Theology Proper

Theology Proper

by Charles Hodge


Table of Contents

  1. Origin of the Idea of God
  2. Theism
  3. Anti-Theistic Theories
  1. Knowledge of God
  2. The Nature and Attributes of God
  1. The Trinity
  2. The Divinity of Christ
  3. The Holy Spirit
  4. The Decrees of God
  1. Creation
  2. Providence
  3. Miracles
  4. Angels




Origin of the Idea of God

ALL men have some knowledge of God. That is, they have the conviction that there is a Being on whom they are dependent, and to whom they are responsible. What is the source of this conviction? In other words, what is the origin of the idea of God? To this question three answers have been given. First, that it is innate. Second, that is a deduction of reason; a conclusion arrived at by a process of generalization. Third, that it is to be referred to a supernatural revelation, preserved by tradition  

§ 1. The Knowledge of God is Innate.

A. What is meant by Innate Knowledge.

    By innate knowledge is meant that which is due to our constitution, as sentient, rational, and moral beings. It is opposed to knowledge founded on experience; to that obtained by ab extra instruction; and to that acquired by a process of research and reasoning.

    It cannot be doubted that there is such knowledge, i. e., that the soul is so constituted that it sees certain things to be true immediately in their own light. They need no proof. Men need not be told or taught that the things thus perceived are true. These immediate perceptions are called intuitions, primary truths, laws of belief, innate knowledge, or ideas. Provided we understand what is meant, the designation is of minor importance. The doctrine of innate knowledge, or intuitive truths, does not imply that the child is born with knowledge in conscious exercise in the mind. As knowledge is a form or state of the intelligence, and as that is a state of consciousness, knowledge, in the sense of the act of knowing, must be a matter of consciousness; and, therefore, it is said, cannot be innate. The new-born child has no conscious conviction of the existence of God. But the word knowledge is sometimes used in a passive sense. A man knows what lies dormant in his mind. Most of our knowledge is in that state. All the facts of history stored in the memory, are out of the domain of consciousness, until the mind is turned to them. It is not inconceivable, therefore, that the soul as it comes into the world may be stored with these primary truths which lie dormant in the mind, until roused by the due occasion. This, however, is not what is meant by innate knowledge. The word innate simply indicates the source of the knowledge. That source is our nature; that which is born with us. Nor does the doctrine of innate knowledge imply that the mind is born with ideas, in the sense of "patterns, phantasms, or notions," as Locke calls them; nor that it is furnished by nature with a set of abstract principles, or general truths. All that is meant is, that the mind is so constituted that it perceives certain things to be true without proof and without instruction.

    These intuitive truths belong to the several departments of the senses, the understanding, and our moral nature. In the first place, all our sense perceptions are intuitions. We apprehend their objects immediately, and have an irresistible conviction of their reality and truth. We may draw erroneous conclusions from our sensations; but our sensations, as far as they go, tell us the truth. When a man feels pain, he may refer it to the wrong place, or to a wrong cause; but he knows that it is pain. If he sees an object, he may be mistaken as to its nature; but he knows that he sees, and that what he sees is the cause of the sensation which he experiences. These are intuitions, because they are immediate perceptions of what is true. The conviction which attends our sensations is due not to instruction but to the constitution of our nature.

    In the second place, there are intuitions of the intellect. That is, there are certain truths which the mind perceives to be true immediately, without proof or testimony. Such are the axioms of geometry. No man needs to have it proved to him that the part of a thing is less than the whole; or that a straight line is the shortest distance between two given points. It is an intuitive truth that "nothing" cannot be a cause; that every effect must have a cause. This conviction is not founded on experience, because experience is of necessity limited. And the conviction is not merely that every effect which we or other men have observed has had a cause; but that in the nature of things there can be no effect without an adequate cause. This conviction is said to be an innate truth, not because the child is born with it so that it is included in its infant consciousness, nor because the abstract principle is laid up in the mind, but simply because such is the nature of the mind, that it cannot but see these things to be true. As we are born with the sense of touch and sight, and take cognizance of their appropriate objects as soon as they are presented; so we are born with the intellectual faculty of perceiving these primary truths as soon as they are presented.

    In the third place, there are moral truths which the mind intuitively recognizes as true. The essential distinction between right and wrong; the obligation of virtue; responsibility for character and conduct; that sin deserves punishment; are examples of this class of truths. No man needs to be taught them. No one seeks for further evidence of their being truths than that which is found in their nature.

    There is another remark to be made in reference to the intuitions of the mind. The power of intuitional perception is capable of being increased. It is in fact greater in one man than in other men. The senses of some persons are far more acute than those of others. The senses of hearing and touch are greatly exalted in the case of the blind. It is the same with the intellect. What is self-evident to one man, has to be proved to another. It is said that all the propositions of the First Book of Euclid were as plain at first sight to Newton as the axioms. The same is true in our moral and religious nature. The more that nature is purified and exalted, the clearer is its vision, and the wider the scope of its intuitions. It is not easy to see, therefore, why Sir William Hamilton should make simplicity a characteristic of intuitive truths. If a proposition be capable of resolution into simpler factors, it may still to a powerful intellect be seen as self-evidently true. What is seen immediately, without the intervention of proof, to be true, is, according to the common mode of expression, said to be seen intuitively.

    It is, however, only of the lower exercises of this power that we can avail ourselves in our arguments with our fellow men. Because a truth may be self-evident to one mind, it does not follow that it must be so to all other minds. But there is a class of truths so plain that they never fail to reveal themselves to the human mind, and to which the mind cannot refuse its assent. Hence the criteria of those truths which are accepted as axioms, and which are assumed in all reasoning, and the denial of which renders all faith and all knowledge impossible, are universality and necessity. What all believe, and what all men must believe, is to be assumed as undeniably true. These criteria indeed include each other. If a truth be universally admitted, it must be because no man can
rationally call it to question. And if it be a matter of necessary belief it must be accepted by all who possess the nature out of the constitution of which the necessity arises.

II. Proof that the Knowledge of God is Innate.

    The question now is, Whether the existence of God is an intuitive truth? Is it given in the very constitution of our nature? Is it one of those truths which reveal themselves to every human mind, and to which the mind is forced to assent? In other words, has it the characteristics of universality and necessity? It should be remarked that when universality is made a criterion of intuitive truths, it is intended to apply to those truths only which have their foundation or evidence in the constitution of our nature. As to the external world, if ignorance be universal, error may be universal. All men, for example, for ages believed that the sun moves round the earth; but the universality of that belief was no evidence of its truth.

    When it is asked, Whether the existence of God is an intuitive truth, the question is equivalent to asking, Whether the belief in his existence is universal and necessary? If it be true that all men do believe there is a God, and that no man can possibly disbelieve his existence, then his existence is an intuitive truth. It is one of those given in the constitution of our nature; or which, our nature being what it is, no man can fail to know and to acknowledge.

    Such has been the common opinion in all ages. Cicero1 says: "Esse Deos, quoniam insitas eorum, vel potius innatas cognitiones habemus." Tertullian2 says of the heathen of his day, that the common people had a more correct idea of God than the phtilosophers. Calvin3 says "Hoc quidem recte judicantibus semper constabit, insculptum mentibus humanis esse divinitatis sensua, qui deleri nunquam potest." The whole tendency in our day is, to make the existence of God so entirely a matter of intuition as to lead to the disparagement of all argument in proof of it. This extreme, however, does not justify the denial of a truth so important as that God has not left any human being without a knowledge of his existence and authority.

    The word God, however, is used in a very wide sense. In the Christian sense of the word, "God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." This sublime idea of God no human mind ever attained either intuitively or discursively, except under the light of a supernatural revelation. On the other hand, some philosophers dignify motion, force, or the vague idea of the infinite, with the name of God. In neither of these senses of the word is the knowledge of God said to be innate, or a matter of intuition. It is in the general sense of a Being on whom we are dependent, and to whom we are responsible, that the idea is asserted to exist universally, and of necessity, in every human mind. It is true that if this idea is analyzed, it will be found to embrace the conviction that God is a person, and that He possesses moral attributes, and acts as a moral governor. Nothing is asserted as to how far this analysis is made by uneducated and uncivilized men. All that is maintained is that this sense of dependence and accountability to a being higher than themselves exists in the minds of all men.

The Knowledge of God is Universal.

    In proof of this doctrine, reference may be made --

    1. To the testimony of Scripture. The Bible asserts that the knowledge of God is thus universal. This it does both directly and by necessary implication. The Apostle directly asserts in regard to the heathen as such without limitation, that they have the knowledge of God, and such knowledge as to render their impiety and immorality inexcusable. "Because that when they knew God," he says, "they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful." (Rom. i. 19-2 1.) He says of the most depraved of men, that they know the righteous judgment of God, that those who commit sin are worthy of death. (Rom. i. 32.) The Scripture everywhere addresses men as sinners; it calls upon them to repent; it threatens them with punishment in case of disobedience: or promises pardon to those who turn from their sins. All this is done without any preliminary demonstration of the being of God. It assumes that men know that there is a God, and that they are subject to his moral government. It is true that the Bible at times speaks of the heathen as not knowing God, and says that they are without God. But this, as explained by the context in which such declarations appear, and by the general teaching of the Scriptures, only means that the heathen are without correct, or saving knowledge of God; that they are without his favour, do not belong to the number of his people, and of course are not partakers of the blessedness of those whose God is the Lord. In teaching the universal sinfulness and condemnation of men: their inexcusableness foridolatry and immorality, and in asserting that even the most degraded are conscious of guilt and just exposure to the divine judgment, the Bible takes for granted that the knowledge of God is universal, that it is written on the heart of every man.

    This is still more apparent from what the Bible teaches of the law as written on the heart. The Apostle tells us that those who have a written revelation, shall be judged by that revelation; that those who have no externally revealed law, shall be judged by the law written on the heart. That the heathen have such a law, he proves first, from the fact that "they do by nature the things contained in the law," i. e., they do under the control of their nature the things which the law prescribes; and secondly, from the operations of conscience. When it condemns, it pronounces something done, to be contrary to the moral law; and when it approves, it pronounces something to be conformed to that law. (Rom. ii. 12-16.) The recognition of God, therefore, that is, of a being to whom we are responsible, is involved in the very idea of accountability. Hence every man carries in the very constitution of his being as a moral agent, the evidence of the existence of God. And as this sense of sin and responsibility is absolutely universal, so must also, according to the Bible, be the knowledge of God.

    2. The second argument in favor of the universality of this knowledge, is the historical one. History shows that the religious element of our nature is just as universal as the rational or social one. Wherever men exist, in all ages and in all parts of the world, they have some form of religion. The idea of God is impressed on every human language. And as language is the product and revelation of human consciousness, if all languages have some name for God, it proves that the idea of God, in some form, belongs to every human being.

Objections to the Assumption that the Knowledge of God is Universal.

    There are two objections often urged against the doctrine that the knowledge of God results from the very constitution of our nature, and is therefore universal. The one is, that travellers and missionaries report the existence of some tribes so degraded that they could discover in them no traces of this knowledge. Even if the fact be admitted that such tribes have no idea of God, it would not be conclusive. Should a tribe of idiots be discovered, it would not prove that reason is not an attribute of our nature. If any community should come to light in which infanticide was universal, it would not prove that parental love was not one of the instincts of humanity. But the probability is that the fact is not as reported. It is very difficult for foreigners to get acquainted with the interior life of those who differ from themselves so much in their intellectual and moral condition. And besides, Christians attach such an exalted meaning to the word God, that when they see no evidence of the presence of that exalted conception in the minds of the heathen, they are apt to conclude that all knowledge of God is wanting. Unless such people show that they have no sense of right and wrong, no consciousness of responsibility for character and conduct, there is no evidence that they have no knowledge of such a being as God.

    The other objection is drawn from the case of the deaf and dumb, who sometimes say that previous to instruction, the idea of God never entered their minds. To this the same answer may be given. The knowledge obtained by Christian instruction so much surpasses that given by intuition, that the latter seems as nothing. It is hardly conceivable that a human soul should exist in any state of development, without a sense of responsibility, and this involves the idea of God. For the responsibility is felt to be not to self, nor to men, but to an invisible Being, higher than self, and higher than man.

The Belief in God Necessary.

    But if it be admitted that the knowledge of God is universal among men, is it also a necessary belief? Is it impossible for the mind to dispossess itself of the conviction that there is a God? Necessity, as remarked above, may be considered as involved in universality, at least in such a case as this. There is no satisfactory way of accounting for the universal belief in the existence of God, except that such belief is founded on the very constitution of our nature. Nevertheless, these two criteria of intuitive truths are generally distinguished, and are in some aspects distinct.

    The question then is, Is it possible for a sane man to disbelieve in the existence of God? This question is commonly answered in the negative. It is objected, however, that facts prove the contrary. No man has ever been found, who denies that two and two make four, whereas atheists abound in every age and in every part of the world.

    There, are, however, different kinds of necessary truths.

    1. Those the opposite of which is absolutely unthinkable. That every effect must have a cause, that a part of a given thing is less than the whole, are propositions the opposites of which cannot have any meaning. When a man says that something is nothing, he expresses no thought. He denies what he affirms, and therefore says nothing.

    2. There are truths concerning external or material things, which have a power to constrain belief different from that power which pertains to truths concerning the mind. A man cannot deny that he has a body; and he cannot rationally deny that he has a will. The impossibility in both cases may be equal, but they are of different kinds, and affect the mind differently.

    3. Again, there are truths which cannot be denied without doing violence to the laws of our nature. In such cases the denial is forced, and can only be temporary. The laws of our nature are sure sooner or later to assert themselves, and constrain an opposite belief. A pendulum when at rest hangs perpendicularly to the horizon. It may by extraneous force be made to hang at any degree of inclination. But as soon as such force is removed, it is sure to swing back to its normal position. Under the control of a metaphysical theory, a man may deny the existence of the external world, or the obligation of the moral law; and his disbelief may be sincere, and for a time persistent; but the moment the speculative reasons for his disbelief are absent from his mind, it of necessity reverts to its original and natural convictions. It is also possible that a man's hand may be so hardened or cauterized as to lose the sense of touch. But that would not prove that the hand in man is not normally the great organ of touch. So it is possible that the moral nature of a man may be so disorganized by vice or by a false philosophy as to have its testimony for the existence of God effectually silenced. This, however, would prove nothing as to what that testimony really is. Besides this, insensibility and the consequent unbelief cannot last. Whatever rouses the moral nature, whether it be danger, or suffering, or the approach of death, banishes unbelief in a moment. Men pass from skepticism to faith, in many cases, instantaneously; not of course by a process of argument, but by the existence of a state of consciousness with which skepticism is irreconcilable, and in the presence of which it cannot exist. This fact is illustrated continually, not only in the case of the uneducated and superstitious, but even in the case of men of the highest culture. The simple fact of Scripture and experience is, that the moral law as written upon the heart is indelible; and the moral law in its nature implies a lawgiver, one from whom that law emanates, and by whom it will be enforced. And, therefore, so long as men are moral creatures, they will and must believe in the existence of a Being on whom they are dependent, and to whom they are responsible for their character and their conduct. To this extent, and in this sense, therefore, it is to be admitted that the knowledge of God is innate and intuitive; that men no more need to be taught that there is a God, than they need to be taught there is such a thing as sin. But as men are ignorant of the nature and extent of sin, while aware of its existence, until instructed by the Word of God, and enlightened by his Spirit; so they greatly need the same sources of instruction to give them any adequate knowledge of the nature of God, and of their relations to him.

§ 2. The Knowledge of God is not due to a Process of Reasoning.

    Those who are unwilling to admit that the idea of God is innate as given in the very constitution of man, generally hold that it is a necessary, or, at least, a natural deduction of reason. Sometimes it is represented as the last and highest generalization of science. As the law of gravitation is assumed to account for a large class of the phenomena of the universe, and as it not only does account for them, but must be assumed in order to understand them;so the existence of an intelligent first cause is assumed to account for the existence of the universe itself, and for all its phenomena. But as such generalizations are possible only for cultivated minds, this theory of the origin of the idea of God, cannot account for belief in his existence in the minds of all men, even the least educated.

    Others, therefore, while regarding this knowledge to be the result of a course of reasoning, make the process far more simple. There are many things which children and illiterate persons learn, and can hardly avoid learning, which need not be referred to the constitution of their nature. Thus the existence of God is so obviously manifested, by everything within and around us, the belief in that existence is so natural, so suited to what we see and what we need, that it comes to be generally adopted. We are surrounded by facts which indicate design;by effects which demand a cause. We have a sense of the infinite which is vague and void, until filled with God. We have a knowledge of ourselves as spiritual beings, which suggests the idea of God, who is a spirit. We have the consciousness of moral qualities, of the distinction between good and evil, and this makes us think of God as a being of moral perfections. All this may be very true, but it is not an adequate account of the facts of the case. It does not give a satisfactory reason for the universality and strength of the conviction of the existence of God. Our own consciousness teaches us that this is not the ground of our own faith. We do not thus reason ourselves into the belief that there is a God; and it is very obvious that it is not by such a process of ratiocination, simple as it is, that the mass of the people are brought to this conclusion.

    Moreover, the process above described does not account for the origin of our belief in God, but only gives the method by which that belief is confirmed and developed. Very little is given by intuition in any case, at least to ordinary minds. What is thus discovered needs to be expanded, and its real contents unfolded. If this be true with the intuitions of sense and of the understanding, why should it not be so of our religious nature?

    The truth is, that all the faculties and feelings of our minds and bodies have their appropriate objects; and the possession of the faculties supposes the existence of those objects. The senses suppose the existence and reality of the objects of sense. The eye, in its very structure, supposes that there is such an element as light; the sense of hearing would be unaccountable and inconceivable without sound; and the sense of touch would be inconceivable were there no tangible objects. The same is true of our social affections; they necessitate the assumption that there are relations suited to their exercises. Our moral nature supposes that the distinction between right and wrong is not chimerical or imaginary. In like manner, our religious feelings, our sense of dependence, our consciousness of responsibility, our aspirations after fellowship with some Being higher than ourselves, and higher than anything which the world or nature contains, necessitates the belief in the existence of God. It is indeed said that if this belief is intuitive and necessary, there is no virtue in it. This objection overlooks the fact that the moral character of our feelings depends on their nature and not on their origin. They may spring from the constitution of our nature, and yet be good or evil as the case may be. A mother's love for her child is instinctive; the absence of the maternal affection in a mother is something unnatural and monstrous, the object of universal condemnation. The sense of pity, of justice, the feelings of benevolence, are instinctive, but none the less virtuous. The same is true of our religious feelings, and of the belief which they involve. We cannot help feeling that we are responsible, and it is right that we should feel so. The man who has brought himself to a state of insensibility to all moral obligation, is what the Scriptures call a "reprobate." Adam believed in God the moment he was created, for the same reason that he believed in the external world. His religious nature, unclouded and undefiled, apprehended the one with the same confidence that his senses apprehended the other. It is of great importance that men should know and feel that they are by their very nature bound to believe in God; that they cannot emancipate themselves from that belief, without derationalizing and demoralizing their whole being.

§ 3. Knowledge of God not due exclusively to Tradition.

    There are some theologians who are unable to believe that the knowledge of God can be referred either to the constitution of our nature, or to any process of reasoning. Not only the exalted view of the Divine Being presented in the Bible, but the simple and perverted apprehensions of his nature prevailing among the heathen, they say must be referred to an original supernatural revelation. Such a revelation was made to our first parents and from them passed over to their descendants. When the knowledge thus communicated began to die out among men, God again revealed himself to Abraham, and made him and his posterity the depositaries of the truth. Either, therefore, from the remains of the primitive revelation, or by radiation from the chosen people, all the knowledge of God existing in the world has been derived. The attempt is made to show that the more remote any people were from the Jews, the less did they know of God; and the more any nation enjoyed of intercourse with the people to whom God had committed his oracles, the more correct and extended was their knowledge.

    This view, although arising from reverence for the Word of God, is evidently extreme. It is true that the further we go back in the history of the world, the nearer we approach the primal revelation, the purer is the knowledge concerning Him. It may also be true, as a general rule, that the more any people were brought under the influence of the truth as held by the chosen people of God, the more enlightened they became. It may further be conceded that those who with the Bible in their hands reject its teachings, and give themselves up to their own speculations, turn, as the Apostle expresses it, "the truth of God into a lie," losing all knowledge of the living and true God. All this, however, does not prove that the knowledge of God is not written on the heart. Our intuitive perceptions need to be cherished, developed, and interpreted. We know from Scripture that the law is written in characters which cannot be obliterated, upon the souls of all men, and yet it has been perverted, misinterpreted, or disregarded by men in every age and in every part of the world.

§ 4. Can the Existence of God be proved?

    A large class of theologians and philosophers deny that the existence of God is susceptible of proof. This is done on different grounds.

    First. It is said that the knowledge of God being intuitive, it is not a proper subject of proof. This is the position taken by that class of theologians who resolve all religion into feeling, and by the modern school of speculative philosophers, who make such a wide distinction between the reason and the understanding; the former being the intuitional, and the latter the discursive faculty. Eternal and necessay truths belong to the province of the reason; subordinate truths to the sphere of the understanding. It is the understanding that argues and concludes. The reason apprehends by immediate vision. What relates to God, as the eternal, infinite, necessary Being, belongs to the province of reason, and not to that of the understanding. Even such theistic writers as Twesten4 say that the good need no proof that God is, and that the wicked are not susceptible of conviction. You cannot prove that a thing is beautiful, or that it is good. So neither can you prove that there is a God. The fallacy of this statement is obvious. Beauty and goodness are qualities which must be discerned by the mind, just as the objects of sight are discerned by the eye. As it is true that you cannot prove to a blind man that an object is red, so you cannot prove to a peasant that the "Paradise Lost" is sublime. But the existence of God is an objective fact. It may be shown that it is a fact which cannot be rationally denied. Although all men have feelings and convictions which necessitate the assumption that there is a God; it is, nevertheless, perfectly legitimate to show that there are other facts which necessarily lead to the same conclusion.

    Besides, it is to be remembered that theistical arguments are designed to prove not only that there is a necessity for the assumption of all extra-mundane and eternal Being, but mainly, to show what that Being is; that He is a personal Being, self-conscious, intelligent, moral. All this may lie inclosed in the primary intuition, but it needs to be brought out and established.

    Secondly. Another class of objections against all theistical arguments, relates to the arguments themselves. They are pronounced fallacious, as involving a petitio principii;or declared to be invalid as derived from false premises; or heading to conclusions other than that intended to be established. Of this every man must judge for himself. They have been regarded as sound and conclusive by the wisest men, from Socrates to the present day. Of course the argument on the principle of causation must be invalid to those whc deny that there is any such thing as an efficient cause; and the argument from design can have no force for those who deny the possibility of final causes.

    Most of the objections to the conclusiveness of the arguments in question arises from a misapprehension of what they are intended to prove. It is often assumed that each argument must prove the whole doctrine of Theism; whereas one argument may prove one element of that doctrine; and other arguments different elements. The cosmological argument may prove the existence of a necessary and eternal Being; the teleological argument, that that Being is intelligent; the moral argument that He is a possessing moral attributes. The arguments are not designed so much to prove the existence of an unknown being, as to demonstrate that the Being who reveals himself to man in the very constitution of his nature must be all that Theism declares him to be. Such writers as Hume, Kant, Coleridge, and the whole school of transcendental philosophers, have more or less expressly denied the validity of the ordinary arguments for the existence of a personal God.


1. De Natura Deorum, i. 17.
2. Testimonium Animae.
3. Institutio, I. iii. 2.
4. Vorlesungen.

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§1. The Ontological Argument.§2. The Cosmological Argument.§ 3. The Teleological Argument.
§ 4. Objections to the Argument from Design.§ 5. The Moral, or Anthropological Argument.

    Theism is the doctrine of an extra-mundane, personal God, the creator, preserver, and governor of the world. The design of all arguments on this subject is to show that the facts around us, and the facts of consciousness, necessitate the assumption of the existence of such a Being. The arguments usually urged on this subject are the Ontological, the Cosmological, the Teleological, and the Moral.

§1. The Ontological Argument.

    This is a metaphysical a priori argument. It is designed to show that the real objective existence of God is involved in the very idea of such a Being. It is commonly made to include all arguments which are not a posteriori;that is, which do not proceed from effect to cause. It has, therefore, been presented in different forms. The principal of which are the following: --

    1. That in which it is presented by Anselm in his "Monologium," and more fully and definitely in his "Proslogium." The argument is substantially this. That which exists in re is greater than that which exists only in the mind. We have an idea of an infinitely perfect Being; but actual existence is included, in infinite perfection. Because, if actual existence be a perfection, and if God is not actually existent, then we can conceive of a Being greater than God. His words1 are, "Et certe id, quo majus cogitari nequit, non potest esse in intellectu solo. Si enim vel in solo intellectu est, potest cogitari esse et in re, quod majus est. . . .  Existit ergo procul dubio aliquid, quo majus cogitari non valet, et in intellectu et in re. This argument assumes that existence is of the nature of a perfection. It adds, however, nothing to the idea. The idea in itself may be complete, although there be no objective existence to answer to it. Anselm regarded the negation of the existence of God as impossible; for God is the highest truth, the highest being, the highest good, of whom all other truth and good are the manifestations. Necessity of existence is included, according to this doctrine, in the idea or absolnte perfection. In other words, it is included in the idea of God. And as every man has the idea of God, he must admit his actual existence; for what is necessary is of course actual. It does not follow from our idea of a man, that he actually exists, because man is not necessarily existent. But it is absurd to say that a necessarily existing Being, does not exist. If this argument has any validity, it is unimportant. It is only saying that what must be actually is. If the idea of God as it exists in every man's mind includes that of actual existence, then so far as the idea goes, he who has the one has the other. But the argument does not show how the ideal implies the real.2

Des Cartes' Argument.

    2. Des Cartes' argument was in this form. We have the idea of an infinitely perfect Being. As we are finite, that idea could not have originated with us. As we are conversant only with the finite, it could not have originated from anything around us. It must, therefore, have come from God, whose existence is thus a necessary assumption. "Habemus ideam Dei, hujusque ideae realitas objectiva nec formaliter nec eminenter in nobis continetur, nec in ullo alio praeterquam in ipso Deo potest contineri; ergo haec idea Dei, quae in nobis est, requirit Deum pro causa; Deusque proinde existit."3 It is true we have many ideas or conceptions to which there is no answering existence. But in such cases the ideas are arbitrary, or voluntary creations of our own minds. But the idea of God is necessary; we cannot help having it. And having it, there must be a Being who answers to it. Des Cartes illustrates his argument by saying, that as it is included in our idea of a triangle, that its angles are equal to two right angles, it is so in fact. The cases, however, are not parallel. It is only saying that a triangle is what it is, namely, a three-sided figure, whose angles are equal to two right angles. But the existence of God as a fact is not included in the definition of Him. Kant expresses this in philosoplucal language, saying that if the predicate be removed, the subject is removed; because an analytic judgment is a mere analysis, or full statement of what is in the subject. The judgment that the angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, is only an analysis of the subject. It is a simple statement of what a triangle is; and therefore, if you take away the equality of the angles, you take away the triangle. But in a synthetic judgment, there is a synthesis, a putting together. Something is added in the judgment which is not in the subject. In this case that something is actual existence. We may infer from the idea of a perfect being, that he is wise and good; but not that he actually is; because reality is something added to the mere idea.

    The only difference between the argument of Des Cartes and that of Anselm, appears to be merely formal. The one infers the existence of God, in order to account for the idea; the other argues that actual existence is included in the idea. The same illustration, therefore, is employed by the advocates of both. The argumement of Anselm is the same as that derived from the definition of a triangle. You cannot think of a triangle without thinking of it as having three angles; so you cannot think of God without thinking of Him as actually existent; because actual existence enters as essentially into the idea of God, as "triangularity" enters into that of a triangle. There are, doubtless, minds which are affected by this kind of reasoning; but it has no power over the generality of men.

Dr. Samuel Clarke's Argument.

    3. Dr. Samuel Clarke, equally distinguished as a mathematician, as a linguist, and as a metaphysician, published in 1705, his celebrated "Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God." So far as the Being of God is concerned his argument is a priori. Nothing, he says, is necessarily existent, the non-existence of which is conceivable. We can conceive of the non-existence of the world; therefore the world is not necessarily existing and eternal. We cannot, however, conceive of the non-existence of space and duration; therefore space and duration are necessary and infinite. Space and duration, however, are not substances; therefore, there must he an eternal and necessary substance (i. e., God), of which they are the accidents. This argument at best gives us only the idea of a necessary and infinite something; which no class of anti-theists are disposed to deny. To determine what this eternal substance is, what attributes belong to it, reference must be made to the phenomenal world, and the argument becomes a posteriori. It has been objected to Dr. Clarke's argument that it is not properly a priori. It infers from the existence of the and space the existence of a substantial Being.

Cousin's Argument.

    4. Cousin, in his "Elements of Psychology," repeats continually the same argument in a somewhat different form. The idea of the infinite, he says, is given in that of the finite. We cannot have the one without having the other. "These two ideas are logical correlatives; and in the order of their acquisition, that of the finite and imperfect precedes the other; but it scarcely precedes it. It is not possible for the reason, as soon as consciousness furnishes the mind with the idea of the finite and imperfect, not to conceive the idea of the infinite and perfect. Now, the infinite and perfect is God."4 Here again the argument is, that that is real of which we have an idea. This is not indeed assumed as a general proposition. We can imagine, says Cousin, a gorgon, or centaur, and we can imagine them not to exist; but it is not in our power, when the finite and imperfect are given, not to conceive of the infinite and perfect. This is not a chimera, he says, it is the necessary product of reason; and, therefore, it is a legitimate product. The idea of the finite and imperfect is a primitive idea, given in the consciousness; and therefore, the correlative, idea of the infinite and perfect given by necessity and by the reason, must also be primitive.5 At other times he presents this subject in a different light. He teaches that, as the mind in perception takes cognizance of the object as a real existence, distinct from itself, so the reason has an apprehension, or immediate cognition of the Infinite, with a necessary conviction of its reality as distinguished (in one sense) from itself. Self, nature, and God are alike and equally involved in the intuitive apprehension of the mind;and they are inseparable. This is very different from the common doctrine of the knowledge of God as innate, or intuitive. The latter doctrine only assumes that such is the nature of the human soul that it is intuitively convinced of its dependence on, and responsibility to a Being other than, and higher than itself. The former assumes, with the German philosophers, especially Schelling, the immediate cognition of the Infinite by the reason.

    Admitting with Cousin that the ideas of the finite and infinite are correlative; that we cannot have the one without having the other; and that the mind by a rational necessity is convinced that if there be a finite, there must be an infinite; it remains to be asked. What that Infinite is? With Cousin, the Infinite is the All. Theism therefore gains nothing from these metaphysical arguments.

§2. The Cosmological Argument.

    This is founded on the principle of a sufficient cause. Syllogistically stated, the argument stands thus: Every effect must have an adequate cause. The world is an effect. Therefore the world must have had a cause outside of itself and adequate to account for its existence.

A. Causation.

    The validity and the meaning of this argument, depend on the sense given to the words effect and cause. If an effect be correctly defined to be an event, or product, not due to anything in itself, but produced by something out of itself; and if by cause be understood, an antecedent to whose efficiency the effect is due; then the conclusion is inevitable, that the existence of the world supposes the existence of a cause adequate to its production, provided it can be proved that the world is an effect, i.e., that it is not self-caused or eternal.

