwise it is a piece of magic lying outside of our experience, and
{167} having no ethical value for life.  At the same time no doctrine
has suffered more from shallow theorisings, and particularly by the
employment of mechanical, legal, and commercial analogies, than the
doctrine of the atonement.  The very essence of the religious life is
incompatible with the idea of an external transference of goodness from
one being to another.  Man can be reconciled to God only by an absolute
surrender of himself to God.  To assimilate this spiritual act to a
commercial or legal transaction is to destroy the very idea of the
moral life.  No explanation, however, can be considered satisfactory
which does not safeguard two ideas of a deeply ethical nature--the
voluntariness and the vicariousness of Christ's sacrifice.  We must be
careful to do justice, on the one hand, to the eternal relations in
which Christ stands to God; and on the other, to the intimate
association with man into which Jesus has entered.  It is the task of
theology to bring together the various passages of Scripture, and
exhibit their systematic connection and relative value for a doctrine
of soteriology.  For Ethics the one significant fact to be recognised
is that in a human life was fulfilled perfect obedience, even as far as
death, a perfect obedience that completely met and fully satisfied the
demand of the very highest, the divine ideal.

3.  _The Resurrection of Christ_.--If the Incarnation naturally issues
in the sacrifice unto death, that again is crowned and sealed by
Christ's risen life.  The Resurrection is the vindication and
completion of the Redeemer's work.  He who was born of the seed of
David according to the flesh was declared to be the Son of God by the
Resurrection.  It was the certainty that He had risen that gave to His
death, in the apostles' eyes, its sacrificial value.  This was the
ground of St. Paul's conviction that the old order had passed away, and
that a new order had been established.  'If Christ be not risen ye are
yet in your sins.'  In virtue of His ascended life Christ becomes the
indwelling presence and living power within the regenerate man.  It is
in no external way that the Redeemer exerts His influence.  He is the
principle of life working within the soul.  The key {168} to the new
state is to be found in the mystical union of the Christian with the
risen Lord.  The twofold act of death and resurrection has its analogy
in the experience of every redeemed man.  Within the secret sanctuary
of the human soul that has passed from death to life, the history of
the Redeemer is re-enacted.  In the several passages which refer to
this subject the idea is that the changed life is based upon an ethical
dying and rising again with Christ.[4]  The Christ within the heart is
the vital principle and dynamic energy by which the believer lives and
triumphs over every obstacle--the world, sin, sorrow, and death itself.
'I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.'[5]  All that makes life,
'life indeed'--an exalted, harmonious, and joyous existence--is derived
from union with the living Lord, who has come to be what He is for man
by the earthly experiences through which He has passed.  Thus by His
Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection He is at once the source and goal,
the spring and ideal of the new life.

  'Yea, thro' life, death, sorrow, and through sinning,
  He shall suffice me for He hath sufficed;
  Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning;
  Christ the beginning, for the end is Christ.'[6]

Theology may seek to analyse the personality of Christ into its
elements--the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  But after
all it is one and indivisible.  It is the whole fact of Christ, and not
any particular experience taken in its isolation, which is the power of
God unto salvation.  The question still remains after all our analysis,
What was it that gave to these events in the history of Jesus their
creative and transforming power?  And the answer can only be--Because
Christ was what He was.  It was the unique character of the Being of
whom these were but the manifestations which wrought the spell.  What
bound the New Testament Christians to the cross was that their Master
hung there.  They saw in that life lived among {169} men, and in that
sacrifice upon Calvary, the perfect consummation of the ideal manhood
that lived within their own hearts, and of the love, new upon the
earth, which made it possible.  The cross stood for the symbol of a
truth that pierced to the inner core of their souls.  'He bore our
sins.'  And thus down the centuries, in their hour of shame, and grief,
and death, men have lifted their eyes to the Man of Sorrows, and have
found in His life and sacrifice, apart from all theories of atonement,
their peace and triumph.  It is this note of absolute surrender towards
God and of perfect love for man which, because it answers to a deep
yearning of the human heart, has given to the mystery of the
Incarnation and the Cross its lifting and renewing power,



Possession of power involves the obligation to use it.  The force is
given; it has to be appropriated.  The spirit of Christ is not offered
in order to free a man from the duties of the moral life.  Man is not
simply the recipient of divine energy.  He has to make it his own and
to work it out by his self-determinative activity.  Nevertheless the
relation of the divine spirit to the human personality is a subject of
great perplexity, involving the psychological problem of the connection
of the divine and the human in life generally.  If in the last resort
God is the ultimate source of all life, the absolute Being, who

  'Can rejoice in naught
  Save only in Himself and what Himself hath wrought';

that truth must be held in harmony with the facts of divine immanence
and human experience.  The divine spirit holds within His grasp all
reality, and by His self-communicating activity makes the world of
nature and of life possible.  But that being granted, how are we to
conceive the relation of that Spirit to man with his distinct
individuality, with {170} his sense of working out a future and a fate
in which the Absolute may indeed be fulfilling its purpose, but which
are none the less man's own achievement?  That is the crux of the
problem.  The outstanding fact which bears upon this problem is the
general character of our experience, the growth of which is not the
mere laying of additional material upon a passive subject by an
external power, but is a true development, a process in which the
subject is himself operative in the unfolding of his own
potentialities.  Without dwelling further upon this question it may be
well to bear in mind two points: (1) The growth of experience is a
gradual entrance into conscious possession of what we implicitly are
and potentially have from the beginning.  Duty, for example, is not
something alien from a man, something superimposed by a power not
himself.  It lies implicit in his nature as his ideal and vocation.
The moral life is the life in which a man comes to 'know himself,' to
apprehend himself as he truly is.  (2) In this development of
experience we ourselves are active and self-organising.  We are really
making ourselves, and are conscious, that even while we are the
instruments of a higher power, we are working out our own
individuality, exercising our own freedom and determination.[7]  The
teaching of the New Testament is in full accord with this position.
If, on the one hand, St. Paul states that every moral impulse is due to
the inspiration of God, no less emphatic is he in ascribing to man
himself full freedom of action.  'The ethical sense of responsibility,'
says Johannes Weiss,[8] 'the energy for struggle, and the discipline of
the will were not paralysed nor absorbed in Paul's case by his
consciousness of redemption and his profound spiritual experiences.'
Scripture lends no support to the idea which some forms of Augustinian
theology assume, that the divine spirit is an irresistible force acting
from without upon man and superseding his exertions.  It acts as an
immanent moral power, not compelling or crushing the will, but
quickening and inspiring its efforts.


If we inquire what constitutes the subjective or human element in the
making of the new life, we find that the New Testament emphasises three
main factors--Repentance, Faith, and Obedience.  These are
complementary, and together constitute what is commonly called

1.  _Repentance_ is a turning away in sorrow and contrition from a life
of sin, a breaking off from evil because a better standard has been
accepted.  Our Lord began His ministry with a call to repentance.  The
first four beatitudes set forth its elements; while the parable of the
prodigal illustrates its nature.

Ethical writers distinguish between a negative and a positive aspect of
repentance.  On its negative side it is regarded as the emotion of
sorrow excited by reflection upon sin.  But sorrow, though accompanying
repentance, must not be identified with it.  Mere regret, either in the
form of bitterness over one's folly, or chagrin on account of
discovery, may be but a weak sentiment which exerts little or no
influence upon a man's subsequent conduct.  Even remorse following the
commission of wickedness may only deepen into a paralysing despair
which works death rather than repentance unto life.

(1) On its positive side repentance implies action as well as feeling,
and involves a determination of will to quit the past and start on a
new life.  A man repents not merely when he grieves over his misdeed,
but when he confesses it and seeks to make what amendment he can.  This
positive outlook upon the future, rather than the passive brooding over
the past, is happily expressed in the New Testament term _metanoia_,
change of mind, and is enforced in the Baptist's counsel, 'Bring forth
fruits meet for repentance.'[9]  The change of mind here indicated is
practically equivalent to what is variously called in the New Testament
'Conversion,'[10] 'Renewal,'[11] 'Regeneration,'[12]--words suggestive
of the completeness of the change.

(2) The variety of terms employed to describe conversion {172} would
seem to imply that the Scriptures recognise a diversity of mode.  All
do not enter the kingdom of God by the same way; and the New Testament
offers examples varying from the sudden conversion of a Saul to the
almost imperceptible transformation of a Nathaniel and a Timothy.  In
modern life something of the same variety of Christian experience is
manifest.  While what is called 'sudden conversion' cannot reasonably
be denied,[13] as little can those cases be ignored in which the truth
seems to pervade the mind gradually and almost unconsciously--cases of
steady spiritual growth from childhood upwards, in which the believer
is unaware of any break in the continuity of his inner history, his
days appearing to be 'bound each to each by natural piety.'

(3) The question arises, Which is the normal experience?  The matter
has been put somewhat bluntly by the late Professor James,[14] as to
whether the 'twice-born' or the 'once-born' present the natural type of
Christian experience.  Is it true, he asks, that the experience of St.
Paul, which has so long dominated Christian teaching, is really the
higher or even the healthier mode of approaching religion?  Does not
the example of Jesus offer a simpler and more natural ideal?  The moral
experience of the Son of Man was not a revolution but an evolution.
His own religion was not that of the twice-born, and all that He asked
of His disciples was the childlike mind.[15]  Paul, the man of cities,
feels a kindred turbulence within himself.  Jesus, the interpreter of
nature, feels the steady persuasiveness of the sunshine of God, and
grows from childhood in stature, wisdom, and favour with God and man.
It is contended by some that the whole Pauline conception of sin is a
nightmare, and rests upon ideas of God and man which are unworthy and
untrue.  'As a matter of fact,' says Sir Oliver Lodge, 'the higher man
of to-day is not worrying about his sins at all, still less about their
punishment; his mission, if he is good for anything, is to be up and
doing.'[16] {173} This amounts to a claim for the superiority of the
first of the two types of religious consciousness, the type which James
describes as 'sky-blue souls whose affinities are with flowers and
birds and all enchanting innocencies than with dark human passions;
. . . in whom religious gladness, being in possession from the outset,
needs no deliverance from any antecedent burden.'[17]  The second type
is marked by a consciousness, similar to St. Paul's, of the divided
self.  It starts from radical pessimism.  It only attains to religious
peace through great tribulation.  It is the religion of the 'sick soul'
as contrasted with that of 'healthy-mindedness.'  But, morbid as it may
appear, to be disturbed by past sin, it is really the 'twice-born' who
have sounded the depths of the human heart, and have been the greatest
religious leaders.  And so far from the sense of the need of repentance
being the sign of a diseased mind, the decreasing consciousness of sin
in our day may only prove the shallowness of the modern mind.  What men
need of religion is power.  And there is a danger of people to-day
losing a sense of the dynamic force of the older Gospel.[18]

But whether Paul's case is abnormal or the reverse, it is surely a
false inference that, because Christ grew up without the need of
conversion, His life affords in this respect a pattern to sinful men.
It is just His perfect union with God which differentiates Him entirely
from ordinary men; and that which may be necessary for sinful creatures
is unthinkable in His case.  What He was we are to become.  But before
we can follow Him, there is for us, because of sin, a preliminary
step--a breaking with our evil past.  And, in all His teaching our Lord
clearly recognises this.  His first call is a call to repentance.  It
is indeed the childlike mind He requires; but He significantly says
that 'except _ye turn_ and become as little children, ye shall in no
wise enter the kingdom of heaven.'[19]

The decision of will demanded of Jesus, while it may not {174}
necessarily involve a catastrophe of life or convulsion of nature, must
be none the less a deliberate and decisive turning from evil to good.
By what road a man must travel before he enters the kingdom, through
what convulsion of spirit be must pass, so frequently dwelt upon by St.
Paul and illustrated by his own life, Christ does not say.  In the
Fourth Gospel there is one reported saying describing a process of
spiritual agony, like that of physical child-birth, indicative that the
change must be radical, and that at some point of experience the great
decision must be made, a decision which is likely to involve deep
travail of soul.

There are many ways in which a man may become a Christian.  Some men
have to undergo, like Paul, fierce inward conflict.  Others glide
quietly, almost imperceptibly, into richer and ampler regions of life.
But when or how the transition is made, whether the renewal be sudden
or gradual, it is the same victory in all cases that must be won, the
victory of the spirit over the flesh, the 'putting off of the old man'
and the 'putting on of the new.'  Life cannot be always a compromise.
Sooner or later it must become an alternative.  He who has seen the
higher self can be no longer content with the lower.  The acts of
contrition, confession, and decision--essential and successive steps in
repentance--are the immediate effects of the vision of Christ.  Though
repentance is indeed a human activity, here, as always, the earlier
impulse comes from the divine side.  He who truly repents is already in
the grip of Christ.  'We love Him because He first loved us.'

2.  _Faith_.--If repentance looks back and forsakes the old, faith
looks forward and accepts the new.  Even in repentance there is already
an element of faith, for a man cannot turn away from his evil past
without having some sense of contrast between the actual and the
possible, some vision of the better life which he feels to be desirable.

(1) While there is no more characteristic word in the New Testament
than faith, there is none which is used in a greater variety of senses,
or whose import it is more difficult to determine.  It must not be
forgotten at the outset {175} that though it is usually regarded as a
theological term, it is a purely human act, and represents an element
in ordinary life without which the world could not hold together for a
single day.  We constantly live by faith, and in our common intercourse
with our fellows we daily exercise this function.  We have an
irresistible conviction that we live in a rational world in which
effect answers to cause.  Faith, it has been said, is the capital of
all reasoning.  Break down this principle, and logic itself would be
bankrupt.  Those who have denied the intelligibility of the universe
have not been able to dispense with the very organ by which their
argument is conducted.  Hence faith in its religious sense is of the
same kind as faith in common life.  It is distinguishable only by its
_special object_ and its _moral intensity_.

(2) The habitual relationship between Christ and His disciples was one
of mutual confidence.  While Jesus evidently trusts them, they regard
Him as their Master on whose word they wholly rely.  Ever invested with
a deep mystery and awe, He is always for His disciples the embodiment
of all that is highest and holiest, the supreme object of reverence,
the ultimate source of authority.  Peter but expresses the mind of the
company when he says, 'To whom can we go but unto Thee, Thou hast the
words of eternal life.'  Nor was it only the disciples who manifested
this personal trust.  Many others, the Syrophenician woman, the Roman
Centurion, Zacchaeus, Bartimaeus, also evinced it.  It was, indeed, to
this element in the human heart that Jesus invariably appealed; and
while He was quick to detect its presence, He was equally sensitive to
its absence.  Even among the twelve, when, in the face of some new
emergency, there was evidence of mistrust, He exclaimed, 'O ye of
little faith.'  And when, beyond His own immediate circle, He met with
suspicion and unbelief, it caused Him surprise and pain.[20]

From these and other incidents it is obvious that faith for Jesus had a
variety of meanings and degrees.


(_a_) Sometimes it meant simply _trust in divine providence_; as when
He bids His disciples take no thought for their lives, because He who
feeds the ravens and clothes the lilies cares for them.  (_b_) It meant
again _belief in His own divine power_; as when He assures the
recipients of His healing virtue that their faith hath made them whole.
(_c_) It is regarded by Jesus as _a condition of forgiveness and
salvation_.  Thus to the woman who had sinned He said, 'Thy faith hath
saved thee,' and to the man who was sick of the palsy, 'Son, thy sins
be forgiven thee.'[21]

The essential and vital mark in all Christ's references is the personal
appropriation of the good which He Himself had brought to man.  In His
various modes of activity--in His discourses, His works of healing and
forgiveness--it is not too much to say that Jesus regarded Himself as
the embodiment of God's message to the world; and to welcome His word
with confidence and joy, and unhesitatingly act upon it, was faith.
Hence it did not mean merely the mental acceptance of some abstract
truth, but, before all else, personal and intimate devotion to Himself.
It seems the more necessary to emphasise this point since Harnack has
affirmed 'that, while Christ was the special object of faith for Paul
and the other apostles, He did not enter as an element into His own
preaching, and did not solicit faith towards Himself.'[22]  It is
indeed true that Jesus frequently associated Himself with His Father,
whose immediate representative He claims to be.  But no one can doubt
that He also asserts authority and power on His own account, and
solicits faith on His own behalf.  Nor does He take pains, even when
challenged, to explain that He was but the agent of another.  On the
contrary, as we have seen, He acts in His own right, and pronounces the
blessings of healing and forgiveness in His own name.  Even when the
word 'Faith' is not mentioned the whole attitude and spirit of Jesus
impels us to the same conclusion.  There was an air of independence and
authority {177} about Him which filled His disciples and others, not
merely with confidence, but with wonder and awe.  His repeated word is,
'I say unto you.'  And there is a class of sayings which clearly
indicate the supreme significance which He attached to His own
personality as an object of faith.  Foremost among these is the great
invitation, 'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and
I will give you rest.'

(3) If we turn to the epistles, and especially to the Pauline, we are
struck by the apparently changed meaning of faith.  It has become more
complex and technical.  It is no longer simply the receptive relation
of the soul towards Christ; it is also a justifying principle.  Faith
not only unites the believer to Christ, it also translates him into a
new sphere and creates for him a new environment.  The past is
cancelled.  All things have become new.  The man of faith has passed
out of the dominion of law into the kingdom of Grace.

The Pauline doctrine of Justification by Faith has received in the
history of the Church a twofold interpretation.  On the one hand, it
has been maintained that the sole significance of faith is that it
gives to the believer power, by God's supernatural aid, to realise a
goodness of which he is naturally incapable.  On the other hand, it is
held that the peculiarity of faith is that, though he himself is a
sinner deserving condemnation, it affords to the believer an assurance
of the favour with which a loving Father regards him, not on account of
his own attainments, but in virtue of the perfect obedience of the Son
of God with whom each is united by faith.  The former is the more
distinctively Roman view; the latter that of the Reformed Church.
While the Catholic form of the doctrine gives to 'works' a place not
less important than faith in justification, the Protestant exalts
'faith' to the position of priority as more in harmony with the mystery
of the atoning sacrifice of Christ as expounded by St. Paul.  Faith
justifies, because it is for the Christian the vision of an ideal.
What we admire in another is already implicitly within us.  We {178}
already possess the righteousness we believe in.  The moral beauty of
Christ is ours inasmuch as we are linked to Him by faith, and have
accepted as our true self all that He is and has achieved.  Hence faith
is not merely the sight of the ideal in Christ.  It is the energy of
the soul as well, by which the believer strives to realise that which
he admires.  According to the teaching of Scripture faith has thus a
threefold value.  It is a receptive attitude, a justifying principle,
and an energising power.  It is that by which the believer accepts and
appropriates the gift of Life offered by God in Christ.

3.  _Obedience_.--Faith contains the power of a new obedience.  But
faith worketh by love.  The soul's surrender to Christ is the crowning
phase of man's response.  The obedience of love is the natural sequel
of repentance and faith, the completing act of consecration.  As God
gives Himself in Christ to man, so man yields in Christ to God all he
is and all he has.

Without enlarging upon the nature of this final act of self-surrender,
three points of ethical value ought not to be overlooked.

(1) Obedience is an _activity_ of the soul by which the believer
appropriates the life of God.  Life is not merely a gift, it is a task,
an achievement.  We are not simply passive recipients of the Good, but
free and determinative agents who react upon what is given, taking it
up into our life and working it into the texture of our character.  The
obedience of love is the practical side of faith.  While God imparts
the energy of the Spirit, we apply it and by strenuous endeavour and
unceasing effort mould our souls and make our world.

