You are here

Chapter 3: The Ideal Religion and Worship

WORSHIP as we have seen1 is as essential as belief to religion. The man who thinks of God, if he thinks truly, must worship Him, for without this even nature would not be content But is worship possible without some institution? and is an institution, which must bear the marks of time and place, possible in a universal religion? and what is a religion without worship save a philosophy or a system of more or less reasoned ideas?

Worship and belief differ in the nature and tendency of their action in religion; belief is the freer and the more expansive, worship is the more traditional and local. Thought is more open and accessible to new influences than custom, changes its forms more easily, and gains more by the change. And hence the frequency of such phenomena as the religion of Israel exhibited—the conflicts of the universal, the Monotheistic idea, with the local and consuetudinary, the spirit and institutions of the tribe.2 Now these latter represent two forces or tendencies, a localizing, embodied in a place, and an externalizing, embodied in institutions.

§ I. Place as it Affects Worship

1. The holy place is perhaps the last and most inveterate of the forms which tribal particularism assumes. It may be described as the spot or the structure where the people of a religion feel that they can offer the most acceptable worship to their God. Its sacred character is seldom due to a single cause, though complex causes may from some simple occasion become active. If we take the word “reason” as subsuming both cause and occasion, we should say that the reasons why a place becomes holy may be described as either physical, mythological, traditional, or historical. The physical reasons, though they never act without the impulse of a belief which is seeking to become articulate, may be a cave, as at Delphi; or a well whose waters have some peculiar virtue, as in the case of the innumerable holy wells of ancient religion and mediaeval legend, or whose springs make an oasis in the desert, as at the shrine of Jupiter Ammon, which Alexander visited; or it may be a tree through whose murmuring branches the god is heard to speak, as at Dodona. The mythological reasons, which never act without the physical, are the beliefs which place the gods either on special mountains, as the Greek seated his on Olympus or the Hindu his on Kailasa, the Himalayas, “formed by Visvakarman, in colour like a brilliant cloud and decorated with gold,” whence they could hurl the thunderbolt or blow from their nostrils the devouring blast; or in some forest glade, where life does its silent but creative work, like the Germans of Tacitus, who “lucos ac nemora consecrant, deorumque nominibus appellant secretum illud, quod solâ reverentiâ vident,”3 or like the Arician “templum nemorale Dianæ.”4 The traditional reasons may be the association of a district with some person or event, like the birth of a god, the burial of a saint, the wisdom of a teacher, or a miraculous appearance of deity; and to this class of places belong those regions of the Nile, where the weeping Isis wandered in search of the dismembered Osiris; Mathura, where the Yadavas thought Krishna achieved divine fame; Benares, where the dread Siva rolled the mighty river which had descended out of heaven upon his head; Ayodha, holy land of the Buddhists, where the Master was born and made the great renunciation; and the multitudinous Catholic shrines where, as at Lourdes, the Virgin has appeared to some devout and ecstatic maid. The historical reasons belong either to the life of a people, like those that made Jerusalem, because the city of their great king and the capital of their race, seem to the Jews the fit home of their God; or to the recorded experiences of some person, like those that made Mecca, the city where his youth had been passed, where his ancestors had dwelt, and whither the tribes of Arabia had for centuries gone to high festivals and such worship as they knew, so dear and so delightful to Mohammed.

Now, under these varied forms, different as they may seem, the action of place is in two respects the same, it localizes and it externalizes, working the more disastrously the purer and the broader the religion is. Thus sanctity comes to have a physical cause, bodily contact with the sacred object to have a specific religious value. The water that flows past the place becomes sacred, and to bathe in the Jordan or the Ganges, to drink of the well Zem Zem, or of the spring where the saint quenched his thirst, or above which the Virgin appeared, is either to be cleansed from sin or to acquire peculiar merit If the pilgrim cannot go to the water, it can be; brought to him; and for a price he buys his reward. The spot which the god touched, the cell where the saint lived, the cave where the prophet hid can be seen and handled; and the pilgrim feels as if he had done honour to the god and become worthier of heaven. The multitudes who go on pilgrimage are composed of persons intent on performing a religious duty, but they soon grow mixed, and the more mixed they grow the less devout they get, till what began in fervour may end in licence and riot. The people who keep the holy places grow as holy as they; priests increase, live on the alms and offerings of the faithful; and the industry of the place centres in the religion, and it becomes a commodity made and marketable, represented by articles that can be bought and sold. And so relics and memorials which can make his worship efficacious are manufactured, legends are invented to enhance the reputation of the god and the religious value of the place. The inevitable outcome is a materialized and localized deity and a coarsened worship. And this is a saying every holy place in the world illustrates if it does not justify.