    It is well known, however, that since Hume propounded his theory, all efficient causes have been discarded by a large class of philosophers. The senses take cognizance of nothing but the sequence of events. One follows another. That which uniformly precedes, we call cause; that which uniformly follows, we call the effect. As sequence is all the senses detect, that is all we have any right to assume. The idea that there is anything in the antecedent which determines the effect to be as it is and no otherwise, is altogether arbitrary. A cause, therefore, is nothing but an invariable antecedent, and an effect an invariable consequent.

    Mr. Stuart Mill6 modified Hume's definition of cause as Dr. Brown of Edinburgh had done before him. The former says, "It is necessary to our using the word cause, that we should believe not only that the antecedent always has been followed by the consequent, but that, as long as the present constitution of things endures, it always will be so." So Dr. Brown7 says, "A cause in the fullest definition which it philosophically admits of, may be said to be that which immediately precedes any change, and which, existing at any time in similar circumstances, has been always, and will be always immediately followed by a similar change." It is obvious that this definition is not only arbitrary, but that it is inconsistent with the fundamental principles of Hume's philosophy, and that of his followers, namely, that all our knowledge is founded on experience. Experience relates to the past. It cannot guarantee the future. If we believe that a given consequent always will follow a given antecedent, there must be some other ground for that conviction than that it always has done so. Unless there be something in the nature of the antecedent to secure the sequence of the effect, there is no rational ground for the belief that the future must be like the past.

The Common Doctrine on the Subject.

    The common doctrine on this subject includes the following points. (1.) A cause is something. It has a real existence. It is not merely a name for a certain relation. It is a real entity, a substance. This is plain because a nonentity cannot act. If that which does not exist can be a cause, then nothing can produce something, which is a contradiction. (2.) A cause must not only be something real, but it must have power or efficiency. There must be something in its nature to account for the effects which it produces. (3.) This efficiency must be adequate; that is, sufficient and appropriate to the effect. That this is a true view of the nature of a cause is plain. (1.) From our own consciousness. We are causes. We can produce effects. And all three of the particulars above mentioned are included in our consciousness of ourselves as cause. We are real existences; we have power; we have power adequate to the effects which we produce. (2.) We can appeal to the universal consciousness of men. All men attach this meaning to the word cause in their ordinary language. All men assume that every effect has an antecedent to whose efficiency it is due. They never regard mere antecedence, however uniform in the past, or however certain in the future, as constituting a causal relation. The succession of the seasons has been uniform in the past, and we are confident that it will continue uniform in the future; yet no man says that winter is the cause of summer. Every one is conscions that cause expresses an entirely different relation from that of mere antecedence. (3.) This view of the nature of causation is included in the universal and necessary belief, that every effect must have a cause. That belief is not that one thing must always go before another thing; but that nothing can occur, that no change can be produced, without the exercise of power or efficiency somnewhere; otherwise something could come out of nothing.

    This subject is discussed by all the metaphysicians from Aristotle downwards, and especially since the promulgation of the new doctrine adopted by Hume.8 It is one of the great services rendered by Dr. McCosh to the cause of truth, that he has defended the authority of those primary beliefs which lie at the foundation of all knowledge.

Intuitive Conviction of the Necessity of a Cause.

    But admitting a cause to be not merely an invariable antecedent, but that to whose power the effect is due, "Ens quod in se continet rationem, cur aliud existat,"9 as it is defined by Wolf, it remains to be asked, What is the foundation of the universal belief that every effect must have a cause? Hume says it is founded on experience, and therefore is limited by it. We see that every effect within the sphere of our observation is preceded by a cause, and we may reasonably expect that the same is true beyond the sphere of our observation. But of this we know nothing. It would be presumptuous to determine from what takes place on our little globe, what must be the law of the universe. The fact that, as far as we see, every effect has a cause, gives us no right to assume that the universe must have had a cause. Kant says that the law of cause and effect is only in our minds. Men view things in that relation; but they have no assurance that that relation holds in the world outside of themselves.

    The common doctrine of the schools is, that it is an intuitive truth, a first, or self-evident principle. That is, that it is something which all men do believe, and which all men must believe. There are no self-evident, intuitive truths, if the fact that they have been denied by one or more speculative philosophers be considered proof that they are not matters of universal and necessary belief. Personal identity, the real existence of the external world, the essential distinction between right and wrong, have all been denied. Nevertheless, all men do, and all men must believe these truths. The denial of them is forced and temporary. Whenever the mind reverts to its normal state, the belief returns. So the principle of causation has been denied; yet every man is forced by the constitution of his nature to admit it, and constantly to act upon it. A man may believe that the universe is eternal; but that it began to be without a cause -- that it sprang out of nothing -- it is impossible to believe.

    We are reduced, therefore, to this alternative. The universe is. It therefore either has been from all eternity, or it owes its existence to a cause out of itself, adequate to account for its being what it is The theistical argument is, that the world is an effect; that it has not the cause of existence in itself, that it is not eternal, and therefore we are necessitated to assume the existence of a great First Cause to whose efficiency the existence of the universe is to be referred.

B. The World is an Effect.

    1. The first argument to prove that the world as a whole is not self-existent and eternal, is, that all its parts, everything that enters into its composition, is dependent and mutable. A whole cannot be essentially different from its constituent parts. An infinite number of effects cannot be self-existent. If a chain of three links cannot support itself, much less can a chain of a million of links. Nothing multiplied by infinity is nothing still. If we do not find the cause of our existence in ourselves, nor our parents in themselves, nor their progenitors in themselves, going back ad infinitum is only adding nothing to nothing. What the mind demands is a sufficient cause, and no approach to it is made by going back indefinitely from one effect to another. We are forced, therefore, by the laws of our rational nature, to assume the existence of a self-existent cause, i. e., a Being endued with power adequate to produce this ever-changing phenomenal world. In all ages thinking men have been forced to this conclusion. Plato and Aristotle argued from the existence of motion, that there must be an aveiki.nhton e`auto. kinou/n, an eternal self-moving power, or primum movens, as it was called by the Schoolmen. The validity of this argument is acknowledged by almost all classes of philosophers, at least so far as to admit that we are forced to assume the existence of an eternal and necessary Being. The theistical argument is, that if everything in the world be contingent, this eternal and necessary Being must be an extramundane First Cause.

B. Historical Argument.

    2. The second argument is the historical one. That is, we have historical evidence that the race of man, for example, has existed only a few thousand years. That mankind has existed from eternity is absolutely incredible. Even if we adopt the development theory, it affords no relief. It only substitutes millions for thousands of years. Both are equally insignificant when compared to eternity. Darwin's germ-cell as necessarily demands a self-existing cause out of itself, as a fully developed man, or the whole race of man, or the universe itself. We are shut up to the conclusion that the universe sprang out of nothing, or that there is a self-existing, eternal extramundane Being.

Geological Argument.

    3. The geological argument is to the same effect. Geologists as a class agree as to the following facts: (1.) That the extant genera of plants and animals inhabiting our earth, began to be within a comparatively short period in the history of our globe. (2.) That neither experience nor science, neither fact nor reason, justify the assumption of spontaneous generation. That is, there is no evidence that any living organism is ever produced by mere physical causes. Every such organism is either immediately created, or is derived from some other organism having life, already existing. (3.) Genera and species are permanent. One never passes into another. A fish never becomes a bird, nor a bird a quadruped. Modern theorists have indeed questioned these facts; but they still are admitted by the great body of scientific men, and the evidence in their favour is overwhelming to the ordinary mind. If these principles be conceded, it follows that all the extant plants and animals on the earth began to be. And if they began to be, they were created, and therefore there must be a Creator. These considerations are merely collateral. The main argument is the one first mentioned, namely, the absolute impossibility of conceiving either of an infinite succession of contingent events, or of the origin of the universe out of nothing.

C. Objections. Hume's Doctrine.

    There are only two objections to this cosmological argument which need be noticed. The one is directed to the principle on which it is founded, and the other to the conclusion drawn from it. Hume begins his "Treatise on Human Nature," by laying down the principle that the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into impressions and ideas. By impressions he means "all our sensations, passions, and emotions, as they make their first appearance in the soul." By ideas is meant "the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning."10 There can, therefore, be no idea which is not derived from some previous impression. This is the fundamental principle of his whole system. From this it follows that all our knowledge is founded on experience. We have certain impressions made by external things, and certain passions and emotions; these are the only sources of our ideas, and thererore of our knowledge. When11 he comes to apply this principle to the nature and origin of our idea of causation, he says, all we can know on the subject is that one object or event is contiguous and antecedent to another. This is all we perceive; all of which we can have an "impression." We have no impression of power, efficacy, energy, force, or whatever equivalent term we may choose to use. Therefore, there is no such thing. There is no such thing as efficacy or power either in mind or matter. When we use such words we have, he says, "really no distinct meaning."12 When we see events or changes in uniform sequence, we get the habit, or, as he says, "we feel the determination,"13 to expect the consequent when we see its accustomed antecedent. Necessity, force, power, efficacy, therefore, are nothing but "a determination to carry our thoughts from one object to another."14 "The necessity of power, which unites causes and effects, lies in the determination of the mind to pass from the one to the other. The efficacy or energy of causes is neither placed in the causes themselves, nor in the Deity, nor in the concurrence of these two principles; but belongs entirely to the soul, which considers the union of two or more objects in all past instances."15 Hume was fully aware of the paradoxical character of his view of causation and of its far-reaching consequences, although he insisted that his argument in its support was unanswerable. In immediate connection with the preceding quotation, he says: "I am sensible, that of all the paradoxes which I have had, or shall hereafter have, occasion to advance in the course of this treatise, the present one is the most violent, and that 'tis merely by dint of solid proof and reasoning I can ever hope it will have admission, and overcome the inveterate prejudices of mankind"16 What he calls inveterate prejudices, are really laws of belief which God has impressed on our nature, and which all the sophistry of philosophers can never subvert.

    The conclusions which Hume draws from his doctrine show his appreciation of its importance. (1.) It follows, he says, from his principle that there is no difference between causes as efficient, formal, material, exemplary, or final; nor between cause and occasion. (2.) "That the common distinction betwixt moral and physical necessity is without any foundation in nature." "The distinction which we often make betwixt power and the exercise of it, is equally without foundation." (3.) "That the necessity of a cause to every beginning of existence is not founded on any arguments either demonstrative or intuitive."(4.) "We can never have reason to believe that any object exists, of which we cannot form an idea."17 By this fourth corollary, he has reference to such things as substance, from which we receive no impression, and consequently of which we can have no idea, and therefore cannot rationally believe to exist. The same may be said of God.

    In the beginning of the following section,18 Hume with a boldness almost unparalleled says: "According to the precedent doctrine, there are no objects which, by the mere survey, without consulting experience, we can determine to be the causes of any other; and no objects which we can certainly determine in the same manner not to be causes. Anything may produce anything. Creation, annihilation, motion, reason, volition, all these may arise from one another, or from any other object we can imagine. Nor will this appear strange if we compare two principles explained above, that the constant conjunction of objects determines their causation; and that, properly speaking, no objects are contrary to each other but existence and non-existence. Where objects are not contrary, nothing hinders them from having that constant conjunction on which the relation of cause and effect totally depends."

    If there be any such argument as the reductio ad absurdum, surely this theory of Hume refutes itself. (1.) He admits the trustworthiness of consciousness so far as "impressions" are concerned; then how can he reject the intuitions of sense, reason, and conscience? (2.) If we have no knowledge which is not derived from impressions, and no right to believe in the existence of anything of which we have not an idea derived from an impression, then we cannot believe in substance, soul, or God. (3.) For the same reason we cannot believe that there is any such thing as power or efficiency, or any difference between efficient and final causes, i. e., between the expansive force of steam and the intention of the mechanist who makes a steam-engine. (4.) In like manner, we must believe that something can come out of nothing, that there is no reason that what begins to be should have a cause, even an antecedent; and, therefore, that "anything can produce anything," e. g., a human volition, the universe. (5.) He cannot even state his theory without contradicting himself. He speaks of one thing "producing" another. But according to his doctrine there is no such thing as production, because he denies that there is any such thing as power or efficiency.

    It is universally admitted that we have no foundation for knowledge or faith, but the veracity of consciousness. This principle must be kept constantly in view, and must be often reiterated. Any doctrine, therefore, which contradicts the facts of consciousness, or the laws of belief which God has impressed on our nature, must be false. If, therefore, it can be shown that there are certain truths which men are constrained by the constitution of their nature to believe, those truths are to be retained in despite of all the arts of sophistry. If, therefore, it be a fact of consciousness that we ourselves are something, an ens, a substance, and that we have power, that we can produce effects, then it is certain that there is such a thing as power, and efficient cause. If, moreover, it be an intuitive and necessary truth that every effect must have a cause, that ex nihilo nihil fit, then it is absolutely certain that if the world began to be, it had an adequate cause of its existence out of itself. And, therefore, if the arguments to prove that the world is not self-existing and eternal be sound, the cosmological argument is valid and conclusive.

The Second Objection.

    The other form of objection is directed not against the premises on which the cosmological argument is founded, but against the conclusion which Theists draw from them. It is admitted that something now exists; that nonentity cannot be the cause of real existence; therefore, something must have existed from eternity. It is also admitted that a regressus ad infinitum, or an eternal series of effects, is impossible. There must, therefore, be an eternal, self-existing Being. This is all the cosmological argument fairly proves. It does not prove that this necessary Being is extramundane, much less that it is a personal God. It may be an eternal substance of which things mutable are the phenomena.19

    The cosmological argument is not intended to prove all that Theists hold to be true concerning God. It is enough that it proves that we must admit the existence of an eternal and necessary Being. Other arguments prove that that Being is self-conscious and intelligent. The argument, moreover, fairly proves that this Being is extramundane; for the principle of causation is that everything contingent must have the cause of its existence out of itself.

§ 3. The Teleological Argument.

A. Its Nature.

    This argument also admits of being stated in a syllogistic form. Design supposes a designer. The world everywhere exhibits marks of design. Therefore the world owes its existence to an intelligent author.

    By design is intended, -- (1.) The selection of an end to be attained. (2.) The choice of suitable means for its attainment. (3.) The actual application of those means for the accomplishment of the proposed end.

    Such being the nature of design, it is a self-evident truth, or, even an identical proposition, that design is indicative of intelligence, will, and power. It is simply saying that intelligence in the effect implies intelligence in the cause.

    It is moreover true that the intelligence indicated by design is not in the thing desigined. It must be in an external agent. The mind indicated in a book is not in the book itself, but in the author and printer. The intelligence revealed by a calculating machine, or any similar work of art, is not in the material employed, but in the inventor and artist. Neither is the mind indicated in the structure of the bodies of plants and animals, in them, but in Him who made them. And in like manner the mind indicated in the world at large must be in an extramundane Being. There is, indeed, this obvious difference between the works of God and the works of man. In every product of human art dead materials are fashioned and united to accomplish a given end; but the organized works of nature are animated by a living principle. They are fashioned as it were from within outward. In other words, they grow; they are not constructed. In this respect there is a great difference between a house and a tree or the human body. But, nevertheless, in both cases, the mind is external to the thing produced; because the end, the thought, is prior to the product. As the thought or idea of a machine must be in the mind of the mechanist, before the machine is made; so the idea or thought of the eye must be anterior to its formation. "It is a simple and pregnant conclusion," says Trendelenburg,20 "that so far as design is realized in the world, thought as its ground has preceded it." And this thought, he goes on to say, is not dead, as a figure or model, it is connected with will and power. It is, therefore, in the mind of a person who has the ability and purpose to carry it out. He further says, "tiefsinnige Zweckmassigkeit bewustlos und blind," cannot be imagined, i. e., a blind and unconscious adaptation of means to an end is inconceivable.

    As the conviction that design implies an intelligent agent is intuitive and necessary, it is not limited to the narrow sphere of our experience. The argument is not, Every house, ship, telescope, or other instrument or machine, we ever saw had an intelligent maker, therefore we may take it for granted that any similar work of art was not formed by chance or by the operation of blind, unconscious forces. The argument rather is, Such is the nature of design, that it of necessity implies an intelligent agent; and, therefore, where ever, or whenever we see evidence of design we are convinced that it is to be referred to the operation of mind. On this ground we not only authorized, but compelled to apply the argument from design far beyond the limits of experience, and to say: It is just as evident that the world had an intelligent creator, as that a book had an author. If a man can believe that a book was written by chance, or by blind, unconscious force, then, and not otherwise, can he rationally deny the validity of the argument from design in proof of the existence of a personal God.

B. Evidences of Design in the World.

    This is a boundless subject. One of the most important and valuable of the "Bridgewater Treatises," the volume by Dr. Charles Bell, is devoted to "The Hand, its mechanism and vital endowments as evincing design." Hundreds of volumes would not be sufficient to exhibit the evidence of the intelligent adaptation of means to an end, which the world everywhere affords. In the few pages now at command all that can be attempted, is an indication of the nature of this evidence.21

Design in Single Organs.

    1. No work of human art can compare with the nicety and completeness of the separate organs of organized bodies for the purpose for which they are designed. In the eye, for example, there is the most perfect optical instrument constructed in accordance with the hidden laws of light. We find there the only nerve in the body susceptible of the impressions of light and color. That nerve is spread out on the retina. The light is admitted through an orifice in the ball, which opening by the most delicate arrangement of muscles is enlarged or contracted, according to the degree of light which falls on the retina, which enlargement or contraction is not dependent on the will, but on the stimulus of the light itself. Light, however, merely passing through an orifice would make no image of the object fromn which it was reflected. It is, therefore, made to pass through lenses perfect in form so to refract the rays as to bring them to a proper focus on the retina. If the inner chamber of the eye were white, it would so reflect the rays entering the pupil at every angle as to render vision impossible. That chamber, and that alone, is lined with a black pigment. By a delicate muscular arrangement the eye is enabled to adapt itself to the distance of external objects so that the proper focus may be preserved. These are a small part of the wonders exhibited by this single organ of the body. This organ was fashioned in th darkness of the womb, with a self-evident reference to the nature and properties of light, of which the creature for whose use it was fashioned had neither knowledge or experience. If the eye, therefore, does not indicate the intelligent adaptation of means to an end, no such adaptation can be found in any work of human ingenuity.

    The same remarks apply to the ear. In its cavity lies the auditory nerve. A tortuous passage is formed in the bony structure of the skull. The orifice of that passage is covered by a membrane to receive the vibration of the air; on the centre of that membrane rests the termination of a small bone so connected as to convey those vibrations to the only nerve capable of receiving or iterpreting them, or of transmitting them to the brain. It is by this organ, constructed according to the recondite principles of acoustics, that our intercourse with our fellow-men is principally kept up; through which the marvels of speech, all the charms of music and eloquence become possible for man.

    We cannot live without a constant supply of oxygen, which must every moment be brought to act upon the blood, to vitalize it, and by combining with the carbon it contains fit it for renewed use. The infant, therefore, comes into the world with an apparatus prepared for that purpose. In its formative state, it did not breathe. Yet it had lungs. They were given for a foreseen necessity. Nothing can exceed the intricacy, complication, or beauty of the organ or system of organs thus prepared, for the absolutely necessary and continuous purification of the blood, and for its distribution in an uninterrupted flux and reflux to every part of the body. This process goes on without our supervision. It is as regular during sleep as during our waking hours.

    Food is as necessary for our support as air. The unborn infant needs no food. It is included in the circulation of its mother. In the state on which it is soon to enter food will be a necessity. Full provision is made beforehand for its reception and use. Teeth are embedded in the jaw for its mastication; salivary glands to furnish the fluid for its chemical preparation for the stomach; an oesophagus to convey it to the stomach, where it meets with a fluid found nowhere else, capable of dissolving and digesting it. It then comes into contact with a set of absorbent vessels which select from it the elements suited for the wants of the body and reject all the rest. The valuable portion is poured into the blood by which it is distributed, each constituent going to its own place and answering its predestined purpose; carbon to be consumed to keep up the vital heat, lime to the bones, fibrine to the muscles, phosphorus to the brain and nerves.

    The child before birth has no need of organs for locomotion or for apprehending external objects. But it was foreseen that it would need them, and therefore they are prepared beforehand. The bones are grooved for the reception of muscles, and have projections for points of support; joints of all kinds, hinge and ball and socket, for the flexure of the limbs; the instruments for motion, the contractile fibres, arranged and attached, according to the strict laws of mechanics, so as best to secure the two ends of symmetry and power. Thus the body is a perfect marvel of mechanical contrivances. The several organs, therefore, of the animal frame, viewed separately, present the most incontestible evidence of foresight, intelligence, and wisdom. This, however, is only a small part of the evidence of design furnished even by the body.

Design in the Relation of one Organ to Another.

    2. Every animal is a complete whole. Each part has a designed and predetermined reference to every other part. The organs of sight, hearing, breathing, nutrition, locomotion, etc., are so arranged and adjusted as to answer a common purpose to the best advantage. Besides, these organs, although common to all animals (at least to all above the lowest), are modified in each genus and species to meet its peculiar necessities. If the animal is to live on the land all its organs are adapted to that condition. If it is to live in the water or move through the air, all is prepared beforehand for that destination. And more than this, if one organ be designed for some special use, all the rest are modified in accordance with that purpose. If the stomach is suited for the digestion of flesh, then the teeth, the limbs, the claws, are all adapted to secure and prepare the proper aliment. So complete is the adaptation that the anatomist can determine from a single bone the genus or species to which the animal belonged. Birds which wade in the water have long legs and long necks. Those which float on the surface, have web feet, and feathers impenetrable by water; two things which have causal relation, and which are united by a kind of intelligence external to the animal itself. Birds which fly in the air are fitted for their destiny by hollow bones, wide-spread wings, and great accumulation of muscles on the breast. Those which climb trees have feet and tail adapted for that purpose, and, as in the case of the wood-pecker, a sharp bill for boring the tree and a barbed tongue to seize its food. These modifications of animal structure are endless, all showing an external intelligence cognizant of the necessities of every distinct species.

The Adaptation of the Organs to the Instinct of Animals

    3. There is a correspondence between the organs of every animal and the instincts by which it is endowed. Beasts and birds of prey having the instinct to feed on flesh have all the organs requisite to satisfy this inward craving. Those having an instinct for vegetable food, have teeth and stomachs adapted for that purpose. The bee whose body secretes wax, has the instinct to build cells; the spider furnished with the peculiar viscid matter, and apparatus for spinning it, makes a web and watches for its prey. So it is throughout all animated nature. Here then are two very distinct things: instinct and corporeal organs; the instinct cannot account for the organs nor the organs for the instinct; and yet they are never found the one without the other. They of necessity, therefore, imply an intelligence which implants the instinct and furnishes the appropriate organs.

Argument from Prevision.

    4. There cannot be a more decisive proof of intelligence than prevsion; preparation for an event in the future. The world is full of evidence of such prevision. It is seen not only in the preparation of the organs of sight, hearing, breathing, nutrition, etc. for necessities still future; but still more strikingly in the provision made for the support of young animals as soon as they are born. In the mammalia before the birth of the offspring, the breast or udder begins to swell; it commences the secretion of milk, so that the moment the young animal enters the world he finds prepared the most nutritious and suitable food the world contains. The egg furnishes a still more instructive illustration. It consists of albumen and the yolk. To the yolk is attached a minute germ or cell. When by heat the germ begins to develop, if nourishment were not provided and at hand, it would of necessity perish. But the yolk is there to supply the needed material out of which the future animal is fashioned. If this does not indicate a foreseeing mind and a providing power, then the most skilful productions of human skill and kindness do not prove the intelligence of man, Where then is this intelligence? Not in the parent bird, for it understands nothing about it. Not in mere blind forces of nature. There may possibly be room for question where to place it; but to deny that these provisions indicate an intelligent agency somewhere, is altogether irrational.

Vegetable Organisms.

    5. The vegetable kingdom is as full of the indications of benevolent design as the animal. Plants have their organism and their physiology. Their structure, in their organs for growth and reproduction, is quite as marvellous as that of most species of the animal kingdom. They constitute an essential part in the great system of nature, without which there could be no sentient life on our globe. Animals cannot live on inorganic matter. It is the province of the plant to reduce this matter into such a state as to be fit for the support of animal life. If it were not therefore for the functions of the leaf which transmutes the inorganic into the organic, there could be no sentient life on our earth. Is there no design here? Is there no intelligent adaptation of one part of the great system of nature to another?

From the Adaptations of Nature.

    6. This leads to another department of the subject. The evidences of design are not confined to the separate organs of the plant or animal; nor to the relations of these organs to each other, nor, in the case of animals, to the instinct which impels to the proper use of those organs; they are to be found just as abundantly in the adaptation of external nature to the necessities of animal and vegetable life. Neither plants nor animals could exist without light, air, heat, water, and soil, to produce the common food of all living things. Who created the light and heat and diffuses them over the whole earth? Who made the sun from which they radiate? Who constituted the atmosphere with its chemical adjustments, precisely what is necessary for the support of life, everywhere and always the same, and poured it round our globe? How is it that water at a certain temperature evaporates, rises in mist, is gathered into clouds, is carried everywhere by the winds, and falls in rain to fertilize the earth? The eye supposes light, as the lungs suppose air; the appetite of hunger supposes food, and the power of digestion. Food supposes soil, light, heat, and water. Surely this is one great system. There is unity and mutual relation in all its parts. It must have had one author, and He must be infinite in intelligence and goodness.

All living Creatures on the Earth have Organic Relations.

    7. The design indicated in nature is, however, not confined to the individual organisms and to their relations to the world around them, but it has in the progress of science been discovered, that the whole vegetable and animal world has been constructed on one comprehensive plan. As there is a relation of one organ of a given plant or animal to all others and to the whole, so the whole race of plants, and the whole race of animals are related. There are certain typical forms of which all the infinite variety of planta are modifications; and certain other types of which the innumerable genera, species, and varieties of animals are only modifications; and these modifications are precisely of the kind to suit each species for its end, and for the circumstances in which it is to live. So obviously is this the case that Professor Agassiz's "Essay on Classification," is, to say the least, as strong an argumnent for the being of God as any of the "Bridgewater Treatises." And it is so regarded by its illustrious author. On page 10 of his "Contributions to the Natural History of the United States," he says, "I know those who hold it to be very unscientific to believe that thinking is not something inherent in matter, and that there is an essential difference between inorganic and living and thinking beings. I shall not be prevented by any such pretensions of a false philosophy from expressing my conviction that as long as it cannot be shown that matter or physical forces do actually reason, I shall consider any manifestation of thought as evidence of the existence of a thinking Being as the author of such thought, and shall look upon an intelligent and intelligible connection between the facts of nature as direct proof of the existence of a thinking God, as certainly as man exhibits the power of thinking, when he rezognizes their natural relation."

Evidence that the Earth was designed for Man.

    8. It is not only, however, the living organisms inhabiting ouz earth, which exhibit such evidence of an intelligent creator, but also the earth itself. If a father, who when he provides a home for his children, fits it up with all the necessities and all the luxuries which they can possibly need, gives indisputable evidence of intelligence and love, then are those attributes to be ascribed to Him who fitted up this world to be the home of his creatures. This is seen, as already intimated, in the constitution of the atmosphere, in the distribution of light and heat, of electricity and magnetism, in the establishment of those laws which secure the regular succession of the seasons, in the preparation of soil by the disintegration of rocks, the falling of rain, the deposition of dew which falls gently with life-giving power on the thirsty earth; in innumerable other provisions and dispositions of the forces of nature without which neither vegetable nor animnal life could be sustained. There are many special provisions of this kind which fill the mind with gratitude and wonder. It is a general law that bodies contract as they become colder. Water, however, when it freezes expands and becomes lighter. If it were not for this benevolent exception to the general law, not only would the inhabitants of all our rivers perish, but the greater part of the temperate zone would be uninhabitable. It is no answer to this argument to say that there are a few other exceptions to this law. We may not know the final cause why bismuth should expand on cooling; but this does not prevent our knowing why ice is made lighter than water. Our not understanding one sentence in a book, does not prove that it has no meaning, nor that we cannot understand another sentence.

    The whole configuration of the earth, its position in relation to the sun, and the inclination of its axis, are obviously intended to render it a suitable residence for the creatures by which it is inhabited. Their well-being depends on the distribution of land and water on its surface; on the elevation of its mountain ranges and plateaus, and on the ocean currents which are determined by the configuration of its coasts. If North and South America were not connected by the narrow Isthmus of Darien, Great Britain and the northwestern portions of Europe would be uninhabitable. They owe the moderate temperature which they enjoy to the immense body of warm water, which is prevented by that Isthmus from flowing into the Pacific, being floated in a northeasterly direction across the Atlantic. When we see such benevolent arrangements among men, we refer them instinctively and by a rational necessity to a benevolent and intelligent agent. No rational ground exists for refusing to ascribe like arrangements in nature to a similar source. Is it any more an evidence of prudent or benevolent foresight that a man should store away abundant fuel for himself or others, knowing that winter is approaching, than that God has laid up inexhaustible stores of coal in the bowels of the earth, for the use of his children on the earth?

Cosmical Arrangements.

9. The argument for design founded on cosmical arrangements is so vast a subject that it seems absurd even to refer to it, in a single paragraph. The simple facts are, that our globe is one of eight primary planets which revolve round the sun. The most distant of these planets is some three thousand millions of miles from the central luminary. These planets all move in the same direction, in nearly circular orbits, in nearly the same plane, and with so equable a motion that each performs its revolutions in the proper time. The stability of the system depends on these circumstances. To secure these results matter must attract matter according to its quantity and the square of its distance. The central body must be of such mass as to hold the planets in their course. The centrifugal and centripetal forces must be exactly balanced, tc prevent the planets from flying off into space, or falling into the sun. Each planet must have been projected with a precise definite velocity to secure its orbit being nearly a circle, rather than any other curve. The central body alone, in accordance with the evident plan, is luminous and heat-producing. All the others are opaque and cold. These are facts, which Sir Isaac Newton says he is "forced to ascribe to the counsel and contrivance of a voluntary agent."22 Since the time of Newton, indeed, it has been the commonly received theory that the planets were at one time fluid, highly heated, and luminous; and that they have become opaque in the process of cooling. But this only puts the argument one step back. The fact is that a most wonderful and beneficent result has been accomplished. The question How? is of minor importance. It is the beneficence of the result which indicates mind, and this indication of mind implies a "voluntary agent."

    Our solar systemn itself, therefore, is vast, varied, and well ordered. Our system, however, is one of probably hundreds of millions. At least astronomers assert their knowledge of a hundred million of suns, some of which are incalculably larger than ours. Sirius is calculated to shine with a light equal to two hundred and fifty of our suns; Alcyone with that of twelve thousand suns. The nearest of these stars is separated from the outer planet of our system twenty-one billions of miles. These millions of stars are not scattered equally through space, but are gathered into groups, the members of which bear an obvious relation to each other.

    Besides these systems in which planets are assumed to revolve around suns, there are others in which suns revolve around suns, at distances proportioned to their magnitude. The light emanating from these great luminaries is of different colors, white, red, blue.

    Then more distant in space float the unresolved nebulae. Whether these nebulae are vast continents of stars too distant to be distinguishable, or cosmical matter in a formative state, is still an open question with astronomers. Two thousand have been counted in the northern hemisphere, and one thousand in the southern. They assume every variety of form; some are spherical, some fan-shaped, some spiral, some in circular rings. It is estimated that the light of some of the stars has been many thousand years in reaching our earth, although travelling at the rate of more than ten millions of miles a minute.

    Throughout this vast universe order reigns. In the midst of endless variety, there is unity. The same laws of gravitation, of light, and of heat everywhere prevail. Confusion and disorder are the uniform result of chance or blindly operating forces. Order is the sure indication of mind. What mind! what wisdom! what power! what beneficence! does this all but infinite universe display!

