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Title: The Things Which Remain - An Address To Young Ministers
Author: Goodsell, Daniel A.
Language: English
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The Things Which Remain

_An Address To Young Ministers_


By

DANIEL A. GOODSELL


A Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church



_CINCINNATI: JENNINGS & PYE_
_NEW YORK: EATON & MAINS_

_Copyright, 1904, by_
JENNINGS AND PYE



PREFACE


This little book contains the larger part of an address I have delivered
at several Annual Conferences on the occasion of the admission of
probationary ministers into full membership. At the suggestion of some
who have heard it when delivered and whose assurance that it would be
useful in print I am bound to respect, I have consented to its
publication.

Matter not directly relating to the theme, but of sufficient importance
to accompany it in addressing an Annual Conference, is here omitted,
that all possible space might be given to the discussion of the
question, "How much Christian doctrine will still remain, though much of
the most radical criticism be accepted?"



Preface


It will be understood that concessions made for the sake of the argument
by no means represent my own views of that which must be ultimately
yielded to the critical spirit.

Already some opinions which threatened the authority of Gospels and
Epistles, and which have had wide acceptance, have been modified or
withdrawn. My aim in this address was not to scout criticism, from which
much of the highest value to faith is to come, but to steady the
wavering young minister; to sustain his preaching power by helping him
to a definite message, and to encourage him to a slow and guarded
acceptance of critical opinions destructive of "the faith once delivered
to the saints."

CHATTANOOGA, TENN., December, 1903.



The Things Which Remain



The followers of Him who said "I am the Truth" can never afford to hold
or propagate that which is false. No man can preach with power unless he
strongly believes. Teaching force depends on Faith.

[Sidenote: Doing and Knowing.]

[Sidenote: The Divine Call.]

[Sidenote: Conditions of the Call.]

Thus far our ministry has had teaching power because it has been founded
on and inspired by a Christian experience. Our Church has always
emphasized that essential Christian statement, "If ye do ye shall know."
At every ordination we have demanded of every candidate a declaration of
his persuasion that he was "called according to the will of our Lord
Jesus Christ" to the particular office to which he was then to be
advanced. By this we do not mean a mediate call through the order of the
Church or the judgment of the Bishop, but an immediate call by the Holy
Spirit from Christ Himself. This call is antedated by that personal
surrender to Jesus Christ; that blessed acceptance by Him of the
self-surrendered; that witnessing Spirit as to sonship which brings the
consciousness of pardon, renewal, and justification known as "a
religious experience."

[Sidenote: Evidence of the Call.]

Those who possess this know something. Whereas they were "once blind,
now they see." They know they have "passed from darkness to light"
through the changed love which now controls. However the persuasion
reached them, it is a persuasion; not merely a hope. It is a conclusion
borne in upon them by satisfactory evidence, and is a lasting certainty
while the faith which brought it abides in its original measure.

Thus to-day we have a pulpit substantially in doctrine and force what
our pulpit always has been. Even in some cases where doubt has entered,
it would appear that this Christian experience has steadied the wavering
head by the full and regular impulses of the believing heart.

[Sidenote: New Problems in Theology.]

[Sidenote: The Modern Skeptical Temper.]

It is, however, to be admitted that the years to which we have come
bring with them problems which our fathers did not have to solve. Doubts
of which they knew nothing throng our atmosphere and crowd upon our
consciousness. The attacks on Christianity are no longer the ribald
jeers of the unlovely and the vile. They come in the name of honest
investigation, historical veracity, and scientific accuracy; and are
projected by characters apparently truth-loving, reverent, and candid.

[Sidenote: The Sources of Advanced Criticism.]

This may be said for most of them, but on occasion it is hard to believe
that all the German critics are wholly and exclusively truth-loving and
candid. So extreme are the positions of some, so evidently tinctured
with overreadiness for criticism and unbelief, that they must be
excluded from the "most" above described.

I speak of the Germans because they, chiefly, are those capable and
active in original research. Most of our American "advanced critics" are
merely translators and adapters of German work. Their volumes add
nothing to the controversy to those who know the German originals. Not a
few Americans have obtained reputation by the expansion of the note
books they made at the feet of German professors.

[Sidenote: The English Disciples of the German School.]

[Sidenote: Love of Novelty.]

This also is largely true of the English critics. Many of them are well
furnished for Greek criticism. The number of Greek Englishmen is still
very large. But these seem also to fortify, at least, their own
conclusions by the opinions of the original German investigators. It is
hard to believe that, in the contests for German professorial position,
as well as in the justification of the incumbent when the position is
gained, the desire to attract attention by some critical novelty of
method or result has not been in some cases, at least, as influential as
a simple love of truth.

[Sidenote: Some Questions as to Style.]

There is always the question also, which I profess seems to be one not
easy of answer, whether the literary judgments as to style when men are
dealing with another language than their own, and especially with Greek
and Hebrew, can be as worthy of acceptance as their authors and many
others hold them to be; whether, in short, their opinions may not, like
those of experts in handwriting, come to be so colored by their
personality, or their interests, as to be of little evidential value.
On this point it seems to me that not enough allowance has been made by
these critics for the difference in style when men write familiarly or
didactically, or when they are engaged in narration or exhortation.

[Sidenote: Foundation of Belief Unsettled.]

Whatever may be the truth as to these matters, the present state of
faith is due to the unsettlement of the foundation of belief by
scientific and critical scholarship.

[Sidenote: A New Foundation to Emerge.]

