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Lecture First. The Contrast of Objective and Subjective Religion.

The two Types of Religion and their Union in Christianity — Goethe's View of the Opposition — Matthew Arnold's Contrast of Hellenism and Hebraism — Re-appearance of the Opposition in Modern Life — Pope's Expression of Pantheism, and the Objections brought against it — Pure Monotheism and the Objections brought against it.

IN my lectures during last session, I endeavoured to set before you a view of religion as one of the three great factors or elements in our conscious life, which, therefore, like all the other elements or factors, is subjected to a continuous process of development, and only in that process gradually comes to manifest its real meaning and purport. I tried to show that, just as a consciousness of the object and the subject, of the world without and the self within, must be supposed to exist in all rational beings, so in all rational beings there is at least a dawning consciousness of the unity presuppposed in this difference, of the universal which originates and transcends this elementary distinction of our life As truly as it is part of our nature to look outwards and fill our life with objective interests, as truly as it is part of our nature to look inwards—to return upon ourselves and to become conscious of an inner life of our own in which we are separated from all others—so it is part of our nature, an immanent necessity of our rational being, to look upwards, and to regard our whole life, inner and outer, as based upon and circumscribed by a Power, in whom we and all things live and move and have our being. Hence the consciousness of God is as near to us, as necessary to us, as the consciousness of the world or of the self; nay, in a sense, it has a higher necessity than either, and we are nearer to God than to ourselves: for the consciousness of self rests upon the idea of God, as at once its first presupposition and its last end and goal. All our life is a progress through the world and through ourselves to the God from whom we come, in whom we are, to whom we tend.

Yet, equally true is it from another point of view, that the religious consciousness, the distinct consciousness of this divine unity, is what is farthest from us, what we attain last of all, and what it is most difficult for us fully to realise. We look outward before we look inward, and we look inward before we look upward. We are at home with the world before we attend to the self within, and we are at home with ourselves, before we learn that we cannot be true to ourselves except by rising above ourselves. Thus the process is long and circuitous, though the end is implied in the beginning. It is the paradox of development that what is first in nature is last in genesis, and that nothing is so hard for the intelligence to grasp as that which is the very principle of its own life. This, indeed, must not be interpreted as meaning that, at any stage of our experience, one of the elements of our spiritual life can be presented to us altogether apart from the others. What it means is only that, according to a law of development which I have already tried to illustrate, all the elements of man's consciousness are at first presented in the lowest form of that consciousness. Thus the idea of God cannot remain absent from any human intelligence. An inchoate feeling, an anticipatory idea, must trouble the simplicity of sense with the hint of an existence which sense cannot measure, and confuse the directness of appetite with the dream of some higher kind of satisfaction. But such existence and such satisfaction cannot as yet be represented in any form except that of sensuous externality. And it needs a long process of culture ere that form can be so idealised by imagination and generalised by the growing power of reflexion, as to produce even the higher forms of Polytheism. A still longer process is needed to prepare for that recoil upon self by which man rends himself from nature and learns to detect in himself, in his own inward life, that ‘light which never was on land or sea’; to discover in self-consciousness and in conscience the God whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. With this subjective movement the moral becomes for the first time separated from the natural, the spiritual bond of man to man from the tie of kinship, God ceases to be the natural father of a race, and becomes the spiritual source of a law which is one and the same for all spiritual beings.