    "The result of our whole experience," said Sir Gilbert Eliot, writing to Hume himself, "seems to amount to this: -- There are but two ways in which we have ever observed the different parcels of matter to be thrown together, -- either at random, or with design and purpose. By the first, we have never seen produced a regular complicated effect, corresponding to a certain end; by the second, we uniformly have. If, then, the works of nature and the productions of men resemble each other in this one general characteristic, will not even experience sufficiently warrant us to ascribe to both a similar, though proportionable, cause."23

    This argument from design is constantly urged in the Old Testamcnt, which appeals to the heavens and the earth as revealing the being and perfections of God. The Apostle Paul says that the living God, who made heaven and earth, and the sea and all that is therein, hath not left himself without a witness. (Acts xiv. 15-17.) He demonstrated to the Athenians the nature of God from his works and from our relation to him as his offspring. (Acts xvii. 23-31.) To the Romans he said that the eternal power and Godhead of the Supreme Being, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. (Romn. i. 20.) The ancient philosophers drew the same conclusion from the same premises. Anaxagoras argued that nou/j, mind,must be admitted as controlling everything in the world, because everything indicates design. Socrates constantly dwells on this as the great proof of the being of God. Cicero24 says that it is as impossible that an ordered world could be formed by the fortuitous concurrence of atoms, as that a book should be composed by the throwing about letters at random. Trendelenburg,25 after referring to that passage, says: "It is perhaps more difficult to assume, that by the blind combination of chemical and physical elemnents and forces, any one even of the organs of the body should be formed, -- the eye, for example, so clear, sharp, and all-seeing, -- much less the harmonious union of organs which make up the body, than that a book should be made by chance, by throwing types about."

    Philo presents the argument in its simplest syllogistic form. "No work of art is self-made. The world is the most perfect work of art. Therefore, the world was made by a good and most perfect Author. Thus we have the knowledge of the existence of God."26 All the Christian fathers and subsequent theologians have reasoned in the same way. Even Kant, although denying its conclusiveness, says that the teleological argument should always be treated with respect. It is, he says, the oldest, the clearest, and the best adapted to the human mind.

§ 4. Objections to the Argument from Design.

A. The Denial of Final Causes.

    The doctrine of final causes in nature must stand or fall with the doctrine of a personal God. The one cannot be denied without denying the other. And the admission of the one involves the admission of the other. By final cause is not meant a mere tendency, or the end to which events either actually or apparently tend; but the end contemplated in the use of means adapted to attain it. The contemplation of an end, is a mental act. The selection and use of means adapted to attain such end, are both intelligent and voluntary acts. But an intelligent voluntary agent is a person.27 In other words, the use of means to accomplish a contemplated end is a function of personality, or at least of intelligent agency.

    Such being the nature of final causes, they are of course denied, (1.) By the positivist, who believes nothing but facts of which the senses take cognizance; and who admits of no other causation than regularity of sequence. As efficiency, intention, and mind are not perceived by the senses, they are not, and cannot be philosophically admitted. (2.) By those who, while they admit such a thing as force, and, therefore, in that sense, a cause, allow of no distinction between physical, vital, and mental causes, or forces; and who maintain that the one can be resolved into either of the others. The advocates of this theory make thought a product of the brain; and have as their watch-word, "Ohne Phosphor kein Gedanke." Of course phosphorus must be before thought, and therefore there can be no final cause in the production of phosphorus, or of anything else. (3.) Final causes are denied by those who regard the universe as the developmnent of the infinite Being under the operation of necessary law. Of that Being no intelligence, consciousness, or will can be predicated. Consequently there can be no preconceived design to be accomplished, either by the universe as a whole, or any of its parts. According to Spinoza, therefore, final causes are "humana figmenta et deliria."

    If you should ask a peasant, where a tree or the body of an animal came from, he would probably answer, "Why, it grew." That for him is the final fact. And so it is for all the advocates of the above-named theories. Thus it is that extremes (the peasant's thought and the savant's theory) meet. What more, what deeper thought is found in the words of Stuart Mill than in the peasant's answer, when the logician says: "Sequences entirely physical and material, as soon as they had become sufficiently familiar to the human mind, came to be thought perfectly natural, and were regarded not only as needing no explanation themselves, but as being capable of affording it to others, and even of serving as the ultimate explanation of things in general."28

B. Objections of Hume and Kant.

    Hume's answer to the argument from design, or final causes, is, that our knowledge is limited by experience. We have often seen houses, ships, engines, and other machines made, and therefore, when we see similar products of human skill we are authorized to infer that they too were constructed by an intelligent author. But the world belongs to an entirely different category; we have never seen a world made; and therefore we have no rational ground for assuming that this world had a maker. "When two species of objects," says Hume,29 "have always been observed to be conjoined together, I can infer, by custom, the existence of one whenever I see the existence of the other, and this I call an argument from experience. But how this argument can have place, where the objects, as in the present case, are single, individual, without parallel, or specific resemblance, may be difficult to explain. And will any man tell me with a serious countenance, that an orderly universe must arise from some thought and art, like the human, because we have experience of it? To ascertain this reasoning, it were requisite that we had experience of the origin of worlds; and it is not sufficient surely that we have seen ships and cities arise from human art and contrivance." What experience teaches is that design implies intelligence; i. e., that we never see the adaptation of means to an end without having evidence that such adaptation is the work of an intelligent agent. And, therefore, even under the guidance of experience we infer that wherever we see design, whether in nature or in art, there must be an intelligent agent. But experience is not the ground or limit of this conviction. It is an intuitive truth, self-evident from its nature, that design cannot be accounted for on the ground of chance or necessity. Let any man try to persuade himself that a watch is the product of chance, and he will see how futile is the attempt.

    Kant presents substantially the same objection as Hume when he says that the concatenation of cause and effect is confined to the external world, and therefore that it is illogical to apply the principle of causation to account for the existence of the external world itself. He further objects that the evidences of design in nature would prove only a demiurgus, or world-builder, and not an extramundae God. It is further urged against the sufficiency of the teleologial argument, that even if it proved the author of the world to be distinct from it, it would not prove him to be infinite, because the world is finite, and we cannot infer an infinite cause from a finite effect.

Answer to the Objections.

    In answer to these objections it may be remarked that what the argumnent from design is intended to prove, and what it does prove, is, (1.) That the Author of the universe is an intelligent and voluntary agent. (2.) That He is extramundane and not merely the life, or soul of the world, for the design is shown not simply or chiefly by the moulding of organized bodies by a principle acting from within outward; but by the adaptation of things external to such organisms, to their various necessities; and by the disposition and orderly arrangement of immense bodies of matter, separated by millions, or even billions of miles. (3.) The immensity of the universe through the whole of which design is manifest, proves that its cause must be adequate to the production of such an effect; and if the effect be, as it is to us, incomprehensibly great, the cause must be so also. And incomprehensibly great and infinitely great, are practically equivalent. But besides, the cosmological argument proves that God is not only maker, but creator. And creation implies the possession of infinite power. Not only because the difference between existence and non-existence is infinite, but because in Scripture creation is always represented as the peculiar work of the infinite God. So far as we know all creature power is limited to self-action, or to the more or less limited control of what already exists.

    What has already been said may be a sufficient answer to the objection that while design does indeed prove intelligence, yet that intelligence may be in matter itself, or in nature (a vis insita), as in the soul of the world. These points, as they are generally presented, concern more properly the relation of God to the world, than his existence. They involve the admission of the existenre of an intelligence somewhere, adequate to account for all the phenomena of the universe. They involve consequently the denial that these phenomena are to be referred either to chance, or the action of mere physical laws. Where that intelligence is placed, is not the question. Wherever placed it must be a person; and not merely an unintelligent force acting according to necessary law. For the evidence of voluntary action and of benevolence is as clear as that of intelligence. And the considerations already urged prove that this voluntary, intelligent Being must be extramundane; a conclusion which is rendered still more evident from our relation to Him as responsible and dependent.

C. Miscellaneous Objections.

    1. It is objected that both in the vegetable and animal kingdoms there are malformations, abnormal productions, which are inconsistent with the idea of the control of an infinite intelligence. This is at best merely an argument from our ignorance. Admitting that there are in nature some things which we cannot account for, this does not invalidate the argument drawn from the innumerable cases of benevolent design. If Mr. Babbage's calculating machine should once in many million of times present the wrong number, this would not prove that there was no intelligence manifested in its construction. It is not necessary even to assume that such apparently irregular action is to be referred to the imperfection of the machine. For what we know, its maker may have a reason for such action, which we cannot discover. In every extended piece of music, discords here and there occur, which pain the ear, and which those unskilled in music cannot account for, but which the competently instructed perceive are taken up and resolved into a higher harmony. If a prince should give us a chest containing millions in coin and jewels, we should not question his kind intention, even should we find among them a spurious dime for whose presence we could not account. It would be insane to reject the Bible with all its sublime and saving truths, because there may be in it a few passages which we cannot understand, and which in themselves seem inconsistent with the perfection of its author. No man refuses to believe in the sun and to rejoice in its light because there are dark spots on its surface for which he cannot account. Ignorance is a very healthful condition of our present state of being.

Useless Organs.

    2. A second objection of much the same kind is founded on the fact that we find members in organized bodies for which they have no use. For example, men have mammae; the whale has teeth which are never developed and which the animal does not need; animals have bones which they never use; birds and crocodiles have their skulls formed of separate bones as well as viviparous animals, although in their case there seems to be no utility in such arrangement. Even Professor Owen urges this objection. In his work on "Limbs,"30 he says, "I think it will be obvious that the principle of final adaptation fails to satisfy all the conditions of the problem. That every segment and almost every bone which is present in the human hand and arm should exist in the fin of the whale," where they are not needed, does not appear consistent with the principle. Again, in another place, he says,31 "The cranium of the bird, which is composed in the adult of a single bone, is ossified from the same number of points as in the human embryo, without the possibility of a similar purpose being subserved thereby, in the extrication of the chick from the fractured egg-shell. . . . These, and a hundred such facts force upon the contemplative anatomist the inadequacy of the teleological hypothesis."

    On this it may be remarked: (1.) That the objection bears only on the individual organism of plants or animals, whereas the evidences of design are scattered over the whole universe. (2.) This objection also is founded on our ignorance. The argument is that because we cannot see the reason for a certain arrangement, no such reason exists. (3.) It takes the lowest view of utility, namely, that which contemplates the immediate wants of the individual organism. Things which are not needed for its necessities may answer a much higher end. In a great building use is not the only end contemplated; there are symmetry and unity, aesthetic ends of as much value as mere comfort or convenience. Scientific men have demonstrated that all animals are in their structure only modifications of four typical forms. These forms are preserved in all the genera and species included under these general classes. The presence therefore, of these characteristic features of the type, even where not needed for the individual, serve to indicate the unity of the plan on which the whole animal kingdom is constructed We must remember that what we do not see, cannot disprove the realty of what we do see.


    3. A third objection is sometimes derived from the operations of Instinct. Instinct, according to Dr. Reid, is "a natural blind impulse to certain actions, without having any end in view, without deliberation, and very often without any conception of what we do."32 Dr. Whately also says: "An instinct is a blind tendency to a mode of action independent of any consideration on the part of the agent, of the end to which the action leads." Paley defines it to be "a propensity prior to experience and independent of instruction."33 The argument is that as "a blind impulse" contemplating no end, effects all the marvellous contrivances which we see in the works of irrational animals, similar contrivances in nature cannot prove intelligence in the author of nature. The answer to this argument is: --

    1. That it is founded on a wrong definition of instinct. It is not a blind impulse. It is that measure of intelligence given to animals which enables themn to sustain their lives, to continue their race, and to answer the necessities of their being. Within certain limits this form of intelligence, both in man and in irrational animals, acts blindly. The impulse which leads the young of all animals to seek their nourishment in the appropriate way and in the proper place, is no doubt blind. The same is also probably true of the impulse which leads many animals to make provision in summer for the necessities of winter. Neither can it be supposed that the bee has always and everywhere constructed its cell according to the nicest mathematical principles, under the guidance of an intelligent apprehension of those principles. These operations which are performed without instructions, and always from age to age in the same way, indicate a guidance which may be called blind in so far that those under its influence do not devise the plan on which they act, although they may know the end they have in view. But the intelligence of animals goes far beyond these narrow limits. Not only does the beaver construct his dam according to the nature of the locality and the force of the stream on which he fixes his habitations, but we constantly see it, as well as other animals, varying its mode of operation to suit special emergencies. Instinct, therefore, as designating the principle which controls the action of irrational animals, is not blind, but intelligent. It admits of the contemplation of an end, and of the selection and application of means appropriate for its accomplishment. Even admitting, therefore, that the intelligence manifested in nature is of the same kind as that manifested by animals, yet the difference in degree is infinite.

    2. No measure, however, of intellect of the grade or character of instinct is sufficient to account for the phenomena of the universe. Instinct is concerned with the wants of individual organism. But who adapts the organs of an animal to its instincts? Who adapts external nature, air, light, heat, water, food, etc., etc., to its necessities? What relation has instinct to the stellar universe?

    3. Moreover, these instincts themselves are among the phenomena to be accounted for. If they are blind impulses, can they be accounted for, in all their variety and in all their accommodation to the nature and wants of animals, by a blind impulse pervading all things? The fact is that the adaptation of external nature to the instincts of the different classes of animals, and of their instincts to external nature, affords one of the most convincing proofs of an intellect exterior to both, and ordering the one in relation to the other.

    4. It is to be remembered, although the topic of a separate argument, that the soul of man with all its wonderful powers and capacities, intellectual, moral, and religious, is one of the facts to be accounted for. To trace the existence of the soul of man to "a blind impulse," is to assume that the effect immeasurably transcends its cause, which is assumning an effect without a cause.

    5. All these objections take for granted the eternal existence of matter, and the eternity of physical forces. As these are, they must have existed from eternity, or have begun to be. If they began to be they must have had a cause outside of themselves. That cause cannot be nonentity. It must be a self-existing, eternal substance, having the intelligence, power, will, and benevolence adequate to account for the universe and all that it contains. That is, the cause of the universe must be a personal God.

§ 5. The Moral, or Anthropological Argument.

A. Nature of the Argument.

    As the image of the sun reflected from a mirror, or the smooth surface of a lake, reveals to us that the sun is, and what it is; so the soul of man, just as clearly, and just as certainly, reveals that God is and what He is. The reflection of the sun does not teach us everything that is true concerning that luminary; it does not reveal its internal constitution, nor tell us how its light and heat are maintained from age to age. In like manner the soul, as the image of God, does not reveal all that God is. In both cases, and equally in both cases, what is revealed is true, that is, trustworthy.

    It answers to the objective reality. As we know that the sun really is what its reflection represents him as being, so we know that God is what the nature of the human soul declares Him to be. Doubt in the one case is just as unreasonable, and we may say, just as impossible as in the other.

    It has been shown in the preceding chapter that every human has in his own nature the evidence of the existence of God, an evidence which never can be obliterated, and which will force conviction on the most unwilling. It is no less true that every man has in himself the same irresistible evidence that God is an extramundane personal Being; that He is intelligent, voluntary, and moral; that He knows; that He has the right to command; and that He can punish and can save.

    It may naturally be asked, If this be so; if every man has in his own nature a witness whose competency he cannot question, and whose testimony he cannot ignore, What is the use of arguing about the matter? For three reasons, first, because even self-evident truths are often denied; and secondly, because men, in their present moral state, are under a strong temptation to deny the existence of a holy and just God; and thirdly, because efforts are constantly made to pervert or contradict the testimony of our nature to the existence and nature of God.

B. Argument from the Existence of the Mind.

    Every man has in his own consciousness the evidence of the existence of mind. He knows that he is an intelligent, personal being. He knows that his personality does not reside in his body, but in his soul. It is included in the facts of consciousness that the soul and body are distinct, that they are different substances having not only different but incompatible attributes. That such is the general conviction of men is plain fromn all languages recognizing the distinction; and from the fact that it is never denied except by speculative or theoretical writers. The common consciousness of men as revealed by their forms of speech, and by their avowals, and by the universal belief, in some form, of a state of conscious existence after death, bears witness to the truth that the soul is something different from, and far superior to the body. How is the existence of this immaterial, thinking, immortal substance which we call self, to be accounted for? That it has not always existed is undeniable. If it began to be, it must have the cause of its existence out of itself. That cause cannot be the soul of the parent, for that also is an effect. It began to be. And it is universally admitted that an infinite series of effects is unthinkable. If the soul cannot be accounted for by derivation in unending series of steps from those who preceded us, neither can it be conceived of as a product of the body, or of physical forces and combinations. It would seem to be a self-evident proposition, that the effect cannot contain in it more than is in its cause; that intelligence cannot be the product of what is unintelligent. This also is confirmed by all experience.

    We are conversant in our present state, first, with matter, with its properties and laws or forces; secondly, with vegetable life; thirdly, with animal life; and fourthly, with mind, endowed with a life of a much higher order. These different elements, or kinds of existence, although marvellously combined and intermingled, are distinct. As a fact of experience, mere matter with its physical forces never originates vegetable life; vegetable life of itself never originates or passes over into animal life; and animal life never originates, and is never developed into intellectual or spiritual life. There is an impassable gulf between these several departments of being. As soon as the principle of life leaves a plant or animal, the physical forces belonging to matter work its dissolution. These are facts indelibly impressed on the convictions of the mass of mankind. They are conclusions to which universal experience has led the minds of all men. They are indeed denied by certain scientific men; but the theory on which that denial is founded involves the denial of so many intuitive and necessary truths; it does such violence to the laws of belief impressed upon our nature, and on the validity of which all knowledge depends, that it can never be more than a precarious and temporary belief on the part of those who adopt it, and can never have control over the minds of men. This is not the place to enter upon the discussion of the theory of materialism. We have a right to appeal to the general conviction of mankind that mind cannot be the product of matter. If this be so, as our minds are not self-existent and eternal, it must be true, as even the heathen believed, that our spirits owe their existence to Him who is the Father of spirits.

C. From the Nature of the Soul.

    There are two laws, or general facts, which seem to characterize all the works of nature. By nature is here meant all things out of God. The first of these laws is, that whatever capacities, necessities, or desires exist, or are found in any organism, adequate provision is made to meet and satisfy them all. This is obviously true with regard to the vegetable world. Plants have organs for the selection of the materials necessary for their growth and maturity, from the soil; organs for the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere; the capacity of being appropriately affected by light and heat; organs of propagation designed for the continuance of each after its kind. All these necessities are met. Soil, atmosphere, light, heat, and water, are all provided. The same is no less true with regard to the animal world in all its endless variety of forms. Food, light, heat, air, and water, are suited to their several necessities to their organs, and to their instincts. If they have the appetite of hunger, they have organs for the appropriation of their food, and for its digestion; the instinct for its selection, and food suited to each, is ever at hand. So of all the other necessities of their nature.

    The second law, or general fact is, that all these living organisms reach perfection, and fully accomplish the end of their being. That is, they become all they are capable of being. All that belongs to their nature is fully developed. All their capacities are fully exercised, and all their wants fully satisfied.

    These two things are true of every living creature within the compass of human knowledge, except Man. So far as his body is concerned, they are true in regard to him also. His physical necessities are all met by the present circumstances of his being. His body becomes all that it is capable of being, in this stage of existence. But these things are not true with regard to his soul. It has capacities which are not fully developed in this world, and never can be. It has desires, aspirations, and necessities for which the world does not furnish the appropriate objects. It is, therefore, as evidently designed and adapted for a higher and spiritual state of existence, as his body is adapted to the present order of things. The soul of man has, in the first place, intellectual powers capable of indefinite expansion, which in this world never reach their utmost limit. With these is connected a desire of knowledge which is never satisfied. In the second place, the soul of man has a capacity for happiness which nothing in the world, nor the whole world could it be attained, can by possibility fill. The animal is satisfied. Its capacity for happiness is here fully provided for. In the third place, the soul has aspirations to which nothing in this life corresponds. It longs for fellowship with what is far above itself; what is boundless, and eternal. In the fourth place, with all these powers, desires, and aspirations, it is conscious of its weakness, insufficiency, and dependence. It must have an object to worship, to love, to trust; a Being who can satisfy all its necessities, and under whose guardianship it can be safe from those powers of evil to which it knows that it is on all sides and at all times exposed; a Being whose existence, and whose relation to itself, can explain all the mysteries of its own being, and secure its felicity in the future, on which it knows it must soon enter. Just as certainly as hunger in the animal supposes that there is food adapted to still its cravings, so certainly does this hunger of the soul suppose that there is some Being in the universe to satisfy its necessities. In both cases the craving is natural, universal, and imperative.

    It cannot be that man is an exception to the laws above-mentioned; that he alone, of all that lives, has capacities, desires, necessities, for which no provision has been made. God is the correlative of man, in the sense that the existence of such a creature as man necessitates the assumption of such a Being as God.

D. From the Moral Nature of Man.

    The familiar facts of consciousness on this subject are, --

    1. That we have, by the constitution of our nature, a sense of right and wrong; we perceive or judge some things to be right, and others to be wrong. This perception is immediate. As the reason perceives some things to be true, and others false; and as the senses take immediate knowledge of their appropriate objects, so the soul takes immediate cognizance of the moral character of feelings and acts. The reason, the senses, and the conscience are alike infallible within certain limits, and liable to error beyond those limits.

    2. Our moral perceptions or judgments are sui generis. They have their peculiar, distinctive character, which belongs to no other of our states of consciousness. The right is as distinct from the true, the proper, the agreeable, or the expedient, as these latter are from our sensations. The right is that which we are bound to do and to approve; the wrong is that which we are bound to avoid and to disapprove. Moral obligation, as expressed by the word "ought," is a simple and primary idea. It can be understood only by those who have felt it. And it can be confounded with nothing else.

    3. These moral judgments are independent. They are not under the control of the understanding of of the will. No man can will to regard an axiom as false, or think that black is white, or white black. Nor can any sophistry of the understanding lead him to such false judgment. In like manner, no man can will to believe that to be right which his conscience tells him to be wrong; nor can he argue himself into the conviction that he has done righ,t when his conscience tells him he has done wrong.

    4. Our moral judgmnents, or, in other words, the conscience, has an authority from which we cannot emancipate ourselves. We can neither deny nor ignore it. It has a lordship. It commands, and it forbids. And we are bound to obey. It has power also to enforce its decisions. It can reward and punish. Its rewards are among the greatest blessings we can enjoy. Its punishments are the most intolerable agony the human soul can endure.

    5. Our moral judgments involve the idea of law, i. e., of a rule or standard to which we are bound to be conformed. When we judge a thing to be right, we judge it to be conformed to the moral law; when we judge it to be wrong, we judge that is not conformed to that law.

    6. This law has an authority which it does not derive from us. It is essentially different from a sense of propriety, or perception of expediency. It is something imposed upon us, and to which we are required to be conformed by an authority out of ourselves.

    7. Our moral nature involves, therefore, a sense of responsibility. We must answer for what we are, and for what we do. This responsibility is not to ourselves, not to society, nor to being in general. It must be to a person; that is, to a Being who knows what we are, what we do, and what we ought to be and do; who approves of the right, and disapproves of the wrong; and who has the power and the purpose to reward and punish us according to our character and conduct. Sin, from its very nature, as it reveals itself in our consciousness, involves not only a sense of pollution, or moral degradation, but also a sense of guilt; i. e., a conviction that we deserve punishment, that we ought to be punished, and, therefore, that punishment is inevitable.

    If such be the facts of our moral nature, it is plain that we are under the necessity of assuming the existence of an extramundane, personal God, on whom we are dependent, and to whom we are responsible. This is undoubtedly the ground for the conviction of the being of God, which has universally prevailed among men. Having the idea given in the constitution of their nature, or being under an inward necessity of believing in such a Being, cultivated men have sought and found evidence of his existence in the world without them. But these external proofs have neither been as general nor as operative as those derived from what we ourselves are, and from what we know that we deserve. Such men, therefore, as Kant, and Sir William Hamilton, while denying the validity of all other arguments for the existence of God, admit that our nature forces us to believe that He is, and that He is a person.

Our Moral Feelings not due to Education.

    It is indeed objected that these phenomena of our moral nature are due to education or to superstition. To this it is answered, first, that moral truths have a self-evidencing light. They can no more be denied than the intuitions of sense and reason. It may even be said that our moral judgmnents have greater certainty than any other of our convictions. Men believe absurdities. They believe what contradicts the evidence of their senses. But no man ever has, or ever can believe that malignity is a virtue. In the second place, what is universal cannot be accounted for by peculiarities of culture. All men are moral beings; all have this sense of moral obligation, and of responsibility; and no man can free himself from these convictions. The Apostle, therefore, speaking out of the common consciousness of men, as well as under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, speaks of sinners as "knowing the judgment of God" (Rom i. 32); that is, a sense of sin involves the knowledge of a righteous God.

    We then are placed in the midst of a vast universe, of which we constitute a part. We are forced not merely by the desire of knowledge, but from the necessities of our nature, to ask, How did this universe originate? How is it sustained? To what does it tend? What are we? Whence did we come? Whither are we going? These questions must be answered. This complicated problem must be solved. To refer everything to chance, is no solution. It is a frivolous denial that any solution is necessary, that such questions need any answer. To refer everything to necessity, is to say that the existence of things as they are is the ultimate fact. The universe is, and always has been, and always must be. It is the evolution of necessary being by necessary laws. This is all we can know, and all that need be known. This, however, is no solution. It is merely the denial that any solution is possible. Could this theory be accepted with regard to the outward world, it leaves all the phenomena of man's nature -- intellectual, moral, and religious -- unaccounted for. Theism is a solution. It assumes the existence of an eternal and necessary Being; a Spirit, and therefore intelligent, voluntary, self-conscious, and endowed with moral perfections. This hypothesis accounts for the origin of the universe. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." This is a satisfactory answer to the first question. It accounts for all the universe is, its immensity, its variety, its order, its numberless organisms, the adaptation of external nature to the wants of all living things. It accounts for the nature of man. It gives what that nature demands, -- an infinite object of love, confidence, and adoration. It reveals who it is to whom we are responsible, and on whom we are dependent. We know that this solution is true, because it is a solution. It meets all the facts of the case. And it so meets them that it cannot fail to be accepted as true, either intelligently or blindly. The God whom all men ignorantly worship, the Scriptures reveal, not only in the certainty of his existence, but in the plenitude of his perfections.


1. Proslogium ii. Opera, Paris, 1721, p. 30 b.
2. On this argument are Ritter's Geschicte der Christlichen Philosophie, vol. iii, pp. 334-340. Sneed's History of Doctrine, i. pp. 229-237. Baur's Dreieinigkeitslehre ii. 374.
3. Meditationes de Prima Philosophia prop. ii. p 89, edit. Amsterdam, 1685.
4. Elements of Psychology, p. 375. Translated by Prof. Henry, New York, 1856.
5. Page 376.
6. Logic, p. 203.
7. Inquiry, p. 17. Edinburgh, 1818.
8. See Reid's Intellectual Powers; Stewart's Philosophical Essays; Brown's Inquiry, and Essa on Cause and Effect. Sir William Hamilton's Works; Dr. McCosh's Intuitions of the Mind.
9. See his Ontologia, II. iii. 2. § 881.
10. Treatise of Human Nature, Part i. § 1; Works, vol. i. Edinburgh, 1826.
11. In Part iii. § 14.
12. Treatise of Human Nature, vol. i. p. 216.
13. Page 219.
14. Page 219.
15. Page 220.
16. Page 220.
17. Treatise of Human Nature, vol. i. pp. 226-228.
18. § 15.
19. See Strauss' Dogmatik, vol. i. p. 382.
20. Log. Untersuchungen, 2d edit. Leipzig, 1862, vol. ii. p. 28.
21. It may be well to give the titles of the valuable series of the Bridgewater Treatise devoted to this subject, besides the work of Dr. Beill mentioned in the text. The volumes are, The Adaption of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constituion of Man, by Dr. Thomas Chalmers; On the Adaption of External Nature to the Physical Constitution of Man, by John Kidd; Astronomy and General Physics treated in Reference to Natural Theology, by William Whewell; Animal and Vegetable Physiology considered in Reference to Natural Theology, by Peter Mark Roget; Geology and Mineralogy considered in Reference to Natural Theology, by William Buckland; The Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God as manifested in the Creation of Animals, by William Kirby; Chemistry, Meteorology, and the Function of Digestion considered in Reference to Natural Theology, by William Prout. The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, by C. Babbage; Footprints of the Creator, by Hugh Miller; Theologie de la Nature, by H. Durkheim (1852, 3 vols. 8vo.); Butler's Analogy of Religion and Nature; Paley's Natural Theology; Dr. McCosh's Typical Forms and Special Ends in Creation; Dr. James Buchanan's Faith in God and Modern Atheism compared, 2 vols. 3vo; and Dr. John Tulloch's (Principal of St. Mary's College, St. Andrew's) Theism; The Witness of Reason and Nature to an All-Wise and Beneficient Creator, may also be mentioned.
22. Newton's First Letter to Bentley, quoted by Tulloch, Theism, edit. N.Y. 1855, p. 109.
23. Dr. Buchanan's Analogy a Guide to Truth and an Aid to Faith, edit. Edinburgh, 1864, p. 414.
24. De Natura Deorum, ii. 37.
25. Logische Untersuchungen, vol. ii. p. 64.
26. De Monarchia, i. § 4, edit. Leipsig, 1828, vol. iv. p. 290.
27. This is in accordance with the accepted theological definition of a person as a "suprositum intelligens."
28. Logic, edit. London, 1851, vol. i. pp. 366.
29. "Dialogues on Natural Religion," Works, edit. Edinburgh, 1826, vol. ii. p. 449.
30. Page 39.
31. Homologies, p. 73.
32. Active Powers, III. i. 2, vol. iv. p. 48: edit. Charlestown, 1815.
33. Natural Theology, chap. xviii.


Back to Contents


Anti-Theistic Theories

§ 1. What is meant by Anti-Theism.    § 2.Polytheism.   § 3. Hylozoism.
§ 4. Materialism.  § 5. Pantheism.

§ 1. What is meant by Anti-Theism.

    As Theism is the doctrine of an extramundane, personal God, the creator, preserver, and governor of all things, any doctrine which denies the existence of such a Being is anti-theistic. Not only avowed Atheism, therefore, but Polytheism, Hylozoism, Materialism, and Pantheism, belong to the class of anti-theistic theories.


    Atheism does not call for any separate discussion. It is in itself purely negative. It affirms nothing. It simply denies what Theism asserts. The proof of Theism is, therefore, the refutation of Atheism. Atheist is, however, a term of reproach. Few men are willing to call themselves, or to allow others to call them by that name. Hume, we know, resented it. Hence those who are really atheists, according to the etymological and commonly received meaning of the word, repudiate the term. They claim to be believers in God, although they assign to that word a meaning which is entirely unauthorized by usage. Thus Helvetius1 says, "There is no man of understanding who does not admit an active principle in nature; therefore there is no atheist. He is not an atheist who says that motion is God; because in fact motion is incomprehensible, as we have no clear idea of it, because it only manifests itself by its effects, and by it all things are performed in the universe. Cousin2 says, " Atheism is impossible, because the existence of God is implied in every affirmation. If a man believes that he exists, he must believe in the power of thought, and that is God." In like manner Herbert Spencer claims to be religious. He does not oppose religion, but dogmas. He acknowledges inscrutable power. He reduces all our knowledge to the two facts, "That force is," and "Force is persistent." Force, however, is perfectly inscrutable and incomprehensible. On this principle he attempts to reconcile religion and science. The ultimate principle of religion, that in which all religions agree, is that there is an inscrutable power which is the cause of all things. This also is the ultimate principle of science. They have therefore a common ground. Nothing can be predicated of this cause; not consciousness; not intelligence; not will; only that it is a force. This is all the God the new philosophy leaves us.3

    Language, however, has its rights. The meaning of words cannot be changed at the pleasure of individuals. The word God, and its equivalents in other languages, have a definite meaning, from which no man is at liberty to depart. If any one says he believes in God, he says he believes in the existence of a personal, self-conscious being. He does not believe in God, if he only believes in "motion," in "force," in "thought," in "moral order," in "the incomprehensible," or in any other abstraction.

