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Title: St. Paul and Protestantism - With an Essay on Puritanism and the Church of England
Author: Arnold, Matthew
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "St. Paul and Protestantism - With an Essay on Puritanism and the Church of England" ***



    "We often read the Scripture without comprehending its full
    meaning; however, let us not be discouraged. The light, in God's
    good time, will break out, and disperse the darkness; and we
    shall see the mysteries of the Gospel."

                                                BISHOP WILSON.

    "With them (the Puritans) nothing is more familiar than to plead
    in their causes _the Law of God, the Word of the Lord_; who
    notwithstanding, when they come to allege what word and what law
    they mean, their common ordinary practice is to quote
    by-speeches, and to urge them as if they were written in most
    exact form of law. What is to add to the Law of God if this be


    "It will be found at last, that unity, and the peace of the
    Church, will conduce more to the saving of souls, than the most
    specious sects, varnished with the most pious, specious

                                                BISHOP WILSON.

               *       *       *       *       *










 (_The right of translation is reserved_)

               *       *       *       *       *



The essay following the treatise on St. Paul and Protestantism, was
meant to clear away offence or misunderstanding which had arisen out of
that treatise. There still remain one or two points on which a word of
explanation may be useful, and to them this preface is addressed.

The general objection, that the scheme of doctrine criticised by me is
common to both Puritanism and the Church of England, and does not
characterise the one more essentially than the other, has been removed,
I hope, by the concluding essay. But it is said that there is, at
any rate, a large party in the Church of England,--the so-called
_Evangelical_ party,--which holds just the scheme of doctrine I have
called Puritan; that this large party, at least, if not the whole Church
of England, is as much a stronghold of the distinctive Puritan tenets as
the Nonconformists are; and that to tax the Nonconformists with these
tenets, and to say nothing about the Evangelical clergy holding them
too, is injurious and unfair.

The Evangelical party in the Church of England we must always,
certainly, have a disposition to treat with forbearance, inasmuch as
this party has so strongly loved what is indeed the most loveable of
things,--religion. They have also avoided that unblessed mixture of
politics and religion by which both politics and religion are spoilt.
This, however, would not alone have prevented our making them jointly
answerable with the Puritans for that body of opinions which calls
itself Scriptural Protestantism, but which is, in truth, a perversion of
St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. But there is this difference between
the Evangelical party in the Church of England and the Puritans outside
her;--the Evangelicals have not added to the first error of holding this
unsound body of opinions, the second error of separating for them. They
have thus, as we have already noticed, escaped the mixing of politics
and religion, which arises directly and naturally out of this separating
for opinions. But they have also done that which we most blame
Nonconformity for not doing;--they have left themselves in the way of
development. Practically they have admitted that the Christian Church is
built, not on the foundation of Lutheran and Calvinist dogmas, but on
the foundation: _Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart
from iniquity._[1] Mr. Ryle or the Dean of Ripon may have as erroneous
notions as to what _truth_ and _the gospel_ really is, as Mr. Spurgeon
or the President of the Wesleyan Conference; but they do not tie
themselves tighter still to these erroneous notions, nor do their best
to cut themselves off from outgrowing them, by resolving _to have no
fellowship with the man of sin_ who holds different notions. On the
contrary, they are worshippers in the same Church, professors of the
same faith, ministers of the same confraternity, as men who hold that
their _Scriptural Protestantism_ is all wrong, and who hold other
notions of their own quite at variance with it. And thus they do homage
to an ideal of Christianity which is larger, higher, and better than
either their notions or those of their opponents, and in respect of
which both their notions and those of their opponents are inadequate;
and this admission of the relative inadequacy of their notions is itself
a stage towards the future admission of their positive inadequacy.

[Footnote 1: II _Timothy_, ii, 19.]

In fact, the popular Protestant theology, which we have criticised as
such a grave perversion of the teaching of St. Paul, has not in the
so-called Evangelical party of the Church of England its chief centre
and stronghold. This party, which, following in the wake of Wesley and
others, so felt in a day of general insensibility the power and comfort
of the Christian religion, and which did so much to make others feel
them, but which also adopted and promulgated a scientific account so
inadequate and so misleading of the religion which attracted it,--this
great party has done its work, and is now undergoing that law of
transformation and development which obtains in a national Church. The
power is passing from it to others, who will make good some of the
aspects of religion which the Evangelicals neglected, and who will then,
in their turn, from the same cause of the scientific inadequacy of their
conception of Christianity, change and pass away. The Evangelical clergy
no longer recruits itself with success, no longer lays hold on such
promising subjects as formerly. It is losing the future and feels that
it is losing it. Its signs of a vigorous life, its gaiety and audacity,
are confined to its older members, too powerful to lose their own
vigour, but without successors to whom to transmit it. It was impossible
not to admire the genuine and rich though somewhat brutal humour of the
Dean of Ripon's famous similitude of the two lepers.[2] But from which
of the younger members of the Evangelical clergy do such strokes now
come? The best of their own younger generation, the soldiers of their
own training, are slipping away from them; and he who looks for the
source whence popular Puritan theology now derives power and
perpetuation, will not fix his eyes on the Evangelical clergy of the
Church of England.

[Footnote 2: In a letter to the _Times_ respecting Dr. Pusey and Dr.
Temple, during the discussion caused by Dr. Temple's appointment to
the see of Exeter. Dr. Temple was the total leper, so evidently a
leper that all men would instinctively avoid him, and he ceased to
be dangerous; Dr. Pusey was the partial leper, less deeply tainted,
but on that very account more dangerous, because less likely to
terrify people from coming near him. A piece of polemical humour,
racy, indeed, but hardly urbane, and still less Christian!]

Another point where a word of explanation seems desirable is the
objection taken on a kind of personal ground to the criticism of St.
Paul's doctrine which we have attempted. 'What!' it is said, 'if this
view of St. Paul's meaning, so unlike the received view, were the true
one, do you suppose it would have been left for you to discover it? Are
you wiser than the hundreds of learned people who for generation after
generation have been occupying themselves with St. Paul and little else?
Has it been left for you to bring in a new religion and found a new
church?' Now on this line of expostulation, which, so far as it draws
from unworthiness of ours its argument, appears to have, no doubt, great
force, there are three remarks to be offered. In the first place, even
if the version of St. Paul which we propound were both new and true, yet
we do not, on that account, make of it a new religion or set up a new
church for its sake. That would be _separating for opinions_, heresy,
which is just what we reproach the Nonconformists with. In the seventh
century, there arose near the Euphrates a sect called Paulicians, who
professed to form themselves on the pure doctrine of St. Paul, which
other Christians, they said, had misunderstood and corrupted. And we, I
suppose, having discovered how popular Protestantism perverts St. Paul,
are expected to try and make a new sect of Paulicians on the strength of
this discovery; such being just the course which our Puritan friends
would themselves eagerly take in like case. But the Christian Church is
founded, not on a correct speculative knowledge of the ideas of Paul,
but on the much surer ground: _Let every one that nameth the name of
Christ depart from iniquity_; and, holding this to be so, we might
change the current strain of doctrinal theology from one end to the
other, without, on that account, setting up any new church or bringing
in any new religion.

In the second place, the version we propound of St. Paul's line of
thought is not new, is not of our discovering. It belongs to the
'Zeit-Geist,' or _time-spirit_, it is in the air, and many have long
been anticipating it, preparing it, setting forth this and that part of
it, till there is not a part, probably, of all we have said, which has
not already been said by others before us, and said more learnedly and
fully than we can say it. All we have done is to take it as a whole, and
give a plain, popular, connected exposition of it; for which, perhaps,
our notions about culture, about the many sides to the human spirit,
about making these sides help one another instead of remaining enemies
and strangers, have been of some advantage. For most of those who read
St. Paul diligently are Hebraisers; they regard little except the
Hebraising impulse in us and the documents which concern it. They have
little notion of letting their consciousness play on things freely,
little ear for the voice of the 'Zeit-Geist;' and they are so immersed
in an order of thoughts and words which are peculiar, that, in the broad
general order of thoughts and words, which is the life of popular
exposition, they are not very much at home.

Thirdly, and in the last place, we by no means put forth our version of
St. Paul's line of thought as true, in the same fashion as Puritanism
put forth its _Scriptural_ _Protestantism_, or _gospel_, as true. Their
truth the Puritans exhibit as a sort of cast-iron product, rigid,
definite, and complete, which they have got once for all, and which can
no longer have anything added to it or anything withdrawn from it. But
of our rendering of St. Paul's thought we conceive rather as of a
product of nature, which has grown to be what it is and which will grow
more; which will not stand just as we now exhibit it, but which will
gain some aspects which we now fail to show in it, and will drop some
which we now give it; which will be developed, in short, farther, just
in like manner as it has reached its present stage by development.

Thus we present our conceptions, neither as something quite new nor as
something quite true; nor yet as any ground, even supposing they were
quite new and true, for a separate church or religion. But so far they
are, we think, new and true, and a fruit of sound development, a genuine
product of the 'Zeit-Geist,' that their mere contact seems to make the
old Puritan conceptions look unlikely and indefensible, and begin a sort
of re-modelling and refacing of themselves. Let us just see how far this
change has practically gone.

The formal and scholastic version of its theology, Calvinist or
Arminian, as given by its seventeenth-century fathers, and enshrined in
the trust-deeds of so many of its chapels,--of this, at any rate, modern
Puritanism is beginning to feel shy. Take the Calvinist doctrine of
election. 'By God's decree a certain number of angels and men are
predestinated, out of God's mere free grace and love, without any
foresight of faith or good works in them, to everlasting life; and
others foreordained, according to the unsearchable counsel of his will,
whereby he extends or withholds mercy as he pleases, to everlasting
death.' In that scientific form, at least, the doctrine of election
begins to look dubious to the Calvinistic Puritan, and he puts it a good
deal out of sight. Take the Arminian doctrine of justification. 'We
could not expect any relief from heaven out of that misery under which
we lie, were not God's displeasure against us first pacified and our
sins remitted. This is the signal and transcendent benefit of our free
justification through the blood of Christ, that God's offence justly
conceived against us for our sins (which would have been an eternal bar
and restraint to the efflux of his grace upon us) being removed, the
divine grace and bounty may freely flow forth upon us.' In that
scientific form, the doctrine of justification begins to look less
satisfactory to the Arminian Puritan, and he tends to put it out of

The same may be said of the doctrine of election in its plain popular
form of statement also. 'I hold,' says Whitefield, in the forcible style
which so took his hearers' fancy,--'I hold that a certain number are
elected from eternity, and these must and shall be saved, and the rest
of mankind must and shall be damned.' A Calvinistic Puritan now-a-days
must be either a fervid Welsh Dissenter, or a strenuous Particular
Baptist in some remote place in the country, not to be a little
staggered at this sort of expression. As to the doctrine of
justification in its current, popular form of statement, the case is
somewhat different. 'My own works,' says Wesley, 'my own sufferings, my
own righteousness, are so far from reconciling me to an offended God, so
far from making any atonement for the least of those sins which are more
in number than the hairs of my head, that the most specious of them need
an atonement themselves; that, having the sentence of death in my heart
and nothing in or of myself to plead, I have no hope but that of being
justified freely through the redemption that is in Jesus. The faith I
want is a sure trust and confidence in God, that through the merits of
Christ my sins are forgiven and I reconciled to the favour of God.
Believe and thou shalt be saved! He that believeth is passed from death
to life. Faith is the free gift of God, which he bestows not on those
who are worthy of his favour, not on such as are previously holy and so
fit to be crowned with all the blessings of his goodness, but on the
ungodly and unholy, who till that hour were fit only for everlasting
damnation. Look for sanctification just as you are, as a poor sinner
that has nothing to pay, nothing to plead but _Christ died_.'
Deliverances of this sort, which in Wesley are frequent and in Wesley's
followers are unceasing, still, no doubt, pass current everywhere with
Puritanism, are expected as of course, and find favour; they are just
what Puritans commonly mean by _Scriptural Protestantism, the truth, the
gospel-feast_. Nevertheless they no longer quite satisfy; the better
minds among Puritans try instinctively to give some fresh turn or
development to them; they are no longer, to minds of this order, an
unquestionable word and a sure stay; and from this point to their final
transformation the course is certain. The predestinarian and solifidian
dogmas, for the very sake of which our Puritan churches came into
existence, begin to feel the irresistible breath of the 'Zeit-Geist;'
some of them melt quicker, others slower, but all of them are doomed.
Under the eyes of this generation Puritan Dissent has to execute an
entire change of front, and to present us with a new reason for its
existing. What will that new reason be?

There needs no conjuror to tell us. It will be the Rev. Mr. Conder's
reason, which we have quoted in our concluding essay. It will be
Scriptural Protestantism in _church-order_, rather than Scriptural
Protestantism in _church-doctrine_. 'Congregational Nonconformists can
never be incorporated into an organic union with Anglican Episcopacy,
because there is not even the shadow of an outline of it in the New
Testament, and it is our assertion and profound belief that Christ and
the Apostles have given us all the laws that are necessary for the
constitution and government of the Church.' This makes church-government
not a secondary matter of form, growth, and expediency, but a matter of
the essence of Christianity and ordained in Scripture. Expressly set
forth in Scripture it is not; so it has to be gathered from Scripture by
collection, and every one gathers it in his own way. Unity is of no
great importance; but that every man should live in a church-order which
he judges to be scriptural, is of the greatest importance. This brings
us to Mr. Miall's standard-maxim: _The Dissidence of Dissent, and the
Protestantism of the Protestant religion_! The more freely the sects
develop themselves, the better. The Church of England herself is but
_the dominant sect_; her pretensions to bring back the Dissenters within
her pale are offensive and ridiculous. What we ought to aim at is
perfect equality, and that the other sects should balance her.

On the old, old subject of the want of historic and philosophic sense
shown by those who would make church-government a matter of scriptural
regulation, I say nothing at present. A Wesleyan minister, the Rev. Mr.
Willey, said the other day at Leeds: 'He did not find anything in either
the Old or New Testament to the effect that Christian ministers should
become State-servants, like soldiers or excisemen.' He might as well
have added that he did not find there anything to the effect that they
should wear braces! But on this point I am not here going to enlarge.
What I am now concerned with is the relation of this new ground of
existence, which more and more the Puritan Churches take and will take
as they lose their old ground, to the Christian religion. In the speech
which Mr. Winterbotham[3] made on the Education Bill, a speech which I
had the advantage of hearing, there were uncommon facilities supplied
for judging of this relation; indeed that able speech presented a
striking picture of it.

[Footnote 3: Mr. Winterbotham has since died. Nothing in my remarks
on his speech need prevent me from expressing here my high esteem
for his character, accomplishments, oratorical faculty and general
promise, and my sincere regret for his loss.]

And what a picture it was, good heavens! The Puritans say they love
righteousness, and they are offended with us for rejoining that the
righteousness of which they boast is the righteousness of the earlier
Jews of the Old Testament, which consisted mainly in smiting the Lord's
enemies and their own under the fifth rib. And we say that the newer and
specially Christian sort of righteousness is something different from
this; that the Puritans are, and always have been, deficient in the
specially Christian sort of righteousness; that men like St. Francis of
Sales, in the Roman Catholic Church, and Bishop Wilson, in the Church of
England, show far more of it than any Puritans; and that St. Paul's
signal and eternally fruitful growth in righteousness dates just from
his breach with the Puritans of his day. Let us revert to Paul's list of
fruits of the spirit, on which we have so often insisted in the pages
which follow: _love_, _joy_, _peace_, _long-suffering_, _kindness_,
_goodness_, _faith_, _mildness_, _self-control_.[4] We keep to this
particular list for the sake of greater distinctness; but St. Paul has
perpetually lists of the kind, all pointing the same way, and all
showing what he meant by Christian righteousness, what he found
specially in Christ. They may all be concluded in two qualities, the
qualities which Jesus Christ told his disciples to learn of him, the
qualities in the name of which, as specially Christ's qualities, Paul
adjured his converts. 'Learn of me,' said Jesus, '_that I am mild and
lowly in heart_.' 'I beseech you,' said Paul, '_by the mildness and
gentleness of Christ_.'[5] The word which our Bibles translate by
'gentleness' means more properly 'reasonableness with sweetness,' 'sweet
reasonableness.' 'I beseech you by _the mildness and sweet
reasonableness of Christ_.' This mildness and sweet reasonableness it
was, which, stamped with the individual charm they had in Jesus Christ,
came to the world as something new, won its heart and conquered it.
Every one had been asserting his ordinary self and was miserable; to
forbear to assert one's ordinary self, to place one's happiness in
mildness and sweet reasonableness, was a revelation. As men followed
this novel route to happiness, a living spring opened beside their way,
the spring of charity; and out of this spring arose those two heavenly
visitants, Charis and Irene, _grace_ and _peace_, which enraptured the
poor wayfarer, and filled him with a joy which brought all the world
after him. And still, whenever these visitants appear, as appear for a
witness to the vitality of Christianity they daily do, it is from the
same spring that they arise; and this spring is opened solely by the
mildness and sweet reasonableness which forbears to assert our ordinary
self, nay, which even takes pleasure in effacing it.

[Footnote 4: _Gal._, v, 22, 23.]

[Footnote 5: +dia tês praütêtos kai epieikeias tou Christou.+
II _Cor._, x, 1.]

And now let us turn to Mr. Winterbotham and the Protestant Dissenters.
He interprets their very inner mind, he says; that which he declares in
their name, they are all feeling, and would declare for themselves if
they could. '_There was a spirit of watchful jealousy on the part of the
Dissenters, which made them prone to take offence; therefore statesmen
should not introduce the Established Church into all the institutions of
the country._' That is positively the whole speech! 'Strife, jealousy,
wrath, contentions, backbitings,'[6]--we know the catalogue. And the
Dissenters are, by their own confession, so full of these, and the very
existence of an organisation of Dissent so makes them a necessity, that
the State is required to frame its legislation in consideration of them!
Was there ever such a confession made? Here are people existing for the
sake of a religion of which the essence is mildness and sweet
reasonableness, and the forbearing to assert our ordinary self; and they
declare themselves so full of the very temper and habits against which
that religion is specially levelled, that they require to have even the
occasion of forbearing to assert their ordinary self removed out of
their way, because they are quite sure they will never comply with it!

[Footnote 6: II _Cor._, xii, 20.]

Never was there a more instructive comment on the blessings of
separation, which we are so often invited by separatists to admire. Why
does not Dissent forbear to assert its ordinary self, and help to win
the world to the mildness and sweet reasonableness of Christ, without
this vain contest about machinery? Why does not the Church? is the
Dissenter's answer. What an answer for a Christian! We are to defer
giving up our ordinary self until our neighbour shall have given up his;
that is, we are never to give it up at all. But I will answer the
question on more mundane grounds. Why are we to be more blamed than the
Church for the strife arising out of our rival existences? asks the
Dissenter. Because the Church cannot help existing, and you can!
Therefore, _contra ecclesiam nemo pacificus_, as Baxter himself said in
his better moments. Because the Church is there; because strife,
jealousy, and self-assertion are sure to come with breaking off from
her; and because strife, jealousy, and self-assertion are the very
miseries against which Christianity is firstly levelled;--therefore we
say that a Christian is inexcusable in breaking with the Church, except
for a departure from the primal ground of her foundation: _Let every one
that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity_.

The clergyman,--poor soul!--cannot help being the parson of the parish.
He is there like the magistrate; he is a national officer with an
appointed function. If one or two voluntary performers, dissatisfied
with the magisterial system, were to set themselves up in each parish of
the country, called themselves magistrates, drew a certain number of
people to their own way of thinking, tried differences and gave
sentences among their people in the best fashion they could, why,
probably the established magistrate would not much like it, the leading
people in the parish would not much like it, and the newcomers would
have mortifications and social estrangements to endure. Probably the
established magistrate would call them interlopers; probably he would
count them amongst his difficulties. On the side of the newcomers 'a
spirit of watchful jealousy,' as Mr. Winterbotham says, would thus be
created. The public interest would suffer from the ill blood and
confusion prevailing. The established magistrate might naturally say
that the newcomers brought the strife and disturbance with them. But who
would not smile at these lambs answering: 'Away with that wolf the
established magistrate, and all ground for jealousy and quarrel between
us will disappear!'

And it is a grievance that the clergyman talks of Dissent as one of the
spiritual hindrances in his parish, and desires to get rid of it! Why,
by Mr. Winterbotham's own showing, the Dissenters live 'in a spirit of
watchful jealousy,' and this temper is as much a spiritual
hindrance,--nay, in the view of Christianity it is even a more direct
spiritual hindrance,--than drunkenness or loose living. Christianity is,
first and above all, a temper, a disposition; and a disposition just the
opposite to 'a spirit of watchful jealousy.' Once admit a spirit of
watchful jealousy, and Christianity has lost its virtue; it is impotent.
All the other vices it was meant to keep out may rush in. Where there is
jealousy and strife among you, asks St. Paul, _are ye not carnal_?[7]
are ye not still in bondage to your mere lower selves? But from this
bondage Christianity was meant to free us; therefore, says he, get rid
of what causes divisions, and strife, and 'a spirit of watchful
jealousy.' 'I exhort you by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that ye
all speak the same thing, and that there be not divisions among you, but
that ye all be perfectly joined in the same mind and the same

[Footnote 7: I _Cor._, iii, 3.]

[Footnote 8: I _Cor._, i, 10.]

Well, but why, says the Dissenting minister, is the clergyman to impress
St. Paul's words upon me rather than I upon the clergyman? Because the
clergyman is the one minister of Christ in the parish who did not invent
himself, who cannot help existing. He is not asserting his ordinary self
by being there; he is placed there on public duty. He is charged with
teaching the lesson of Christianity, and the head and front of this
lesson is to get rid of 'a spirit of watchful jealousy,' which,
according to the Dissenter's own showing, is the very spirit which
accompanies Dissent. How he is to get rid of it, how he is to win souls
to the mildness and sweet reasonableness of Christ, it is for his own
conscience to tell him. Probably he will best do it by never speaking
against Dissent at all, by treating Dissenters with perfect cordiality
and as if there was not a point of dispute between them. But that, so
long as he exists, it is his duty to get rid of it, to win souls to the
unity which is its opposite, is clear. It is not the Bishop of
Winchester[9] who classes Dissent, full of 'a spirit of watchful
jealousy,' along with spiritual hindrances like beer-shops,--a pollution
of the spirit along with pollutions of the flesh;[10] it is St. Paul.
It is not the clergyman who is chargeable with wishing to 'stamp out'
this spirit; it is the Christian religion.

[Footnote 9: The late Bishop Wilberforce.]

[Footnote 10: I _Cor._, vii, 1.]

But what is to prevent the Dissenting minister from being joined with
the clergyman in the same public function, and being his partner instead
of his rival? Episcopal ordination.[11] If I leave the service of a
private company, and enter the public service, I receive admission at
the hands of the public officer designated to give it me. Sentiment and
the historic sense, to say nothing of the religious feeling, will
certainly put more into ordination than this, though not precisely what
the Bishop of Winchester, perhaps, puts; this which we have laid down,
however, is really all which the law of the land puts there. A bishop is
a public officer. Why should I trouble myself about the name his office
bears? The name of his office cannot affect the service or my labour in
it. Ah, but, says Mr. Winterbotham, he holds opinions which I do not
share about the sort of character he confers upon me! What can that
matter, unless he compels you, too, to profess the same opinions, or
refuses you admission if you do not? But I should be joined in the
ministry with men who hold opinions which I do not share! What does that
matter either, unless they compel you also to hold these opinions, as
the price of your being allowed to work on the foundation: _Let every
one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity_? To recur to
our old parallel. It is as if a man who desired the office of a public
magistrate and who was fitted for it, were to hold off because he had to
receive institution from a Lord-Lieutenant, and he did not like the
title of Lord-Lieutenant; or because the Lord-Lieutenant who was to
institute him had a fancy about some occult quality which he conferred
on him at institution; or because he would find himself, when he was
instituted, one of a body of magistrates of whom many had notions which
he thought irrational. The office itself, and his own power to fill it
usefully, is all which really matters to him.

[Footnote 11: It has been inferred from what is here said that we
propose to make re-ordination a condition of admitting Dissenting
ministers to the ministry of the Church of England. Elsewhere I have
said how undesirable it seems to impose this condition; and to what
respectful treatment and fair and equal terms, in case of reunion,
Protestant Nonconformity is, in my opinion, entitled. See the
Preface to _Culture and Anarchy_. What is said in the text is
directed simply against the objection to episcopal ordination as
something wrong in itself and a ground for schism.]

The Bishop of Winchester believes in apostolical succession;--therefore
there must be Dissenters. Mr. Liddon asserts the real
presence;--therefore there must be Dissenters. Mr. Mackonochie is a
ritualist;--therefore there must be Dissenters. But the Bishop of
Winchester cannot, and does not, exclude from the ministry of the Church
of England those who do not believe in apostolical succession; and
surely not even that acute and accomplished personage is such a
magician, that he can make a Puritan believe in apostolical succession
merely by believing in it himself! In the same way, eloquent as is Mr.
Liddon, and devoted as is Mr. Mackonochie, their gifts cannot yield them
the art of so swaying a brother clergyman's spirit as to make him admit
the real presence against his conviction, or practise ritualism against
his will; and official, material control over him, or power of
stipulating what he shall admit or practise, they have absolutely none.

But can anything more tend to make the Church what the Puritans reproach
it with being,--a mere lump of sacerdotalism and ritualism,--than if the
Puritans, who are free to come into it with their disregard of
sacerdotalism and ritualism and so to leaven it, refuse to come in, and
leave it wholly to the sacerdotalists and ritualists? What can be harder
upon the laity of the national Church, what so inconsiderate of the
national good and advantage, as to leave us at the mercy of one single
element in the Church, and deny us just the elements fit to mix with
this element and to improve it?

The current doctrines of apostolical succession and the real presence
seem to us unsound and unedifying. To be sure, so does the current
doctrine of imputed righteousness. For us, sacerdotalism and
solifidianism stand both on the same footing; they are, both of them,
erroneous human developments. But as in the ideas and practice of
sacerdotalists or ritualists there is much which seems to us of value,
and of great use to the Church, so, too, in the ideas and practice of
Nonconformists there is very much which we value. To take points only
that are beyond controversy: they have cultivated the gift of preaching
much more than the clergy, and their union with the Church would
renovate and immensely amend Church preaching. They would certainly
bring with them, if they came back into the Church, some use of what
they call _free prayer_; to which, if at present they give far too much
place, it is yet to be regretted that the Church gives no place at all.
Lastly, if the body of British Protestant Dissenters is in the main, as
it undoubtedly is, the Church of the Philistines, nevertheless there
could come nothing but health and strength from blending this body with
the Establishment, of which the very weakness and danger is that it
tends, as we have formerly said, to be an appendage to the Barbarians.

So long as the Puritans thought that the essence of Christianity was
their doctrine of predestination or of justification, it was natural
that they should stand out, at any cost, for this essence. That is why,
when the 'Zeit-Geist' and the general movement of men's religious ideas
is beginning to reveal that the Puritan gospel is not the essence of
Christianity, we have been desirous to spread this revelation to the
best of our power, and by all the aids of plain popular exposition to
help it forward. Because, when once it is clear that the essence of
Christianity is not Puritan solifidianism, it can hardly long be
maintained that the essence of Christianity is Puritan church-order.
When once the way is made clear, by removing the solifidian heresy, to
look and see what the essence of Christianity really is, it cannot but
soon force itself upon our minds that the essence of Christianity is
something not very far, at any rate, from this: _Grace and peace by the
annulment of our ordinary self through the mildness and sweet
reasonableness of Jesus Christ_. This is the more particular description
of that general ground, already laid down, of the Christian Church's
existence: _Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from
iniquity_. If this general ground, particularised in the way above
given, is not 'the sincere milk' of the evangelical word, it is, at all
events, something very like it. And matters of machinery and outward
form, like church-order, have not only nothing essentially to do with
the sincere milk of Christianity, but are the very matters about which
this sincere milk should make us easy and yielding.