2. But here it is necessary to distinguish: a local cult may suit the genius and type of a religion just as a side chapel falls in with the design of a cathedral; but it is an altogether different matter where the religion is universal in idea and intention, while the place where men must worship, if they would worship acceptably, is but one. There are two examples of this inconsistency between idea and place, Judaism and Islam, but with most significant differences. Jerusalem was symbolical of the Jew, and though it perished he survived, and his God so survived with him that ever since they have dwelt together, God inseparable from the people and the people from God. To Mohammed, his people and land were alike holy; the Arab was to conquer the world, but not to forsake Arabia; thither, however far he wandered, he was ever to return, and the races he subdued to the faith were to come as pilgrims to the city of God and His prophet. But the success of the Arab arms destroyed the sanctity and separateness of the Arab people, though, it only enhanced the sacredness of Mecca. The city towards which the Moslim pray is a city their feet must stand within if they would see God. But this localization of the highest act of worship keeps the religion racial, oriental, semi-barbaric, governed by Arab standards, ever confounded by the offer to physical endurance and achievement of those rewards which should be reserved for spiritual excellence. Emancipation from place is thus a necessity in the case of a religion that would be co-extensive with man, and sufficient for his nature and its needs.

3. Now this emancipation Christ achieved, and His is the only religion which has achieved it. The association of worship with His person completely dissociated it from place, and it became possible to approach God anywhere, provided He was approached through Him. For union with Him needs but faith; the man who believes in the Son of God is identified with Christ, and when he worships it is as if Jesus worshipped. Since the act that relates the soul to the person through whom it finds acceptance is inner and spiritual, place and time are alike irrelevant, the spirit and the truth are all in all. Hence, too, the one medium is more ample than an infinity of local media, for their variety affects many things,—God, the sort of worship He approves, the acts that constitute it, the persons by whom and through whom it may be offered. A multitude of shrines means a multitude of deities, and not simply of men and the homes where they live. The man who worships the Virgin or prays to St. Joseph for a boon to himself or an evil to his enemy, who goes on pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Antony at Padua, or seeks from St. Francis at the Portiuncula healing for body or soul, finds in each place a different god, a being complexioned by the medium through which he is approached. But the one Mediator does not lower God to the sensuous needs of variable man, rather lifts man into the spiritual mood in which he feels his kinship with God. And the union of apparent incompatibilities in His person made it all the fitter a medium for this, high purpose. He inhabits no place, yet He fills all time, which means that there is no spot where He cannot be found and no moment without His presence. He is as invisible and impalpable as God, yet as audible and tangible as man; and, we may add, to form an image of the image of the God no man can see is impossible. And it is unnecessary, for the Soul of Him, whom the art of no graver and the chisel of no sculptor can represent, lives incarnate in speech which all men can hear or read.

And this has a high significance; the pictures which men delight to paint, or the statues they carve of Jesus on the cross or in the tomb, and which women love tearfully to kneel before, are not images of the Christ, nor in any sense representations of Him. There is nothing that fills me with darker horror or deeper aversion than the apotheosis of wounds and death which the Roman Church offers as its image of the Christ. Some months ago I stood in an Italian cathedral; it had been built by the wickedest, the fiercest, the most pagan, and probably the most learned of the Malatesti. Within it was the sarcophagus which held his remains, with his mocking inscription graven upon it, and the chapel where reposed those of his mistress Isotta, whose initials interwoven with his own were carved on every pillar and boss; while without in another sarcophagus are deposited the bones of Gemisthus Pletho, which he had proudly brought from Greece in days when men had been taught to seek miraculous virtue in the most gruesome relics of mortality. In this church, with a hideous moral heathenism looking out from every figure and line, what was conceived to be an act of Christian worship was going on. A crowd of priests was marching round, one at their head carrying a cross on which was fastened a contorted figure, together with nails, a hammer, a saw, and a pair of pincers, while from one of the beams hung a ladder of ropes. As the crowd paused to chant their monotonous strain before each altar, bending themselves and their symbol towards it together, I could not help saying, in what was not pride but utter humiliation of soul, “Your worship is not mine, nor is your God; and as for this cross you carry, it speaks rather of the wickedness of the men who slew the Saviour than of the grace of Him who saves man by His love.” For how is it possible to make an image of Him without carnalizing a form that must be spiritual to be true? He is a type, an ideal, a symbol, which expresses at once the grace of the infinite God, and the promise, the potency and the inexhaustible possibilities of man. In His face divine pity shows, the tenderness of the everlasting Father as He looks out from an eternity that knows neither the haste nor the passion of time; and yet while the pity is divine the face is human, and speaks of man made by God for God, touched with the shame for sin which the pure alone can know, the sorrow for misery which none but the blessed can feel, the horror for death which only the dweller in immortal light can experience. And this is the person, “all glorious within,” who has emancipated religion from the tyranny of place by teaching us that “he who hath seen Me hath seen the Father.”