    Theists also have their rights. Theism is a definite form of belief. For the expression of that belief, the word Theism is the established and universally recognized term. We have the right to retain it; and we have the right to designate as Atheism, all forms of doctrine which involve the denial of what is universally understood by Theism.

Is Atheism possible?

    The question has often been discussed, Whether Atheism is possible? The answer to the question depends on the meaning of the term. If the question be, Whether a man can emancipate himself from the conviction that there is a personal Being to whom he is responsible for his character and conduct, and who will punish him for his sins? it must be answered in the negative. For that would be to emancipate himself from the moral law, which is impossible. If, however, the question means, Whether a man may, by speculation or otherwise, bring himself into such a state as to lose the consciousness of the belief of God as written in his heart, and free himself, for a time, from its power? it must be answered affirmatively. A man may, in this sense, deny his individuality or identity; the real, objective existence of soul or body, mind or matter; the distinction between right and wrong. But this is unnatural, and cannot last. It is like deflecting a spring by force. The moment the force is removed, the spring returns to its normal position. Men, therefore, often pass in a moment from a state of entire skepticism to a state of unquestioning faith; not of course by a process of argument, but by a change in their inward state. This transition from unbelief to faith, though thus sudden, and although not produced by an intellectual process, is perfectly rational. The feelings which rise in the mind contain evidence of the truth which the understanding cannot resist. It is also a familiar psychological fact, that skepticism and faith may, in a certain sense, coexist in the mind. An idealist while abiding by his theory has nevertheless an inward conviction of the reality of the external world. So the speculative atheist lives with the abiding conviction that there is a God to whom he must render an account.

§ 2.Polytheism.

    As the word implies, Polytheism is the theory which assumes the existence of many gods. Monotheism was the original religion of our race. This is evident not only from the teachings of the Scriptures, but also from the fact that the earliest historical form of religious belief is monotheistic. There are monotheistic hymns in the Vedas, the most ancient writings now extant, unless the Pentateuch be an exception.

    The first departure from monotheism seems to have been nature worship. As men lost the knowledge of God as creator, they were led to reverence the physical elements with which they were in conflict, whose power they witnessed, and whose beneficent influence they constantly experienced. Hence not only the sun, moon, and stars, the great representatives of nature, but fire, air, and water, became the objects of popular worship. We accordingly find that the Vedas consist largely of hymns addressed to these natural elements.

    These powers were personified, and soon it came to be generally believed that a personal being presided over each. And these imaginary beings were the objects of popular worship.

    While the mass of the people really believed in beings that were "called gods" (1 Cor. viii. 5), many of the more enlightened were monotheists, and more were pantheists. The early introduction and wide dissemination of pantheism are proved frcm the fact that it lies at the foundation of Brahminism and Buddhism, the religions of the larger part of the human race for thousands of years.

    There can be little doubt that when the Aryan tribes entered India, fifteen hundred or two thousand years before Christ, pantheism was their established belief. The unknown, and "unconditioned" infinite Being, reveals itself according to the Hindu system, as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, -- that is, as Creator, Preserver, and Restorer. These were not persons, but modes of manifestation. It was in this form that the idea of an endless process of development of the infinite into the finite, and of the return of the finite into the infinite, was expressed. It was from this pantheistic principle that the endless polytheism of the Hindus naturally developed itself; and this determined the character of their whole religion. As all that is, is only a manifestation of God, everything remarkable, and especially the appearance of any remarkable man, was regarded as an "avatar," or incarnation of God, in one or other of his modes of manifestation, as Brahma, Vishnu, or Shiva. And as evil is as actual as good, the one is as much a manifestation, or, modus existendi, of the infinite Being as the other. And hence there are evil gods as well as good. In no part of the world has pantheism had such a field for development as in India, and nowhere has it brought forth its legitimate effects in such a portentous amount of evil. Nowhere has polytheism been carried to such revolting extremes.

    Among the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans polytheism assumed a form determined by the character of the people. The Greeks rendered it bright, beautiful, and sensual; the Romans were more decorous and sedate. Among barbarous nations it has assumed forms much more simple, and in many cases more rational.

    In the Bible the gods of the heathen are declared to be "vanity," and "nothing," mere imaginary beings, without power either to hurt or to save. (Jer. ii. 28; Isa. xli. 29; xlii. 17; Ps. cvi. 28.) They arc also represented as daimo,nia(1 Cor. x. 20). This word may express either an imaginary, or a real existence. The objects of heathen worship are called gods, even when declared to be nonentities. So they may be called "demons," without intending to teach that they are "spirits." As the word, however, generally in the New Testament, does mean "evil spirits," it is perhaps better to take it in that sense when it refers to the objects of heathen worship. This is not inconsistent with the doctrine that the gods of the heathen are "vanities and lies." They are not what men take them to be. They have no divine power. Paul says of the heathen before their conversion, "evdouleu,sate toij fu,s uh. o=si qeoi/j" (Gal. iv. 8). The prevalence and persistency of Polytheism show that it must have a strong affinity with fallen human nature. Although, except in pantheism, it has no philosophical basis, it constitutes a formidable obstacle to the progress of true religion in the world. 

§3. Hylozoism.

    Hylozoism, from u[lh, matter, and zwh,, life, is properly the doctrine that matter is endued with life. And this is the form in which the doctrine was held by many of its advocates. All matter, and every particle of matter, besides its physical properties, has a principle of life in itself, which precludes the necessity of assuming any other cause for the phenomena of life exhibited in the world. In this form Hylozoism does not differ from Materialism.

    Most commonly, however, the term is used to designate a system which admits a distinction between mind and matter, but considers them as intimately and inseparably united, as the soul and body in man. God, according to this view, is the soul of the world; an intelligent power everywhere present, to which are to be referred all the manifestations of design in the external world, and all the activity of the human soul. The relation, however, of the soul to the body, is a very imperfect illustration of the relation of God to the world according to the hylozoistic system. The soul is really exterior to the body, and independent of it, at least for its existence and activity. It is not the life of the body. It neither fashions nor preserves it. It is not even conscious of the vital activity by which the body is developed and sustained. Whereas according to the hylozoistic theory, the soul of the world is its plastic principle, the inward source of all its organizations and of all its activities.

    The leading principles of this theory as developed by the Stoics are, (1.) There are two constituent principles of the universe, one active, the other passive. The passive principle is matter, without form and without properties, i. e., inert. The active principle is mind, dwelling in matter its organizing formative power, i. e., God. (2.) The universe is therefore to be viewed under three aspects: (a.) As the all-forming power; the natura naturans, or, h`fu,sij tecnikh,. (b.) The world as formed by this living, inward principle. The living ko,smoj, or natura naturata. (c.) The identity of the two, as they form one whole. It is only by an act of the mind that the one is distinguished from the other. Therefore the world, as including both, or as the identity of both, is formed with the greatest wisdom, and by a necessary process, for the laws of nature are the laws of reason. Cicero,4 expounding this system, says, "Natura, non artificiosa solum, sed plane artifex ab eodem Zenone dicitur; consultrix, et provida utilitatum opportunitatumque omnium. Censet [Zeno] enim artis maxime proprium est creare et gignere, quodque in operibus nostrarum artium manus officiet id multo artificiosius naturam officere."

    (3.) The universe, therefore (The All-one), of which God is the soul and Nature the body, is living, immortal, rational, and perfect (zw/on avqa,naton, logiko.n, te,leion). God, as the controlling, operative principle in all things, acts according to necessary although rational laws. (4.) The souls of men are of the same nature with the soul of the world, but as individual existences, passing away when the life of the body ceases. (5.) The highest end of life is virtue; and virtue is living according to reason.5

    This system in one of its forms is nearly identical with Materialism, and in the other with Pantheism. There is no personal God to whom we are responsible, no freedom of the will; therefore, no sin, and no conscious existence after death.

§ 4. Materialism.

    Materialism is that system which ignores the distinction between matter and mind, and refers all the phenomena of the world, whether physical, vital, or mental, to the functions of matter.

A. The Doctrine of Epicurus.

    Epicurus taught, (1.) That as ex nihilo nihil fit, the universe has always existed, and must continue to exist forever. (2.) That space, and the number of bodies which it contains, are infinite. (3.) These bodies are of two kinds, simple and compound. The simple bodies are atoms possessing form, magnitude, and weight. They are indivisible, unalterable, and indestructible. This is also the doctrine of modern science. Faraday6 says, "A particle of oxygen is ever a particle of oxygen, -- nothing can in the least wear it. If it enters into combination, and disappears as oxygen; if it pass through a thousand combinations, animal, vegetable, and mineral -- if it lie hid for a thousand years, and then be evolved, it is oxygen with its first qualities, neither more nor less. It has all its original force, and only that; the amount of force which it disengaged when hiding itself, has again to be employed in a reverse direction when it is set at liberty." (4.) These atoms have their peculiar forces, distinct from their mere gravity. This, too, is the doctrine of modern science. It is included in what Faraday says in the passage just quoted. "Molecules," say the scientific men of our day, "have been endowed with forces which give rise to various chemical qualities, and these never change either in their nature or in their amount."7 (5.) Epicurus taught that the quantity of matter, and of course the amount of force in the world, is always the same. Neither can be increased or diminished. (6.) The atoms, of which the number is infinite, move through space with incredible velocity under the guidance of necessary physical laws. (7.) By the combination of these atoms under the influence of gravity and other physical forces, the universe was formed, and became a cosmos. This is very nearly the nebular hypothesis. (8.) The soul is material; or, in other words, all mental phenomena are due to the properties of matter. This, also, is proclaimed as the last result of modern science. (9.) The soul, of course, ceases to exist when the body dies; i. e., as death is the cessation of the vital, so it is also of the intellectual functions of the individual. The atoms of which the man is composed, with the forces which belong to them, continue to exist, and may enter into the composition of other men. But the man, as an individual, ceases to exist. This, almost in so many words, is the avowed doctrine of many physicists of the present day. (10.) Sensation is for us the only source of knowledge. By remembering former sensations, we form ideas, and by the combination of ideas we form judgments. Almost the very words of Hume, and the doctrine of the whole school of which he is the representative. (11.) As Epicurus held that nothing is incorporeal except a vacuum, he of necessity includes all the forms of existence under the head of matter. As there is no mind or spirit, there is no God, and no moral law. Virtue is only a prudent regard to happiness. In a certain sense he admitted the existence of God's, but they were corporeal beings having no concern with the affairs of men.8

    A recent German writer,9 in Herzog's "Encyklopadie," under the head of Materialismus, says that notwithstanding the great progress of modern science, the Materialists of our day have not advanced a step upon the system of Epicurus. That system, probably owing to the dominant influence of the higher philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, did not exert much influence on the ancient mind, or on the progress of human thought. It was not until modern times that Materialism gained any great power as a philosophical theory.

B. Materialism in England during the Eighteenth Century.

    Hobbes (1588-1679) anticipated the movement towards Materialism which manifested itself in England during the last century "He made sensation the real basis of every mental operations the sole originator of our ideas, the sole medium and test of truth.10 As, therefore, we can perceive through sensation only what is material, he concluded that matter is the only reality, and that whatever exists to us must accordingly be a part of the material universe. The whole process of scientific investigation was thus reduced to the doctrine of bodies, beyond which, he maintained, there can be no knowledge whatever accessible to the human mind. This knowledge, however, does not refer simply to the existence of bodies, but also to their changes, of all which changes the ultimate principle is motion. The doctrine of bodies, therefore, includes the knowledge of all phenomena in relation to their probable causes; and of all possible causes as known from their observed effects. . . . The mind itself he viewed as wholly material, the phenomena of consciousness being the direct result of our organization. The one great and fundamental fact of mind is sensation, which is nothing more or less than the effect of material objects around us, exerted by means of pressure or impact upon that material organization which we term the mind."11 Thus it appears that Hobbes anticipated the great result of modern science, that all force may be resolved into motion.

Locke (1632-1704).

    The introduction of Materialism into England during the last century is generally attributed to the influence of Locke's philosophy. Locke himself was far from being a Materialist, and the advocates of his system strenuously insist that his principles have no legitimate tendency to obliterate the distinction between matter and mind. Locke, however, in combating the doctrine of "innate ideas," in the sense of abstract truths, seemed to deny that the mind was so constituted as to apprehend truth intuitively, and beyond the range of experience. He compared the mind to a "tabula rasa."This figure suggests that all our knowledge is from without, as the slate contributes nothing to the matter written upon it. He defined ideas to be "anything with which the mind is immediately occupied when we think." The origin of these ideas, he said, was sensation and reflection. If by reflection he meant the observation of the phenomena of the mind, his theory is one thing. If it mean the process of recalling, combining, analyzing, and otherwise elaborating the impressions upon us from without, his theory is another. Probably Locke himself, and certainly many of his followers, took it in the latter sense; and thus the two sources of ideas, or of knowledge, are reduced to one, and that one is sensation. But as sensation can give us the knowledge only of what is external and material, the theory in this form seemed to leave no room for the higher ideas of eternal and necessary truths. Locke attempts to account for our ideas, of time, space, infinity, cause, and even of right and wrong, from observation, i. e., from observation of what is without, or from impressions made upon our senses. It is a common criticism upon Locke's great work, that in it he does not distinguish between the occasion and the source of our ideas. Our experience furnishes the occasion, and it may be the necessary condition, of waking the mind to the perception not only of the fact experienced, but also of the intuitive apprehension of the universal and necessary truth which the fact involves. If we did not see effects produced around us, and did not ourselves exercise efficiency, we might never have the idea of causation; but the conviction that every effect must have a cause is an intuitive judgment, which experience can neither produce nor limit. It is not from the observed tendency of some acts to produce happiness, and of others to produce misery, that we get the idea of the essential distinction between right and wrong; but from the constitution of the mind. Although Locke, and many of his disciples, were satisfied with his method of accounting for our ideas of God, of spirit, and of moral and religious truths, yet it is also certain that many of his followers felt justified on his principles to discard them.

Hartley (1705-1757).

    Hartley was a physician and a physiologist. Physiology and psychology have intimate relations. It is perhaps natural that those who devote themselves specially to the former, should make little of the latter. It is the marked characteristic of our age, so far as physicists are concerned, that it tries to merge psychology entirely into physiology. Hartley adopted the principles of Locke, and endeavored to show how it is that external things produce sensation and thought. This he did by his theory of vibrations. "The objects of the external world affect in some manner the extreme ends of the nerves, which spread from the brain as centre to every part of the body. This affection produces a vibration, which is continued along the nerve by the agency of an elastic 'ether, until it reaches the brain, where it constitutes the phenomenon we term sensation. When a sensation has been experienced several times, the vibratory movement from which it arises acquires the tendency to repeat itself spontaneously, even when the external object is not present. These repetitions or relics of sensations are ideas, which in their turn possess the property of recalling each other by virtue of mutual association among themselves."12 This doctrine of association of ideas is the most important part of his system. He insists principally on the following law: "An idea is sometimes associated with another through the medium of a third; but in process of time this intermediate idea may be disregarded, and yet the connection between the first and third may, notwithstanding, remain. Thus the idea of pleasure, which is so indissolubly connected with money, arises from the conveniences which it is able to procure, while in the mind of the miser the conveniences are lost sight of, and the very possession of the money itself is regarded as containing the whole enjoyment. In this way Hartley accounts for almost all the emotions and passions of the human mind. The domestic affections, for instance, arise from the transference of the pleasure derived from parental kindness to the parent itself; the social and patriotic affections from transferring the pleasures of society to the country which affords them; in like manner, also, the moral and religious affections, the love of virtue and the love of God, arise from the pleasures connected with virtuous and pious conduct, being transferred to the law of action, or to the supreme Lawgiver, from whom these pleasures have emanated."13 The connection of this theory with Materialism is obvious. If vibrations of the brain constitute sensation, and if the relics, or spontaneous repetitions of these vibrations constitute thought and feeling, then all mental and moral acts are mere affections of our material organism. It is also obvious that, according to this theory, there is no more freedom in volition than in sensation. The former is a mode, or relic of the latter. Although this tendency of his system was undeniable, and although his successors drew these conclusions from his principles, Hartley himself was not a Materialist. He was a very religious man. It is not at all uncommon for a man to hold a speculative theory inconsistent with his faith.

    Morell14quotes the following criticism of Hartley's doctrine from the "Edinburgh Review": "There may be," says the reviewer, "little shakings in the brain, for anything we know, and there may even be shakings of a different kind accompanying every act of thought or perception ; -- but that the shakings themselves are the thought or perception, we are so far from admitting, that we find it absolutely impossible to comprehend what is meant by the assertion. The shakings are certain throbbings, vibrations, or stirrings, in a whitish, half-fluid substance like custard, which we might see perhaps, or feel, if we had eyes and fingers sufficiently small or fine for the office. But what should we see or feel, upon the supposition that we could detect by our senses, everything that actually took place in the brain? We should see the particles of this substance change their place a little, move a little up or down, to the right or the left, round about or zigzag, or in some other course or direction. This is all that we could see, if Dr. Hartley's conjecture were proved by actual observation; because this is all that exists in motion, according to our conception of it, and all that we mean when we say that there is motion in any substance. Is it intelligible, then, to say, that this motion, the whole of which we see and comprehend, is thought and feeling, and that thought and feeling will exist, wherever we can excite a similar motion in a similar substance? -- In our humble apprehension the proposition is not so much false, as utterly unmeaning and incomprehensible."15

    If history repeats itself, so does philosophy. What the "Edinburgh Review" said of Hartley nearly seventy years ago, Professor Tyndall says of the Materialists of our day. "The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite thought and a definite molecular action in the brain occur simultaneously; we do not possess the intellectual organ, nor apparently any rudiment of the organ, which would enable us to pass, by a process of reasoning, from the one phenomenon to the other. They appear together, but we do not know why. Were our minds and senses so expanded, strengthened, and illuminated, as to enable us to see and feel the very molecules of the brain; were we capable of following all their motions, all their grouping, all their electric discharges, if such there be; and were we intimately acquainted with the corresponding states of thought and feeling, we should probably be as far as ever from the solution of the problem. How are these physical processes connected with the facts of consciousness? The chasm between the two classes of phenomena would still remain intellectually impassable. Let the consciousness of lose, for example, be associated with a right-handed spiral motion of the molecules of the brain, and the consciousness of hate with a left-handed spiral motion. We should then know when we love that the motion is in one direction, and when we hate that the motion is in the other, but the 'Why?' would still remain unanswered. In affirming that the growth of the body is mechanical, and that thought, as exercised by us, has its correlative in the physics of the brain, I think the position of the 'Materialist' is stated as far as that position is a tenable one. I think the Materialist will be able finally to maintain this position against all attacks; but I do not think, as the human mind is at present constituted, that he can pass beyond it. I do not think he is entitled to say that his molecular grouping and his molecular motions explain everything. In reality they explain nothing."16

Priestley (1733-1804).

    Priestley owes his permanent reputation to his important discoveries in the department of physical science. He was, however, prominent during his life for the part he took in philosophical and theological controversies. Devoted to science, the senses were for him the great sources of knowledge; all others, except supernaturaI revelation which he admitted, he distrusted. He adopted with enthusiasm the theory of Hartley which resolved thought and feeling into vibrations of the brain. Hartley, he said, had done more for the doctrine of mind than Newton accomplished for the theory of the material universe. He did not hesitate to avow himnself a Materialist. " Priestley," says Morell,17 "rested the truth of Materialism upon two deductions. The first was, that thought and sensation are essentially the samne thing -- that the whole variety of our ideas, however abstract and refined they may become, are, nevertheless, but modifications of the sensational faculty. . . .  The second deduction was, that all sensation, and, consequently, all thought, arises from the affections of our material organization, and therefore consists entirely in the motion of the material particles of which the nerves and brain are composed." He was a necessitarian, and in morals a utilitarian. Believing, however, in God and in divine revelation, he admitted a future state of existence. As the Bible teaches the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, Priestley believed that man would be restored to conscious existence when that event occurred. His principal works bearing on this subject are: "Examination of Reid, Beattie, and Oswald," "Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity Explained," "Disquisitions relating to Matter and Spirit," and "Hartley's Theory of the Human Mind, with Essays relating to the subject of it."

    Hume is regarded as their master by the most advanced physicists of the modern scientific school, so far as their general principles and method of philosophizing are concerned. He was neither a Materialist nor an Idealist, but rather a Nihilist, as his great object was to show that no certainty could be attained in any department of knowledge. He affirmed nothing and denied everything. Such knowledge as we have comes fromn sensation, therefore, he maintained that as we have no sensation of efficiency, we can have no idea of it, and no evidence of its reality. A cause is not that which produces an effect, but simply that which uniformly precedes it. Consequently, anything can be the cause of anything. Again, as we have no perception by the senses of substance, there can be no such thing. This applies to mind as well as matter. Nothing exists to us but our thoughts and feelings. We are "nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in perpetual flux and movement."

C. Materialism in Prance during the Eighteenth Century.

    The sensational philosophy, as it is called, found a much more congenial soil in France than in England. Locke's "Essay" was translated into the language of that country and made the subject of comments and lectures. His leading principles were adopted without the limitations and qualifications with which he had presented them, and conclusions drawn from them which Locke would have been the first to repudiate.

    Condillac, one of the first and most influential of the disciples of Locke, in his first work, 'Essai sur l'Origine des Connaissances Humaines," differed comparatively little from the English philosopher. But in his "Traite des Sensations," he virtually discarded "reflection" as a source of our ideas, and regarded all thoughts, feelings, and volitions as "transformed sensations." "While he answered the question concerning the relation between the soul and body, by assuming their identity, he took theistic ground in accounting for the origin of the world. This middle ground was occupied also, at least ostensibly, by Diderot and D'Alembert in the French "Encyclopedie," who, notwithstanding their sensational theory as to the source of our knowledge, and their making happiness the ground of morals and end of life, not only maintained theistic principles, but insisted on the necessity of a divine revelation. This, however, was probably more a matter of prudence than of conviction."18

    These, however, were only the first steps. The extreme of materialistic atheism was soon reached and avowed. La Mettrie published his "L'Histoire Naturelle de l'Ame" in 1745, his "L'Homme Machine," the same year, and his "L'Homme Plante," in 1749. Helvetius published his work "De l'Esprit" in 1758. His book entitled "De l'Homme" was published after his death. The climax was reached by Baron d'Holbach in his " de la Nature," in which Materialism, fatalism, and atheism were openly avowed. According to this system matter and motion are eternal; thought is an agitation of the nerves; the soul the result of our corporeal organization; the will the strongest sensation; the ground of morals a regard to our own happiness. There is no freedom, no morality, no future existence, no God. When these principles got hold of the popular mind, then came the end.

D. Positivism.

    Comte, the author of the "Positive Philosophy," was born in 1798, and died in 1859. The greater part of his life was passed in poverty and neglect. His only occupation was teaching. Ten years were devoted to the preparation of a course of lectures on philosophy which secured him wealth and fame. He called his system "Philosophie Positive," because it purported "to assume nothing beyond the content of observed facts."

    The fundamental principle of the "Positive Philosophy" is the one so often referred to, namely, that the senses are the only source of our knowledge, hence nothing exists but matter. There is no mind distinct from matter; no such thing as efficiency; no causes, whether first or final; no God; no future state of existence for man. Theology and psychology are, therefore, banished from the domain of science. Science is solely occupied in the observation of facts, and in deducing from them the laws by which they are determined. These laws, however, are not forces operating in a uniform manner, but simply statements of the actual order in the sequence of events. This sequence is not only uniform but necessary. Our business is simply to ascertain what it is. The only method by which this can be done is observation. This task is much easier in some departments than in others; for in some the facts to be observed are less numerous and less complicated. In mathematics and astronomy the facts are all of one kind; whereas in physiology and sociology they are of very different kinds, and vastly more complicated. The same rule, however, applies to all departments. In all, the sequence of events is uniform and necessary; and if we can only, by a sufficient induction of facts, ascertain what the law of sequence is, we shall be able to predict the future as certainly in one department as in another. The astronoomer can tell what will be the position of the stars and planets a century hence. The Positivist will he able to foretell with equal certainty how a man will act in any given circumstances, and what will be the progress and state of society in time to come.

    It follows, therefore, according to the Positive Philosophy, (1.) That all our knowledge is confined to physical phenomena. (2.) That all we can know of such phenomena is, that they are, and the relations in which they stand to each other. (3.) That these relations are all included under the heads of sequence and resemblance. (4.) These relations constitute the laws of nature, and are invariable. (5.) As everything that exists is material, these laws, or "invariable relations of succession and resemblance," control all the phenomena of mind, as we call it, and of social life and of history, as well as those of nature, in the common sense of that word. (6.) As everything is included in the department of physics, everything is controlled by physical laws, and there is no more freedom in human acts than in the motions of the stars; and, therefore, the one can be predicted with the same certainty as the other.

    The following quotations from the "Philosophie Positive," "freely translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau,"19 include all the points above mentioned.

    "The first characteristic of the Positive Philosophy is that it regards all phenomena as subjected to invariable natural laws. Our business is, -- seeing how vain is any research into what are called causes, whether first or final, -- to pursue an accurate discovery of these laws, with a view to reducing them to the smallest possible number."20 "Our positive method of connecting phenomena is by one or other of two relations, --- that of similitude or that of succession, -- the mere fact of such resemblance or succession being all that we can pretend to know; and all that we need to know; for this perception comprehends all knowledge which consists in elucidating something by something else, -- in now explaining, and now foreseeing certain phenomena, by means of the resemblance or sequence of other phenomena."21 "If we regard these functions [of the mind] under their statical aspect,-- that is, if we consider the conditions under which they exist, -- we must determine the organic circumstances of the case, which inquiry involves it with anatomy and physiology. If we look at the dynamic aspect, we have to study simply the exercise and results of the intellectual powers of the human race, which is neither more nor less than the general object of the Positive Philosophy."22

    Comte is obliged to use the word "power," and to speak of its exercise, yet all his philosophy denies the existence of any such thing as efficiency. The laws which determine events are nothing more than facts of uniform sequence. According to the passage just quoted, one department of psychology (the statical) belongs to anatomy and physiology; the other (the dynamic) to the observed sequence of certain facts called intellectual. The sequence is invariable. The intervention of will is necessarily excluded, because philosophy, at least Positivism, is nothing unless it secures the power of prevision. But free acts cannot be foreseen by man. Hence Comte says, "The arbitrary can never be excluded while political phenomena are referred to will, divine or human, instead of being connected with invariable natural laws."23 "If social events were always exposed to disturbance by the accidental intervention of the legislator, human or divine, no scientific prevision of them would be possible."24

    Intellectual exercises being regarded as a function of the brain, Comte says, "The positive theory of the intellectual and affective functions is therefore henceforth unchangeably regarded as consisting in the study, both rational and experimental, of the various phenomena of internal sensibility, which are proper to the cerebral ganglia, apart from their external apparatus. It is, therefore, simply a prolongation of animal physiology, properly so called, when this is extended so as to include the fundamental and ultimate attributes."25

    Comte, being an ardent phrenologist, founded one of the arguments for his system on the organization of the brain; but his great dependence was upon the law of human development. He admitted no essential difference between man and irrational animals. The superiority of man is only in the degree of his intelligence, which is due to his better physical organization. According to Comte, the whole human race, and every individual man, passes through three distinct stages, which he calls the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive. During the first stage all events are referred to supernatural causes. In the first part of this stage of their progress, men were fetich-worshippers; then they gradually became polytheists, and monotheists. This he endeavors to prove historically in regard to the Greeks, the Romans, and the inhabitants of western Europe. As men outgrew the fetich age, so they outgrew the polytheistic and monotheistic forms of belief. That is, they ceased to refer phenomena to the agency of supernatural beings.

    During the metaphysical stage, phenomena are referred to unseen causes, to occult powers, or forces, that is, to something which the senses cannot detect. This also has passed away, and men have come to recognize the great fact that there are no spiritual agencies in the universe, no efficient causes, nothing but events to be arranged according to the laws of sequence and resemblance. The order of events is invariable and necessary. What it has been in the past, it will be in the future. As this is the law of the development of the race collectively, so it is of the individual man. Every one, in his progress from infancy to manhood, passes through these several stages, the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive. We first believe in supernatural agencies (witches, ghosts, souls, angels, etc.); then in occult causes; then only in facts discerned by the senses. The history of the race and the experience of the individual man are thus made the broad and sure foundation of the Positive Philosophy.


    1. Considering that the advocates of this philosophy are a mere handful; considering that nine hundred and ninety-nine millions of the thousand millions of our race still believe in God, it is a rather violent assumption that mankind have reached the stage of Positivism. It may be readily admitted that the progress of science and of Christianity has banished alchemy, astrology, witchcraft, and necromancy from enlightened portions of our race, but it has had a scarcely discernible effect in banishing belief in mind as distinct from matter, or in efficient causes, or in God. Admitting, therefore, the principle of the argument to be correct, the conclusion arrived at is contradicted by facts.

    2. The principle itself, however, is a groundless assumption. There has been no such development of the race, and there is no such development of the individual man, as the argument supposes. Much less is it true, as Comte maintains, that these several methods of dealing with phenomena are antagonistic and mutually exclusive; that if we believe in spiritual agents, we cannot believe in unseen, metaphysical causes; and that if we believe in the latter we cannot believe in the former. The fact is, the great mass of mankind, educated and uneducated, believe in both. They believe in God and mind, as well as in occult causes, such as electricity, magnetism, and other physical forces; which, in Comte's sense of the word, are metaphysical.

    With regard to this assumed law of progress, Prof. Huxley, who is as completely emancipated from the trammels of authority as any man of science now living, says, in the first place, that Comte contradicts himself as to this fundamental principle. In proof he quotes a long passage from the "Philosophie Positive," in which Comte teaches, -- "(a.) As a matter of fact, the human intellect has not been invariably subjected to the law of the three states, and, therefore, the necessity of the law cannot be demonstrable a priori. (b.)Much of our knowledge of all kinds has not passed through the three states, and more particularly, as M. Comte is careful to point out, not through the first. (c.) The positive state has more or less coexisted with the theological, from the dawn of human intelligence. And, by way of completing the series of contradictions, the assertion that the three states are 'essentially different and even radically opposed,' is met a little lower on the same page by the declaration that 'the metaphysical state is, at bottom, nothing but a simple general modification of the first.'" "Men of science," he adds, "are not in the habit of paying much attention to 'laws' stated in this fashion."26

    After showing that the individual man does not pass through these several states, Prof. Huxley says, "What is true of the individual is, mutatis mutandis,true of the intellectual development of the species. It is absurd to say of men in a state of primitive savagery, that all their conceptions are in a theological state. Nine tenths of them are eminently realistic, and as 'positive' as ignorance and narrowness can make them."27

    Besides, it is not true that the race of men now existing on the earth, were in their primitive state fetich-worshippers, or that they gradually rose to polytheism and monotheism. The reverse is true. Not only revelation, but all history and tradition, go to show that the primitive state of our race was its highest state, at least so far as religion is concerned. Monotheism was the earliest form of religion among men. To that succeeded nature-worship and pantheism, and to that polytheism. It is a historical fact that monotheism was not reached by a process of development. Monotheism was first; it gradually perished from among men, except as miraculously preserved among the Hebrews, and from them diffused through the medium of, or rather, in the form of, Christianity. It extends nowhere beyond the influence, direct or indirect, of the supernatural revelation contained in the Bible. This is a fact which scientific men should not overlook in their deductions.