If there were no national and historic form of church-order in
possession, a genuine Christian would regret having to spend time and
thought in shaping one, in having so to encumber himself with serving,
to busy himself so much about a frame for his religious life as well as
about the contents of the frame. After all, a man has only a certain sum
of force to spend; and if he takes a quantity of it for outward things,
he has so much the less left for inward things. It is hardly to be
believed, how much larger a space the mere affairs of his denomination
fill in the time and thoughts of a Dissenter, than in the time and
thoughts of a Churchman. Now all machinery-work of this kind is, to a
man filled with a real love of the essence of Christianity, something of
a hindrance to him in what he most wants to be at, something of a
concession to his ordinary self. When an established and historic form
exists, such a man should be, therefore, disposed to use it and comply
with it. But,--as if it were not satisfied with proving its
unprofitableness by corroding us with jealousy and so robbing us of the
mildness and sweet reasonableness of Christ, which is our
mainstay,--political Dissent, Dissent for the sake of church-polity and
church-management, proves it, too, by stimulating our ordinary self
through over-care for what flatters this. In fact, what is it that the
everyday, middle-class Philistine,--not the rare flower of the
Dissenters but the common staple,--finds so attractive in Dissent? Is it
not, as to discipline, that his self-importance is fomented by the fuss,
bustle, and partisanship of a private sect, instead of being lost in the
greatness of a public body? As to worship, is it not that his taste is
pleased by usages and words that come down to _him_, instead of drawing
him up to _them_; by services which reflect, instead of the culture of
great men of religious genius, the crude culture of himself and his
fellows? And as to doctrine, is it not that his mind is pleased at
hearing no opinion but its own, by having all disputed points taken for
granted in its own favour, by being urged to no return upon itself, no
development? And what is all this but the very feeding and stimulating
of our ordinary self, instead of the annulling of it? No doubt it is
natural; to indulge our ordinary self is the most natural thing in the
world. But Christianity is not natural; and if the flower of
Christianity be the grace and peace which comes of annulling our
ordinary self, then to this flower it is fatal.

So that if, in order to gratify in the Dissenters one of the two faults
against which Christianity is chiefly aimed, a jealous, contentious
spirit, we were to sweep away our national and historic form of
religion, and were all to tinker at our own forms, we should then just
be flattering the other chief fault which Christianity came to cure, and
serving our ordinary self instead of annulling it. What a happy
furtherance to religion!

For my part, so far as the best of the Nonconformist ministers are
concerned, of whom I know something, I disbelieve Mr. Winterbotham's
hideous confession. I imagine they are very little pleased with him for
making it. I do not believe that they, at any rate, live in the
ulcerated condition he describes, fretting with watchful jealousy. I
believe they have other things to think of. But why? Because they are
men of genius and character, who react against the harmful influences of
the position in which they find themselves placed, and surmount its
obvious dangers. But their genius and character might serve them still
better if they were placed in a less trying position. And the rank and
file of their ministers and people do yield to the influences of their
position. Of these, Mr. Winterbotham's picture is perfectly true. They
are more and more jealous for their separate organisation, pleased with
the bustle and self-importance which its magnitude brings them,
irritably alive to whatever reduces or effaces it; bent, in short, on
affirming their ordinary selves. However much the chiefs may feel the
truth of modern ideas, may grow moderate, may perceive the effects of
religious separatism upon worship and doctrine, they will probably avail
little or nothing; the head will be overpowered and out-clamoured by the
tail. The Wesleyans, who used always to refuse to call themselves
Dissenters, whose best men still shrink from the name, the Wesleyans, a
wing of the Church, founded for godliness, the Wesleyans more and more,
with their very growth as a separate denomination, feel the secular
ambition of being great as a denomination, of being effaced by nobody,
of giving contentment to this self-importance, of indulging this
ordinary self; and I should not wonder if within twenty years they were
keen political Dissenters. A triumph of Puritanism is abundantly
possible; we have never denied it. What we, whose greatest care is
neither for the Church nor for Puritanism, but for human perfection,
what we labour to show is, that the triumph of Puritanism will be the
triumph of our ordinary self, not the triumph of Christianity; and that
the type of Hebraism it will establish is one in which neither general
human perfection, nor yet Hebraism itself, can truly find their account.

Elsewhere we have drawn out a distinction between Hebraism and
Hellenism,[12]--between the tendency and powers that carry us towards
doing, and the tendency and powers that carry us towards perceiving and
knowing. Hebraism, we said, has long been overwhelmingly preponderant
with us. The sacred book which we call the Word of God, and which most
of us study far more than any other book, serves Hebraism. Moses
Hebraises, David Hebraises, Isaiah Hebraises, Paul Hebraises, John
Hebraises. Jesus Christ himself is, as St. Paul truly styles him, 'a
minister _of the circumcision_ to the truth of God.'[13] That is, it is
by our powers of moral action, and through the perfecting of these, that
Christ leads us 'to be partakers of the divine nature.'[14] By far our
chief machinery for spiritual purposes has the like aim and character.
Throughout Europe this is so. But, to speak of ourselves only, the
Archbishop of Canterbury is an agent of Hebraism, the Archbishop of York
is an agent of Hebraism, Archbishop Manning is an agent of Hebraism, the
President of the Wesleyan Conference is an agent of Hebraism, all the
body of the Church clergy and Dissenting ministers are agents of
Hebraism. Now, we have seen how we are beginning visibly to suffer harm
from attending in this one-sided way to Hebraism, and how we are called
to develop ourselves more in our totality, on our perceptive and
intelligential side as well as on our moral side. If it is said that
this is a very hard matter, and that man cannot well do more than one
thing at a time, the answer is that here is the very sign and condition
of each new stage of spiritual progress,--_increase of task_. The more
we grow, the greater is the task which is given us. This is the law of
man's nature and of his spirit's history. The powers we have developed
at our old task enable us to attempt a new one; and this, again, brings
with it a new increase of powers.

[Footnote 12: See _Culture and Anarchy_ (2nd edition), chap. iv.]

[Footnote 13: _Romans_, xv, 8.]

[Footnote 14: II _Peter_, i, 4.]

Hebraism strikes too exclusively upon one string in us. Hellenism does
not address itself with serious energy enough to morals and
righteousness. For our totality, for our general perfection, we need to
unite the two; now the two are easily at variance. In their lower forms
they are irreconcileably at variance; only when each of them is at its
best, is their harmony possible. Hebraism at its best is beauty and
charm; Hellenism at its best is also beauty and charm. As such they can
unite; as anything short of this, each of them, they are at discord, and
their separation must continue. The flower of Hellenism is a kind of
amiable grace and artless winning good-nature, born out of the
perfection of lucidity, simplicity, and natural truth; the flower of
Christianity is grace and peace by the annulment of our ordinary self
through the mildness and sweet reasonableness of Christ. Both are
eminently _humane_, and for complete human perfection both are required;
the second being the perfection of that side in us which is moral and
acts, the first, of that side in us which is intelligential and
perceives and knows.

But lower forms of Hebraism and Hellenism tend always to make their
appearance, and to strive to establish themselves. On one of these forms
of Hebraism we have been commenting;--a form which had its first origin,
no doubt, in that body of impulses whereby we Hebraise, but which lands
us at last, not in the mildness and sweet reasonableness of Christ, but
in 'a spirit of watchful jealousy.' We have to thank Mr. Winterbotham
for fixing our attention on it; but we prefer to name it from an eminent
and able man who is well known as the earnest apostle of the Dissidence
of Dissent and the Protestantism of the Protestant religion, and to call
it _Mialism_. Mialism is a sub-form of Hebraism, and itself a somewhat
spurious and degenerated form; but this sub-form always tends to
degenerate into forms lower yet, and yet more unworthy of the ideal
flower of Hebraism. In one of these its further stages we have formerly
traced it, and we need not enlarge on them here.[15]

[Footnote 15: See _Culture and Anarchy_ (2nd edition), chap. ii.]

Hellenism, in the same way, has its more or less spurious and
degenerated sub-forms, products which may be at once known as
degenerations by their deflexion from what we have marked as the flower
of Hellenism,--'a kind of humane grace and artless winning good-nature,
born out of the perfection of lucidity, simplicity, and natural truth.'
And from whom can we more properly derive a general name for these
degenerations, than from that distinguished man, who, by his
intelligence and accomplishments, is in many respects so admirable and
so truly Hellenic, but whom his dislike for 'the dominant sect,' as he
calls the Church of England,--the Church of England, in many aspects so
beautiful, calming, and attaching,--seems to transport with an almost
feminine vehemence of irritation? What can we so fitly name the somewhat
degenerated and inadequate form of Hellenism as _Millism_? This is the
Hellenic or Hellenistic counterpart of Mialism; and like Mialism it has
its further degenerations, in which it is still less commendable than in
its first form. For instance, what in Mr. Mill is but a yielding to a
spirit of irritable injustice, goes on and worsens in some of his
disciples, till it becomes a sort of mere blatancy and truculent
hardness in certain Millites, in whom there appears scarcely anything
that is truly sound or Hellenic at all.

Mankind, however, must needs draw, however slowly, towards its
perfection; and our only real perfection is our totality. Mialism and
Millism we may see playing into one another's hands, and apparently
acting together; but, so long as these lower forms of Hellenism and
Hebraism prevail, the real union between Hellenism and Hebraism can
never be accomplished, and our totality is still as far off as ever.
Unhappy and unquiet alternations of ascendency between Hebraism and
Hellenism are all that we shall see;--at one time, the indestructible
religious experience of mankind asserting itself blindly; at another, a
revulsion of the intellect of mankind from this experience, because of
the audacious assumptions and gross inaccuracies with which men's
account of it is intermingled.

At present it is such a revulsion which seems chiefly imminent. Give the
churches of Nonconformity free scope, cries an ardent Congregationalist,
and we will renew the wonders of the first times; we will confront this
modern bugbear of physical science, show how hollow she is, and how she
contradicts herself! In his mind's eye, this Nonconforming enthusiast
already sees Professor Huxley in a white sheet, brought up at the Surrey
Tabernacle between two deacons,--whom that great physicist, in his own
clear and nervous language, would no doubt describe like his disinterred
Roman the other day at Westminster Abbey, as 'of weak mental
organisation and strong muscular frame,'--and penitently confessing that
_Science contradicts herself_. Alas, the real future is likely to be
very different! Rather are we likely to witness an edifying solemnity,
where Mr. Mill, assisted by his youthful henchmen and apparitors, will
burn all the Prayer Books. Rather will the time come, as it has been
foretold, when we shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man,
and shall not see it; when the mildness and sweet reasonableness of
Jesus Christ, as a power to work the annulment of our ordinary self,
will be clean disregarded and out of mind. Then, perhaps, will come
another re-action, and another, and another; and all sterile.

Therefore it is, that we labour to make Hebraism raise itself above
Mialism, find its true self, show itself in its beauty and power, and
help, not hinder, man's totality. The endeavour will very likely be in
vain; for growth is slow and the ages are long, and it may well be that
for harmonising Hebraism with Hellenism more preparation is needed than
man has yet had. But failures do something, as well as successes,
towards the final achievement. The cup of cold water could be hardly
more than an ineffective effort at succour; yet it counted. To disengage
the religion of England from unscriptural Protestantism, political
Dissent, and a spirit of watchful jealousy, may be an aim not in our day
reachable; and still it is well to level at it.

               *       *       *       *       *




               *       *       *       *       *



M. Renan sums up his interesting volume on St. Paul by saying:--'After
having been for three hundred years, thanks to Protestantism, the
Christian doctor _par excellence_, Paul is now coming to an end of his
reign.' All through his book M. Renan is possessed with a sense of this
close relationship between St. Paul and Protestantism. Protestantism has
made Paul, he says; Pauline doctrine is identified with Protestant
doctrine; Paul is a Protestant doctor, and the counterpart of Luther. M.
Renan has a strong distaste for Protestantism, and this distaste extends
itself to the Protestant Paul. The reign of this Protestant is now
coming to an end, and such a consummation evidently has M. Renan's

_St. Paul is now coming to an end of his reign._ Precisely the contrary,
I venture to think, is the judgment to which a true criticism of men and
of things, in our own country at any rate, leads us. The Protestantism
which has so used and abused St. Paul is coming to an end; its
organisations, strong and active as they look, are touched with the
finger of death; its fundamental ideas, sounding forth still every week
from thousands of pulpits, have in them no significance and no power for
the progressive thought of humanity. But the reign of the real St. Paul
is only beginning; his fundamental ideas, disengaged from the elaborate
misconceptions with which Protestantism has overlaid them, will have an
influence in the future greater than any which they have yet had,--an
influence proportioned to their correspondence with a number of the
deepest and most permanent facts of human nature itself.

Elsewhere[16] I have pointed out how, for us in this country,
Puritanism is the strong and special representative of Protestantism.
The Church of England existed before Protestantism, and contains much
besides Protestantism. Remove the schemes of doctrine, Calvinistic or
Arminian, which for Protestantism, merely as such, have made the very
substance of its religion, and all that is most valuable in the Church
of England would still remain. These schemes, or the ideas out of which
they spring, show themselves in the Prayer Book; but they are not what
gives the Prayer Book its importance and value. But Puritanism exists
for the sake of these schemes; its organisations are inventions for
enforcing them more purely and thoroughly. Questions of discipline and
ceremonies have, originally at least, been always admitted to be in
themselves secondary; it is because that conception of the ways of God
to man which Puritanism has formed for itself appeared to Puritanism
superlatively true and precious, that Independents and Baptists and
Methodists in England, and Presbyterians in Scotland, have been impelled
to constitute for inculcating it a church-order where it might be less
swamped by the additions and ceremonies of men, might be more simply and
effectively enounced, and might stand more absolute and central, than in
the church-order of Anglicans or Roman Catholics.

[Footnote 16: See _Culture and Anarchy_, chap. iv.]

Of that conception the cardinal points are fixed by the terms _election_
and _justification_. These terms come from the writings of St. Paul, and
the scheme which Puritanism has constructed with them professes to be
St. Paul's scheme. The same scheme, or something very like it, has been,
and still is, embraced by many adherents of the Churches of England and
Rome; but these Churches rest their claims to men's interest and
attachment not on the possession of such a scheme, but on other grounds
with which we have for the present nothing to do. Puritanism's very
reason for existing depends on the worth of this its vital conception,
derived from St. Paul's writings; and when we are told that St. Paul is
a Protestant doctor whose reign is ending, a Puritan, keen, pugnacious,
and sophisticating simple religion of the heart into complicated
theories of the brain about election and justification, we in England,
at any rate, can best try the assertion by fixing our eyes on our own
Puritans, and comparing their doctrine and their hold on vital truth
with St. Paul's.

This we propose now to do, and, indeed, to do it will only be to
complete what we have already begun. For already, when we were speaking
of Hebraism and Hellenism,[17] we were led to remark how the
over-Hebraising of Puritanism, and its want of a wide culture, do so
narrow its range and impair its vision that even the documents which it
thinks all-sufficient, and to the study of which it exclusively rivets
itself, it does not rightly understand, but is apt to make of them
something quite different from what they really are. In short, no man,
we said, who knows nothing else, knows even his Bible. And we showed how
readers of the Bible attached to essential words and ideas of the Bible
a sense which was not the writer's; and in particular how this had
happened with regard to the Pauline doctrine of resurrection. Let us
take the present opportunity of going further in the same road; and
instead of lightly disparaging the great name of St. Paul, let us see if
the needful thing is not rather to rescue St. Paul and the Bible from
the perversions of them by mistaken men.

[Footnote 17: See _Culture and Anarchy_, chap. v.]

So long as the well-known habit, on which we have so often enlarged,
prevails amongst our countrymen, of holding mechanically their ideas
themselves, but making it their chief aim to work with energy and
enthusiasm for the organisations which profess those ideas, English
Puritanism is not likely to make such a return upon its own thoughts,
and upon the elements of its being, as to accomplish for itself an
operation of the kind needed; though it has men whose natural faculties,
were they but free to use them, would undoubtedly prove equal to the
task. The same habit prevents our Puritans from being reached by
philosophical works, which exist in sufficient numbers and of which M.
Reuss's history of the growth of Christian theology[18] is an admirable
specimen,--works where the entire scheme of Pauline doctrine is laid out
with careful research and impartial accuracy. To give effect to the
predominant points in Paul's teaching, and to exhibit these in so plain
and popular a manner as to invite and almost compel men's comprehension,
is not the design of such works; and only by writings with this design
in view will English Puritanism be reached.

[Footnote 18: _Histoire de la Théologie Chrétienne au Siècle
Apostolique_, par Edouard Reuss; Strasbourg et Paris (in 2 vols.
8vo.) There is now (1875) an English translation of M. Reuss's

Our one qualification for the business in hand lies in that belief of
ours, so much contested by our countrymen, of the primary needfulness of
seeing things as they really are, and of the greater importance of ideas
than of the machinery which exists for them. If by means of letting our
consciousness work quite freely, and by following the methods of
studying and judging thence generated, we are shown that we ought in
real truth neither to abase St. Paul and Puritanism together, as M.
Renan does, nor to abase St. Paul but exalt Puritanism, nor yet to exalt
both Puritanism and St. Paul together, but rather to abase Puritanism
and exalt St. Paul, then we cannot but think that even for Puritanism
itself, also, it will be the best, however unpalatable, to be shown
this. Puritanism certainly wishes well to St. Paul; it cannot wish to
compromise him by an unintelligent adhesion to him and a blind adoption
of his words, instead of being a true child to him. Yet this is what it
has really done. What in St. Paul is secondary and subordinate,
Puritanism has made primary and essential; what in St Paul is figure and
belongs to the sphere of feeling, Puritanism has transported into the
sphere of intellect and made formula. On the other hand, what is with
St. Paul primary, Puritanism has treated as subordinate: and what is
with him thesis, and belonging (so far as anything in religion can
properly be said thus to belong) to the sphere of intellect, Puritanism
has made image and figure.

And first let us premise what we mean in this matter by primary and
secondary, essential and subordinate. We mean, so far as the apostle is
concerned, a greater or less approach to what really characterises him
and gives his teaching its originality and power. We mean, so far as
truth is concerned, a greater or less agreement with facts which can be
verified, and a greater or less power of explaining them. What
essentially characterises a religious teacher, and gives him his
permanent worth and vitality, is, after all, just the scientific value
of his teaching, its correspondence with important facts, and the light
it throws on them. Never was the truth of this so evident as now. The
scientific sense in man never asserted its claim so strongly; the
propensity of religion to neglect those claims, and the peril and loss
to it from neglecting them, never were so manifest. The license of
affirmation about God and his proceedings, in which the religious world
indulge, is more and more met by the demand for verification. When
Calvinism tells us: 'It is agreed between God and the Mediator Jesus
Christ, the Son of God, surety for the redeemed, as parties-contractors,
that the sins of the redeemed should be imputed to innocent Christ, and
he both condemned and put to death for them, upon this very condition,
that whosoever heartily consents unto the covenant of reconciliation
offered through Christ, shall, by the imputation of his obedience unto
them, be justified and holden righteous before God;'--when Calvinism
tells us this, is it not talking about God just as if he were a man in
the next street, whose proceedings Calvinism intimately knew and could
give account of, could verify that account at any moment, and enable us
to verify it also? It is true, when the scientific sense in us, the
sense which seeks exact knowledge, calls for that verification,
Calvinism refers us to St. Paul, from whom it professes to have got this
history of what it calls 'the covenant of redemption.' But this is only
pushing the difficulty a stage further back. For if it is St. Paul, and
not Calvinism, that professes this exact acquaintance with God and his
doings, the scientific sense calls upon St. Paul to produce the facts by
which he verifies what he says; and if he cannot produce them, then it
treats both St. Paul's assertion, and Calvinism's assertion after him,
as of no real consequence.

No one will deny that such is the behaviour of science towards religion
in our day, though many may deplore it. And it is not that the
scientific sense in us denies the rights of the poetic sense, which
employs a figured and imaginative language. But the language we have
just been quoting is not figurative and poetic language, it is
scholastic and scientific language. Assertions in scientific language
must stand the tests of scientific examination. Neither is it that the
scientific sense in us refuses to admit willingly and reverently the
name of God, as a point in which the religious and the scientific sense
may meet, as the least inadequate name for that universal order which
the intellect feels after as a law, and the heart feels after as a
benefit. 'We, too,' might the men of science with truth say to the men
of religion--'we, too, would gladly say _God_, if only, the moment one
says _God_, you would not pester one with your pretensions of knowing
all about him.' That _stream of tendency by which all things strive to
fulfil the law of their being_, and which, inasmuch as our idea of real
welfare resolves itself into this fulfilment of the law of one's being,
man rightly deems the fountain of all goodness, and calls by the
worthiest and most solemn name he can, which is God, science also might
willingly own for the fountain of all goodness, and call God. But
however much more than this the heart may with propriety put into its
language respecting God, this is as much as science can with strictness
put there. Therefore, when the religious world, following its bent of
trying to describe what it loves, amplifying and again amplifying its
description, and guarding finally this amplified description by the most
precise and rigid terms it can find, comes at last, with the best
intentions, to the notion of a sort of magnified and non-natural man,
who proceeds in the fashion laid down in the Calvinistic thesis we have
quoted, then science strikes in, remarks the difference between this
second notion and the notion it originally admitted, and demands to have
the new notion verified, as the first can be verified, by facts. But
this does not unsettle the first notion, or prevent science from
acknowledging the importance and the scientific validity of propositions
which are grounded upon the first notion, and shed light over it.

Nevertheless, researches in this sphere are now a good deal eclipsed in
popularity by researches in the sphere of physics, and no longer have
the vogue which they once had. I have related how an eminent physicist
with whose acquaintance I am honoured, imagines me to have invented the
author of the _Sacra Privata_; and that fashionable newspaper, the
_Morning Post_, undertaking,--as I seemed, it said, very anxious about
the matter,--to supply information as to who the author really was, laid
it down that he was Bishop of Calcutta, and that his ideas and writings,
to which I attached so much value, had been among the main provocatives
of the Indian mutiny. Therefore it is perhaps expedient to refresh our
memory as to these schemes of doctrine, Calvinistic or Arminian, for the
upholding of which, as has been said, British Puritanism exists, before
we proceed to compare them, for correspondence with facts and for
scientific validity, with the teaching of St. Paul.

Calvinism, then, begins by laying down that God from all eternity
decreed whatever was to come to pass in time; that by his decree a
certain number of angels and men are predestinated, out of God's mere
free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works in
them, to everlasting life; and others foreordained, according to the
unsearchable counsel of his will, whereby he extends or withholds mercy
as he pleases, to everlasting death. God made, however, our first
parents, Adam and Eve, upright and able to keep his law, which was
written in their hearts; at the same time entering into a contract with
them, and with their posterity as represented in them, by which they
were assured of everlasting life in return for perfect obedience, and of
everlasting death if they should be disobedient. Our first parents,
being enticed by Satan, a fallen angel speaking in the form of a
serpent, broke this _covenant of works_, as it is called, by eating the
forbidden fruit; and hereby they, and their posterity in them and with
them, became not only liable to eternal death, but lost also their
natural uprightness and all ability to please God; nay, they became by
nature enemies to God and to all spiritual good, and inclined only to
evil continually. This, says Calvinism, is our original sin; the bitter
root of all our actual transgressions, in thought, word, and deed.

Yet, though man has neither power nor inclination to rise out of this
wretched fallen state, but is rather disposed to lie insensible in it
till he perish, another covenant exists by which his condition is
greatly affected. This is the _covenant of redemption_, made and agreed
upon, says Calvinism, between God the Father and God the Son in the
Council of the Trinity before the world began. The sum of the covenant
of redemption is this: God having, by the eternal decree already
mentioned, freely chosen to life a certain number of lost mankind, gave
them before the world began to God the Son, appointed Redeemer, on
condition that if he humbled himself so far as to assume the human
nature in union with the divine nature, submit himself to the law as
surety for the elect, and satisfy justice for them by giving obedience
in their name, even to suffering the cursed death of the cross, he
should ransom and redeem them from sin and death, and purchase for them
righteousness and eternal life. The Son of God accepted the condition,
or _bargain_ as Calvinism calls it; and in the fulness of time came, as
Jesus Christ, into the world, was born of the Virgin Mary, subjected
himself to the law, and completely paid the due ransom on the cross.

God has in his word, the Bible, revealed to man this covenant of grace
or redemption. All those whom he has predestinated to life he in his own
time effectually calls to be partakers in the release offered. Man is
altogether passive in this call, until the Holy Spirit enables him to
answer it. The Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, applies to
the elect the redemption purchased by Christ, through working faith in
them. As soon as the elect have faith in Jesus Christ, that is, as soon
as they give their consent heartily and repentantly, in the sense of
deserved condemnation, to the covenant of grace, God justifies them by
imputing to them that perfect obedience which Christ gave to the law,
and the satisfaction also which upon the cross Christ gave to justice in
their name. They who are thus called and justified are by the same power
likewise sanctified; the dominion of carnal lusts being destroyed in
them, and the practice of holiness being, in spite of some remnants of
corruption, put in their power. Good works, done in obedience to God's
moral law, are the fruits and evidences of a true faith; and the persons
of the faithful elect being accepted through Christ, their good works
also are accepted in him and rewarded. But works done by other and
unregenerate men, though they may be things which God commands, cannot
please God and are sinful. The elect can after justification and
sanctification no more fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly
persevere to the end and be eternally saved; and of this they may, even
in the present life, have the certain assurance. Finally, after death,
their souls and bodies are joyfully joined together again in the
resurrection, and they remain thenceforth for ever with Christ in glory;
while all the wicked are sent away into hell with Satan, whom they have

We have here set down the main doctrines of Calvinistic Puritanism
almost entirely in words of its own choosing. It is not necessary to
enter into distinctions such as those between sublapsarians and
supralapsarians, between Calvinists who believe that God's decree of
election and reprobation was passed in foresight of original sin and on
account of it, and Calvinists who believe that it was passed absolutely
and independently. The important points of Calvinism,--original sin,
free election, effectual calling, justification through imputed
righteousness,--are common to both. The passiveness of man, the activity
of God, are the great features in this scheme; there is very little of
what man thinks and does, very much of what God thinks and does; and
what God thinks and does is described with such particularity that the
figure we have used of the man in the next street cannot but recur
strongly to our minds.

The positive Protestantism of Puritanism, with which we are here
concerned, as distinguished from the negative Protestantism of the
Church of England, has nourished itself with ardour on this scheme of
doctrine. It informs and fashions the whole religion of Scotland,
established and nonconforming. It is the doctrine which Puritan flocks
delight to hear from their ministers. It was Puritanism's constant
reproach against the Church of England, that this essential doctrine was
not firmly enough held and set forth by her. At the Hampton Court
Conference in 1604, in the Committee of Divines appointed by the House
of Lords in 1641, and again at the Savoy Conference in 1661, the
reproach regularly appeared. 'Some have defended,' is the Puritan
complaint, 'the whole gross substance of Arminianism, that the act of
conversion depends upon the concurrence of man's free will; some do
teach and preach that good works are concauses with faith in the act of
justification; some have defended universal grace, some have absolutely
denied original sin.' As Puritanism grew, the Calvinistic scheme of
doctrine hardened and became stricter. Of the Calvinistic confessions of
faith of the sixteenth century,--the Helvetic Confession, the Belgic
Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism,--the Calvinism is so moderate as
to astonish any one who has been used only to its later developments.
Even the much abused canons of the Synod of Dort no one can read
attentively through without finding in parts of them a genuine movement
of thought,--sometimes even a philosophic depth,--and a powerful
religious feeling. In the documents of the Westminster Assembly,
twenty-five years later, this has disappeared; and what we call the
British Philistine stands in his religious capacity, sheer and stark,
before us. Seriousness is the one merit of these documents, but it is a
seriousness too mixed with the alloy of mundane strife and hatred to be
called a religious feeling. Not a trace of delicacy of perception, or of
philosophic thinking; the mere rigidness and contentiousness of the
controversialist and political dissenter; a Calvinism exaggerated till
it is simply repelling; and to complete the whole, a machinery of
covenants, conditions, bargains, and parties-contractors, such as could
have proceeded from no one but the born Anglo-Saxon man of business,
British or American.

However, a scheme of doctrine is not necessarily false because of the
style in which its adherents may have at a particular moment enounced
it. From the faults which disfigure the performance of the Westminster
divines the profession of faith prefixed to the Congregational
_Year-Book_ is free. The Congregationalists form one of the two great
divisions of English Puritans. 'Congregational churches believe,' their
_Year-Book_ tells us, 'that the first man disobeyed the divine command,
fell from his state of innocence and purity, and involved all his
posterity in the consequences of that fall. They believe that all who
will be saved were the objects of God's eternal and electing love, and
were given by an act of divine sovereignty to the Son of God. They
believe that Christ meritoriously obtained eternal redemption for us,
and that the Holy Spirit is given in consequence of Christ's mediation.'
The essential points of Calvinism are all here. To this profession of
faith, annually published in the _Year-Book_ of the Independents,
subscription is not required; Puritanism thus remaining honourably
consistent with the protests which, at the Restoration, it made against
the call for subscription. But the authors of the _Year-Book_ say with
pride, and it is a common boast of the Independent churches, that though
they do not require subscription, there is, perhaps, in no religious
body, such firm and general agreement in doctrine as among
Congregationalists. This is true, and it is even more true of the flocks
than of the ministers, of whom the abler and the younger begin to be
lifted by the stream of modern ideas. Still, up to the present time, the
Protestantism of one great division of English Puritans is undoubtedly
Calvinist; the Baptists holding in general the scheme of Calvinism yet
more strictly than the Independents.