This unsettlement, admitted on every hand with difference of opinion as
to extent, is either to increase until faith in Christianity, except as
an ethical and humanitarian system, is dead, or abide until faith
revives by a perception that the Church has maintained an erroneous
basis for faith and that a new and stronger one is emerging from the sea
of discussion. This last I believe to be the truth in the matter. I
hold, therefore, that faith is not dying, but suffering in some minds
from a kind of lunar eclipse, where a shadow diminishes, temporarily,
the radiance, but does not extinguish the planet itself.

[Sidenote: The Authority of the Scriptures Weakened.]

When we ask what foundation is weakened, the answer is: The authority of
the Scriptures as the sole rule of faith and practice. Some claim that
only a few of the books are genuine and almost none authentic. If this
is to be the final judgment of the learned and the sincere, it is plain
that we must seek another foundation for faith than the word of
Scripture. It is no more a "Thus saith the Lord" for us.

[Sidenote: Critics not yet Agreed.]

[Sidenote: Archæology and the Bible.]

[Sidenote: Personal Standpoints.]

But we are very far from seeing that final agreement among the critics
which warrants us in discarding a single book. If any one has been
fought about, and fought over, it is the Gospel of John. "It used to be
said that this was not a history at all, but an idealizing of tradition
in the interest of a speculative idea;[1] now theologians are mostly
agreed that if John is the most speculative, he is, at the same time,
the most personal of New Testament writers." No other book has been
finally overthrown. Archæology has confirmed Paul, and also some Old
Testament writers, especially those who speak of widely separated
settlements of the Hittites. I get a strong impression that the New
Testament writers are sometimes attacked because they teach what the
critics do not wish to believe. Thus it would appear that Harnack scouts
the early chapters of Matthew and Luke because he doubts the virgin
birth, and would hold that belief therein is no part in authority or
value of the Christian religion.

[Footnote 1: Denney. Studies in Theology.]

[Sidenote: Bible Appeal for Verification.]

[Sidenote: Gracious Ability.]

[Sidenote: Huxley's Passionless Impersonality.]

[Sidenote: Gracious Conditions for Belief.]

[Sidenote: Ethical Conditions for Faith.]

I now wish to declare my own confidence that the verification of the
truths contained in the New Testament was never intended to rest upon
an absolutely inerrant record or on an inspiration which dictated to a
personality rather than expressed itself through a personality. The
Bible presupposes a power in man to test and verify its statements and
doctrines. It makes its appeal to this steadily from the earlier books
to the later; the appeal growing in content as the soul has developed
its power of recognition. This is the familiar law of knowing and doing,
of proving by practice, of perceiving the leadership of Jesus Christ
through the leading of the Holy Ghost. As to doctrine, there is left in
man the power to make the beginning of a faith. On this beginning
devotion builds a belief in the greater mysteries. Thus reason deduces a
First Cause, then the unity of the First Cause. This is as far as reason
can go. Huxley, looking out on the universe with this power, said:
"There is an impassable gulf between anthropomorphism, however refined
and the passionless impersonality underlying the thin veil of phenomena.
I can not see one tittle of evidence that the great unknown stands to us
in the light of a Father." Nor could he. Religious truth is conditioned
in a way in which the apprehension of physical truth is not. There must
be a certain condition of the heart, conscience, and will to see the
truth of the Godhead of Christ. One may resist this evidence.[2] Only a
living Christian is competent to look at the subject--"unto you it is
given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God." In physics "nothing
is needed but open eyes and a sound understanding."[3] Moral character
has nothing to do with it, except as vice may affect vision and
deteriorate the judgment. But in a soul's relation to the Christian
religion, the ethical element is that which is fundamental. "The pure in
heart shall see God." The foul soul has no vision for the eternal
purities. In the days of idolatry "there was no open vision." So in the
heart of sin there is no light of spiritual truth. The higher verities
appear fully founded to the Christian consciousness only.

[Footnote 2: Cf. Denney.]

[Footnote 3: Cf. Denney.]

[Sidenote: Natural Ethical Canon.]

Yet, let us remember that below this Christian consciousness lie the
substrata of reason and ethical canon common to all men. Religious truth
rests on these in its first revelations. Above the first and simplest
revelation, truth rests on Christian experience as to those matters for
which reason and natural ethical canon are insufficient.

[Sidenote: General Calm of Methodist Episcopal Church.]

[Sidenote: Wesley's Advanced Views.]

This having been the teaching of the Methodist Episcopal Church from the
beginning, she has been little disturbed by the critical school. While
holding that the Bible is the sole rule of faith, she has not committed
herself to any one theory of inspiration. She has not believed the
Scriptures because they are written, but, being written, she has found
them true. She has believed in the supernatural power of the Gospel
because in her sight its leaven has wrought in the individual and in
society what it claims for itself. John Wesley believed that there were
God-breathed teachings outside of the Bible. He believed this because of
his feeling that the Divine Fatherhood must have spoken to other than
His Jewish children. Inheriting from our founder these thoughts, we have
kept a high degree of calm in these later days of inquiry and doubt.

[Sidenote: Wide Range of Unbelief.]

[Sidenote: Natural Immortality.]

[Sidenote: Reward and Punishments.]

We have already admitted that the present tendency to unbelief has wider
range and fresher foundations than our fathers knew. The belief in the
natural immortality of the human soul whether of Platonic or Christian
origin is shaken to an extent not known in a century. The doubts of
Huxley, the denials of Hæckel had a purely scientific basis. The
suspension of consciousness by sleep, by accident, by drugs, the decay
of mind by old age and by disease are freely put forth as proofs that
mind can not exist without the mechanism which supports and manifests
it. If this last be true a doctrine fundamental to Christianity must be
abandoned. The doctrine of immortality through Christ does not meet the
new objections. The scheme of redemption and the doctrine of future
rewards and punishments are involved in the fate of the doctrine of
natural immortality. We have thus shadows of doubt thrown upon two great
doctrines, the virgin birth of Christ and natural immortality. The
miracles, Resurrection, and Ascension must be added to the shadowed
list.