(2) It is a consecration of the _whole personality_.  All the powers of
man are engaged in soul-making.  Religion is not a detached region of
experience, a province separate from the incidents and occupations of
ordinary existence.  Obedience must cover the whole of life, and
demands the exercise and devotion of every gift.  Not only is every
thought to be brought into subjection to the mind of {179} Christ, but
every passion and desire, every activity and power of body and mind are
to be consecrated to God and transformed into instruments of service.
'Our wills are ours to make them thine.'  But the will is not a
separate faculty; it is the whole man.  And the obedience of the will
is nothing less than the response of our entire manhood to the will of

(3) Finally, obedience is a _growing power of assimilation_ to Christ.
We grow in the Christian life according to the measure of our faith and
the exercise of our love.  The spiritual world is potentially ours at
the beginning of the Christian life, but it has to be worked out in
daily experience.  Like every other form of existence spiritual life is
a growth which only attains to strength and fruition through continual
conflict and achievement.  The soul is not a finished product.  In
patience it is to be acquired.[23]  By trial and temptation, by toil
and expenditure, through all the hardships and hazards of daily life
its value is determined and its destiny shaped.  And according to the
measure in which we use these experiences, and transmute them by
obedience to the will of God into means of good, do we grow in
Christian character and approximate to the full stature of the perfect

To this self-determining activity Eucken has given the name of
'Activism.'  'The basis of a true life,' says this writer, 'must be
continually won anew.'[24]  Activism acquires ethical character
inasmuch as it involves the taking up of the spiritual world into our
own volition and being.  Only by this ceaseless endeavour do we advance
to fresh attainments of the moral life, and are enabled to assimilate
the divine as revealed to us in Christ.  Nor is it merely the
individual self that is thus enriched and developed by obedience to the
will of God.  By personal fidelity to the highest we are aiding the
moral development of mankind, and are furthering the advancement of all
that is good and true in the world.  Not only are we making {180} our
own character, but we are helping to build up the kingdom of God upon
the earth.

Repentance, Faith, and Obedience are thus the human factors of the new
life.  They are the moral counterparts of Grace.  God gives and man
appropriates.  By repentance we turn from sin and self to the true home
of our soul in the Fatherhood of God.  By faith we behold in Christ the
vision of the ideal self.  By obedience and the daily surrender of
ourselves to the divine will we transform the vision into the reality.
They are all manifestations of love, the responsive notes of the human
heart to the appeal of divine love.

[1] Irenaeus, _Contra Haereses_, III. xviii. 1.

[2] Matt. xx. 28; John xi. 51; Matt. xxvi. 28; Mark xiv. 8, 9.

[3] _The Analogy_, part II. chap. v.

[4] 2 Cor. v. 14 f.; Rom. vi.; Ephes. iii. 16, 17, v. 8.

[5] Gal. ii. 20.

[6] Meyers, _Saint Paul_.

[7] See Blewett, _The Christian View of the World_, pp. 88 ff., where
this subject is suggestively treated.

[8] _Christ and Paul_.

[9] Matt. iii. 8; Luke iii. 8.

[10] Acts xxvi. 20.

[11] Rom. xii. 12; Titus iii. 5.

[12] 2 Cor. v. 17; Gal. vi. 15.

[13] See Begbie, _Broken Earthenware_.

[14] _Varieties of Relig. Experience_.

[15] Mark x. 15.

[16] _Man and the Universe_, p. 220.

[17] _Varieties of Religious Experience_, p. 80.

[18] Cf. _Foundations: a Statement of Religious Belief by seven Oxford
men_, Essay VI., pp. 274 f.

[19] Matt. xviii. 3.

[20] Matt. xiii. 58; Mark vi. 5.

[21] Cf. Stalker, _The Ethic of Jesus_, p. 179.

[22] _Das Wesen des Christenthums_, p. 91, quoted by Stalker, _idem_,
p. 176.

[23] Luke xxi. 19.

[24] _Life's Basis and life's Ideal_, p. 255.







So far we have gained some conception of the Christian ideal as the
highest moral good, and have learned also how the Christian character is
brought into being.  We now enter upon a new section--the last stage of
our inquiry--and have to consider the 'new man'--his virtues, duties, and

The business lying immediately before us in this chapter is to consider
the accepted standards in which the Christian good is exhibited--the
virtues recognised by the Christian consciousness.

What, then, are the particular forms or manifestations of character which
result from the Christian interpretation of life?  When we think of man
as living in relation to his fellows, and engaging in the common
activities of the world, what are the special traits of character which
distinguish the Christian?  These questions suggest one of the most
important, and at the same time one of the most difficult, tasks of
Christian Ethics--the classification of the virtues.  The difficulty
arises in the first instance from the ambiguity attaching to the term
'virtue.'  It is often loosely used to signify a meritorious act--as in
the phrase, 'making a virtue of a necessity.'  It is frequently employed
generally for a moral quality or excellency of character, and in this
respect is contrasted with vice.  Finally, virtues are sometimes
identified with duties.  Thus we speak of the virtue of veracity.  But
obviously we may also refer to the duty of veracity.  The word _aretê_;
signifies 'force,' and was originally used as a property of bodies,
plants, or animals.  {184} At first it had no ethical import.  In Attic
usage it came to signify aptness or fitness of manhood for public life.
And this signification has shaped the future meaning of its Latin
equivalent--_virtus_ (from _vis_, strength, and not from _vir_, a man).

Plato gave to the term a certain ethical value in connection with his
moral view of the social life, so that Ethics came to be designated the
doctrine of virtues.  In general, however, both by the Greek and Roman
moralists, and particularly the Stoics, the word _virtus_ retained
something of the sense of force or capacity--a quality prized in the
citizen.  The English word is a direct transcript of the Latin.  The
German noun, _Tugend_ (from _taugen_, to fit) means capability, and is
related to worth, honour, manliness.  The word _aretê_ does not
frequently occur in the New Testament.[1]  In the few passages in which
it appears it is associated with praiseworthiness.  In one passage[2] it
has a more distinctly ethical signification--'add to your faith
virtue'--where the idea is that of practical worth or manhood.

Virtue may be defined as the acquired power or capacity for moral action.
From the Christian point of view virtue is the complement, or rather the
outcome, of grace.  Hence virtues are graces.  In the Christian sense a
man is not virtuous when he has first appropriated by faith the new
principle of life.  He has within him, indeed, the promise and potency of
all forms of goodness, but not until he has consciously brought his
personal impulses and faculties into the service of Christ can he be
called truly virtuous.  Hence the Christian character is only
progressively realised.  On the divine side virtue is a gift.  On the
human side it is an activity.  Our Lord's figure of the vine and the
branches represents the relation in which Christian character stands to
Christ.  In like manner St. Paul regards the manifestations of the
Christian life as the fruit of the Spirit--the inevitable and natural
outgrowth of the divine seed of life implanted in the heart.  Hence
arises the importance of {185} cultivating the inner life of the spirit
which is the root of all moral excellency.  On the other hand it must be
remembered that Christian morality is not of a different sort from
natural morality, and the Christian virtues are not merely supernatural
qualities added on, but simply human virtues coloured and transfigured by
grace and raised to a higher value.  The power to act morally, the
capacity to bring all our faculties into the service of the spiritual
life, is the ground of Christian virtue just as it is of every natural
excellence.  From this it follows that the distinction sometimes made
between natural goodness and Christian goodness is unsound.  A virtue is
not a superlative act of merit, implying an excess of excellence beyond
the requirements of duty.  From the Christian standpoint there are no
works of supererogation, and there is no room in the Christian life for
excess or margin.  As every duty is a bounden duty, so every possible
excellence is demanded of the Christian.  Virtues prescribe duties;
ideals become laws; and the measure is, 'Be ye perfect as your Father in
heaven is perfect.'  The Stoic maxim, 'Nothing in excess,' is inadequate
in reference to moral excellence, and Aristotle's doctrine of the 'Mean'
can hardly be applied without considerable distortion of facts.  The only
virtue which with truth can be described as a form of moderation is
Temperance.  It has been objected that by his doctrine of the 'Mean'
Aristotle 'obliterates the awful and absolute difference between right
and wrong.'  If we substitute, as Kant suggested, 'law' for 'mean,' some
of the ambiguity is obviated.  Still, after all extenuation is made it
may be questioned whether any term implying quantity is a fit expression
for a moral attribute.[3]

At the same time the virtues must not be regarded as mere abstractions.
Moral qualities cannot be isolated from the circumstances in which they
are exercised.  Virtue is character in touch with life, and it is only in
contact with actual events that its quality can be determined.  Actions
are not simply good or bad in themselves.  They must {186} always be
valued both by their inner motives and intended ends.  Courage or
veracity, for example, may be exercised from different causes and for the
most various ends, and occasionally even for those of an immoral

For these and similar reasons some modern ethical writers have regarded
the classification of the virtues as unsatisfactory, involving arbitrary
and illogical distinctions in value; and some have even discarded the use
of the word 'virtue' altogether, and substituted the word 'character' as
the subject of ethical study.  But inasmuch as character must manifest
itself in certain forms, and approximate at least to certain norms or
ideals of conduct, it may not be altogether superfluous to consider in
their relation and unity those moral qualities (whether we call them
virtues, graces, or norms of excellence) which the Christian aims at
reproducing in his life.

We shall consider therefore, first, the natural elements of virtue as
they have been disclosed to us by classical teachers.  Next, we shall
compare these with the Christian conception of life, showing how
Christianity has given to them a new meaning and value.  And finally, we
shall endeavour to reveal the unifying principle of the virtues by
showing that when transformed by the Christian spirit they are the
expressions or implicates of a single spiritual disposition or totality
of character.


_The Natural Basis of the Virtues_.--At a certain stage of reflection
there arises an effort not merely to designate, but to co-ordinate the
virtues.  For it is soon discovered that all the various aspects of the
good have a unity, and that the idea of virtue as one and conscious is
equivalent to the idea of the good-will or of purity of heart.  Thus it
was seen by the followers of Socrates that the virtues are but different
expressions of one principle, and that the ultimate good of character can
only be realised by the actual pursuit {187} of it in the recognised
virtues.  We do not sufficiently reflect, says Green, how great was the
service which Greek philosophy rendered to mankind.  From Plato and
Aristotle comes the connected scheme of virtues and duties within which
the educated conscience of Christendom still moves when it is impartially
reflecting on what ought to be done.[5]  Religious teachers may have
extended the scope of our obligations, and strengthened the motives which
actuate men in the performance of duty, but 'the articulated scheme of
what the virtues and duties are, in their difference and their unity,
remains for us now in its main outlines what the Greek philosophers left

Among ancient moralists four virtues, Wisdom, Courage, Temperance,
Justice were constantly grouped.  They were already traditional in
Plato's time, but he adopts them as fundamental.  Aristotle retained
Plato's list, but developed from it some minor excellences.

Virtue, according to Plato, was the health or harmony of the soul; hence
the principle of classification was determined by the fitness of the soul
for its proper task, which was conceived as the attainment of the good or
the morally beautiful.  As man has three functions or aspects, a
cognitive, active, and appetitive, so there are three corresponding
virtues.  His function of knowing determines the primal virtue of Wisdom;
his active power constitutes the virtue of Courage; while his appetitive
nature calls for the virtue of Temperance or Self-control.  These three
virtues have reference to the individual's personal life.  But inasmuch
as a man is a part of a social organism, and has relations to others
beyond himself, justice was conceived by Plato as the social virtue, the
virtue which regulated and harmonised all the others.  For the Stoics
these four virtues embraced the whole life according to nature.  It may
be noticed that Plato and Aristotle did not profess to have created the
virtues.  Wisdom, fortitude, temperance, and justice were, as they
believed, radical principles of the moral nature; and all they professed
to do was to {188} awaken men to the consciousness of their natural
capacities.  If a man was to attain to fitness of life, then these were
the fundamental and essential lines on which his rational life must
develop.  In every conceivable world these are the basal elements of
goodness.  Related as they are to fundamental functions of personality,
they cannot be less or more.  They stand for the irreducible principles
of conduct, to omit any one of which is to present a maimed or only
partial character.  In every rational conception of life they must remain
the essential and desirable objects of pursuit.  It was not wonderful,
therefore, when we remember the influence of Greek thought upon early
Christianity, that the four classical virtues should pass over into
Christian Ethics.  But the Church, recognising that these virtues had
reference to man's life in relation to himself and his fellow-men in this
world alone, added to these the three Pauline Graces, Faith, Hope, and
Charity, as expressive of the divine element in man, his relation to God
and the spiritual world.  The first four were called natural, the last
three supernatural: or the 'Cardinal' (_cardo_, a hinge) and the
'Theological' virtues.  They make in all seven, the mystic perfect
number, and over against these, to complete the symmetry of life, were
placed the seven deadly sins.


_Their Christian Transformation_.--But now if we compare the cardinal
virtues with the conception of goodness revealed in Scripture, we are at
once conscious of a contrast.  We seem to move in a new atmosphere, and
to be confronted with a view of life in which entirely different values

1.  While in the New Testament many virtues are commended, no complete
description occurs in any single passage.  The beatitudes may be regarded
as our Lord's catalogue of the typical qualities of life, and a
development of virtuous life might be worked out from the Sermon on the
Mount.  Beginning with poverty of spirit, {189} humility, and meekness,
and rising up out of the individual struggle of the inner man, we attain
to mercifulness and peaceableness--the spirit which bears the poverty of
others, and seeks to make others meek and gentle.  Next the desire for
righteousness finds expression in a readiness to endure persecution, to
support the burden of duty in the midst of worldly conflict; and finally
in the highest stage the light of virtue shines through the clouds of
struggle and breaks forth spontaneously, irradiating all who come into
contact with it, and constituting man the servant of humanity, the light
of the world.[7]  Or we might turn to the apostle Paul, who regards the
virtues as the fruit of the Spirit, describing them in general as 'love,
joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, gentleness, humility.'[8]  A
rich cluster is also mentioned as 'the fruit of light'--goodness,
righteousness, truth.  A further enumeration is given in Colossians where
the apostle commends compassion, kindness, humility, meekness,
long-suffering, forbearance, and forgiveness.[9]  And once more there is
the often-quoted series in the Epistle to the Philippians, 'Whatsoever
things are true, reverent, just, chaste, lovely, and kindly spoken
of.'[10]  Nor must we forget the characteristics of love presented in the
apostle's 'Hymn of Charity.'[11]  To these descriptions of St. Paul there
ought to be added the remarkable passage in which St. Peter unfolds the
process of the moral life from its seed to the perfect flower.[12]
Though the authorship of this passage has been disputed, that fact does
not make the representation less trustworthy and typical as an exhibition
of early Christian morality.  According to this picture, just as in St.
Paul's view, the whole moral life has its root in faith, and character is
nothing else than the working out of the initial energy of the soul into
virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness,
and charity--all that makes life worthy and excellent.  Character is not
built like a house, by the addition of stone to stone.  It is evolved as
{190} a plant from a seed.  Given faith, there will ultimately emerge all
the successive qualities of true goodness--knowledge, temperance,
patience--the personal virtues, rising upwards to godliness or the love
of God, and widening out to brotherhood, and thence to charity or a love
of mankind--a charity which embraces the whole world, even those who are
not Christian: the enemy, the outcast, and the alien.

These descriptions are not formal or systematic, but are characterised by
a remarkable similarity in spirit and tone.  They all reflect the mind of
Christ, and put the emphasis where Jesus Himself invariably laid it--on
love.  But the point to which we desire to draw attention is the contrast
between the classical and the Christian type of virtue.  The difference
is commonly expressed by saying that the pagan virtues were of a bold
masculine order, whereas the Christian excellences are of an amiable and
passive nature.

Yet if we carefully examine the lists as given in Scripture, we shall see
that this is hardly a just distinction.  Certainly Christianity brings to
the front some virtues of a gentle type which are apparently wanting in
the Platonic catalogue.  But, on the other hand, the pagan virtues are
not excluded from the New Testament.  They have an acknowledged place in
Christian morality.  Fortitude and temperance, not to speak of wisdom and
justice, are recognised as essential qualities of the Christian
character.  Christianity did not come into the world as the negative of
all that was previously noble in human nature; on the contrary, it took
over everything that was good and true, and gave to it a legitimate
place.  Whatsoever things, says the apostle, are true and just and fair,
if there be any virtue or praise in them, think of these things.

Courage is not disparaged by Christianity.  In writing to Timothy Paul
gives to this virtue its original significance.  He only raises it to a
higher level, and gives to it a nobler end--the determination not to be
ashamed of bearing testimony, and the readiness to suffer hardship for
the Gospel's sake.  And though the apostle does not expressly {191}
commend courage in its active form in any other passage, we may gather
from the whole tenor of his life that bravery, fortitude, endurance,
occupied a high place in his esteem.  While he made no parade of his
sufferings his life was a continual warfare for the Gospel.  The courage
of a man is none the less real because it is evinced not on the
battlefield, but in the conflict of righteousness.  He who devotes
himself unnoticed and unrewarded, at the risk of his life and at the
sacrifice of every pleasure, to the service of the sick and the debased,
possesses courage the same in principle as that of the 'brave man'
described by Aristotle.  Life is a battle, and there are other objects
for which a man must contend than those peculiar to a military calling.
In all circumstances of his existence the Christian must quit himself as
a man, and without courage no one can fulfil in any tolerable degree the
duties of his station.

In like manner temperance or self-control is a truly Christian virtue,
and it finds repeated mention in Scripture.  When, however, we compare
the conception of temperance as formulated by Aristotle with the demand
of self-denial which the enlightened Christian conscience makes upon
itself we are struck with a difference both in the motive and the scope
of the principle.  Temperance as Aristotle conceived it was a virtue
exhibited only in dealing with the animal passions.  And the reason why
this indulgence ought to be checked was that the lusts of the flesh
unfitted a man for his discharge of the civic duties.  But, in view of
the Greek idea that evil resides in the physical constitution of man, the
logical deduction would be the total suppression of the animal passions
altogether.  But from the Christian standpoint the physical instincts are
not an evil to be crushed, but rather a legitimate element in man which
is to be disciplined and brought into the service of the spiritual life.
Temperance covers the whole range of moral activity.  It means the
practical mastery of self, and includes the proper control and employment
of hand and eye, tongue and temper, tastes and affections, so that they
may become effective instruments of righteousness.  The practice of {192}
asceticism for its own sake, or abstinence dictated merely by fear of
some painful result of indulgence, we do not now regard as a virtue.  The
true form of self-denial we deem to be only rendered when we forbid
ourselves the enjoyment of certain legitimate inclinations for the sake
of some higher interest.  Thus the scope of the virtue of temperance has
been greatly enlarged, and we present to ourselves objects of moral
loyalty, for the sake of which we are ready to abandon our desires in a
far greater variety of forms than ever occurred to the Greek.  An
indulgence, for example, which a man might legitimately allow himself, he
forgoes in consideration of the claims of his family, or fellow-workmen,
or for the good of mankind at large, in a way that the ancient world
could not understand.  Christian temperance, while the same in principle
with the ancient virtue, penetrates life more deeply, and is fraught with
a richer and more positive content than was contemplated by the Greek

And the same may be said of the virtues of Wisdom and Justice.  Wisdom is
a New Testament grace, but mere calculating prudence or worldly
self-regard finds no place in the Christian scheme of life.  We are
enjoined, indeed, to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves in our
relations with men; but what we are urged to cultivate is a mind for the
right interpretation of the things of God, that spiritual insight which
discerns the things of the Spirit; and, while recognising life as a
divinely given trust, seeks to obtain a wise understanding of our duties
toward God and man.