This recoil upon the inner life, with the consequent substitution of a subjective for an objective religion, is a process which we see taking place in different nations of the ancient world, indeed, in all nations which have survived so long as to enter upon a certain stage of civilisation. It showed itself in India in the rise of Buddhism, which was the subjective counterpart of the religion of the Vedas, or rather of the Pantheism in which that religion ended. It showed itself again in Greece in the subjective philosophies which arose in the decay of the religion of beauty; and from the Greeks it was communicated to the Romans and to all the other nations which took part in the civilisation of the Roman empire. In all these cases, however, it was in a sense a phenomenon of decay; it accompanied the breaking up of a whole system of life which had been based upon objective religion. It came to nations which were already loaded with the weight of a great inheritance from the past, with a burden of traditionary beliefs and institutions which no longer satisfied them, but from which they could not wholly free themselves. To one people only did it come at a comparatively early stage of its national culture, as the vitalising principle which bound them together as a nation and separated them from all other nations. Thus the Hebrews became a ‘peculiar people,’ whose peculiarity consisted just in this, that they worshipped a universal and spiritual God. It was the early growth of subjective religion on Jewish soil, and its identification with the consciousness of nationality, that gave to the Jews their special place in the religious history of the world. The violence with which at a comparatively early date they, so to speak, tore up the natural roots of human life, in order to plant in their place the idea of an absolute law of divine justice and to make this idea the sole bond of social unity, turned them into the permanent representatives of the subjective principle of religion and morality; whereas in Greece and Rome that principle showed itself as a purifying power only in the private life of individuals, who were like voices crying in the wilderness to the decaying society around them. The Hebrew literature has thus become what we may call the classical literature of ‘ethical monotheism,’—its unique and perfect expression, not for philosophers or men of letters, but for the general conscience and consciousness of men. The troubled utterance of sorrow and remorse, in which the soul seeks to be delivered from the world and from itself, the indignant protest of the conscience against the wrongs of nature and fortune, the hitter cry of humanity for justice and mercy, and the yearning voice of aspiration towards the infinite, of longing for goodness and for God, have never spoken in such persuasive or commanding tones as in the Prophets and Psalmists of Israel. And it is just because of this that the Jewish religion became the immediate preparation for the religion of unity and reconciliation, in which God is worshipped, not as a power which reveals itself only to perception in the outward world, nor as a power which manifests itself solely to thought in the inward silence of the heart, but as above both and in both alike.

It is my intention in the following lectures to trace the process by which the Jewish religion of subjectivity gradually worked itself out, and prepared the way for the higher synthesis of objective and subjective religion in Christianity. But it may clear our way, if, in the first place, I go back for a moment on the path which we have already followed. In this lecture therefore, I shall endeavour to illustrate in a slightly different aspect, the great contrast of objective and subjective religion, of which I have spoken as the two main stages in the development of the highest religion.

In a series of epigrams by Goethe on the wide subject, “God and the World,” we find him ex-pressing two views of the nature of religion; or, perhaps, we might rather say that he gives us mottoes for the two great types of the religious sentiment. The first type is characterised in the often quoted words: “What were a God who only gave the world a push from without, or let it spin round His finger? I look for a God, who moves the world from within, who fosters nature in Himself, Himself in nature; so that naught of all that lives and moves and has its being in Him, ever forgets His force or His spirit.”1 In these words we find expressed that which is usually called the pantheistic view of religion; and also that dislike, which naturally goes with pantheism, of the idea of an extraneous world-creator and governor, who arranges arbitrarily the course of nature and the life of man, but does not realise himself in either as a living, organising, self-manifesting power. This kind of religious sentiment is one which is often expressed by Goethe, and it may even be said to be the animating principle of his best poetry. It is the source of a certain antagonism to Christianity, and especially to the Jewish element in it, which is traceable in many of his works. Thus in writing to Jacobi, who in his essay on Spinoza had maintained—as Dr. Martineau maintains now—that a God immanent in the world is no God at all, Goethe declares that to him such a doctrine appears to be flat blasphemy, and that while others call Spinoza half an atheist, he feels bound to praise him as “the most theistic and the most Christian of writers.” In another letter to Jacobi, Goethe expresses the same idea in a humorous analogy, which is not without an element of seriousness. “The truth is that I am one of the goldsmiths of Ephesus who has spent his whole life in contemplating, admiring, and worshipping the wonderful temple of the goddess; and who cannot but feel it painful when any apostle seeks to impose on his fellow-citizens another and, indeed, a formless God.”