[Sidenote: Some Influential Facts.]

[Sidenote: A Great Mistake.]

[Sidenote: Doctored Heathenism.]

Whatever relation the fact may have as a cause, it is noteworthy that as
to time, this new era of doubt largely coincides as to its beginning
with the movement to revise the New Testament. The variations of the
manuscripts, the interpretations, the comparatively late date of the
oldest manuscripts were before this in possession of scholars only. The
daily press have made them the possession of the Christian world. The
shock to traditional confidence through this was very great. The
Congress of Religions at Chicago had a similar effect. The mistaken
liberality which permitted Christianity to appear on the same platform
with the ethnic and imperfect religions contributed largely to doctrinal
indifference. The taking and uncandid misrepresentations of these
religions convinced many that there was at least no better foundation
for Christianity and no better content therein than for and in the false
and imperfect faiths. Many of these were defended by men who had had an
English education and had come into contact with Christian vocabulary
and civilization. They did not hesitate to read into these religions
ideas wholly Christian and wholly foreign to the original teachings.

[Sidenote: What Remains?]

These and other considerations lead me to ask what remains that we may
and do believe? While far from admitting as finally proved the radical
conclusions reached by some as to authorship and inspiration of the
Bible and Divine authority for doctrines deduced therefrom, it must be
profitable for us to ask, "What remains if some of these conclusions
stand?"

Recall that I do not admit all these for a moment, or any of them as
final. Some are probably true. But taking the worst and most
iconoclastic as true, are we compelled even then to surrender our
Christian faith?

[Sidenote: The Apostles' Creed.]

Let us take the separate articles of the Apostles' Creed and see how
they stand affected:

[Sidenote: The Fatherhood of God.]

"I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth."

[Sidenote: A Christian God.]

Surely this remains untouched and in full force. Huxley, to requote what
has before been quoted, says: "I can not see one tittle of evidence that
the great unknown stands to us in the light of a Father." What a
contradiction is here! He knows that the great unknown can not be proved
to be our Father. Then he must know of the great unknown the negative
aspects so minutely as to be sure that no Fatherhood is in the great
unknown. Then he knows the great unknown much better than he is willing
to admit, better than an agnostic ought.

[Sidenote: An All Pervasive Spirit.]

[Sidenote: His Commandments.]

[Sidenote: The Divine Ideal.]

Yet that the idea of God may remain in power and not as a "passionless
impersonality," it must be less interpreted by the teachings of Moses
and more by the teachings of Christ. Human tempers and passions must be
eliminated from our Divine Ideal. He must not be made an angry and
jealous God as men count these. He must not be thought of as a
vindictive personality, never so well pleased as when scaring His
children into panic. In the thought of the Church He will be an
all-pervasive Spirit whose nature is unfolded by the universe He has
made. In that universe He will be felt to be immanent as the power of
development, order, and destiny. All ages show Him to be "the power
which makes for righteousness." The commandments are not only His
because they are found in the Bible, but because they are perceived to
be necessary laws of conduct proceeding from such a Being as we know God
to be for such beings as we know men to be. Thus we perceive them to be
the Divinely authorized bond of society and the guarantee and obligation
of the Divine Ideal of humanity. All nature and all history are
scrutinized for traces of the Supreme. These being found to coincide
with the Christian Revelation of Him, men will read with new reverence
those wonderful books which make up the Book, and which beyond all
others anticipate the latest results of scientific inquiry and natural
ethical canon.

[Sidenote: Advantage of Newer View.]

Out of this will come such a sense of the Divine Presence as the Church
and the individual Christian have not hitherto known. Moral distance
from God will be the only distance. "In Him we live and move and have
our being" comes to full interpretation through this thought of God.
Humanity is immersed in Him.

[Sidenote: Transcendent.]

[Sidenote: Huxley Against Hume.]

But this immanent God is also seen to be transcendent. He is in nature
and far beyond it. Vast as nature is, it is limited. God is the
unlimited. Within this region of transcendence is room for all His
gracious activities as distinguished from His natural activities; room
for marvel and miracle if He will and we need. When Huxley abandons
Hume's _a priori_ argument against miracles it is not worth while for
others to use it. Fewer doubt the existence of a God, I believe, than at
any time since men sought to prove that He does not exist. The Fatherly
in God is proved both by His work in nature and by those works of grace
which the student of nature alone can not see. God is a spirit. The
human spirit refined, purified, sees Him in proportion to its
purification.

[Sidenote: Modern Christology.]

[Sidenote: Former Limitations.]

[Sidenote: Ritual Statement.]

[Sidenote: Aim of Christianity.]

[Sidenote: Likeness to God.]

In respect of "Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord," it may, it must, be
said He remains in full and glorious vigor as the Redeemer of mankind.
The marked difference between our time and a half-century ago with
respect to Christ is in the extension, rather than the diminution of His
relation to salvation and the extension of the idea of salvation itself.
In the former days men's eyes were almost wholly fixed on His death and
its relation to salvation in the future life. Seldom indeed was the
value of the following text taken into consideration: "For if when we
were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much
more being reconciled we shall be saved by His life." There is less
disposition to dogmatize as to theories of the atonement. Most, I
think, come to feel that no one view contains the full significance of
Christ's death. Have you noticed how the Ritual puts it in the order of
the Lord's Supper? "Didst give Thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer
death upon the cross for our Redemption; who made there [on the cross]
by His oblation of Himself once offered a full, perfect, and sufficient
sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world."
The men who wrote that struggled to interpret His death by every
possible phase of its meaning. In our time we have come to see that the
aim of Christ and Christianity is to develop character and that this
must be gained in time that we may be ready for eternity. Thus the death
of Christ as the ultimate of self-sacrifice persuades us to the death of
sin in us that we may live renewed in God; "rise from our dead selves
to higher things." His life persuades us as the condition and example of
growth to move on from the first self-surrender into the habit and fact
of constant obedience and therefore "into the likeness of God's dear
Son."