While the other virtues are to a certain extent self-regarding, Justice
is eminently social.  At the very lowest it means 'equal consideration'
for all, treating, as Kant would say, every man as an 'end,' and not as a
means.  Morally no man may disregard the claims of others.  It is said,
indeed, that we must be 'just before we are generous.'  But a full and
perfect conception of Justice involves generosity.  There is no such
thing as bare justice.  Righteousness, which is the New Testament
equivalent, demands more than negative goodness, and in Christian Ethics
{193} passes over into Charity, which finds and fulfils itself in others.
Love here and always is the fulfilling of the law, and mercy,
benevolence, kindness are the implicates of true justice.

2.  It is thus evident that the cardinal virtues are essential elements
of Christian character.  Christianity, in taking over the moral
conceptions of the ancient world, gave to them a new value and range by
directing them to new objects and enthusing them with new motives.  It
has been truly said that the religion of Jesus so profoundly modified the
character of the moral ideals of the past that they became largely new
creations.  The old moral currency was still kept in circulation, but it
was gradually minted anew.[13]  Fortitude is still the cool and steady
behaviour of a man in the presence of danger; but its range is widened by
the inclusion of perils of the soul as well as the body.  Temperance is
still the control of the physical passions; but it is also the right
placing of new affections, and the consecration of our impulses to nobler
ends.  Justice is still the suppression of conflict with the rights of
others; but the source of it lies in giving to God the love which is His
due, and finding in the objects of His thought the subjects also of our
care.  Wisdom is still the practical sense which chooses the proper
course of action; but it is no longer a selfish calculation of advantage,
but the wisdom of men who are seeking for themselves and others not
merely temporal good, but a kingdom which is not of this world.

The real reason, then, why Christianity seems by contrast to accentuate
the gentler graces is not simply as a protest against the spirit of
militarism and the worship of physical power, so prevalent in the ancient
world--not merely that they were neglected--but because they and they
alone, rightly considered, are of the very essence of that perfection of
character which God has revealed to man in Christ.  What Christianity has
done is not to give pre-eminence to one class over another, but _to make
human character complete_.  Ancient civilisation was one-sided in its
moral {194} development.  The pagan conceptions of virtue were merely
materialistic, temporal, and self-regarding.  Christ showed that without
the spirit of love even such excellences as courage, temperance, and
justice did not attain to their true meaning or yield their full
implication.  Paul, as we have seen, did not disparage heroism, but he
thought that it was exhibited as much, if not more, in patience and
forgiveness as in self-assertion and retaliation.  What Christianity
really revealed was a new type of manliness, a fresh application of
temperance, a fuller development of justice.  It showed the might of
meekness, the power of gentleness, the heroism of sacrifice.

3.  It is thus misleading to say that Christian Ethics differs from
ancient morality in the prominence it gives to what have been called 'the
passive virtues.'  Poverty of spirit, humility, meekness, mercifulness,
and peaceableness are indeed the marks of Christ's teaching.  But as
Christ conceived them they were not passive qualities, but intensely
active energies of the soul.  It has been well remarked that[14] there
was a poverty of spirit in the creed of the cynic centuries before
Christianity.  There was a meekness in the doctrine of the Stoic long
before the advent of Jesus.  But these tenets were very far from being
anticipations of Christ's morality.  Cynic poverty of spirit was but the
poor-spiritedness of apathy.  Stoic meekness was merely the indifference
of oblivion.  But the humility and lowliness of heart, the mercifulness
and peace-seeking which Christ inculcated were essentially powers of
self-restraint, not negative but positive attitudes to life.  The motive
was not apathy but love.  These qualities were based not on the idea that
life was so poor and undesirable that it was not worthy of consideration,
but upon the conviction that it was so grand and noble, something so far
beyond either pleasure or pain, as to demand the devotion of the entire
self--the mastery and consecration of all a man's powers in the
fulfilment and service of its divine end.

Hence what Christianity did was not so much to institute {195} one type
of character for another as to exhibit for the first time the complete
conception of what human life should be--a new creature, in whom, as in
its great Exemplar, strength and tenderness, courage and meekness,
justice and mercy were alike combined.  For, as St. Paul said, in Christ
Jesus there is neither male nor female, but all are as one.  And in this
character, as the same apostle finely shows, faith, hope, and charity
have the primary place, not as special virtues which have been added on,
but as the spiritual disposition which penetrates the entire personality
and qualifies its every thought and act.


_The Unification of the Virtues_.--While it is desirable, then, to
exhibit the virtues in detail, it is even more important to trace back
the virtues to virtue itself.  A man's duties are diverse, as diverse as
the various occasions and circumstances of life, and they can only come
into being with the various institutions of his time, Church and State,
home and country, commerce and culture.  But the performance of these may
be slowly building up in him a consistent personality.  It is in
character that the unity of the moral life is most clearly expressed.
There must be therefore a unity of character underlying the multiplicity
of characteristics, one single and commanding principle at work in the
formation of life of which every possible virtue is the expression.

1.  A unity of this kind is supplied by man's relation to God.  Religion
cannot be separated from conduct.  If it were true, as Epicurus said,
that the gods take no concern in human affairs, then not religion only,
but morality itself would be in danger.  As men's conceptions of God are
purified and deepened, they tend to exhibit the varied contents of
morality in their connection with a diviner order.  It is, then, the
thought of man's relation to God which gives coherence to the moral life,
and brings all its diverse manifestations into unity.


If we examine the Christian consciousness as presented in the New
Testament, we find three words of frequent occurrence repeatedly grouped
together, which may be regarded as the essential marks of Christian
character in relation to God--Faith, Hope, and Love.

So characteristic are these of the new life that they have been called
the theological virtues, because, as Thomas Aquinas says, 'They have God
for their object: they bring us into true relation to God, and they are
imparted to us by God alone.'[15]

2.  These graces, however, cannot be separated.  A man does not exercise
at one time faith, and at another time hope or love.  They are all of a
piece.  They are but different manifestations of one virtue.  Of these
love is the greatest, because it is that without which faith and hope
could not exist.  Love is of the very essence of the Christian life.  It
is its secret and sign.  No other term is so expressive of the spirit of
Christ.  It is the first and last word of apostolic Christianity.  Love
may be called the discovery of the Gospel.  It was practically unknown in
the ancient world.  _Eros_, the sensuous instinct and _philia_, the bond
of friendship, did exist, but _agapê_ in its spiritual sense is the
creation of Christ.  In Christian Ethics love is primal and central.
Here we have got down to the bedrock of virtue.  It is not simply one
virtue among many.  It is the quality in which all the virtues have their
setting and unity.  From a Christian point of view every excellence of
character springs directly from love and is the manifestation of it.  It
is, as St. Paul says, 'the bond of perfectness.'  The several virtues of
the Christian life are but facets of this one gem.[16]

Love, according to the apostle, is indispensable to character.  Without
it Faith is an empty profession; {197} Knowledge, a mere parade of
learning; Courage, a boastful confidence; Self-denial, a useless
asceticism.  Love is the fruitful source of all else that is beautiful
and noble in life.  It not only embraces but produces all the other
graces.  It creates fortitude; it begets wisdom; it prompts
self-restraint and temperance; it tempers justice.  It manifests itself
in humility, meekness, and forgiveness:

  'As every hue is light,
  So every grace is love.'

Love is, however, closely associated with faith and hope.  Faith, as we
have seen, is theologically the formative and appropriating power by
which man makes his own the spirit of Christ.  But ethically it is a form
of love.  The Christian character is formed by faith, but it lives and
works by love.  A believing act is essentially a loving act.  It is a
giving of personal confidence.  It implies an outgoing of the self
towards another--which is the very nature of love.  Hope, again, is but a
particular form of faith which looks forward to the consummation of the
good.  The man of hope knows in whom he believes, and he anticipates the
fulfilment of his longings.  Hope is essentially an element of love.
Like faith it is a form of idealism.  It believes in, and looks forward
to, a better world because it knows that love is at the heart of the
universe.  As faith is the special counteragent against materialism in
the present, so hope is the special corrective of pessimism in regard to
the future.  Love supplies both with vision.  Christian hope, because
based on faith and prompted by love, is no easy-going complacence which
simply accepts the actual as the best of all possible worlds.  The
Christian is a man of hope because in spite of life's sufferings he never
loses faith in the ideal which love has revealed to him.  'Tribulation,'
says St. Paul, 'worketh patience, and patience probation, and probation
hope.'  Hope has its social aspect as well as its personal; like faith it
is one of the mighty levers of society.  Men of hope are the saviours of
the world.  In days of persecution and doubt it is their courage which
rallies the wavering hosts and gives others {198} heart for the struggle.
Every Christian is an optimist not with the reckless assurance that calls
evil good, but with the rational faith, begotten of experience, that good
is yet to be the final goal of ill.  'Thy kingdom come' is the prayer of
faith and hope, and the missionary enterprise is rooted in the confidence
begotten of love, that He who has given to man His world-wide commission
will give also the continual presence and power of His Spirit for its

3.  Faith, hope, and charity are at once the root and fruit of all the
virtues.  They are the attributes of the man whom Christ has redeemed.
The Christian has a threefold outlook.  He looks upwards, outwards, and
inwards.  His horizon is bounded by neither space nor time.  He embraces
all men in his regard, because he believes that every man has infinite
worth in God's eyes.  The old barriers of country and caste, which
separated men in the ancient world, are broken down by faith in God and
hope for man which the love of Christ inspires.  Faith, hope, and love
have been called the theological virtues.  But if they are to be called
virtues at all, it must be in a sense very different from what the
ancients understood by virtue.  These apostolic graces are not elements
of the natural man, but states which come into being through a changed
moral character.  They connect man with God, and with a new spiritual
order in which his life has come to find its place and purpose.  They
were impossible for a Greek, and had no place in ancient Ethics.  They
are related to the new ideal which the Gospel has revealed, and obtain
their value as elements of character from the fact that they have their
object in the distinctive truth of Christianity--fellowship with God
through Christ.

These graces are not outward adornments or optional accomplishments.
They are the essential conditions of the Christian man.  They constitute
his inmost and necessary character.  They do not, however, supersede or
render superfluous the other virtues.  On the contrary they transmute and
transfigure them, giving to them at once their coherence and value.

[1] Phil. iv. 8; 1 Peter ii. 9.

[2] 2 Peter i. 5.

[3] Cf. Sir Alex. Grant, _Aristotle's Ethics_.

[4] Cf. Wundt, _Ethik_, p. 147.

[5] Green, _Proleg. to Ethics_, section 249.

[6] _Idem_.

[7] Matt. v. 1-16.

[8] Gal. v. 22-3.

[9] Col. iii. 12, 13.

[10] Phil. iv. 8.

[11] 1 Cor. xiii.

[12] 2 Peter i. 5.

[13] Strong, _Christian Ethics_.

[14] Mathieson, _Landmarks of Christian Morality_.

[15] _Summa_, I. ii.

[16] An interesting parallel might be drawn between the Pauline
conception of Love as the supreme passion of the soul and lord of the
emotions, and the Platonic view of Justice as the intimate spirit of
order alike in the individual and the state, expressing itself in, and
harmoniously binding together, the virtues of Temperance, Courage, and




We have now to see how the virtues issue in their corresponding duties
and cover the whole field of life.

Virtues and duties cannot be strictly distinguished.  As Paulsen
remarks, 'They are but different modes of presenting the same
subject-matter.'[1]  Virtues are permanent traits of character; duties
are particular acts which seek to realise virtues.

The word 'duty,' borrowed from Stoic philosophy, inadequately
describes, both on the side of its obligation and its joy, the service
which the Christian is pledged to offer to Christ.  For the Christian
the two moments of pleasure and duty are united in the higher synthesis
of love.

In this chapter we shall consider, first, some aspects of Christian
obligation; and, second, the particular duties which arise therefrom in
relation to the self, others, and God.



1.  _Duty and Vocation_.--'While duty stands for a universal element
there is a personal element in moral requirement which may be called
vocation.'[2]  As soon as the youth enters upon the larger world he has
to make choice of a profession or life-work.  Different principles may
guide him in his selection.  First of all, the circumstances {200} of
life will help to decide the individual's career.  Our calling and
duties arise immediately out of our station.  Already by parental
influence and the action of home-environment character is being shaped,
and tastes and purposes are created which will largely determine the
future.  Next to condition and station, individual capacity and
disposition ought to be taken into account.  No good work can be
accomplished in uncongenial employment.  A man must have not only
fitness for his task, but also a love for it.  Proper ambition may also
be a determining factor.  We have a right to make the most of
ourselves, and to strive for that position in which our gifts shall
have fullest scope.  But the ultimate decision must be made in the
light of conscience.  Self-interest should not be our sole motive in
the choice of a vocation.  It is not enough to ask what is most
attractive, what line of life will ensure the greatest material gain or
worldly honour?  Rather should we ask, Where shall I be safest from
moral danger, and, above all, in what position of life, open to me, can
I do the most good?  It is not enough to know that a certain mode of
livelihood is permitted by law; I must decide whether it is permitted
to me as a Christian.  For, after all, underlying, and giving purpose
and direction to, our earthly vocation is the deeper calling of God
into His kingdom.  These cannot, indeed, be separated.  We cannot
divide our life into two sections, a sacred and a secular.  Nor must we
restrict the idea of vocation to definite spheres of work.  Even those
who are precluded by affliction from the activities of the world are
still God's servants, and may find in suffering itself their divinely
appointed mission.  There is a divinity which shapes our ends, and in
every life-calling there is something sacred.  'Saints,' says George
Eliot, 'choose not their tasks, they choose but to do them well.'

But the decisions of life do not cease with the choice of a calling.
At every moment of our career fresh difficulties arise, and new
opportunities open up which demand careful thought.  Our first
obligation is to meet faithfully the claims of our station.  But in the
complexity of life we are {201} being constantly brought into wider
relations with our fellow-men, which either modify the old, or create
entirely new situations.  While the rule is to do the duty that lies
nearest us, to obey the call of God at each moment, it needs no little
wisdom to discern one's immediate duty, and to know what the will of
God actually is.

2.  _Conflict of Duties_.--In the sphere of duty itself a three-fold
distinction, having the imprimatur of the Romish Church, has been made
by some moralists: (1) the problem of colliding interests; (2)
'counsels of perfection'; and (3) indifferent acts or 'Adiaphora,'
actions which, being neither commanded nor forbidden, fall outwith the
domain of Christian obligation.  It will not be necessary to discuss at
length these questions.  The Gospel lends no support to such
distinctions, and as Schleiermacher points out they ought to have no
place in Protestant Ethics.[3]

(1) With regard to the 'conflict of duties,' when the collision is
really, as it often is, a struggle between inclination and duty, the
question answers itself.  There are, of course, cases in which
perplexity must occur to an honest man.  But the difficulty cannot be
decided by drawing up a list of axiomatic precepts to fit all
conceivable cases.  In the dilemma, for example, between
self-preservation and self-sacrifice which may present itself in some
tragic experience of life, a host of considerations relative to the
individual's history and relationships enter in to modify the
situation, and the course to be taken can be _finally_ determined by a
man's _own_ conscience alone.  Ultimately there can be no collision of
duties as such.  Once a man recognises a certain mode of conduct to be
right for him there is really no choice.  In judgment he may err;
passion or desire may obscure the issue; but once he has determined
what he ought to do there is no alternative, 'er kann nicht anders.'

(2) Again, it is a complete misapprehension of the nature of duty to
distinguish between the irreducible minimum and acts of supererogatory
goodness which outrun duty.  {202} Goodness is one, and admits of no
degrees.  All duty is absolute.  An overplus is unthinkable, since no
man can do more than his duty.  A Christian can only do what he
recognises as his obligation, and this he ought to fulfil at every
moment and with all his might.  Love, which is the Christian's only
law, knows no limit.  Even when we have done our utmost we are still
unprofitable servants.

(3) Finally, the question as to whether there are any acts which are
indifferent, permissible, but neither enjoined nor forbidden, must also
be answered in the negative.  If the Christian can do no more than his
duty, because in every single action he seeks to fulfil the whole will
of God, it is clear that there can be no moment of life that can be
thought of not determined by the divine will.  There is no part of life
that is colourless.  There must be no dropped stitches in the texture
of the Christian character.

It is most frequently in the domain of amusement that the notion of the
'Permissible' is applied.  It has been contended that as recreation
really lies outwith the Christian sphere, it may be allowed to
Christian people as a concession to human weakness.[4]  But can this
position be vindicated?  Relaxation is as much a need of man as work,
and must, equally with it, be brought within the scope of Christian
conduct.  We have no business to engage in any activity, whether
involving pleasure or pain, that we cannot justify to our conscience.
Are not the joys of life, and even its amusements, among God's gifts
designed for the enriching of character?  And may not they, too, be
consecrated to the glory of God?  We are to use the world while not
abusing it, for all things are ours if we are Christ's.  Over every
department of life the law of Christ is sovereign, and the ultimate
principle applicable to all problems of duty is, 'Whatsoever ye do in
word or deed do all to the glory of God.'

3.  _Rights and Duties_.--The foregoing question as to the scope of
duty leads naturally to the consideration of the relation of duties and
rights.  It is usual to distinguish {203} between legal and moral
rights; but at bottom they are one.  The rights which I legally claim
for myself I am morally bound to grant to others.  A right is expressed
in the form of a permission; a duty, of an imperative.  I may or may
not demand my legal rights; morally, I must perform my duties.  But, on
the other hand, a right may be secured by legal compulsion; a duty, as
a moral obligation, can never be enforced by external power: it needs
our own assent.[5]

Strictly speaking rights and duties are correlative.  Every right
carries with it an obligation; not merely in the objective sense that
when one man has a right other men are under the obligation to respect
it, but also in the subjective sense that when a man has a right he is
bound to use it for the general good.  It is sometimes said, 'A man may
do what he likes with his own.'  Legally that may be true, but morally
he is under obligation to employ it for the general good just as
strictly as if it were another's.  A man's rights are not merely
decorations or ends in themselves.  They are opportunities,
instruments, trusts.  And when any man has them, it means that he is
placed on a vantage-ground from which, secure of oppression or
interference, he may begin to do his duty.[6]  But this moral aspect of
right is often lost sight of.  People are so enamoured of what they
call their rights that they forget that the real value of every right
depends upon the use to which they put it.  A man's freedom does not
consist in having rights, but in fulfilling them.  'After all,' says
Mazzini, 'the greatest right a man can possess or recognise--the
greatest gift of all--is simply the privilege and obligation to do his
duty.'[7]  This is the only Christian doctrine of rights.  It underlies
our Lord's teaching in the parable of the Talents.  We only have what
we use.

(1) Much has been written of the 'Natural rights of Man.'[8]  This was
the claim of a school of political philosophy of {204} which Paine was
the most rigorous exponent.  The contentions of Paine were met as
vigorously by the negations of Bentham and Burke.  And if it be
supposed that the individual is born into the world with certain
ready-made possessions, fixed and unalterable, the claim is untenable.
Such an artificial account of man ignores entirely the evolution of
moral nature, and denies the possibility of development in man's
conception of law and duty.  'It is,' as Wundt says, 'to derive all the
moral postulates that have been produced in our minds by previous moral
development from moral life as it actually exists.'[9]

(2) But while the 'natural rights of man' cannot be theoretically
vindicated, they may still be regarded as ends or ideals to be striven
after.  'Justifiable or unjustifiable in theory, they may still remain
a convenient form in which to couch the ultimatum of determined
men.'[10]  They give expression, at least, to a conviction which has
grown more clear and articulate with the advance of thought--the
conviction of the _dignity and worth of the individual_.  This thought
was the keynote of the Reformation.  The Enlightenment, with its appeal
to reason, as alike in all men, gave support to the idea of equality.
Descartes claimed it as the philosophical basis of man's nature.
Rousseau and Montesquieu were among its most valiant champions.  Kant
made it the point of departure for the enforcement of human right and
duty.  Fichte but elaborated Kant's view when he contended for 'the
equality of everything which bears the human visage.'[11]  And Hegel
has summed up the conception in what he calls 'the mandate of
right'--'Be a person, and respect others as persons.'[12]  Poets
sometimes see what others miss.  And in our country, at least, it is to
Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Browning, and still more, perhaps, to Burns,
that we are indebted for the insistence upon the native worth of man.