Thus to Goethe, the modern Greek, as to the ancient Greeks of whom St. Paul spoke, the cross seemed, at times at least, to be foolishness. Yet, in an epigram I which immediately follows the one which I have just quoted, Goethe gives expression to that side of religion, or that kind of religious sentiment, which he seemed thus to reject. “In our inner life also,” he declares, “there is a universe. Hence the laudable custom of mankind that every one calls the Best that he knows by the name of God. To this God he makes over heaven and earth; Him he worships and serves, and Him, if it be possible, he loves.”2 What we are here told is that the ideal, and especially the moral ideal, is, by a ‘laudable custom of mankind’ taken as the revelation of the Divine Being to whom all power on heaven and earth is to be attributed. And this is regarded by Goethe as a ‘laudable custom,’ in spite of the fact that it must to some extent make us sever God from nature and history, and look upon Him as manifested rather in the ‘inner universe,’ i.e. in that ideal which our desires, hopes, and aspirations oppose to the world as it is, or, at least, as it at first seems to be. These desires, hopes, and aspirations, he appears to admit, are to be regarded as a manifestation, and, indeed, as a higher manifestation of the divine principle than can be found in the world of outward experience. Their prophecies may be truer than history, because they contain something more of the divine than history has expressed as yet, or, perhaps, than it ever can fully express.

It would appear then that Goethe recognises two different types of religion: on the one hand, a religion which rests in God as revealed in nature and man,—revealed, not, indeed, to one who abides by superficial phenomena, but to one who regards these phenomena as symbols of an absolute and infinite Being. To this contemplative religion the divine is everywhere immediately present. “As far as the ear, as far as the eye can reach, thou findest nothing strange, nothing but the likenesses of Him; and the highest fire-flight of thy spirit never lacks image or symbol to body Him forth. It draws thee on, farther and farther it carries thee, and all the path thou dost travel puts on a garment of beauty. No more dost thou number, no more dost thou measure, for every step is in the infinite.” So Goethe sings the divine beauty of the world, as it reveals itself to the contemplative imagination of the poet, whose sacred function it is, as it were, to re-echo the judgment of the Creator upon His work—that ‘it is very good.’ But Goethe had discovered that there is another religion—a religion not of rest and joyful contemplation, but of struggle, and hope, and aspiration; a religion which sets man in antagonism to the actual world, and commits him to an endless effort to make it conform to the demands of his own spirit; a religion which cannot be reconciled with the world, except by regarding the world as a means to realise something better than itself. For this religion, the highest is not without but within; the authentic voice of God is not in the beauty and brightness of the external kingdom of nature. Rather, if it sought God without at all, it would seek Him in the darkness and tumult of the elemental powers, in “fire and hail, snow and vapour, stormy wind fulfilling His word.”3 But, like Elijah, it rejects all these to find that voice in the inward demand for justice, and truth, in the indignant recoil of the conscience against that which is foul and cruel, in the unconquerable longing of the soul for a world regenerated by mercy and love. If it is to believe in a God, it must believe that these feelings are prophetic, and that everything which seems to oppose and thwart them is but an appearance that is destined to pass away. It must believe that wickedness is weakness, and that right is might; that, as it has been expressed epigrammatically, “one with God is a majority,” that ‘the stars in their courses fight against’ the wicked, and that he who is for the good cause can never be really defeated. Its creed is the creed of Carlyle: “Await the issue: in all battles, if you await the issue, each fighter is prospered according to his right. His right and his might, at the close of the account, are one and the same. He has fought with all his might, and in exact proportion to his right the has prevailed. His very death is no victory over him: he dies indeed, but his work lives. The cause thou fightest for, in so far as it is true, so far and no farther, but precisely so far, is sure of victory.”