The consciousness, well-nigh universal, of the nobility of
self-sacrifice is that which gives vitality and vogue among the masses
to the doctrine of the atonement. Self-sacrifice becomes more rare as
wealth and refinement modify men and women. He that has much is loath to
lose or leave it. Hence the rich generally fight in security. The poor
meet the bullets first.

Bad as is the conduct of some trades-unionists, it is among these
toilers that great deeds of sympathy and generosity are done. How they
tax themselves to help each other! How their women work for each other
when one is unable to care for herself or her children! Their doctrine
that "an injury to one is a wrong to all" has much that is Christlike in
it. Let us who believe in an atoning Christ rejoice that as long as men
honor bravery--self-sacrifice unto death for country, home, or the life
of dear ones; as long as they build monuments to generals, soldiers,
firemen, physicians who die for others, so will the world be slow to
disbelieve the doctrine that "Jesus Christ tasted death for every man."

[Sidenote: John's Logos.]

[Sidenote: An Anthropomorphic God.]

More, too, is made of His life before the Incarnation. The pre-existence
of Christ is an essential element in Christianity. "His eternal relation
to God is the only way of conceiving Him which answers to His real
greatness."[4] The Christ was present and active in the creation. John's
use of the word "Logos" is right. "Logos" is not merely a result but a
Force. It is not only the speech, but the speaker. Let us admit once for
all that the fact, much belabored of the critics, is a fact. Let us not
be afraid of the word which expresses it. God must be anthropomorphic if
He exists. We can come nowhere near to thinking out any other kind of
God. Christ has the value of God to devout Christians because in the
fullness of His moral perfections He expresses God so far as we can know
Him and man so far as man can hope and grow.

[Footnote 4: Denney. Studies in Theology.]

[Sidenote: How Son of God.]

Is His Sonship different from ours, or only an expansion of the fullness
and perfection of our sonship? This last seems to me a most important
question. If He was born as we were born--that is, as to the beginning
of His earthly life, there can be no pre-eminent sense in which He was
the Son of God. He was either a happy accident of natural birth or a
"sport" in evolution.

[Sidenote: The Virgin Birth.]

This brings us to that doctrine which is the greatest challenge to the
doubter: "Conceived by the Holy Ghost; born of the Virgin Mary,"--a
doctrine fiercely fought by Harnack and yet by no means to be dismissed
as he dismisses it. His teaching on this point seems to me the result of
his theory of Christianity. If one seeks to rid Christianity of the
supernatural, here is the place to begin.

[Sidenote: Dignity of the Story.]

[Sidenote: A Greater Puzzle.]

But who will not feel the force of the position that, granted God was to
be incarnate, the story of Christ's incarnation is the noblest and most
probable? He is not born of a man's lust nor of a woman's desire--but of
the submission of untainted womanhood to the direct creative power of
God. The alternative to this is the Divinest man in all the world born
of sinning and not yet married parents. If the new doctrine of heredity
be true that men may inherit good as well as evil, we still have an
astounding fact to account for; namely, the birth of such a child from
such conditions, that is, with all the good kept in and all the bad left
out.

[Sidenote: Parthenogenesis a Fact.]

When men speak of a virgin birth as incredible and impossible and as the
weakest of all Christian doctrine, do they know or have they forgotten
that parthenogenesis (virgin birth) is a fact in nature; existing, for
example, in as highly organized insects as the honey bee? There are
other insects which are parthenogenetic at one time and sexually
productive at another. There are also hints of it in human life known to
anatomists which can not be fully discussed here.

[Sidenote: Among the Bees.]

[Sidenote: A Small Departure from Nature.]

The virgin queen bee produces males in abundance, but can not produce
females until she has made her nuptial flight and met her mate in an
embrace invariably fatal to him. Nor does she ever need to meet
another. From that time on, she is the fruitful mother of every kind of
bee life the hive needs; the undeveloped females called neuters and
those who become queens by being fed on royal food. Virgin birth is
therefore imbedded in nature's order. To occur in the human species
nature need call in no novelty. Christ, if born of a virgin, was born
with the smallest possible departure from the order of nature. A process
known in a lower form of life was carried into the higher to produce the
unique being called for by the spiritual needs of mankind.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Historical Statement.]

Passing over the historical assertions which follow the doctrine of the
virgin birth, "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and
buried," because there is nothing in these statements difficult or
incredible, we reach the doctrine of His resurrection, "the third day
He rose from the dead," a doctrine next to that of the virgin birth in
natural difficulty of acceptance.

[Sidenote: Christ's Resurrection.]

[Sidenote: Surprise of Disciples.]

[Sidenote: The Fact Accounts for History.]