§ II. The Institution as it Affects Worship

1. The institution is the second and most potent of the forms under which the tribal spirit may affect religion. The term denotes all the customs and usages which constitute the local worship, or which determine the times and regulate the conduct of its several parts. Now the institution, so understood, is more potent in its action than the place; for it speaks more directly and authoritatively of God and to Him, describes His character and attitude to man, as well as what man's character, and what his attitude towards God ought to be; what he must do and what agents and agencies employ if he would please Him. In the worship therefore, as a consuetudinary or regulated system, the idea of God is presented in its most definite, concentrated and constant form; the worshipper learns, by doing the things which authority has declared and usage sanctioned as the most agreeable to Deity, what the Deity is and what kind and order of man He most approves.

While the ideas that underlie religion and organize its institutions differ, qualitatively and formally, almost to infinity, yet in one respect all worships agree, they are methods of approaching and pleasing God, means by which man seeks access to Him, tries to win His favour and gain His peace. Of course in the very way taken to reach Him, and the acts done, and the things offered in His honour, there is a most subtle yet concrete indication of character; but difference here does not affect the point of agreement: all worship aims at establishing harmony between two wills, God's and man's; whether it be by influencing man to surrender his will to God's, or by inducing God to do the will of man. These two may indeed imperceptibly shade into one another, but the rule is this—the lower the idea of God, the more He is conceived to be in the hands of man, but the higher the idea of Him the stronger becomes man's desire to leave himself in the hands of God.

2. If now the function of worship and its relation to the ideas of God and religion have been correctly described, it follows that this is the point where religion affects man and man religion most potently and most constantly. What its effect on character is to be does not depend so much on the idea of the relation between the persons as on the idea of the persons related. In the abstract worship ought to be the moment of most penetrative and illuminative exaltation in man's life, and it will be this if God is the highest and the holiest Being he can conceive or desire; but this it will not be if he simply seeks from God some advantage to himself which he can obtain from no other person or will. The advantage need not be material, may indeed be forgiveness of sins or acceptance of the person; but the mischief will be radical if the attempt be made to purchase it by offering to God something that will please Him in order that He may do something that will benefit us. For a God from whom anything can be purchased has fallen from the high estate of deity, who must give out of free grace if He is to be honoured. If worship be conceived not as adoration of the only and absolutely adorable, but as giving a quid pro quo, then it becomes an effectual means of deteriorating religion and depraving man, and assimilating God to what in him is most depraved. And the more the externals of worship—the acts it consists of, the offerings it brings, the persons who present them—are emphasized, the more it bears this character and does this work. As a matter of fact the ancient religion whose worship was most domestic and least official, was the most lucid, imperative and impressive in its ethical teaching; while those religions that made most of priesthood and sacrifice were also those that most neglected the humaner and higher virtues. The highest ethics of the Rigveda are associated with the name of Varuna, and in his days the rishi or poet potently sang his praise, and the priest was only a shadow and a name; but in the later Sanskrit literature, as, say, in the epic which celebrates the deeds of Rama and the Law Book which bears the name of Manu, the tendency that began with magnifying sacrifice has ended in the decay of ethics, the death of all ideas of duty towards man as man, and the apotheosis of caste. Greek philosophy was a noble teacher of morals, but what ideals of good or justice do we owe to Greek religion? The Roman State jealously guarded the dignity and sacred character of the priesthood, and proudly supplied the college of pontiffs with “robes of purple and chariots of state,” but had it not been for the Stoic teaching, especially as it affected Roman law, and the deification of the Empire, what would have become of Roman virtue? In Israel the conflict of prophet and priest reached its acutest issue in the idea of worship. What the one cultivated and delighted in, “the multitude of sacrifices,” “the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts,” “the blood of bullocks or of lambs or of he-goats,”5 the other despised and abhorred. The sacrifices the prophet praised were those of joy and righteousness, of a broken and a contrite spirit. The notion that God was the Being whose mind needed to be changed, and that the change could be effected by things that could be purchased, a proper animal properly selected and properly killed, burned and offered by proper hands in the proper place, was a notion fatal to the ethical nature of religion and its power to create moral men. The more religion is bound to a special class of persons who officiate at special times and seasons, the more these persons become distinguished not by character but by descent, not by spiritual purity but by ceremonial cleanness, not by moral eminence but by distinctions of office and habit And these things do not make for a high or a universal ideal in religion; on the contrary, without their abolition one could not be realized. The only institution possible in a universal religion must be an ideal; and Christ is at once an historical and a symbolical person. As the one He shows what the worshipper ought to be, as the other He is the cause of acceptable worship.