But if this claim has only gradually attained to articulate {205}
expression, and is only now being made the basis of social
reconstruction, it must not be forgotten that it is essentially a
Christian truth.  In Harnack's language, 'Jesus Christ was the first to
bring the value of every human soul to light, and what He did no one
can any more undo.'[13]

When, however, the attempt is made to analyse this ultimate principle
of manhood, opinions differ as to its constituents, and a long list of
'rights' claimed by different political thinkers might be made.  The
famous 'Declaration of Rights'[14] included Life, Liberty, Property,
Security, and 'Resistance of Oppression.'  To these some have added
'Manhood Suffrage,' 'Free Access to the Soil,' and a common
distribution of the benefits of life and means of production.  This is
a large programme, and certainly no community as yet has recognised all
its items without qualification.  Obviously they are not all of the
same quality, nor are they of independent validity; and at best they
but roughly describe certain factors, considered by various agitators
as desirable, of an ideal social order.

(3) We are on safer ground, and for Christian Ethics, at least, more in
consonance with ultimate Christian values, when we describe the primary
realities of human nature in terms of the revelation of life as given
by the Person and teaching of Jesus Christ.  The three great verities
upon which He constantly insisted were, man's value for himself, his
value for his fellow-men, and his value for God.  These correspond
generally to the three great ethical ideas of life--Personality,
Freedom, and Divine Kinship.  But although the sense of independence,
liberty and divine fellowship is the first aspect of a being who has
come to the consciousness of himself, it is incomplete in itself.  Man
plants himself upon his individuality in order that he may set out from
thence to take possession, by means of knowledge, action, and service,
of his larger world.  Man's rights are but {206} possibilities which
must be transmuted by him into achievements.

  'This is the honour,--that no thing I know,
  Feel, or conceive, but I can make my own
  Somehow, by use of hand or head or heart.'[15]

Rights involve obligations.  The right of personality carries with it
the duty of treating life, one's own and that of others, as sacred.
The right of freedom implies the use of one's liberty for the good of
the society of which each is a member.  And finally, the sense of
divine kinship involves the obligation of making the most of one's
life, of realising through and for God all that God intends in the gift
of life.

In these three values lies the Christian doctrine of man.[16]  Because
of their fullness of implication they open out to our vision the goal
of humanity--the principle and purpose of the whole process of human
evolution--the perfection of man.  Given these three Christian
truths--the Sacredness of Personality, the Brotherhood of Man, and the
Fatherhood of God--and all that is essential in the claim of the
'Natural Rights of Man' is implicitly contained.  The one thing needful
is that men become alive to their privileges and go forward to 'possess
their possessions.'



We are thus led to a division, natural if not wholly logical, of duties
which spring from these rights--duties towards self, others, and God.
Though, indeed, self-love implies love of others, and all duty is duty
to God, still it may be permissible to frame a scheme of duties
according as one or other element is prominent in each case.

1.  _Duties in Relation to Self_.--It is obvious that without (1)
_respect_ for self there can be no respect for others.  I am {207} a
part of the moral whole, and an element in the kingdom of God.  I
cannot make myself of no account.  Our Lord's commandment, 'Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself,' makes a rightly conceived self-love the
measure of love to one's neighbour.  Self-respect involves (2)
_self-preservation_, the care of health, the culture of body and mind.
Not only is it our duty to see that the efficiency and fitness of the
bodily organism is fully maintained, but we must also guard it against
everything that would defile and disfigure it, or render it an
instrument of sin.  Christianity requires the strictest personal
purity, purity of thought and feeling as well as of deed.  It demands,
therefore, constant vigilance, self-control, temperance, and even
self-denial, so that the body may be, not, as the ancients thought, the
prison-house of the soul, but the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Christianity is, however, opposed to asceticism.  Though Jesus denied
Himself to the uttermost in obedience to the voice of God, there is in
His presentation of life a complete absence of those austerities which
in the history of the Church have been so often regarded as marks of
superior sanctity.[17]  It is unnecessary here to dwell upon athletics
and sport which now so largely occupy the attention of the youth of our
land.  Physical exercise is necessary to the maintenance of bodily
fitness, yet it may easily become an all-absorbing pursuit, and instead
of being merely a means to an end, may usurp the place in life which
belongs to higher things.

(3) Self-maintenance involves also the duty of _self-development_, and
that not merely of our physical, but also of our mental life.  If the
body has its place and function in the growth of Christian character,
still more has the mind its ethical importance.  Our Maker can have no
delight in ignorance.  He desires that we should present not a
fragmentary but complete manhood.  Specialisation, though a necessity
of the age, is fraught with peril to the individual.  The exigencies of
labour require men to concentrate their energies on their own immediate
tasks; but each must seek to be not merely a craftsman, but a man.
Other sides {208} of our nature require to be cultivated besides those
which bring us into contact with the ways and means of existence.
Indeed, it is only by the possession of a well-trained mind that the
fullest capacity, even for special pursuits, can be obtained.  It has
become a commonplace to say that every man should have equality of
opportunity to earn a livelihood.  But equality of opportunity for
education, as something which ought to be within the reach of every
youth in the land, is not so frequently insisted upon.  Beyond the
claims of daily occupation every one should have a chance, and, indeed,
an inducement, to cultivate his mental and spiritual nature.  Hence
what is called 'culture,' the all-round development of the human
faculties, is an essential condition of moral excellence.  For, as
Goethe has said, the object of education ought to be rather the
formation of tastes than simply the communication of knowledge.  But
most important of all the self-regarding aims of life is the obligation
of _Self-discipline_, and the use of every means of moral culture which
the world supplies.  It is through the complex conditions of earthly
existence that the character of the individual is developed.  It will
only be possible to indicate briefly some of the aids to the culture of
the moral life.  Among these may be mentioned: (_a_) _The Providential
Experiences of life_.   The world itself, as a sphere of Work,
Temptation, and Suffering, is a school of character.  The affections
and cares of the home, the duties and tasks incident to one's calling,
the claims of one's fellow-men, the trials and temptations of one's
lot--these are the universal and common elements in man's moral
education.  Not to escape from the world's activities and conflicts,
but to turn them into conditions of self-mastery, is the duty of each.
Men do work, but work makes men.  The shopkeeper is not merely selling
wares; the artisan or mechanic is not simply engaged in his handicraft;
the mason and builder are not only erecting a house; each is, in and
through his toil, making his own soul.  And so, too, suffering and
temptation are the tools which God commits to His creatures for the
shaping of their own lives.  Saints {209} and sinners are made out of
the same material.  By what Bosanquet has finely called 'the miracle of
will' the raw stuff of life is taken up and woven into the texture of
the soul.  (_b_) The so-called _secular opportunities of culture_.
Innumerable sources of self-enrichment are available.  Everything may
be made a vehicle of moral education.  Knowledge generally, and
especially the ministry of nature, the influence of art, and the study
of literature, are potent factors in the discipline and development of
Christian character.  To these must be added (_c_) _The special
religious aids and means of grace_.  From an ethical point of view the
Church is a school of character.  It 'guards and keeps alive the
characteristic Christian ideas, and thereby exhibits and promotes the
Christian ideal of life.'[18]  Its fellowship, worship, and ordinances;
its opportunities of brotherly service and missionary activity, as well
as the more private spiritual exercises of prayer and meditation--all
are means of discipline and gifts committed to the stewardship of
individuals in order that they may realise the greatness of life's
possibilities, and attain through union with God to the fullness of
their stature in Christ.

But while the truth that the soul has an inalienable worth is
repeatedly affirmed, the New Testament touches but lightly upon the
duties of self-regard.  To be occupied constantly with the thought of
one's self is a symptom of morbid egoism rather than of healthy
personality.  The avidity of self-improvement and even zeal for
religion may become a refined form of selfishness.  We must be willing
at times to renounce our personal comfort, to restrain our zest for
intellectual and aesthetic enjoyment, to be content to be less cultured
and scholarly, less complete as men, and ready to part with something
of our own immediate good that others may be ministered to.  Hence the
chief reason probably why the Scriptures do not enlarge upon the duties
of self-culture is, that according to the spirit of the Gospel the true
realisation of self is achieved through self-sacrifice.  Only as a man
loses his life does he find it.  To horde [Transcriber's note: hoard?]
one's {210} possessions is to waste them.  Growth is the condition of
life.  But in all growth there is reciprocity of expenditure and
assimilation, of giving and receiving.  Self-realisation is only gained
through self-surrender.  Not, therefore, by anxiously standing guard
over one's soul, but by dedicating it freely to the good of others does
one achieve one's true self.

2.  _Duties in Relation to Others_.--We belong to others, and others
belong to us.  They and we are alike parts of a larger whole.

(1) While this is recognised in Scripture, and all men are declared to
be brothers in virtue of their common humanity, Christianity traces the
brotherhood of man to a deeper source.  The relation of the individual
to Christ is the true ground of love to others.  In Christ all
distinctions which in other respects separate men are dissolved.
Beneath the meanest garb and coarsest features, in spite even of the
defacement of sin, we may detect the vast possibilities of the soul for
whom Christ has died.  The law of love is presented by Jesus as the
highest of all the commandments, and the duty to others is summed up
generally in what is known as the golden rule.  Of the chief
manifestations of brotherly love mention must be made (_a_) of the
comprehensive duty of _Justice_.  The ground upon which justice rests
is the principle that each individual is an end in himself.  Hence it
is the duty of each to respect the rights of his neighbours, negatively
refraining from injury and positively rendering that which our
fellow-men have a right to claim.  Religion makes a man more sensitive
to the claims of humanity.  Mutual respect requires a constant effort
on the part of all to secure for each the fullest freedom to be
himself.  Christianity interprets justice to mean emancipation from
every condition which crushes or degrades a man.  It seeks to create a
social conscience, and to arouse in each a sense of responsibility for
the good of all.  At the same time social justice must not be
identified with charity.  Charity has done much to relieve distress,
and it will always form an indispensable element in {211} the
Christian's duty towards his less fortunate brethren; but something
more radical than almsgiving is required if the conditions of life are
to be appreciably bettered.  Justice is a demand not for bread alone;
it is a claim of humanity to life, and all that life ought to mean.
Christianity affirms the spirit of human brotherhood--a brotherhood in
which every child will have a chance to grow to a noble manhood, and
every man and woman will have opportunity and encouragement to live a
free, wholesome, and useful life.  That is the Christian ideal, and to
help towards its realisation is the duty laid upon every citizen of the
commonwealth.  The problems of poverty, housing, unemployment,
intemperance, and all questions of fair wages, legitimate profits, and
just prices, fall under the regulative principle of social justice.
The law is, 'Render to all their dues.'  The love which worketh no ill
to his neighbour will also withhold no good.[19]

(_b_) _Truthfulness_.--Justice is not confined to acts, but extends to
speech and even to thought.  We owe to others veracity.  Even when the
motive is good, there can be no greater social disservice than to fail
in truthfulness.  Falsehood, either in the form of hypocrisy or
equivocation, and even of unsound workmanship, is not only unjust to
others; it is unjust to ourselves, and a wrong to the deeper self--the
new man in Christ.[20]

Is deception under all circumstances morally wrong?  Moralists have
been divided on this question.  The instance of war is frequently
referred to, in which it is contended that ruse and subterfuge are
permissible forms of strategy.[21]  There are, however, many
distressing cases of conscience, in which the duties of affection and
veracity seemingly conflict.  It must be remembered that no command can
be carried out to its extreme, or obeyed literally.  Truth is not
always conveyed by verbal accuracy.  There may be higher interests at
stake which might be prejudiced, and indeed unfairly represented by a
merely literal statement.  {212} The individual conscience must decide
in each case.  We are to speak the truth in love.  Courage and
kindliness are to commingle.  But when all is said it is difficult to
avoid the conclusion that in the last analysis lack of truth argues a
deficient trust in the ultimate veracities of the universe, and rests
upon a practical unbelief in the divine providence which can make 'all
things work together for good to them that love God.'

(_c_) Connected with truthfulness, and also a form of justice, is the
duty enjoined by St. Paul of forming _just judgments_ of our
fellow-men.  If we would avoid petty fault-finding and high-minded
contempt, we must dismiss all prejudice and passion.  The two qualities
requisite for proper judgment are knowledge and sympathy.  Goethe has a
fine couplet to the effect that 'it is safe in every case to appeal to
the man who knows.'[22]  But to understanding must be added
appreciative consideration.  We must endeavour to put ourselves in the
position of our brother.  Without a finely blended knowledge and
sympathy we grow intolerant and impatient.  Fairness is the rarest of
moral qualities.  He who would estimate another truly must have what
St. Paul calls 'spiritual discernment'--the 'even-balanced soul' of one
'who saw life steadily and who saw it whole.'

(2) Brotherly Love evinces itself further in _Service_, which takes the
three forms of Compassion, Beneficence or practical kindness, and

(_a_) _Compassion_ or sympathy is a readiness to enter into the
experiences of others.  As Christians nothing that concerns our brother
can be a matter of indifference to us.  As members of the same
spiritual community we are participators in each other's joys and
sorrows, 'weeping with those that weep, and rejoicing with those that
rejoice.'  It is no mere natural instinct, but one which grows out of
the Christian consciousness of organic union with Christ.  'When one
member suffers, all the members suffer with it.'[23] {213} We fulfil
the law of Christ by bearing one another's burdens.

(6) _Practical Beneficence_ is the natural outcome of sympathy.
Feelings pass into deeds.  Those redeemed by the love of Christ become
the agents of His love, gladly dispensing to others what they
themselves have received.  The ministry of love, whatever shape it may
take, must, in the last resort, be a giving of self.  No one can do a
kindness who does not put something of himself into it.  No true
service can be done that does not cost us more than money.

In modern society it is inevitable that personality should largely find
its expression and exercise in material possessions.  Without entering
here upon the question of the institution of private property, it is
enough to say that the possession of material goods may be morally
defended on the twofold ground, that it ensures the security of
existence, and is an essential condition of the development of
individual and national resources.  The process of acquisition is a
moralising influence, since it incites the individual to work, and
tends to create and foster among men interchange of service.  Property,
says Hegel, is the embodiment and instrument of the will.[24]  But in a
civilised community there must be obviously restrictions to the
acquisition and use of wealth.  Unbridled appropriation and
irresponsible abuse are alike a peril to society.  The State has
therefore the right of interference and control in regard to all
possessions.  Even on the lowest ground of expediency the very idea of
property involves on the part of all the principle of co-operation and
reciprocity--the obligation of contributing to the general weal.  It
would, however, be most undesirable that the government should
undertake everything for the general good of man that is now left to
spontaneous effort and liberality.  But from the standpoint of
Christian Ethics possessions of all kinds are subject to the law of
stewardship.[25]  Every gift is {214} bestowed by God for the purpose
of social service.  No man can call the things which he
possesses--endowments, wealth, power--his own.  He is simply a trustee
of life itself.  No one may be an idler or parasite, and society has a
just claim upon the activity of every man.  The forms of such service
are various; but the Christian spirit will inspire a sense of 'the
ultimate unity of all pursuits that contribute to the good of man.'[26]

The ministry of love extends over the whole realm of existence, and
varies with every phase of need.  Physical necessities are to be met in
the spirit of charity.  St. Paul pleads repeatedly the cause of the
poor, and commends the grace of liberality.  Giving is to be cheerful
and without stint.  But there are needs which material aid cannot
meet--desolation, anxiety, grief--to which the loving heart alone can
find ways of ministering.  And beyond all physical and moral need is
the need of the soul; and it lies as a debt upon those who themselves
have experienced the grace of Christ to seek the renewal and spiritual
enrichment of their brethren.

(_c_) There is one special form of practical kindness towards others
which a follower of Christ will often be called upon to exercise--the
spirit of _forbearance and forgiveness_.  The Christian is to speak
evil of no man, but to be gentle, showing all meekness unto all men;
living peaceably with all men, avoiding everything provocative of
strife; even 'forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any
have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you so also do ye.'

(3) Finally, we may serve others by _Example_, by letting the light of
life so shine before men that they seeing our good works shall glorify
God our Father.  This duty, however, as Fichte points out, 'has often
been viewed very incorrectly, as if we could be obliged to do this or
that, which otherwise we would not have needed to do, for the sake of a
good example.'[27]  That which I am commanded {215} to do I must do for
its own sake without regard to its effect upon others.  Esteem can be
neither outwardly compelled nor artistically produced; it manifests
itself voluntarily and spontaneously.  A modern novelist[28] ironically
exposes this form of altruism by putting into the mouth of one of her
characters the remark, 'I always make a point of going to church in
order to show a good example to the domestics.'  At the same time no
one can withhold one's influence; and while the supreme motive must be,
not to make a display, but to please God, he who is faithful to his
station and its duties cannot fail to affect his fellow-men for good.
The most effective example is given unconsciously, as the rose exhales
its sweetest perfume without effort, or the light sheds its radiance
simply by being what it is.

3.  _Duties in Relation to God_.--Here morality runs up into religion,
and indeed since all duties are in their last analysis duties toward
God, Kant and other moralists have objected to the admission into
Ethics of a special class of religious obligations.  It has been well
remarked that the genuine Christian cannot be known by particular
professions or practices, but only by the heavenly spirit of his
life.[29]  Hence religious duty cannot be formulated in a number of
precise rules.  Love to God finds expression not in mechanical
obedience, but in the spontaneous outflow of the heart.  The special
duties to the Divine Being may be briefly described under the main
heads of Recognition, Obedience, and Worship.

(1) _Recognition_.--The acknowledgment of God rests upon knowledge.
Without some comprehension of what God is there can be no intelligent
allegiance to Him.  We cannot, indeed, by logical reasoning demonstrate
the existence of the Deity any more than we can demonstrate our own
being.  But He has not left Himself without a witness, and He speaks to
man with many voices.  The material creation is the primary word of
God.  The beauty, and still more the sublimity, of nature are a
revelation through {216} matter of something beyond itself, a message
of the spiritual, bearing 'authentic tidings of invisible things.'  But
nature is symbolic.  It is a prophecy rather than an immediate
revelation.  Still it warrants the expectation of a yet fuller
manifestation.  That fuller utterance we have in man himself.  There,
spirit reveals itself to spirit; and in the two primary intuitions of
man--self-consciousness and the sense of moral obligation--the presence
of God is disclosed.  But, higher still, the long historic evolution
has culminated in a yet clearer manifestation of the Deity.  In Christ,
the God-Man, the mystery underlying and brooding over the world is
unveiled, and to the eye of faith is revealed the Fatherhood of God.

The first duty, therefore, we owe to God is that of recognition, the
acknowledgment of His presence in the world.  To feel that He is
everywhere, sustaining and vitalising all things; to recognise His will
in all the affairs of our daily life, is at once the duty and
blessedness of man.

(2) _Obedience_ follows acknowledgment.  It is partly passive and
partly active.

(_a_) As _passive_, it takes the form of habitual trust or
_acquiescence_, the submissive acceptance of trials which are
ultimately, we believe, not really evils, because ordained by God and
overruled for good.[30]  This spirit of obedience can be maintained by
_constant vigilance_ alone.[31]  While connected with the anticipated
coming of the Son of Man, the obligation had a more general
application, and may be regarded as the duty of all in the face of the
unknown and unexpected in life.  We are therefore to watch for any
intimation of the divine will, and commit ourselves trustfully to the
absolute disposal of Him in whose hands are the issues of our lives.