The other great division of English Puritanism is formed by the
Methodists. Wesleyan Methodism is, as is well known, not Calvinist, but
Arminian. The _Methodist Magazine_ was called by Wesley the _Arminian
Magazine_, and kept that title all through his life. Arminianism is an
attempt made with the best intentions, and with much truth of practical
sense, but not in a very profound philosophical spirit, to escape from
what perplexes and shocks us in Calvinism. The God of Calvinism is a
magnified and non-natural man who decrees at his mere good pleasure some
men to salvation and other men to reprobation; the God of Arminianism is
a magnified and non-natural man who foreknows the course of each man's
life, and who decrees each of us to salvation or reprobation in
accordance with this foreknowledge. But so long as we remain in this
anthropomorphic order of ideas the question will always occur: Why did
not a being of infinite power and infinite love so make all men as that
there should be no cause for this sad foreknowledge and sad decree
respecting a number of them? In truth, Calvinism is both theologically
more coherent, and also shows a deeper sense of reality than
Arminianism, which, in the practical man's fashion, is apt to scrape the
surface of things only.

For instance, the Arminian Remonstrants, in their zeal to justify the
morality, in a human sense, of God's ways, maintained that he sent his
word to one nation rather than another according as he saw that one
nation was more worthy than another of such a preference. The Calvinist
doctors of the Synod of Dort have no difficulty in showing that Moses
and Christ both of them assert, with respect to the Jewish nation, the
direct contrary; and not only do they here obtain a theological triumph,
but in rebutting the Arminian theory they are in accordance with
historical truth and with the real march of human affairs. They allow
more for the great fact of the _not ourselves_ in what we do and are.
The Calvinists seize, we say, that great fact better than the Arminians.
The Calvinist's fault is in his scientific appreciation of the fact; in
the reasons he gives for it. God, he says, sends his word to one nation
rather than another at _his mere good pleasure_. Here we have again the
magnified and non-natural man, who likes and dislikes, knows and
decrees, just as a man, only on a scale immensely transcending anything
of which we have experience, and whose proceedings we nevertheless
describe as if he were in the next street for people to verify all we
say about him.

Arminian Methodism, however, puts aside the Calvinistic doctrine of
predestination. The foremost place, which in the Calvinist scheme
belongs to the doctrine of predestination, belongs in the Methodist
scheme to the doctrine of justification by faith. More and more
prominently does modern Methodism elevate this as its essential
doctrine; and the era in their founder's life which Methodists select to
celebrate is the era of his conversion to it. It is the doctrine of
Anselm, adopted and developed by Luther, set forth in the Confession of
Augsburg, and current all through the popular theology of our day. We
shall find it in almost any popular hymn we happen to take, but the
following lines of Milton exhibit it classically. By the fall of our
first parents, says he:--

                    Man, losing all,
    To expiate his treason hath nought left,
    But to destruction sacred and devote
    He with his whole posterity must die;
    Die he or justice must; unless for him
    Some other able, and as willing, pay
    The rigid satisfaction; death for death.

By Adam's fall, God's justice and mercy were placed in conflict. God
could not follow his mercy without violating his justice. Christ by his
satisfaction gave the Father the right and power (_nudum jus Patri
acquirebat_, said the Arminians) to follow his mercy, and to make with
man the covenant of free justification by faith, whereby, if a man has a
sure trust and confidence that his sins are forgiven him in virtue of
the satisfaction made to God for them by the death of Christ, he is held
clear of sin by God, and admitted to salvation.

This doctrine, like the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, involves a
whole history of God's proceedings, and gives, also, first and almost
sole place to what God does, with disregard to what man does. It has
thus an essential affinity with Calvinism; indeed, Calvinism is but this
doctrine of original sin and justification, _plus_ the doctrine of
predestination. Nay, the Welsh Methodists, as is well known, have no
difficulty in combining the tenet of election with the practices and
most of the tenets of Methodism. The word _solifidian_ points precisely
to that which is common to both Calvinism and Methodism, and which has
made both these halves of English Puritanism so popular,--their
_sensational_ side, as it may be called, their laying all stress on a
wonderful and particular account of what God gives and works for us, not
on what we bring or do for ourselves. 'Plead thou singly,' says Wesley,
'the blood of the covenant, the ransom paid for thy proud stubborn
soul.' Wesley's doctrines of conversion, of the new birth, of
sanctification, of the direct witness of the spirit, of assurance, of
sinless perfection, all of them thus correspond with doctrines which we
have noticed in Calvinism, and show a common character with them. The
instantaneousness Wesley loved to ascribe to conversion and
sanctification points the same way. 'God gives in a moment such a faith
in the blood of his Son as translates us out of darkness into light, out
of sin and fear into holiness and happiness.' And again, 'Look for
sanctification just as you are, as a poor sinner that has nothing to
pay, nothing to plead but _Christ died_.' This is the side in Wesley's
teaching which his followers have above all seized, and which they are
eager to hold forth as the essential part of his legacy towards them.

It is true that from the same reason which prevents, as we have said,
those who know their Bible and nothing else from really knowing even
their Bible, Methodists, who for the most part know nothing but Wesley,
do not really know even Wesley. It is true that what really
characterises this most interesting and most attractive man, is not his
doctrine of justification by faith, or any other of his set doctrines,
but is entirely what we may call his _genius for godliness_. Mr.
Alexander Knox, in his remarks on his friend's life and character,
insists much on an entry in Wesley's Journal in 1767, where he seems
impatient at the endless harping on the tenet of justification, and
where he asks 'if it is not high time to return to the plain word: "He
that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him."' Mr.
Knox is right in thinking that the feeling which made Wesley ask this is
what gave him his vital worth and character as a man; but it is not what
gives him his character as the teacher of Methodism. Methodism rejects
Mr. Knox's version of its founder, and insists on making the article of
justification the very corner-stone of the Wesleyan edifice.

And the truth undoubtedly is, that not by his assertion of what man
brings, but by his assertion of what God gives, by his doctrines of
conversion, instantaneous justification and sanctification, assurance,
and sinless perfection, does Wesley live and operate in Methodism. 'You
think, I must first be or do thus or thus (for sanctification). Then you
are seeking it by works unto this day. If you seek it by faith, you may
expect it as you are; then expect it now. It is of importance to observe
that there is an inseparable connection between these three points:
expect it _by faith_, expect it _as you are_, and expect it _now_. To
deny one of them is to deny them all; to allow one is to allow them
all.' This is the teaching of Wesley, which has made the great Methodist
half of English Puritanism what it is, and not his hesitations and
recoils at the dangers of his own teaching.

No doubt, as the seriousness of Calvinism, its perpetual conversance
with deep matters and with the Bible, have given force and fervency to
Calvinist Puritans, so the loveliness of Wesley's piety, and what we
have called his genius for godliness, have sweetened and made amiable
numberless lives of Methodist Puritans. But as a religious teacher,
Wesley is to be judged by his doctrine; and his doctrine, like the
Calvinistic scheme, rests with all its weight on the assertion of
certain minutely described proceedings on God's part, independent of us,
our experience, and our will; and leads its recipients to look, in
religion, not so much for an arduous progress on their own part, and the
exercise of their activity, as for strokes of magic, and what may be
called a sensational character.

In the Heidelberg Catechism, after an answer in which the catechist
rehearses the popularly received doctrine of original sin and vicarious
satisfaction for it, the catechiser asks the pertinent question: '_Unde
id scis?_'--how do you know all that? The Apostle Paul is, as we have
already shown, the great authority for it whom formal theology invokes;
his name is used by popular theology with the same confidence. I open a
modern book of popular religion at the account of a visit paid to a
hardened criminal seized with terror the night before his execution. The
visitor says: '_I now stand in Paul's place_, and say: In Christ's stead
we pray you, be ye reconciled to God. I beg you to accept the pardon of
all your sins, which Christ has purchased for you, and which God freely
bestows on you for his sake. If you do not understand, I say: God's ways
are not as our ways.' And the narrative of the criminal's conversion
goes on: 'That night was spent in singing the praises of the Saviour who
had purchased his pardon.'

Both Calvinism and Methodism appeal, therefore, to the Bible, and, above
all, to St. Paul, for the history they propound of the relations between
God and man; but Calvinism relies most, in enforcing it, on man's fears,
Methodism on man's hopes. Calvinism insists on man's being under a
curse; it then works the sense of sin, misery, and terror in him, and
appeals pre-eminently to the desire to flee from the wrath to come.
Methodism, too, insists on his being under a curse; but it works most
the sense of hope in him, the craving for happiness, and appeals
pre-eminently to the desire for eternal bliss. No one, however, will
maintain that the particular account of God's proceedings with man,
whereby Methodism and Calvinism operate on these desires, proves itself
by internal evidence, and establishes without external aid its own
scientific validity. So we may either directly try, as best we can, its
scientific validity in itself; or, as it professes to have Paul's
authority to support it, we may first inquire what is really Paul's
account of God's proceedings with man, and whether this tallies with the
Puritan account and confirms it. The latter is in every way the safer
and the more instructive course to follow. And we will follow
Puritanism's example in taking St. Paul's mature and greatest work, the
Epistle to the Romans, as the chief place for finding what he really
thought on the points in question.

We have already said elsewhere,[19] indeed, what is very true, and what
must never be forgotten, that what St. Paul, a man so separated from us
by time, race, training and circumstances, really thought, we cannot
make sure of knowing exactly. All we can do is to get near it, reading
him with the sort of critical tact which the study of the human mind and
its history, and the acquaintance with many great writers, naturally
gives for following the movement of any one single great writer's
thought; reading him, also, without preconceived theories to which we
want to make his thoughts fit themselves. It is evident that the English
translation of the Epistle to the Romans has been made by men with their
heads full of the current doctrines of election and justification we
have been noticing; and it has thereby received such a bias,--of which a
strong example is the use of the word _atonement_ in the eleventh verse
of the fifth chapter,--that perhaps it is almost impossible for any one
who reads the English translation only, to take into his mind Paul's
thought without a colouring from the current doctrines. But besides
discarding the English translation, we must bear in mind, if we wish to
get as near Paul's real thought as possible, two things which have
greatly increased the facilities for misrepresenting him.

[Footnote 19: See _Culture and Anarchy_, chap. v.]

In the first place, Paul, like the other Bible-writers, and like the
Semitic race in general, has a much juster sense of the true scope and
limits of diction in religious deliverances than we have. He uses within
the sphere of religious emotion expressions which, in this sphere, have
an eloquence and a propriety, but which are not to be taken out of it
and made into formal scientific propositions.

This is a point very necessary to be borne in mind in reading the Bible.
The prophet Nahum says in the book of his vision: '_God is jealous, and
the Lord revengeth_;'[20] and the authors of the Westminster
Confession, drawing out a scientific theology, lay down the proposition
that God is a jealous and vengeful God, and think they prove their
proposition by quoting in a note the words of Nahum. But this is as if
we took from a chorus of Æschylus one of his grand passages about guilt
and destiny, just put the words straight into the formal and exact cast
of a sentence of Aristotle, and said that here was the scientific
teaching of Greek philosophy on these matters. The Hebrew genius has
not, like the Greek, its conscious and clear-marked division into a
poetic side and a scientific side; the scientific side is almost absent.
The Bible utterances have often the character of a chorus of Æschylus,
but never that of a treatise of Aristotle. We, like the Greeks, possess
in our speech and thought the two characters; but so far as the Bible is
concerned we have generally confounded them, and have used our double
possession for our bewilderment rather than turned it to good account.
The admirable maxim of the great mediæval Jewish school of Biblical
critics: _The Law speaks with the tongue of the children of men_,--a
maxim which is the very foundation of all sane Biblical criticism,--was
for centuries a dead letter to the whole body of our Western exegesis,
and is a dead letter to the whole body of our popular exegesis still.
Taking the Bible language as equivalent with the language of the
scientific intellect, a language which is adequate and absolute, we have
never been in a position to use the key which this maxim of the Jewish
doctors offers to us. But it is certain that, whatever strain the
religious expressions of the Semitic genius were meant, in the minds of
those who gave utterance to them, to bear, the particular strain which
we Western people put upon them is one which they were not meant to

[Footnote 20: _Nahum_ i, 2.]

We have used the word _Hebraise_[21] for another purpose, to denote the
exclusive attention to the moral side of our nature, to conscience, and
to doing rather than knowing; so, to describe the vivid and figured way
in which St. Paul, within the sphere of religious emotion, uses words,
without carrying them outside it, we will use the word _Orientalise_.
When Paul says: 'God hath concluded them all in unbelief _that he might_
have mercy upon all,'[22] he Orientalises; that is, he does not mean to
assert formally that God acted with this set design, but, being full of
the happy and divine end to the unbelief spoken of, he, by a vivid and
striking figure, represents the unbelief as actually caused with a view
to this end. But when the Calvinists of the Synod of Dort, wishing to
establish the formal proposition that faith and all saving gifts flow
from election and nothing else, quote an expression of Paul's similar to
the one we have quoted, 'He hath chosen us,' they say, 'not because we
were, but _that we might be_ holy and without blame before him,' they go
quite wide of the mark, from not perceiving that what the apostle used
as a vivid figure of rhetoric, they are using as a formal scientific

[Footnote 21: See _Culture and Anarchy_, chap. iv.]

[Footnote 22: _Rom._ xi, 32.]

When Paul Orientalises, the fault is not with him when he is
misunderstood, but with the prosaic and unintelligent Western readers
who have not enough tact for style to comprehend his mode of expression.
But he also Judaises; and here his liability to being misunderstood by
us Western people is undoubtedly due to a defect in the critical habit
of himself and his race. A Jew himself, he uses the Jewish Scriptures in
a Jew's arbitrary and uncritical fashion, as if they had a talismanic
character; as if for a doctrine, however true in itself, their
confirmation was still necessary, and as if this confirmation was to be
got from their mere words alone, however detached from the sense of
their context, and however violently allegorised or otherwise wrested.

To use the Bible in this way, even for purposes of illustration, is
often an interruption to the argument, a fault of style; to use it in
this way for real proof and confirmation, is a fault of reasoning. An
example of the first fault may be seen in the tenth chapter of the
Epistle to the Romans, and in the beginning of the third chapter. The
apostle's point in either place,--his point that faith comes by hearing,
and his point that God's oracles were true though the Jews did not
believe them,--would stand much clearer without their scaffolding of
Bible-quotation. An instance of the second fault is in the third and
fourth chapters of the Epistle to the Galatians, where the Biblical
argumentation by which the apostle seeks to prove his case is as unsound
as his case itself is sound. How far these faults are due to the apostle
himself, how far to the requirements of those for whom he wrote, we need
not now investigate. It is enough that he undoubtedly uses the letter of
Scripture in this arbitrary and Jewish way; and thus Puritanism, which
has only itself to blame for misunderstanding him when he Orientalises,
may fairly put upon the apostle himself some of its blame for
misunderstanding him when he Judaises, and for Judaising so strenuously
along with him.

To get, therefore, at what Paul really thought and meant to say, it is
necessary for us modern and western people to translate him. And not as
Puritanism, which has merely taken his letter and recast it in the
formal propositions of a modern scientific treatise; but his letter
itself must be recast before it can be properly conveyed by such
propositions. And as the order in which, in any series of ideas, the
ideas come, is of great importance to the final result, and as Paul, who
did not write scientific treatises, but had always religious edification
in direct view, never set out his doctrine with a design of exhibiting
it as a scientific whole, we must also find out for ourselves the order
in which Paul's ideas naturally stand, and the connexion between one of
them and the other, in order to arrive at the real scheme of his
teaching, as compared with the schemes exhibited by Puritanism.

We remarked how what sets the Calvinist in motion seems to be the desire
to flee from the wrath to come; and what sets the Methodist in motion,
the desire for eternal bliss. What is it which sets Paul in motion? It
is the impulse which we have elsewhere noted as the master-impulse of
Hebraism,--_the desire for righteousness._ 'I exercise myself,' he told
Felix, '_to have a conscience void of offence towards God and men
continually_.'[23] To the Hebrew, this moral order, or righteousness,
was pre-eminently the universal order, the law of God; and God, the
fountain of all goodness, was pre-eminently to him the giver of the
moral law. The end and aim of all religion, _access to God_,--the sense
of harmony with the universal order--the partaking of the divine
nature--that our faith and hope might be in God--that we might have life
and have it more abundantly,--meant for the Hebrew, access to the source
of the _moral_ order in especial, and harmony with it. It was the
greatness of the Hebrew race that it felt the authority of this order,
its preciousness and its beneficence, so strongly. 'How precious are thy
thoughts unto me, O God!'--'The law of thy mouth is better than
thousands of gold and silver.'--'My soul is consumed with the very
fervent desire that it hath alway unto thy judgments.'[24] It was the
greatness of their best individuals that in them this feeling was
incessantly urgent to prove itself in the only sure manner,--in action.
'Blessed are they who hear the word of God, and _keep_ it.' 'If thou
wouldst enter into life, _keep_ the commandments.' 'Let no man deceive
you, he that _doeth_ righteousness is righteous.'[25] What
distinguishes Paul is both his conviction that the commandment is holy,
and just, and good; and also his desire to give effect to the
commandment, to _establish_ it. It was this which gave to his endeavour
after a clear conscience such meaning and efficacity. It was this which
gave him insight to see that there could be no radical difference, in
respect of salvation and the way to it, between Jew and Gentile. 'Upon
every soul of man that _worketh evil_, whoever he may be, tribulation
and anguish; to every one that _worketh good_, glory, honour, and

[Footnote 23: _Acts_, xxiv, 16.]

[Footnote 24: _Ps._ cxxxix, 7; cxix, 72; _Ibid._, 20.]

[Footnote 25: _Luke_, xi, 28; _Matth._, xix, 17; I _John_, iii, 7.]

[Footnote 26: _Rom._, ii, 9, 10.]

St. Paul's piercing practical religious sense, joined to his strong
intellectual power, enabled him to discern and follow the range of the
commandment, both as to man's actions and as to his heart and thoughts,
with extraordinary force and closeness. His religion had, as we shall
see, a preponderantly mystic side, and nothing is so natural to the
mystic as in rich single words, such as faith, light, love, to sum up
and take for granted, without specially enumerating them all good moral
principles and habits; yet nothing is more remarkable in Paul than the
frequent, nay, incessant lists, in the most particular detail, of moral
habits to be pursued or avoided. Lists of this sort might in a less
sincere and profound writer be formal and wearisome; but to no attentive
reader of St. Paul will they be wearisome, for in making them he touched
the solid ground which was the basis of his religion,--the solid ground
of his hearty desire for righteousness and of his thorough conception of
it,--and only on such a ground was so strong a superstructure possible.
The more one studies these lists, the more does their significance come
out. To illustrate this, let any one go through for himself the
enumeration, too long to be quoted here, in the four last verses of the
first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, of 'things which are not
convenient;' or let him merely consider with attention this catalogue,
towards the end of the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, of
fruits of the spirit: 'love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness,
goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.'[27] The man who wrote with
this searching minuteness knew accurately what he meant by sin and
righteousness, and did not use these words at random. His diligent
comprehensiveness in his plan of duties is only less admirable than his
diligent sincerity. The sterner virtues and the gentler, his conscience
will not let him rest till he has embraced them all. In his deep resolve
'to make out by actual trial what is that good and perfect and
acceptable will of God,'[28] he goes back upon himself again and again,
he marks a duty at every point of our nature, and at points the most
opposite, for fear he should by possibility be leaving behind him some
weakness still indulged, some subtle promptings to evil not yet brought
into captivity.

[Footnote 27: Verses 22, 23.]

[Footnote 28: _Rom._, xii, 2.]

It has not been enough remarked how this incomparable honesty and depth
in Paul's love of righteousness is probably what chiefly explains his
conversion. Most men have the defects, as the saying is, of their
qualities. Because they are ardent and severe they have no sense for
gentleness and sweetness; because they are sweet and gentle they have no
sense for severity and ardour. A Puritan is a Puritan, and a man of
feeling is a man of feeling. But with Paul the very same fulness of
moral nature which made him an ardent Pharisee, 'as concerning zeal,
persecuting the church, touching the righteousness which is in the law,
blameless,' was so large that it carried him out of Pharisaism and
beyond it, when once he found how much needed doing in him which
Pharisaism could not do.

Every attentive regarder of the character of Paul, not only as he was
before his conversion but as he appears to us till his end, must have
been struck with two things: one, the earnest insistence with which he
recommends 'bowels of mercies,' as he calls them: meekness, humbleness
of mind, gentleness, unwearying forbearance, crowned all of them with
that emotion of charity 'which is the bond of perfectness;' the other,
the force with which he dwells on the _solidarity_ (to use the modern
phrase) of man,--the joint interest, that is, which binds humanity
together,--the duty of respecting every one's part in life, and of doing
justice to his efforts to fulfil that part. Never surely did such a
controversialist, such a master of sarcasm and invective, commend, with
such manifest sincerity and such persuasive emotion, the qualities of
meekness and gentleness! Never surely did a worker, who took with such
energy his own line, and who was so born to preponderate and predominate
in whatever line he took, insist so often and so admirably that the
lines of other workers were just as good as his own! At no time,
perhaps, did Paul arrive at practising quite perfectly what he thus
preached; but this only sets in a stronger light the thorough love of
righteousness which made him seek out, and put so prominently forward,
and so strive to make himself and others fulfil, parts of righteousness
which do not force themselves on the common conscience like the duties
of soberness, temperance, and activity, and which were somewhat alien,
certainly, to his own particular nature. Therefore we cannot but believe
that into this spirit, so possessed with the hunger and thirst for
righteousness, and precisely because it was so possessed by it, the
characteristic doctrines of Jesus, which brought a new aliment to feed
this hunger and thirst,--of Jesus whom, except in vision, he had never
seen, but who was in every one's words and thoughts, the teacher who was
meek and lowly in heart, who said men were brothers and must love one
another, that the last should often be first, that the exercise of
dominion and lordship had nothing in them desirable, and that we must
become as little children,--sank down and worked there even before Paul
ceased to persecute, and had no small part in getting him ready for the
crisis of his conversion.

Such doctrines offered new fields of righteousness to the eyes of this
indefatigable explorer of it, and enlarged the domain of duty of which
Pharisaism showed him only a portion. Then, after the satisfaction thus
given to his desire for a full conception of righteousness, came
Christ's injunctions to make clean the inside as well as the outside, to
beware of the least leaven of hypocrisy and self-flattery, of saying and
not doing;--and, finally, the injunction to feel, after doing all we
can, that, as compared with the standard of perfection, we are still
unprofitable servants. These teachings were, to a man like Paul, for the
practice of righteousness what the others were for the
theory;--sympathetic utterances, which made the inmost chords of his
being vibrate, and which irresistibly drew him sooner or later towards
their utterer. Need it be said that he never forgot them, and that in
all his pages they have left their trace? It is even affecting to see,
how, when he is driven for the very sake of righteousness to put the law
of righteousness in the second place, and to seek outside the law itself
for a power to fulfil the law, how, I say, he returns again and again to
the elucidation of his one sole design in all he is doing; how he
labours to prevent all possibility of misunderstanding, and to show that
he is only leaving the moral law for a moment in order to establish it
for ever more victoriously. What earnestness and pathos in the
assurance: 'If there had been a law given which could have given life,
verily, righteousness should have been by the law!'[29] 'Do I condemn
the law?' he keeps saying; 'do I forget that the commandment is holy,
just, and good? Because we are no longer under the law, are we to sin?
Am I seeking to make the course of my life and yours other than a
service and an obedience?' This man, out of whom an astounding criticism
has deduced Antinomianism, is in truth so possessed with horror of
Antinomianism, that he goes to grace for the sole purpose of extirpating
it, and even then cannot rest without perpetually telling us why he is
gone there. This man, whom Calvin and Luther and their followers have
shut up into the two scholastic doctrines of election and justification,
would have said, could we hear him, just what he said about circumcision
and uncircumcision in his own day: 'Election is nothing, and
justification is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.'

[Footnote 29: _Gal._, iii, 21.]

This foremost place which righteousness takes in the order of St. Paul's
ideas makes a signal difference between him and Puritanism. Puritanism,
as we have said, finds its starting-point either in the desire to flee
from eternal wrath or in the desire to obtain eternal bliss. Puritanism
has learned from revelation, as it says, a particular history of the
first man's fall, of mankind being under a curse, of certain contracts
having been passed concerning mankind in the Council of the Trinity, of
the substance of those contracts, and of man's position under them. The
great concern of Puritanism is with the operation of those contracts on
man's condition; its leading thought, if it is a Puritanism of a gloomy
turn, is of awe and fear caused by the threatening aspect of man's
condition under these contracts; if of a cheerful turn, of gratitude and
hope caused by the favourable aspect of it. But in either case, foregone
events, the covenant passed, what God has done and does, is the great
matter. What there is left for man to do, the human work of
righteousness, is secondary, and comes in but to attest and confirm our
assurance of what God has done for us. We have seen this in Wesley's
words already quoted: the first thing for a man is to be justified and
sanctified, and to have the assurance that, without seeking it by works,
he is justified and sanctified; then the desire and works of
righteousness follow as a proper result of this condition. Still more
does Calvinism make man's desire and works of righteousness mere
evidences and benefits of more important things; the desire to work
righteousness is among the saving graces applied by the Holy Spirit to
the elect, and the last of those graces. _Denique_, says the Synod of
Dort, _last of all_, after faith in the promises and after the witness
of the Spirit, comes, to establish our assurance, a clear conscience and
righteousness. It is manifest how unlike is this order of ideas to
Paul's order, who starts with the thought of a conscience void of
offence towards God and man, and builds upon that thought his whole

But this difference constitutes from the very outset an immense
scientific superiority for the scheme of Paul. Hope and fear are
elements of human nature like the love of right, but they are far
blinder and less scientific elements of it. 'The Bible is a divine
revelation; the Bible declares certain things; the things it thus
declares have the witness of our hopes and fears;'--this is the line of
thought followed by Puritanism. But what science seeks after is a
satisfying rational conception of things. A scheme which fails to give
this, which gives the contrary of this, may indeed be of a nature to
move our hopes and fears, but is to science of none the more value on
that account.

Nor does our calling such a scheme _a revelation_ mend the matter.
Instead of covering the scientific inadequacy of a conception by the
authority of a revelation, science rather proves the authority of a
revelation by the scientific adequacy of the conceptions given in it,
and limits the sphere of that authority to the sphere of that adequacy.
The more an alleged revelation seems to contain precious and striking
things, the more will science be inclined to doubt the correctness of
any deduction which draws from it, within the sphere of these things, a
scheme which rationally is not satisfying. That the scheme of Puritanism
is rationally so little satisfying inclines science, not to take it on
the authority of the Bible, but to doubt whether it is really in the
Bible. The first appeal which this scheme, having begun outside the
sphere of reality and experience, makes in the sphere of reality and
experience,--its first appeal, therefore, to science,--the appeal to the
witness of human hope and fear, does not much mend matters; for science
knows that numberless conceptions not rationally satisfying are yet the
ground of hope and fear.

Paul does not begin outside the sphere of science; he begins with an
appeal to reality and experience. And the appeal here with which he
commences has, for science, undoubted force and importance; for he
appeals to a rational conception which is a part, and perhaps the chief
part, of our experience; the conception of the law of _righteousness_,
the very law and ground of human nature so far as this nature is moral.
Things as they truly are,--facts,--are the object-matter of science; and
the moral law in human nature, however this law may have originated, is
in our actual experience among the greatest of facts.

If I were not afraid of intruding upon Mr. Ruskin's province, I might
point out the witness which etymology itself bears to this law as a
prime element and _clue_ in man's constitution. Our word righteousness
means going straight, going the way we are meant to go; there are
languages in which the word 'way' or 'road' is also the word for right
reason and duty; the Greek word for justice and righteousness has for
its foundation, some say, the idea of describing a certain line,
following a certain necessary orbit. But for these fanciful helps there
is no need. When Paul starts with affirming the grandeur and necessity
of the law of righteousness, science has no difficulty in going along
with him. When he fixes as man's right aim 'love, joy, peace,
long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control,'[30]
he appeals for witness to the truth of what he says to an experience too
intimate to need illustration or argument.

[Footnote 30: _Gal._, v, 22, 23.]

The best confirmation of the scientific validity of the importance which
Paul thus attaches to the law of righteousness, the law of reason and
conscience, God as moral law, is to be found in its agreement with the
importance attached to this law by teachers the most unlike him; since
in the eye of science an experience gains as much by having
universality, as in the eye of religion it seems to gain by having
uniqueness. 'Would you know,' says Epictetus, 'the means to perfection
which Socrates followed? they were these: in every single matter which
came before him he made the rule of reason and conscience his one rule
to follow.' Such was precisely the aim of Paul also; it is an aim to
which science does homage as a satisfying rational conception. And to
this aim hope and fear properly attach themselves. For on our following
the clue of moral order, or losing it, depends our happiness or misery;
our life or death in the true sense of those words; our harmony with the
universal order or our disharmony with it; our partaking, as St. Paul
says, of the wrath of God or of the glory of God. So that looking to
this clue, and fearing to lose hold on it, we may in strict scientific
truth say with the author of the Imitation: _Omnia vanitas, præter amare
Deum, et illi soli servire_.