§ III. Christ the only Institution for Christian Worship

1. Now it is here where the discussions as to Christ's death and as to the emphasis laid upon it by Himself and His apostles will be understood. It was said that His person was conceived as an institution; and this signified that all the conditions and means needed by man for the perfect worship of God were realized in Him. He fulfilled the law; the ideas which the Levitical system showed in shadow He made substantive and final, realized “once and for ever.” He was “the great High Priest,” and in His priesthood He was alone. No one stood or could stand by His side. He was the sole Sacrifice needed by man or required by God, and offered through the Eternal Spirit. He lived for ever and His sacrifice for ever availed, for the temple where His priesthood was exercised was eternal in the heavens. And He fulfilled the prophetic as well as the Levitical ideal. He was “the Lord our righteousness,” the cause and means of man's acceptance with God, achieving the forgiveness of sins and the life everlasting. He was thus a whole institution of worship; in Him God was reconciled, in Him man was accepted, and He with the right arm of His Divinity round man, and the left arm of His humanity round God held the two together, knowing and known.

2. From this position several consequences follow.

i. Christ is the sole institution for worship which has divine authority in the Christian religion. He is the only Mediator, and no intermediation is provided for, though means to introduce man to the knowledge of His functions may be lawful and expedient. Hence His office does not exclude such minor or ancillary help as the weakness of man, his peculiar temper or stage of culture, may demand. These may be necessary to him while not essential to the religion, but they are permissible only as aids to the apprehension of the truth. The cardinal fact is the sole sufficiency of Christ; the man that comes unto God must come through Him, and through no other.

ii. The Eucharist is not in the strict sense an institution for worship, but a condition of higher fellowship, a means of communion. Through it the man speaks in symbol to his “great High Priest” and the Priest speaks to him; but this is not to worship God, though it may be to be better qualified for His worship. The reference is to the sacrifice, to our participation in it, to our dying in Christ in order that He and we may live together; but what this signifies is that the more we become in the sight of God and in our own experience one with Him, the fitter we are to worship God. The man who can most perfectly praise and serve God is he who can most truly say: “It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.”

iii. What is true of the Eucharist is also true of preaching, though it has a larger function and a more clearly recognized place in the chain of secondary causes. It has more of the essence or soul of worship in it; for it creates the enlightened intellect and the quick conscience, without which there can be no worship of a moral Deity. Jesus Himself was a preacher, formed preachers, and commanded them to do as He had done. The apostles were preachers, and while there is in all the apostolical writings but one explicit reference to the Eucharist, the Word is everywhere; to preach it was what they lived for, and the means by which the Churches lived. And this signifies that Christ appealed to faith; and the Christian lived by faith, and faith is knowledge, and knowledge is the exercised reason. He had nothing to fear, nay, He had everything to gain from the awakened intelligence. The slothful and the sensuous mind is His last enemy, which the preaching of the cross was meant to destroy. In the apostolic age this preaching was a “stumbling-block” to the Jew and “foolishness” to the Greek; but unto the called, whether Jews or Greeks, it was “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” What antiquity could have easily understood was a religion made up of offices, customs, and usages; what it could not understand was a religion whose only institution was a person realized by faith.