    3. Comte was guilty of the unfairness of confining his survey to a small portion of the nations of the earth; and that the portion too which had been brought under the influence of Christianity. If the law which he sought to establish be universal and necessary, it must have operated from the beginning in India and China as well as in Europe. The millions of those regions have not reached the monotheistic, much less the metaphysical, and still less the positive stage of development. India especially furnishes a striking refutation of this theory. The Hindus are a highly intellectual race. Their language and literature are on a par with those of Greece and Rome. Their philosophers, nearly three thousand years ago, anticipated the highest results reached by thie Schellings and Hegels of our day. Yet of all the nations of the earth the Hindus are the least materialistic, or positive, in their views of nature. With them the supernatural or spiritual is alone real. The Hindus, therefore, cannot be subject to that universal and necessary law of development which is assumed as the foundation of the Positive Philosophy.

    4. It is of course presumptuous and idle to attempt to reason men out of their senses, or to convince them that what their very nature teaches them is true, is utterly false and untrustworthy. This, however, Comte not only attempts, but his whole system is rounded on the assumption that our nature is a delusion and a lie. That is, it is founded on the assumption that intuitive truths are false. It is intuitively true that we are free agents. This Comte denies. It is intuitively true that there is a specific and essential difference between right and wrong. This is denied. It is intuitively true that every effect has an efficient cause. This too is denied. It is intuitively true that there is a God to whom men are responsible for their character and conduct. This also is denied. Had all the intellect and all the knowledge ever possessed by men and angels been concentrated in the person of Comte, it had still been folly in him to attempt to found a system involving the denial of such truths as these. The Christian is not afraid to say one thing more. It is intuitively true, to all who have eyes to see, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that his gospel is the wisdom of God and the power of God unto salvation, and that it is absolutely impossible that any theory which is opposed to these divine intuitions can be true.

    Another illustration of the presumptuous character of this philosophy is found in what it teaches concerning Sociology. Scientific men of all countries have long been laboriously engaged in making meteorological observations, and yet such are the number and complexity of the causes which determine the state of the weather, that no man is able to predict how the wind will blow forty-eight hours, much less, a year, in advance. The causes which determine human action in the individual and in society, are far more complex and inscrutable than those which determine the state of the weather. Yet Comte assumes to have reduced Sociology to a science, vying with mathematics in certainty. "I will venture to say," is his confident assertion, "that Sociological science, though only established by this book, already rivals mathematical science itself, not in precision and fecundity, but in positivity and rationality."28

Practical Applications of Positivism.

    The practical applications of this philosophy are very serious. Positivism claims the right of absolute and universal control over all human affairs; over education, politics, social organization, and religion. As the progress of science has banished all liberty of opinion or of action from the departments of mathematics and astronomy, so it must banish it from every other department of human thought and activity. Speaking of liberty of conscience, Comte says: "Negative as we now see this dogma to be, signifying release from old authority, while waiting for the necessity of positive science, the absolute character supposed to reside in it gave it energy to fulfil its revolutionary destination. . . . This dogma can never be an organic principle; and, moreover, it constitutes an obstacle to reorganization, now that its activity is no longer absorbed by the demolition of the old political order. . . .  Can it be supposed," he asks, "that the most important and the most delicate conceptions, and those which by their complexity are accessible to only a small number of highly prepared understandings, are to be abandoned to the arbitrary and variable decisions of the least competent minds."29 This argument is conclusive. If social life, the acts of men, are as much and as certainly determined by physical laws as material changes, those who have ascertained these laws are entitled to control all other men. As it would be preposterous to allow men to build our houses or navigate our ships who would not obey the laws of nature, so it would be absurd, on this hypothesis, to allow those ignorant of social laws to govern society. Comte avows his admiration, not of popish doctrine, but of the papal organization, which in the new order of things he proposes to continue. "Papal infallibility," he says,30 "was a great intellectual and social advance." Prof. Huxley pithily characterizes Positivism, in this regard, as "Catholicism minus Christianity."

    Religion is not excepted from this absolute subjection. The Positive Philosophy, as it denies the existence of the soul and the being of God, would seem to leave no place for religion. Comte placed on the title-page of his "Discours sur l'Ensemble du Positivisime," the announcement that his design was to reorganize society "sans Dieu ni Roi." Nevertheless, as men must have, as they always have had, some religion, a philosophy which aspired to absolute dominion over all the departments of human life, must make some provision for this universal, although imaginary, necessity of our nature. Comte, therefore, published a catechism of religious belief, and a ritual of religious worship. The object of worship was to be the aggregate of humanity formed by the absorption of the successive generations of men. Every great man has two forms of existence: one conscious before death; the other after death, unconscious, in the hearts and intellects of other men. The God of the Positive Philosophy is, therefore, the aggregate of the memories of great men. "Undoubtedly," says Huxley, "'Dieu' disappeared, but the 'Noveau Grand-Etre Supreme,' a gigantic fetich, turned out bran-new by M. Comte's own hands, reigned in his stead. 'Roi' also was not heard of; but in his place I found a minutely-defined social organization, which, if it ever came into practice, would exert a despotic authority such as no sultan has rivalled, and no Puritan presbytery in its palmiest days could hope to excel. While, as for the 'culte syste,matique de l'humnanite,,' I, in my blindness, could not distinguishit fromsheer Popery, with M. Comte in the chair of St. Peter, and the names of most of the saints changed."31

    There are, however, to be two forms of worship, the one private, the other public. The special object of the former is woman, because she is the most perfect representative of humanity. As "Mother, she excites veneration; as wife, affection, and as daughter, kindness. To excite these sentiments, ideal woman is to be worshipped. Humanity, or the memory of great men, is the object for public worship, regarding which minute details are given. The new religion is to have ten sacraments, a peculiar architecture, and an extended hierarchy, under the control of one absolute High Priest. Such is the system which Comte was allowed to believe would supersede the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has already almost passed away. Among the advanced men of science in England there is scarcely one so poor as to do it reverence.32

E. Scientific Materialism.
Leading Principles.

    The leading principles of the modern scientific form of Materialism are embraced, by some at least, who do not consider themselves Materialists. They, however, adopt the language of the system, and avow principles which, in their generally accepted meaning, constitute what in the history of human thought is known as Materialism.

    The most important of these principles are the following, many of which, however, are not peculiar to the system.

    1. Matter and force are inseparable. Wherever there is matter there is force, and wherever there is force there is matter. This proposition, at least in the first instance, is to be understood only of physical force.

    2. All physical forces, such as light, heat, chemical affinities, electricity, magnetism, etc., etc., are convertible. Light may be converted into heat, and heat into light; either into electricity, and electricity into either; and so through the whole range. This is what is called the correlation of forces. Count Rumford, in a communication to the Royal Society of London, in 1798, satisfied that the heat generated in boring cannon could not be otherwise accounted for, advanced the doctrine that heat is a peculiar mode of motion. Since then the doctrine has been generalized, and it is now the commonly received opinion that all the physical forces are resolvable into motion. This generalization, however, is not accepted by all scientific men. They find it impossible to conceive how gravitation, which acts instantaneously at all distances, can he motion. It is simply a force which tends to produce motion.

    3. This motion, however, is not of a fluid, or ether, or any other imponderable substance peculiar to each particular kind of force. As sound consists in, or rather is produced by the vibrations ot the atmosphere, it was natural to assume that light was the undulation of one medium, heat of another, electricity of another. This theory is discarded. The motion intended is motion in the molecules of the matter affected. When iron is heated, nothing is added to it. There is no imponderable substance called caloric. All that occurs is, that the molecules of the iron are agitated in a particular way. If the iron be magnetized, it is only a different kind of motion imparted to its constituent atoms. So of all other kinds of force. When, however, light or heat is radiated from a distant object, the motion which constitutes these forces must be transmitted through some medium. For where there is motion, there must be something that moves. And, therefore, if heat be motion in the molecules of the sun, that heat could not reach us unless there was some material medium between us and the sun.

    4. The physical forces are not only convertible one into any of the others, but they are quantitively equivalent; that is, a given amount of heat will produce an amount of light or of electricity, or of any other force, which, if it could be utilized, would reproduce precisely that amount of heat. A cannon-ball, when it impinges on a target, produces heat enough to give it the velocity which it had at the moment of contact. A certain amount of light and heat derived from the sun is expended in the formation of a certain amount of wood or coal; that amount of wood or coal will furnish precisely the amount of light and heat which was expended in its production. Count Rumford experimented to determine the quantitive relation between motion and heat, and arrived at very nearly the same conclusion as that reached by Dr. Joule of Manchester, England, who found that one pound of matter, falling seven hundred and seventy-two feet, will produce heat enough to raise the temperature of a pound of water one degree of Fahrenheit. This is now received as the unit of force.

    5. Force is indestructible. It is never increased or diminished What is lost in one form is taken up in another. Forces are, therefore, indestructible, convertible, and imponderable agents. This correlation and conservation of forces is declared by Dr. Carpenter, the eminent physiologist, to be "now amongst the best established generalizations of physical science," and the greatest scientific triumph of the age; "thanks," as he says, "to the labors of Faraday, Grove, Joule, Thomson, and Tyndall, to say nothing of those of Helmholtz and other distingtlished continental savans."33

Correlation of the Physical and Vital Forces.

    So long as this doctrine of the correlation of forces is confined to the department of physics, it is a purely scientific question, in which the theologian has no special interest. Unhappily it has not been thus confined. Dr. Carpenter, in the paper just quoted, says, "Every thoughtful physiologist must desire to see the same course of inquiry thoroughly pursued in regard to the phenomena of living bodies."34 The first step in that direction, he adds, was taken by Dr. Mayer of Germany, in his remarkable treatise on "Organic Movement in its Relation to Material Changes."

    There appear to be three forms of opinion among scientific men, of the "advanced" school, as to the relation between vital and physical forces. First, there are some, of whom Dr. Carpenter is one, who hold that the forces by which vital processes are carried in, are light, heat, electricity, and so forth, but that these are directed or controlled by a force of a different kind, called "a directing agency."

Dr. Carpenter's Theory.

    Dr. Carpenter denies that there is any such thing as vitality, or vital force, or nisus formativus, or Bildungstrieb. Two germs may be selected between which neither the microscope nor chemical analysis can detect the slightest difference; yet one develops into a fish, another into a bird. Why is this? Dr. Carpenter answers because of a "directing agency" residing in the germ. His language is: "The prevalent opinion has until lately been, that this power is inherent in the germ; which has been supposed to derive from its parent not merely its material substance, but a nisus formativus, Bildungstrieb, or germ-force, in virtue of which it builds itself up into the likeness of its parent, and manmtains itself in that likeness until the force is exhausted, and at the same time imparting a fraction of it to each of its progeny."35 This opinion he rejects; but adds, "When we look carefully into the question, we find that what the germ really supplies, is not the force, but the directive agency; thus rather resembling the control exercised by the superintendent builder, who is charged with working out the design of the architect, than the bodily force of the workmen who labor under his guidance in the construction of the fabric."36 The conclusion at which he arrives is "that the correlation between heat and the organizing force of plants is not less intimate than that which exists between heat and motion. The special attribute of the vegetable germ is its power of utilizing, after its own peculiar fashion, the heat which it receives, and of applying a constructive power to the building up of its fabric after its characteristic type."37

    On this doctrine of Carpenter it may be remarked, (1.) That it seems to be self-contradictory. He denies to the germ a nisas formativus, or, Bildungstrieb, and attributes to it "a constructive power." What is the difference? The English phrase is a literal translation of the German word. (2.) He says that "heat and the organizing force of plants" are correlated, i. e., they are convertible one into the other and are quantitively equivalent; and yet the relation between them is analogous to that between a superintending builder and the strength of the workmen. According to this, the physical strength of the hod man is convertible into the intellect of the builder and is its quantitive equivalent. We do not see how this contradiction is to be avoided, unless he uses the phrases "constructive force," "organizing force," sometimes for the "directing agency" in the germ, and sometimes, for the physical forces which that agency controls. But if he distinguishes between the "directing agency" and "the organizing force," then there is no correlation between the physical force and "the vital activity of the germ."

    3. According not only to the common, but to the latest, opinion of physiologists, the germ supplies something more than "a directing agency" (which must itself be a force). It not only directs, but it effects, or produces changes. It is an operative force, acting not by, but against physical forces or chemical affinities; counteracting them as long as it continues. As soon as the germ or plant or tissue dies, the physical forces obtain ascendency and disintegration takes place. This Dr. Carpenter himself admits. The most marked characteristic, he says, which distinguishes "vital from every kind of physical activity," is, "the fact that a germ endowed with life, develops itself into an organism of a type resembling that of its parent; that this organism is the subject of incessant changes, which all tend, in the first place, to the evolution of its typical form; and subsequently to its maintenance in that form, notwithstanding the antagonism of chemical and physical agencies, which are continually tending to produce its disintegration; but that, as its term of existence is prolonged, its conservative power declines so as to become less and less able to resist these disintegrating forces, to which it finally succumbs, leaving the organism to be resolved by their agency into the components from which its materials were originally drawn."38 This does not mean that chemical agencies have no part to act in the growth and development of plants and animals, but it certainly does mean that the vital force or life is an agency or power different from any kind of physical force. Life and physical force, therefore, are not identical. They are not correlated. The former is not a mere form of the latter.

    On of the most eminent of living physiologists is Dr. John Marshall, and he, although far from belonging to the old school, distinctly takes the ground that there is a vital force which cannot be resolved into any of the physical forces operative in the external, inorganic world. He says:39 "All the strictly physical processes within the body, whether chemical, mechanical, thermic, electric, or photic, are performed by modifications of the common force which produces similar phenomena in the inorganic world around us. There exists, however, in the living animnal, as in the living vegetable organism, a special formative or organizing enemgy, evolving the perfect animal or plant from the primitive ovum or ovule, developing its various tissues and organs, and conserving them from the commencement to the termination of its individual existence. The influence of this force, moreover, extends from the parent to the offspring, generation after generation." This is the commonly received doctrine, that physical phenomena are to be referred to physical forces; vital phenomena to vital force; and mental phenomena to mind. The new doctrine, however, is that all phenomena are to be referred to physical forces, no other forces being either known or knowable.

The more advanced Opinions.

    The second view adopted in reference to the relation of physical to vital force, is, that if there be any difference it cannot be known. Physical forces are known. They can be measured. They can not only be converted one into another, but can be proved to be quantitively equivalent. If any other kind of force be assumed to account for vital phenomena, the assumption is gratuitous. It is taking for granted that something exists of which we know, and can know nothing. It must, therefore, lie beyond the sphere of science and is of no importance. Even Dr. Carpenter uses such language as this: "Another class of reasoners have cut the knot which they could not untie, by attributing all the actions of living bodies for which physics and chemistry cannot account, to a hypothetical 'vital principle;' a shadowy agency that does everything in its own way, but refuses to be made the subject of scientific examination; like the 'od-force,' or the 'spiritual power 'to which the lovers of the marvellous are so fond of attributing the mysterious movements of turning and tilting tables."40 "If a man asks me," says Prof. Huxley, "what the politics of the inhabitants of the moon are, and I reply, that I do not know; that neither I, nor any one else, have any means of knowing; and that, under these circumstances, I decline to trouble myself about the subject at all, I do not think he has any right to call me a skeptic."41 It is thus he banishes vitality from the sphere of science, because everything, except matter and its functions, belongs to the region of the unknown and the unknowable. Prof. Tyndall and Herbert Spencer take, at times, the same ground.

    But, although such writers as Dr. Carpenter, in apparent contradiction to their own admissions, acknowledge the existence of "a directing agency" in the living germ, the majority of the writers of this school refuse to recognize any such agency or force as a scientific truth. The only difference between the second and third views on this general subject, above referred to, is, that according to the one, the assumption of vital as distinct from physical force, is regarded as gratuitous and unnecessary; according to the other, any such assumption is declared to be unphilosophical, and to be utterly discarded. The same writer sometimes takes one, and sometimes the other of these grounds.

The Argument for the correlation of Physical and Vital Forces.

    Thus Prof. Huxley, although a few years since a firm advocate of vital, as distinct from physical force, in his discourse on the "Physical Basis of Life," takes the opposite ground. The argument is this: the elements furnished by the mineral kingdom are taken up by the plant, and, under the influence of light and heat, transformed into organized matter. The products of vegetation, starch, sugar, fibrine, etc., are purely material. This is true even of protoplasm, or living matter, or the physical basis of life, as it is called, which is elaborated by the plant out of the lifeless materials furnished by the soil and the atmosphere. There is indeed a great difference between the products of vegetation and the lifeless elements out of which they are formed. But so there is between the elements of water and water itself. If an electric spark be passed through a volume of oxygen and hydrogen gas, it becomes water, which weighs precisely as much as the volume of the two gases of which it is composed. It is oxygen and hydrogen in combination, and nothing more. Yet the properties of the water are entirely different from those of the oxygen and hydrogen. In like manner there is a great difference between the properties of the carbonic acid, the water, and the ammonia, of which the plant is composed, and the living plant itself. But as it would be unphilosophical to assume the existence of an unknown something called aquosity to account for the difference between water and its elements, it is no less unphilosophical to assume the existence of an unknown something called vitality to account for the difference between it and the lifeless materials of which living matter is composed.

Animal Life.

    In like manner all the phenomena of animal life are referred to the physical forces inseparable from the matter which composes the animal structure. It is true the functions of matter in the animal tissues are higher than in those of the plant. But the advocates of the theory under consideration, endeavor to reduce the difference between animal and vegetable life to a minimum. It is only the upper surface of the leaf which is susceptible of the peculiar effects of light. So it is only the optic nerve that is affected in a way which is necessary to vision. The sensitive plant contracts when touched; and so does the animal muscle when the proper stimulus, nervous or electric, is applied. In short, as all the operations of vegetable life are due to physical forces, so all the phenomena of animal life are due to the same causes.

    On this subject Prof. Huxley says: "The matter of life is composed of ordinary matter, differing from it only in the manner in which its atoms are aggregated. It is built up of ordinary matter, and again resolved into ordinary matter when its work is done."42 By protoplasm, or matter of life, he sometimes means matter which exhibits the phenomnena of life; and sometimes, matter which having been elaborated by the plant or animal, is capable of supporting life. Hence he calls boiled mutton protoplasm.

    The only difference between inorganic, lifeless matter, and living plants or animals, is in the manner in which their atoms are aggregated. "Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, are all lifeless bodies. Of these, carbon and oxygen unite, in certain proportions, and under certain conditions, to give rise to carbonic acid; hydrogen and oxygen produce water; nitrogen and hydrogen give rise to ammonia. These new compounds, like the elementary bodies of which they are composed, are lifeless. But when they are brought together, under certain conditions they give rise to the still more complex body, protoplasm, and this protoplasm exhibits the phenomena of life. I see no break in this series of steps in molecular complication, and I am unable to understand why the language which is applicable to any one term of the series may not be used to any of the others. . . . When hydrogen and oxygen are mimxed in a certain proportion, and an electric spark is passed through them, they disappear, and a quantity of water, equal in weight to the sum of their weights, appears in their place. There is not the slightest parity between the passive and active powers of the water and those of the oxygen and hydrogen which have given rise to it."43 "What justification is there, then, for the assumption of the existence in the living matter of a something which has no representative, or correlative, in the not living matter which gave rise to it? What better philosophical status has 'vitality' than 'aquosity?' And why should 'vitality' hope for a better fate than the other 'itys' which have disappeared since Martinus Scriblerus accounted for the operation of the meat-jack by its inherent 'meat-roasting quality,' and scorned the materialism of those who explained the turning of the spit by a certain mechanism worked by the draught of the chimney? . . . . If the properties of water may be properly said to result from the nature and disposition of its component molecules, I can find no intelligible ground for refusing to say that the properties of protoplasm result from the nature and disposition of its molecules."44

    The doctrine, therefore, is, that carbonic acid, water, and ammonia, lifeless bodies, under certain conditions, become living matter, not in virtue of any new force or principle communicated to them, but solely in virtue of a different arrangement of their molecules. Of this living matter all plants and animals are composed, and to the properties or physical forces inherent in the matter of which they are composed, all the phenomena of vegetable and animal life are to be referred. "Protoplasm," says Prof. Huxley, "is the clay of the potter: which, bake it and paint it as he will, remains clay, separated by artifice and not by nature, from the commonest brick or sun-dried clod."45 As the brick, no matter what its shape or color, can have no properties not inherent in the clay, so vegetable or animal organisms can have no properties which do not belong to protoplasm, which, in the last analysis, is nothing but carbonic acid, water, and ammonma.

    Professor Huxley is not only a distinguished naturalist, but a popular lecturer and preacher of "Lay Sermons," and thus has become a representative man among the advocates of this new form of Materialism. He is, however, very far from standing alone. "Some of the most distinguished living physicists, chemists, and naturalists, says Dr. Beale, "have accepted this physical theory of life. They have taught that life is but a mode of ordinary force, and that the living thing differs from the non-living thing, not in quality, or essence, or kind, but merely in degree."46 "So long," says the same writer, "as the advocates of the physical doctrine of life contented themselves with ridiculing 'vitality' as a fiction and a myth, because it could not be made evident to the senses, measured or weighed, or proved scientifically to exist, their position was not easily assailed; but now when they assert dogmatically that vital force is only a form or mode of ordinary motion they are bound to show that the assertion rests upon evidence, or it will be regarded by thoughtful men as one of a large number of fanciful hypotheses, advocated only by those who desire to swell the ranks of the teachers and expounders of dogmatic science, which, although pretentious and authoritative, must ever be intolerant and unprogressive."47

Mental Phenomena.

    Not only are the operations of vegetable and animal life, according to the new doctrine, due to physical forces, but the same is true of all mental operations. If the argument from analogy is valid in the one case, it is valid in the other. If we must believe that the properties of protoplasm, or living matter, are to be referred to the mode in which its molecules are aggregated, because the properties of water are due to the peculiar aggregation of the atoms of which its elements, hydrogen and oxygen, are composed; then we must believe that all thought and feeling are due to the molecular composition and movements of the brain atoms. Accordingly, Professor Huxley, after saying that "vitality" has no better philosophical standing than "aquosity," warns his readers that they cannot stop with that admission. "I bid you beware," he says, "that in accepting these conclusions, you are placing your feet on the first rung of a ladder, which in most people's estimation is the reverse of Jacob's, and leads to the antipodes of heaven. It may seem a small thing to admit that the dull vital actions of a fungus or a foraminifer are the properties of their protoplasm, and are the direct results of the nature of the matter of which they are composed. But if, as I have endeavored to prove to you, their protoplasm is essentially identical with, and most readily converted into, that of any animal, I can discover no logical halting-place, between the admission that such is the case, and the further concession that all vital action may with equal propriety be said to be the result of the molecular forces of the protoplasm which displays it. And if so, it must be true, in the same sense and to the same extent, that the thoughts to which I am now giving utterance, and your thoughts regarding them, are the expression of molecular changes in that matter of life which is the source of our other vital phenomena."48 "Further," he says, "I take it to be demonstrable that it is utterly impossible to prove that anything whatever may not be the effect of a material and necessary cause, and that human logic is equally incompetent to prove that any act is really spontaneous. A really spontaneous act is one which, by the assumption, has no cause [i. e. no material cause, for he admits no other]; and the attempt to prove such a negative as this is, on the face of the matter, absurd. And while it is thus a philosophical impossibility to demonstrate that any given phenomenon is not the effect of a material cause, any one who is acquainted with the history of science will admit that its progress has in all ages meant, and now more than ever means, the extension of the province of what we call matter and causation, and the concomitant gradual banishment from all regions of human thought of what we call spirit and spontaneity."49 "After all, what do we know of this terrible 'matter,' except as a name for the unknown and hypothetical cause of states of our own consciousness? And what do we know of that 'spirit' over whose threatened extinction by matter a great lamentation is arising except . . . that it is also a name for an unknown and hypothetical cause or condition of states of consciousness? In other words, matter and spirit are but names for the imaginary substrata of groups of natural phenomena."50 "As surely as every future grows out of past and present, so will the physiology of the future gradually extend the realm of matter and law until it is co-extensive with knowledge, with feeling, and with action."51 He cites the often-quoted exhortation of Hume, and enforces "the most wise advice" which it contains. "If we take in our hand," says Hume, "any volume of divinity or school-metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact or existence? No. Commit it, then, to the flames; for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion."52

    The history of human speculation does not furnish a more explicit avowal of Materialism than that contained in the above quotations. All known effects are ascribed to material causes. Spirit is declared to have only an imaginary existence. Spontaneity is pronounced an absurdity. Necessity is affirmed to be inexorable and universal. Yet Huxley says he is no Materialist. This in a sense is true. He is not a Materialist, because he believes in neither matter nor spirit. He avows himself a disciple of Hume, who taught that we know nothing but impressions and ideas. Substance, whether material or spiritual, efficiency, and God, are banished from the sphere of knowledge to that of "sophistry and illusion." He avows his fellowship with Herbert Spencer, the fundamental principle of whose "New Philosophy" is, that all we know, or can know, is, that force is and that it is persistent, while force itself is absolutely inscrutable. This blots the soul and God out of existence, except as those words indicate an unknown force. But as he also holds that all forces are convertible, the distinction between material and mental forces, whether humau or divine, is obliterated. He avails himself of the common assumption that his theory does not degrade spirit, but exalts matter. It is the verdict of history, however, as Julius Maller truly says, "That every attempt to spiritualize matter ends in materializing spirit." On this subject Spencer says: "Men who have not risen above that vulgar conception which unites with matter the contemptuous epithets 'gross' and 'brute,' may naturally feel dismay at the proposal to reduce the phenomena of life, of mind, and of society, to a level with those which they think so degraded. . . . The course proposed does not imply a degradation of the so-called higher, but an elevation of the so-called lower."53 This at least is an avowal that the phenomena of life, mind, and society are to be referred to material or physical causes. This, indeed, he repeatedly asserts. After insisting on the transformation of physical forces into chemical, and these into vital, he adds, "Many will be alarmed by the assertion that the forces which we distinguish as mental, come within the same generalization. Yet there is no alternative but to make this concession.54 . . . . Any hesitation to admit that between the physical forces and the sensations there exists a correlation like that between the physical forces themselves, must disappear on remembering how the one correlation like the other, is not qualitive only, but quantitive."55 "Various classes of facts unite to prove that the law of metamorphosis, which holds among the physical forces, holds equally between them and the mental forces. . . . How this metamorphosis takes place -- how a force existing as motion, light, or heat, can become a mode of consciousness," is mysterious; but he adds, it is not a greater mystery "than the transformations of physical forces into each other."56

    Dr. Maudsley, a distinguished writer of the same school,57 says, "Few, if any, will now be found to deny that with each display of mental power there are correlative changes in the material substratum; that every phenomenon of mind is the result, as manifest in energy, of some change, molecular, chemical, or vital, in the nervous elements of the brain." Again, he says,58 "With regard to the manifold phenomena of mind; by observation of them, and abstraction from the particular, we get the general conception, or the essential idea of mind, an idea which has no more existence out of the mind, than any other abstract idea or general term. In virtue, however, of that powerful tendency in the human mind to make the reality conformable to the idea, a tendency which has been at the bottom of so much confusion in philosophy, this general conception has been converted into an objective entity, and allowed to tyrannize over the understanding. A metaphysical abstraction has been made into a spiritual entity and a complete barrier thereby interposed in the way of positive investigation."

    The passages quoted above are a fair specimen of the kind of reasoning in which scientific men frequently indulge. In the first quotation, there are two clauses presented as equivalent, which are in fact essentially different; and substituting the one for the other is just a silent and subtle begging of the question. The first says that every mental act is attended by a molecular change in the brain. The other in effect says, the molecular change is the mental act. These two propositions are as different as day and night. The theory is that a certain kind of molecular motion in iron is heat; and a certain kind of molecular motion in the brain is thought. And all the proof, as far as the latter is concerned, is that the one attends the other. But the formation of an image on the retina attends sight, and yet does not prove that the image is our consciousness when we see.

    Again, in the second passage, Dr. Maudsley says that "mind is an abstract idea," which has no existence outside "of the mind," i.e., outside of itself. An abstract idea has an abstract idea, which it makes into an objective entity. Men who deny the objective existence of mind, can no more think, speak, or write without recognizing its existence, than an idealist can act without recognizing the existence of the external world. Any theory which involves a denial of the laws of our nature is of necessity absurd.

The German Physicists.

    As might be expected, the scientific men of the continent are more outspoken in their Materialism than those of England. A late German writer, Th. Otto Berger, Oberlehrer fur Mathematik and Physik,59 says: Materialism is the philosophy of the five senses, it admits nothing but on the testimony of sensation, and therefore denies the existence of the soul, of God, and of everything supersensuous. In its modern form, it teaches that as the material is alone true and real, it is uncreated and eternal. It always has been and always will be. It is indestructible, and, in its elements, unchangeable. Force is inseparable from matter. According to the theory no matter is without force, and no force is without matter. No force exists of itself; and, therefore, there is none to which the creation of matter is to be referred. The universe as it now is, is due to the gradual evolution of the two elements, matter and force; which evolution proceeds under the operation of fixed laws. The lower organisms are first formed; then the higher, until man appears. All life, whether animal, vegetable, or spiritual, is due to the working of physical and chemical forces in matter. As no power exists but in matter, there can be no divine Being with creative power nor any created human soul. Berger quotes Virchow as saying, "The scientific naturalist knows only bodies and the properties of bodies." All that is beyond them he pronounces "transcendental, and the transcendental is the chimerical." He also quotes B. C. Vogt, as saying, "We admit of no creator, either in the beginning, or in the course of the world's history; and regard the idea of a self-conscious, extramundane creator as ridiculous." Man, according to these writers, consists only of a material body; all mental acts and states are of the brain. When the body dies, the man ceases to exist. "The only immortality," says Moleschott, "is, that when the body is disintegrated, its ammonia, carbonic acid, and lime, serve to enrich the earth, and to nourish plants, which feed other generations of men."60

F. Refutation.

    As Materialism, in its modern form, in all that is essential to the theory, is the same that it was a thousand years ago, the old arguments against it are as available now as they ever were. Its fundamental affirmation is, that all the phenomena of the universe, physical, vital, and mental, are to be referred to unintelligent physical forces; and its fundamental negation is, that there is no such objective entity as mind or spirit. If, therefore, it can be shown that unintelligent force cannot account for all the phenomena of the universe; and that there is such an objective entity or substance, as mind, the theory is refuted. There are two methods of combating any given theory. The one is the scientific, which calls in question the accuracy or the completeness of the data on which it is founded, or the validity of the inferences deduced from them. The other is the shorter and easier method of the reductio ad absurdum. The latter is just as legitimate and valid as the former. It is to be remembered that every theory includes two factors; facts and principles; or, facts and inferences drawn from them. The facts may be admitted, when the principles or inferences may be denied. Thus the facts on which Materialists insist may, for the most part at least, be acknowledged; while the sweeping inferences which they draw from them, in the eye of reason may not be worth a straw. All such inferences must be rejected whenever they conflict with any well-established truth, whether of intuition, experience, or of divine revelation.