But to serve God, to follow that central clue in our moral being which
unites us to the universal order, is no easy task; and here again we are
on the most sure ground of experience and psychology. In some way or
other, says Bishop Wilson, every man is conscious of an opposition in
him between the flesh and the spirit. _Video meliora proboque, deteriora
sequor_, say the thousand times quoted lines of the Roman poet. The
philosophical explanation of this conflict does not indeed attribute,
like the Manichæan fancy, any inherent evil to the flesh and its
workings; all the forces and tendencies in us are, like our proper
central moral tendency the desire of righteousness, in themselves
beneficent. But they require to be harmonised with this tendency,
because this aims directly at our total moral welfare,--our harmony as
moral beings with the law of our nature and the law of God,--and derives
thence a pre-eminence and a right to moderate. And, though they are not
evil in themselves, the evil which flows from these diverse workings is
undeniable. The lusts of the flesh, the law in our members, _passion_,
according to the Greek word used by Paul, _inordinate affection_,
according to the admirable rendering of Paul's Greek word in our English
Bible,[31] take naturally no account of anything but themselves; this
arbitrary and unregulated action of theirs can produce only confusion
and misery. The spirit, the law of our mind, takes account of the
universal moral order, the will of God, and is indeed the voice of that
order expressing itself in us. Paul talks of a man sowing to _his_
flesh,[32] because each of us has of his own this individual body, this
_congeries_ of flesh and bones, blood and nerves, different from that of
every one else, and with desires and impulses driving each of us his own
separate way; and he says that a man who sows to this, sows to a
thousand tyrants, and can reap no worthy harvest. But he talks of sowing
to _the_ spirit; because there is one central moral tendency which for
us and for all men is the law of our being, and through reason and
righteousness we move in this universal order and with it. In this
conformity to _the will of God_, as we religiously name the moral order,
is our peace and happiness.

[Footnote 31: _Col._, iii, 5.]

[Footnote 32: _Gal._, vi, 8.]

But how to find the energy and power to bring all those self-seeking
tendencies of the flesh, those multitudinous, swarming, eager, and
incessant impulses, into obedience to the central tendency? Mere
commanding and forbidding is of no avail, and only irritates opposition
in the desires it tries to control. It even enlarges their power,
because it makes us feel our impotence; and the confusion caused by
their ungoverned working is increased by our being filled with a
deepened sense of disharmony, remorse, and dismay. 'I was alive without
the law once,'[33] says Paul; the natural play of all the forces and
desires in me went on smoothly enough so long as I did not attempt to
introduce order and regulation among them. But the condition of immoral
tranquillity could not in man be permanent. That natural law of reason
and conscience which all men have, was sufficient by itself to produce a
consciousness of rebellion and disquietude. Matters became only worse by
the exhibition of the Mosaic law, the offspring of a moral sense more
poignant and stricter, however little it might show of subtle insight
and delicacy, than the moral sense of the mass of mankind. The very
stringency of the Mosaic code increased the feeling of dismay and
helplessness; it set forth the law of righteousness more authoritatively
and minutely, yet did not supply any sufficient power to keep it.
Neither the law of nature, therefore, nor the law of Moses, availed to
blind men to righteousness. So we come to the word which is the
governing word of the Epistle to the Romans,--the word _all_. As the
word _righteousness_ is the governing word of St. Paul's entire mind and
life, so the word _all_ is the governing word of this his chief epistle.
The Gentile with the law of nature, the Jew with the law of Moses, alike
fail to achieve righteousness. '_All_ have sinned, and come short of the
glory of God.'[34] All do what they would not, and do not what they
would; all feel themselves enslaved, impotent, guilty, miserable. 'O
wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this

[Footnote 33: _Rom._, vii, 9.]

[Footnote 34: _Rom._, iii, 23.]

[Footnote 35: _Rom._, vii, 24.]

Hitherto, we have followed Paul in the sphere of morals; we have now
come with him to the point where he enters the sphere of religion.
Religion is that which binds and holds us to the practice of
righteousness. We have accompanied Paul, and found him always treading
solid ground, till he is brought to straits where a binding and holding
power of this kind is necessary. Here is the critical point for the
scientific worth of his doctrine. 'Now at last,' cries Puritanism, 'the
great apostle is about to become even as one of us; there is no issue
for him now, but the issue we have always declared he finds. He has
recourse to our theurgy of election, justification, substitution, and
imputed righteousness.' We will proceed to show that Paul has recourse
to nothing of the kind.


We have seen how Puritanism seems to come by its religion in the first
instance theologically and from authority; Paul by his, on the other
hand, psychologically and from experience. Even the points, therefore,
in which they both meet, they have not reached in the same order or by
the same road. The miserable sense of sin from unrighteousness, the
joyful witness of a good conscience from righteousness, these are points
in which Puritanism and St. Paul meet. They are facts of human nature
and can be verified by science. But whereas Puritanism, so far as
science is concerned, ends with these facts, and rests the whole weight
of its antecedent theurgy upon the witness to it they offer, Paul begins
with these facts, and has not yet, so far as we have followed him,
called upon them to prove anything but themselves. The scientific
difference, as we have already remarked, which this establishes between
Paul and Puritanism is immense, and is all in Paul's favour. Sin and
righteousness, together with their eternal accompaniments of fear and
hope, misery and happiness, can prove themselves; but they can by no
means prove, also, Puritanism's history of original sin, election and

Puritanism is fond of maintaining, indeed, that Paul's doctrines derive
their sanction, not from any agreement with science and experience, but
from his miraculous conversion, and that this conversion it was which in
his own judgment gave to them their authority. But whatever sanction the
miracle of his conversion may in his own eyes have lent to the doctrines
afterwards propounded by Paul, it is clear that, for science, his
conversion adds to his doctrines no force at all which they do not
already possess in themselves. Paul's conversion is for science an event
of precisely the same nature as the conversions of which the history of
Methodism relates so many; events described, for the most part, just as
the event of Paul's conversion is described, with perfect good faith,
and which we may perfectly admit to have happened just in the manner
related, without on that account attributing to those who underwent them
any source of certitude for a scheme of doctrine which this doctrine
does not on other and better grounds possess.

Surely this proposition has only to be clearly stated in order to be
self-evident. The conversion of Paul is in itself an incident of
precisely the same order as the conversion of Sampson Staniforth, a
Methodist soldier in the campaign of Fontenoy. Staniforth himself
relates his conversion as follows, in words which bear plainly marked on
them the very stamp of good faith:--

    'From twelve at night till two it was my turn to stand sentinel
    at a dangerous post. I had a fellow-sentinel, but I desired him
    to go away, which he willingly did. As soon as I was alone, I
    knelt down and determined not to rise, but to continue crying
    and wrestling with God till he had mercy on me. How long I was
    in that agony I cannot tell; but as I looked up to heaven I saw
    the clouds open exceeding bright, and I saw Jesus hanging on the
    cross. At the same moment these words were applied to my heart:
    "Thy sins are forgiven thee." All guilt was gone, and my soul
    was filled with unutterable peace: the fear of death and hell
    was vanished away. I was filled with wonder and astonishment. I
    closed my eyes, but the impression was still the same; and for
    about ten weeks, while I was awake, let me be where I would, the
    same appearance was still before my eyes, and the same
    impression upon my heart, _Thy sins are forgiven thee_.'

Not the narrative, in the Acts, of Paul's journey to Damascus, could
more convince us, as we have said, of its own honesty. But this honesty
makes nothing, as every one will admit, for the scientific truth of any
scheme of doctrine propounded by Sampson Staniforth, which must prove
itself and its own scientific value before science can admit it.
Precisely the same is it with Paul's doctrine; and we repeat, therefore,
that he and his doctrine have herein a great advantage over Puritanism,
in that, so far as we have yet followed them, they, unlike Puritanism,
rely on facts of experience and assert nothing which science cannot

We have now to see whether Paul, in passing from the undoubted facts of
experience, with which he begins, to his religion properly so called,
abandons in any essential points of his teaching the advantage with
which he started, and ends, as Puritanism commences, with a batch of
arbitrary and unscientific assumptions.

We left Paul in collision with a fact of human nature, but in itself a
sterile fact, a fact on which it is possible to dwell too long, although
Puritanism, thinking this impossible, has remained intensely absorbed in
the contemplation of it, and indeed has never properly got beyond
it,--the sense of sin. Sin is not a monster to be mused on, but an
impotence to be got rid of. All thinking about it, beyond what is
indispensable for the firm effort to get rid of it, is waste of energy
and waste of time. We then enter that element of morbid and subjective
brooding, in which so many have perished. This sense of sin, however, it
is also possible to have not strongly enough to beget the firm effort to
get rid of it, and the Greeks, with all their great gifts, had this
sense not strongly enough; its strength in the Hebrew people is one of
this people's mainsprings. And no Hebrew prophet or psalmist felt what
sin was more powerfully than Paul. 'Mine iniquities have taken hold upon
me so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of
mine head; therefore my heart faileth me.'[36] _They are more than the
hairs of mine head._ The motions of what Paul calls 'the law in our
members' are indeed a hydrabrood; when we are working against one fault,
a dozen others crop up without our expecting it; and this it is which
drives the man who deals seriously with himself to difficulty, nay to
despair. Paul did not need James to tell him that whoever offends on one
point is, so far at least as his own conscience and inward satisfaction
are concerned, guilty of all;[37] he knew it himself, and the unrest
this knowledge gave him was his very starting-point. He knew, too, that
nothing outward, no satisfaction of all the requirements men may make of
us, no privileges of any sort, can give peace of conscience;--of
conscience, 'whose praise is not of men but of God.'[38] He knew, also,
that the law of the moral order stretches beyond us and our private
conscience, is independent of our sense of having kept it, and stands
absolute and what in itself it is; even, therefore, though I may know
nothing against myself, yet this is not enough, I may still not be
just.[39] Finally, Paul knew that merely to know all this and say it,
is of no use, advances us nothing; 'the kingdom of God is not in word
but in power.'[40]

[Footnote 36: _Ps._ xl, 12.]

[Footnote 37: _James_, ii, 10.]

[Footnote 38: _Rom._, ii, 29.]

[Footnote 39: I _Cor._, iv, 4.]

[Footnote 40: _Ibid._, 20.]

We have several times said that the Hebrew race apprehended God,--the
universal order by which all things fulfil the law of their
being,--chiefly as the moral order in human nature, and that it was
their greatness that they apprehended him as this so distinctly and
powerfully. But it is also characteristic of them, and perhaps it is
what mainly distinguishes their spirit from the spirit of mediæval
Christianity, that they constantly thought, too, of God as the source of
life and breath and all things, and of what they called 'fulness of
life' in all things. This way of thinking was common to them with the
Greeks; although, whereas the Greeks threw more delicacy and imagination
into it, the Hebrews threw more energy and vital warmth. But to the
Hebrew, as to the Greek, the gift of life, and health, and the world,
was divine, as well as the gift of morals. 'God's righteousness,'
indeed, 'standeth like the strong mountains, his judgments are like the
great deep; he is a righteous judge, strong and patient, who is provoked
every day.'[41] This is the Hebrew's first and deepest conception of
God,--as the source of the moral order. But God is also, to the Hebrew,
'our rock, which is higher than we,' the power by which we have been
'upholden ever since we were born,' that has 'fashioned us and laid his
hand upon us' and envelops us on every side, that has 'made us fearfully
and wonderfully,' and whose 'mercy is over all his works.'[42] He is
the power that 'saves both man and beast, gives them drink of his
pleasures as out of the river,' and with whom is 'the well of
life.'[43] In his speech at Athens, Paul shows how full he, too, was of
this feeling; and in the famous passage in the first chapter of the
Epistle to the Romans, where he asserts the existence of the natural
moral law, the source he assigns to this law is not merely God in
conscience, the righteous judge, but God in the world and the workings
of the world, the eternal and divine power from which all life and
wholesome energy proceed.[44]

[Footnote 41: _Ps._ xxxvi, 6; vii, 11.]

[Footnote 42: _Ps._ lxi, 2; lxii, 6; cxxxix, 5, 14; cxlv, 9.]

[Footnote 43: _Ps._ xxxvi, 6, 8, 9.]

[Footnote 44: _Rom._, i, 19-21.]

This element in which we live and move and have our being, which
stretches around and beyond the strictly moral element in us, around and
beyond the finite sphere of what is originated, measured, and controlled
by our own understanding and will,--this infinite element is very
present to Paul's thoughts, and makes a profound impression on them. By
this element we are receptive and influenced, not originative and
influencing; now, we all of us receive far more than we originate. Our
pleasure from a spring day we do not make; our pleasure, even, from an
approving conscience we do not make. And yet we feel that both the one
pleasure and the other can, and often do, work with us in a wonderful
way for our good. So we get the thought of an impulsion outside
ourselves which is at once awful and beneficent. 'No man,' as the Hebrew
psalm says, 'hath quickened his own soul.'[45] 'I know,' says Jeremiah,
'that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to
direct his steps.'[46] Most true and natural is this feeling; and the
greater men are, the more natural is this feeling to them. Great men
like Sylla and Napoleon have loved to attribute their success to their
fortune, their star; religious great men have loved to say that their
sufficiency was of God.[47] But through every great spirit runs a train
of feeling of this sort; and the power and depth which there undoubtedly
is in Calvinism, comes from Calvinism's being overwhelmed by it. Paul is
not, like Calvinism, overwhelmed by it; but it is always before his mind
and strongly agitates his thoughts. The voluntary, rational, and human
world, of righteousness, moral choice, effort, filled the first place in
his spirit. But the necessary, mystical, and divine world, of influence,
sympathy, emotion, filled the second; and he could pass naturally from
the one world to the other. The presence in Paul of this twofold feeling
acted irresistibly upon his doctrine. What he calls 'the power that
worketh in us,'[48] and that produces results transcending all our
expectations and calculations, he instinctively sought to combine with
our personal agencies of reason and conscience.

[Footnote 45: _Ps._ xxii, 29.]

[Footnote 46: _Jer._, x, 23.]

[Footnote 47: II _Cor._, iii, 5.]

[Footnote 48: _Eph._, iii, 20.]

Of such a mysterious power and its operation some clear notion may be
got by anybody who has ever had any overpowering attachment, or has
been, according to the common expression, in love. Every one knows how
being in love changes for the time a man's spiritual atmosphere, and
makes animation and buoyancy where before there was flatness and
dulness. One may even say that this is the reason why being in love is
so popular with the whole human race,--because it relieves in so
irresistible and delightful a manner the tedium or depression of
common-place human life. And not only does it change the atmosphere of
our spirits, making air, light, and movement where before was stagnation
and gloom, but it also sensibly and powerfully increases our faculties
of action. It is matter of the commonest remark how a timid man who is
in love will show courage, or an indolent man will show diligence. Nay,
a timid man who would be only the more paralysed in a moment of danger
by being told that it is his bounden duty as a man to show firmness, and
that he must be ruined and disgraced for ever if he does not, will show
firmness quite easily from being in love. An indolent man who shrinks
back from vigorous effort only the more because he is told and knows
that it is a man's business to show energy, and that it is shameful in
him if he does not, will show energy quite easily from being in love.
This, I say, we learn from the analogy of the most everyday
experience;--that a powerful attachment will give a man spirits and
confidence which he could by no means call up or command of himself; and
that in this mood he can do wonders which would not be possible to him
without it.

We have seen how Paul felt himself to be for the sake of righteousness
_apprehended_, to use his own expression, by Christ. 'I seek,' he says,
'to apprehend that for which also I am apprehended by Christ.'[49] This
for which he is thus apprehended is,--still to use his own words,--_the
righteousness of God_; not an incomplete and maimed righteousness, not a
partial and unsatisfying establishment of the law of the spirit,
dominant to-day, deposed to-morrow, effective at one or two points,
failing in a hundred; no, but an entire conformity at all points with
the divine moral order, the will of God, and, in consequence, a sense of
harmony with this order, of acceptance with God.

[Footnote 49: _Philipp._, iii, 12.]

In some points Paul had always served this order with a clear
conscience. He did not steal, he did not commit adultery. But he was at
the same time, he says himself, 'a blasphemer and a persecutor and an
insulter,'[50] and the contemplation of Jesus Christ made him see this,
impressed it forcibly upon his mind. Here was his greatness, and the
worth of his way of appropriating Christ. We have seen how Calvinism,
too,--Calvinism which has built itself upon St. Paul,--is a blasphemer,
when it speaks of good works done by those who do not hold the Calvinist
doctrine. There would need no great sensitiveness of conscience, one
would think, to show that Calvinism has often been, also, a persecutor,
and an insulter. Calvinism, as well as Paul, professes to study Jesus
Christ. But the difference between Paul's study of Christ and
Calvinism's is this: that Paul by studying Christ got to know himself
clearly, and to transform his narrow conception of righteousness; while
Calvinism studies both Christ and Paul after him to no such good

[Footnote 50: I _Tim._, i, 13.]

These, however, are but the veriest rudiments of the history of Paul's
gain from Jesus Christ, as the particular impression mentioned is but
the veriest fragment of the total impression produced by the
contemplation of Christ upon him. The sum and substance of that total
impression may best be conveyed by two words,--_without sin_.

We must here revert to what we have already said of the importance, for
sound criticism of a man's ideas, of the order in which his ideas come.
For us, who approach Christianity through a scholastic theology, it is
Christ's divinity which establishes his being without sin. For Paul, who
approached Christianity through his personal experience, it was Jesus
Christ's being without sin which establishes his divinity. The large and
complete conception of righteousness to which he himself had slowly and
late, and only by Jesus Christ's help, awakened, in Jesus he seemed to
see existing absolutely and naturally. The devotion to this conception
which made it meat and drink to carry it into effect, a devotion of
which he himself was strongly and deeply conscious, he saw in Jesus
still stronger, by far, and deeper than in himself. But for attaining
the righteousness of God, for reaching an absolute conformity with the
moral order and with God's will, he saw no such impotence existing in
Jesus Christ's case as in his own. For Jesus, the uncertain conflict
between the law in our members and the law of the spirit did not appear
to exist. Those eternal vicissitudes of victory and defeat, which drove
Paul to despair, in Jesus were absent. Smoothly and inevitably he
followed the real and eternal order, in preference to the momentary and
apparent order. Obstacles outside him there were plenty, but obstacles
within him there were none. He was led by the spirit of God; he was dead
to sin, he lived to God; and in this life to God he persevered even to
the cruel bodily death of the cross. As many as are led by the spirit of
God, says Paul, are the sons of God.[51] If this is so with even us,
who live to God so feebly and who render such an imperfect obedience,
how much more is he who lives to God entirely and who renders an
unalterable obedience, the unique and only Son of God?

[Footnote 51: _Rom._, viii, 14.]

This is undoubtedly the main line of movement which Paul's ideas
respecting Jesus Christ follow. He had been trained, however, in the
scholastic theology of Judaism, just as we are trained in the scholastic
theology of Christianity; would that we were as little embarrassed with
our training as he was with his! The Jewish theological doctrine
respecting the eternal word or wisdom of God, which was with God from
the beginning before the oldest of his works, and through which the
world was created, this doctrine, which appears in the Book of Proverbs
and again in the Book of Wisdom,[52] Paul applied to Jesus Christ, and
in the Epistle to the Colossians there is a remarkable passage[53] with
clear signs of his thus applying it. But then this metaphysical and
theological basis to the historic being of Jesus is something added by
Paul from outside to his own essential ideas concerning him, something
which fitted them and was naturally taken on to them; it is secondary,
it is not an original part of his system, much less the ground of it. It
fills a very different place in his system from the place which it fills
in the system of the author of the Fourth Gospel, who takes his
starting-point from it. Paul's starting-point, it cannot be too often
repeated, is the idea of righteousness; and his concern with Jesus is as
the clue to righteousness, not as the clue to transcendental ontology.
Speculations in this region had no overpowering attraction for Paul,
notwithstanding the traces of an acquaintance with them which we find in
his writings, and notwithstanding the great activity of his intellect.
This activity threw itself with an unerring instinct into a sphere
where, with whatever travail and through whatever impediments to clear
expression, directly practical religious results might yet be won, and
not into any sphere of abstract speculation.

[Footnote 52: _Prov._, viii, 22-31; and _Wisd._, vii, 25-27.]

[Footnote 53: _Col._, i, 15-17.]

Much more visible and important than his identification of Jesus with
the divine hypostasis known as the Logos, is Paul's identification of
him with the Messiah. Ever present is his recognition of him as the
Messiah to whom all the law and prophets pointed, of whom the heart of
the Jewish race was full, and on whom the Jewish instructors of Paul's
youth had dwelt abundantly. The Jewish language and ideas respecting the
end of the world and the Messiah's kingdom, his day, his presence, his
appearing, his glory, Paul applied to Jesus, and constantly used. Of the
force and reality which these ideas and expressions had for him there
can be no question; as to his use of them, only two remarks are needed.
One is, that in him these Jewish ideas,--as any one will feel who calls
to mind a genuine display of them like that in the Apocalypse,--are
spiritualised; and as he advances in his course they are spiritualised
increasingly. The other remark is, that important as these ideas are in
Paul, of them, too, the importance is only secondary, compared with that
of the great central matter of his thoughts: _the righteousness of God,
the non-fulfilment of it by man, the fulfilment of it by Christ_.

Once more we are led to a result favourable to the scientific value of
Paul's teaching. That Jesus Christ was the divine Logos, the second
person of the Trinity, science can neither deny nor affirm. That he was
the Jewish Messiah, who will some day appear in the sky with the sound
of trumpets, to put an end to the actual kingdoms of the world and to
establish his own kingdom, science can neither deny nor affirm. The very
terms of which these propositions are composed are such as science is
unable to handle. But that the Jesus of the Bible follows the universal
moral order and the will of God, without being let and hindered as we
are by the motions of private passion and by self-will, this is evident
to whoever can read the Bible with open eyes. It is just what any
criticism of the Gospel-history, which sees that history as it really
is, tells us; it is the scientific result of that history. And this is
the result which pre-eminently occupies Paul. Of Christ's life and
death, the all-importance for us, according to Paul, is that by means of
them, 'denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly;' should be enabled to 'bear fruit to God' in
'love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness,
self-control.'[54] Of Christ's life and death the scope was 'to redeem
us from all iniquity, and make us purely zealous for good works.'[55]
Paul says by way of preface, that we are to live thus in the actual
world which now is, 'with the expectation of the appearing of the glory
of God and Christ.'[56] By nature and habit, and with his full belief
that the end of the world was nigh at hand, Paul used these words to
mean a Messianic coming and kingdom. Later Christianity has transferred
them, as it has transferred so much else of Paul's, to a life beyond the
grave, but it has by no means spiritualised them. Paul, as his spiritual
growth advanced, spiritualised them more and more; he came to think, in
using them, more and more of a gradual inward transformation of the
world by a conformity like Christ's to the will of God, than of a
Messianic advent. Yet even then they are always second with him, and not
first; the essence of saving grace is always to make us righteous, to
bring us into conformity with the divine law, to enable us to 'bear
fruit to God.'

[Footnote 54: _Tit._, ii, 12; _Rom._, vii, 4; _Gal._, v, 22, 23.]

[Footnote 55: _Tit._, ii, 14.]

[Footnote 56: _Ibid._, 13.]

'Jesus Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from
iniquity.' First of all, he rendered an unbroken obedience to the law of
the spirit; he served the spirit of God; he came, not to do his own
will, but the will of God. Now, the law of the spirit makes men one; it
is only by the law in our members that we are many. Secondly, therefore,
Jesus Christ had an unfailing sense of what we have called, using an
expressive modern term, the _solidarity_ of men: that it was not God's
will that one of his human creatures should perish. Thirdly, Jesus
Christ persevered in this uninterrupted obedience to the law of the
spirit, in this unfailing sense of human solidarity, even to the death;
though everything befell him which might break the one or tire out the
other. Lastly, he had in himself, in all he said and did, that ineffable
force of attraction which doubled the virtue of everything said or done
by him.

If ever there was a case in which the wonder-working power of
attachment, in a man for whom the moral sympathies and the desire of
righteousness were all-powerful, might employ itself and work its
wonders, it was here. Paul felt this power penetrate him; and he felt,
also, how by perfectly identifying himself through it with Jesus, and in
no other way, could he ever get the confidence and the force to do as
Jesus did. He thus found a point in which the mighty world outside man,
and the weak world inside him, seemed to combine for his salvation. The
struggling stream of duty, which had not volume enough to bear him to
his goal, was suddenly reinforced by the immense tidal wave of sympathy
and emotion.

To this new and potent influence Paul gave the name of _faith_. More
fully he calls it: 'Faith that worketh _through love_.'[57] The word
_faith_ points, no doubt, to 'coming by hearing,' and has possibly a
reminiscence, for Paul, of his not having with his own waking eyes, like
the original disciples, seen Jesus, and of his special mission being to
Gentiles who had not seen Jesus either. But the essential meaning of the
word is 'power of holding on to the unseen,' 'fidelity.' Other
attachments demand fidelity in absence to an object which, at some time
or other, nevertheless, has been seen; this attachment demands fidelity
to an object which both is absent and has never been seen by us. It is
therefore rightly called not constancy, but faith; a power,
pre-eminently, of _holding fast to an unseen power of goodness_.
Identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ through this attachment we
become as he was. We live with his thoughts and feelings, and we
participate, therefore, in his freedom from the ruinous law in our
members, in his obedience to the saving law of the spirit, in his
conformity to the eternal order, in the joy and peace of his life to
God. 'The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,' says Paul, 'freed
me from the law of sin and death.'[58] This is what is done for us by

[Footnote 57: _Gal._, v, 6.]

[Footnote 58: _Rom._, viii, 2.]

It is evident that some difficulty arises out of Paul's adding to the
general sense of the word faith,--_a holding fast to an unseen power of
goodness_,--a particular sense of his own,--_identification with
Christ_. It will at once appear that this faith of Paul's is in truth a
specific form of holding fast to an unseen power of goodness; and that
while it can properly be said of Abraham, for instance, that he was
justified by faith, if we take faith in its plain sense of holding fast
to an unseen power of goodness, yet it cannot without difficulty and
recourse to a strained figure be said of him, if we take faith in Paul's
specific sense of identification with Christ. Paul however, undoubtedly,
having conveyed his new specific sense into the word faith, still uses
the word in all cases where, without this specific sense, it was before
applicable and usual; and in this way he often creates ambiguity. Why,
it may be asked, does Paul, instead of employing a special term to
denote his special meaning, still thus employ the general term faith? We
are inclined to think it was from that desire to get for his words and
thoughts not only the real but also the apparent sanction and
consecration of the Hebrew Scriptures, which we have called his tendency
to Judaise. It was written of the founder of Israel, Abraham, that he
_believed_ God and it was counted to him for righteousness. The prophet
Habakkuk had the famous text: 'The just shall live by _faith_.'[59]
Jesus, too, had used and sanctioned the use of the word _faith_ to
signify cleaving to the unseen God's power of goodness as shown in
Christ.[60] Peter and John and the other apostles habitually used the
word in the same sense, with the modification introduced by Christ's
departure. This was enough to make Paul retain for that vital operation,
which was the heart of his whole religious system, the name of faith,
though he had considerably developed and enlarged the name's usual
meaning. Fraught with this new and developed sense, the term does not
always quite well suit the cases to which it was in its old sense, with
perfect propriety, applied; this, however, Paul did not regard. The term
applied with undeniable truth, though not with perfect adequacy, to the
great spiritual operation whereto he affixed it; and it was at the same
time the name given to the crowning grace of the great father of the
Jewish nation, Abraham; it was the prophet Habakkuk's talismanic and
consecrated term, _faith_.

[Footnote 59: _Gen._, xv, 6; _Habakkuk_, ii, 4.]

[Footnote 60: _Mark_, xi, 22.]

In this word _faith_, as used by St. Paul,[61] we reach a point round
which the ceaseless stream of religious exposition and discussion has
for ages circled. Even for those who misconceive Paul's line of ideas
most completely, faith is so evidently the central point in his system
that their thoughts cannot but centre upon it. Puritanism, as is well
known, has talked of little else but faith. And the word is of such a
nature, that, the true clue once lost which Paul has given us to its
meaning, every man may put into it almost anything he likes, all the
fancies of his superstition or of his fanaticism. To say, therefore,
that to have faith in Christ means to be attached to Christ, to embrace
Christ, to be identified with Christ, is not enough; the question is, to
be attached to him _how_, to embrace him _how_?