Now it is obvious that we have here a fundamental antinomy of the religious consciousness, which is as wide as the moral antinomy between what is and what ought to be; and which shows itself not only in the fluctuations of the religious feeling of individuals, but also, on the great scale of history, in the opposition of the two great classes of pre-Christian religions, and even in the conflict and alternate predominance of two opposite tendencies in the Christian religion itself. In this point of view we may regard all objective religions as, in a sense, pantheistic; for it is their predominant tendency to rest in that which is. For, as we saw in a former lecture, the ultimate form—the euthanasia or expiring voice of such religion—is an all-levelling pantheism, which, in reaching after the infinite, goes beyond all special finite objects, even the most comprehensive, and merges them all in the one substance, or force, or spirit, and which has no command for the individual except to forget himself, and contemplate God, and be at peace. On the other hand, we may regard all subjective religion as finding its typical expression in that ‘ethical monotheism,’ which hears God's voice only, or mainly, in the categorical imperative of a law of righteousness, and which commits man to an endless war with nature and circumstance, and an endless effort to realise the kingdom of God upon earth. No greater antithesis could be conceived than that which exists between these two religious attitudes: between the attitude of the contemplative Hindoo saint, and that of the Israelite trusting in the “sword of the Lord and of Gideon”; or even between that chastened joy in the riches and freedom of finite existence which we find in Pindar, and that divine discontent with the present, and that inspired hope of the future which breathe through the prophecies of Isaiah. There seems at first no way of binding together such fundamental oppositions of thought. For, on the one side, we find the religious mind laying all its emphasis on the idea that God is immanent in the world; that, indeed, the world is nothing but the garment of deity; and that, therefore, its apparent imperfection and evil exists only for us,—in so far as we fail to see the unity, which underlies all its difference and change and which is continually bringing them back to itself. And, on the other side, we find the religious mind dwelling on the idea of God as a transcendent Being, who separates Himself from all the creatures He has made—from nature as its Creator, and from man as his stern and righteous Judge; and we find it regarding the whole process of human life in the light of an ideal which condemns it as imperfect and evil.

We may illustrate this contrast in another way. An eminent writer has said that the two great factors in modern life are Hebraism and Hellenism. But to make such an assertion correct, we must at once generalise and narrow it. We must regard Hellenism as the representative of all objective religions, in so far as they have a common pantheistic basis; while we must regard Hebraism as the general representative of subjective religion, the religion of moral obligation and moral aspiration. And, moreover, we must remember that we have not now the direct collision of these opposites; but that, in modern life, the reconciling principle of Christianity is ever mediating between the two, and reducing their antagonism to the relative opposition of different elements or organs in one life. With these modifications, however, we may admit that Matthew Arnold's saying represents a truth; and by considering the contrasted defects and merits of the two types of religion, and even the different accusations which their adherents are wont to bring against each other, we may help ourselves to discern more clearly the meaning of the different tendencies which compete and co-operate in our own lives. For this purpose it will not be necessary to take more than a very general view of the religions in question.