iv. In forming and founding this institution for worship the initiative was God's and not man's. It contradicted the belief that had governed man's action towards Deity and determined the acts and forms of his worship, viz. that God's mind needed to be changed and could be changed by gifts and sacrifices. The belief is venerable,—if age could authenticate any opinion this were the truest man has ever held; and it is common,—if to be believed everywhere, always, and by all make a belief true, this one could not possibly be false. And it is of all the beliefs known to religion the most pernicious; out of it has come the notion that God was harsher than man, that He loved blood and could be appeased by it; that man by satisfying His lust of death could buy from Him pardon and good will. The notion has been incorporated in multitudes of cults, has been coarsened and refined as it has dominated man or been subdued by him; but it has held its ground in the religions, most of all in those whose elaborate institutions, sacrificial and ceremonial, have been the proudest work of its hands. But the Christian idea reversed and undid all this. God it conceived as by nature merciful, immutably gracious in will, while man was the being who needed to be changed. Hence its very essence was stated to be “a ministry of reconciliation,” and this was explained as “God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself,”6 or as “God commending His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”7 The new institution for worship thus made God a real God for mankind. It may be that the old belief is not dead yet, that it still survives even in Christian societies, but it lives as the old Adam lives in the new man, the survivor from a more ancient world, out of harmony with its living environment

v. The institution defines the kind and quality of the worshipper. He is to have the mind of Christ, to be an imitator of Him. While the worship is made possible by His death, His life shows what makes the worshipper acceptable. Here the value of His sinlessness appears: He is the ideal Man, and the Christian is to be in his own age what Jesus was in His. The New Covenant was created by a moral Person for the creation of moral persons. If the sacrifice shows how much God did for man, the life shows how much He expects from man. He saves the sinner that He may form him into a saint.

vi. The function of the worship is to qualify man to fulfil the divine purpose. It has an ultimate and a proximate end; the ultimate end is the glory of God, the proximate is to form the good man, but this is conceived as the way to that. In worship the man adores God, and he can adore only as he knows and admires; and God penetrates the man, becomes the energy of his will, or the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, until it can be said: “Lo! God is in the man, and is using him to achieve the salvation of the world.”

§ IV. Conclusion

1. Here then our long and not untoilsome journey ends, though I feel as if these later discussions raised problems too imperious to be dismissed unresolved. Yet our conclusion must be of the most practical kind:—if we do well to speak of the history of Jesus and the interpretation of Christ as the programme of a religion, are we not bound to compare the performance with the programme? The result may be humiliation, for so much of the programme remains unfulfilled; but also some instruction and enlightenment. The aggregation of the institutions and usages which we co-ordinate under the term “Church” round the central idea of the Christian faith, may have been inevitable; but it does not follow that the inevitable was the good, not to say the best. The Church which survived the Roman Empire was an assemblage of new ideas and of ancient customs that had proved their suitability to human nature by living in many religions and surviving many changes of culture and belief; and though it may have helped to preserve the Christian religion, yet it was at the expense of its higher ethical and finer spiritual qualities. The religion was saved by being assimilated to the world in which it had come to live; but the assimilation has cost it centuries of impotence, of bitter controversies, and of struggles, more or less fruitless, to escape from the toils in which it had been caught. Even if Nicaea affirmed the truth as to the deity of the Son, it so did it as to help to form the Church into a civil state within the Empire and under the Emperor. Granted that Chalcedon rightly defined the two natures and joined them, properly distinguished and delimited, in the unity of the person, yet it conspicuously forgot alike in theory and in practice their ethical significance as to God and man. Would it not have been to the infinite advantage of the religion if these Councils had concerned themselves as much with the ethics as with the metaphysics of the person of Christ; and demanded that the Church should realize the fraternity, the unity of classes and peoples, the faith, hope and charity, the obedience towards God and duty towards man it symbolized? Even if we concede—though the concession, to be just, would need to be largely qualified—that Augustine was right and the Pelagians were wrong, must we not also maintain that his jealousy for the pre-eminence of Adam and for the organic being of man in sin, made him miss the most splendid opportunity that ever came to any Father or thinker for so applying the sovereignty of Christ to the higher moral, social, and spiritual life of the race as to show how the Christian idea could fulfil the ideal of humanity? Luther preached justification by faith alone, but he failed to see that equality before God was incomplete so long as the Church showed respect of persons, bowing low before kings, but trampling as with iron feet upon the peasants they oppressed. There is indeed in all history nothing more tragic than the fact that our heresies have been more speculative than ethical, more concerned with opinion than with conduct; that the Church whose claims are highest and most indefeasible in doctrine, has been the most prone to compromise in morals, consumed with jealousy for the honour and inalienability of the priestly office, while cynically indulgent towards the priestly character. But if Christ be rightly interpreted, the worst sins against God are those most injurious to man. His person is indeed a symbol of humanity in its double sense, as, subjectively, an emotion which becomes enthusiasm for the common good, and as, objectively, a race made one by the possession of a common and equal nature. Defined and explicated on its Godward side, the person yields a doctrine of God and redemption; but on its Man ward side, it becomes a theory of the race which it is the primary duty and main function of the Church to realize. The ancient usages—the priesthoods, the sacrifices, the consecrations and transubstantiations, beliefs regulated by canon and discipline enforced by law, as if it were an affair of state—which out of the old religions had stolen back into the Church, signified that the institutions the person had replaced were seeking to displace the person. They had on their side the innate and inveterate prejudices of human nature; it had on its side the ideal which was the supreme dream of the religion, and it has proved its power by compelling its very enemies to do its will, even when seeking their own ends.