[Footnote 61: With secondary uses of the word, such as its use with
the article, '_the_ faith,' in expressions like 'the words of the
faith,' to signify the body of tenets and principles received by
believers from the apostle, we need not here concern ourselves. They
present no difficulty.]

A favourite expression of popular theology conveys perfectly the popular
definition of faith: _to rest in the finished work of the Saviour_. In
the scientific language of Protestant theology, to embrace Christ, to
have saving faith, is 'to give our consent heartily to the covenant of
grace, and so to receive the benefit of justification, whereby God
pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous for the righteousness
of Christ imputed to us.' This is mere theurgy, in which, so far as we
have yet gone, we have not found Paul dealing. Wesley, with his genius
for godliness, struggled all his life for some deeper and more edifying
account of that faith, which he felt working wonders in his own soul,
than that it was a hearty consent to the covenant of grace and an
acceptance of the benefit of Christ's imputed righteousness. Yet this
amiable and gracious spirit, but intellectually slight and shallow
compared to Paul, beat his wings in vain. Paul, nevertheless, had solved
the problem for him, if only he could have had eyes to see Paul's

'He that believes in Christ,' says Wesley, 'discerns spiritual things:
he is enabled to taste, see, hear, and feel God.' There is nothing
practical and solid here. A company of Cornish revivalists will have no
difficulty in tasting, seeing, hearing, and feeling God, twenty times
over, to-night, and yet may be none the better for it to-morrow morning.
When Paul said, _In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything
nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh through love; Have faith in
Christ!_ these words did not mean for him: 'Give your hearty belief and
consent to the covenant of grace; Accept the offered benefit of
justification through Christ's imputed righteousness.' They did not
mean: 'Try and discern spiritual things, try and taste, see, hear, and
feel God.' They did not mean: 'Rest in the finished work of Christ the
Saviour.' No, they meant: _Die with him!_

The object of this treatise is not religious edification, but the true
criticism of a great and misunderstood author. Yet it is impossible to
be in presence of this Pauline conception of faith without remarking on
the incomparable power of edification which it contains. It is indeed a
crowning evidence of that piercing practical religious sense which we
have attributed to Paul. It is at once mystical and rational; and it
enlists in its service the best forces of both worlds,--the world of
reason and morals, and the world of sympathy and emotion. The world of
reason and duty has an excellent clue to action, but wants motive-power;
the world of sympathy and influence has an irresistible force of
motive-power, but wants a clue for directing its exertion. The danger of
the one world is weariness in well-doing; the danger of the other is
sterile raptures and immoral fanaticism. Paul takes from both worlds
what can help him, and leaves what cannot. The elemental power of
sympathy and emotion in us, a power which extends beyond the limits of
our own will and conscious activity, which we cannot measure and
control, and which in each of us differs immensely in force, volume, and
mode of manifestation, he calls into full play, and sets it to work with
all its strength and in all its variety. But one unalterable object is
assigned by him to this power: _to die with Christ to the law of the
flesh, to live with Christ to the law of the mind_.

This is the doctrine of the _necrosis_,[62]--Paul's central doctrine,
and the doctrine which makes his profoundness and originality. His
repeated and minute lists of practices and feelings to be followed or
suppressed, now take a heightened significance. They were the matter by
which his faith tried itself and knew itself. Those multitudinous
motions of appetite and self-will which reason and conscience
disapproved, reason and conscience could yet not govern, and had to
yield to them. This, as we have seen, is what drove Paul almost to
despair. Well, then, how did Paul's faith, working through love, help
him here? It enabled him to reinforce duty by affection. In the central
need of his nature, the desire to govern these motions of
unrighteousness, it enabled him to say: _Die to them! Christ did._ If
any man be in Christ, said Paul--that is, if any man identifies himself
with Christ by attachment so that he enters into his feelings and lives
with his life,--he is a new creature;[63] he can do, and does, what
Christ did. First, he suffers with him. Christ throughout his life and
in his death presented his body a living sacrifice to God; every
self-willed impulse blindly trying to assert itself without respect of
the universal order, he died to. You, says Paul to his disciple, are to
do the same. Never mind how various and multitudinous the impulses are;
impulses to intemperance, concupiscence, covetousness, pride, sloth,
envy, malignity, anger, clamour, bitterness, harshness, unmercifulness.
Die to them all, and to each as it comes! Christ did. If you cannot,
your attachment, your faith, must be one that goes but a very little
way. In an ordinary human attachment, out of love to a woman, out of
love to a friend, out of love to a child, you can suppress quite easily,
because by sympathy you enter into their feelings, this or that impulse
of selfishness which happens to conflict with them, and which hitherto
you have obeyed. _All_ impulses of selfishness conflict with Christ's
feelings, he showed it by dying to them all; if you are one with him by
faith and sympathy, you can die to them also. Then, secondly, if you
thus die with him, you become transformed by the renewing of your mind,
and rise with him. The law of the spirit of life which is in Christ
becomes the law of your life also, and frees you from the law of sin and
death. You rise with him to that harmonious conformity with the real and
eternal order, that sense of pleasing God who trieth the hearts, which
is life and peace, and which grows more and more till it becomes glory.
If you suffer with him, therefore, you shall also be glorified with him.

[Footnote 62: II _Cor._, iv, 10.]

[Footnote 63: II _Cor._, v, 17.]

The real worth of this mystical conception depends on the fitness of the
character and history of Jesus Christ for inspiring such an enthusiasm
of attachment and devotion as that which Paul's notion of faith implies.
If the character and history are eminently such as to inspire it, then
Paul has no doubt found a mighty aid towards the attainment of that
righteousness of which Jesus Christ's life afforded the admirable
pattern. A great solicitude is always shown by popular Christianity to
establish a radical difference between Jesus and a teacher, like
Socrates. Ordinary theologians establish this difference by
transcendental distinctions into which science cannot follow them. But
what makes for science the radical difference between Jesus and
Socrates, is that such a conception as Paul's would, if applied to
Socrates, be out of place and ineffective. Socrates inspired boundless
friendship and esteem; but the inspiration of reason and conscience is
the one inspiration which comes from him, and which impels us to live
righteously as he did. A penetrating enthusiasm of love, sympathy, pity,
adoration, reinforcing the inspiration of reason and duty, does not
belong to Socrates. With Jesus it is different. On this point it is
needless to argue; history has proved. In the midst of errors the most
prosaic, the most immoral, the most unscriptural, concerning God,
Christ, and righteousness, the immense emotion of love and sympathy
inspired by the person and character of Jesus has had to work almost by
itself alone for righteousness; and it has worked wonders. The
surpassing religious grandeur of Paul's conception of faith is that it
seizes a real salutary emotional force of incalculable magnitude, and
reinforces moral effort with it.

Paul's mystical conception is not complete without its relation of us to
our fellow-men, as well as its relation of us to Jesus Christ. Whoever
identifies himself with Christ, identifies himself with Christ's idea of
the solidarity of men. The whole race is conceived as one body, having
to die and rise with Christ, and forming by the joint action of its
regenerate members the mystical body of Christ. Hence the truth of that
which Bishop Wilson says: 'It is not so much our neighbour's interest as
our own that we love him.' Jesus Christ's life, with which we by faith
identify ourselves, is not complete, his aspiration after the eternal
order is not satisfied, so long as only Jesus himself follows this
order, or only this or that individual amongst us men follows it. The
same law of emotion and sympathy, therefore, which prevails in our
inward self-discipline, is to prevail in our dealings with others. The
motions of sin in ourselves we succeed in mortifying, not by saying to
ourselves that they are sinful, but by sympathy with Christ in his
mortification of them. In like manner, our duties towards our neighbour
we perform, not in deference to external commands and prohibitions, but
through identifying ourselves with him by sympathy with Christ who
identified himself with him. Therefore, we owe no man anything but to
love one another; and he who loves his neighbour fulfils the law towards
him, because he seeks to do him good and forbears to do him harm just as
if he was himself.

Mr. Lecky cannot see that the command to speak the truth to one's
neighbour is a command which has a natural sanction. But according to
these Pauline ideas it has a clear natural sanction. For, if my
neighbour is merely an extension of myself, deceiving my neighbour is
the same as deceiving myself; and than self-deceit there is nothing by
nature more baneful. And on this ground Paul puts the injunction. He
says: 'Speak every man truth to his neighbour, _for_ we are members one
of another.'[64] This direction to identify ourselves in Jesus Christ
with our neighbours is hard and startling, no doubt, like the direction
to identify ourselves with Jesus and die with him. But it is also, like
that direction, inspiring; and not, like a set of mere mechanical
commands and prohibitions, lifeless and unaiding. It shows a profound
practical religious sense, and rests upon facts of human nature which
experience can follow and appreciate.

[Footnote 64: _Eph._, iv, 25.]

The three essential terms of Pauline theology are not, therefore, as
popular theology makes them: _calling_, _justification_,
_sanctification_. They are rather these: _dying with Christ_,
_resurrection from the dead_, _growing into Christ_.[65] The order in
which these terms are placed indicates, what we have already pointed out
elsewhere, the true Pauline sense of the expression, _resurrection from
the dead_. In Paul's ideas the expression has no essential connexion
with physical death. It is true, popular theology connects it with this
almost exclusively, and regards any other use of it as purely figurative
and secondary. For popular theology, Christ's resurrection is his bodily
resurrection on earth after his physical death on the cross; the
believer's resurrection is his bodily resurrection in a future world,
the golden city of our hymns and of the Apocalypse. For this theology,
the force of Christ's resurrection is that it is a miracle which
guarantees the promised future miracle of our own resurrection. It is a
common remark with Biblical critics, even with able and candid Biblical
critics, that Christ's resurrection, in this sense of a physical
miracle, is the central object of Paul's thoughts and the foundation of
all his theology. Nay, the preoccupation with this idea has altered the
very text of our documents; so that whereas Paul wrote, 'Christ died and
lived,' we read, 'Christ died and rose again and revived.'[66] But
whoever has carefully followed Paul's line of thought as we have
endeavoured to trace it, will see that in his mature theology, as the
Epistle to the Romans exhibits it, it cannot be this physical and
miraculous aspect of the resurrection which holds the first place in his
mind; for under this aspect the resurrection does not fit in with the
ideas which he is developing.

[Footnote 65: +apothanein syn Christô+, _Col._, ii, 20; +exanastasis
ek nekrôn+, _Philipp._, iii, 11; +auxêsis eis Christon+, _Eph._, iv,

[Footnote 66: _Rom._, xiv, 9.]

Not for a moment do we deny that in Paul's earlier theology, and notably
in the Epistles to the Thessalonians and Corinthians, the physical and
miraculous aspect of the resurrection, both Christ's and the believer's,
is primary and predominant. Not for a moment do we deny that to the very
end of his life, after the Epistle to the Romans, after the Epistle to
the Philippians, if he had been asked whether he held the doctrine of
the resurrection in the physical and miraculous sense, as well as in his
own spiritual and mystical sense, he would have replied with entire
conviction that he did. Very likely it would have been impossible to him
to imagine his theology without it. But:--

    Below the surface-stream, shallow and light,
    Of what we _say_ we feel--below the stream,
    As light, of what we _think_ we feel--there flows
    With noiseless current strong, obscure and deep,
    The central stream of what we feel indeed;

and by this alone are we truly characterised. Paul's originality lies in
the effort to find a moral side and significance for all the processes,
however mystical, of the religious life, with a view of strengthening,
in this way, their hold upon us and their command of all our nature.
Sooner or later he was sure to be drawn to treat the process of
resurrection with this endeavour. He did so treat it; and what is
original and essential in him is his doing so.

Paul's conception of life and death inevitably came to govern his
conception of resurrection. What indeed, as we have seen, is for Paul
life, and what is death? Not the ordinary physical life and death.
Death, for him, is living after the flesh, obedience to sin; life is
mortifying by the spirit the deeds of the flesh, obedience to
righteousness. Resurrection, in its essential sense, is therefore for
Paul, the rising, within the sphere of our visible earthly existence,
from death in this sense to life in this sense. It is indubitable that,
so far as the human believer's resurrection is concerned, this is so.
Else, how could Paul say to the Colossians (to take only one out of a
hundred clear texts showing the same thing): '_If ye then be risen with
Christ_, seek the things that are above.'[67] But when Paul repeats
again and again, in the Epistle to the Romans, that the matter of our
faith is 'that God raised Jesus from the dead,' the essential meaning of
this resurrection, also, is just the same. Real life for Paul, begins
with the mystical death which frees us from the dominion of the external
_shalls_ and _shall nots_ of the law.[68] From the moment, therefore,
that Jesus Christ was content to do God's will, he died. Paul's point
is, that Jesus Christ in his earthly existence obeyed the law of the
spirit and bore fruit to God; and that the believer should, in his
earthly existence, do the same. That Christ 'died to sin,' that he
'pleased not himself,' and that, consequently, through all his life
here, he was risen and living to God, is what occupies Paul. Christ's
physical resurrection after he was crucified is neither in point of time
nor in point of character the resurrection on which Paul, following his
essential line of thought, wanted to fix the believer's mind. The
resurrection Paul was striving after for himself and others was a
resurrection _now_, and a resurrection to _righteousness_.[69]

[Footnote 67: _Col._, iii, 1.]

[Footnote 68: See _Rom._, vii, 1-6.]

[Footnote 69: It has been said that this was the error of Hymenæus
and Philetas (II _Tim._, ii, 17). It might be rejoined, with much
plausibility, that their error was the error of popular theology,
the fixing the attention on the past miracle of Christ's physical
resurrection, and losing sight of the continuing miracle of the
Christian's spiritual resurrection. Probably, however, Hymenæus and
Philetas controverted some of Paul's tenets respecting the
approaching Messianic advent and the resurrection then to take place
(I _Thess._, iv, 13-17). If they rejected these tenets, they were
right where Paul was wrong. But if they disputed and separated on
account of them, they were _heretics_; that is, they had their
hearts and minds full of a speculative contention, instead of their
proper chief-concern,--_putting on the new man_, and the imitation
of Christ.]

But Jesus Christ's obeying God and not pleasing himself culminated in
his death on the cross. All through his career, indeed, Jesus Christ
pleased not himself and died to sin. But so smoothly and so inevitably,
as we have before said, did he always appear to follow that law of the
moral order, which to us it costs such effort to obey, that only in the
very wrench and pressure of his violent death did any pain of dying, any
conflict between the law of the flesh and the law of the spirit, in
Christ become visible. But the Christian needs to find in Christ's dying
to sin a fellowship of suffering and a conformity of death. Well, then,
the point of Christ's trial and crucifixion is the only point in his
career where the Christian can palpably touch what he seeks. In all
dying there is struggle and weakness; in our dying to sin there is great
struggle and weakness. But only in his crucifixion can we see, in Jesus
Christ, a place for struggle and weakness.[70] That self-sacrificing
obedience of Jesus Christ's whole life, which was summed up in this
great, final act of his crucifixion, and which is palpable as sacrifice,
obedience, dolorous effort, only there, is, therefore, constantly
regarded by Paul under the figure of this final act, as is also the
believer's conformity to Christ's obedience. The believer is crucified
with Christ when he mortifies by the spirit the deeds of
unrighteousness; Christ was crucified when he pleased not himself, and
came to do not his own will but God's.

[Footnote 70: +estaurôthê ex astheneias+, II _Cor._, xiii, 4.]

It is the same with life as with death; it turns on no physical event,
but on that central concern of Paul's thoughts, righteousness. If we
have the spirit of Christ, we live, as he did, by the spirit, 'serve the
spirit of God,'[71] and follow the eternal order. The spirit of God,
the spirit of Christ is the same,--the one eternal moral order. If we
are led by the spirit of God we are the sons of God, and share with
Christ the heritage of the sons of God,--eternal life, peace, felicity,
glory. The spirit, therefore, is life _because of righteousness_. And
when, through identifying ourselves with Christ, we reach Christ's
righteousness, then eternal life begins for us;--a continuous and
ascending life, for the eternal order never dies, and the more we
transform ourselves into servants of righteousness and organs of the
eternal order, the more we are and desire to be this eternal order and
nothing else. Even in this life we are 'seated in heavenly places,'[72]
as Christ is; so entirely, for Paul, is righteousness the true life and
the true heaven. But the transformation cannot be completed here; the
physical death is regarded by Paul as a stage at which it ceases to be
impeded. However, at this stage we quit, as he himself says, the ground
of experience and enter upon the ground of hope. But, by a sublime
analogy, he fetches from the travail of the whole universe proof of the
necessity and beneficence of the law of transformation. Jesus Christ
entered into his glory when he had made his physical death itself a
crowning witness to his obedience to righteousness; we, in like manner,
within the limits of this earthly life and before we have yet persevered
to the end, must not look for full adoption, for the glorious revelation
in us of the sons of God.[73]

[Footnote 71: According to the true reading in _Philipp._, iii, 3.]

[Footnote 72: _Eph._, ii, 6.]

[Footnote 73: _Rom._, viii, 18-25.]

That Paul, as we have said, accepted the physical miracle of Christ's
resurrection and ascension as a part of the signs and wonders which
accompanied Christianity, there can be no doubt. Just in the same manner
he accepted the eschatology, as it is called, of his nation,--their
doctrine of the final things and of the summons by a trumpet in the sky
to judgment; he accepted Satan, hierarchies of angels, and an
approaching end of the world. What we deny is, that his acceptance of
the former gives to his teaching its essential characters, any more than
his acceptance of the latter. We should but be continuing, with strict
logical development, Paul's essential line of thought, if we said that
the true ascension and glorified reign of Christ was the triumph and
reign of his spirit, of his real life, far more operative after his
death on the cross than before it; and that in this sense, most truly,
he and all who persevere to the end as he did are 'sown in weakness but
raised in power.' Paul himself, however, did not distinctly continue his
thought thus, and neither will we do so for him. How far Paul himself
knew that he had gone in his irresistible bent to find, for each of the
data of his religion, that side of moral and spiritual significance
which, as a mere sign and wonder, it had not and could not have,--what
data he himself was conscious of having transferred, through following
this bent, from the first rank in importance to the second,--we cannot
know with any certainty. That the bent existed, that Paul felt it
existed, and that it establishes a wide difference between the earliest
epistles and the latest, is beyond question. Already, in the Second
Epistle to the Corinthians, he declares that, 'though he had known
Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth he knew him so no more;'[74] and
in the Epistle to the Romans, shortly afterwards, he rejects the notion
of dwelling on the miraculous Christ, on the descent into hell and on
the ascent into heaven, and fixes the believer's attention solely on the
faith of Christ and on the effects produced by an acquaintance with
it.[75] In the same Epistle, in like manner, the kingdom of God, of
which to the Thessalonians he described the advent in such materialising
and popularly Judaic language, has become 'righteousness, and peace, and
joy in the holy spirit.'[76]

[Footnote 74: II _Cor._, v, 16.]

[Footnote 75: _Rom._, x, 6-10.]

[Footnote 76: _Rom._, xiv, 17.]

These ideas, we repeat, may never have excluded others, which absorbed
the most part of Paul's contemporaries as they absorb popular religion
at this day. To popular religion, the real kingdom of God is the New
Jerusalem with its jaspers and emeralds; righteousness and peace and joy
are only the kingdom of God figuratively. The real sitting in heavenly
places is the sitting on thrones in a land of pure delight after we are
dead; serving the spirit of God is only sitting in heavenly places
figuratively. Science exactly reverses this process. For science, the
spiritual notion is the real one, the material notion is figurative. The
astonishing greatness of Paul is, that, coming when and where and whence
he did, he yet grasped the spiritual notion, if not exclusively and
fully, yet firmly and predominantly; more and more predominantly through
all the last years of his life. And what makes him original and himself,
is not what he shares with his contemporaries and with modern popular
religion, but this which he develops of his own; and this which he
develops of his own is just of a nature to make his religion a theology
instead of a theurgy, and at bottom a scientific instead of a
non-scientific structure. 'Die and come to life!' says Goethe,--an
unsuspected witness, assuredly, to the psychological and scientific
profoundness of Paul's conception of life and death:--'Die and come to
life! for, so long as this is not accomplished, thou art but a troubled
guest upon an earth of gloom.'[77]

[Footnote 77: Stirb und werde!
              Denn so lang du das nicht hast,
              Bist du nur ein trüber Gast
              Auf der dunkeln Erde.]

The three cardinal points in Paul's theology are not therefore, we
repeat, those commonly assigned by Puritanism, _calling_,
_justification_, _sanctification_; but they are these: _dying with
Christ_, _resurrection from the dead_, _growing into Christ_. And we
will venture, moreover, to affirm that the more the Epistle to the
Romans is read and re-read with a clear mind, the more will the
conviction strengthen, that the sense indicated by the order in which we
here class the second main term of Paul's conception, is the essential
sense which Paul himself attaches to this term, in every single place
where in that Epistle he has used it. Not tradition and not theory, but
a simple impartial study of the development of Paul's central line of
thought, brings us to the conclusion, that from the very outset of the
Epistle, where Paul speaks of Christ as 'declared to be the son of God
with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the
dead,'[78] to the very end, the essential sense in which Paul uses the
term _resurrection_ is that of a rising, in this visible earthly
existence, from the death of obedience to blind selfish impulse, to the
life of obedience to the eternal moral order;--in Christ's case first,
as the pattern for us to follow; in the believer's case afterwards, as
following Christ's pattern through identifying himself with him.

[Footnote 78: _Rom._, i, 4.]

We have thus reached Paul's fundamental conception without even a
glimpse of the fundamental conceptions of Puritanism, which,
nevertheless, professes to have learnt its doctrine from St. Paul and
from his Epistle to the Romans. Once, for a moment, the term _faith_
brought us in contact with the doctrine of Puritanism, but only to see
that the essential sense given to this word by Paul Puritanism had
missed entirely. Other parts, then, of the Epistle to the Romans than
those by which we have been occupied must have chiefly fixed the
attention of Puritanism. And so it has in truth been. Yet the parts of
the Epistle to the Romans that have occupied us are undoubtedly the
parts which not our own theories and inclinations,--for we have
approached the matter without any,--but an impartial criticism of Paul's
real line of thought, must elevate as the most important. If a somewhat
pedantic form of expression may be forgiven for the sake of clearness,
we may say that of the eleven first chapters of the Epistle to the
Romans,--the chapters which convey Paul's theology, though not, as we
have seen, with any scholastic purpose or in any formal scientific mode
of exposition,--of these eleven chapters, the first, second, and third
are, in a scale of importance fixed by a scientific criticism of Paul's
line of thought, sub-primary; the fourth and fifth are secondary; the
sixth and eighth are primary; the seventh chapter is sub-primary; the
ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters are secondary. Furthermore, to the
contents of the separate chapters themselves this scale must be carried
on, so far as to mark that of the two great primary chapters, the sixth
and the eighth, the eighth is primary down only to the end of the
twenty-eighth verse; from thence to the end it is, however eloquent, yet
for the purpose of a scientific criticism of Paul's essential theology,
only secondary.

The first chapter is to the Gentiles. Its purport is: You have not
righteousness. The second is to the Jews; and its purport is: No more
have you, though you think you have. The third chapter announces faith
in Christ as the one source of righteousness for all men. The fourth
chapter gives to the notion of righteousness through faith the sanction
of the Old Testament and of the history of Abraham. The fifth insists on
the causes for thankfulness and exultation in the boon of righteousness
through faith in Christ; and applies illustratively, with this design,
the history of Adam. The sixth chapter comes to the all-important
question: 'What _is_ that faith in Christ which I, Paul, mean?'--and
answers it. The seventh illustrates and explains the answer. But the
eighth, down to the end of the twenty-eighth verse, develops and
completes the answer. The rest of the eighth chapter expresses the sense
of safety and gratitude which the solution is fitted to inspire. The
ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters uphold the second chapter's
thesis,--so hard to a Jew, so easy to us,--that righteousness is not by
the Jewish law; but dwell with hope and joy on a final result of things
which is to be favourable to Israel.

We shall be pardoned this somewhat formal analysis in consideration of
the clearness with which it enables us to survey the Puritan scheme of
original sin, predestination, and justification. The historical
transgression of Adam occupies, it will be observed, in Paul's ideas by
no means the primary, fundamental, all-important place which it holds in
the ideas of Puritanism. 'This' (the transgression of Adam) 'is our
original sin, the bitter root of all our actual transgressions in
thought, word, and deed.' Ah, no! Paul did not go to the Book of Genesis
to get the real testimony about sin. He went to experience for it. '_I
see_,' he says, 'a law in my members fighting against the law of my
mind, and bringing me into captivity.'[79] This is the essential
testimony respecting the rise of sin to Paul,--this rise of it in his
own heart and in the heart of all the men who hear him. At quite a later
stage in his conception of the religious life, in quite a subordinate
capacity, and for the mere purpose of illustration, comes in the
allusion to Adam and to what is called original sin. Paul's desire for
righteousness has carried him to Christ and to the conception of the
righteousness which is of God by faith, and he is expressing his
gratitude, delight, wonder, at the boon he has discovered. For the
purpose of exalting it he reverts to the well-known story of Adam. It
cannot even be said that Paul Judaises in his use here of this story; so
entirely does he subordinate it to his purpose of illustration, using it
just as he might have used it had he believed, which undoubtedly he did
not, that it was merely a symbolical legend, having the advantage of
being perfectly familiar to himself and his hearers. 'Think,' he says,
'how in Adam's fall one man's one transgression involved all men in
punishment; then estimate the blessedness of our boon in Christ, where
one man's one righteousness involves a world of transgressors in
blessing![80] This is not a scientific doctrine of corruption inherited
through Adam's fall; it is a rhetorical use of Adam's fall in a passing
allusion to it.

[Footnote 79: _Rom._, vii, 23.]

[Footnote 80: _Rom._, v, 12-21.]

We come to predestination. We have seen how strong was Paul's
consciousness of that power, not ourselves, in which we live and move
and have our being. The sense of life, peace, and joy, which comes
through identification with Christ, brings with it a deep and grateful
consciousness that this sense is none of our own getting and making. No,
it is grace, it is the free gift of God, who gives abundantly beyond all
that we ask or think, and calls things that are not as though they were.
'It is not of him that willeth or of him that runneth, but of God that
showeth mercy.'[81] As moral agents, for whom alone exist all the
predicaments of merit and demerit, praise and blame, effort and failure,
vice and virtue, we are impotent and lost;--we are saved through that in
us which is passive and involuntary; we are saved through our
affections, it is as beings _acted upon_ and _influenced_ that we are
saved! Well might Paul cry out, as this mystical but profound and
beneficent conception filled his soul: 'All things work together for
good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose.'[82] Well might he say, in the gratitude which cannot find
words enough to express its sense of boundless favour, that those who
reached peace with God through identification with Christ were vessels
of mercy, marked from endless ages; that they had been foreknown,
predestinated, called, justified, glorified.

[Footnote 81: _Rom._, ix, 16.]

[Footnote 82: _Rom._, viii, 28.]

It may be regretted, for the sake of the clear understanding of his
essential doctrine, that Paul did not stop here. It might seem as if the
word 'prothesis,' _purpose_, lured him on into speculative mazes, and
involved him, at last, in an embarrassment, from which he impatiently
tore himself by the harsh and unedifying image of the clay and the
potter. But this is not so. These allurements of speculation, which have
been fatal to so many of his interpreters, never mastered Paul. He was
led into difficulty by the tendency which we have already noticed as
making his real imperfection both as a thinker and as a writer,--the
tendency to Judaise.

Already, in the fourth chapter, this tendency had led him to seem to
rest his doctrine of justification by faith upon the case of Abraham,
whereas, in truth, it needs all the good will in the world, and some
effort of ingenuity, even to bring the case of Abraham within the
operation of this doctrine. That righteousness is life, that all men by
themselves fail of righteousness, that only through identification with
Jesus Christ can they reach it,--these propositions, for us at any rate,
prove themselves much better than they are proved by the thesis that
Abraham in old age believed God's promise that his seed should yet be as
the stars for multitude, and that this was counted to him for
righteousness. The sanction thus apparently given to the idea that faith
is a mere belief, or opinion of the mind, has put thousands of Paul's
readers on a false track.

But Paul's Judaising did not end here. To establish his doctrine of
righteousness by faith, he had to eradicate the notion that his people
were specially privileged, and that, having the Mosaic law, they did not
need anything farther. For us, this one verse of the tenth chapter:
_There is no difference between Jew and Greek, for it is the same Lord
of all, who is rich to all that call upon him_,--and these four words of
another verse: _For righteousness, heart-faith necessary!_--effect far
more for Paul's object than his three chapters bristling with Old
Testament quotations. By quotation, however, he was to proceed, in order
to invest his doctrine with the talismanic virtues of a verbal sanction
from the law and the prophets. He shows, therefore, that the law and the
prophets had said that only a remnant, an _elect remnant_, of Israel
should be saved, and that the rest should be blinded. But to say that
peace with God through Jesus Christ inspires such an abounding sense of
gratitude, and of its not being our work, that we can only speak of
ourselves as _called_ and _chosen_ to it, is one thing; in so speaking,
we are on the ground of personal experience. To say, on the other hand,
that God has blinded and reprobated other men, so that they shall not
reach this blessing, is to quit the ground of personal experience, and
to begin employing the magnified and non-natural man in the next street.
We then require, in order to account for his proceedings, such an
analogy as that of the clay and the potter.