Religions of the Hellenic type dwelt in the world. They were at one with the social life and politics of the nations among whom they prevailed. As religions of the poetic sense, they welcomed the aid of art. They were tolerant of interests and pursuits other, than their own, rarely intolerant oven of the science and philosophy which destroyed them. They consecrated the bonds of national life and made patriotism one with piety. But, as they mingled together the natural and the spiritual, they were defective in purifying moral influence. They did not awake a clear consciousness of the distinction between the lower and the higher nature of man; or, if they did, they ‘healed the hurt’ of his spirit ‘slightly.’ Their highest devotion was a worship of the Eternal, the Unchanging, the Aesthetic Ideal; not of a ‘just God and a Saviour.’ When their influence was at its highest point, they led men to seek for that which is true, for that which is, and to rest in resignation to its absolute necessity. Hebraism, on the other hand, took its stand on the spirituality of God, as lifted in His holiness above all His creatures. As a consequence, it emphasised the contrast between that which is and that which ought to be, and called forth a desire for purity and holiness, such as was unknown to any other race. Its stern commands awoke in its adherents a consuming zeal for righteousness which refused to make any terms with evil, and saved them as by fire from the polluting compromises of heathenism. On the other hand, it was narrow, unspeculative, often fanatical. In its exclusive regard for divine holiness it tended to intolerance and jealous hatred of almost every civilising influence. The monotonous intensity of its piety was unfavourable to any exercise of the intelligence or of the imagination, which could not be made directly subservient to religious purposes. It allowed only one channel in which the higher life of man might flow. It often put so wide a division between God and His creatures that all interest in earthly things became profane in its eyes; and it could not allow either Art or Science to have any independent activity of its own. Hence, when Art and Science did make their way into a monotheistic nation, they generally came in as enemies, bringing religious corruption and moral laxity in their train. There seemed to be no middle state for monotheistic piety: when it did not rise to the highest, it sank to the lowest. If its adherents were not saints, they became sensualists. Thus, during the time when the Jewish religion was showing its highest purity and power in the prophets, it had to struggle for existence against a sensual and immoral idolatry; and when that time was past, it sank into the formal correctness and legalism of the Pharisee, who lived for the saving of his soul and to whom every other interest was sinful. Pure Hebraism has always shown itself full of energy, both in its beginning and in its repeated revivals; for it seems to spring up again and again with renewed strength from every soil in which it has once taken root; and at every such revival, it has, for a time, given a great stimulus to the moral life of man. But whenever simple religious feeling has ceased to be self-sufficient, it has not been able to endure the contact of other influences, whether political or scientific, literary or artistic; and it has signally failed to penetrate them with its spirit, and absorb them as elements into its own life.

If this general contrast hold good, we need not wonder that two such opposed types of religion and of civilisation should show themselves to be mutually repellent. They must repel each other, because each of them in its own way aims at universality, though their methods of attaining it are very different. The Hellenic type of religion naturally proceeds by the method of all-inclusive tolerance. Polytheism can easily find room for a new god in its Pantheon; and pantheism can as easily remerge another individuality in its all-embracing, all-absorbing substance. Such a religion also readily finds room within its spacious bosom for all varieties of finite life, for all species of human interests. Art is welcome to it, as the revelation of the one in the many; Science and Philosophy as the reduction of the many to the one. On the other hand, the Hebraic type of religion as naturally proceeds, we might almost say, by the method of intolerance. The God of monotheism is an exclusive Ego who admits no other God beside Himself; and its adherents have always refused to accept any position for their religion but that of absolute supremacy. The easy tolerance of Rome found in the Jews a nation, which could not be absorbed except by being extinguished, and which, indeed, was not extinguished till, in a higher sense than even Greece, it had made spiritual conquest of its conquerors. Thus, in striving after universality, the two principles are necessarily forced into a war, which it is difficult to regard as other than internecine. Even in modern times when, as I have already said, they have become subdued into harmony, or at least into reciprocal toleration, by the long influence of the reconciling principle of Christianity, we find the antagonism bursting out afresh with a suddenness and explosive force which looks like the rebound of an ineradicable instinct of nature. How often, in our own day, do we thus see renewed the old quarrel of the saint, the religious man, the moral teacher, against the philosopher, the scientific man, the artist. The former finds the latter too worldly and indifferent, too willing to treat evil with toleration and to make compromises with it, too much inclined to regard the ‘one thing needful’ as only one of the various interests of mankind, and not as the supreme interest to which everything should be sacrificed. The latter finds the former too narrow and intolerant, too anxious for instant moral gains, too eager to proselytise and convert, too careful for safety, and too careless about truth. Thus the two great classes of the servants of humanity get ranged into opposite camps, and the individual finds it hard avoid being enlisted in one or other, except at the expense of being treated as a traitor by both. If this is so even in our own day, we need not wonder that in the past,—when there were few or none of those mediating or universalising influences which now modify the strife of opposing principles, and when each nation and society lived more exclusively under the dominance of its own idea,—Jew and Gentile should have misunderstood and offended each other, just because they were inspired by apparently contradictory, though really complementary, truths. Of no struggle that has divided human beings would it be more true to say, in the language of St. Paul, that it has been a conflict not of individuals against individuals, nor even of nations against nations, but of ‘principalities and powers,’—of those great spiritual forces in humanity to which individuals and nations are but the organs and instruments.