    Three general theories have been proposed to solve the great problem of the universe: the Materialistic, the Pantheistic, and the Theistic. According to the first all the phenomena of the universe are due to matter and its forces; according to the second, in its most rational form, all power, activity, and life, are the power, activity, and life of the one universal mind. The third, or Theistic theory, assumes the existence of an infinite, extramundane God, who created matter, endowed with forces, and finite minds gifted with intelligence and will; and that all the ordinary phenomena of the universe are proximately due to these physical and mental forces as constantly upheld and controlled by the omnipresent wisdom and power of God. It may be doubted whether any amount of argument can deepen the conviction that the Theistic solution of this great problem is the true one. It is seen to be true, because it is seen to be a solution. It satisfactorily accounts for all the facts of consciousness and observation. It satisfies the reason, the heart, and the conscience. It is in fact self-evidently true, in the sense that no man to whom it has been once proposed, can ever permanently shake off the conviction of its truth. The other theories are not solutions. They may account for some classes of facts, but not for others. Our present concern, however, is with Materialism.

Materialism contradicts the Facts of Consciousness.

    1. The primary principle of all knowledge is the knowledge of self. This must be assumed. Unless we are we cannot know. This knowledge of self is a knowledge that we are something; a real existence; not merely a state or mode of something else; but that the self is a substance, a real, objective entity. It is, moreover, a knowledge not only that we are a substance, but also that we are an individual subsistence, which thinks, feels, and wills. Here, then, is mind, i. e., an individual, intelligent, voluntary agent, necessarily included in the first, and the most essential of all truths. If this be denied, then Hume is right, and we can know nothing. It is, moreover, included in this knowledge of the Self, that the body is not the Ego. Although the body is intimately, and even vitally united to the substance in which our personality resides, it is nevertheless objective to it. It is the organ which the Self uses, and by which it holds communion with the external world. That these are really facts of consciousness, and not merely dicta, or arbitrary assumptions, is clear because they are universally and of necessity recognized. They are imbedded in all human languages; they are involved in all expressions of human thought; they are of necessity assumed by those who theoretically deny them. The Materialist cannot think, or speak, or write, without assuming the existence of mind as distinct from matter, any more than the Idealist can live and act without assuming the existence of the external world.

    Our knowledge of mind, therefore, as a thinking substance, is the first, and most certain, and the most indestructible of all forms of knowledge; because it is involved in self-knowledge, or self-consciousness, which is the indispensable condition of all knowledge. That which knows is, in the order of nature, before that which is known. It is impossible, therefore, that the Materialist can have any higher evidence of the existence of matter, or of force, than that which every man has, in his own consciousness, of the existence of mind. To deny the one is as unreasonable as to deny the other. Neither can be denied, except theoretically. As a matter of fact, every man believes in matter, and every man believes in mind. What are our sensations which are relied upon so confidently to give us knowledge of physical phenomena, but states of consciousness? If consciousness is to be trusted in reporting the testimony of the senses, why is it not to be trusted when it reports the facts of our interior life? If it is believed when it says there is something visible and tangible without us, why should it not be believed when it says there is something which thinks and wills within us? If unreliable in the one case, it is unreliable in the other; and if unreliable in either, the whole foundation of knowledge and of all faith is swept away. Confidence in the veracity of consciousness is our only security from the wildest, the most irrational, and the most degrading skepticism.

    It may be said, however, that the Materialist does not deny that there is something within us that thinks and wills. He only says that that something is the brain. This, however, is to ignore one half of the testimony which consciousness really bears. It testifies not only that there are such sensations as those of sight and touch, but that there is a real objective substance which is tangible and visible. That is to say, we believe in virtue of the constitution of our nature, and therefore of necessity, when we see or touch, that the objects of our sense-perceptions have a real, objective existence. This every man believes, and cannot help believing. And in like manner, when he thinks, feels, or wills, he believes, in virtue of the constitution of his nature, and therefore by a like necessity, that he himself is an intelligent, feeling, and voluntary substance. That is, he believes that the Self is mind, or spirit, to which the body is objective, and therefore different front the Self. The belief in mind, therefore, is involved in the belief of self-existence. Consciousness gives us the assurance that the Self is an intelligent, voluntary agent, or spirit.

    2. Another fact of consciousness which Materialism denies, either avowedly or by necessary implication, is the fact of free agency. This, indeed, is involved in what has already been said. Nevertheless there are those who admit the existence of mind who deny that man is a free agent. It needs no proof that consciousness attests that men have the power of self-determination. Every man knows this to be true with regard to himself. Every man recognizes the fact with regard to his fellow-men. This again is a conviction which no obduracy of the conscience, and no sophistry of argument can permanently obliterate from the human mind. This, however, Materialism denies. Physical forces act necessarily and uniformly. In referring all mental action to physical forces, Materialism cannot but exclude all freedom of action. There is no spontaneity in chemical affinity, in light, heat, or electricity; yet to these forces all vital and mental phenomena are referred. If thought be a certain kind of molecular motion of the brain, it is no more free than that other kind of molecular motion called heat. And this is the more obviously true, if they are cordative, the one being changed into the other. Accordingly Materialists, as a general thing, are avowed necessitarians. This is not only true of the Positivists, but the doctrine that human action is determined by necessary laws, is the foundation of their whole system of Social Science. And Professor Huxley, as we have seen, pronounces a spontaneous act, from the nature of the case, an absurdity. It is for him a causeless effect. Every man, therefore, who knows that he is a free agent, knows that Materialism cannot be true.

    3. Materialism contradicts the facts of our moral and religious Consciousness. Our moral perceptions are the clearest, the most certain, and the most authoritative of all of our cognitions. If a man is shut up to deny either the testimony of his senses or the truths of reason, on the one hand, or the testimony of his moral nature on the other, all experience shows that he will give up sense and reason, and bow to the authority of conscience. He cannot help it. No man can free himself from the sense of sin, or of accountability. These moral convictions involve in them, or, at least, necessitate the belief in a God to whom we must give an account. But Materialism, in banishing all mind in man, leaves nothing to be accountable; and in banishing all mind from the universe, leaves no Being to whom an account can be rendered. To substitute for an intelligent, extramundane, personal God, mere "inscrutable force," is a mockery, an insult. Our whole moral and religious nature declares any such theory to be false. It cannot be true unless our whole nature be a lie. And our nature cannot be a lie, unless, as Sir William Hamilton says, the whole universe be "a dream of a dream." To call upon men to worship gravitation, and sing hallelujahs to the whirlwind, is to call upon them to derationahize themselves. The attempt is as idle as it is foolish and wicked.

    This argument from the facts of consciousness against Materialism, is met by the assertion that consciousness is not to be trusted. Dr. Maudsley devotes the greater part of the first chapter of his book on the "Physiology of the Mind," to the establishment of this point. He argues that self-consciousness is unreliable in the information which it does give, and incompetent to give any account of a large part of our mental activity. lt gives no account of the mental phenomena of the infant, of the uncultivated adult, and of the insane; no account of the bodily conditions which underlie every mental manifestation; no account of the large field of unconscious mental action exhibited, not only in the unconscious assimilation of impressions, but in the registrations of ideas and of their associations, in their latent existence and influence when not active, and their recall into activity; and no account of the influence organically exerted on the brain by other organs of the body. That is, consciousness does not tell us all things, and sometimes tells us wrong. Cannot the same be said of the senses? Can they inform us of everything which goes on in the body? Do they not often deceive us? Are not the sensations of the delirious and the maniac altogether untrustworthy? Does it follow from this that our senses are never to be relied upon? What then becomes of the physical sciences, which are founded on the trustworthiness of the senses. The fact is that if the testimony of consciousness isnot to be received as to our mental operations, it cannot be received as to our sensations. If we have no trustworthy evidence of the existence of mind, we have no valid evidence of the existence of matter; and there is no universe, no God. All is nothing.

    Happily men cannot emancipate themselves from the laws of their nature. They cannot help believing the well-attested testimony of their senses, and they cannot help believing the testimony of consciousness as to their personal identity, and as to the real, objective existence of the soul as the subject of their thoughts, feelings, and volitions. As no man can refuse to believe that he has a body, so no man can refuse to believe that he has a soul, and that the two are distinct as the Self and the Not-Self.

Materialism contradicts the Truths of Reason.

    1. It is intuitively true that every effect must have a cause. This does not mean merely that every effect must have an antecedent; or, as Hume says, that anything may be the cause of anything. Nor does it mean merely that every effect must have an efficient cause. But it means that the antecedent or cause of every effect must have that kind and degree of efficiency which will rationally account for the effect.

    There are two general classes of effects with which we are familiar, and which are specifically different, and therefore must have specifically different causes. The one class consists of effects which do not, the other of those which do indicate design. In the latter we see evidence of a purpose, of foresight, of provision for the future, of adaptation, of choice, of spontaneity, as well as of power. In the former all these indications are absent. We see around us innumerable effects belonging to each of these classes. We see water constantly flowing from a higher to a lower level; vapor constantly ascending from the sea; heat producing expansion, cord contraction, water extinguishing fire, alkalies correcting acidity, etc., etc. On the other hand, the world is crowded with works of human intelligence; with statues, pictures, houses, ships, complicated machines for different purposes, with books, libraries, hospitals prepared for the wants of the sick, with institutions of learning, etc., etc. No man can help believing that these classes of effects are specifically different, nor can he help believing that they are due to causes specifically different. In other words, it is self-evident that an unintelligent cause cannot produce an intelligent effect; it cannot purpose, foresee, organize, or choose. Professor Joule may determine through what space a weight must fall to produce a given amount of heat; but can he tell how far it must fall to write a poem, or produce a Madonna? Such a cause has no tendency to produce such an effect. And to suppose it to operate from eternity, is only to multiply eternally, nothing by nothing, it is nothing still.

    If every man recognizes the absurdity of referring all the works of human ingenuity and intellect to unintelligent, physical force, how much greater is the absurdity of referring to blind force the immeasurably more stupendous, complicated, and ordered works of God, everywhere indicative of purpose, foresight, and choice. Of this absurdity Materialism is guilty. It teaches, in its modern form, that to carbonic acid, water, and ammonia, with the molecular forces they contain, is the causal efficiency to which all organisms from the fungus to man, and all vital and mental phenomena, are to be referred. This is the doctrine elaborately proposed and defended in Professor Huxley's paper on the "Physical Basis of Life." That paper is devoted to establishing two propositions. The first is, "That all animal and vegetable organisms are essentially alike in power, in form, and in substance; and the second, That all vital and intellectual functions are the properties of the molecular dispositions and changes of the material basis (protoplasm) of which the various animals and vegetables consist."61 He even intimates, after referring to a clock which marks the time, and the phases of the moon, as an illustration of the vital and intellectual phenomena of the universe, as produced by molecular motions and combinations, "that the existing world lay potentially in the cosmic vapor; and that a sufficient intelligence could, from a knowledge of the properties of the molecules of that vapor, have predicted, say the state of the Fauna of Britain in 1869, with as much certainty as one can say what will happen to the vapor of the breath in a cold winters day."62 On this it is obvious to remark, in the first place, that it is not one whit in advance of the theory of Epicurus propounded more than two thousand years ago. As the whole mass of thinking men have turned their backs on that theory from that day to this, it is not probable that the reassertion of it, however confidently made, will have much effect upon men who have either heads or hearts. In the second place, it gives no rational account of the origin of the universe, and of the wonders which it contains. It violates the fundamental intuitive truth that every effect must have an adequate cause, inasmuch as it refers intelligent effects to unintelligent causes; all the libraries in the world, for example, to "the properties of the molecules," of carbonic acid, water, and ammonia.

    2. A second truth of Reason which Materialism contradicts is that an infinite succession of effects is as unthinkable as a self-supporting chain of an infinite number of links. The modern doctrine is that lifeless matter never becomes living except when brought into contact with previous living matter. It is the office of the living plant to take up the dead elements of the inorganic world and imbue them with life. The plant, therefore, must either precede protoplasm, which is impossible, as it is composed of protoplasm; or the protoplasm must precede the plant, which is equally impossible, because the plant alone, in the first instance, can make protoplasm; or there must be an infinite succession. That is, an infinite number of causeless effects, which is no less impossible. The doctrine of spontaneous generation, or of life originating out of dead matter, is repudiated by the most advanced advocates of the modern form of Materialism. Professor Huxley has done the cause of truth good service by his able refutation of that doctrine.63 Whatever may be the ultimate decision of the question as to the origin of life, it is enough for the present that the modern advocates of Materialism admit that living matter can only come from matter already alive. This admission, it is now urged, is fatal to their theory, as it necessitates the assumption of an eternal effect. If dead matter can only be made alive by previous living matter, there must be a source of life outside of matter, or life never could have begun.

Materialism inconsistent with the Facts of Experience.

    It is generally admitted that in nature, i. e., in the external world, there are four distinct spheres, or, as they are sometimes called, planes of existence. First, the common chemical compounds, which constitute the mineral kingdom; second, the vegetable kingdom; third, the irrational animal world; and fourth, Man. It is admitted that all the resources of science are incompetent to raise matter from one of these planes to another. The plant contains ingredients derived from the mineral kingdom, with something specifically different. The animal contains all that is in the plant, with something specifically different. Man contains all that enters into the constitution of the plant and animal, with something specifically different. The lifeless elements of the mineral kingdom, under "the influence of preexistent living matter," and not otherwise, become living and life supporting matter in the plant. The products of vegetable life, in like manner, become the matter of animal tissues and organs, but only under the influence of preexisting living animal tissues. So, also, the products of the vegetable and animal kingdoms are received into the human system, and become connected with the functions and phenomena of the intellectual and moral life of man, but never otherwise than in the person of a man. This outstanding fact, vouched for by the whole history of our globe, proves that there is something in the plant which is not in lifeless matter; somethiing in the animal which is not in the plant, and something in man which is not in the animal. To assume, with the Materialist, that the organizing life of the plant comes out of lifeless matter; that the sensitive and voluntary life of the animal comes out of the insensible and involuntary life of the plant; or that the rational, moral, and spiritual life of Man comes out of the constituents of the animal, is to assume as a fact something which all experience contradicts. We are not forgetful of the theories which refer these different grades or orders of existence to some process of natural development. We here, however, refer only to the outstanding fact of history, that, in the sphere of human experience, lifeless matter does not become organizing and living, in virtue of its own physical forces; nor the plant an animal; nor the animal a man from anything in the plant or animal, but only in virtue of an ab extra vital influence. It is indeed said that as the same chemical elements combined in one way, have certain properties; and when combined in another way, have other properties; so the same elements combined in one way in lifeless matter and in other ways, in plants, animals, and man, may account for all their distinctive characteristics. But it isto be remembered that the properties of chemical compounds, however varied, are chemical, and nothing more; whereas, in vital organisms the properties or phenomena are specifically different from mere chemical effects. They have no relation to each other, any more than gravity to beauty; and, therefore, the one cannot account for the other.

    Atheism is the denial of an extramundane personal God. In saying that Materialism is Atheism, it is not meant that all Materialists are atheists. Some, as for example, Dr. Priestley, confine the application of their principles to the existing order of things. They admit the being of God to whom they refer the creation of the world. The number, however, of such illogical Materialists is small. Leaving out of view these exceptional cases, the philosophers of this school may be divided into three classes, --

    (1.) Avowed atheists. To this class belong the Epicureans; the French skeptics of the last century; the Positivists; and a large part of the physicists of the present generation, especially in Europe. (2.) Those who repudiate the charge of atheism, because they admit the necessary existence of an inscrutable force. But inscrutable force is not God. In rejecting the doctrine of an extramundane Spirit, self-conscious, intelligent, and voluntary, the First Cause of all things, they reject Theism; and the denial of Theism is Atheism. (3.) Those whose principles involve the denial of an extramundane God. To this class belong all those who deny the distinction between matter and mind; who deny the "supersensual," and "supernatural," who affirm that physical force is the only kind of force of which we have any knowledge; and who maintain that thought is in such a sense a product of the brain, that where there is no brain there can be no thought. Buchner, who although an avowed atheist, is, as to this point, a fair representative of the whole school, says that the fundamental principle (der oberste Grundsatz) of our philosophy is, "No matter without force; and no force without matter." "A spirit without a body," he adds, "is as unthinkable as electricity or magnetism without the matter of which they are affections."64 This he makes the ground of his argument to prove the impossibility of the existence of the soul after death. The principle, if admitted, is equally conclusive against the existence of God. As Materialism leaves us no God to reverence and trust, no Being to whom we are responsible; and as it denies any conscious existence after death, it can be adopted only on the sacrifice of the higher attributes of our nature; and its whole tendency must be to demoralize and degrade.

The Correlation of Physical and Vital and Mental Forces.

    Besides the considerations urged above against Materialism as a general theory, it may be proper to say a few words in reference to its modern scientific form. It is admitted that it is the province of scientific men to discuss scientific questions; and that much injury to the cause of truth has followed the attempts of men not devoted to such pursuits, undertaking to adjudicate in such caees. Physicists are wont to take high ground on this subject, and to warn off as intruders all metaphysicians and theologians, all who are devoted to the study of the supersensuous and the supernatural. They are not allowed to be heard on questions of science. The rule must work both ways. If metaphysicians and theolegians must be silent on matters of science, then scientific men devoted to the study of the sensuous, are not entitled to be dictatorial in what regards the supersensuous. A man may be so habituated to deal with quantity and number, as to become incapable of appreciating beauty or moral truth. In like manner a man may be so devoted to the examination of what his senses reveal, as to come to believe that the sensible alone is true and real. The senses have their rights, and so have reason and conscience; and the votaries of sense are not entitled to claim the whole domain of knowledge as exclusively their own.

    While, therefore, it is conceded that it belongs specially to scientific men to deal with scientific subjects, yet other classes have some rights which are not to be denied. They have the right to judge for themselves on the validity of the arguments of scientific men; and they have the right to appeal from one scientific man to another, and from the few to the many. So far as the correlation of physical and vital forces is concerned, it is not only a new doctrine, but as yet is adopted only by "advanced thinkers," as they are called, and call themselves. Dr. H. B. Jones, F. R. S., one of the more modest advocates of the doctrine,65 says, "We are only just entering upon the inquiry how far our ideas of conservation and correlation of energy can be extended to the biological sciences." And certain it is that the leading men of science, both in Europe and America, are firm believers in vital and mental forces, asdistinct in kind, from all physical forces operative in the inorganic world.

The Arguments for such Correlation are Invalid.
The Argument from Analogy.

    It has already been stated on the authority of the advocates of the theory, that their first and most important argument in its support is from analogy. The physical forces are all correlated; one is convertible into either of the others; all may be resolved into motion. This creates, as it is said, a strong presumption, that all force, whatever its phenomena, is essentially the same thing. If one kind of motion is heat, another electricity, another light, it is fair to infer that vitality is only another kind of motion, and thought and feeling another. As there is no reason for assuming a specific force for light, and another for heat, therefore it is unnecessary, and unphilosophical, to assume a specific kind of force to account for vital or mental phenomena. Prof. Barker of Yale College, says,66 "Today, as truly as seventy-five years ago when Humboldt wrote, the mysterious and awful phenomena of life, are commonly attributed to some controlling agent residing in the organism -- to some independent presiding deity, holding it in absolute subjection." This presiding agent is called "vital fluid," "materia vitae diffusa,""vital force." "All these names," he adds, "assume the existence of a material or immaterial something, more or less separable from the material body, and more or less identical with the mind or soul, which is the cause of the phenomena of living beings. But as science moved irresistibly onward, and it became evident that the forces of inorganic nature were neither deities nor imponderable fluids, separable from matter, but were simple affections of it, analogy demanded a like concession in behalf of vital force. From the notion that the effects of heat were due to an imponderable fluid called caloric, discovery passed to the conviction that heat was but a motion of material particles, and hence inseparable from matter; to a like assumption concerning vitality [namely, that it also is but a motion of material particles], it was now but a step. The more advanced thinkers in science of today, therefore, look upon the life of the living form as inseparable from its substance, and believe that the former is purely phenomenal, and only a manifestation of the latter. Denying the existence of a special vital force as such, they retain the term only to express the sum of the phenomena of living beings."

    The argument from analogy is presented, as we have seen, in another form, by Huxley and others. The properties of water are very different from those of the hydrogen and oxygen of which it s composed. Yet no one supposes that those properties are due to anything else than the material composition of the water itself. So also the phenomena of living matter, and of the human brain, are very different from those of the elements which enter into their constitution; but this affords no presumption that there is any "vital force" or "mind" to account for this difference any more than the peculiar properties of water justify the assumption of the existence of anything distinct from its material element. Vitality and mind, we are told, have no better philosophical status than aquosity.

    Dr. Stirling67 states the case thus: "If it is by its mere chemical and physical structure that water exhibits certain properties called aqueous, it is also by its mere chemical and physical structure that protoplasm exhibits certain properties called vital. All that is necessary in either case is, 'under certain conditions,' to bring the chemical constituents together. If water is a molecular complication, protoplasm is equally a molecular complication, and for the description of the one or the other, there is no change of language required. A new substance with new qualities results in precisely the same way here, as a new substance with new qualities there; and the derivative qualities are not more different from the primitive qualities in the one instance, than the derivative qualities are different from the primitive qualities in the other. Lastly, the modus operandi of preexistent protoplasm is not more unintelligible than that of the electric spark. The conclusion is irresistible, then, that all protoplasm being reciprocally convertible, and consequently identical, the properties it displays, vitality and intellect included, are as much the result of molecular constitution, as those of water itself." This analogy is two-fold; having reference to chemical composition on the one hand, and to the antecedent stimulus which determines it on the other. "As regards chemical composition, we are asked, by virtue of the analogy obtaining, to identify, as equally simple instances of it, protoplasm here and water there; and, as it regards the stimulus in question, we are asked to admit the action of the electric spark in the one case to be quite analogous to the action of prexisting protoplasm in the other."

    In answer to this argument Dr. Stirling goes on to show that the analogy holds only as to chemical and physical properties. "One step farther and we see not only that protoplasm has, like water, a chemical and physical structure; but that, unlike water, it has also an organized or organic structure. Now this, on the part of protoplasm, is a possession in excess; and with relation to that excess there can be no grounds for analogy." "Living protoplasm, namely, is identical with dead protoplasm," says Dr. Stirling, "only so far as its chemistry is concerned (if even so much as that); and it is quite evident, consequently, that difference between the two cannot depend on that in which they are identical -- cannot depend on the chemistry. Life, then, is no affair of chemical and physical structure, and must find its explanation in somethng else. It is thus that, lifted high enough, the light of the analogy between water and protoplasm is seen to go out."68 Water and its elements, hydrogen and oxygen, are as to the kind of power which they exhibit on a level. "But not so protoplasm, where, with preservation of the chemical and physical likeness there is the addition of the unlikeness of life, of organization, and of ideas. But the addition is a new world -- a new and higher world, the world of a self-realizing thought, the world of an entelechy."69 "There are certainly different states of water, as ice and steam; but the relation of the solid to the liquid, or of either to the vapor, surely offers no analogy to the relation of protoplasm dead to protoplasm alive. That relation is not an analogy but an antithesis, the antithesis of antitheses. In it, in fact, we are in the presence of the one incommunicable gulf -- the gulf of all gulfs -- that gulf which Mr. Huxley's protoplasm is as powerless to efface as any other material expedient that has ever been suggested since the eyes of men first looked into it -- the mighty gulf between death and life."70

    "The differences alluded to (they are, in order, organization and life, the objective idea -- design, and the subjective idea -- thought), it may be remarked, are admitted by those very Germans to whom protoplasm, name and thing, is due. They, the most advanced and innovating of them, directly avow that there is present in the cell 'an architectonic principle that has not yet been detected.' In pronouncing protoplasm capable of active or vital movements, they do by that refer, they admit also, to an immaterial force, and they ascribe the processes exhibited by protoplasm -- in so many words -- not to the molecules, but to organization and life."71

    "Was it molecular powers that invented a respiration -- that perforated the posterior ear to give a balance of air; that compensated the fenestra ovalis by a fenestra rotunda; that placed in the auricular sacs those otolithes, those express stones for hearing? Such machinery! The chordae tendineae are, to the valves of the heart, exactly adjusted check-strings; and the contractile columnae earneae are set in, under contraction and expansion, to equalize their length to their office. . . . Are we to conceive such machinery, such apparatus, such contrivances, merely molecular? Are molecules adequate to such things -- molecules in their blind passivity, and dead, dull, insensibility? . . . . Surely in the presence of these manifest ideas, it is impossible to attribute the single peculiar feature of protoplasm -- its vitality, namely -- to mere molecular chemistry. Protoplasm, it is true, breaks up into carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, as water does into hydrogen and oxygen; but the watch breaks similarly up into mere brass, and steel, and glass. The loose materials of the watch -- even its chemical material if you will -- replace its weight, quite as accurately as the constituents, carbon, etc., replace the weight of the protoplasm. But neither these nor those replace the vanished idea, which was alone the important element."72There is, therefore, something in protoplasm which cannot be weighed or otherwise measured, and to which the vital phenomena are to be referred.

    If then the argument from analogy fails in its application to vital phenomena, there can be no pretence that it is valid in its application to the phenomena of mind. If we refuse to take the first step, even Professor Huxley cannot require us to take those which follow.

Further Arguments of the Materialists.

    Besides the analogical argument, Materialists insist that there is direct evidence of the correlation of physical, with vital, and mental force. Let it be remembered what this means. Correlated forces are such as may be converted, the one into the other, and which are consequently in their nature identical. The thing, therefore, in this case, to be proved is that light, heat, etc., can be changed into life and thought, and that the latter are identical with the former, both classes being resolvable into motion of the molecules of matter.

    The proof is substantially this. The animal body generates heat by the combustion of the carbon of the food which it receives, precisely as heat is produced by the combustion of carbon out of the body. And it has been experimentally proved that the quantity of heat produced in the body, is precisely the same due allowances being made, as the same amount of carbon would produce if burnt out of the body. Vital heat, therefore, is identical with physical heat.

    Again, muscular force is produced precisely in the same way as physical force. The potential energy of the fuel moves the steam engine. Its work or power is measured and determined by the amount of power stored in the wood or coal consumed in its production. The source and measure of muscular power, are in like manner to be found in the food we eat. Its potential energy, derived from the sun as is the case with the potential energy of wood and coal, when liberated, produces its due amount, so much and no more, of muscular power. Muscular power, therefore, is as purely physical, produced in the same way, and measured by the same standard, as the power of the steam-engine.

    In like manner, "nervous energy, or that form of force, which, on the one hand, stimulates a muscle to contract, and on the other, appears in forms called mental," is merely physical. It comes from the food we eat. It moves. The rate of its motion is determined to be ninety-seven feet in a second. Its effects are analogous to those of electricity. It is, therefore, for these and similar reasons, inferred that "nerve-force is a transmuted potential energy." This is no less true of nerve-force when manifested in the form of thought and feeling. Every external manifestation of thought-force, argues Professor Huxley, is a muscular one, and therefore analogous to other forces producing similar effects. Besides, it has been proved that every exercise of thought or feeling is attended by an evolution of heat, which shows that thought is resolved into heat. "Can we longer doubt, then, that the brain, too, is a machine for the conversion of energy? Can we longer refuse to believe that even thought is, in some mysterious way, correlated to the other natural forces? and this, even in face of the fact that it has never yet been measured?"73

    To unscientific men of ordinary intelligence, to men not devoted to the study of the sensuous, it is a matter of astonishment that such arguments should be regarded as valid. Admitting all the above facts,what do they prove? Admitting that animal heat is the same in source and nature with heat outside the body; admitting that muscular power is physical in its nature and mode of production; admitting that nerve-force is also physical; what then? Do these facts give any solution of the mysteries of life, of organization, alimentation, or reproduction? Do they in any measure account for the formation of the eye or ear; for the mutual relations and interdependence of the organs of the body? Admitting these forces to be physical; who or what uses them? What guides their operation so as to answer a preconceived design? Admitting muscular power to be physical, what calls it into exercise at one time and not at another; beginning, continuing, or suspending it, at pleasure? It is plain that the facts adduced, are no solution either of vital or of voluntary phenomena. And when we come to thought, admitting that mental action is attended by a development of heat, does that prove that thought and heat are identical? When ashamed we blush, when afraid we become pale; do these facts prove that shame and fear and their bodily effects are one and the same thing? Does concomitancy prove identity? In proving the former, do you establish the latter? Do the facts adduced prove that shame is heat and heat shame, and that the one may be converted into the other? All the world knows that sorrow produces tears; but no one infers from this coincidence that sorrow and salt water are identical. Even Professor Tyndall, one of "the advanced thinkers," tells the Materialists, that when they have proved everything they claim to prove, they have proved nothing. They leave the connection between mind and body precisely where it was before.74

Direct Arguments against the Theory of the Correlation of
Physical, and Vital, and Mental Forces

    1. They are heterogeneous. All physical forces are alike. They all tend to produce motion. They all tend to equilibrium. They are all measurable, by weight, or velocity, or by their sensible effects. They are all unintelligent. They act by necessity, without choice, without reference to an end. In all these respects mental forces are directly the reverse. They do not produce motion, they only guide and control it. They resist a state of equilibrium. They counteract physical force. As soon as vitality is gone, the chemical forces come into play and the plant or animal decays. They cannot be measured. Forces which do not admit of measurement, do not admit of correlation, for correlation involves sameness in quantity. "Thought," says President Barnard, "cannot be a physical force, because thought admits of no measure. I think it will be conceded without controversy that there is no form of material substance, and no known force of a physical nature (and there are no other forces), of which we cannot in some form definitely express the quantity, by reference to some conventional measuring unit. . . . No such means of measuring mental action has been suggested. No such means can be conceived. . . . Now, I maintain that a thing which is unsusceptible of measure cannot be a quantity; and that a thing that is not even a quantity, cannot be a force."75

    Again, vital and mental force act with intelligence, with forethought, with freedom, and with design. Wherever the intelligence may reside, it is perfectly evident that all vital operations are carried on in execution of a purpose. Heat and electricity can no more fashion an eye than brass and steel can make a watch, or pen and paper write a book. Intelligent force, therefore, differs in kind from unintelligent force. They are not only different, but contradictory; the affirmation of the one is the negation of the other.

Professor Joseph Henry.

    Prof. Joseph Henry, of the Smithsonian Institute, is admitted to be one of the most eminent naturalists of the age; distinguished not only for the thoroughness of his researches, but for soundness of judgment, and for the rare gift of being able to appreciate different kinds of evidence. He admits the correlation of physical forces, but protests against the obliteration of the distinction between them and vitality and mind. "The body," he says, "has been called 'the house we live in,' but it may be more truly denominated the machine we employ, which, furnished with power, and all the appliances for its use, enables us to execute the intentions of our intelligence, to gratify our moral natures, and to commune with our fellow beings. This view of the nature of the body is the furthest removed possible from Materialism; it requires a separate thinking principle. To illustrate this, let us suppose a locomotive engine equipped with steam, water, fuel, -- in short, with the potential energy necessary to the exhibition of immense mechanical power; the whole remains in a state of dynamic equilibrium, without motion, or signs of life or intelligence. Let the engineer now open a valve which is so poised as to move with the slightest touch, and almost with a volition to let on the power to the piston; the machine now awakes, as it were, into life. It rushes forward with tremendous power; it stops instantly, it returns again, it may be, at the command of the master of the train; in short, it exhibits signs of life and intelligence. Its power is now controlled by mind -- it has, as it were, a soul within it."76 This illustration holds just so far as it was intended to hold. The intellect which controls the engine is not in it, nor is it affected by its changes. Nevertheless, in the body, as well as in the engine, the controlling intellect is equally distinct from the physical force, which both so wonderfully exhibit.