This is Calvinism, and St. Paul undoubtedly falls into it. But the
important thing to remark is, that this Calvinism, which with the
Calvinist is primary, is with Paul secondary, or even less than
secondary. What with Calvinists is their fundamental idea, the centre of
their theology, is for Paul an idea added to his central ideas, and
extraneous to them; brought in incidentally, and due to the necessities
of a bad mode of recommending and enforcing his thesis. It is as if
Newton had introduced into his exposition of the law of gravitation an
incidental remark, perhaps erroneous, about light or colours; and we
were then to make this remark the head and front of Newton's law. The
theological idea of reprobation was an idea of Jewish theology as of
ours, an idea familiar to Paul and a part of his training, an idea which
probably he never consciously abandoned. But its complete secondariness
in him is clearly established by other considerations than those which
we have drawn from the place and manner of his introduction of it. The
very phrase about the clay and the potter is not Paul's own; he does but
repeat a stock theological figure. Isaiah had said: 'O Lord, we are the
clay, and thou our potter, and we are all the work of thy hand.'[83]
Jeremiah had said, in the Lord's name, to Israel: 'Behold, as the clay
in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.'[84]
And the son of Sirach comes yet nearer to Paul's very words: 'As the
clay is in the potter's hand to fashion it at his pleasure, so man is in
the hand of him that made him, to render to them as liketh him
best.'[85] Is an original man's essential, characteristic idea, that
which he adopts thus bodily from some one else? But take Paul's truly
essential idea. 'We are buried with Christ through baptism into death,
that like as he was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also shall walk in newness of life.'[86] Did Jeremiah say
that? Is any one the author of it except Paul? Then there should
Calvinism have looked for Paul's secret, and not in the commonplace
about the potter and the vessels of wrath. A commonplace which is so
entirely a commonplace to him, that he contradicts it even while he is
Judaising; for in the very batch of chapters we are discussing he says:
'Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'[87]
Still more clear is, on this point, his real mind, when he is not
Judaising: 'God is the saviour of all men, specially of those that
believe.'[88] And anything, finally, which might seem dangerous in the
grateful sense of a calling, choosing, and leading by eternal
goodness,--a notion as natural as the Calvinistic doctrine of
predestination is monstrous,--Paul abundantly supplies in more than one
striking passage; as, for instance, in that incomparable third chapter
of the Philippians (from which, and from the sixth and eighth chapters
of the Romans, Paul's whole theology, if all his other writings were
lost, might be reconstructed), where he expresses his humble
consciousness that the mystical resurrection which is his aim, glory,
and salvation, he does not yet, and cannot, completely attain.

[Footnote 83: _Is._, lxiv, 8.]

[Footnote 84: _Jer._, xviii, 6.]

[Footnote 85: _Ecclesiasticus_, xxxiii, 13.]

[Footnote 86: _Rom._, vi, 4.]

[Footnote 87: _Rom._, x, 13.]

[Footnote 88: I _Tim._, iv, 10.]

The grand doctrine, then, which Calvinistic Puritanism has gathered from
Paul, turns out to be a secondary notion of his, which he himself, too,
has contradicted or corrected. But, at any rate, 'Christ meritoriously
obtained eternal redemption for us.' 'If there be anything,' the
quarterly organ of Puritanism has lately told us in its hundredth
number, 'that human experience has made certain, it is that man can
never outgrow his necessity for the great truths and provisions of the
Incarnation and the sacrificial Atonement of the Divine Son of God.'
God, his justice being satisfied by Christ's bearing according to
compact our guilt and dying in our stead, is appeased and set free to
exercise towards us his mercy, and to justify and sanctify us in
consideration of Christ's righteousness imputed to us, if we give our
hearty belief and consent to the satisfaction thus made. This hearty
belief being given, 'we rest,' to use the consecrated expression already
quoted, 'in the finished work of a Saviour.' This doctrine of imputed
righteousness is now, as predestination formerly was, the favourite
thesis of popular Protestant theology. And, like the doctrine of
predestination, it professes to be specially derived from St. Paul.

But whoever has followed attentively the main line of St. Paul's
theology, as we have tried to show it, will see at once that in St.
Paul's essential ideas this popular notion of a substitution, and
appeasement, and imputation of alien merit, has no place. Paul knows
nothing of a sacrificial atonement; what Paul knows of is a reconciling
sacrifice. The true substitution, for Paul, is not the substitution of
Jesus Christ in men's stead as victim on the cross to God's offended
justice; it is the substitution by which the believer, in his own
person, repeats Jesus Christ's dying to sin. Paul says, in real truth,
to our Puritans with their magical and mechanical salvation, just what
he said to the men of circumcision: 'If I preach resting in the finished
work of a Saviour, _why am I yet persecuted? why do I die daily? then is
the stumbling-block of the cross annulled._'[89] That hard, that
well-nigh impossible doctrine, that our whole course must be a
crucifixion and a resurrection, even as Christ's whole course was a
crucifixion and a resurrection, becomes superfluous. Yet this is my
central doctrine.'

[Footnote 89: _Gal._, v, 2.]

The notion of God as a magnified and non-natural man, appeased by a
sacrifice and remitting in consideration of it his wrath against those
who had offended him,--this notion of God, which science repels, was
equally repelled, in spite of all that his nation, time, and training
had in them to favour it, by the profound religious sense of Paul. In
none of his epistles is the reconciling work of Christ really presented
under this aspect. One great epistle there is, however, which does
apparently present it under this aspect,--the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Paul's phraseology, and even the central idea which he conveys in that
phraseology, were evidently well known to the writer of the Epistle to
the Hebrews. Nay, if we merely sought to prove a thesis, rather than to
ascertain the real bearing of the documents we canvass, we should have
no difficulty in making it appear, by texts taken from the Epistle to
the Hebrews, that the doctrine of this epistle, no less than the
doctrine of the Epistle to the Romans, differs entirely from the common
doctrine of Puritanism. This, however, we shall by no means do; because
it is our honest opinion that the popular doctrine of 'the sacrificial
Atonement of the Divine Son of God' derives, if not a real, yet at any
rate a strong apparent sanction from the Epistle to the Hebrews. Even
supposing, what is probably true, that the popular doctrine is really
the doctrine neither of the one epistle nor of the other, yet it must be
confessed that while it is the reader's fault,--a fault due to his fixed
prepossessions, and to his own want of penetration,--if he gets the
popular doctrine out of the Epistle to the Romans, it is on the other
hand the writer's fault and no longer the reader's, if out of the
Epistle to the Hebrews he gets the popular doctrine. For the author of
that epistle is, if not subjugated, yet at least preponderantly occupied
by the idea of the Jewish system of sacrifices, and of the analogies to
Christ's sacrifice which are furnished by that system.

If other proof were wanting, this alone would make it impossible that
the Epistle to the Hebrews should be Paul's; and indeed of all the
epistles which bear his name, it is the only one which we may not,
perhaps, in spite of the hesitation caused by grave difficulties, be
finally content to leave in considerable part to him.[90] Luther's
conjecture, which ascribes to Apollos the Epistle to the Hebrews,
derives corroboration from the one account of Apollos which we have;
that 'he was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures.' The Epistle
to the Hebrews is just such a performance as might naturally have come
from an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures; in whom the
intelligence, and the powers of combining, type-finding, and expounding,
somewhat dominated the religious perceptions. The Epistle to the Hebrews
is full of beauty and power; and what may be called the exterior conduct
of its argument is as able and satisfying as Paul's exterior conduct of
his argument is generally embarrassed. Its details are full of what is
edifying; but its apparent central conception of Christ's death, as a
perfect sacrifice which consummated the imperfect sacrifices of the
Jewish law, is a mere notion of the understanding, and is not a
religious idea. Turn it which way we will, the notion of appeasement of
an offended God by vicarious sacrifice, which the Epistle to the Hebrews
apparently sanctions, will never truly speak to the religious sense, or
bear fruit for true religion. It is no blame to Apollos if he was
somewhat overpowered by this notion, for the whole world was full of it,
up to his time, in his time, and since his time; and it has driven
theologians before it like sheep. The wonder is, not that Apollos should
have adopted it, but that Paul should have been enabled, through the
incomparable power and energy of religious perception informing his
intellectual perception, in reality to put it aside. Figures drawn from
the dominant notion of sacrificial appeasement he used, for the notion
has so saturated the imagination and language of humanity that its
figures pass naturally and irresistibly into all our speech. Popular
Puritanism consists of the apparent doctrine from the Epistle to the
Hebrews, set forth with Paul's figures. But the doctrine itself Paul had
really put aside, and had substituted for it a better.

[Footnote 90: Considerations drawn from date, place, the use of
single words, the development of a church organisation, the
development of an ascetic system, are not enough to make us wholly
take away certain epistles from St. Paul. The only decisive
evidence, for this purpose, is that internal evidence furnished by
the whole body of the thoughts and style of an epistle; and this
evidence that Paul was not its author the Epistle to the Hebrews
furnishes. From the like evidence, the Apocalypse is clearly shown
to be not by the author of the fourth Gospel. This clear evidence
against the tradition which assigns them to St. Paul, the Epistles
to Timothy and Titus do not offer. The serious ground of difficulty
as to these epistles will to the genuine critic be, that much in
them fails to produce that peculiarly _searching_ effect on the
reader, which it is in general characteristic of Paul's own real
work to exercise. But they abound with Pauline things, and are, in
any case, written by an excellent man, and in an excellent and large

The term _sacrifice_, in men's natural use of it, contains three
notions: the notion of winning the favour or buying off the wrath of a
powerful being by giving him something precious; the notion of parting
with something naturally precious; and the notion of expiation, not now
in the sense of buying off wrath or satisfying a claim, but of suffering
in that wherein we have sinned. The first notion is, at bottom, merely
superstitious, and belongs to the ignorant and fear-ridden childhood of
humanity; it is the main element, however, in the Puritan conception of
justification. The second notion explains itself; it is the main element
in the Pauline conception of justification. Jesus parted with what, to
men in general, is the most precious of things,--individual self and
selfishness; he pleased not himself, obeyed the spirit of God, died to
sin and to the law in our members, consummated upon the cross this
death; here is Paul's essential notion of Christ's sacrifice.

The third notion may easily be misdealt with, but it has a profound
truth; in Paul's conception of justification there is much of it. In
some way or other, he who would 'cease from sin' must nearly always
'suffer in the flesh.' It is found to be true, that 'without shedding of
blood is no remission.' 'If you can be good with pleasure,' says Bishop
Wilson with his genius of practical religious sense, 'God does not envy
you your joy; but such is our corruption, that every man cannot be so.'
The substantial basis of the notion of expiation, so far as we ourselves
are concerned, is the bitter experience that the habit of wrong, of
blindly obeying selfish impulse, so affects our temper and powers, that
to withstand selfish impulse, to do right, when the sense of right
awakens in us, requires an effort out of all proportion to the actual
present emergency. We have not only the difficulty of the present act in
itself, we have the resistance of all our past; fire and the knife,
cautery and amputation, are often necessary in order to induce a vital
action, which, if it were not for our corrupting past, we might have
obtained from the natural healthful vigour of our moral organs. This is
the real basis of our personal sense of the need of expiating, and thus
it is that man expiates.

Not so the just, who is man's ideal. He has no indurated habit of wrong,
no perverse temper, no enfeebled powers, no resisting past, no spiritual
organs gangrened, no need of the knife and fire; smoothly and inevitably
he follows the eternal order, and hereto belongs happiness. What sins,
then, has the just to expiate?--_ours._ In truth, men's habitual
unrighteousness, their hard and careless breaking of the moral law, do
so tend to reduce and impair the standard of goodness, that, in order to
keep this standard pure and unimpaired, the righteous must actually
labour and suffer far more than would be necessary if men were better.
In the first place, he has to undergo our hatred and persecution for his
justice. In the second place, he has to make up for the harm caused by
our continual shortcomings, to step between us foolish transgressors and
the destructive natural consequences of our transgression, and, by a
superhuman example, a spending himself without stint, a more than mortal
scale of justice and purity, to save the ideal of human life and conduct
from the deterioration with which men's ordinary practice threatens it.
In this way Jesus Christ truly 'became for our sakes poor, though he was
rich,' he was truly 'bruised for our iniquities,' he 'suffered in our
behoof,' 'bare the sin of many,' and 'made intercession for the
transgressors.'[91] In this way, truly, 'he was sacrificed as a
blameless lamb to redeem us from the vain conversation which had become
our second nature;'[92] in this way, 'he was made to be sin for us, who
knew no sin.'[93] Such, according to that true and profound perception
of the import of Christ's sufferings, which, in all St. Paul's writings,
and in the inestimable First Epistle of St. Peter, is presented to us,
is the expiation of Christ.

[Footnote 91: II _Cor._, viii, 9; _Is._, liii, 5; I _Pet._, ii, 21;
_Is._, liii, 12.]

[Footnote 92: I _Pet._, i, 18, 19.]

[Footnote 93: II _Cor._, v, 21.]

The notion, therefore, of _satisfying and appeasing an angry God's
wrath_, does not come into Paul's real conception of Jesus Christ's
sacrifice. Paul's foremost notion of this sacrifice is, that by it Jesus
died to the law of selfish impulse, parted with what to men in general
is most precious and near. Paul's second notion is, that whereas Jesus
suffered in doing this, his suffering was not _his_ fault, but ours; not
for _his_ good, but for ours. In the first aspect, Jesus is the
_martyrion_,--the testimony in his life and in his death, to
righteousness, to the power and goodness of God. In the second aspect he
is the _antilytron_ or ransom. But, in either aspect, Jesus Christ's
solemn and dolorous condemnation of sin does actually loosen sin's hold
and attraction upon us who regard it,--makes it easier for us to
understand and love goodness, to rise above self, to die to sin.

Christ's sacrifice, however, and the condemnation of sin it contained,
was made for us while we were yet sinners; it was made irrespectively of
our power or inclination to sympathise with it and appreciate it. Yet,
even thus, in Paul's view, the sacrifice reconciled us to God, to the
eternal order; for it contained the means, the only possible means, of
our being brought into harmony with this order. Jesus Christ,
nevertheless, was delivered for our sins while we were yet sinners,[94]
and before we could yet appreciate what he did. But presently there
comes a change. Grace, the goodness of God, _the spirit_,--as Paul loved
to call that awful and beneficent impulsion of things within us and
without us, which we can concur with, indeed, but cannot create,--leads
us to _repentance towards God_,[95] a change of the inner man in regard
to the moral order, duty, righteousness. And now, to help our impulse
towards righteousness, we have a power enabling us to turn this impulse
to full account. Now _the spirit_ does its greatest work in us; now, for
the first time, the influence of Jesus Christ's pregnant act really
gains us. For now awakens the sympathy for the act and the appreciation
of it, which its doer dispensed with or was too benign to wait for;
_faith working through love towards Christ_[96] enters into us, masters
us. We identify ourselves,--this is the line of Paul's thought,--with
Christ; we repeat, through the power of this identification, Christ's
death to the law of the flesh and self-pleasing, his condemnation of sin
in the flesh; the death how imperfectly, the condemnation how
remorsefully! But we rise with him, Paul continues, to life, the only
true life, of imitation of God, of putting on the new man which after
God is created in righteousness and true holiness,[97] of following the
eternal law of the moral order which by ourselves we could not follow.
Then God justifies us. We have the righteousness of God and the sense of
having it; we are freed from the oppressing sense of eternal order
guiltily outraged and sternly retributive; we act in joyful conformity
with God's will, instead of in miserable rebellion to it; we are in
harmony with the universal order, and feel that we are in harmony with
it. If, then, Christ was delivered for our sins, he was raised for our
justification. If by Christ's death, says Paul, we were reconciled to
God, by the means being thus provided for our else impossible access to
God, much more, when we have availed ourselves of these means and died
with him, are we saved by his life which we partake.[98] Henceforward
we are not only justified but sanctified; not only in harmony with the
eternal order and at peace with God, but consecrated[99] and
unalterably devoted to them; and from this devotion comes an
ever-growing union with God in Christ, an advance, as St. Paul says,
from glory to glory.[100]

[Footnote 94: _Rom._, v, 8.]

[Footnote 95: _Acts_, xx, 21.]

[Footnote 96: _Gal._, v, 6.]

[Footnote 97: _Eph._, iv, 24.]

[Footnote 98: _Rom._, v, 10.]

[Footnote 99: The endless words which Puritanism has wasted upon
_sanctification_, a magical filling with goodness and holiness, flow
from a mere mistake in translating; +hagiasmos+ means _consecration_,
a setting apart to holy service.]

[Footnote 100: II _Cor._, iii, 18.]

This is Paul's conception of Christ's sacrifice. His figures of ransom,
redemption, propitiation, blood, offering, all subordinate themselves to
his central idea of _identification with Christ through dying with him_,
and are strictly subservient to it. The figured speech of Paul has its
own beauty and propriety. His language is, much of it, eastern language,
imaginative language; there is no need for turning it, as Puritanism has
done, into the methodical language of the schools. But if it is to be
turned into methodical language, then it is the language into which we
have translated it that translates it truly.

We have before seen how it fares with one of the two great tenets which
Puritanism has extracted from St. Paul, the tenet of predestination. We
now see how it fares with the other, the tenet of justification. Paul's
figures our Puritans have taken literally, while for his central idea
they have substituted another which is not his. And his central idea
they have turned into a figure, and have let it almost disappear out of
their mind. His essential idea lost, his figures misused, an idea
essentially not his substituted for his,--the unedifying patchwork thus
made, Puritanism has stamped with Paul's name, and called _the gospel_.
It thunders at Romanism for not preaching it, it casts off Anglicanism
for not setting it forth alone and unreservedly, it founds organisations
of its own to give full effect to it; these organisations guide
politics, govern statesmen, destroy institutions;--and they are based
upon a blunder!

It is to Protestantism, and this its Puritan gospel, that the reproaches
thrown on St. Paul, for sophisticating religion of the heart into
theories of the head about election and justification, rightly attach.
St. Paul himself, as we have seen, begins with seeking righteousness and
ends with finding it; from first to last, the practical religious sense
never deserts him. If he could have seen and heard our preachers of
predestination and justification, they are just the people he would have
called 'diseased about questions and word-battlings.'[101] He would have
told Puritanism that every Sunday, when in all its countless chapels it
reads him and preaches from him, the veil is upon its heart. The moment
it reads him right, a veil will seem to be taken away from its
heart;[102] it will feel as though scales were fallen from its eyes.

[Footnote 101: I _Tim._, vi, 4.]

[Footnote 102: II _Cor._, iii, 15, 16.]

And now, leaving Puritanism and its errors, let us turn again for a
moment, before we end, to the glorious apostle who has occupied us so
long. He died, and men's familiar fancies of bargain and appeasement,
from which, by a prodigy of religious insight, Paul had been able to
disengage the death of Jesus, fastened on it and made it their own. Back
rolled over the human soul the mist which the fires of Paul's spiritual
genius had dispersed for a few short years. The mind of the whole world
was imbrued in the idea of blood, and only through the false idea of
sacrifice did men reach Paul's true one. Paul's idea of dying with
Christ the _Imitation_ elevates more conspicuously than any Protestant
treatise elevates it; but it elevates it environed and dominated by the
idea of appeasement;--of the magnified and non-natural man in Heaven,
wrath-filled and blood-exacting; of the human victim adding his piacular
sufferings to those of the divine. Meanwhile another danger was
preparing. Gifted men had brought to the study of St. Paul the habits of
the Greek and Roman schools, and philosophised where Paul Orientalised.
Augustine, a great genius, who can doubt it?--nay, a great religious
genius, but unlike Paul in this, and inferior to him, that he confused
the boundaries of metaphysics and religion, which Paul never
did,--Augustine set the example of finding in Paul's eastern speech,
just as it stood, the formal propositions of western dialectics. Last
came the interpreter in whose slowly relaxing grasp we still lie,--the
heavy-handed Protestant Philistine. Sincere, gross of perception,
prosaic, he saw in Paul's mystical idea of man's investiture with the
righteousness of God nothing but a strict legal transaction, and
reserved all his imagination for Hell and the New Jerusalem and his
foretaste of them. A so-called Pauline doctrine was in all men's mouths,
but the ideas of the true Paul lay lost and buried.

Every one who has been at Rome has been taken to see the Church of St.
Paul, rebuilt after a destruction by fire forty years ago. The church
stands a mile or two out of the city, on the way to Ostia and the
desert. The interior has all the costly magnificence of Italian
churches; oh the ceiling is written in gilded letters: '_Doctor
Gentium_.' Gold glitters and marbles gleam, but man and his movement are
not there. The traveller has left at a distance the _fumum et opes
strepitumque Romæ_; around him reigns solitude. There is Paul, with the
mystery which was hidden from ages and from generations, which was
uncovered by him for some half score years, and which then was buried
with him in his grave! Not in our day will he relive, with his incessant
effort to find a moral side for miracle, with his incessant effort to
make the intellect follow and secure all the workings of the religious
perception. Of those who care for religion, the multitude of us want the
materialism of the Apocalypse; the few want a vague religiosity.
Science, which more and more teaches us to find in the unapparent the
real, will gradually serve to conquer the materialism of popular
religion. The friends of vague religiosity, on the other hand, will be
more and more taught by experience that a theology, a scientific
appreciation of the facts of religion, is wanted for religion; but a
theology which is a true theology, not a false. Both these influences
will work for Paul's re-emergence. The doctrine of Paul will arise out
of the tomb where for centuries it has lain buried. It will edify the
church of the future; it will have the consent of happier generations,
the applause of less superstitious ages. All will be too little to pay
half the debt which the church of God owes to this 'least of the
apostles, who was not fit to be called an apostle, because he persecuted
the church of God.'[103]

[Footnote 103: I _Cor._, xv, 9.]

               *       *       *       *       *




In the foregoing treatise we have spoken of Protestantism, and have
tried to show, how, with its three notable tenets of predestination,
original sin, and justification, it has been pounding away for three
centuries at St. Paul's wrong words, and missing his essential doctrine.
And we took Puritanism to stand for Protestantism, and addressed
ourselves directly to the Puritans; for the Puritan Churches, we said,
seem to exist specially for the sake of these doctrines, one or more of
them. It is true, many Puritans now profess also the doctrine that it is
wicked to have a church connected with the State; but this is a later
invention,[104] designed to strengthen a separation previously made. It
requires to be noticed in due course; but meanwhile, we say that the aim
of setting forth certain Protestant doctrines purely and integrally is
the main title on which Puritan Churches rest their right of existing.
With historic Churches, like those of England or Rome, it is otherwise;
these doctrines may be in them, may be a part of their traditions, their
theological stock; but certainly no one will say that either of these
Churches was made for the express purpose of upholding these three
theological doctrines, jointly or severally. A little consideration will
show quite clearly the difference in this respect between the historic
Churches and the churches of separatists.

[Footnote 104: In his very interesting history, _The Church of the
Restoration_, Dr. Stoughton says, most truly of both Anglicans and
Puritans in 1660: 'It is necessary to bear in mind this
circumstance, that _both parties were advocates for a national
establishment of religion_.' Vol. i, p. 113.]

People are not necessarily monarchists or republicans because they are
born and live under a monarchy or republic. They avail themselves of the
established government for those general purposes for which governments
and politics exist, but they do not, for the most part, trouble their
heads much about particular theoretical principles of government. Nay,
it may well happen that a man who lives and thrives under a monarchy
shall yet theoretically disapprove the principle of monarchy, or a man
who lives and thrives under a republic, the principle of republicanism.
But a man, or body of men, who have gone out of an established polity
from zeal for the principle of monarchy or republicanism, and have set
up a polity of their own for the very purpose of giving satisfaction to
this zeal, are in a false position whenever it shall appear that the
principle, from zeal for which they have constituted their separate
existence, is unsound. So predestinarianism and solifidianism, Calvinism
and Lutherism, may appear in the theology of a national or historic
Church, charged ever since the rise of Christianity with the task of
developing the immense and complex store of ideas contained in
Christianity; and when the stage of development has been reached at
which the unsoundness of predestinarian and solifidian dogmas becomes
manifest, they will be dropped out of the Church's theology, and she and
her task will remain what they were before. But when people from zeal
for these dogmas find their historic Church not predestinarian or
solifidian enough for them, and make new associations of their own,
which shall be predestinarian or solifidian absolutely, then, when the
dogmas are undermined, the associations are undermined too, and have
either to own themselves without a reason for existing, or to discover
some new reason in place of the old. Now, nothing which exists likes to
be driven to a strait of this kind; so every association which exists
because of zeal for the dogmas of election or justification, will
naturally cling to these dogmas longer and harder than other people.
Therefore we have treated the Puritan bodies in this country as the
great stronghold here of these doctrines; and in showing what a
perversion of Paul's real ideas these doctrines commonly called Pauline
are, we have addressed ourselves to the Puritans.

But those who speak in the Puritans' name say that we charge upon
Puritanism, as a sectarian peculiarity, doctrine which is not only the
inevitable result of an honest interpretation of the writings of St.
Paul, but which is, besides, the creed held in common by Puritans and by
all the churches in Christendom, with one insignificant exception. Nay,
they even declare that 'no man in his senses can deny that the Church of
England was meant to be a thoroughly Protestant and Evangelical, and it
may be said Calvinistic Church.' To saddle Puritanism in special with
the doctrines we have called Puritan is, they say, a piece of unfairness
which has its motive in mere ill-will to Puritanism, a device which can
injure nobody but its author.

Now, we have tried to show that the Puritans are quite wrong in
imagining their doctrine to be the inevitable result of an honest
interpretation of St. Paul's writings. That they are wrong we think is
certain; but so far are we from being moved, in anything that we do or
say in this matter, by ill-will to Puritanism and the Puritans, that it
is, on the contrary, just because of our hearty respect for them, and
from our strong sense of their value, that we speak as we do. Certainly
we consider them to be in the main, at present, an obstacle to progress
and to true civilisation. But this is because their worth is, in our
opinion, such that not only must one for their own sakes wish to see it
turned to more advantage, but others, from whom they are now separated,
would greatly gain by conjunction with them, and our whole collective
force of growth and progress be thereby immeasurably increased. In
short, our one feeling when we regard them, is a feeling, not of
ill-will, but of regret at waste of power; our one desire is a desire of

But the waste of power must continue, and the comprehension is
impossible, so long as Puritanism imagines itself to possess, in its two
or three signal doctrines, what it calls _the gospel_; so long as it
constitutes itself separately on the plea of setting forth purely _the
gospel_, which it thus imagines itself to have seized; so long as it
judges others as not holding _the gospel_, or as holding additions to it
and variations from it. This fatal self-righteousness, grounded on a
false conceit of knowledge, makes comprehension impossible; because it
takes for granted the possession of the truth, and the power of deciding
how others violate it; and this is a position of superiority, and suits
conquest rather than comprehension.

The good of comprehension in a national Church is, that the larger and
more various the body of members, the more elements of power and life
the Church will contain, the more points will there be of contact, the
more mutual support and stimulus, the more growth in perfection both of
thought and practice. The waste of power from not comprehending the
Puritans in the national Church is measured by the number and value of
elements which Puritanism could supply towards the collective growth of
the whole body. The national Church would grow more vigorously towards a
higher stage of insight into religious truth, and consequently towards a
greater perfection of practice, if it had these elements; and this is
why we wish for the Puritans in the Church. But, meanwhile, Puritanism
will not contribute to the common growth, mainly because it believes
that a certain set of opinions or scheme of theological doctrine is _the
gospel_; that it is possible and profitable to extract this, and that
Puritans have done so; and that it is the duty of men, who like
themselves have extracted it, to separate themselves from those who have
not, and to set themselves apart that they may profess it purely.