2. The person, then, as institution made the religion universal in its aims and ideas, in its modes and action, and it has acted, in spite of the defective means and recalcitrant agencies it has had to employ, as became its high function. And what inference as to its constituents and character may be drawn from these discussions? Our purpose was not simply to co-ordinate historical phenomena, but to discover the causes that produce them, the ends they serve, the laws that govern their order and their movements. And certainly no discovery has in it more promise of scientific satisfaction than the relation between the conception of Christ which makes His person the source and epitome of a religion, and the function He has actually fulfilled in history. For what is the principle fundamental to all science? This: we do not live in a world where things come uncaused. We conceive nature as the realm where order and causation reign. Chance is a word science does not know. Accident is a term which only denotes ignorance. It is used because vision has not found the secret it searched for. The growth of science is the decay of chance; when the one has finally prevailed there will be no place for the other. But order cannot reign in the nature now around man, and yet chance govern man himself; and if order reigns in history as in nature, then the great persons, who are in history what forces are in nature, must belong to this order, for they are the very factors by which it is constituted. But if we hold this most scientific principle, we must mark the inevitable question:—Can Christ stand where He does uncaused, unordered? If He had not been what He was, and stood where He did, could anything in history be as it has been or as it is? Is there any person necessary in the same sense as He is to the higher history of Man? May we not speak of Him as the keystone of the arch which spans the gulf of time? But can we conceive that the keystone came there by accident? or otherwise than by the hand which built the bridge, which opened the chasm and determined the course of the river that flows beneath? And can the nature or character of this Cause be known? Causes are known in their effects, for cause and effect ever correspond in quality and character. This Christ, then, as He stands in universal history, accomplishing those marvels of the Spirit which we have seen indissolubly associated with His person and His name, is an effect; and as He is the Cause of Him must be. Nay, more, is not the effect only as it were the cause embodied, the old force, unspent, persisting in a new form? And how shall we express the idea in this case better than in the evangelical formula, “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us”? and how better describe His continuous action through all the centuries of our Christian experience than by the verse, “We beheld His glory, a glory as of the only Begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth”? The grandeur which thus comes to His person transfigures through it all nature and the whole history of man, and may well bid us adopt as our own the words which sum up the faith of an apostle, “God has been in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.”

True Religion is no piece of artifice; it is no boiling up of our Imaginative powers nor the glowing heats of Passion; though these are too often mistaken for it when in our jugglings in Religion we cast a mist before our own eyes: But it is a new Nature informing the Souls of men; it is a God-like frame of Spirit, discovering it self most of all in Serene and Clear minds, in deep Humility, Meekness, Self-denial, Universal Love of God and all true Goodness, without Partiality and without Hypocrisie; whereby we are taught to know God, and knowing him to love him, and conform our selves as much as may be to all that Perfection which shines forth in him.

The Glory of the Deity and Salvation of men are not allaied by their union one with another, but both exalted together in the most transcendent way, for Divine love and bounty are the supreme rulers in Heaven and Earth. Φθόνος ἔξω θϵίου χορου̑ ἵσταται. There is no such thing as sowre Despight and Envy lodged in the bosome of that ever blessed Being above, whose name is LOVE, and all whose Dispensations to the Sons of men are but the dispreadings and distended radiations of his Love, as freely flowing forth from it through the whole orbe and sphear of its creation as the bright light from the Sun in the firmament, of whose benign influences we are then only deprived when we hide and withdraw our selves from them.—JOHN SMITH THE PLATONIS.

  • 1.

    Ante, pp. 480–481.

  • 2.

    Ante pp. 244–257.

  • 3.

    Germania, ix.

  • 4.

    Ovid, Ars Amat. i. 259; cf. Fasti, vi. 59

  • 5.

    Isaiah i 11.

  • 6.

    2 Cor. v. 18–19.

  • 7.

    Rom. v. 8.