    In more direct reference to vitality, Professor Henry says: "Vitality gives startling evidence of the immediate presence of a direct, divine, and spiritual essence, operating with the ordinary forces of nature, but being in itself entirely distinct from them. This view of the subject is absolutely necessary in carrying out the mechanical theory of the equivalency of heat and the correlation of the ordinary physical forces. Among the latter vitality has no place, and knows no subjection to the laws by which they are governed."77

Dr. Beale.

    Dr. Beale78 is equally explicit. He constantly insists that what acts voluntarily, with choice to accomplish an end, cannot be physical; and that in vital and mental operations there is unquestionable evidence of such voluntary action. He says, "I regard 'vitality' as a power of a peculiar kind, exhibiting no analogy whatever to any known forces. It cannot be a property of matter, because it is in all respects essentially different in its actions from all acknowledged properties of matter. The vital property belongs to a different category altogether."79 He argues also to prove that organization cannot be referred to physical force. "It cannot be maintained that the atoms arrange themselves, and devise what positions each is to take up, -- and it would be yet more extravagant to attribute to ordinary force or energy, atomic rule and directive agency. We might as well try to make ourselves believe that the laboratory fire made and lighted it self, that the chemical compounds put themselves into the crucible, and the solutions betook themselves to the beakers in the proper order, and in the exact proportions required to form certain definite compounds. But while all will agree that it is absurd to ignore the chemist in the laboratory, many insist upon ignoring the presence of anything representing the chemist in the living matter which they call the 'cell-laboratory.' In the one case the chemist works and guides, but in the other, it is maintained, the lifeless molecules of matter are themselves the active agents in developing vital phenomena. . . . No one has proved, and no one can prove, that mind and life are in any way related to chemistry and mechanics. . . . Neither can it be said that life works with physical and chemical forces, for there is no evidence that this is so. On the other hand it is quite certain that life overcomes, in some very remarkable and unknown manner, the influence of physical forces and chemical affinities."80 On a former page he had said, "In order to convince people that the actions of living beings are not due to any mysterious vitality or vital force or power, but are in fact physical and chemical in their nature, Professor Huxley gives to matter which is alive, to matter which is dead, and to matter which is completely changed by roasting or boiling, the very same name. The matter of sheep and mutton and man and lobster and egg is the same, and, according to Huxley, one may be transubstantiated into the other. But how? By 'subtle influences,' and 'under sundry circumstances,' answers this authority. And all these things alive, or dead, or roasted, he tells us are made of protoplasm, and this protoplasm is the physical basis of life, or the basis of physical life. But can this discoverer of 'subtle influences' afford to sneer at the fiction of vitality? By calling things which differ from one another in many qualities by the same name, Huxley seems to think he can annihilate distinctions, enforce identity, and sweep away the difficulties which have impeded the progress of previous philosophers in their search after unity. Plants, and worms, and men are all protoplasm, and protoplasm is albuminous matter, and albuminous matter consists of four elements, and these four elements possess certain properties, by which properties all differences between plants, and worms, and men, are to be accounted for. Although Huxley would probably admit that a worm was not a man, he would tell us that by 'subtle influences' the one thing might be easily converted into the other, and not by such nonsensical fictions as 'vitality,' which can neither be weighed, measured, nor conceived."81

    In the latter portion of his book Dr. Beale shows that the brain is not a gland to secrete thought as the liver does bile; nor is thought a function of the brain, nor the result of mechanical or chemical action; nor is the brain a voltaic battery giving shocks of thought, as Stuart Mill conjectures; but it is the organ of the mind, not for generating, but for expressing thought.

Mr. Wallace.

    To quote unly one more authority, we refer to the eminent naturalist Wallace, the friend and associate of Darwin, and the zealous defender of his theory. "If," says he, "a material element, or a combination of a thousand material elements in a molecule, are alike unconscious, it is impossible for us to believe, that the more addition of one, two, or a thousand other material elements to form a more complex molecule, could in any way tend to produce a self-conscious existence. To say that mind is a product or function of protoplasm, or of its molecular changes, is to use words to which we can attach no clear conception. You cannot have, in the whole, what does not exist in any of the parts; . . . either all matter is conscious, or consciousness is something distinct from matter; and in the latter case, its presence in material forms is a proof of the existence of conscious beings, outside of, and independent of, what we term matter."82

Vital and Physical Forces not Convertible.

    2. A second argument against the doctrine of the correlation of vital and physical forces is that in fact they are not convertible. Motion and heat are said to be correlated, because one can be changed into the other, measure for measure. But no one has ever changed death into life, dead matter into living matter. This Professor Huxley admits. If the simplest living cell once dies, all the science in the world cannot make it alive. What is dead can be made alive only by being taken up and assimilated by that which is still living. The life, therefore, is not due to the chemical properties of that which is dead. So far as chemistry is concerned, there is no known difference between protoplasm dead and protoplasm alive; and yet there is all the difference between them of life and death. That difference, therefore, is not chemical. Until scientific men can actually change heat and electricity into life, and go about raising the dead, men will be slow to believe that heat and life are identical; and until they can transmute physical force into intelligence and will, they cannot convert "thinkers" into Materialists.

    3. Another argument against this theory is the inadequacy of the cause to the assumed effect. The doctrine is that the relation between correlated forces is quantitive; so much of the one will produce so much of the other. But we know that great mental agitation may be produced by the mere sight of certain objects, and that these mental states may call into action violent muscular force. According to the hypothesis, the impression on the nerves of sight or hearing is first transformed into mental force, and that again into muscular and molar energy. This, President Barnard, who presents this argument, pronounces to be absurd, "since it makes a small force equivalent to a large one."83

    President Barnard further argues against this theory from the fact that the mental states produced by impressions on the senses are, at least in many cases, obviously due not to the physical impression, but to the idea therewith connected. If you insult a Frenchman in English, it produces no effect; if the insult be expressed in his own language, it rouses him to fury. The meaning of the words is not a physical force, and yet it is to the meaning the effect is due. Dr. Barnard says, "when it is demanded of us to pronounce as physicists that spiritual existence is an absurdity and religion a dream, it seems to me that no choice is left us but to proclaim our dissent, or to be understood by our silence to accept the doctrine as our own. When such is the alternative, for one I feel bound to speak, and to declare my conviction that as physicists we have nothing to do with mental philosophy; and that in endeavouring to reduce the phenomena of mind under the laws of matter, we wander beyond our depth, we establish nothing certain, we bring ridicule upon the name of positive science, and achieve but a single undeniable result, that of unsettling in the minds of multitudes convictions which form the basis of their chief happiness."84

    4. Physicists cannot carry out their own theory. Even those least susceptible of the force of the supersensuous, are compelled to admit that there is more in mental and vital action than blind physical force can account for. Dr. Carpenter, as we have seen, assumes the presence of "a directive agency;" the Germans of an "architectonic principle" unknown, and uncorrelated, in living matter, to explain undeniable facts for which physical force furnishes no solution. Others, whose spiritual nature is not so entirely subjected to the sensible, break down entirely. Thus Professor Barker, of Yale College, after devoting his whole lecture to prove that vital force and even thought "are correlated to other natural forces" (i. e., identical with them), comes at the end to ask: "Is it only this? Is there not behind this material substance, a higher than molecular power in the thoughts which are immortalized in the poetry of a Milton or a Shakespeare, the art creations of a Michael Angelo or a Titan, the harmonies of a Mozart or a Beethoven? Is there really no immortal portion separable from this brain-tissue, though yet mysteriously united to it? In a word, does this curiously fashioned body inclose a soul, God-given, and to God returning? Here science veils her face, and bows in reverence before the Almighty. We have passed the boundaries by which physical science is inclosed. No crucible, no subtle magnetic needle can answer now our questions. No word but His who formed us can break the awful silence. In the presence of such a revelation science is dumb, and faith comes in joyfully to accept that higher truth which can never be the object of physical demonstration."85

    It thus appears, after all, that there is in man a soul; that the soul is not the body, nor a function of it; that it is the subject and agent of our thoughts, feelings, and volitions. But this is precisely the thing which the lecture is devoted to disproving. Thus Professor Barker's science gives up the ghost at the feet of his religion. It quenches its torch in the fountain of an order of truths higher than those which admit of "physical demonstration." The prw/ton yeu/doj of the whole theory is, that nothing is true which cannot be physically demonstrated; that is, which cannot be felt, weighed, or otherwise measured.

Wallace, the Naturalist.

    A still more striking illustration of the insufficiency of materialistic principles is furnished by the distinguished naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, above quoted. After devoting his whole book to the defence of the doctrine of natural selection, which refers the origin of all species arid genera of plants and animals to the blind operation of physical forces, he comes to the conclusion that there are no such forces; that all is "Mind." Matter has no existence. Matter is force, and force is mind; so that "the whole universe is not merely dependent on, but actually is the WILL of higher intelligences, or one Supreme Intelligence."86 He holds that instead of admitting the existence of an unknown something called matter, and that mind is "another thing, either a product of this matter and its supposed inherent forces, or distinct from, and co-existent with it;" . . . it is a "far simpler and more consistent belief, that matter, as an entity distinct from force, does not exist; and that force is a product of MIND. Philosophy," he adds, "had long demonstrated our incapacity to prove the existence of matter, as usually conceived, while it admitted the demonstration to each of us of our own self-conscious, ideal existence. Science has now worked its way up to the same result, and this agreement between them should give us some confidence in their combined teaching."87 Thus, by one step, the gulf between Materialism and idealistic pantheism is passed. This, at least, is a concession that physical forces cannot account for the phenomena of life and mind; and that in conceding that Materialism as a theory is false.

    The great mistake of Materialists is that they begin at the wrong end. They begin with blind, lifeless matter; and endeavor to deduce from it and its molecular changes, all the infinite marvels of organization, life, and intelligence which the universe exhibits. This is an attempt to make everything out of nothing. The human mind, in its normal state, always begins with God; who, as the Bible teaches us, is an Infinite Spirit, and therefore self-conscious, intelligent, and voluntary; the creator of all things; of matter with its properties, and of finite minds with their powers; and who controls all things by his ever present wisdom and might; so that all the intelligence indicated in unintelligent forces is only one form of the infinite intelligence of God. This is the solution of the problem of the universe given in the Scriptures; a solution which satisfies our whole nature, rational, moral, and religious.

    All works on Psychology, and on the history of Philosophy, contain discussions on the principles of Materialism. Chapter iv. of Dr. Buchanan's able work, "Faith in God and Modern Atheism Compared," is devoted to the history and examination of that theory. See also chapter ii. of the Introduction to Professor Porter's elaborate work, "The Human Intellect." Professor Porter gives, on page 40, a copious account of the literature of the subject. In Herzog's "Real-Encyklopadie," article Materialismus, an account is given of the principal recent German works against the modern form of the doctrine.

    Among the most important works on this subject, besides the writings of Comte and his English disciples, J. Stuart Mill, and H. G. Lewes, are Herbert Spencer's "First Principles of a New System of Philosophy," and his "Biology" in two volumes; Maudsley's "Physiology and Pathology of Mind;" Laycock (Professor in the University of Edinburgh), "Mind and Brain;" Huxley's "Discourse on the Physical Basis of Life;" his "Evidence of Man's Place in Nature" and "Introduction to the Classification of Animals:" and his "Lay Sermons and Essays;" Professor Tyndall's "Essay on Heat;" "The Correlation and Conservation of Forces: A Series of Expositions, by Professor Grove, Professom Helmholtz, Dr. Mayer, Dr. Faraday, Professor Liebig, and Dr. Carpenter; with an Introduction by Edward L. Youmans, M. D.; "Alexander Bain (Professor of Logic in the University of Aberdeen), "The Senses and the Intellect;" "The Emotions and the Will;" "Mental and Moral Science;" "Kraft und Stofi von Ludwig Buchner. Zehnte Auflage. Leipzig, 1869." By the same author, "Die Stellung des Menschen in der Natur in Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft. Oder Woher kommen wir? Wer sind wir? Wohin gehen wir? Leipzig, 1869." Also, "Sechs Vorlesungen uber die Darwin'sche Theorie von der Verwandlung der Arten und die erste Entstehung der Organismenwelt. Leipzig, 1868."

§ 5. Pantheism.

A. What Pantheism is.

    If the etymology of the word Pantheism be allowed to determine its meaning, the answer to the question, What is Pantheism? is easy. The universe is God, and God is the universe. To. pa/n Qeoj e;sti. This is not only the signification of the word and the popular idea usually attached to it, but it is the formal definition often given of the term. Thus Wegscheider says, "Pantheismus [est] ea sententia, qua mundum non secretum a numine ac disparatum, sea ad ipsam Dei essentiam pertinere quidam opinati sunt."88 This, however, is pronounced by the advocates of the doctrine to be a gross misrepresentation. The idea that the universe, as the aggregate of individual things, is God, is, they say, a form of thought, which the earliest philosophy of the East had surmounted. It might as well be said that the contents of a man's consciousness, at any one time, were the man himself; or that the waves of the ocean were the ocean itself. It is because so many Pantheists take the word in the sense above indicated, that they deny that they are Pantheists, and affirm their belief in the being of God. As the system which is properly designated Pantheism, does exclude the popular view of the subject, derived from the etymology of the word; and as it has been held in very different forms, it is not easy to give a concise and satisfactory answer to the question, What is Pantheism? The three principal forms in which the doctrine has been presented, are, (1.) That which ascribes to the Infinite and Universal Being, the attributes (to a certain extent at least) of both mind and matter, namely, thought and extension. (2.) That which ascribes to it only the attributes of matter, Materialistic Pantheism. (3.) That which ascribes to it only the attributes of spirit, Idealistic Pantheism.

General Principles of the System.

    For the purpose of theological instruction it is sufficient to stat what these several systems unite in denying, and what they substantially agree in affirming.

    1. They deny all dualism in the universe. The essential distinction between matter and mind, between soul and body, between God and the world, between the Infinite and the Finite is repudiated. There is but one substance, but one real Being. Hence the doctrine is called Monism, or, the All One doctrine. "The idea," says Cousin,89 "of the finite, of the infinite, and of their necessary connection as cause and effect, meet in every act of intelligence, nor is it possible to separate them from each other; though distinct, they are bound together, and constitute at once a triplicity and unity." "The first term (the infinite), though absolute, exists not absolutely in itself, but as an absolute cause which must pass into action, and manifest itself in the second (the finite). The finite cannot exist without the infinite, and the infinite can only be realized by developing itself in the finite."

    All philosophy is founded, he says, on the ideas of "unity and multiplicity," "of substance and phenomenon." "Behold," he says, "all the propositions which we had enumerated reduced to a single one, as vast as reason and the possible, to the opposition of unity and plurality, of substance and phenomenon, of being and appearance, of identity and difference."90 All men, he says, believe, "as it were, in a combination of phenomena which would cease to be at the moment in which the eternal substance should cease to sustain them; they believe, as it were, in the visible manifestation of a concealed principle which speaks to them under this cover, and which they adore in nature and in consciousness."91 "As God is made known only in so far as he is absolute cause, on this account, in my opinion, he cannot but produce, so that the creation ceases to be unintelligible, and God is no more without a world than a world without God."92 It is one of the most familiar aphorisms of the German philosophers, "Ohne Welt kein Gott; und ohne Gott keine Welt."

    Renan in his "Vie de Je,sus," understands by Pantheism, materialism, or the denial of a living God. This would exclude all the forms of the doctrines held by idealistic pantheists in all ages. Dr. Calderwood pronounces Sir William Hamilton's doctrine of creation pantheistic, because it denies that the sum of existence can either be increased or diminished. Sir William Hamilton teaches that when we say God created the world out of nothing, we can only mean that "He evolves existence out of himself." Although all the forms of Pantheism are monistic, except Hylozoism, which is properly dualistic, yet the mere doctrine of the unity of substance does not constitute Pantheism. However objectionable the doctrine may be that everything that exists, even unorganized matter, is of the substance of God, it has been held by many Christian Theists. This does not necessarily involve the denial of the essential distinction between matter and mind.

    2. However they differ as to the nature of the Infinite as such, whether it be matter or spirit; or that of which both thought and extension (potentially) can be predicated; or, whether it be thought itself, or force, or cause, or nothing, i. e., that of which nothing can be affirmed or denied; a simple unknown quantity; they all agree that it has no existence either before or out of the world. The world is, therefore, not only consubstantial, but coeternal with God.

    3. This of course precludes the idea of creation; except as an eternal and necessary process.

    4. They deny that the Infinite and Absolute Being in itself has either intelligence, consciousness, or will. The Infinite comes into existence in the Finite. The whole life, consciousness, intelligence, and knowledge, at any time, of the former, is the life, consciousness, intelligence, and knowledge of the latter, i. e., of the world. "Omnes (mentes)," says Spinoza, "simul Dei aeternum et infinitum intellectum constituunt."93 "God alone is, and out of Him is nothing."94 "Seine Existenz als Wesen ist unser Denken von ihm; aber seine reale Existenz ist die Natur, zu welcher das einzelne Denkende als moment gehort."95

    5. Pantheism denies the personality of God. Personality as well as consciousness implies a distinction between the Self and the Not Self; and such distinction is a limitation inconsistent with the nature of the Infinite. God, therefore, is not a person who can say I, and who can be addressed as Thou. As He comes into existence, intelligence, and consciousness only in the world, He is a person only so far as He comprehends all personalities, and the consciousness of the sum of finite creatures constitutes the consciousness of God. "The true doctrine of Hegel on this subject," says Michelet,96 "is not that God is a person as distinguished from other persons; neither is He simply the universal or absolute substance. He is the movement of the Absolute ever making itself subjective; and in the subjective first comes to objectivity or to true existence." "God," he adds, "according to Hegel, is the only true personal Being." "As God is eternal personality, so He eternally produces his other self, namely, Nature, in order to come to self-consciousness."

    It follows of necessity from the doctrine, that God is the substance of which the universe is the phenomenon; that God has no existence but in the world; that the aggregate consciousness and life of the Finite is, for the time being, the whole consciousness and life of the Infinite; that the Infinite cannot be a person distinct from the world, to whom we can say, Thou. On this point Cousin says, "Take away my faculties, and the consciousness that attests them to me, and I am not for myself. It is the same with God; take away nature, and the soul, and every sign of God disappears."97 What the soul would be without faculties and without consciousness, that is God without the universe. An unconscious God, without life, of whom nothing can be predicated but simple being, is not only not a person, but he is, for us, nothing.

    6. Man is not an individual subsistence. He is but a moment in the life of God; a wave on the surface of the sea; a leaf which falls and is renewed year after year.

    7. When the body, which makes the distinction of persons among men, perishes, personality ceases with it. There is no conscious existence for man after death. Schleiermacher, in his "Discourses," says, the piety in which he was nurtured in his youth, "remained with me when the God and immortality of my childhood disappeared from my doubting sight."98 On this avowal, Mr. Hunt, curate of St. Ives, Hunts, comments: "The 'God and immortality' - of his childhood disappeared. The personal God whom the Moravians worshipped was exchanged for the impersonal Divinity of philosophy. Nor did this theology seem impious. No, it was the very essence of true religion." There is good reason to believe that with regard to the personal existence of the soul after death, Schleiermacher sacrificed his philosophy, as he certainly did in other points, to his religion. This, however, only the more clearly shows how inconsistent the pantheistic view of the nature of God is with the doctrine of conscious existence after death. The absorption of the soul in God, of the Finite into the Infinite, is the highest destiny that Pantheism can acknowledge for man.

    8. As man is only a mode of God's existence, his acts are the acts of God, and as the acts of God are necessary, it follows that there can be no freedom of the will in man. Spinoza says,99 "Hinc sequitur mentem humanam partem esse infiniti intellectus Dei: an proinde cum dicimus, mentem humanam hoc vel illud percipere, nihil aliud dicimus, quam quod Deus, non quatenus infinitus est, sed quatenus per naturam humanae mentis explicatur, sive quatenus humanae mentis essentiam constituit, hanc vel illam habeat ideam." "In mente nulla est absoluta sive libera voluntas. Mens certus et determinatus modus cogitandi est adeoque suarum actionum non potest esse causa libera."100 "Eodem hoc modo demonstratur, in mente nullam dari facultatem absolutam intelligendi, cupiendi, amandi, etc."101

    Cousin says, "We are thus arrived then in the analysis of the me, by the way of psychology still, at a new aspect of ontology, at a substantial activity, anterior and superior to all phenomenal activity, which produces all the phenomena of activity, survives them all, and renews them all, immortal and inexhaustible, in the destruction of its temporary manifestations."102 Thus our activity is only a temporary manifestation of the activity of God. All our acts are his acts.103

    Mr. Hunt, analyzing Spinoza's system, and using mainly his language on this point, says, "Spinoza ascribed to God a kind of freedom: a free necessity. But to created existences even this kind of freedom is denied. 'There is nothing contingent in the nature of beings; all things on the contrary are determined by the necessity of the Divine nature, to exist and to act, after a certain fashion. 'Nature produced' is determined by 'nature producing. It does not act, it is acted upon. The soul of man is a Spiritual automaton. . . . There can be nothing arbitrary in the necessary developments of the Divine essence."104

    As Pantheism makes creation an eternal, necessary, and continuous evolution of the Infinite Being, all liberty of second causes is of necessity excluded. A distinction may be made between the necessity by which a stone falls to the ground, and the necessity by which a mind thinks; but the necessity is as absolute in the one case as in the other. Liberty in man is rational self-determination, that is, spontaneity determined by reason. But reason in man is impersonal, according to Pantheism. It is God as explicated in us. All the acts of the human mind are the acts of God as determined by the necessity of his nature. The same doctrine of fatalism is involved in the idea that history is merely the self-evolution of God. One idea, or phase of the Infinite Being, is exhibited by one age or nation, and a different one by another. But the whole is as much a necessary process of evolution as the growth of a plant.

    Sir William Hamilton, therefore, says that Cousin destroys liberty by divorcing it from intelligence, and that his doctrine is inconsistent not only with Theism but with morality, which cannot be founded "on a liberty which at best only escapes necessity by taking refuge with chance."105 And Morell, a eulogist of Cousin, says, that according to Cousin: "God is the ocean, we are but the waves; the ocean may be one individuality, and each wave another; but still they are essentially one and the same. We see not how Cousin's Theism can possibly be consistent with any idea of moral evil; neither do we see how, starting from such a dogma, he can ever vindicate and uphold his own theory of human liberty. On such Theistic principles, all sin must be simply defect, and all defect must be absolutely fatuitous."106

    9. Pantheism in making man a mode of God's existence, and in denying all freedom of the will, and in teaching that all "phenomenal activity" is "a transient manifestation" of the activity of God, precludes the possibility of sin. This does not mean that there is in man no sentiment of approbation or disapprobation, no subjective difference between right and wrong. This would be as absurd as to say that there is no difference between pleasure and pain. But if God be at once God, nature, and humanity; if reason in us be God's reason; his intelligence our intelligence, his activity our activity; if God be the substance of which the world is the phenomenon, if we are only moments in the life of God, then there can be nothing in us which is not in God. Evil is only limitation, or undeveloped good. One tree is larger and finer than another; one mind is more vigorous than another; one mode of action more pleasurable than another; but all alike are modes of God's activity. Water is water, whether in the puddle or in the ocean; and God is God, in Nero or St. John. Hegel says that sin is something unspeakably higher than the law-abiding motion of the planets, or the innocence of plants. That is, it is a higher manifestation of the life of God.

    Spinoza teaches that "sin is nothing positive. It exists for us but not for God. The same things which appear hateful in men are regarded with admiration in animals. . . . It follows then that sin, which only expresses an imperfection, cannot consist in anything which expresses a reality. We speak improperly, applying human language to what is above human language, when we say that we sin against God, or that men offend God."107

    It is the necessary consequence of the doctrine that God is the universal Being, that the more of being the more of God, and therefore the more of good. And consequently the less of being, the less of good. All limitation, therefore, is evil; and evil is simply limitation of being. Spinoza108 says, "Quo magis unusquisque -- suum esse conservare conatur et potest, eo magis virtute praeditus est; contra quatenus unusquisque -- suum esse conservare negligit, eatenus est impotens." In the demonstration of this proposition, he says, "Virtus est ipsa humana potentia,"109 making power and goodness identical. Professor Baur of Tubingen,110 says: "Evil is what is finite; for the finite is negative; the negation of the infinite."

    It is only, as just said, another form of this doctrine that power, or strength, is in man the only good. This does not mean the strength to submit to injury; the strength of self-sacrifice; the strength to be humble and to resist evil passion, but the power to carry out our own purposes in opposition to the will, interests, or happiness of others. That is, that might is right. The victor is always right, the vanquished is always wrong. This is only one manifestation of God, suppressing or superseding a less perfect manifestation. Spinoza's doctrine is, "To the pursuit of what is agreeable, and the hatred of the contrary, man is compelled by his nature, for 'every one desires or rejects by necessity, according to the laws of his nature, that which he judges good or bad.' To follow this impulse is not only a necessity but it is the right and the duty of every man, and every one should be reckoned an enemy who wishes to hinder another in the gratification of the impulses of his nature. The measure of every one's right is his power. The best right is that of the strongest; and as the wise man has an absolute right to do all which reason dictates, or the right of living according to the laws of reason, so also the ignorant and foolish man has a right to live according to the laws of appetite."111 A more immoral and demoralizing principle was never expressed in human language. To say that it is the duty of every man to seek his own gratification, to satisfy the impulses of his nature; that he is an enemy who attempts to hinder that gratification; that the only limit to such gratification is our power; that men have the right, if so inclined, to live according to the laws of appetite, is to say that there is no such thing as moral obligation; no such thing as right or wrong.

    Cousin repeats ad nauseam the doctrine that might is right; that the strongest is always the best. "We usually see in success," he says, "only a triumph of force,. . . . I hope I have shown that, inasmuch as there always must be a vanquished party, and in asmuch as the vanquished party is always that which ought to be vanquished, to accuse the vanquisher and to take part against victory, is to take part against humanity, and to complain of the progress of civilization. It is necessary to go further; it is necessary to prove that the vanquished party deserves to be vanquished; that the vanquishing party not only serves the cause of civilization, but that it is better, and more moral than the vanquished party." "Virtue and prosperity, misfortune and vice, are in necessary harmony ." "Feebleness is a vice, and, therefore, it is always punished and beaten." "It is time," he says, "that philosophy of history put beneath its feet the declamations of philanthropy."112 It must, of course, be true, if God is the life of the world, all power his power, every act his act, not only that there can be no sin, but that the most powerful are always morally (if that word has any meaning) the best; and that might is right. This is the theory on which hero worship is founded, not only among the heathen, but among Christians, so called, of our day.

    10. Pantheism is self deification. If God comes to existence only in the world, and if everything that is, is a manifestation of God, it Follows that (so far as this earth is concerned, and so far as pantheists allow or acknowledge) the soul of man is the highest form of the existence of God. As the souls of men differ very much one from another, one being much superior to others, the greater the man the more divine he is, i. e., the more does he represent God; the more of the divine essence does he reveal. The highest step of development is reached only by those who come to the consciousness of their identity with God. This is the precise doctrine of the Hindus, who teach that when a man is able to say, "I am Brahm," the moment of his absorption into the infinite Being has arrived. This is the ground on which the pantheistic philosophers rest their claim of preeminence; and the ground on which they concede the preeminence of Christ. He, more than any other man, saw into the depths of his own nature. He was able to say as no other man could say, "I and the Father are one." But the difference between Christ and other men is only one of degree. The human race is the incarnation of God, which is a process from eternity to eternity. "Mankind," says Strauss, "is the Godman; the key of a true Christology is, that the predicates which the Church gives to Christ, as an individual, belong to an idea, a generic whole."113

    11. There is only one step further, and that is, the deification of evil. That step Pantheists do not hesitate to take; so far as evil exists it is as truly a manifestation of God as good. The wicked are only one form of the self-manifestation of God; sin is only one form of the activity of God. This dreadful doctrine is explicitly avowed.

    Rosenkranz says,114 "Die dritte Consequenz endlich ist die, dass Gott der Sohn auch als identisch gesetzt ist mit dem Subject, in welchem die religiose Vorstellung den Ursprung des Bosen anichaut, mit dem Satan, Phosphoros, Lucifer. Diese Verschmelzung begrundet sich darin, dass der Sohn innerhalb Gottes das Moment der Unterscheidung ist, in dem Unterschied aber die Moglichkeit der Entgegensetzung und Entzweiung angelegt ist. Der Sohn ist der selbstbewusste Gott." Such a sentence as the foregoing has never been written in English, and, we trust, never will be. The conclusion it avows, however, is unavoidable. If God be everything, and if there be a Satan, God must be Satan. Rosenkranz says, that the mind is horrified at such language, only because it does not recognize the intimate connection between good and evil; that evil is in good, and good in evil. Without evil there can be no good.

    It me because of this deification of evil, that a recent German writer115 said that this system should be called Pandiabolism instead of Pantheism. He, if we mistake not, is the author of the article in Hengstenberg's "Kirchen-Zeitung,"116 in which it is said. "this is the true positive blasphemy of God -- this veiled blasphemy -- this diabolism of the deceitful angel of light -- this speaking of reckless words, with which the man of sin sets himself in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. The Atheist cannot blaspheme within such power as this; his blasphemy is merely negative. He merely says: 'There is no God. It is only out of Pantheism that a blasphemy can proceed, so wild, of such inspired mockery, so devoutly godless, so desperate in its love of the world, -- a blasphemy so seductive, and so offensive that it may well call for the destruction of the world."

    Pantheism, however, becomes all things to all men. To the pure it gives scope for a sentimental religious feeling which sees God in every thing and every thing in God. To the proud it is the source of intolerable arrogance and self-conceit. To the sensual it gives authority for every form of indulgence. The body being a mode of God's extension, according to Spinoza's theory, as the mind is a mode of the divine intelligence, the body has its divine rights as well as the soul. Even some of the most reputable of the Pantheistic school, do not hesitate to say in reference to the trammels of morality: "It is well that the rights of our sensual nature should, from time to time, be boldly asserted."117 This system, therefore, as even the moderate Tholuck says, "comes to the same result with the materialism of French encyclopedists, who mourned over mankind for having sacrificed the real pleasures of time for the imaginary pleasures of eternity, and the protracted enjoyments of life, for the momentary happiness of a peaceful death."

    Pantheism, therefore, merges everything into God. The universe is the existence-form of God; that is, the universe is his existence. All reason is his reason; all activity is his activity; the consciousness of creatures, is all the consciousness God has of himself; good and evil, pain and pleasure, are phenomena of God; modes in which God reveals himself, the way in which He passes from Being into Existence. He is not, therefore, a person whom we can worship and in whom we can trust. He is only the substance of which the universe and all that it contains are the ever changing manifestation. Pantheism admits of no freedom, no responsibility, no conscious life after death. Cousin sums up the doctrine in this comprehensive paragraph: "The God of consciousness is not an abstract God, a solitary monarch exiled beyond the limits of creation, upon the desert throne of a silent eternity, and of an absolute existence which resembles even the negation of existence. He is a God at once true and real, at once substance and cause, always substance and always cause, being substance only in so far as He is cause, and cause only so far as He is substance, that is to say, being absolute cause, one and many, eternity and time, space and number, essence and life, indivisibility and totality, principle, end, and centre, at the summit of Being and at its lowest degree, infinite and finite together, triple, in a word, that is to say, at the same time God, nature, and humanity. In fact, if God be not everything, He is nothing."118

History of Pantheism.