To disabuse them of this error, which, by preventing collective life,
prevents also collective growth, it is necessary to show them that their
extracted scheme of theological doctrine is not really _the gospel_; and
that at any rate, therefore, it is not worth their while to separate
themselves, and to frustrate the hope of growth in common, merely for
this scheme's sake. And even if it were true, as they allege, that the
national and historic Churches of Christendom do equally with Puritanism
hold this scheme, or main parts of it, still it would be to Puritanism,
and not to the historic Churches, that in showing the invalidity and
unscripturalness of this scheme we should address ourselves, because the
Puritan Churches found their very existence on it, and the historic
Churches do not. And not founding their existence on it, nor falling
into separatism for it, the historic Churches have a collective life
which is very considerable, and a power of growth, even in respect of
the very scheme of doctrine in question, supposing them to hold it, far
greater than any which the Puritan Churches show, but which would be yet
greater and more fruitful still, if the historic Churches combined the
large and admirable contingent of Puritanism with their own forces.
Therefore, as we have said, it is out of no sort of malice or ill-will,
but from esteem for their fine qualities and from desire for their help,
that we have addressed ourselves to the Puritans. We propose to complete
now our dealings with this subject by showing how, as a matter of fact,
the Church of England (which is the historic Church practically in
question so far as Puritanism is concerned) seems to us to have
displayed with respect to those very tenets which we have criticised,
and for which we are said to have unfairly made Puritanism alone
responsible, a continual power of growth which has been wanting to the
Puritan congregations. This we propose to show first; and we will show
secondly, how, from the very theory of a historic or national Church,
the probability of this greater power of growth seems to follow, that we
may try and commend that theory a little more to the thoughts and favour
of our Puritan friends.

The two great Puritan doctrines which we have criticised at such length
are the doctrines of predestination and justification. Of the aggressive
and militant Puritanism of our people, predestination has, almost up to
the present day, been the favourite and distinguishing doctrine; it was
the doctrine which Puritan flocks greedily sought, which Puritan
ministers powerfully preached, and called others _carnal gospellers_ for
not preaching. This Geneva doctrine accompanied the Geneva discipline.
Puritanism's first great wish and endeavour was to establish both the
one and the other absolutely in the Church of England, and it became
nonconforming because it failed. Now, it is well known that the High
Church divines of the seventeenth century were Arminian, that the Church
of England was the stronghold of Arminianism, and that Arminianism is,
as we have said, an effort of man's practical good sense to get rid of
what is shocking to it in Calvinism. But what is not so well known, and
what is eminently worthy of remark, is the constant pressure applied by
Puritanism upon the Church of England, to put the Calvinistic doctrine
more distinctly into her formularies, and to tie her up more strictly to
this doctrine; the constant resistance offered by the Church of England,
and the large degree in which Nonconformity is really due to this cause.

Everybody knows how far Nonconformity is due to the Church of England's
rigour in imposing an explicit declaration of adherence to her
formularies. But only a few, who have searched out the matter, know how
far Nonconformity is due, also, to the Church of England's invincible
reluctance to narrow her large and loose formularies to the strict
Calvinistic sense dear to Puritanism. Yet this is what the record of
conferences shows at least as signally as it shows the domineering
spirit of the High Church clergy; but our current political histories,
written always with an anti-ecclesiastical bias, which is natural
enough, inasmuch as the Church party was not the party of civil liberty,
leaves this singularly out of sight. Yet there is a very catena of
testimonies to prove it; to show us, from Elizabeth's reign to Charles
the Second's, Calvinism, as a power both within and without the Church
of England, trying to get decisive command of her formularies; and the
Church of England, with the instinct of a body meant to live and grow,
and averse to fetter and engage its future, steadily resisting.

The Lambeth Articles of 1595 exhibit Calvinism potent in the Church of
England herself, and among the bishops of the Church. True; but could it
establish itself there? No; the Lambeth Articles were recalled and
suppressed, and Archbishop Whitgift was threatened with the penalties of
a _præmunire_ for having published them. Again, it was usual from 1552
onwards to print in the English Bibles a catechism asserting the
Calvinistic doctrine of absolute election and reprobation. In the first
Bibles of the authorised version this catechism appeared; but it was
removed in 1615. Yet the Puritans had met James the First, at his
accession in 1603, with the petition that _there may be an uniformity of
doctrine prescribed_; meaning an uniformity in this sense of strict
Calvinism. Thus from the very commencement the Church, as regards
doctrine, was for opening; Puritanism was for narrowing.

Then came, in 1604, the Hampton Court Conference. Here, as usual,
political historians reproach the Church with having conceded so little.
These historians, as we have said, think solely of the Puritans as the
religious party favourable to civil liberty, and on that account desire
the preponderance of Puritanism in its disputes with the Church. But, as
regards freedom of thought and truth of ideas, what was it that the
Church was pressed by Puritanism to concede, and what was the character
and tendency of the Church's refusal? The first Puritan petition at this
Conference was 'that the _doctrine_ of the Church might be preserved in
purity according to God's Word.' That is, according to the Calvinistic
interpretation put upon God's Word by Calvin and the Puritans after him;
an interpretation which we have shown to be erroneous and unscriptural.
This Calvinistic doctrine of predestination the Puritans wanted to plant
hard and fast in the Church's formularies, and the Church resisted. The
Puritan foreman complained of the loose wording of the Thirty-nine
Articles because it allowed an escape from the strict doctrine of
Calvinism, and moved that the Lambeth Articles, strictly Calvinistic,
might be inserted into the Book of Articles. The Bishops resisted, and
here are the words of their spokesman, the Bishop of London. 'The Bishop
of London answered, that too many in those days, neglecting holiness of
life, _laid all their religion upon predestination_,--"If I shall be
saved, I shall be saved," which he termed a desperate doctrine, showing
it to be contrary to good divinity, which teaches us to reason rather
_ascendendo_ than _descendendo_, thus: "I live in obedience to God, in
love with my neighbour, I follow my vocation, &c., therefore I trust
that God hath elected me and predestinated me to salvation;" not thus,
which is the usual course of argument: "God hath predestinated and
chosen me to life, therefore, though I sin never so grievously, I shall
not be damned, for whom he once loveth he loveth to the end."' Who will
deny that this resistance of the Church to the Puritans, who, _laying
all their religion upon predestination_, wanted to make the Church do
the same, was as favourable to growth of thought and to sound
philosophy, as it was consonant to good sense?

We have already, in the foregoing treatise, quoted from the complaints
against the Church by the Committee of Divines appointed by the House of
Lords in 1641, when Puritanism was strongly in the ascendent. Some in
the Church teach, say the Puritan complainers, 'that good works are
concauses with faith in the act of justification; some have oppugned the
certitude of salvation; some have maintained that the Lord's day is kept
merely by ecclesiastical constitution; some have defended the whole
gross substance of Arminianism, that the act of conversion depends upon
the concurrence of men's free will; some have denied original sin; some
have broached out of Socinus a most uncomfortable and desperate
doctrine, that late repentance,--that is, upon the last bed of
sickness,--is unfruitful, at least, to reconcile the penitent to God.'
What we insist upon is, that the growth and movement of thought, on
religious matters, are here shown to be in the Church; and that on these
two cardinal doctrines of predestination and justification, with which
we are accused of unfairly saddling Puritanism alone, Puritanism did
really want to make the national religion hinge, while the Church did
not, but resisted.

The resistance of the Church was at that time vanquished, not by
importing strict Calvinism into the Prayer Book, but by casting out the
Prayer Book altogether. By ordinance in 1645, the use of the Prayer
Book, which for churches had already been forbidden, was forbidden also
for all private places and families; all copies to be found in churches
were to be delivered up, and heavy penalties were imposed on persons
retaining them.

We come to the occasion where the Church is thought to have most
decisively shown her unyieldingness,--the Savoy Conference in 1661,
after King Charles the Second's restoration. The question was, what
alterations were to be made in the Prayer Book, so as to enable the
Puritans to use it as well as the Church party. Having in view doctrine
and free development of thought, we say again it was the Puritans who
were for narrowing, it was the Churchmen who were for keeping open.
Their heads full of these tenets of predestination, original sin, and
justification, which we are accused of charging upon them exclusively
and unfairly, the Puritans complain that the Church Liturgy seems very
defective,--why? Because 'the systems of doctrine of a church should
summarily comprehend all such doctrines as are necessary to be
believed,' and the liturgy does not set down these explicitly enough.
For instance, 'the Confession,' they say, 'is very defective, not
clearly expressing original sin. The Catechism is defective as to many
necessary doctrines of our religion, some even of the essentials of
Christianity not being mentioned except in the Creed, and there not so
explicit as ought to be in a catechism.' And what is the answer of the
bishops? It is the answer of people with an instinct that this
definition and explicitness demanded by the Puritans are incompatible
with the conditions of life of a historic church. 'The Church,' they
say, 'hath been careful to put nothing into the Liturgy but that which
is either evidently the Word of God, or what hath been generally
received in the Catholic Church. The Catechism is not intended as a
whole body of divinity.' The Puritans had requested that 'the Church
prayers might contain _nothing questioned by pious, learned, and
orthodox persons_.' Seizing on this expression, wherein is contained the
ground of that _separatism for opinions_ which we hold to be so fatal
not only to Church life but also to the natural growth of religious
thought, the bishops ask, and in the very language of good sense: 'Who
are _pious, learned, and orthodox persons_? Are we to take for such all
who shall confidently affirm themselves to be such? If by orthodox be
meant those who adhere to Scripture and the Catholic consent of
antiquity, we do not yet know that any part of our Liturgy has been
questioned by such. It was the wisdom of our reformers to draw up _such
a liturgy as neither Romanist nor Protestant could justly except
against_. Persons want the book to be altered for their own

This allegation respecting the character of the Liturgy is undoubtedly
true, for the Puritans themselves expressly admitted its truth, and
urged this as a reason for altering the Liturgy. It is in consonance
with what is so often said, and truly said, of the Thirty-nine Articles,
that they are _articles of peace_. This, indeed, makes the Articles
scientifically worthless. Metaphysical propositions, such as they in the
main are, drawn up with a studied design for their being vague and
loose, can have no metaphysical value. But no one then thought of doing
without metaphysical articles; so to make them articles of peace showed
a true conception of the conditions of life and growth in a church. The
readiness to put a lax sense on subscription is a proof of the same
disposition of mind. Chillingworth's judgment about the meaning of
subscription is well known. 'For the Church of England, I am persuaded
that the constant doctrine of it is so pure and orthodox, that whosoever
believes it and lives according to it, undoubtedly he shall be saved;
and that there is no error in it which may necessitate or warrant any
man to disturb the peace or renounce the communion of it. _This, in my
opinion, is all that is intended by subscription._' And Laud, a very
different man from Chillingworth, held on this point a like opinion with

Certainly the Church of England was in no humour, at the time of the
Savoy Conference, to deal tenderly with the Puritans. It was too much
disposed to show to the Puritans the same sort of tenderness which the
Puritans had shown to the Church. The nation, moreover, was nearly as
ill-disposed as the Church to the Puritans; and this proves well what
the narrowness and tyrannousness of Puritanism dominant had really been.
But the Church undoubtedly said and did to Puritanism after the
Restoration much that was harsh and bitter, and therefore inexcusable in
a Christian church. Examples of Churchmen so speaking and dealing may be
found in the transactions of 1661; but perhaps the most offensive
example of a Churchman of this kind, and who deserves therefore to be
studied, is a certain Dr. Jane, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford
and Dean of Gloucester, who was put forward to thwart Tillotson's
projects of comprehension in 1689. A certain number of Dr. Janes there
have always been in the Church. There are a certain number of them in
the Church now, and there always will be a certain number of them. No
Church could exist with many of them; but one should have a sample or
two of them always before one's mind, and remember how to the excluded
party a few, and those the worst, of their excluders, are always apt to
stand for the whole, in order to comprehend the full bitterness and
resentment of Puritanism against the Church of England. Else one would
be inclined to say, after attentively and impartially observing the two
parties, that the persistence of the Church in pressing for conformity
arose, not as the political historians would have it, from the lust of
haughty ecclesiastics for dominion and for imposing their law on the
vanquished, but from a real sense that their formularies were made so
large and open, and the sense put upon subscription to them was so
indulgent, that any reasonable man could honestly conform; and that it
was perverseness and determination to impose their special ideas on the
Church, and to narrow the Church's latitude, which made the Puritans
stand out.

Nay, and it was with the diction of the Prayer Book, as it was with its
doctrine; the Church took the side which most commands the sympathy of
liberal-minded men. Baxter had his rival Prayer Book which he proposed
to substitute for the old one. And this is how the 'Reformed Liturgy'
was to begin: 'Eternal, incomprehensible and invisible God, infinite in
power, wisdom and goodness, dwelling in the light which no man can
approach, where thousand thousands minister unto thee, and ten thousand
times ten thousand stand before thee,' &c. This, I say, was to have
taken the place of our old friend, _Dearly beloved brethren_; and here,
again, we can hardly refuse approval to the Church's resistance to
Puritan innovations. We could wish, indeed, the Church had shown the
same largeness in consenting to relax ceremonies, which she showed in
refusing to tighten dogma, or to spoil diction. Worse still, the angry
wish to drive by violence, when the other party will not move by reason,
finally no doubt appears; and the Church has much to blame herself for
in the Act of Uniformity. Blame she deserves, and she has had it
plentifully; but what has not been enough perceived is, that really the
conviction of her own moderation, openness, and latitude, as far as
regards doctrine, seems to have filled her mind during her dealings with
the Puritans; and that her impatience with them was in great measure
impatience at seeing these so ill-appreciated by them. Very
ill-appreciated by them they certainly were; and, as far as doctrine is
concerned, the quarrel between the Church and Puritanism undoubtedly
was, that for the doctrines of predestination, original sin, and
justification, Puritanism wanted more exclusive prominence, more
dogmatic definition, more bar to future escape and development; while
the Church resisted.

And as the instinct of the Church always made her avoid, on these three
favourite tenets of Puritanism, the stringency of definition which
Puritanism tried to force upon her, always made her leave herself room
for growth in regard to them,--so, if we look for the positive
beginnings and first signs of growth, of disengagement from the stock
notions of popular theology about predestination, original sin, and
justification, it is among Churchmen, and not among Puritans, that we
shall find them. Few will deny that as to the doctrines of
predestination and original sin, at any rate, the mind of religious men
is no longer what it was in the seventeenth century or in the
eighteenth. There has been evident growth and emancipation; Puritanism
itself no longer holds these doctrines in the rigid way it once did. To
whom is this change owing? who were the beginners of it? They were men
using that comparative openness of mind and accessibility to ideas which
was fostered by the Church. The very complaints which we have quoted
from the Puritan divines prove that this was so. Henry More, saying in
the heat of the Calvinistic controversy, what it needed insight to say
then, but what almost every one's common sense says now, that 'it were
to be wished the Quinquarticular points were all reduced to this one,
namely, _That none shall be saved without sincere obedience_;' Jeremy
Taylor saying in the teeth of the superstitious popular doctrine of
original sin: 'Original sin, as it is at this day commonly explicated,
was not the doctrine of the primitive church; but when Pelagius had
puddled the stream, St. Austin was so angry that he stamped and puddled
it more,'--this sort of utterance from Churchmen it was, that first
introduced into our religious world the current of more independent
thought concerning the doctrines of predestination and original sin,
which has now made its way even amidst Puritans themselves.

Here the emancipation has reached the Puritans; but it proceeded from
the Church. That Puritanism is yet emancipated from the popular doctrine
of justification cannot be asserted. On the contrary, the more it
loosens its hold on the doctrine of predestination the more it tightens
it on that of justification. We shall have occasion by and by to discuss
Wesley's words: '_Plead thou solely the blood of the Covenant, the
ransom paid for thy proud stubborn soul!_' and to show how modern
Methodism glories in holding aloft as its standard this teaching of
Wesley's, and this teaching above all. The many tracts which have lately
been sent me in reference to this subject go all the same way. Like
Luther, they hold that 'all heretics have continually failed in this one
point, that they do not rightly understand or know the article of
_justification_:' 'do not see' (to continue to use Luther's words,)
'that by none other sacrifice or offering could God's fierce anger be
appeased, but by the precious blood of the Son of God.' That this
doctrine is founded upon an entire misunderstanding of St. Paul's
writings we have shown; that there is very visible a tendency in the
minds of religious people to outgrow it, is true, but where alone does
this tendency manifest itself with any steadiness or power? In the
Church. The inevitable movement of growth will in time extend itself to
Puritanism also. Let it be remembered in that day that not only does the
movement come to Puritanism from the Church, but it comes to Churchmen
of our century from a seed of growth and development inherent in the
Church, and which was manifest in the Church long ago!

That the accompaniments of the doctrine of justification, the tenets of
conversion, instantaneous sanctification, assurance, and sinless
perfection,--tenets which are not the essence of Wesley, but which are
the essence of Wesleyan Methodism, and which have in them so much that
is delusive and dangerous,--that these should have been discerningly
judged by that mixture of piety and sobriety which marks Anglicans of
the best type, such as Bishop Wilson,[105] will surprise no one. But
years before Wesley was born, the fontal doctrine itself,--Wesley's
'_Plead thou solely the blood of the Covenant!_'--had been criticised by
Hammond thus, and the signal of deliverance from the Lutheran doctrine
of justification given: 'The solifidian looks upon his faith as the
utmost accomplishment and end, and not only as the first elements of his
task, which is,--_the superstructing of good life_. The solifidian
believes himself to have the only sanctified necessary doctrines, that
having them renders his condition safe, and every man who believes them
a pure Christian professor. In respect of solifidianism it is worth
remembering what Epiphanius observes of the primitive times, that
_wickedness was the only heresy_, that impious and pious living divided
the whole Christian world into erroneous and orthodox.'

[Footnote 105: For example, what an antidote to the perilous
Methodist doctrine of instantaneous sanctification is this saying of
Bishop Wilson: 'He who fancies that his mind may effectually be
changed in a short time, deceives himself.']

In point of fact, therefore, the historic Church in England, not
existing for special opinions, but proceeding by development, has shown
much greater freedom of mind as regards the doctrines of election,
original sin, and justification, than the Nonconformists have; and has
refused, in spite of Puritan pressure, to tie herself too strictly to
these doctrines, to make them all in all. She thus both has been and is
more serviceable than Puritanism to religious progress; because the
separating for opinions, which is proper to Puritanism, rivets the
separatist to those opinions, and is thus opposed to that development
and gradual exhibiting of the full sense of the Bible and Christianity,
which is essential to religious progress. To separate for the doctrine
of predestination, of justification, of scriptural church-discipline, is
to be false to the idea of development, to imagine that you can seize
the absolute sense of Scripture from your own present point of view, and
to cut yourself off from growth and gradual illumination. That a
comparison between the course things have taken in Puritanism and in the
Church goes to prove the truth of this as a matter of fact, is what I
have been trying to show hitherto; in what remains I purpose to show
how, as a matter of theory and antecedent likelihood, it seems probable
and natural that so this should be.

A historic Church cannot choose but allow the principle of development,
for it is written in its institutions and history. An admirable writer,
in a book which is one of his least known works, but which contains,
perhaps, even a greater number of profound and valuable ideas than any
other one of them, has set forth, both persuasively and truly, the
impression of this sort which Church-history cannot but convey. 'We have
to account,' says Dr. Newman, in his _Essay on Development_, 'for that
apparent variation and growth of doctrine which embarrasses us when we
would consult history for the true idea of Christianity. The increase
and expansion of the Christian creed and ritual, and the variations
which have attended the process in the case of individual writers and
churches, are the necessary attendants on any philosophy or polity which
takes possession of the intellect and heart, and has had any wide or
extended dominion. From the nature of the human mind, time is necessary
for the full comprehension and perfection of great ideas. The highest
and most wonderful truths, though communicated to the world once for all
by inspired teachers, could not be comprehended all at once by the
recipients; but, as admitted and transmitted by minds not inspired, and
through media which were human, have required only the longer time and
deeper thought for their full elucidation.' And again: 'Ideas may remain
when the expression of them is indefinitely varied. Nay, one cause of
corruption in religion is the refusal to follow the course of doctrine
as it moves on, and an obstinacy in the notions of the past. So our Lord
found his people precisians in their obedience to the letter; he
condemned them for not being led on to its spirit,--that is, its
development. The Gospel is the development of the Law; yet what
difference seems wider than that which separates the unbending rule of
Moses from the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ? The more
claim an idea has to be considered living, the more various will be its
aspects; and the more social and political is its nature, the more
complicated and subtle will be its developments, and the longer and more
eventful will be its course. Such is Christianity.' And yet once more:
'It may be objected that inspired documents, such as the Holy
Scriptures, at once determine doctrine without further trouble. But they
were intended to create _an idea_, and that idea is not in the sacred
text, but in the mind of the reader; and the question is, whether that
idea is communicated to him in its completeness and minute accuracy on
its first apprehension, or expands in his heart and intellect, and comes
to perfection in the course of time. If it is said that inspiration
supplied the place of this development in the first recipients of
Christianity, still the time at length came when its recipients ceased
to be inspired; and on these recipients the revealed truths would fall
as in other cases, at first vaguely and generally, and would afterwards
be completed by developments.'

The notion thus admirably expounded of a gradual understanding of the
Bible, a progressive development of Christianity, is the same which was
in Bishop Butler's mind when he laid down in his _Analogy_ that 'the
Bible contains many truths as yet undiscovered.' 'And as,' he says, 'the
whole scheme of Scripture is not yet understood, so, if it ever comes to
be understood, before the restitution of all things and without
miraculous interpositions, it must be in the same way as natural
knowledge is come at,--by the continuance and progress of learning and
of liberty, and by particular persons attending to, comparing, and
pursuing intimations scattered up and down it, which are overlooked and
disregarded by the generality of the world. For this is the way in which
all improvements are made; by thoughtful men's tracing on obscure hints,
as it were, dropped as by nature accidentally, or which seem to come
into our minds by chance.' And again: 'Our existence is not only
successive, as it must be of necessity, but one state of our life and
being is appointed by God to be a preparation for another, and that to
be the means of attaining to another succeeding one; infancy to
childhood, childhood to youth, youth to mature age. Men are impatient
and for precipitating things; but the author of nature appears
deliberate throughout his operations, accomplishing his natural ends by
slow successive steps. Thus, in the daily course of natural providence,
God operates in the very same manner as in the dispensation of
Christianity; making one thing subservient to another, this to somewhat
further; and so on, through a progressive series of means which extend
both backward and forward, beyond our utmost view. Of this manner of
operation everything we see in the course of nature is as much an
instance as any part of the Christian dispensation.'

All this is indeed incomparably well said; and with Dr. Newman we may,
on the strength of it all, beyond any doubt, 'fairly conclude that
Christian doctrine admits of formal, legitimate, and true developments;'
that 'the whole Bible is written on the principle of development.'

Dr. Newman, indeed, uses this idea in a manner which seems to us
arbitrary and condemned by the idea itself. He uses it in support of the
pretensions of the Church of Rome to an infallible authority on points
of doctrine. He says, with much ingenuity, to Protestants: The doctrines
you receive are no more on the face of the Bible, or in the plain
teaching of the ante-Nicene Church, which alone you consider pure, than
the doctrines you reject. The doctrine of the Trinity is a development,
as much as the doctrine of Purgatory. Both of them are developments made
by the Church, by the post-Nicene Church. The determination of the Canon
of Scripture, a thing of vital importance to you who acknowledge no
authority but Scripture, is a development due to the post-Nicene
Church.--And thus Dr. Newman would compel Protestants to admit that
which is, he declares, in itself reasonable,--namely, 'the probability
of the appointment in Christianity of an external authority to decide
upon the true developments of doctrine and practice in it, thereby
separating them from the mass of mere human speculation, extravagance,
corruption, and error, in and out of which they grow. This is the
doctrine of the infallibility of the Church, of faith and obedience
towards the Church, founded on the probability of its never erring in
its declarations or commands.'

Now, asserted in this absolute way, and extended to doctrine as well as
discipline, to speculative thought as well as to Christian practice, Dr.
Newman's conclusion seems at variance with his own theory of
development, and to be something like an instance of what Bishop Butler
criticises when he says: 'Men are impatient, and for precipitating
things.' But Dr. Newman has himself supplied us with a sort of
commentary on these words of Butler's which is worth quoting, because it
throws more light on our point than Butler's few words can throw on it
by themselves. Dr. Newman says: 'Development is not an effect of wishing
and resolving, or of forced enthusiasm, or of any mechanism of
reasoning, or of any mere subtlety of intellect; but comes of its own
innate power of expansion within the mind in its season, though with the
use of reflection and argument and original thought, more or less as it
may happen, with a dependence on the ethical growth of the mind itself,
and with a reflex influence upon it.'

It is impossible to point out more sagaciously and expressively the
natural, spontaneous, free character of true development; how such a
development must follow laws of its own, may often require vast periods
of time, cannot be hurried, cannot be stopped. And so far as
Christianity deals,--as, in its metaphysical theology, it does
abundantly deal,--with thought and speculation, it must surely be
admitted that for its true and ultimate development in this line more
time is required, and other conditions have to be fulfilled, than we
have had already. So far as Christian doctrine contains speculative
philosophical ideas, never since its origin have the conditions been
present for determining these adequately; certainly not in the mediæval
Church, which so dauntlessly strove to determine them. And therefore on
every Creed and Council is judgment passed in Bishop Butler's sentence:
'_The Bible contains many truths as yet undiscovered._'

The Christian religion has practice for its great end and aim; but it
raises, as anyone can see, and as Church-history proves, numerous and
great questions of philosophy and of scientific criticism. Well, for the
true elucidation of such questions, and for their final solution, time
and favourable developing conditions are confessedly necessary. From the
end of the apostolic age and of the great fontal burst of Christianity,
down to the present time, have such conditions ever existed in the
Christian communities, for determining adequately the questions of
philosophy and scientific criticism which the Christian religion starts?
_God_, _creation_, _will_, _evil_, _propitiation_, _immortality_,--these
terms and many more of the same kind, however much they might in the
Bible be used in a concrete and practical manner, yet plainly had in
themselves a provocation to abstract thought, carried with them the
occasions of a criticism and a philosophy, which must sooner or later
make its appearance in the Church. It did make its appearance, and the
question is whether it has ever yet appeared there under conditions
favourable to its true development. Surely this is best elucidated by
considering whether questions of criticism and philosophy in general
ever had one of their happy moments, their times for successful
development, in the early and middle ages of Christendom at all, or have
had one of them in the Christian churches, as such, since. All these
questions hang together, and the time that is improper for solving one
sort of them truly, is improper for solving the others.

Well, surely, historic criticism, criticism of style, criticism of
nature, no one would go to the early or middle ages of the Church for
illumination on these matters. How then should those ages develop
successfully a philosophy of theology, or in other words, a criticism of
physics and metaphysics, which involves the three other criticisms and
more besides? Church-theology is an elaborate attempt at a philosophy of
theology, at a philosophical criticism. In Greece, before Christianity
appeared, there had been a favouring period for the development of such
a criticism; a considerable movement of it took place, and considerable
results were reached. When Christianity began, this movement was in
decadence; it declined more and more till it died quite out; it revived
very slowly, and as it waxed, the mediæval Church waned. The doctrine of
universals is a question of philosophy discussed in Greece, and
re-discussed in the middle ages. Whatever light this doctrine receives
from Plato's treatment of it, or Aristotle's, in whatever state they
left it, will anyone say that the Nominalists and Realists brought any
more light to it, that they developed it in any way, or could develop
it? For the same reason, St. Augustine's criticism of God's eternal
decrees, original sin, and justification, the criticism of St. Thomas
Aquinas on them, the decisions of the Church on them, are of necessity,
and from the very nature of things, inadequate, because, being
philosophical developments, they are made in an age when the forces for
true philosophical development are waning or wanting.

So when Hooker says most truly: 'Our belief in the Trinity, the
co-eternity of the Son of God with his Father, the proceeding of the
Spirit from the Father and the Son, with other principal points the
necessity whereof is by none denied, are notwithstanding in Scripture
nowhere to be found by express literal mention, only deduced they are
out of Scripture by collection;'--when Hooker thus points, out, what is
undoubtedly the truth, that these Church-doctrines are developments, we
may add this other truth equally undoubted,--that being _philosophical_
developments, they are developments of a kind which the Church has never
yet had the right conditions for making adequately, any more than it has
had the conditions for developing out of what is said in the Book of
Genesis a true philosophy of nature, or out of what is said in the Book
of Daniel, a true philosophy of history. It matters nothing whether the
scientific truth was there, and the problem was to extract it; or not
there, and the problem was to understand why it was not there, and the
relation borne by what was there to the scientific truth. The Church had
no means of solving either the one problem or the other. And this from
no fault at all of the Church, but for the same reason that she was
unfitted to solve a difficulty in Aristotle's _Physics_ or Plato's
_Timæus_, and to determine the historical value of Herodotus or Livy;
simply from the natural operation of the law of development, which for
success in philosophy and criticism requires certain conditions, which
in the early and mediæval Church were not to be found.