Faith in this seems to me to depend on how far we have accepted Christ's
Deity and His incarnation. If by the Holy Ghost we have been able "to
say that Jesus is the Lord;" if by that blessed energy we perceive His
Divine mastership; if by the same energy we feel that He has transformed
us into the image of His dear Son; raising us "from the death of sin
into the life of righteousness" it is not difficult to believe that
Jesus "the power of the Resurrection" rose from the dead. "The fact of
the Resurrection and belief in the fact is not explicable by any
antecedent conditions apart from its truth."[5] The disciples did not
expect what they saw. His death was for them so far as we can see,
without hope. They were not able yet to interpret His prophecy that He
would build again His temple, nor understand the spirituality of His
kingdom. These facts seem to me utterly to demolish the theory of a
vision called up by eager, yea, agonizing, expectation. The idea of the
Resurrection justifies His prophecies as to Himself and the fact
accounts, better than any theory which denies the fact, for the faith
and founding of the early Church as well as for the course of subsequent
history and of the believer's experience.

[Footnote 5: Westcott. The Revelation of the Risen Lord.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Slow Belief in Resurrection.]

It is much to see that belief became belief only with great difficulty.
The idea of the Resurrection was strange and alarming to the disciples.
"They were terrified and affrighted and supposed they beheld a spirit."
Slowly by tests of sense as well as by persuasions of teaching did the
disciples come to believe that the Christ of the Resurrection was the
same Christ who suffered on the cross.

[Sidenote: Not an Invention.]

[Sidenote: An Eye-witness Story.]

It seems impossible that the Resurrection could have been an invention
or that the account of it could be a work of the imagination. The last
is almost as great a miracle as the Resurrection itself. In detail, in
naturalness, even in the presence of difficulties and hindrances to easy
belief of the story, the narrative seems that of an eye-witness. No
reasoning can bring faith, however, to one who denies the miraculous. As
a fact, the Resurrection is incapable of naturalistic explanation. To
those who deny the miraculous I can only again point out how Huxley cuts
out the _a priori_ argument from Hume as worthless. As quoted in his
biography, Huxley says: "We are not justified in the _a priori_
assertion that the order of nature, as experience has revealed it to us,
can not change. The assumption is illegitimate because it involves the
whole point in dispute."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Ascent into Heaven.]

[Sidenote: The Ascension.]

[Sidenote: Nature not Wholly Love.]

[Sidenote: Evil and Good.]

Necessarily miraculous also is the doctrine, "He ascended into heaven."
In this He passed from the visible into the invisible; from the
conditions of human life to those of the life of a spirit; from the work
of redemption to that of intercession. If His resurrection be accepted,
His ascension presents no difficulties to faith. This, with His
incarnation, and the facts of His earthly life are the manifestation of
the tender side of God to the senses even as His wisdom and power are
shown to the senses by the facts and laws of nature. As to the doctrine,
"God is love," nature's word can never be conclusive. In the natural
kingdom joy and sorrow, ease and pain, love and hate, kindness and
cruelty, trust and terror exist side by side, as do life and death. No
man concludes, from nature alone, that God is ruled by love. Because man
can not conclude this, Ormuzd and Ahriman are found substantially in all
religions, as in that of the Parsees, except in the Christian. Here the
warfare is not to be eternal. The victory of good is to come. Divine
help is promised, that it may be secured in every soul. The conquest of
evil by good is within that Christian omnipotence which Paul knew. "I
can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me." It requires a
Christ to show that the path to rest is through toil; that the way to
ease is through suffering; that the highway to life passes through
death. Only thus can "mortality be swallowed up of life."

[Sidenote: The Meaning of Jesus.]

[Sidenote: Christ as Revealer.]

In the unity of the Godhead, Christ is God in manifestation, redemption,
intercession, judgment. In the Trinity, in which we must believe God
exists, Jesus Christ is the personality expressive, at first visibly and
now invisibly, of the tender qualities of the Divine nature which,
manifested in part in the world of nature, are there so linked with
severity as to require special and peculiar revelation in the person of
Jesus Christ in order that God may be understood both as transcending
nature and as eternal love.

       *       *       *       *       *

Surely the doctrine, "I believe in the Holy Ghost," will remain. It is a
misfortune that the word "ghost" has, in our English use, an unworthy
and terrifying significance. On this account it were well if we could
substitute for constant use the word "Spirit."

[Sidenote: The Holy Ghost.]

[Sidenote: The Energy of God.]

[Sidenote: The Interpreter.]

The Holy Spirit is the energy of God, whether working as Creator or in
the processes of redemption. It stirs us to the depths when we consider
that the Author of the worlds, the Source of the energies is He who
transforms, renews, sanctifies, and witnesses in us. There is no
question as to the pervasiveness and competence of the Power which
"works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure." We are taught to
trace all our religious uplift to the highest possible source. We gather
a great sense of our worth by the dignity of this association as we do
of the condescension of our Lord in making His home in our hearts. This
Holy Spirit is in all Christians the energy of the entire spiritual
life. By this we do the things which by nature we can not do. His is
that Divine impulse which initiates, continues, matures, and satisfies
the life of God in us. It is the indwelling, all-pervading Holy Spirit,
which interprets that great word, "I in them and Thou in Me, that they
may be one as We are."

[Sidenote: The Doctrine of Energy.]

And if the most advanced philosophy should yet be confirmed as true that
there is nothing really but energy, none the less would the doctrine of
the Holy Spirit abide. Back of all the individual energies of humanity;
back of all the forces of nature is the supreme energy of God. If
creation be our theory, it is the Spirit of God which broods on the face
of the waters. If evolution be our creed, it is "in Him we live and move
and have our being." All science is but the knowing of His way of
working, and all theology is but the discovery of His mind. To know Him
is to know all things. The latest Christian will be saying, "I believe
in the Holy Ghost."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Forgiveness of Sin.]

[Sidenote: Huxley on Depravity.]

[Sidenote: Not All Born Good.]