We may help ourselves still more vividly to realise the reality and vitality of this great conflict, if we think of the objections which are commonly brought against any theories that approximate to one or other of the two extremes. Thus the pantheism, in which objective religion terminates, is represented to us in its simplest and crudest form in Pope's Essay on Man, as a theory which gathers up all the various objects in the world to an absolute unity, justifies all the parts in view of the whole, and, from the same point of view, denies the reality of any standard of excellence by which any one part could claim a superiority over the rest.

“All are but parts of one stupendous whole,

Whose body nature is, and God the soul;

That, changed through all and yet in all the same,

Great in the earth as in the aethereal frame,

Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,

Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;

Lives through all life, extends through all extent,

Spreads undivided, operates unspent,

Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,

As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;

As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,

As the rapt seraph that adores and burns;

To Him no high, no low, no great, no small,

He fills, He bounds, connects and equals all.”

From this point of view all difference, even the difference of good and evil, vanish away in a universal optimism, and the poet can declare

“All discord, harmony not understood,

All partial evil universal good;

And, spite of pride, in erring nature's spite,

One truth is clear, whatever is, is right.”

The whole is good, because it is the whole, and, as such, is eternally one with itself: and, indeed, nothing really exists but the whole; for the part, if it was seen truly, would be merged in the whole. Any standard, therefore, which would lift one thing above another, would be an abstract and partial standard. If things are referred to the whole, it justifies them all alike as parts; and it condemns them all alike, if they pretend to be more.

From this point of view the moral standard can as little be admitted as any other; for the same power that “heaves old ocean,” and “wings the storm,” must be conceived also to

“Pour fierce ambition in a Caesar's mind,

And turn young Ammon loose to scourge mankind.”

The facile flow of Pope's verse, and the easy way in which he escapes from moral distinctions and from all other distinctions, by regarding them as the products of our limited and imperfect view of things, exposes in the most open way the weak side of this pantheistic optimism. But the objections to which it is liable are the same that are commonly brought against every form of pantheism, from that of Spinoza downwards. Thus it is objected to such pantheism, in the first place, that, if all distinctions of being are lost in the absolute unity, the very assertion that ‘all is for the best,’ that ‘whatever is, is right,’ loses all its meaning. A theory, in which all ground for the division of good and evil is swept away, might as rationally be called a pessimism as an optimism. If, as being ourselves finite parts of a finite world, we have no right to condemn anything; if our condemnation merely shows the imperfection of our standard, how is it that we can rise to the idea of the whole, and in view of it justify everything? Again, it is objected that, if all standards of preference, and especially all moral standards, are to be rejected as illusions of finitude, this really means, not only that our whole moral consciousness, our consciousness of freedom and responsibility, has to be regarded as such an illusion, but also that the same thing must be said of our very consciousness of self. All differences disappear in the unity of substance; and the unity itself, the white light of truth, becomes unknowable, except through the rainbow illusion of finite existence to which it is opposed. For, if man himself is nothing but a part of the great whole—a wave of the ocean, that somehow for a moment seems to itself and to other finite beings to have a substantial reality of its own—how should this passing mode be able, not only to think itself as such a substance, but also to rise to an apprehension of the infinite and the eternal, and so to transcend and refute the illusion of its own existence? That a dream or a shadow should know itself is an impossibility; and still more—if there are grades in impossibility—that it should know itself to be a dream and a shadow, and that it should recognise the reality from which it is divorced. The pantheism which begins annulling the moral responsibility of the individual is, when logically carried out, equally fatal to the consciousness of self and of God, and thus to the possibility of pantheism itself. It is, however, the former objection rather than the latter, which we most often hear; for the practical moral consciousness—apart from all metaphysical reflexion and in spite of it—cries out against any theory that would treat its standards and distinctions as illusive projections of the finite intelligence. Rather, it asserts them to be the surest of all truths, bound up with our inmost life and being, and based upon an inner experience which is more evident and self-evidencing to us than any other consciousness can ever be.