And when the movement of philosophy and criticism came with the
Renascence, this movement was almost entirely outside the Churches,
whether Catholic or Protestant, and not inside them. It worked in men
like Descartes and Bacon, and not in men like Luther and Calvin; so that
the doctrine of these two eminent personages, Luther and Calvin, so far
as it was a philosophical and critical development from Scripture, had
no more likelihood of being an adequate development than the doctrine of
the Council of Trent. And so it has gone on to this day. Philosophy and
criticism have become a great power in the world, and inevitably tend to
alter and develop Church-doctrine, so far as this doctrine is, as to a
great extent it is, philosophical and critical. Yet the seat of the
developing force is not in the Church itself, but elsewhere; its
influences filter strugglingly into the Church, and the Church slowly
absorbs and incorporates them. And whatever hinders their filtering in
and becoming incorporated, hinders truth and the natural progress of

While, therefore, we entirely agree with Dr. Newman and with the great
Anglican divines that the whole Bible is written on the principle of
development, and that Christianity in its doctrine and discipline is and
must be a development of the Bible, we yet cannot agree that for the
adequate development of Christian doctrine, so far as theology exhibits
this metaphysically and scientifically, the Church, whether ante-Nicene
or post-Nicene, has ever yet furnished a channel. Thought and science
follow their own law of development, they are slowly elaborated in the
growth and forward pressure of humanity, in what Shakspeare calls,--

      ... the prophetic soul
      Of the wide world dreaming on things to come;

and their ripeness and unripeness, as Dr. Newman most truly says, are
not an effect of our wishing or resolving. Rather do they seem brought
about by a power such as Goethe figures by the _Zeit-Geist_ or
Time-Spirit, and St. Paul describes as a divine power _revealing_
additions to what we possess already.

But sects of men are apt to be shut up in sectarian ideas of their own,
and to be less open to new general ideas than the main body of men;
therefore St. Paul in the same breath exhorts to unity. What may justly
be conceded to the Catholic Church is, that in her idea of a continuous
developing power in united Christendom to work upon the data furnished
by the Bible, and produce new combinations from them as the growth of
time required it, she followed a true instinct. But the right
_philosophical_ developments she vainly imagined herself to have had the
power to produce, and her attempts in this direction were at most but a
prophecy of this power, as alchemy is said to have been a prophecy of

With developments of discipline and church-order it is very different.
The Bible raises, as we have seen, many and great questions of
philosophy and criticism; still, essentially the Church was not a
corporation for speculative purposes, but a corporation for purposes of
moral growth and of practice. Terms like _God_, _creation_, _will_,
_evil_, _propitiation_, _immortality_, evoke, as we have said, and must
evoke, sooner or later, a philosophy; but to evoke this was the accident
and not the essence of Christianity. What, then, was the essence?

An ingenious writer, as unlike Dr. Newman as it is possible to conceive,
has lately told us. In an article in _Fraser's Magazine_,--an article
written with great vigour and acuteness,--this writer advises us to
return to Paley, whom we were beginning to neglect, because the real
important essence of Christianity, or rather, to quote quite literally,
'the only form of Christianity which is worthy of the serious
consideration of rational men, is Protestantism as stated by Paley and
his school.' And why? 'Because this Protestantism enables the saint to
prove to the worldly man that Christ threatened him with hell-fire, and
proved his power to threaten by rising from the dead and ascending into
heaven; _and these allegations are the fundamental assertions of

Now it may be said that this is a somewhat contracted view of 'the
unsearchable riches of Christ;' but we will not quarrel with it. And
this for several reasons. In the first place, it is the view often taken
by popular theology. In the second place, it is the view best fitted to
serve its Benthamite author's object, which is to get Christianity out
of the way altogether. In the third place, its shortness gives us
courage to try and do what is the hardest thing in the world, namely, to
pack a statement of the main drift of Christianity into a few lines of
nearly as short compass.

What then was, in brief, the Christian gospel, or 'good news'? It was
this: _The kingdom of God is come unto you_. The power of Jesus upon the
multitudes who heard him gladly, was not that by rising from the dead
and ascending into heaven he enabled the saint to prove to the worldly
man the certainty of hell-fire (for he had not yet done so); but that
_he talked to them about the kingdom of God_.[106] And what is the
kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven? It is this: _God's will done, as in
heaven so on earth_. And how was this come to mankind? Because _Jesus is
come to save his people from their sins_. And what is being saved from
our sins? This: _Entering into the kingdom of heaven by doing the will
of our Father which is in heaven_. And how does Christ enable us to do
this? By teaching us _to take his yoke upon us, and learn of him to deny
ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow him, and to lose our
life for the purpose of saving it_. So that St. Paul might say most
truly that the seal of the sure foundation of God in Christianity was
this: _Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from
iniquity_: or, as he elsewhere expands it: _Let him bring forth the
fruits of the Spirit,--love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faith, mildness, self-control._[107]

[Footnote 106: Nothing can be more certain than that the _kingdom of
God_ meant originally, and was understood to mean, a Messianic
kingdom speedily to be revealed; and that to this idea of the
_kingdom_ is due much of the effect which its preaching exercised on
the imagination of the first generation of Christians. But nothing
is more certain, also, than that while the end itself, the Messianic
kingdom, was necessarily something intangible and future, the _way_
to the end, the doing the will of God by intently following the
voice of the moral conscience, in those duties, above all, for which
there was then in the world the most crying need,--the duties of
humbleness, self-denial, pureness, justice, charity,--became from
the very first in the teaching of Jesus something so ever-present
and practical, and so associated with the essence of Jesus himself,
that the _way_ to the kingdom grew inseparable, in thought, from the
kingdom itself, and was bathed in the same light and charm. Then,
after a time, as the vision of an approaching Messianic kingdom was
dissipated, the idea of the perfect accomplishment on earth of the
will of God had to take the room of it, and in its own realisation
to place the ideal of the true kingdom of God.]

[Footnote 107: II _Tim._, ii, 19; _Gal._, v, 22, 23.]

On this foundation arose the Christian Church, and not on any foundation
of speculative metaphysics. It was inevitable that the speculative
metaphysics should come, but they were not the foundation. When they
came, the danger of the Christian Church was that she should take them
for the foundation. The people who were built on the real foundation,
who were united in the joy of Christ's good news, naturally, as they
came to know of one another's existence, as their relations with one
another multiplied, as the sense of sympathy in the possession of a
common treasure deepened,--naturally, I say, drew together in one body,
with an organisation growing out of the needs of a growing body. It is
quite clear that the more strongly Christians felt their common business
in setting forward upon earth, through Christ's spirit, the kingdom of
God, the more they would be drawn to coalesce into one society for this
business, with the natural and true notion that the acting together in
this way offers to men greater helps for reaching their aim, presents
fewer distractions, and above all, supplies a more animating force of
sympathy and mutual assurance, than the acting separately. Only the
sense of differences greater than the sense of sympathy could defeat
this tendency.

Dr. Newman has told us what an impression was once made upon his mind by
the sentence: _Securus judicat orbis terrarum_. We have shown how, for
matters of philosophical judgment, not yet settled but requiring
development to clear them, the consent of the world, at a time when this
clearing development cannot have happened, seems to carry little or no
weight at all; indeed, as to judgment on these points, we should rather
be inclined to lay down the very contrary of Dr. Newman's affirmation,
and to say: _Securus delirat orbis terrarum_. But points of speculative
theology being out of the question, and the practical ground and purpose
of man's religion being broadly and plainly fixed, we should be quite
disposed to concede to Dr. Newman, that _securus =colit= orbis
terrarum_;--those pursue this purpose best who pursue it together. For
unless prevented by extraneous causes, they manifestly tend, as the
history of the Church's growth shows, to pursue it together.

Nonconformists are fond of talking of the unity which may co-exist with
separation, and they say: 'There are four evangelists, yet one gospel;
why should there not be many separate religious bodies, yet one Church?'
But their theory of unity in separation is a theory palpably invented to
cover existing facts, and their argument from the evangelists is a
paralogism. For the Four Gospels arose out of no thought of divergency;
they were not designed as corrections of one prior gospel, or of one
another; they were concurring testimonies borne to the same fact. But
the several religious bodies of Christendom plainly grew out of an
intention of divergency; clearly they were designed to correct the
imperfections of one prior church and of each other; and to say of
things sprung out of discord that they may make _one_, because things
sprung out of concord may make _one_, is like saying that because
several agreements may make a peace, therefore several wars may make a
peace too. No; without some strong motive to the contrary, men united by
the pursuit of a clearly defined common aim of irresistible
attractiveness naturally coalesce; and since they coalesce naturally,
they are clearly right in coalescing and find their advantage in it.

All that Dr. Newman has so excellently said about development applies
here legitimately and fully. Existence justifies additions and stages in
existence. The living edifice planted on the foundation, _Let every one
that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity_, could not but
grow, if it lived at all. If it grew, it could not but make
developments, and all developments not inconsistent with the aim of its
original foundation, and not extending beyond the moral and practical
sphere which was the sphere of its original foundation, are legitimated
by the very fact of the Church having in the natural evolution of its
life and growth made them. A boy does not wear the clothes or follow the
ways of an infant, nor a man those of a boy; yet they are all engaged in
the one same business of developing their growing life, and to the
clothes to be worn and the ways to be followed for the purpose of doing
this, nature will, in general, direct them safely. The several scattered
congregations of the first age of Christianity coalesced into one
community, just as the several scattered Christians had earlier still
coalesced into congregations. Why?--because such was the natural course
of things. It had nothing inconsistent with the fundamental ground of
Christians, _Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from
iniquity_; and it was approved by their growing and enlarging in it.
They developed a church-discipline with a hierarchy of bishops and
archbishops, which was not that of the first times; they developed
church-usages, such as the practice of infant baptism, which were not
those of the first times; they developed a church-ritual with ceremonies
which were not those of the first times;--they developed all these, just
as they developed a church-architecture which was not that of the first
times, because they were no longer in the first times, and required for
their expanding growth what suited their own times. They coalesced with
the State because they grew by doing so. They called the faith they
possessed in common the _Catholic_, that is, the general or universal
faith. They developed, also, as we have seen, dogma or a theological
philosophy. Both dogma and discipline became a part of the Catholic
faith, or profession of the general body of Christians.

Now to develop a discipline, or form of outward life for itself, the
Church, as has been said, had necessarily, like every other living
thing, the requisite qualifications; to develop scientific dogma it had
not. But even of the dogma which the Church developed it may be said,
that, from the very nature of things, it was probably, as compared with
the opposing dogma over which it prevailed, the more suited to the
actual condition of the Church's life, and to the due progress of the
divine work for which she existed. For instance, whatever may be
scientifically the rights of the question about grace and free-will, it
is evident that, for the Church of the fifth century, Pelagianism was
the less inspiring and edifying doctrine, and the sense of _being in the
divine hand_ was the feeling which it was good for Christians to be
filled with. Whatever may be scientifically the merits of the dispute
between Arius and Athanasius, for the Church of their time whatever most
exalted or seemed to exalt Jesus Christ was clearly the profitable
doctrine, the doctrine most helpful to that moral life which was the
true life of the Church.

People, however, there were in abundance who differed on points both of
discipline and of dogma from the rule which obtained in the Church, and
who separated from her on account of that difference. These were the
heretics: _separatists_, as the name implies, _for the sake of
opinions_. And the very name, therefore, implies that they were wrong in
separating, and that the body which held together was right; because the
Church exists, not for the sake of opinions, but for the sake of moral
practice, and a united endeavour after this is stronger than a broken
one. Valentinians, Marcionites, Montanists, Donatists, Manichæans,
Novatians, Eutychians, Apollinarians, Nestorians, Arians, Pelagians,--if
they separated on points of discipline they were wrong, because for
developing its own fit outward conditions of life the body of a
community has, as we have seen, a real natural power, and individuals
are bound to sacrifice their fancies to it; if they separated on points
of dogma they were wrong also, because, while neither they nor the
Church had the means of determining such points adequately, the true
instinct lay in those who, instead of separating for such points,
conceded them as the Church settled them, and found their bond of union,
where it in truth really was, not in notions about the co-eternity of
the Son, but in the principle: _Let every one that nameth the name of
Christ depart from iniquity_.

Does any one imagine that all the Church shared Augustine's speculative
opinions about grace and predestination? that many members of it did not
rather incline, as a matter of speculative opinion, to the notions of
Pelagius? Does any one imagine that all who stood with the Church and
did not join themselves to the Arians, were speculatively Athanasians?
It was not so; but they had a true feeling for what purpose the Gospel
and the Church were given them, and for what they were not given them;
they could see that 'impious and pious living,' according to that
sentence of Epiphanius we have quoted from Hammond, 'divided the whole
Christian world into erroneous and orthodox;' and that it was not worth
while to suffer themselves to be divided for anything else.

And though it will be said that separatists for opinions on points of
discipline and dogma have often asserted, and sometimes believed, that
piety and impiety were vitally concerned in these points; yet here again
the true religious instinct is that which discerns,--what is seldom so
very obscure,--whether they are in truth thus vitally concerned or not;
and, if they are not, cannot be perverted into fancying them concerned
and breaking unity for them. This, I say, is the true religious
instinct, the instinct which most clearly seizes the essence and aim of
the Christian Gospel and of the Christian Church. But fidelity to it
leaves, also, the way least closed to the admission of true developments
of speculative thought, when the time is come for them, and to the
incorporation of these true developments with the ideas and practice of

Is there not, then, any separation which is right and reasonable? Yes,
separation on plain points of morals. For these involve the very essence
of the Christian Gospel, and the very ground on which the Christian
Church is built. The sale of indulgences, if deliberately instituted and
persisted in by the main body of the Church, afforded a valid reason for
breaking unity; the doctrine of purgatory, or of the real presence, did

However, a cosmopolitan church-order, commenced when the political
organisation of Christians was also cosmopolitan,--when, that is, the
nations of Europe were politically one in the unity of the Roman
Empire,--might well occasion difficulties as the nations solidified into
independent states with a keen sense of their independent life; so that,
the cosmopolitan type disappearing for civil affairs, and being replaced
by the national type, the same disappearance and replacement tended to
prevail in ecclesiastical affairs also. But this was a political
difficulty, not a religious one, and it raised no insuperable bar to
continued religious union. A Church with Anglican liberties might very
well, the English national spirit being what it is, have been in
religious communion with Rome, and yet have been safely trusted to
maintain and develop its national liberties to any extent required.

The moral corruptions of Rome, on the other hand, were a real ground for
separation. On their account, and solely on their account, if they could
not be got rid of, was separation not only lawful but necessary. It has
always been the averment of the Church of England, that the change made
in her at the Reformation was the very least change which was absolutely
necessary. No doubt she used the opportunity of her breach with Rome to
get rid of several doctrines which the human mind had outgrown; but it
was the immoral practice of Rome that really moved her to separation.
And she maintained that she merely got rid of Roman corruptions which
were immoral and intolerable, and remained the old, historic, Catholic
Church of England still.

The right to this title of _Catholic_ is a favourite matter of
contention between bodies of Christians. But let us use names in their
customary and natural senses. To us it seems that unless one chooses to
fight about words, and fancifully to put into the word _Catholic_ some
occult quality, one must allow that the changes made in the Church of
England at the Reformation impaired its Catholicity. The word _Catholic_
was meant to describe the common or general profession and worship of
Christendom at the time when the word arose. Undoubtedly this general
profession and worship had not a strict uniformity everywhere, but it
had a clearly-marked common character; and this well-known type Bede, or
Anselm, or Wiclif himself, would to this day easily recognise in a Roman
Catholic religious service, but hardly in an Anglican; while, on the
other hand, in a Roman Catholic religious service an ordinary Anglican
finds himself as much in a strange world and out of his usual course, as
in a Nonconformist meeting-house. Something precious was no doubt lost
in losing this common profession and worship; but the loss was, as we
Protestants maintain, incurred for the sake of something yet more
precious still,--the purity of that moral practice which was the very
cause for which the common profession and worship existed. Now, it seems
captious to incur voluntarily a loss for a great and worthy object, and
at the same time, by a conjuring with words, to try and make it appear
that we have not suffered the loss at all. So on the word _Catholic_ we
will not insist too jealously; but thus much, at any rate, must be
allowed to the Church of England,--that she kept enough of the past to
preserve, as far as this nation was concerned, her continuity, to be
still the _historic Church of England_; and that she avoided the error,
to which there was so much to draw her, and into which all the other
reformed Churches fell, of making improved speculative doctrinal
opinions the main ground of her separation.

A Nonconformist newspaper, it is true, reproaching the Church with what
is, in our opinion, her greatest praise, namely, that on points of
doctrinal theology she is 'a Church that does not know her own mind,'
roundly asserts, as we have already mentioned, that 'no man in his
senses can deny that the Church of England was meant to be a thoroughly
Protestant and Evangelical, and it may be said Calvinistic Church.' But
not only does the whole course of Church-history disprove such an
assertion, and show that this is what the Puritans always wanted to make
the Church, and what the Church would never be made, but we can disprove
it, too, out of the mouths of the very Puritans themselves. At the Savoy
Conference the Puritans urged that 'our first reformers out of their
great wisdom did at that time (of the Reformation) so compose the
Liturgy, as to win upon the Papists, and to draw them into their Church
communion _by varying as little as they could from the Romish forms
before in use_;' and this they alleged as their great plea for purging
the Liturgy. And the Bishops resisted, and upheld the proceeding of the
reformers as the essential policy of the Church of England; as indeed it
was, and till this day has continued to be. No; the Church of England
did not give her energies to inventing a new church-order for herself
and fighting for it; to singling out two or three speculative dogmas as
the essence of Christianity, and fighting for them. She set herself to
carry forward, and as much as possible on the old lines, the old
practical work and proper design of the Christian Church; and this is
what left her mind comparatively open, as we have seen, for the
admission of philosophy and criticism, as they slowly developed
themselves outside the Church and filtered into her; an admission which
confessedly proves just now of capital importance.

This openness of mind the Puritans have not shared with the Church, and
how _should_ they have shared it? They are founded on the negation of
that idea of development which plays so important a part in the life of
the Church; on the assumption that there is a divinely appointed
church-order fixed once for all in the Bible, and that they have adopted
it; that there is a doctrinal scheme of faith, justification, and
imputed righteousness, which is the test of a standing or falling church
and the essence of the gospel, and that they have extracted it. These
are assumptions which, as they make union impossible, so also make
growth impossible. The Church makes church-order a matter of
ecclesiastical constitution, is founded on moral practice, and though
she develops speculative dogma, does not allow that this or that dogma
is the essence of Christianity.

'Congregational Nonconformists,' say the Independents, 'can never be
incorporated into an organic union with Anglican Episcopacy, because
there is not even the shadow of an outline of it in the New Testament,
and it is our assertion and profound belief that Christ and the Apostles
have given us all the laws that are necessary for the constitution and
government of the Church.'[108] 'Whatever may come,' says the President
of the Wesleyan Conference, 'we are determined to be simple, earnest
preachers of _the gospel_. Whatever may come, we are determined to be
true to _Scriptural Protestantism_. We would be friendly with all
evangelical churches, but we will have no fellowship with the man of
sin. We will give up life itself rather than be unfaithful to _the
truth_. It is ours to cry everywhere: "Come, sinners, to _the
gospel-feast_!"' And this _gospel_, this _Scriptural Protestantism_,
this _truth_, is the doctrine of justification by 'pleading solely the
blood of the covenant,' of which we have said so much. Methodists cannot
unite with a church which does not found itself on this doctrine of
justification, but which holds the doctrine of priestly absolution, of
the real presence, and other doctrines of like stamp; Congregationalists
cannot unite with a church which, besides not resting on the doctrine of
justification, has a church-order not prescribed in the New Testament.

[Footnote 108: Address of the Rev. G. W. Conder at Liverpool, in the
_Lancashire Congregational Calendar_ for 1869-70.]

Now as Hooker truly says of those who 'desire to draw all things unto
the determination of bare and naked Scripture,' as Dr. Newman, too, has
said, and as many others have said, the Bible does not exhibit, drawn
out in black and white, the precise tenets and usages of any Christian
society; some inference and criticism must be employed to get at them.
'For the most part, even such as are readiest to cite for one thing five
hundred sentences of Scripture, what warrant have they that any one of
them doth mean the thing for which it is alleged?' Nay, 'it is not the
word of God itself which doth, or possibly can, assure us that we do
well to think it his word.' So says Hooker, and what he says is
perfectly true. A process of reasoning and collection is necessary to
get at the Scriptural church-discipline and the Scriptural Protestantism
of the Puritans; in short, this discipline and this doctrine are
developments. And the first is an unsound development, in a line where
there was a power of making a true development, and where the Church
made it; the second is an unsound development in a line where neither
the Church nor Puritanism had the power of making true developments. But
as it is the truth of its Scriptural Protestantism which in Puritanism's
eyes especially proves the truth of its Scriptural church-order which
has this Protestantism, and the falsehood of the Anglican church-order
which has much less of it, to abate the confidence of the Puritans in
their Scriptural Protestantism is the first step towards their union, so
much to be desired, with the national Church.

We say, therefore, that the doctrine: 'It is agreed between God and the
mediator Jesus Christ the Son of God, surety for the redeemed, as
parties-contractors, that the sins of the redeemed should be imputed to
innocent Christ, and he both condemned and put to death for them upon
this very condition, that whosoever heartily consents unto the covenant
of reconciliation offered through Christ shall, by the imputation of his
obedience unto them, be justified and holden righteous before God,'--we
say that this doctrine is as much a human development from the text,
'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,' as the doctrine of
priestly absolution is a human development from the text, 'Whosesoever
sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them,' or the doctrine of the real
presence from the text, 'Take, eat, this is my body.' In our treatise on
St. Paul we have shown at length that the received doctrine of
justification is an unsound development. It may be said that the
doctrine of priestly absolution and of the real presence are unsound
developments also. True, in our opinion they are so; they are, like the
doctrine of justification, developments made under conditions which
precluded the possibility of sound developments in this line. But the
difference is here: the Church of England does not identify Christianity
with these unsound developments; she does not call either of them
_Scriptural Protestantism_, or _truth_, or _the gospel_; she does not
insist that all who are in communion with her should hold them; she does
not repel from her communion those who hold doctrines at variance with
them. She treats them as she does the received doctrine of
justification, to which she does not tie herself up, but leaves people
to hold it if they please. She thus provides room for growth and further
change in these very doctrines themselves. But to the doctrine of
justification Puritanism ties itself up, just as it tied itself up
formerly to the doctrine of predestination; it calls it _Scriptural
Protestantism_, _truth_, _the gospel_; it will have communion with none
who do not hold it; it repels communion with any who hold the doctrines
of priestly absolution and the real presence, because they seem to
interfere with it. Yet it is really itself no better than they. But how
can growth possibly find place in this doctrine, while it is held in
such a fashion?

Every one who perceives and values the power contained in Christianity,
must be struck to see how, at the present moment, the progress of this
power seems to depend upon its being able to disengage itself from
speculative accretions that encumber it. A considerable movement to this
end is visible in the Church of England. The most nakedly speculative,
and therefore the most inevitably defective, parts of the Prayer
Book,--the Athanasian Creed and the Thirty-nine Articles,--our
generation will not improbably see the Prayer Book rid of. But the
larger the body in which this movement works, the greater is the power
of the movement. If the Church of England were disestablished to-day it
would be desirable to re-establish her to-morrow, if only because of the
immense power for development which a national body possesses. It is
because we know something of the Nonconformist ministers, and what
eminent force and faculty many of them have for contributing to the work
of development now before the Church, that we cannot bear to see the
waste of power caused by their separatism and battling with the
Establishment, which absorb their energies too much to suffer them to
carry forward the work of development themselves, and cut them off from
aiding those in the Church who carry it forward.

The political dissent of the Nonconformists, based on their condemnation
of the Anglican church-order as unscriptural, is just one of those
speculative accretions which we have spoken of as encumbering religion.
Politics are a good thing, and religion is a good thing; but they make a
fractious mixture. 'The Nonconformity of England, and the Nonconformity
alone, has been the salvation of England from Papal tyranny and kingly
misrule and despotism.'[109] This is the favourite boast, the familiar
strain; but this is really politics, and not religion at all. But
righteousness is religion; and the Nonconformists say: 'Who have done so
much for righteousness as we?' For as much righteousness as will go with
politics, no one; for the sterner virtues, for the virtues of the Jews
of the Old Testament; but these are only half of righteousness and not
the essentially Christian half. We have seen how St. Paul tore himself
in two, rent his life in the middle and began it again, because he was
so dissatisfied with a righteousness which was, after all, in its main
features, Puritan. And surely it can hardly be denied that the more
eminently and exactly _Christian_ type of righteousness is the type
exhibited by Church worthies like Herbert, Ken, and Wilson, rather than
that exhibited by the worthies of Puritanism; the cause being that these
last mixed politics with religion so much more than did the first.

[Footnote 109: The Rev. G. W. Conder, _ubi supra_.]

Paul, too, be it remembered, condemned disunion in the society of
Christians as much as he declined politics. This does not, we freely
own, make against the Puritans' refusal to take the law from their
adversaries, but it does make against their allegation that it does not
matter whether the society of Christians is united or not, and that
there are even great advantages in separatism. If Anglicans maintained
that their church-order was written in Scripture and a matter of divine
command, then, Congregationalists maintaining the same thing, to the
controversy between them there could be no end. But now, Anglicans
maintaining no such thing, but that their church-order is a matter of
historic development and natural expediency, that it has _grown_,--which
is evident enough,--and that the essence of Christianity is in no-wise
concerned with such matters, why should not the Nonconformists adopt
this moderate view of the case, which constrains them to no admission of
inferiority, but only to the renouncing an imagined divine superiority
and to the recognition of an existing fact, and allow Church bishops as
a development of Catholic antiquity, just as they have allowed Church
music and Church architecture, which are developments of the same? Then
might there arise a mighty and undistracted power of joint life, which
would transform, indeed, the doctrines of priestly absolution and the
real presence, but which would transform, equally, the so-called
_Scriptural Protestantism_ of imputed righteousness, and which would do
more for real righteousness and for Christianity than has ever been done

Tillotson's proposals for comprehension, drawn up in 1689, cannot be too
much studied at the present juncture. These proposals, with which his
name and that of Stillingfleet, two of the most estimable names in the
English Church, are specially associated, humiliate no one, refute no
one; they take the basis of existing facts, and endeavour to build on it
a solid union. They are worth quoting entire, and I conclude with them.
Their details our present circumstances would modify; their spirit any
sound plan of Church-reform must take as its rule.

'1. That the ceremonies enjoined or recommended in the Liturgy or Canons
be left indifferent.

'2. That the Liturgy be carefully reviewed, and such alterations and
changes be therein made as may supply the defects and remove as much as
possible all ground of exception to any part of it, by leaving out the
apocryphal lessons and correcting the translation of the psalms used in
the public service where there is need of it, and in many other

'3. That instead of all former declarations and subscriptions to be made
by ministers, it shall be sufficient for them that are admitted to the
exercise of their ministry in the Church of England to subscribe one
general declaration and promise to this purpose, viz.: _That we do
submit to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church of England
as it shall be established by law, and promise to teach and practise

'4. That a new body of ecclesiastical Canons be made, particularly with
a regard to a more effectual provision for the reformation of manners
both in ministers and people.

'5. That there be an effectual regulation of ecclesiastical courts to
remedy the great abuses and inconveniences which by degrees and length
of time have crept into them; and particularly that the power of
excommunication be taken out of the hands of lay officers and placed in
the bishop, and not to be exercised for trivial matters, but upon great
and weighty occasions.

'6. That for the future those who have been ordained in any of the
foreign churches be not required to be re-ordained here, to render them
capable of preferment in the Church.

'7. That for the future none be capable of any ecclesiastical benefice
or preferment in the Church of England that shall be ordained in England
otherwise than by bishops; and that those who have been ordained only by
presbyters shall not be compelled to renounce their former ordination.
But because many have and do still doubt of the validity of such
ordination, where episcopal ordination may be had, and is by law
required, it shall be sufficient for such persons to receive ordination
from a bishop in this or the like form: "If thou art not already
ordained, I ordain thee," &c.; as in case a doubt be made of any one's
baptism, it is appointed by the Liturgy that he be baptized in this
form: "If thou art not baptized, I baptize thee."'

These are proposals 'to be made by the Church of England for the union
of _Protestants_.' Who cannot see that the power of joint life already
spoken of would be far greater and stronger if it comprehended Roman
Catholics too. And who cannot see, also, that in the churches of the
most strong and living Roman Catholic countries,--in France and
Germany,--a movement is in progress which may one day make a general
union of Christendom possible? But this will not be in our day, nor is
it business which the England of this generation is set to do. What may
be done in our day, what our generation has the call and the means, if
only it has the resolution, to bring about, is the union of Protestants.
But this union will never be on the basis of the actual _Scriptural
Protestantism_ of our Puritans; and because, so long as they take this
for the gospel or good news of Christ, they cannot possibly unite on any
other basis, the first step towards union is showing them that this is
not the gospel. If we have succeeded in doing even so much towards union
as to convince one of them of this, we have not written in vain.


Transcriber's Notes:-

Text originally written in Greek has been transliterated and framed
between plus marks, thus: +hagiasmos+.

Minor punctuation errors and omissions corrected.

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