[Sidenote: Experience of Hell.]

And what becomes of the doctrine of the "forgiveness of sins" in this
outlook for "the things which remain?" Accepting Huxley as the
incarnation of the skeptical spirit of our time, I quote from him his
thought of sin, depravity, and punishment, as a hint of where the
scientific spirit may yet aid us. "The doctrine of predestination, of
original sin, of the innate depravity of man, the evil fate of the
greater part of the race, of the primacy of Satan in this world, of the
essential vileness of matter, of a malevolent Demiurgos subordinate to a
benevolent Almighty who has only lately revealed Himself, faulty as they
are, appear to me to be vastly nearer the truth than the liberal,
popular illusions that babies are all born good, and that the example of
corrupt society is responsible for their failure to remain so.... That
it is given to everybody to reach the ethical ideal if they will only
try; that all partial evil is universal good; and other optimistic
figments." "I suppose that all men with a clear sense of right and wrong
have descended into hell and stopped there quite long enough to know
what infinite punishment means."

[Sidenote: Transmission of Evil.]

Surely, the established truths of heredity confirm the doctrine that
man, if not born depraved, is born _deprived_ of tendencies toward good
essential to his own welfare and that of the race. "Where sin has once
taken hold of the race, the natural reproduction of life become
reproduction of life morally injured and faulty. With evil once begun,
the race is a succession of tainted individuals; an organism that works
toward continuance of evil. Not but that good is transmitted at the same
time, for it goes along with evil. Any virtue or value which is strong
enough to live will pass from generation to generation even while evil
is making the same journey."[6]

[Footnote 6: Outline of Christian Theology. Clarke, p. 242.]

[Sidenote: Depravation and Deprivation.]

[Sidenote: Natural Standards.]

[Sidenote: The Decalogue.]

While we hold that this tendency, this natural sluggishness in laying
hold of the things of the higher nature is not in itself guilt, it
becomes so by the voluntary adoption of the lower forces as the guide of
life. Nature has her own decalogue. There is a law written upon our
hearts. The wasting of power by anger, jealousy, envy, covetousness and
the like, and the degradation following their expression in acts of
revenge, concupiscence, and mere rapacity, are known without revelation
by all races which have not suffered the downward evolution. The
literatures prove this back even to the days of Hamurabi. Thus natural
standards of temper and conduct are seen to exist, below which men may
not live without loss, and hence there are natural laws to disobey which
is sin. The table given on Sinai, though given to Moses, was in the
world long before Moses. But higher sanction was given it by the
lawgiver, and the highest by the re-enactment of the Decalogue by Jesus
Christ.

[Sidenote: The Heart Law.]

[Sidenote: Effects of Sin.]

[Sidenote: Characteristics of Sin.]

[Sidenote: Results of Sin.]

Sin is blameworthy because it is born of the human preference and the
human will. The nation which, knowing most of the Divine will, disobeys,
is the most guilty because the most knowing. The proportion of guilt
depends on the measure of knowledge and the measure of opportunity.
Hence there is some guilt among those who know only a part of the truth,
and if a man perceives, without the aid of revelation, a law in nature
and a penalty, and breaks that law, then is he a sinner. Some of the
physical consequences may apparently be avoided by future obedience. But
the inner and spiritual consequences of sin are the worst--these things;
namely: In the weakening of the will; in the hardening of the
conscience; and, later, in the recklessness as to consequences,
indicated by that terrible indictment by Paul, "Who, being past
feeling, have given themselves over." The consciousness of sin is
practically universal. It is no invention of Christianity, though
brought to its greatest force by Christianity. Religions, governments,
literatures,--all and everywhere,--treat of sin as a fact. It is more
than dominion of body over spirit; more than an incident of growth; more
than a result of undeveloped judgment, tinged with emotion, and applied
to questions of motive and conduct. Sin is the abnormal; sin is a
variant from standard; sin is self-will and selfishness throttling duty.
Where men accept a God, it is opposition to His law and government.[7]
If no personal God be believed in, then sin is willful opposition to the
course of nature and to law, as proved by experience. So, in every case,
it is unworthy, injurious, and guilty, and must be repented of and
atoned for. The doctrine of sin will never be essentially disturbed.

[Footnote 7: Cf. Clarke. Outline of Theology.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: A Supernatural Event.]

[Sidenote: Lacks Scientific Proof.]

[Sidenote: An Old Fallacy.]

[Sidenote: A Jewish Argument.]

[Sidenote: Kant's Reasoning.]

[Sidenote: Can Not Be Demonstrated.]

The next clause in the creed, "The resurrection of the body," if it
remains as a permanent article of faith, must rest on the declaration of
Christ and on His resurrection. It is confessedly dependent, not on a
natural, but a supernatural order. On this point it is again worth our
while to note a concession by Huxley, as showing the consistency of one
Christian truth with another. "If a genuine, and not merely subjective,
immortality awaits us, I conceive that without some such change as that
depicted in I Corinthians xv, immortality must be eternal misery."[8]
Surely, this is a great testimony to that famous chapter on the
resurrection. No scientific proof or probability can be adduced for the
resurrection of the body. The older theologians used to point out that
the caterpillar entombed itself that it might emerge to the higher life
of the butterfly. But we must not take from such a fact what suits our
purpose, and leave a fatal weakness in our argument. The butterfly does,
indeed, emerge from the coffin of the cocoon and the seemingly dead
pupa. But it is only for a brief day of life. Then it lays its eggs and
dies forever. It is born to no immortality, but to the most ephemeral
life. The early Church; yea, the Jewish Church, found rational warrant
for belief in immortality and the resurrection of the body, first in the
thought that it was unjust for those who fought for and brought in the
kingdom of God, to enjoy nothing of what they secured. So the doctrine
of the first resurrection appears as a contribution of justice to holy
life. Later on, similar reasoning demanded the resurrection of all. A
judgment is necessary, not to acquaint God with the merits of men, but
to acquaint men with the righteousness of God. This would be impossible
without the resurrection of all. Very close to this is the reasoning of
Kant, summarized as follows: "Every moral act must have as an end the
highest good. This good consists of two elements, virtue and felicity,
or happiness. The two are inseparable. But these can not be realized
under the limitations of this existence. Immortality follows as a
deduction. The moral law demands perfect virtue or holiness; but a moral
being can not realize absolute moral perfection or a holy completeness
of nature in this present life." It is wholly of faith that men are
immortal. It of necessity can not be demonstrated. The mass of mankind
have believed it, and do believe it, and it is one of the most
difficult of beliefs to escape from, returning to some skeptical
scientists almost as an intuition, conquering the logic of death and
decay.