(_b_) But obedience has also an _active_ side.  _Faithfulness_ is the
complement of faith.  The believer must exercise fidelity, and go
forward with energy and purpose to the tasks committed to him.  As
stewards of Christ we are {217} to occupy till He come, employing every
talent entrusted to us in His service.  Work may be worship, and we can
glorify God in our daily tasks.  No finer tribute can a man give than
simply himself.

(3) _Worship_.--The special duties of worship belong to the religious
rather than the ethical side of life, and do not demand here more than
a passing reference.  The essence of religion lies in the subordination
of the finite self to the infinite; and worship is the conscious
outgoing of the man in his weakness and imperfection to his Maker, and
it attains its fullest exercise in (_a_) _reverence_, humility, and
devotion.  The feeling of dependence and sense of need, together with
the consciousness of utter demerit and inability which man realises as
he gazes upon the majesty and grace of God, awaken the (_b_) instinct
of _prayer_.  'It is the sublime significance of prayer,' says Wuttke,
'that it brings into prominence man's great and high destiny, that it
heightens his consciousness of his true moral nature in relation to
God; and as morality depends on our relation to God, prayer is the very
life-blood of morality.'[32]  The steadfast aspiration of the soul to
God, whose will is our law and whose blessing is granted to whatsoever
is done in His name, is the habitual temper of the Christian life.  But
prayer must also be particular, definite, and expectant.  By a law of
our nature, and apart from all supernatural intervention, prayer
exercises a reflex influence of a very beneficial character upon the
mind of the worshippers.  But he who offers his petitions expecting
nothing more will not even attain this.  'If prayers,' says Mr. Lecky,
'were offered up solely with a view to this benefit, they would be
absolutely sterile and would speedily cease.'[33]  The purely
subjective view of prayer as consisting solely in 'beneficent
self-suggestion' empties the term of significance.  Even Frederick
Meyers, who lays so much stress upon the importance of self-suggestion
in other aspects of experience, admits that prayer is something more
than a subjective {218} phenomenon.  'It is not only a calling up of
one's own private resources; it must derive its ultimate efficacy from
the increased flow from the infinite life into the life of the

(_c_) Prayer attains its highest expression in _Thanksgiving and Joy_.
Gratitude is the responsive feeling which wells up in the heart of
those who have experienced the goodness of God, and recognise Him as
the great Benefactor.  Christians are to abound in thankfulness.  We
live in a world where everything speaks to us of divine love.  Praise
is the complement of prayer.  The grateful heart sees life
transfigured.  It discovers everywhere tokens of grace and hope,

  'Making the springs of time and sense
  Sweet with eternal good.'

Peace, trust, joy, hope are the ultimate notes of the Christian life.
'Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.'
Thanksgiving, says St. Bernard, 'is the return of the heart to God in
perpetual benediction.'

In the kingdom of love duty is swallowed up in joy.  Life is nothing
but the growing realisation of God.  With God man's life begins, and to
Him turns back at last in the wrapt contemplation of His perfect being.
In fellowship with God man finds in the end both himself and his

  'What is left for us, save, in growth
  Of soul, to rise up, far past both,
  From the gift looking to the Giver,
  From the cistern to the river,
  And from the finite to the Infinity
  And from man's dust to God's divinity?'[35]

'God,' says Green, 'is a Being with whom we are in principle one, in
the sense that He is all which the human spirit is capable of
becoming.'[36]  In the worship of God, {219} man dies to the temporal
interests and narrow ends of the exclusive self, and lives in an
ever-expanding life in the life of others, manifesting more and more
that spiritual principle which is the life of God, who lives and loves
in all things.[37]

[1] Paulsen, _Ethics_, bk. III. chap. i.  Cf. also Wundt, _Ethik_, p.
148.  But see also W. Wallace, _Lectures and Essays_, p. 325, on their

[2] Mackintosh, _Chr. ethics_, p. 114.

[3] Cf. Haering, _Ethics of Chr. Life_, p. 230.

[4] This seems to be the position of Herrmann; see _Ethik_.

[5] Cf. Eucken, _Life's Basis_, p. 185.

[6] Maccunn, _Ethics of Citizenship_, p. 40.

[7] _Duties of Man_, chap. i.

[8] See discussion by late W. Wallace in _Lectures and Essays_, pp. 213

[9] _Ethik_, p. 190.

[10] Maccunn, _op. cit._; p. 42.

[11] Cf. Eucken, _Main Currents of Modern Thought_, p. 348.

[12] Hegel, _Philosophy of Right_, p. 45.

[13] _Das Wesen des Christenthums_; cf. also _Ecce Homo_, p. 345.

[14] Adopted in Massachusetts in 1773.--'All men have equal rights to
life, liberty, and property.'

[15] Browning, _Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau_.

[16] Cf. Wheeler Robinson, _The Christian Doctrine of Man_, pp. 281 f.

[17] Matt. xi. 18; Luke vii. 33.

[18] Ottley, _Ideas and Ideals_.

[19] Rom. xiii. 7-10.

[20] Col. iii. 9, 10.

[21] See Lecky, _Map of Life_.

[22] _Vor dem Wissenden sich stellen, sicher ist's in allen Fällen_.

[23] 1 Cor. xii. 26.

[24] _Phil. of Right_, pp. 48 ff.; see also Wundt, _Ethik_, pp. 175 f.

[25] Cf. Ottley, _Idem_, p. 271.

[26] Green, _Proleg._, p. 173, quoted by Ottley.

[27] _Science of Ethics_ (trans.), p. 337.

[28] Miss Fowler, _Concerning Isabel Carnaby_.

[29] Drummond, _Via, Veritas, Vita_, p. 227.

[30] Matt. viii. 25 f., x. 26; Luke viii. 23 f.

[31] Matt. xxv. 1 f.; Mark xxiv. 42; Luke xii. 36 f.

[32] _Chr. Ethics_ (trans.), vol. ii. p. 221.

[33] _Hist. of Europ. Morals_, vol. i. p. 36.

[34] _Human Personality_, vol. ii. p. 313.

[35] Browning, _Christmas Eve_.

[36] _Proleg._, p. 198.

[37] Cf. Jones, _Browning as Philosophical and Religious Teacher_, p.




In last chapter we dealt with the rights and duties of the individual
as they are conditioned by his relation to himself, others, and to God.
In this chapter it remains to speak more particularly of the organised
institutions of society in which the moral life is manifested, and by
means of which character is moulded.  These are the Family, the State,
and the Church.  These three types of society, though distinguishable,
are closely allied.  At first, indeed, they were identical.  Human
society had its origin, most probably, in a primitive condition in
which domestic, political, and religious ends were one.  Even in modern
life Family, State, and Church do not stand for separate interests.  So
far from their aims colliding they are mutually helpful.  An individual
may be a member of all three at one time.  From a Christian point of
view each is a divine institution invested with a sacred worth and a
holy function, and ordained of God for the advancement of His kingdom.


_The Family_ is the fountain-head of all the other social groups, 'the
cell of the social organism.'  Man enters the world not as an isolated
being, but by descent and generation.  In the family each is cradled
and nurtured, and by the domestic environment character is developed.
The family has a profound value for the nation.  Citizenship rests on
the sanctity of the home.  When the fire on the hearth is quenched, the
vigour of a people dies.


1.  Investigations of great interest and value have been pursued in
recent years regarding the origin and evolution of the family.  However
far back the natural history of the race is carried, it seems scarcely
possible to resist the conclusion that some form of family relationship
is coeval with human life.  Widely as social arrangements differ in
detail among savage peoples, arbitrary promiscuity can nowhere be
detected.  Certain laws of domestication have been invariably found to
exist, based upon definite social and moral restrictions universally
acknowledged and rigidly enforced.  Two primitive conditions are
present wherever man is found--the tribe and the family.  If the family
is never present without the tribe, the tribe is never discovered
without 'those intra-tribal distinctions and sexual regulations which
lie at the bottom of the institution of the family.'[1]  Westermarck
indeed says that 'the evidence we possess tends to show that among our
earliest human ancestors the family and not the tribe formed the
nucleus of every social group, and in many cases was itself perhaps the
only social group.  The tie that kept together husband and wife,
parents and children, was, if not the only, at least the principal
factor in the earliest forms of man's social life.'[2]  If the family
had been an artificial convention called into being by human will and
ingenuity, it might conceivably be destroyed by the same factors.  But
whatever arguments may be adduced for the abolition of marriage and
family life to-day, the appeal to primitive history is not one of them.
On the contrary the earliest forms of society show that the family is
no invention, that it has existed as long as man himself, and that all
social evolution has been a struggle for the preservation of its most
valuable features.[3]

2.  If, even in early times, and especially among the Hebrews, Greeks,
and Romans, the family was an important factor in national development,
it has been infinitely more so {222} since the advent of Christianity.
Christ did not create this relationship.  He found it in existence when
He came to the earth.  But He invested it with a new ethical value.  He
laid upon it His consecrating touch, and made it the vehicle of all
that is most tender and true in human affection, so that among
Christian people to-day no word is fraught with such hallowed
associations as the word 'home.'  This He did both by example and
teaching.  As a member of a human family Himself, He participated in
its experiences and duties.  He spent His early years in the home of
Nazareth, and was subject unto His parents.  He manifested His glory at
a marriage feast.  By the grave of Lazarus He mingled His tears with
those of the sorrowing sisters of Bethany.  He had a tender regard for
little children, and when mothers brought their infants to Him He
welcomed them with gracious encouragement, and, taking the little ones
in His arms, blessed them, thus consecrating for all time both
childhood and motherhood.  Throughout His life there are indications of
His deep reverence and affection for her who was His mother, and with
His latest breath he confided her to the care of His beloved disciple.

There are passages indeed which seem to indicate a depreciation of
family relationships.[4]  The most important of these are the sayings
which deal with the home connections of those whom He called to special
discipleship.[5]  Not only are father and mother to be loved less than
He, but even in comparison with Himself are to be hated.[6]  Among the
sacrifices His servants must be ready to make is the surrender of the
home.[7]  But these references ought to be taken in conjunction with,
and read in the light of, His more general attitude to the claims of
kindred.  It was not His indifference to, but His profound regard for,
home ties that drew from Him these words.  He knew that affection may
narrow as well as widen the heart, and that our {223} tenderest
intimacies may bring our most dangerous temptations.  There are moments
in the history of the heart when the lesser claim must yield to the
greater.  For the Son of Man Himself, there were interests higher even
than those of the family.  Some men, perhaps even most, are able to
fulfil their vocation without a surrender of the joys of kinship.  But
others are called to a wider sphere and a harder task.  For the sake of
the larger brotherhood of man, Jesus found it necessary to renounce the
intimacies of home.  What it cost Him to do so we, who cannot fathom
the depth of His love, know not.  Even such an abandonment did He
demand of His first disciples.  And for the follower of Christ still
there must be the same willingness to make the complete sacrifice of
everything, even of home and kindred, if they stand in the way of
devotion to the kingdom of God.[8]

(1) Our Lord's direct statements regarding the nature of the family
leave us in no doubt as to the high place it holds in His conception of
life.  Marriage, upon which the family rests, is, according to Jesus,
the divinely ordained life-union of a man and woman.  In His quotation
from Genesis He makes reference to that mysterious attraction, deeply
founded in the very nature of man, by which members of the opposite sex
are drawn to each other.  But while acknowledging the sensuous element
in marriage, He lifts it up into the spiritual realm and transmutes it
into a symbol of soul-communion.  Our Lord does not derive the sanction
of wedded life from Mosaic legislation.  Still less does He permit it
as a concession to human frailty.  It has its ground in creation
itself, and while therefore it is the most natural of earthly
relationships it is of God's making.  To the true ideal of marriage
there are several features which our Lord regards as indispensable.
(_a_) It must be _monogamous_, the fusion of two distinct
personalities.  'They two shall be one flesh.'  Mutual self-impartation
demands that the union should be an exclusive one.  (_b_) It is a
_union of equality_.  Neither {224} personality is to be suppressed.
The wedded are partners who share one another's inmost thoughts and
most cherished purposes.  But this claim of equality does not exclude
but rather include the different functions which, by reason of sex and
constitution, each is enabled to exercise.  'Woman is not undeveloped
man but diverse.'  And it is in diversity that true unity consists.
Both will best realise their personality in seeking the perfection of
one another.  (_c_) It is a _permanent_ union, indissoluble till the
parting of death.  The only exception which Christ acknowledges is that
form of infidelity which _ipso facto_ has already ruptured the sacred
bond.[9]  According to Jesus marriage is clearly intended by God to
involve sacred and permanent obligations, a covenant with God, as well
as with one another, which dare not be set aside at the dictate of a
whim or passion.  The positive principle underlying this declaration
against divorce is the spirit of universal love that forbids that the
wife should be treated, as was the case among the dissolute of our
Lord's time, as a chattel or slave.  Nothing could be more abhorrent to
Christian sentiment than the modern doctrine of 'leasehold marriage'
advocated by some.[10]  It has been ingeniously suggested that the
record of marital unrest and divorce in America, shameful as it is, may
not be in many cases altogether an evil.  The very demand to annul a
union in which reverence and affection have been forfeited may spring
from a growing desire to realise the true ideal of marriage.[11]  (_d_)
Finally, it is a _spiritual_ union.  It is something more than a legal
contract, or even an ecclesiastical ordinance.  The State must indeed
safeguard the civil rights of the parties to the compact, and the
Church's ceremony ought to be sought as the expression of divine
blessing and approval.  But of themselves these do not constitute the
inner tie which makes the twain one, and binds them together amid all
the chances and changes of this earthly life.[12]  In the teaching of
both Christ and {225} the apostles marriage is presented as a high
vocation, ordained by God for the enrichment of character, and invested
with a holy symbolism.  According to St. Paul it is the emblem of the
mystic union of Christ and His Church, and is overshadowed by the
presence of God, who is the archetype of those sacred ideas which we
associate with the name of fatherhood.

(2) Though marriage is the most personal of all forms of social
intercourse, there are many varied and intricate interests involved
which require _legal recognition_ and adjustment.  Questions as to the
legitimacy of offspring, the inheritance of property, the status and
rights of the contracting parties, come within the domain of law.  The
State punishes bigamy, and forbids marriage within certain degrees of
consanguinity.  Many contend that the State should go further, and
prevent all unions which endanger the physical vigour and efficiency of
the coming generation.  It is undoubtedly true that the government has
a right to protect its people against actions which tend to the
deterioration of the race.  To permit those to marry who are suffering
from certain maladies of mind or body is to commit a grave crime
against society.  But care must be taken lest we unduly interfere with
the deeper spiritual sympathies and affections upon which a true union
is founded.  In agitating for State control in the mating of the
physically fit, the champions of eugenics are apt to exaggerate the
materialistic side of marriage, and overlook those qualities of heart
and mind which are not less important for the well-being of the race.
In the discipline of humanity weakness and suffering are assets which
the world could ill afford to lose.[13]

(3) In modern times the institution of marriage is menaced by two
opposite forces; on the one hand, by a revolutionary type of socialism,
and on the other, by the reactionary influence of self-interested
individualism.  (_a_) It is contended by some advanced socialists that
among {226} the poor and the toiling home life is practically
non-existent; indeed, under present industrial conditions, impossible.
Marriage and separate family life are insuperable barriers, it is said,
to corporate unity and social progress.  It is but fair to add that
this extreme view is now largely repudiated by the most enlightened
advocates of a new social order, who are contending, they tell us, not
for the abolition, but for the betterment, of domestic conditions.[14]
(_b_) The stability of social life is being threatened even more
seriously by a self-centred individualism.  Marriage is considered as a
merely temporary arrangement which may be terminated at will.  It is
contended that divorce should be granted on the easiest terms, and the
most trifling reasons are seriously put forward as legitimate grounds
for the annulling of the holiest of vows.  Without discussing these
disintegrating influences, it is enough to say that the trend of
history is against any radical tampering with the institution of
marriage, and any attempt to disparage the sanctity of the home or
belittle domestic obligations would be to poison at its springs the
moral life of man.

3.  The duties of the various members of the family are explicitly, if
briefly, stated in the apostolic epistles.  They are valid for all
times and conditions.  Though they may be easily elaborated they cannot
well be improved.  All home obligations are to be fulfilled _in_ and
_unto_ the Lord.  The fear of God is to inspire the nurture of
children, and to sanctify the lowliest services of the household.
Authority is to be blended with affection.  (1) _Parents_ are not to
provoke their children by harsh and despotic rule, nor yet to spoil
them by soft indulgence.  _Children_ are to render obedience, and, when
able, to contribute to the support of their parents.[15]  Masters are
to treat their servants with equity and respect.  Servants are exhorted
to show fidelity.  In short all the relationships of the household are
to be hallowed by the spirit of Christian love.

Many questions relative to the family arise, over which {227} we may
not linger.  One might speak of the effect of industrial conditions
upon domestic life, the employment of women and children in factories,
the evil of sweating, the problem of our city slums, and, generally, of
the need of improved environment in order that our labouring classes
may have a chance of a healthier and purer home existence.  Legislation
can do much.  But even law is ineffective to achieve the highest ends
if it is not backed by the public conscience.  The final solution of
the problem of the family rests not in conditions but in character, not
in environment but in education, in the kind of men we are rearing.

(2) This century has been called the _woman's_ century.  And certainly
there is an obvious trend to-day towards acknowledgment, in all
departments of life, of women's equality with men.  There is, however,
a difference of opinion as to what that equality should mean; and there
seems to be a danger in some quarters of overlooking the essential
difference of the sexes.  No people can achieve what it ought while its
wives and mothers are degraded or denied their rights.  For her own
sake, as well as for the weal of the race, whatever is needful to
enable woman to attain to her noblest womanhood must be unhesitatingly

(3) But this is even more the _children's_ era.  A new sense of
reverence for the child is one of the most promising notes of our age,
and the problems arising out of the care and education of the young
have created the new sciences of pedagogy and child-psychology.  Regard
for child-life owes its inspiration directly to the teaching of Christ.
The child in the simplicity of its nature and innocence of its
dependence is, according to the Master, the perfect pattern of those
who seek after God.  It is true that in the art of antiquity child-life
was frequently represented.  But as Burckhardt says it was the drollery
and playfulness, even the quarrelsomeness and stealth, and above all
the lusty health and animal vigour of young life that was depicted.
Ancient art did not behold in the child the prophecy of a new and purer
world.  Moreover, it was aesthetic {228} feeling and not real sympathy
with childhood which animated this movement.  As time went on the
teaching of Christ on this subject was strangely neglected, and the
history of the treatment of the young is a tragic tale of neglect and
suffering.  Only now are we recovering the lost message of Jesus in
regard to the child, and we are beginning to realise that infancy and
youth have their rights, and demand of the world both care and
affection.  Ours sons and daughters are the nation's assets.  Yet it is
a parent's question even more than the State's.  In a deeper sense than
we imagine children are the creation of their parents.  It is the
effect of soul upon soul, the mother's touch and look, the father's
words and ways, that kindle into flame the dull material of humanity,
and begin that second birth which should be the anxiety and glory of
parenthood.  But if the parent makes the child, scarcely less true is
it that the child makes the parent.  In the give and take of home life
a new world is created.  When a father really looks into his child's
eye he is not as he was before.[17]  Indispensable as is the State's
education of the young, there is an important part which the community
cannot undertake, and there is a danger in curbing individuality by a
stereotyped method of instruction.  'All social enactments,' says
Harnack, 'have a tendency to circumscribe the activities of the
individual.  If we unduly fetter the free play of individual effort we
break the mainspring of progress and enterprise, and create a state of
social immobility which is the antecedent of national decay.'[18]
Youth ought to be taught self-reliance and strenuousness of will; and
this is a work which can only be done in the home by the firm yet
kindly influence of the parents.  But there is another aspect of the
home problem not less pressing.  The want of training in working-class
families is largely answerable for the waifs and strays with which our
cities team.  Even in middle-class households there are indications of
a lack not only of discipline, but of {229} that kindly sympathy and
affectionate counsel on the part of parents, and of reverence and
frankness in the children; with the result that the young people,
missing the attachment and interest which the home should supply, seek
their satisfaction outside the domestic circle, often with the most
disastrous results.  The problem of the family is thus the problem of
nurturing the very seeds of the moral life.  Within the precincts of
the nation's homes the future of the commonwealth is being determined.