On the other hand, if we take monotheism in an equally hard and abstract form, as expressed in the conception of an all-wise Creator and Governor of the world, who stands apart from it and from us, as we finite individuals stand apart from each other, who has laid down for us an absolute law of right, and gifted us with freedom to obey or to disobey it, and who rewards and punishes us according as we do the one or the other, this, no doubt, is a religion which, up to a certain point, satisfies the moral consciousness and maintains the justice of God and the responsibility of man. But it does so at the cost of breaking so completely with all the facts of experience, that its greatest modern supporter was forced to maintain that the outward and phenomenal view of man, and the inward or noumenal view of him, are essentially irreconcilable. Such a religion isolates the individual man from the world and from other men, in order to gift him with an absolute and unlimited responsibility for all that he is and does. Thus it is inconsistent with the admission of any inborn tendency in him either to evil or to good; or it can be made consistent therewith only by the transcendental hypothesis of a prenatal act of freedom, which determines our earthly condition. And it practically denies the social nature of man, and reduces society to the external intercourse of beings, each of whom is ‘master of himself and his fate,’ in a sense which excludes any real spiritual influence of one upon another either for good or for evil. Nay, in its effort to vindicate God from the charge of being the cause of evil and sin, it tends in another way to come into collision with the elementary sentiment of all religion, the feeling of dependence upon God; while, at the same time, it destroys that earliest form of religious morality, in which the sense of intimate community between men was based on their common relation to the divine. It offends science by the assertion of a kind of freedom in individuals which seems to be the negation of all laws of causation; and it offends philosophy, by the denial that there is any point of view from which the differences of things can be brought back to a rational unity. For it seems to involve not only that the distinction of good and evil is real, but that there is an absolute evil which never can be made the means to a greater good. In short, to sum up all in a word, the logical development of this religious view would place each individual in such an isolation of personality as to make impossible the unity of the whole system of things, and, more especially, the real spiritual relation of men to each other and to God.

It is easy to see that in all this we are face to face with no mere contest about words, but with an antagonism of spiritual interests, both of which are equally vital to humanity; with a conflict of opposite phases of the truth, which it seems impossible to reconcile, while yet it is equally impossible to sacrifice one of them to the other. If, as Hegel said, a true tragedy must be based, not on the conflict of right with wrong but on the conflict of right with right, it may fairly be asserted that this is the deepest of all those oppositions of truth to truth which give rise to the great tragic conflicts of history. In such a struggle no complete victory is possible; because there is no possible victory of idea over idea, except by their common absorption in one which is higher and more comprehensive than either. Here, indeed, the contrast is so deep and far-reaching that the opposite forms of thought are continually finding new organs of expression for themselves; and the conflict that seemed to be ended in one generation breaks out afresh in the next. Fur Christian nations, indeed, it may perhaps be said that the reconciling principle is already present, keeping the conflict within bounds, and always in the long run bringing it to an issue in a definite direction; but that principle is so hard to grasp and express in a conclusive form, and so difficult to follow out into a new application, that the old struggle always begins again in a new form. Indeed, it may almost be said to be a struggle which, in one form or another, is essential to human development, and which, therefore, must continue as long as that development itself.

  • 1.

    Was wär’ ein Gott, der nur von aussen stiesse,

    Im Kreis das All am Finger laufen liesse!

    Ihm ziemt's, die Welt im Innern zu bewegen,

    Natur in Sich, Sich in Natur zu hegen,

    So dass, was in Ihm lebt und webt und ist,

    Nie Seine Kraft, nie Seinen Geist vermisst.

  • 2.

    Im Innern ist ein Universum auch

    Daher der Völker löblicher Gebrauch,

    Dass jeglicher das Beste was er kennt,

    Er Gott, ja Seinen Gott benennt,

    Ihm Himmel und Erden ubergiebt,

    Ihn fürchtet und, wo möglich, liebt.

  • 3. Psalms cxlviii. 8.