[Footnote 8: Biography, Vol. II. p. 322.]

[Sidenote: How Faith Grows.]

It is also true that faith in immortality grows with the fullness and
intelligence of the spiritual life. It becomes a complete persuasion to
the pure in heart. Yet some scientific facts, as related to man, make
the idea of his extinction improbable, and separate him from the "beast
which perisheth."

[Sidenote: Men and Brutes.]

[Sidenote: What Brutes Have.]

It is true that much is common to men and brutes. They walk the same
earth; breathe the same air; are nourished by the same food, which is
digested by the same processes. Their life is transmitted by the same
methods, and their embryonic life is strangely similar. It is also true
that there are strong mental resemblances. Both love and hate; are
jealous and indifferent; are courageous and cowardly; they perceive by
similar organs; record by similar mnemonic ganglia; and are within
certain limits impelled by the same motives. Nor can a measure of reason
be denied to animals. While much of what appears to be mental life is
automatic and unconscious response to an external stimulus reaching a
nerve-center, yet within limits they deliberate; they exercise choice;
and determine routes and methods.

[Sidenote: Man Above Brutes.]

[Sidenote: Habits of Animals.]

[Sidenote: Limits of Brute Intelligence.]

[Sidenote: Limits Continued.]

But when all this is said, man rises almost infinitely beyond the
highest brute. Man can stand outside of himself; contemplate the
movements of his own mind; watch the play of motive upon energy and
will, and know himself as no brute can ever be trained to do. Nor have
brutes the ganglia, lobes, or convolutions which house and direct such
powers; and no tribe of mankind has been found without them, however
undeveloped. Very limited, indeed, is the use of natural forces or of
supplied materials in the life of a brute. The birds pick up feathers,
hair, twigs; but no bird provides such things by deliberate prevision
and co-operation with nature. What animal sows that he may reap? The
so-called agricultural ants gather what they have not sown, and reap
what they have not planted. Man sows that he may gather; breeds that he
may use; and accomplishes civilization by an ever-increasing mastery and
adaptation of natural forces. An insect may float with the current on a
chip; but what one ever put a chip into the water? A beaver may build a
dam; but what beaver ever turned the heightened water on a wheel? The
dog may lie in a sunny spot; but what dog ever created artificial heat
or condensed by a lens the sun's heat on a particular point? The hen may
lay and incubate an egg; but what hen ever invented an incubator to
save her long sitting in one pose or place, or studied the development
of life in and from the egg she produced? The ox may select the richest
pasture; but never dreamed of creating a rich pasture by the culture and
fertilization of which he is the chief source. The tiger chooses and
slays his prey; but does not know how to propagate, develop, and safely
mature the animals on which he feeds. All animal life below man must
locate where its food abounds, or follow that food in its migrations or
seasonal changes. Man alone stores and transports his food, creating
commerce by his mastery of climate.

[Sidenote: Man Parts Company.]

[Sidenote: Man and Brute Compared.]

[Sidenote: How Man Can Live.]

[Sidenote: How Man Can Decay.]

[Sidenote: Incidental as to Body.]

The brute obeys law unwittingly in the sustenance and transmission of
life. Man alone perceives and deduces law from a thousand facts, and
concludes a lawgiver from the law, and one Lord and Giver of Life "from
the unity and universality of force." The brute turns its eye skyward to
detect danger; but never measures or counts the stars, discerns the
movements of the planets, nor extends vision and hearing by telescope,
microscope, and megaphone, nor proves by the spectroscope the sameness
of stellar elements with those of our own world. The brute neither makes
history nor records it. He remembers, but does not recollect. His
affections are evanescent as to his kind, and only approach permanence
as they are fastened upon us. The brute cognizes external things, but
does not perceive their being. Thus man can live in an intellectual or
spiritual world as to his aims, motives, and occupations. He need touch
matter only so far as it is necessary to support the bodily strength on
which his spiritual and intellectual movement must depend for basis and
manifestation. On the other hand he may reduce the intellectual and
spiritual life to the lowest limit by giving the mastery to his physical
appetites. We feel instinctively that to do this last is unworthy of
manhood and destructive of the higher nature and intent. But who expects
a brute to do anything else but minister to his appetites? If he delays
a single second in doing it, it is only through fear of man or of some
stronger animal. His intellectual movements have this as an end in
complete reversal of the case with man. With the brute the intellect
seems incidental to the body. With man the body is incidental to the
intellect. One feels for this reason that man might live a purely
spiritual and disembodied life. No one from this standpoint thinks so of
a brute.

[Sidenote: Immortality of Force.]