1.  The _State_ is the supreme controller of social relationships.  As
distinguished from the family and the Church, it is the realm of
organised force working for social ends.  Its purpose is to secure the
conditions of life essential to order and progress, and it can fulfil
its function only as it is endowed with power to enforce its authority.
The interference of the State with the liberty of the individual has
created a reaction in two opposite quarters towards complete abrogation
of all State compulsion.  On the one side Tolstoy pleads for the
removal of force, because it violates the principle of love and
subverts the teaching of Jesus--'Resist not evil.'  Militant anarchism
as the other extreme demands the abrogation of authority, because it
believes that restraint hinders progress and happiness, and that if
governmental force were abolished individuals would be best able to
take care of themselves.  The aim of anarchism is to destroy force by
force; the aim of Tolstoy is to allow force to do its worst.  Such a
spirit of non-resistance would mean the overthrow of all security, and
the reversion to wild lawlessness.  It is an utter travesty of Christ's
teaching.  Extremes meet.  Violence and servility join hands.
Anarchism and Tolstoyism reveal the total bankruptcy of unrestricted

The social order for which the State stands is not so much an
interference with the freedom of the subject as the condition under
which alone individual liberty can be preserved.  {230} The view,
however, that the State is an artificial relationship into which men
voluntarily enter in order to limit their selfish instincts and to
secure their mutual advantages--the theory of the 'social
contract'--has been discarded in modern times as a fiction of the
imagination.  It is not of his own choice that the individual becomes a
member of society.  He is born into it.  Man is not a whole in himself.
He is only complete in his fellows.  As he serves others he serves
himself.  But men are not the unconscious functions of a mechanical
system.  They are free, living personalities, united by a sense of
human obligation and kindredship.  The State is more than a physical
organism.  It is a community of moral aims and ideals.  Even law, which
is the soul of the State, is itself the embodiment of a moral
principle; and the commonwealth stands for a great ethical idea, to the
fulfilment of which all its citizens are called upon to contribute.

2.  The reciprocal duties of the State and its citizens receive
comparatively little prominence in the New Testament.  But they are
never treated with disparagement or contempt.  During our Lord's
earthly life the supreme power belonged to the Roman Empire.  Though
Jesus had to suffer much at the hands of those in authority, His
habitual attitude was one of respect.  He lived in obedience to the
government of the country, and acknowledged the right of Caesar to
legislate and levy taxes in his own province.  While giving all
deference to the State officials before whom He was brought, He did not
hesitate to remind them of the ideal of truth and justice of which they
were the chosen representatives.[19]  St. Paul's teaching is in harmony
with his Master's, and is indeed an expansion of it.[20]  'The powers
that be are ordained of God.  Render therefore to all their dues,
tribute to whom tribute.'  Beyond, however, enjoining the necessity of
work as a means of independence, and recommending that each should
remain in the sphere in which he has been placed, and perform
conscientiously the duties of his calling, we {231} find little direct
reference in the Epistles to the matter of citizenship.  But as has
been truly said 'the citizen has but to stand in his station, and
perform its duties, in order to fulfil the demands of citizenship.'[21]
St. Paul's insistence therefore upon the personal fidelity of every man
to the duties of his sphere goes far to recognise that spirit of
reciprocal service which is the fundamental idea of the commonwealth.

3.  Of the two extreme views as to the meaning of the State between
which the verdict of history has wavered--that of Augustine, who
regarded the State as the result of man's sinful condition and as the
direct antithesis of the kingdom of God; and that of Hegel, who saw in
it the highest ethical form of society, the realisation of the moral
ideal--the view of St. Paul may be said to have approximated more
nearly to the latter.  Writing to the Christians at Rome Paul does not
suggest that it was merely for prudence' sake that they should give to
the Imperial Power unquestioning obedience.  He appeals to the loftiest
motives.  All authority is of God in its origin and ultimate purpose.
What does it matter to him whether Nero be a devil or a saint?  He is
the prince upon the throne.  He is the symbol of divine authority, 'the
minister of God to thee for good.'  As a Christian Paul looks beyond
the temporal world-power as actually existing.  Whatever particular
form it may assume, he sees in the State and its rulers only the
expression of God's will.  Rome is His agent, oppressive, and, it may
be, unjust, but still the channel through which for the moment the
Almighty works for the furtherance of His purposes.[22]

The conception of the State as thus formulated involves a twofold
obligation--of the State towards its citizens, and of its citizens
towards the State.

(1) As the embodiment of public right the State owes protection to its
subjects, guarding individual privileges and prohibiting such actions
as interfere with the general {232} good.  Its functions, however, are
not confined to restrictive measures.  Its duty is not only to protect
the rights of the individual, but to create and maintain such
conditions of life as are essential to the development of personality.
In its own interests it is bound to foster the growth of character, and
to promote culture and social well-being.  In modern times we look to
the State not only to protect life and property, but to secure for each
individual and for all classes of men that basis of material well-being
on which alone life in its truest sense can be built up.  The
government must therefore strike some kind of balance between the
extremes of individualism and socialism.  While the old theory of
_laissez-faire_, which would permit every man to follow his own
individual bent without regard to the interests of others, has been
generally repudiated, there is still a class of politicians who
ridicule the 'night watchman' idea of the State as Lassalle calls it.
'Let there be as little State as possible,' exclaims Nietzsche.
According to such thinkers the State has only negative functions.  The
best government is that which governs least, and allows the utmost
scope to untrammelled individual enterprise.  But if there is a
tendency on the part of some to return to the individualistic
principle, the 'paternal' idea as espoused by others is being carried
to the verge of socialism.  The function of the State is stretched
almost to breaking point when it is conceived as the 'guardian angel'
who accompanies and guards with perpetual oversight the whole life of
the individual from the cradle to the grave.  Many of the more cautious
writers[23] of the day are exposing the dangers which lurk in the
bureaucratic system of government.  This tendency is apt to crush
individual enterprise, and cause men to place entire reliance upon
external aid and centralised power.  It is indeed difficult to draw a
fast line of demarcation between purely individual and social ends.
There are obviously primary interests belonging to society as a whole
which the State, if it is to be the instrument of the common good,
ought to control; certain {233} activities which, if permitted as
monopolies, become a menace to the community, and which can be
satisfactorily conducted only as departments of the State.  National
life is a unity, and it can only maintain its integrity as it secures
for all its constituents, justice, equity before the law, and freedom
of each to be himself.  The State ought to protect those who in the
competitive struggle of the modern industrial system find themselves at
a hopeless disadvantage.  It is the duty of the commonwealth to secure
for each the opportunity to become what he is capable of being, and to
fulfil the functions for which he is best fitted.  The State cannot
make men moral, but it can interfere with existing conditions so as to
make the moral life easier for its citizens.  Criminal law cannot
create saints, but it can punish evil-doers and counteract the forces
of lawlessness which threaten the social order.  It cannot legislate
within the domain of motive, but it can encourage self-restraint and
thrift, honesty and temperance.  It cannot actually intermeddle with
the sanctity of the home, or assume the rôle of paternal authority, but
it can insist upon the fulfilment of the conditions of decency and
propriety; it can condemn insanitary dwellings, suppress traffic in
vice, supervise unhealthy trades, protect the life and health of
workmen, and, generally, devise means for the culture and the
advancement, intellectually and morally, of the people.  The State in
some degree embodies the public conscience, and as such it has the
prerogative of awakening and stimulating the consciences of
individuals.  As a divine institution it is one of the channels through
which God makes His will known to man.  Law has an ethical import, and
the State which is founded upon just and beneficent laws moulds the
customs and forms the characters of its citizens.

(2) But if the State is to fulfil its ideal function it must rely upon
the general co-operation of its citizens.  The measure of its success
or failure will depend upon the extent to which an enlightened sense of
moral obligation prevails in the community.  Men must rise above their
{234} own immediate interests and realise their corporate being.
Government makes its will dominant through the voice of the people.  It
cannot legislate beyond the sympathies of its constituents.  As the
individuals are, so the commonwealth will be.  Civil duties vary
according to the qualifications and opportunities of individuals.  But
certain general obligations rest upon all.

(_a_) It is the duty of all to take an _interest in public affairs_.
What concerns us collectively is the concern of each.  Everything that
touches the public good should be made a matter of intelligent and
watchful interest by all.  (_b_) It is the duty of all to _conform to
the laws_ of the country.  It is possible that a particular enactment
may conflict with the dictates of conscience, and it may be necessary
to protest against what seems to be an injustice.  No rule can be laid
down for exceptional cases.  Generally it will be best to submit to the
wrong, while at the same time using all legitimate means to secure the
repeal of the obnoxious law.  And if they will revolt, martyrs must not
complain nor be unready to submit to the penalties involved.  (_c_) It
is the further duty of all to take some _personal part_ in the
government--if not by active service, at least by the conscientious
recording of one's vote.  Christians must not leave the direction of
the nation's affairs to non-Christians.  The spirit of Christ forbids
moral indifference to anything human.  All are not fitted for, or
called upon to take, public office; but it is incumbent upon every man
to maintain an intelligent public spirit, and to exercise all the
duties of good citizenship.  It has been truly said that they who give
most to the State get most from the State.  It is the men who play
their part as active citizens working for the nation's cause who enrich
their own lives and reap the harvest of a full existence.  Not by
withdrawal from social service, but in untiring labour for their
country's weal, shall men win for themselves and their brethren the
fruits of liberty and peace.  For nations as for men emancipation may
come with a stroke, but freedom can be earned only by strenuous and
united toil.


(3) Already these ideals have begun to take shape.  The most
significant feature of modern times is the growing spirit of democracy.
Men of all classes are awakening to their rights, and are accepting
their share in the task of social reconstruction.  'We know how the
masses,' says Eucken, 'are determined to form a mere dependent body of
the so-called higher classes no longer, but to take the problem of life
independently into their own hands.'[24]  But while the modern
democratic movement is not without its hopeful aspects, it is fraught
also with grave perils.  It is well that the people should awake to
their obligations, and realise the meaning of life, especially in its
social implications.  But there is a danger that culture may not
advance with emancipation, and while the masses demand their rights
they may not at the same time discern their duties.  For rights involve
duties, and emancipation, as we have seen, is not liberty.  The appeal
of the socialistic party is to the equality of all who bear human
features.  It sounds plausible.  But there never has been, nor never
can be, such equality.  Nature and experience alike reveal a pronounced
and insuperable inequality among men.  The law of diversity strikes
deep down into the very origin and constitution of mankind.  The
equality proclaimed by the French Revolutionists is now regarded as an
idle dream.  Not equality of nature but equity before the law, justice
for all, the opportunity for every man to realise himself and make the
most of the life and the gifts which God has given him--that is the
only claim which can be truly made.  'The only idea,' says Eucken,
'which can give to equality any meaning is the conviction that humanity
has spiritual relations, that each individual has a value for himself
and for the whole because he is a part of a larger spiritual world.'
Hence if democracy is truly to come to its own and fulfil its high
vocation, the Pauline figure of the reciprocal influence of the body
and its members must be proclaimed anew as the ideal of the body
politic--a unity fulfilling itself in difference--an organic life in
which the unit finds its {236} place of security-and-service in the
whole, and the whole lives in and acts through the individual parts.

If we are to awaken to the high vocation of the Christian state, to
realise the possibilities of our membership one with another, a new
feeling of manhood and of national brotherhood, a new pride in the
community of life, must take possession of our hearts.  We need, as one
has said, a baptism of religious feeling in our corporate
consciousness, a new sense that we are serving God in serving our
fellows, which will hallow and hearten the crusade for health and
social happiness, and give to every citizen a sense of spiritual


Unlike the family and State the _Church_ is the creation of Jesus
Christ.  It is the witness of His Presence in the world.  In its ideal
form it is world-wide.  The Redemption for which it stands is a good
for all men.  Though in practice many do not acknowledge its blessing,
the Church regards no man beyond its pale of grace.  It is set in the
midst of the world as the symbol and pledge of God's universal love.

1.  The _Relation of Church and State_ is a difficult question with a
long history, and involving much controversy.  Whatever view may be
held as to their legal connection, their interests can never be
regarded as inimical.  The Church cannot be indifferent to the action
of the State, nor can the State ignore the work of the Church.  But
since their spheres are not identical nor their aims entirely similar,
the trend of modern opinion seems to indicate that, while working in
harmony, it is more satisfactory that they should pursue independent
paths.  There are spiritual ends committed to the Church by its Head
over which the civil power has no jurisdiction.  On the other hand
there are temporal concerns with which ecclesiastical courts have
neither the vocation nor the qualifications to deal.  Still, the
Church, as the organ of Christian thought {237} and activity, has
responsibilities with regard to civil matters.  While religion is the
chief agent in the regeneration of man, religion itself is dependent
upon all social means, and the Church must regard with sympathy every
effort made by the community for moral improvement.  The main function
of the Church in this connection is to keep before its members a high
ideal of social life, to create a spirit of fidelity in every sphere of
activity, and, particularly, to educate men for the tasks of
citizenship.  The State, on the other hand, as the instrument of civic
life, has obligations towards the Church.  Its duty is hardly exhausted
by observing an attitude of non-interference.  In its own interests it
is bound, not merely to protect, but encourage the Church in the
fulfilment of its immediate aims.  Parliament, however, must concede to
ecclesiastical bodies complete liberty to govern themselves.  The
Church, as the institution of Christ, claims full autonomy; and the
State goes beyond its province when it imposes hampering restrictions
which interfere with the exercise of its authority and discipline
within its own sphere.

2.  As a religious institution the Church exists for three main
purposes: (1) the _Worship_ of God and the Edification of its members;
(2) the _Witness_ of Christ to Mankind; (3) the _Evangelisation_ of the

(1) The first of these objects has already been dealt with when
treating of the duties to God.  It is only needful to add here that the
Church is more than a centre of worship; it is the home of kindred
souls knit together by a common devotion to Christ.  It is the school
of character which seeks the mutual edification of its members 'by
provoking one another to love and to good works.'  Hence among
Protestants the duty of _Church Discipline_ is acknowledged, which
deals with such sins or lapses from rectitude as constitute 'offences'
or 'scandals,' and tend to bring into disrepute the Christian name and
profession.  In the Roman Church, the Confessional, through which moral
error is avowed, with its system of penances, has in view the same
object--viz., to reprove, correct, and reclaim {238} those who have
lapsed into sin--thus seeking to fulfil Christ's ideal 'to despair of
no man.'

(2) But the Church is also a rallying place of service.  Both in its
corporate capacity, and through the lives of its individual members,
the Church seeks to bear constant _witness to the mind of Christ_.  It
proclaims His living example.  It reiterates His will and embodies His
judgment, approving of what is good, condemning what is evil, and ever
more confronting the world with the high ideal of the divine Life and
Word.  Not all who bear the name of Christ are consistent witnesses.
But still the aim of the Church is to harmonise the profession and
practice of its members, and generally to spiritualise secular life by
the education of public opinion.  Before, however, Christians can hope
to make a profound impression upon the outside world, it is not
unnatural to expect that they should exhibit a _spirit of concord_,
among themselves, seeking to heal the unhappy schisms by which the
Church is rent.  But while our separations are deplorable--and we ought
not to cease our endeavour for the reunion of Christendom--we must not
forget that there may be harmony of spirit even amid diversity of
operation, and that where there is true brotherly sympathy between
Christians, there already is essential unity.[25]

(3) The special work of the Church to which it is constrained by the
express terms of its Master's commission, is to _preach the Gospel_ to
every creature and to bring all men into obedience to Christ.  A
distinction is commonly made between Home and Foreign Missions.  While
the distinction is useful, it is scarcely valid.  The work of the
Church at home and abroad is one.  The claims of the ignorant and
hapless of our own land do not exempt us from responsibilities to the
heathen world.  The Lord's Prayer for the coming of the Kingdom
requires of Christian men that they shall consecrate their gifts along
every line of effort to the fulfilment of the divine will upon the

3.  While all sections of the Church are convinced that {239} an honest
application of the principles of Jesus to the practical affairs of life
would speedily transform society, there is considerable diversity of
opinion as to the proper attitude of Christianity to _social problems_.
The outward reconstruction of social order was not, it must be
admitted, the primary aim of Jesus: it was rather the spiritual
regeneration of the individual.  But such could only become a reality
as it transformed the entire fabric of life.  (1) Christ's teaching
could not but affect the organisation of industry as well as every
other section of the social structure.  Though Jesus has many warnings
as to the perils of riches, there is no depreciation of wealth (in its
truest sense).  It is true He refuses to interfere in a dispute between
two brothers as to worldly property, and repudiates generally the
office of arbiter.  It is true also that He warns His disciples against
covetousness, and lays down the principle that 'a man's life consisteth
not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.'  But these
sayings, so far from implying disapproval of earthly possessions, imply
rather that property and trading are the indispensable basis upon which
the outward fabric of the social order is built.  Christ does not
counsel withdrawal from the activities of the world.  He honours work.
He recognises the legitimacy of trading.  Many of His parables would
have no meaning if His attitude to the industrial system of His day had
been one of uncompromising hostility.  He has no grudge against riches
in themselves.  In the parable of the talents it is the comparatively
poor man who is censured while the rich is commended.  To sum up what
Jesus thought about wealth is not easy.  Many have thought that He
condemned the holding of property altogether.  But such a conclusion
cannot be drawn from His teaching.  Possessions, both outward and
inward, are rather to be brought to the test of His judgment.  His
influence would rather bring property and commerce under the control of
righteousness and brotherhood.  His ideal of life is to be attained
through learning the right use of wealth rather than through the
abolition of it.  Wealth {240} can be used for the kingdom of God, and
it is a necessary instrument in the Church's work.  It may be
consecrated like every other gift to the service of Christ.  But there
are mighty forces enlisted against its best usefulness, and only
through the fullness of Christian grace can its good work be done.
What Jesus does condemn however is the predatory instinct, that greed
of gain which embodies itself everywhere in the spirit of plunder,
exploitation, and the impulse to gambling.  He can have nothing but
condemnation for that great wave of money-love which has swept over
Christendom in our time, affecting all classes.  It has fostered
self-indulgence, stimulated depraved appetites, corrupted business and
politics, oppressed the poor, materialised our ideals, and weakened
religious influences.  'From this craze of the love of money the voice
of Jesus calls the people back to the sane life in Ethics and religion
in which He is leader.'[26]  What then ought to be the attitude of the
Church to the industrial questions of our day?  While some contend that
the social question is really a religious question, and that the Church
is untrue to its mission when it holds itself aloof from the economical
problems which are agitating men's minds, others view with suspicion,
if not with hostility, the deflection of religion from its traditional
path of worship, and deem it a mistake for the Church to interfere in
industrial movements.

A recent writer[27] narrates that in his boyhood he actually heard an
old minister of the Church of Scotland declare in the General Assembly,
'We are not here to make the world better: we have only to pass through
it on the way to glory.'  'No grosser travesty,' adds the author, 'was
ever uttered.  We _are_ here to make the world better.  We have a
commission to stamp out evil and to prevent men from falling into it.
If this is not Christian work, what is?'

At the same time a portion of the clergy have gone to the opposite
extreme, identifying the kingdom of God with social propaganda, and
thus losing sight of its spiritual {241} and eternal, as well as its
personal, significance.  There has been moreover a tendency on the part
of some to associate themselves with a political party, and to claim
for the Church the office of judge and arbitrator in industrial strife.
But surely it is one thing to degrade the Church to the level of a
secular society, and another, by witness and by effort, to make the law
of Christ dominant over all the relationships of life.  Men are
impatiently asking, 'Has the Church no message to the new demands of
the age?  Are Christians to stand apart from the coming battle, and
preach only the great salvation to individual souls?  _That_ the
Christian minister must never cease to do; but the Gospel, if it is to
meet the needs of men, must be read in the light of history and
experience, and interpreted by the signs of the times.

(2) The ground idea of Jesus' teaching was, as Troeltsch has pointed
out,[28] the declaration of the kingdom of God.  Everything indeed is
relative to union with God, but in God man's earthly life is involved.
Two notes were therefore struck by Jesus, a note of individualism and a
note of universalism--love to God and love to man.  These notes do not
really conflict, but they became the two opposite voices of the Church,
and gave rise to different ethical tendencies.  The first religious
communities consisted of the poor and the enslaved.  It never occurred
to them that they had civic rights: all they desired was freedom to
worship Christ.  Not how to transform the social world, but how to
maintain their own religious faith without molestation in the world of
unbelief and evil was their problem.

(3) In the early Catholic Church the spirit of individualism ruled.
With the Reformation a new type of life was developed, and a new
attitude to the social world was established.  But while Lutheranism
sought to exercise its influence upon social life through state
regulation, Calvinism was more individualistic, and sought rather to
{242} enforce its teaching by means of the personal life.  The attitude
of the various sects--Baptists, Pietists, Puritans--has been largely
individualistic, and instead of endeavouring to rectify the abuses of
industrial life they have been disposed rather to suffer the ills of
this evil world, finding in faith alone their compensation and solace.

In modern times the tendency of the Church, Romanist and Protestant
alike, has been toward social regeneration; and a form of Christian
Socialism has even appeared which however lacks unity of principle and
uniformity of action.  The mediaeval idea of a Holy Roman Empire, in
which all nations and classes were to be consolidated, is now admitted
to be a dream incapable of realisation, partly because the idea itself
is illusory, but principally because the hold of the Papacy upon the
people has been weakened.  The agitation, 'Los von Rom' on the one
hand, and the 'Modernist' movement on the other, have tended to
dissipate the unity and energy of Catholicism.  Nevertheless the
Church, which is really the society of Christian people, is coming to
see that it cannot close its eyes to questions which concern the daily
life of man, nor hold aloof from efforts which are working for the
social betterment of the world.  To bring in the kingdom of God is the
Church's work, and it is becoming increasingly evident that the
kingdom, if it is to come in any real and living sense, must come where
Jesus Himself founded it--upon the plane of this present life.

There are two considerations which make this work on the part of the
Church at once imperative and hopeful.  The first is that the Church is
specially called upon by the command and example of its Founder to
range itself on the side of the weak and helpless.  It is commanded to
bring the principles of brotherly love to bear upon the conditions of
life which press most heavily upon the handicapped.  It is called on in
the spirit of its Master to rebuke the greed of gain and the callous
selfishness which uses the toil, and even the degradation of others,
for its own personal enjoyment.  The Church only fulfils its function
when {243} it is not only the consoler of the suffering but also the
champion of the oppressed.  And the other consideration is that in
virtue of its nature and charter the Church is enabled to appeal to
motives which the State cannot supply.  It brings all social obligation
under the comprehensive law of love.  It exalts the principle of
brotherhood.  It lifts up the sacrifice of Christ, and seeks to make it
potent over the hearts of men.  It preaches the doctrine of humanity,
and strives to win a response in all who are willing to acknowledge
their common kinship and equality before God.  It appeals to masters
and servants, to employers and labourers, to rich and poor, and bids
them remember that they are sharers alike of the Divine Mercy,
pensioners together upon their Heavenly Father's love.

4.  Whatever shape the obligation of the Church may take in regard to
the social problems of the homeland, the duty of Christianity to the
larger world of Humanity admits of no question.  The ethical
significance of the missionary movement of last century has been
pronounced by Wundt,[29] the distinguished historian of morals, as the
mightiest factor in modern civilisation.  Speaking of humanity in its
highest sense as having been brought into the world by Christianity, he
mentions as its first manifestation the care of the sick, and then
adds, 'the second great expression of Christian humanity is the
establishment of missions.'  It is unnecessary to dwell upon this
modern form of unselfish enthusiasm.  It has its roots in the simple
necessity, on the part of the morally awakened, of sharing their best
with other people.  'Man grows with the greatness of his purposes,' and
no greater ideal task has ever presented itself to the imagination of
man than this mighty attempt to conquer the world for Christ, and give
to his brother men throughout the earth that which has raised and
enriched himself.[30]

'The two great forming agencies in the world's history,' says a
prominent political economist, 'have been the {244} religious and the
economic.'[31]  On the one hand the economic is required as the basis
of civilisation, but on the other the supreme factor is religion.  The
commercial impulse, carried on independently of any higher motive than
self-interest, has however not infrequently reacted favourably on the
moral life of the race.  Mutual understanding, the sense of a common
humanity, the virtues of honesty, fairness, and confidence upon which
all legitimate commerce is founded, have paved the way in no small
degree for the message of brotherhood and mercy.  The present hour is
the Church's opportunity.  Already the world has been opened up, the
nations of the earth are awakening to the greatness of life's
possibilities.  The danger is that the Oriental peoples should become
satisfied with the mere externals of civilisation, and miss that which
will assure their complete emancipation.  Christianity was born in the
East, though it has become the inheritance of the West.  It is adapted
by its genius to all men.  And undoubtedly the West has no better boon
to confer on the East than that on which its own life and hope are
founded--the religion of Jesus Christ.  If we do not give that, we are
unfaithful to our Master's call; we falsify our own history, and wholly
miss the purpose for which we have been entrusted with divine
enlightenment and power.

[1] Lofthouse, _Ethics of the Family_, p. 77.

[2] _Hist. of Human Marriage_, p. 538.

[3] The literature on this subject is enormous.  See specially works of
Westermarck, M'Lennan, Frazer, Hobhouse, Andrew Lang, and Ihering.

[4] See chap. vii. in Garvie's _Studies in Inner Life of Jesus_.

[5] Matt. viii. 21, 22; Luke ix. 59-62.

[6] Luke xiv. 26; Matt. x. 37.

[7] Mark x. 29, 30.

[8] Matt. xix. 12.

[9] Matt. v. 32, xix. 3-10; Mark x. 11, 12.

[10] See Forsyth, _Marriage: its Ethics and Religion_.

[11] King, _Ethics of Jesus_, p. 69.

[12] Stalker, _Ethics of Jesus_, p. 336.

[13] Though Nietzsche does not use the word he may be regarded as the
father of modern eugenics.

[14] Cf. Ramsay Macdonald, _Socialism_.

[15] Mark vii. 9-13.

[16] Cf. King, _The Moral and Religious Challenge of our Times_, pp. 42

[17] Cf. W. Wallace, _Lects. and Addresses_, p. 114.

[18] _Aus Leben und Wissenschaft_.

[19] Matt. xii. 18-22; John xviii. 23, xix. 10 f.

[20] Rom. xiii.

[21] Sir H. Jones, _Idealism as a Practical Creed_, p. 123.

[22] Some sentences are here borrowed from author's _Ethics of St.

[23] _E.g._ Eucken, Kindermann, Mallock, and earlier H. Spencer.

[24] _Life's Ideal and Life's Basis_.

[25] Eph. iv. 3.

[26] Clarke, _Ideal of Jesus_, p. 258.

[27] Watson, _Social Advance_.

[28] _Die Soziallehren der Christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen_, a recent
work on social ethics of great erudition and importance.

[29] _Ethik_, vol. ii.

[30] King, _The Moral and Religious Challenge of our Times_, pp. 44 and

[31] Marshall, _Principles of Economics_.




In bringing to a close our study of Christian Ethics, we repeat that
the three dominant notes of the Christian Ideal are--Absoluteness,
Inwardness, and Universality.  The Gospel claims to be supreme in life
and morals.  The uniqueness and originality of the Ethics of
Christianity are to be sought, however, not so much in the range of its
practical application as in the unfolding of an ideal which is at once
the power and pattern of the new life.  That ideal is Christ in whom
the perfect life is disclosed, and through whom the power for its
realisation is communicated.  Life is a force, and character a growth
arising in and expanding from a hidden seed.  Hence in Christian Ethics
apathy and passivity, and even asceticism and quietism, which occupy an
important place in the moral systems of Buddha and Neo-Platonism, in
mediaeval Catholicism and the teaching of Tolstoy, play only a
subsidiary part, and are but preparatory stages towards the realisation
of a fuller life.  On the contrary all is life, energy, and unceasing
endeavour.  'I am come that ye may have life, and that ye may have it
more abundantly.'

There is no finality in Christian Ethics.  It is not a mechanical and
completed code.  The Ethic of the New Testament, just because it has
its spring in the living Christ, is an inexhaustible fountain of life.
'True Christianity,' says Edward Caird, 'is not something which was
published in Palestine, and which has been handed down by a dead
tradition ever since; it is a living and growing {246} spirit, and
learns the lessons of history, and is ever manifesting new powers and
leading on to new truths.'

The teaching of Jesus is not merely temporary or local.  It is an utter
perversion of the Gospels to make the eschatology present in them the
master-key to their meaning, or to derive the ethical ideal from the
utterances which anticipate an abrupt and immediate end.  Jesus spoke
indeed the language of His time and race, and often clothed His
spiritual purpose in the form of national expectation.  But to base His
moral maxims on an 'Interim-Ethic' adapted to a transitory world is to
'distort the perspective of His teaching, and to rob it of its unity
and insight.'  On the contrary, the Ethics of Jesus are everywhere
characterised by adaptability, universality, and permanence, and in His
attitude to the great problems of life there is a serenity and sympathy
which has nothing in common with the nervous and excited expectation of
sudden catastrophe.

In like manner it is a misinterpretation of the teaching of Jesus to
represent asceticism as the last word of Christian Ethics.
Renunciation and unworldliness are undoubtedly frequently commended in
the New Testament, but they are urged not as ends in themselves but as
means to a fuller self-realisation.  Such was not the habitual temper
and tone of Jesus in His relations to the world, nor was the ultimate
purpose of His mission to create a type of manhood whose perfection lay
in withdrawal from the interests and obligations of life.  'To single
out a teaching of non-resistance as the core of the Gospels, to retreat
from social obligations in the name of one who gladly shared them and
was called a friend of wine-bibbers and publicans--all this, however
heroic it may be, is not only an impracticable discipleship but a
historical perversion.  It mistakes the occasionalism of the Gospels
for universalism.'[1]

Finally, there are many details of modern social well-being with which
the New Testament does not deal, questions of present-day ethics and
economics which cannot be decided by a direct reference to chapter and
{247} verse, either of the Gospels or Epistles.  The problems of life
shift with the shifting years, but the nature of life remains
unchanged, and responds to the life and the spirit of Him who was, and
remains down the ages, the Light of men.  The individual virtues of
humility, purity of heart, and self-sacrifice are not evanescent, but
are now and always the pillars of Christian Ethics; while the great
principles of human solidarity, of brotherhood and equality in Christ,
of freedom, of love, and service; the New Testament teachings
concerning the family, the State, and the kingdom of God; our Lord's
precepts with regard to the sacredness of the body and the soul, the
duty of work, the stewardship of wealth, and the accountability to God
for life with its variety of gifts and tasks--contain the germ and
potency of all personal and social transformation and renewal.

[1] Prof. Peabody, _Harvard Theological Review_, May 1913.





1. _Early Idealism and Intuitionalism_.

Hobbes, 1650; Mandeville, 1714; Cudworth, 1688; Cumberland, 1672; Sam.
Clarke, 1704; Shaftesbury, 1713; Butler, 1729; Hutchison, 1756; Adam
Smith, 1759; R. Price, 1757; Thom. Reid, 1793; Dugald Stewart, 1793; W.
Whewell, 1848; H. Calderwood, _Handbook of Mor. Phil._, 1872;
Martineau, _Types of Ethical Theory_, 1886; Laurie, _Ethics_, 1885; N.
Porter, _Elements of Moral Science_, 1885.

2. _Utilitarianism_.

Locke, _Concerning Human Understanding_, 1690;  Hartley, _Observations
on Man_, 1748; Hume, _Enquiry Concerning Principles of Morals_, 1751;
_Essays_, 1742; Paley, _Principles of Mor. and Political Phil._, 1785;
Bentham, _Introd. to Principles of Morals and Legislation_, 1789; Jas.
Mill, _Analysis of the Human Mind_, 1829; J. S. Mill, _Utilitarianism_,
1863; A. Bain, _Mental and Moral Science_, 1868; _Mind and Body_, 1876;
H. Sidgwick, _Methods of Ethics_ (6th ed.), 1901; Shadworth Hodgson,
_Theory of Practice_, 1870; T. Fowler, _Progressive Morality_, 1884;
Grote, _Examination of Utilitarian Ethics_, 1870.

3. _Evolutionary Ethics_.

Chas. Darwin, _Descent of Man_, 1871; Herbert Spencer, _Principles of
Ethics_ and _Data of Ethics_, 1879; W. K. Clifford, _Lectures and
Essays_, 1879; Leslie Stephen, _Science of Ethics_, 1882; S. Alexander,
_Moral Order and Progress_, 1889; Shurman, _Ethical Import of
Darwinism_; Huxley, _Evolution and Ethics_; Hobhouse, _Morals in
Evolution_ (2 vols.), 1906; Westermarck, _Origin and Development of the
Moral Ideas_, 1909.

4. _Modern Idealism_.

T. H. Green, _Proleg. to Ethics_, 1883; F. H. Bradley, _Ethical
Studies_, 1876; _Appearance and Reality_, 1893; E. Caird, _Crit. Phil.
of Kant_, 1890; _Evolution of Religion_, 1903; W. R. Sorley, _Ethics of
Naturalism_, 1885; _Recent Tendencies in Ethics_, 1904; _The Moral
Life_, 1912; W. L. Courtney, _Constructive Ethics_, 1886; J. S.
Mackenzie, _Introd. to Social Philos._, 1890; _Manual of Ethics_ (4th
ed.), 1900; W. Wallace, _Lectures and Essays_, 1898; Muirhead,
_Elements of Ethics_, 1892; Rashdall, _Theory of Good and Evil_; Boyce
Gibson, _A Philos. Introd. to Ethics_, 1904; Ward, _Kingdom of Ends_
(Gifford Lect.), 1910; Bosanquet, _Principles of Individuality and
Value_, 1912; _Value and Destiny of the Individual_ (Gifford Lects.),
1913; _Psychology of the Moral Self_; D'Arcy, _Short Study of Ethics_;
W. Arthur, _Physical and Moral Law_; Jas. Seth, _Study of Ethical
Principles_ (11th ed.), 1910; Ryland, _Manual of Ethics_; G. E. Moore,
_Principia Ethica_, 1903; _Ethics_ (Home Univ. Lib.), 1912; MacCunn,
_Making of Character_, 1905; _Ethics of Citizenship_, 1907; _Six
Radical Thinkers_, 1907; Bowne, _Principles of Ethics; Immanence of
God_, 1906; Dewey, _Outlines of a Crit. Theory of Ethics_, 1891;
Harris, _Moral Evolution_; Hyslop, _Elements of Ethics_, 1895; Mezes,
_Ethics, Descriptive and Explanatory_, 1901; Royce, _Religious Aspects
of Philosophy; Philosophy of Loyalty_, 1908; Taylor, _Problem of
Conduct_; Rand, _The Classical Moralists_ (Selections), 1910.


Kant's works, specially _Metaphysics of Ethics_, trans. by T. K.
Abbott, under title, _Kant's Theory of Ethics_ (3rd ed.), 1883; Fichte,
_Science of Ethics_ (trans.), 1907; _Science of Rights_ (trans.);
_Popular Works_ (2 vols.); _Vocation of Man_, etc.; Hegel, _Philosophy
of Right_, trans. by S. W. Dyde, 1896; Lotze, _Practical Philosophy,
_1890; Paulsen, _System of Ethics_, trans. by Tufts; Wundt, _Ethics, An
Investigation of the Facts and Laws of the Moral Life_ (3 vols.),
trans. from 2nd German ed., 1892; Dubois, _The Culture of Justice_;
Guyot, _La Morale_; Janet, _Theory of Morals_ (trans.); Nietzsche's
_Works_, translated by Oscar Levy (18 vols.); Eucken, _The Problem of
Human Life_, 1912; _Life's Basis and Life's Ideal_, 1912; _Meaning and
Value of Life_, 1912; _Main Current of Modern Thought_, 1912; _The Life
of the Spirit_, 1909; Hensel, _Hauptproblem der Ethik_, 1903; Lipps,
_Die Ethischen Grundfragen_, 1899; Natorp, _Social-paedagogik_;
Schuppe, _Grundzüge der Ethik_; Wentscher, _Ethik_; Schwarz, _Das
Sittliche Leben_; L. Levy-Bruhl, _Ethics and Moral Science_, trans. by
Eliz. Lee, 1905; Windelband, _Präludien. über Willensfreiheit_; Bauch,
_Glückseligkeit und Persönlichkeit in der krit. Ethik_; {250}
_Sittlichkeit und Kuttur_; Cohen, _Ethik des Reinen Willens_, 1904;
Dilthey, _Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften_; Ihering, _Der Zweck
im Recht_ (2 Bde.), 1886; Cathrein, _Moral. Philosophie_ (2 Bde.),
1904; Tonnies, _Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft_, 1887.