[Sidenote: Christ's Light.]

[Sidenote: The Christian's Eye.]

Once more let Huxley speak as to the scientific possibility "with regard
to the other great Christian dogmas, the immortality of the soul, and a
future state of rewards and punishments, what possible objection can I,
who am compelled, perforce, to believe in the immortality of what we
call matter and force, and in a very unmistakable present state of
rewards and punishments for all our deeds, have to these doctrines? Give
me a scintilla of evidence, and I am ready to jump at them."[9] But when
all conditions are considered, and just weight given to all the
probabilities, the full persuasion of immortality comes through Him who
has "brought life and immortality to light." These seem part of His
communication to the souls in whom He dwells. To them He says, "Because
I live, ye shall live also." Into their being He injects the power of an
endless life. Their hopes, faith, affections center less and less on
time. The truer, fuller, richer life is felt to be coming. It is to
surpass the earthly life in quantity and in quality only because the
soul, as it flutters Godward, must here feel the attrition of its
fleshly tabernacle. This dissolved, the fullness and the freedom come.
The house not made with hands henceforth enshrines the spirit. Christ's
great Word is finally interpreted: "I am come, that they might have
life, and have it more abundantly."

[Footnote 9: Biography. Vol. I, p. 260.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Life Everlasting.]

[Sidenote: Literalism.]

"The life everlasting!" This is the grand finale of the Creed as it is
the end which all devout souls seek. It is made probable by what man is,
which is the same as saying that there are, from considerations above
mentioned, probabilities in its favor. It has been the habit of pious
souls to attempt to understand and describe this life, and many are the
volumes which proceed upon the literalness of the Bible descriptions. I
suppose there are phases of faith which can not reach beyond
literalness, and hence do not rightly interpret the splendid imagery of
St. John. Such we must leave to the blessed surprise and ecstatic
awakening of Paradise.

[Sidenote: Great Figures.]

[Sidenote: Locating Heaven.]

[Sidenote: Eternal Punishment.]

To other minds the life everlasting is unbelievable except as the great
pictures of John are spiritualized. To such the place becomes a state or
condition. It is of no interest to us to inquire, as did the Christian
philosopher, Dick, into the locality of heaven and hell. Such ideas as
those recently put forth by a preacher, not of our Church, thank God!
that hell is in one of the spots on the sun, and heaven in the
chromosphere are distasteful to the last degree to those who believe
that "God is a Spirit," and that "flesh and blood can not inherit the
kingdom of God." Such feel that heaven may be anywhere and everywhere;
that the gulf which separates the rich man and Lazarus may be only a
moral gulf, seeing that they talked across it. They see eternal
punishment in the perception of the sinner that he has forever stunted
his soul by his sinfullness and the grossness of his affections. Though
he should begin a progressive life from his present status, he could
never catch up with a soul which has a purer point of departure.

There is an awful penalty in the fact that this sense of loss may be
eternal. The consciousness of limited powers, the certainty that so much
is lost, never to be regained, is surely a fire that is not quenched; a
worm that dieth not!

[Sidenote: Limitation by Sin.]

[Sidenote: Illustrations.]

[Sidenote: Strength and Disuse.]

But how much more awful the thought that this limitation of the nature
by sin, whether of body or soul, may affect the soul through unending
life without fitness for any pleasure or delight possible to that
state! The company of good and refined men and women is here little less
than hell to a bad and coarse man, if he is compelled to stay in it.
There is nothing in the spirit, aim, and employments of such that he can
measure. He can understand the delights of eating and drinking. Even
then it is the coarse foods and the drunk-bringing drink that he most
enjoys. He can understand noise, coarse jokes, but not quiet
conversation, nor the play of a delicate wit. When the pleasure of life
is sensual, bodily, the capacity for mental and moral pleasure slowly
diminishes, and at last dies. Project such a soul into the company of
the redeemed; place it where the body has no existence, and therefore no
pleasure to give; compel it to remain among those whose every thought is
pure, and whose eyes are fixed on the "King in His beauty," and, like
the rich man, it will lift its eyes in torment, and ask for "water to
cool his parched tongue."

       *       *       *       *       *

It is no part of my aim to say a final word on any of these great
truths, even if I deemed myself capable thereof.

[Sidenote: Aim and Intent.]

[Sidenote: Confirmation by Experience.]

[Sidenote: Effect on the Bible.]

[Sidenote: The Coming of Revelation.]

But it is my hope to point out the way in which we find our faith
strengthened, and to show that the great truths of Christianity will
survive the most radical criticism of the Scriptures. Every one of these
truths has increasing confirmation as we accumulate the teachings of
science, history, and religious experience. The Bible will never be
superseded, because it contains the struggle of every type of soul
Godward, and because its record of what the Lord said and did; of what
He was, and of what the apostles thought Him to be, stands as the
verification of what we know Him to be. The Bible and experience are
mutually illuminating and corroborative. It is possible that the Church
receiving the deposit of truth orally from the apostles, might have
passed that truth down orally, and by her ordinances, illustratively as
she did, until the Gospels were written; as she must do now in lands
where the people can not read, having no written language. To avoid,
however, the defects of human memory and to accumulate a standard by
which teaching and experience should be verified, "God who at sundry
times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers, hath
in these last days spoken unto us by His Son;" through His Son to the
apostles; and by the apostles and their successors to us; those
successors being not those made so by the touch of a human hand; but by
God's transforming grace, giving to every believer power and privilege
"to speak the things we do know." "We having the same spirit of faith;
according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken, we
also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that He which raised up the
Lord Jesus, shall raise us up also by Jesus, and shall present us with
you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might,
through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God."





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