Harless, _Christl. Ethik_, 1842 (trans.), 1868; Schleiermacher, _Die
Christl. Sitte_, 1843; Marheineke, _System d. Christl. Moral_, 1847;
Bothe, _Theol. Ethik_, 1845; De Wette, _Lehrbuch d. Christl.
Sittenlehre_, 1853; Ch. F. Schmid, _Christl. Sittenlehre_, 1861; A.
Wuttke, _Handbuch d. Christl. Sittenlehre_, 1861 (trans., 2 vols., J.
P. Lacroix, 1873); F. P. Cobbe, _Religious Duty_, 1864; _Studies
Ethical and Social_, 1865; Seeley, _Ecce Homo_, 1886; Maurice, _Social
Morality_, 1872; _Conscience_, 1872; Wade, _Christianity and Morality_,
1876; Hofmann, _Theol. Ethik_, 1878; Lange, _Grundriss d. Christl.
Ethik_, 1878; Martensen, _Christl. Ethik_ (trans., 3 vols.), 1878;
Gregory Smith, _Characteristics of Christian Morality_, 1876; O.
Pfleiderer, _Grundriss d. Glaubens und Sittenlehre_, 1880; Luthardt,
_Vorträge über die Moral d. Christenthums_, 1882; S. Leathes,
_Foundations of Morality_, 1882; Frank, _System d. Christl.
Sittenlehre_, 1885; Westcott, _Social Aspects of Christianity_, 1887;
W. T. Davidson, _The Christian Conscience_, 1888; Balfour, _The
Religion of Humanity_, 1888; Maccoll, _Christianity in Relation to
Science and Morals_, 1889; Stanton, _Province of Christian Ethics_,
1890; Hughes, _Principles of Natural and Supernatural Morals_, 1890; W.
G. Lilly, _Right and Wrong_, 1890; Bright, _Morality in Doctrine_,
1892; Schultz, _Grundriss d. Evangelischen Ethik_, 1891; Newman Smyth,
_Christian Ethics_, 1892; Dowden, _Relation of Christian Ethics to
Philos. Ethics_, 1892; Jas. Drummond, _Via, Veritas, Vita_ (Hib.
Lect.), 1894; Jacoby, _Neukstamentliche Ethik_, 1889; Salwitz, _Das
Problem d. Ethik_, 1891; Knight, _The Christian Ethic_, 1893; Jas.
Kidd, _Morality and Religion_, 1895; Strong, _Christian Ethics_, 1897;
Troeltsch, _Die Christl. Ethik und die heutige Gesellschaft_, 1904;
_Die Sociallehren d. Christl. Kirchen u. Gruppen_ (2 vols.), 1912;
_Protestantism and Progress_, 1912; Lemme, _Christl. Ethik._ (2 vols.),
1908; Kirn, _Grundriss d. Theol. Ethik_, 1909; _Sitlliche
Lebenanschauungen d. Geigenwart_, 1911; Nash, _Ethics and Revelation_;
Dobschütz, _The Christian Life in the Primitive Church_; Clark, _The
Church and the Changing Order_; Ottley, _Christian Ideas and Ideals_,
1909; Clark Murray, _Handbook of Christian Ethics_, 1908; Henry W.
Clark, _The Christian Method of Ethics_, 1908; Rauschenbusch,
_Christianity and the Social Crisis_, 1908; Geo. Matheson, _Landmarks
of New Testament Morality_, 1888; J. Smith, _Christian Character and
Social Power_; Gladden, _Applied Christianity_; J. R. Campbell,
_Christianity and the Social Order_; Coe, _Education in Religion and
Morals_; Peile, _The Reproach of the Gospel_; Gottschick, _Ethik_,
1907; W. Schmidt, _Der Kampf um die Sittliche Welt_, 1906; Herrmann,
_Ethik_, 1909; _Faith and Morals, Communion of the Christian with God_;
A. E. Balch, _Introduction to the Study of Christian Ethics_;
Kirkpatrick, _Christian Character and Conduct_; Church, _Outlines of
Christian Character_; Paget, _Christian Character_; Illingworth,
_Christian Character; Personality, Human and Divine_; R. Mackintosh,
_Christian Ethics_, 1909; Haering, _The Ethics of the Christian Life_
(trans.), 1909; Barbour, _A Philos. Study of Christian Ethics_, 1911;
Stubbs, _Christ and Economics_; W. S. Bruce, _Social Aspects of
Christian Morality_, 1905; _Formation of Christian Character_; Harper,
_Christian Ethics and Social Progress_, 1912; T. C. Hall, _Social
Solutions in the Light of Christian Ethics_, 1911.


1. _Ethics of Jesus_.

Briggs, _Ethical Teaching of Jesus_; P. Brooks, _Influence of Jesus_;
Dale, _Laws of Christ for Common Life_; Feddersen, _Jesus und die
Socialen Dinge_; Gardner, _Exploratio Evangelica_; Ehrhardt, _Der
Grundcharacter d. Ethik Jesu_, 1895; Grimm, _Die Ethik Jesu_, 1903;
Peabody, _Jesus Christ and the Christian Character_, 1905; _Jesus
Christ and the Social Question_, 1902; _The Approach to the Social
Question_, 1909; King, _The Ethics of Jesus_, 1910; _Moral and Social
Challenge of our Times_, 1912; Rau, _Die Ethik Jesu_; Stalker, _Imago
Christi_, 1888; _The Ethic of Jesus_, 1909; Mathews, _The Social
Teaching of Jesus_; Horton, _The Commandments of Jesus_; W. N. Clarke,
_The Ideal of Jesus_, 1911.

2. _Teaching of Jesus and Apostles_.

_Works_ of A. B. Bruce; Gilbert, _Revelation of Jesus_; Harnack, _What
is Christianity?_ (Das Wesen); _Sayings of Jesus_; Jülicher,
_Gleichnissreden Jesu_; Denney, _Jesus and the Gospel_, 1909; Latham,
_Pastor Pastorum_; Moorhouse, Pullan, Ross, Von Schrenck, Stevens,
Swete; Tolstoy, _My Religion_; Wendt, _Lehre Jesu_ (2 ed.), 1901;
Weizsäcker, _The Apostolic Age_; Hausrath, _History of N. T. Times_;
Fairbairn, _Christ in Modern Thought_; D. La Touche, _The Person of
Christ in Modern Thought_, 1911; Pfanmüller, _Jesus im Urtheil d.
Jahrhunderte_; Bacon, _Jesus, the Son of God_; Dalman, _Words of
Jesus_; Baur, _Paulinismus_; Bosworth, _Teaching of Jesus and
Apostles_; Pfleiderer, _Paulinismus; Primitive Christianity_;
Johan-Weiss, _Paul and Jesus_; Gardner, _Relig. Experience of St.
Paul_; Alexander, _Ethics of St. Paul_.



See Histories of Philosophy: Ueberweg, Erdmann, Windelband, Schwegler,
Maurice, Rogers; Alexander, _A Short History of Philosophy_ (2nd ed.),
1908; Lecky, _Hist. of Europ. Morals_; Luthardt, _History of Ethics_;
Rogers, _A Short History of Ethics_, 1912; Thoma, _Geschichte d.
Christl. Sittenlehre in der Zeit d. N. T._, 1879; Wundt (_Vol. II. of
Ethics_); Wuttke (_Vol. I. of Ethics_); Sidgwick, _History of Ethics_;
Ziegler, _Gesch. d. Ethik_; Jodl, _Gesch. d. Ethik in d. Neueren
Philosophie_; T. C. Hall, _History of Ethics within Organized
Christianity_, 1910.  See also Relevant Articles in Bible Dictionaries,
especially Hastings' _Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics_.



  Activism, 117, 122, 179.
  Adiaphora, 201.
  Aestheticism, 15 f., 108.
  Alquin, 2.
  Apocalyptic teaching of Christ, 133.
  Aquinas, Thomas, 2, 196.
  Aristotle, 10, 17 f., 40 f., 66, 70, 87, 107, 187.
  Arnold, Matthew, 1, 107.
  Asceticism, 129, 150, 192, 245.
  Assimilation to Christ, 179.
  Atonement, 166.
  Augustine, 30, 57 f., 66, 140, 231.
  Aurelius, Marcus, 43, 70.
  Avenarius, 86.

  Balch, 132, 133.
  Barbour, 41, 135, 157, 159, 161.
  Baur, 39.
  Beatitudes, 129, 136, 188.
  Beneficence, 213.
  Bentham, 103, 204.
  Bergson, 64, 91 f., 117 f.
  Bernard, 218.
  Blewett, Christian view of God, 170.
  Bosanquet, 16, 27, 64, 92, 113, 114.
  Bousset, 134, 135.
  Brotherhood, 145, 210, 243, 247.
  Browning, 3, 16, 60, 63, 77, 119, 131, 132, 138, 206, 218.
  Bunsen, 69.
  Burckhardt, 227.
  Burke, 204.
  Burkitt, 32.
  Burnet, 41.
  Burns, Robert, 204.
  Butcher, 41.
  Butler, Bishop, 166.

  Caird, E., 44, 60, 64, 245.
  ---- J., 63.
  Cairns, 135.
  Calixtas, G., 2.
  Calvinism, 2, 57, 241.
  Cambridge Platonists, 39.
  Campbell, 69.
  Chamberlain, Houston, 48.
  Character, 6, 10, 14, 15, 24, 186;
    making of, 208.
  Childhood, children, 226 f.
  Christ, 1, 4, 5, 11 f., 124;
    as example, 146 f.;
    character of, 148 f., 150.
  Christianity, 123 f.
  Church, 4, 209, 236 ff.
  Citizenship, 39, 151, 233 f.
  Clarke, 240.
  Clement, 2, 39.
  Coleridge, 3.
  Collectivism, 106.
  Compassion, 212.
  Conduct, 1, 6, 13, 15, 183 f.
  Conscience, 68 f.
  Conversion, 171.
  Courage, 38, 186, 187, 190.
  Cousin, 16.
  _Creative Evolution_, 117.
  Croce, Benedetto, 117.
  Culture, 16, 99, 108, 130, 148, 156, 207, 208.

  Daemon of Socrates, 69.
  Danaeus, 2.
  Dante, 125, 138.
  Darwin, 74.
  David, Psalms, 48 f., 70.
  Davidson, 69, 81.
  Death of Christ, 166.
  Decalogue, 2, 45, 72.
  Deissmann, 162.
  Democracy, 235.
  Denney on Forgiveness, 163.
  Descartes, 204.
  Determinism, 88 f.
  Dewey, Professor, 64.
  Disinterestedness of motive, 156 f.
  Divorce, 224.
  Dobschütz, 134.
  Dogmatics, 3, 24 f.
  Dorner, 25 f.
  Drew, 31.
  Duty, Duties, 8, 21, 52, 196 ff.
  Dynamic of new life, 164 f.

  'Ecce Homo,' 152, 205.
  Ecclesiasticism, 3, 49.
  Economics, 17, 239.
  Ehrhardt, 151.
  Emerson on Example, 151.
  Empire, Roman, 43; 'Holy,' 242.
  Engels, 105.
  Epictetus, 43, 70.
  Epicureans, 42.
  Erinnyes of Aeschylus, 69.
  Eschatology, 133 f.
  Eternal life, 131.
  Ethics, Christian, 1 f., 5, 6, 10 ff;
    Philos., 22, 35 f., 168;
    permanence of, 245.
  ---- of Israel, 44 ff.
  Eucken, 86, 93, 108, 115, 117, 121 f., 179, 203, 207, 235.
  Eugenics, 110, 255.
  Euripides, 69.
  Evil, 57 f., 62, 118.
  Evolutionalism, 74 f., 103 f.
  Example, human, 151, 214 f.;
    of Jesus, 140, 222 f.
  Externalism, 142 f.

  Fairbairn, A. M., 147.
  Faith, 65, 67, 174 f., 196, 216;
    Pauline doct., 177.
  Faithfulness, 200, 203, 216, 224, 231.
  Faith healing, 90.
  Family, 220 f.; relationships, 222, 226.
  Fatherhood of God, 141, 145, 153, 216.
  Feuerbach, 101.
  Fichte, 65, 112, 204.
  Forgiveness, divine, 153; human, 214.
  Forsyth, 224.
  'Foundations,' 173.
  Frazer, 29, 221.

  Garvie, 222.
  God, idea of, 26; sovereignty of, 27; fatherhood of, 27;
    love of, 28; recognition of, 215; obedience to, 216;
    worship of, 217.
  Godlikeness, 141, 218.
  Goethe, 58, 81, 107, 130, 212.
  Grace, means of, 209.
  Graces, 188.
  Grant, Sir A., on 'Mean,' 185.
  Greece, Ancient, 11, 35.
  Greeks, 16, 28, 69.
  Green, T. H., 18, 75, 77, 88, 187, 218.

  Haeckel, 86, 101.
  Haering, 21, 25, 156, 201.
  Harnack, 176, 205, 228.
  Hebrew, 35, 44.
  Hedonism, 104.
  Hegel, 9, 19, 55, 65, 112 f., 124, 204, 213, 231.
  Heraclitus, 37.
  Hermann, E., 125.
  Herrmann, 202.
  Hobbes, 57, 102.
  Hobhouse, 221.
  Holiness, 141; of Jesus, 149.
  Hope, 47, 197 f.
  Hügel, von, 126.
  Hume, 18.
  Hypnotism, 90.
  Hyslop, 14.

  Ideals, 6, 12; idealism, 107, 127 f.
  Ihering, 221.
  Immanence of God, 43, 93.
  Immortality, 155.
  Incarnation, 165 f.
  Indeterminism, 88.
  Individualism, 107, 204, 205.
  Inge, 16.
  Intellect and Intuition, 65, 118.
  Intellectualism, 64, 65, 114, 118.
  Intensity of life, 129 f.
  _Interimsethik_, 134 f., 246.
  Intuitionalism, 72.
  Irenaeus, 166.
  Israel, 35, 44, 70.

  Jacoby, 25, 142, 157.
  James, St., 29.
  ---- W., 56, 65, 66, 89 f., 114 f., 172.
  Jones, Sir H., 132, 219, 231.
  Judaeism, Ethics of, 45.
  Judgment, final, 140; just judgment, 212.
  Justice, 32, 38, 172, 187 f., 210, 233.
  Justification by faith, 177.

  Kant, 13, 65 f., 74, 111 f., 152, 158, 162, 185, 204.
  Keim, 151.
  King, 134, 224, 227, 243.
  Kingdom of God, 132 f.
  Kirkup, 105.
  Knight, 36.

  Lassalle, 232.
  Law, Mosaic, 45 f., 70.
  Lecky, 43, 66, 211, 217.
  Lemme, 25, 79 f.
  Leonardo, 92.
  Lidgett, 27.
  Life, 12, 118; as ideal, 128; as vocation, 200;
    regard for, 207; as Godlikeness, 141; sacredness of, 142;
    Christ as standard of, 147; brevity of, 154; 'eternal,' 131.
  Lodge, Sir O., 172.
  Lofthouse, 221.
  Logic, 15, 118.
  Lotze, 88.
  Love, supremacy of, 28, 196 f; divine, 144, 153.
  Lütgert, 108.

  Maccabean age, 48.
  MacCunn, 203.
  Macdonald, Ramsay, 220.
  Mach, 85 f.
  Machiavelli, 70.
  Mackenzie, 13, 14, 19.
  Mackintosh, 26, 199.
  Macmillan, 112.
  Mallock, 232.
  Man, estimate of, 55 ff.; primitive, 57.
  Mark, St., 32.
  Marriage, 223, 225.
  Marshall, 224.
  Martensen, 25.
  Marx, 105.
  Massachusetts, 'Declaration of Rights,' 205.
  Matheson, Geo., 194.
  Mazzini on Rights, 203.
  'Mean' of Aristotle, 40, 185.
  Metaphysics, 3, 10, 17 f., 25, 37.
  Meyers, St. Paul, 168, 217.
  Micah, 47.
  Mill, J. S., 32, 103.
  Millar, Hugh, 56.
  Milton, 58.
  Mission of Jesus, 149.
  Missionary movement, 243.
  Moffatt, 134.
  Morality, 10, 37 f.
  Morals, 24.  See Ethics.
  Morris, 92.
  Motives, 6, 10; Christian, 152 f.
  Muirhead, 14.
  Murray, 55, 58.
  Müller, Max, 58.

  Nativism, 72.
  Naturalism, 100 ff.
  Nemesis, 69.
  Neo-Platonism, 39 f., 40, 44, 245.
  'New Ethic,' 108.
  Nietzsche, 58, 109, 225, 232.
  Nine Foundation Pillars of Schmiedel, 31.
  Norm, Normative, 12, 146.
  Novalis, 16, 25.

  Obedience, 178.
  Old Dispensation, 45.
  Origin, 39.
  Orr, J., 142.
  Oswald, 86.
  Ottley, 59, 61, 209, 213.
  'Ought,' 12, 21, 80.

  Paine, 204.
  Parables of the kingdom, 137.
  Parents, 226.
  Parker, Theodore, 56.
  Pascal, 57, 59.
  Passions, 41, 58, 191.
  Paul, St., 22, 26, 30 f., 43, 47, 57 f.,
    66, 70, 77, 94 f., 162, 173, 177.
  Paulsen, 10, 151, 199.
  Peabody, 148, 150, 246.
  Pelagius, 56.
  Penalty, 162.
  _Pensées_, 59.
  Perfection, spiritual, 27, 141.
  Permissible, 202.
  Personality, 6, 55 f., 61, 112, 113, 122, 209, 213.
  Pfleiderer, 44.
  Pharisaism, 143.
  Philosophy, 4, 5, 9, 35 f.
  Plato, 18 f., 37 ff., 66, 107, 184, 187.
  Pluralism, 116.
  Poetry of Old Testament, 45 f., 48.
  Politics, 15 f.
  Postulates, 6, 18, 22, 25, 29.
  Power, divine, 164 f.
  Pragmatism, 63, 114 f.
  Prayer, 217.
  Pringle-Pattison, 103.
  Property, 213.

  Rashdall, 27.
  Realisation of self, 128.
  Reformation, 2, 11, 47.
  Regeneration, 171.
  Regret, 171.
  Renewal, 171.
  Renunciation of Gospel, 156.
  Repentance, 171.
  Response, human, 169.
  Responsibility of man, 29.  See Will.
  Resurrection of Christ, 167.
  Revolution, French, 56, 235.
  Rewards, 157 f.
  Richter, Jean Paul, 155.
  Righteousness, 46 f., 52, 142, 192.
  Risen life, 167.
  Ritschlian school, 63, 90.
  Romanticism, 107.
  Rome, 35; Romanist, 243.
  Rousseau, 56 f., 100.
  Ruskin, 16.

  Sabatier, 66.
  Sacrifice of Christ, 166; self, 131, 191, 194, 209.
  Sanday, Professor, 139, 157.
  Schelling, 65.
  Schiller, 16, 107.
  Schleiermacher, 3, 25, 39, 201.
  Schmidt, 86.
  Schmiedel, 31.
  Schopenhauer, 109.
  Schultz on copying Christ, 152.
  Schweitzer, 134.
  Science, 13 f., 83.
  Scott, E., 134, 140.
  Seeley, 16.
  Self-regard, 207.
  Self-restraint of Jesus, 150.
  Self-sufficiency, 130.
  Seneca, 43, 70.
  Sermon on (the) Mount, 32.
  Seth, Jas., 103.
  Sin, 28 f., 140.
  Sinlessness of Jesus, 149.
  Smith, Adam, 103.
  Smyth, Newman, 17, 26, 132.
  Socialism, 105; social problems, 225 f., 239.
  Society.  Social institutions, 220 ff.
  Socrates, 9, 36 f., 39, 69, 186.
  Sonship, 153.
  Sophists, 11, 36, 37.
  Sophocles, 69.
  Soul, 61, 119.
  Sovereignty of God, 27, 93, 144.
  Specialisation, 207.
  Spencer, 74 f., 103, 232.
  Spinoza, 18.
  Sport, 207.
  Stalker, 176, 224.
  Standard of New Life, 146 f.
  State, 229 ff.
  Stephen, Leslie, 17.
  Stoics, 42, 56, 70, 185, 194.
  Strauss, 151.
  Strong, 193.
  Sudermann, 110.
  Suffering, 202, 208.
  _Summum bonum_, 11.  See Ideal.
  Symonds, 69.
  Sympathy of Jesus, 149.
  Synoptic Gospels, 33.

  Tasso, 81.
  Temperance, 38, 187, 191.
  Temptation, 208.
  Tennyson, 3, 39; wages, 161.
  Testament, New, 28, 30 f., 35, 57, 71.
  ---- Old, 26, 45.
  Thanksgiving, 218.
  _Theologia Moralis_, 2.
  Titius, 134.
  Touche, E. D. La, 145.
  Troeltsch, 135, 151, 241.
  Truthfulness, 211.

  Utilitarianism, 103 f., 114.

  Virtue.  Virtues, 69, 21, 38 ff., 183 ff.
  Vitalism, 117, 120.
  Vocation, 154, 199 f.

  Wages, 161.
  Watson, 240.
  Wealth, 239.
  Weiss, Johannus, 134, 170.
  _Welt-Anschauung_, 19, 31.
  Wenley, 44.
  Wernle, 58, 134.
  Westcott, Bishop, 39.
  Westermarck, 221.
  Will, 12 ff., 82 f.
  Wisdom, 38, 43, 49, 187, 192.
  Wordsworth, 3, 39.
  Work, 208, 239.
  Worship, 217, 237.
  Wundt, 73, 78 f., 186, 213, 243.
  Wuttke, 13, 25, 217.

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