    Pantheism has proved itself to be the most persistent as well as the most wide-spread form of human thought relative to the origin and nature of tIme universe, and its relation to the Infinite Being, whose existence in some form seems to be a universal and necessary assumption. Pantheistic ideas underlie almost all the forms of religion which have existed in the world. Polytheism, which has been almost universal, has its origin in nature worship; and nature-worship rests on the assumption that Nature is God, or, the manifestation, or existence form of the infinite unknown. Of course it is only the briefest outline of the different forms of this portentous system of error, that can be given in these pages.

B. Brahminical Pantheism.

    Ethnographically the Hindus belong to the same race as the Greeks, Romans, and other great European nations. In prehistoric periods one division of the great Aryan family spread itself westward over the territory which now constitutes Europe. Another division extended south and east and entered India, displacing almost entirely the original inhabitants of that large, diversified, and fertile region.

    Long before Greece or Rome became cultivated communities, and when Europe was the home only of uncivilized barbarians, India was covered with rich and populous cities; the arts had reached the highest state of development; a literature and language which, in the judgment of scholars, rival those of Greece and Rome, had been produced, and systems of philosophy as profound, as subtle, and as diversified as the human mind ever elaborated, were already taught in her schools.

    The Hindus number nearly two hundred millions of souls. They are now, in the essential principles of their philosophy, their religion, and their social organization, what they were a thousand years before the birth of Christ. Never in the history of the world has a form of religious philosophy been so extensively embraced, so persistently adhered to, or so effective in moulding the character and determining the destiny of a people.

    Few questions of the kind, therefore, are of deeper interest than what the true character of the Hindu religion actually is. The decision of that question is not free from difficulty; and it has, therefore, received very different answers. The difficulty in this case arises from various sources.

    1. The religious books of the Hindus are not only written in Sanskrit, a language unintelligible, except to a small class of learned men, but they are exceedingly voluminous. The Vedas, the most ancient and authoritative, fill fourteen volumes folio. The Institutes of Menu, the Puranas, and the sacred poems, "Ramayana" and "Mahabhrata," are equally extensive. The former of these poems consists of a hundred thousand verses, and the latter of four hundred thousand, while the Aeneid has only twelve thousand, and the Iliad twenty-four thousand. Sir William Jones said that the student of the Hindu literature and religion, found himself in time presence of infinity.

    2. lt is not only, however, the voluminousness of the authoritative sacred books, but the character of their contents, which creates the difficulty of getting a clear idea of the system which they teach. The Vedas consist mainly of hymns of various ages, interspersed with brief obscure, philosophical or theological explanations and comments. The Puranas are filled with extravagant legends; which are to be interpreted historically, and which mythically, it is difficult to decide.

    3. The spirit of exaggeration is so characteristic of the Hindu mind that statements meant to be understood literally shock the mind by their extravagance. Thus their books make the earth a circular plane one hundred and seventy millions of miles in diameter; they speak of mountains sixty miles high, and of periods of four thousand millions of millions of years.

The Religion of the Hindus not originally Monotheistic.

    It is a common opinion that the Hindu religion was originally and for centuries monotheistic; that out of monotheism gradually rose the present complicated and monstrous polytheism, and that contemporaneously among the philosophical class, were developed the different forms of Pantheism. But this is contrary to well established facts, and is altogether unsatisfactory as a solution of the great problem of Hindu life.

    It is indeed true, as we know from the Bible, that monotheism was the earliest form of religion among men. And it is also true in all probability that the Vedas, which are collections of ancient hymns, contain some which belong to the monotheistic period. Most of those, however, which appear to assume the existence of one God, are to be understood in a pantheistic and not in a theistic sense. These recognize one divine Being, but that one includes all the other forms of being. The history of religion shows that when monotheism failed among men because "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge," it was replaced by the worship of nature. This nature-worship assumed two forms. The different elements, as fire, air, and water, were personified, endowed with personal attributes and divine powers, giving rise to polytheism. Or nature as a whole was the object of worship, giving rise to Pantheism.

    It is evident that among the highly intellectual Aryans who settled in India, between one and two thousand years before Christ, the pantheistic view had obtained the ascendency, not as a philosophical theory merely, but as a religious doctrine. It became, and has continued until this day, the foundation of the religious, civil, and social life of the Hindu. It is this which gives it its paramount importance. It stands alone in history. In no other case, among no other people, has Pantheism become the controlling form of religious belief among the people, so as to determine their institutions and to mould their character. The Hindus, therefore, have an interest for Christians and for the religious philosopher which attaches to no other heathen nation. They show, and were doubtless intended to show, what are the legitimate effects of Pantheism. That doctrine has had dominant control for millenniums over a highly cultivated and intelligent people, and in their character and state we see its proper fruits.

It was Pantheistic.

    That the religion of the Hindus is fundamentally pantheistic, is evident --

    1. From what their sacred writings teach of the Supreme Being. It is designated by a word in the neuter gender, Brahm. It is never addressed as a person. It is never worshipped. It has no attributes but such as may be predicated of space. It is said to be eternal, infinite, immutable. It is said to have continued for untold ages in the state of unintelligent, unconscious being. It comes to existence, to consciousness, and life, in the world. It unfolds itself through countless ages in all the forms of finite existence; and then by a like gradual process all things are resolved into unconscious being. The illustrations of the origin of the world commonly employed are sparks issuing from a burning mass; or, better, vapour rising from the ocean, condensing and falling back to the source whence it came. Being as such, or the Infinite, is, therefore, viewed in three aspects: as coming to existence, as developing itself in the world, as receiving everything back into the abyss of simple being. These different aspects are expressed by the words, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, to which our terms, Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, answer very imperfectly.

    We have here the constantly recurring pantheistic formula, Thesis, Analysis, Synthesis; Being. Development, Restoration. The Infinite, the Finite, and their Identity. The principal difference between the Brahminical system and the theories of the later pantheists, is that the latter make the universe co-eternal with God. The Infinite from eternity to eternity develops itself in the Finite. Whereas, according to the former, there was an inconceivably long period of repose antecedent to the process of development, and that process after millions of millions of ages, is to be followed by a like period of unconsciousness and rest.

Relation of Infinite Being to the World.

    2. The relation of God to the world, or rather of the Infinite to the Finite, is the same in the Brahminical, as in other pantheistic systems. That relation has been already intimated. It is that of identity. The world is the existence-form of God. God is every thing, good and evil; and everything is God. But in very different degrees. There is more of Being (i. e., of God) in a plant than in unorganized matter; more in an animal than in the plant more in man than in either; more in one man, or race of men, than in another.

Relation of Pantheism to Polytheism.

    3. The vast polytheistic system of the Hindus is founded on Pantheism and is its logical consequence. In the first place, as just remarked, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, commonly called the Hindu Trinity, are not persons, but personifications, or different aspects under which Infinite Being is to be regarded. In the second place, as the Infinite Being manifests itself in different degrees in different persons and things, anything extraordinary in nature, any remarkable man, is regarded as a special manifestation or embodiment of God. Hence the frequent avatars or incarnations of the Hindu mythology. In this way the gods may be, and have been indefinitely multiplied. Any person or thing, or quality, may be deified as a manifestation of infinite Being. In the third place, this accounts for the facts that the Hindu gods are regarded as destitute of moral excellence, and that even evil, as under the name of Kali, the goddess of cruelty and patroness of murderers, may be the special object of reverence. In the fourth place, no god, not even Brahma or Vishnu, is, according to the Hindu system, immortal. All gods and goddesses are at length to be merged in the abyss of infinite, unconscious Being.

Effect of Pantheism on Religion.

    4. Pantheism, as it makes being, God, as it recognizes no attribute but power in the objects of worship, divorces morality from religion. It is not in the power of any system, however sincerely embraced, to reverse the laws of our nature. And, therefore, in despite of the prevalence of a doctrine which denies the possibility of either sin or virtue, and makes everything dependent on fate, or the power of arbitrary being, the people in various ways recognize the obligation of the moral law and the excellence of virtue. But this has nothing to do with their religion. The great object of all religious observances was final absorption in God; their proximate object was to propitiate some power by which the worshipper would be raised one or more steps toward the state in which that absorption is possible. On this point Professor Wilson says:119 "Entire dependence upon Krishna, or any other favorite deity, not only obviates the necessity of virtue, but it sanctifies vice. Conduct is wholly immaterial. It matters not how atrocious a sinner a man may be, if he paints his face, his breast, his arms with certain sectarial marks; or, which is better, if he brands his skin permanently with them with a hot iron stamp; if he is constantly chanting hymns in honor of Vishnu, or, what is equally efficacious, if he spends hours in the simple reiteration of his name or names; if he die with the word Hari, or Rama, or Krishna on his lips, and the thought of him in his mind, he may have lived a monster of iniquity, -- he is certain of heaven." "Certain of heaven," is a Christian form of expression, and conveys an idea foreign to the Hindu mind. What such a worshipper hopes and expects is that when next born into the world it may be in a higher state and so much the nearer his final absorption. As Professor Wilson is not only moderate, but almost apologetic in the account which he gives of the religion of the Hindus, the above quoted statement cannot be suspected of unfairness or exaggeration.

Character of the Hindu Worship.

    The two leading characteristics of the Hindu worship are cruelty and indecency. And these are sufficiently accounted for by the Pantheism which underlies the whole system. Pantheism denies the distinction between virtue and vice; it recognizes no attribute but power; it deifies evil; it "sanctifies vice;" passion, sensual or malignant, is as much a mode of divine manifestation as the most heroic virtue. Indeed, there is no room for the idea of moral excellence. Hence the prescriptions of religion have reference almost exclusively to rites and ceremonies. The Brahmin when he rises must bathe in a certain way, stand in a certain posture, extend his fingers in a prescribed manner; he must salute the rising sun, resting on one foot; he must repeat certain words. When he eats, the dish must be placed according to rule; he must make prescribed motions with his hands, and so on through the whole day. Every act is prescribed, everything is religious; everything either defiles or purifies, ceremonially, but of moral defilement or purity there seems to be in their religion no recognition.

The Anthropology of the Hindus.

    5. The anthropology of the Hindus proves the pantheistic character of their whole system. Man is only a part of God, a mode of his existence. He is compared to a portion of sea-water inclosed in a bottle and thrown into the ocean. The water in the bottle is the same in nature as that without. As soon as the bottle is broken the water within it is lost in the surrounding ocean. Another illustration of the destiny of the soul is that of a lump of salt thrown into the ocean, which immediately disappears. Its individuality is lost. This absorption of the soul is the highest beatification which Pantheism offers to its votaries. But this, in the case of the vast majority of men, can be attained only after a long process of transmigrations extending, it may be, through millions of years. If a man be faithful and punctilious in his religious observances, he comes into the world after death in a higher state. Thus, a Soudra may become a Brahmin. But if unfaithful, he will be born in a lower form, it may be, in that of a reptile. It is thus, by these alternations, that the wished for absorption in Brahm is ultimately attained. With regard to the sacred, or Brahminical caste, the process may be shorter. A Brahmin's life is divided, according to the Institutes of Menu, into four periods: childhood, student life; life as householder; and finally, the ascetic period. As soon as a Brahmin feels the approach of old age, he is directed to retire from the world; to live as a hermit; to subsist only on herbs; to deny himself all business and enjoyment, that by continued self-negation he may not only destroy the power of the body, and free himself from the influence of the things seen and temporal, but also lose the consciousness of his individuality, and be able at last to say, "I am Brahm," and then be is lost in the infinite.

    The Hindu life is dominated by this doctrine of absorption in God after a long series of transmigrations, and by the division of the people into castes, which has in like manner its foundation in their theory of the relation of God to the world, or, of the Infinite to the Finite. The Brahminical, or sacred class, is a higher manifestation of God than the military class; the military, than the mercantile; the mercantile, than the servile. This is popularly expressed by saying that the first proceeds from the head, the second from the arms, the third from the body, and the fourth from the feet of Brahm. The member of one of the lower castes cannot pass into either of those above him, except that by merit (ritual observances) he may on his next birth into the world be advanced to a higher grade; and one of a higher caste, by neglect of the prescribed rule of living, may at his next birth find himself degraded into a lower caste, or even into a beast or a reptile. Hence the horror of losing caste, which places a man out of the line of advancement, and consigns him to an almost endless state of degradation.

The Effect of Pantheism on the Social Life of the Hindus.

    6. The whole religious and social life of the Hindu is controlled by the radical principle that all things are God, or modes of his existence, and all destined to return to Him again. To a Hindu his individual existence is a burden. It is a fall from God. Hence to get back, to be lost in the Infinite, is the one great object of desire and effort. As this end is not to be attained by virtue, but by asceticism, by propitiation of the gods, their religion is simply a round of unmeaning ceremonies, or acts of self-denial, or self-torture. Their religion, therefore, tends to destroy all interest in the present life, which is regarded as a burden and degradation. It cuts the nerves of exertion. It presents no incentive to virtue. it promotes vice. It has all the effects of fatalism. The influence of the worship of deities without moral excellence, some of them monsters of iniquity; the belief that cruelty and obscenity are acceptable to these deities, and secure their favor, cannot be otherwise than debasing. The world, therefore, sees in India the practical working of Pantheism. The system has been in unrestricted operation, not as a philosophy, but as a practical religious belief, for thousands of years, and among a people belonging to the most favored of the various races of men, and the result is before our eyes.

    "Greece and India," says Max Muller,120 "are, indeed, the two opposite poles in the historical development of the Aryan man. To the Greek, existence is full of life and reality; to the Hindu it is a dream, an illusion. . . . The Hindu enters this world as a stranger; all his thoughts are directed to another world; he takes no part even where he is driven to act; and when he sacrifices his life, it is but to be delivered from it. No wonder that a nation like the Indian cared so little for history; no wonder that social and political virtues were little cultivated, and the ideas of the useful and the beautiful scarcely known to them. With all this, however, they had what the Greek was as little capable of imagining as they were of realizing the elements of Grecian life. They shut their eyes to this world of outward seeming and activity, to open them full on the world of thought and rest. Their life was a yearning after eternity; their activity a struggle to return into that divine essence from which this life seemed to have severed them. Believing as they did in a divine and really existing eternal Being (to. o;ntwj o;n), they could not believe in the existence of this passing world. If the one existed, the other could only seem to exist; if they lived in the one, they could not live in the other. Their existence on earth was to them a problem, their eternal life a certainty. The highest object of their religion was to restore that bond by which their own self (atman) was linked to the eternal Self (paramatman); to recover that unity which had been clouded and obscured by the magical illusions of reality, by the so-called Maya of creation."

    In order to show "How largely this idea of the Atman, as the Divine Spirit, entered into the early religious and philosophical speculations of the Indians," he quotes from one of the Vedas a Dialogue in which, among other things, one of the speakers says: "Whosoever looks for this world, for the gods, for all beings, for this universe, elsewhere than in the Divine Spirit, should be abandoned by them all. This Brahmahood, this kshatra-power, this world, these gods, these beings, this universe, all is the Divine Spirit."121 The illustrations used by the speaker to show the relation of the phenomenal universe to God, are derived from the sounds issuing from a drum or a lute, smoke rising from a fire, vapour from the sea. He adds, "It is with us, when we enter into the Divine Spirit, as if a lump of salt was thrown into the sea, it becomes dissolved into the water (from which it was produced), and is not to be taken out again. But wherever you take the water and taste it, it is salt. Thus is this great, endless, and boundless Being but one mass of knowledge. As the water becomes salt, and the salt becomes water again, thus has the Divine Spirit appeared from out the elements and disappears again into them. When we have passed away, there is no longer any name."122

    There can therefore be no reasonable doubt that Pantheism lies at the foundation of all the religion of India. There is, indeed, the same difference between the present complex and corrupt polytheism of the Hindus and the teachings of the Vedas, that there is between the Roman Catholicism of our day and primitive Christianity. There is, however, this important distinction between the two cases. Popery is a perversion of Christianity by the introduction of incongruous elements derived from Jewish and heathen sources, whereas the religion of modern India is the legitimate and logical result of the principles of the earliest and purest of the Hindu sacred writings.

    The most accessible sources of information on the literature and religion of lndia, are the writings of Sir William Jones; the writings of Colebrooke; the Journal of the Asiatic Society; the works of Prof. Wilson of Oxford, specially his "Essays and Lectures on the Religion of the Hindus"; Max Muller's work just quoted. Dr. Duff's "India and Indian Missions," and the histories of India, by Macaulay, Elphinstone. et al.

C. Grecian Pantheism.

    The remark of Max Muller, that "Greece and India are the two opposite poles of the development of the Aryan man," is strikingly correct. The Greek believed in, and lived for the present and the visible; the Indian believed in, and lived for the invisible and the future. Nevertheless there was a tendency in the higher minds among the Greeks to adopt the same speculative views as to God and the universe, the Infinite and the Finite, as prevailed in India. With the Greek, however, it was a matter of speculation; with the Hindu, it was a practical religious belief.

    Speaking in general terms, the different forms of Grecian philosophy are characterized by the effort to reduce all the forms of existence to unity; to discover some one substance, principle, or power, to which all modes of manifestation of being could be referred. Sometimes this one substance was assumed to be material; sometimes spiritual; sometimes the obvious incompatibility between the phenomena of mind and those of matter, forced the admission of two eternal principles: the one active, the other passive; the one spiritual, the other material. The fundamental principle or idea, therefore, of the Grecian philosophy was pantheistic, either in its materialistic, spiritualistic, or hylozoistic form.

The Ionic School.

    The earliest school among the Greeks was the Ionic, represented by Thales the Milesian, Anaximander and Anaximenes also of Miletus, and Heraclitus of Ephesus. These philosophers flourished from about 600 to 500 B. C. They were all materialistic in their theories. With Thales the one primal universal substance was water; with Anaximenes it was air; with Heraclitus it was fire. "It was the endeavour of this oldest of the Ionic philosophies, to reduce the origin of all things from one simple radical cause, a cosmical substance, in itself unchangeable, but entering into the change of phenomena; and this was why these philosophers had no room in their doctrine for gods, or transmundane beings, fashioning and ruling things at will; and, in fact, Aristotle also remarked of the old physiologists, that they had not distinguished the moving cause from matter."123 Of Heraclitus, Dollinger, in his able work "The Gentile and the Jew in the Courts of the Temple of Christ," says he "meant by his 'fire,' an ethereal substance as primal matter, the all-pervading and animating soul of the universe, a matter which he conceived to be not merely actual fire, but caloric, and this being at the same time the only power at work in the world, all-creative and destructive in turns, was, to speak generally, the one real and veritable existence among all things. For everything had its origin only in the constant modification of this eternal and primal fire: the entire world was a fire dying out and rekindling itself in a fixed succession, while the other elements are but fire converted by condensation or rarefaction into a variety of forms. Thus the idea of a permanent being is a delusion; everything is in a state of perpetual flux, an eternal-going to be (Werden), and in this stream spirit is hurried along as well as body, swallowed up and born afresh. . . . Heraclitus, as any thorough-going Pantheist would, called the common soul of the world, the all-comprehending primal fire, Zeus; and the flux of perpetual change and tendency to be, into which it enters, he termed poetically Zeus playing by himself."124

    Cousin says, "For the Ionic school in both its stages, there was no other God than nature. Pantheism is inherent in its system. What is Pantheism? It is the conception of the universe, to. pa/n, as alone existing, as self-sufficient, and having its explanation in itself. All nascent philosophy is a philosophy of nature, and thus is inclined to Pantheism. The sensationalism of the Ionians of necessity took that form; and, to speak honestly, Pantheism is nothing but atheism."125

    Cousin frames the definition of Pantheism so as to exclude his own system. With him the material universe alone is not God. He believes in "God, nature, and humanity." But these three are one. "If God," he says, "be not everything, He is nothing." This, however, is as truly Pantheism (although in a more philosophical form), as the Materialism of the Ionians.

The Eleatic School.

    The Eleatic or Italian school, of which Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Zeno, are the principal representatives, was inclined to the other extreme of denying the very existence of matter. Of these philosophers, Cousin says, "They reduced everything to an existence absolute, which approached nearly to Nihilism, or the denial of all existence."126 Of Xenophanes, born in Colophon 617 B. C., Dollinger127 says, "With all his assertions of monotheistic sound, he was still a Pantheist, and, indeed, a material Pantheist, and is universally understood to be such by the ancients. Certainly there was present to his mind the idea of a being, one and spiritual, embracing the whole complement of existence and thought within himself; yet this being was in his view but the general nature-power; the unity of God was to him identical with the unity of the world, and this again but the manifestation of the invisible being, called God, and therefore also he explained it to be uncreate, everlasting, and imperishable." It is hard to see how this differs from the modern pantheistic doctrine, that God is the substance of which the world is the phenomenon; or why Xenophanes should be regarded as a materialist more than Schelling or Cousin.

    Parmenides of Elea about 500 B. C. was more of an idealist. He attained to the idea of a pure and simple being in opposition to the material principle of the Ionic school. This "being," however, was not a "pure metaphysical idea, for," says Dollinger, "he so expressed himself as to seem to represent it at one time as corporeal, and extended in space, at another as thinking. 'To think, and the object of which the thought is, are one and the same, was a saying of his. . . . There was no bridge for Parmenides that had led from this pure simple 'being' to the world of phenomena, of the manifold, and of motion; and therefore he denied the reality of all we see; the whole world of sense owed its existence only to the illusions of sense and the empty notions of mortal men built thereon."128 Thus Parmenides anticipated Schelling in teaching the identity of subject and object.

The Stoics.

    The Stoics take their origin from Zeno of Cittium, in Cyprus (840-260 B. C.). Their doctrine has already been noticed under the head of Hylozoism. Dollinger, indeed, says, "The Stoic system is utter Materialism, built upon Heraclitic doctrine. It adopted corporeal causes only, and is only acquainted with two principles -- matter, and an activity resident in matter, from eternity, as power and giving it form. Everything real is body; there are no incorporeal things, as our abstractions, space, time, etc., have merely an existence in our thoughts; so all that really exists can only be known through the senses."129 This judgment, however, is modified by what he says elsewhere. It is very plain that the later Stoics, especially among the Latins, as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, regarded the general principle which animated matter as having all the attributes of mind. On this point Dollinger says, "The two principles, matter and power, are to the Stoics but one and the same thing viewed in different relations. Matter required for its existence a principle of unity to give it form and keep it together; and this, the active element, is inconceivable without matter, as a subject in and on which it exists and dwells, and in which it works and moves. Thus, the positive element is matter; yet conceived without properties; the active one, running through and quickening all, is God in matter. But in truth, God and matter are identical; in other words, the Stoic doctrine is hylozoic Pantheism." "God is, therefore, the world-soul, and the world itself no aggregate of independent elements, but an organized, living being, whose complement and life is a single soul, or primal fire, exhibiting divers degrees of expansion and heat. . . . God, then, in his physical aspect, is the world-fire, or vital heat, all-penetrating, the one only cause of all life and all motion, and, at the same time, the necessity that rules in the world: but, on the other side, as the universal cause can only be a soul full of intelligence and wisdom, he is the world-intelligence, a blest being, and the author of the moral law, who is ever occupied with the government of the world, although he is precisely this world itself."130 "The one substance is God and nature together, of which all that comes into being, and ceases to be, all generation and dissolution, are mere modifications. Seneca explains Zeus or God's being at once the world and the world's soul by pointing to man, who feels himself to be a single being and yet again as one consisting of two substances, body and soul."131

    The Stoics adopted the Hindu doctrine of the dissolution of all things, and the redevelopment of God in the world, after long successive periods. "In the great conflagration which takes place after the expiration of a world period or great year," all organized beings will be destroyed, all multiplicity and difference be lost in God's unity; which means, all will become ether again. But forthwith, like the phoenix recovering life from his own ashes, the formation of the world begins afresh; God transforms himself once more by a general renovation into a world in which the same events, under similar circumstances, are again to be repeated down to the minutest detail. Many of these great catastrophes have already happened, and the process of burning by fire will follow again upon this regeneration, and so on ad infinitum.132

    This system as well as every other form of Pantheism, excludes all moral freedom: everything is under the law of absolute necessity. It therefore precludes the idea of sin. "Acts of vice, Chrysippus said, are movements of universal nature, and in conformity with the divine intelligence. In the economy of the great world, evil is like chaff falling, -- as unavoidable and worthless. Evil also was said by this school to do the service of making the good known, and yet at last all must resolve itself into God."133

    Thus the Ionic, the Eleatic, and the Stoic forms of Grecian philosophy were in their fundamental principles pantheistic. The two great philosophic minds of Greece, and of the world, however, were Plato and Aristotle, the one the philosopher of the ideal world, and the other of the natural. The latter was the disciple of the former, although in most points of doctrine, or at least of method, his antagonist. It is only with the views of these mind-controlling men, concerning the nature of the supreme Being, and of his relation to the phenomenal world, that the theologian as such has anything to do. And this, unfortunately, with regard to both, is the point in regard to which their teachings are the most obscure.


    Plato united in his comprehensive intellect, and endeavoured to harmonize the elements of the different doctrines of his predecessors in the field of speculation. "The Socratic doctrine of the absolute good and beautiful, and of the Deity revealing himself to man as a kind Providence, formed the basis on which he started. As channels for the Heraclitic doctrine of the perpetual coming into being and flux of all things, together with the Eleatic one of the eternal immutability of the one and only Being, the dogma of Anaxagoras of a world-ruling spirit was serviceable to him, and with it he had the skill to connect the Pythagorean view of the universe, as an animated intelligent whole, in a spiritualized form."134 These are sufficiently incongruous materials. An intelligent Deity exercising a providential control over the world; the Heraclitic doctrine which involved the denial of all reality and resolved everything into a perpetual flow of phenomena; the Eleatic doctrine of a one and only Being; and the Pythagorean idea of the universe as an animated and intelligent whole. It was not possible but that first one, and then another of these elements should be made the more prominent, and consequently that the great philosopher should speak sometimnes as a Theist and sometimes as a Pantheist. Neither was it possible that these incongruous elements should be moulded into a consistent system. It is not, therefore, a matter of surprise that Dollinger, one of the greatest admirers of Plato and one of the ablest expounders of his writings, should immediately add to the passage above quoted. "Plato never arrived at a finished system, rounded off and perfect in itself; nevertheless there is unmistakable evidence in his works of a continual progress, an effort after an increasing depth of foundation, and a stronger internal articulation, joined to a wonderful exuberance of ideas, often excessively bold."135

    Plato was not a Theist, in the ordinary and Christian sense of that word. He did not recognize the existence of an extramundane God, the creator, preserver, and governor of the world, on whom we are dependent and to whom we are responsible. With him God is not a person. As Anselm and the Realists generally admitted the existence of "rationality" as distinct from rational beings; a general principle which became individual and personal in angels and men; so Plato admitted the existence of an universal intelligence, or nou/j, which becomes individualized in the different orders of intelligent beings, gods, demons, and men. God with him was an Idea; the Idea of the Good; which comprehended and gave unity to all other ideas.


    What then were ideas in Plato's sense of the term? They were not mere thoughts, but the only real entities, of which the phenomenal and sensible are the representations or shadows. He illustrated their nature by supposing a man in a dark cave entirely ignorant of the external world, with a bright light shining behind him, while between him and the light there continually passes a procession of men, animals, trees, etc. The moving shadows of these things would be projected on the wall of the cavern, and the man would necessarily suppose that the shadows were the realities. These ideas are immutable and eternal, constituting the essence or real being of all phenomenal existence. "Plato teaches that for as many general signs of our conceptions as we have, there are so many really existing things, or Ideas, in the intelligible world corresponding: to man these are the only solid and worthy objects of thought and knowledge; for they are eternal and immutable, existing only in themselves, but separate from all things and individual, while their manifold copies, the things perceptible by sense, are ever fluctuating and transitory. Independent of time and space, as well as of our intellect and its conceptions, Ideas belong to a world of their own, of another sphere, transcending sense. They are not the thoughts of God, but the objects of his thought; and, according to them, He created the world in matter. They only and God are really existing beings; and therefore earthly things have but the shadow of an existence, and that only derived from a certain participation in the Ideas, their types."136

The Relation of Ideas, in Plato's Philosophy, to God

    What is the relation of these ideas to God? This is the decisive question so far as the theology of Plato is concerned. Unfortunately it is not a question easily answered. It is a point about which the commentators differ; some saying that Plato leaves the matter undecided, sometimes identifying ideas with God, and at others representing them as distinct; others say that he clearly identifies ideas with God, or includes them in the divine essence; while others again understand him as making a marked distinction between God and the ideas after which the universe was moulded. It is not easy to reconcile what Dollinger says on this subject. In the passage above quoted he says that ideas are not the thoughts of God, but the objects of his thought. But on the same page137 he says, "These Ideas are not to be conceived as beside and external to God. They are founded in God, and God is the all comprehensive Idea, embracing all partial archetypes in an unity." He had before said, that with Plato Ideas and God are the only "really existing beings." If this be so, and if God is "the all comprehensive idea, embracing all others in unity," then God is the only really existing Being; and we have pure Pantheism. According to Cousin, Plato not only gave ideas a real and proper existence, but, "en analyse il les place dans la raison divine: c'estla qu' elles existent substantiellement."138 Dollinger, in commenting on a passage in the Timaeus, in which "God is styled the Father, who has begotten the world like a son, as an image of the eternal gods, i. e., ideas," says, "Had Plato ready intended here to explain the idea of procreation as a communication of essence, he would have been a pure Pantheist."139 Plato, however, he says140 "is no Pantheist; matter is, with him, entirely distinct from God; still he has a pantheistical bias in his system; for all that there is of intelligence in the world, down even to man, belongs, in his view, to the divine substance." Plato, therefore, escapes Pantheism only by admitting the eternity of matter; but this eternal matter is as near nothing as possible. It is not corporeal. It is "something not yet entity."

    As Plato made ideas eternal and immutable; as they were all included in the idea of God, i. e., in God; and as they constitute the only really existing beings, all that is phenomenal or that affects the senses being mere shadows of the real, it can hardly be denied that his system in its essential character is really pantheistical. It is, however, an ideal Pantheism. It does not admit that matter or evil is a manifestation of God, or mode of his existence. Only what is good, is God; but all that really is, is good.

The cosmogony of Plato.

    Plato's cosmogony and anthropology confirm this view of his theology. Nothing has ever been created. All that is, is eternal; not indeed in form, but in substance. Matter, something material, has always existed. This in itself is lifeless, but it has "a soul,"an unintelligent force by which chaotic or disorderly agitation or motion is produced. This unintelligent force God endowed with a portion of his own intelligence or nou/j, and it becomes the world-soul, i. e., the Demiurgus, the formative principle of the world. God is not therefore himself even the framer of the world. This is the work of the Demiurgus. This world-soul pervades the visible universe, and constitutes one living, animated whole. This "world-soul" is individualized in star-gods, demons, and human souls. Thus Plato's system makes room for polytheism.

The Nature of the Soul.

    The soul, according to this theory, consists of intelligence which is of the substance of God, and of elements derived from the world-soul as distinguished from the nou/j which did not originally belong to it. All evil arises from the connection of the divine element in man with matter. The object of life is to counteract this evil influence by contemplation and communion with the ideal world. Plato taught the preexistence as well as the immortality of the soul. Its state in the present stage of existence being determined by its course in its previous forms of being. It is, however, according to his common mode of representation, strictly immortal. "Plato's monotheistic conception of God," says Dollinger,141 "is one of the most refined to which ante-Christian speculation attained; yet he contributed nothing whatever to the knowledge of the perfect, living, personality of God, and its absolute and unconditional liberty." His monotheism, it would seem, consisted in the acknowledgment of a universal intelligence which manifested itself as reason in all rational beings.


    Aristotle, although the disciple, was the great opponent of Plato and his philosophy. He rejected Plato's doctrine of ideas as chimerical, as a hypothesis which was unnecessary and without evidence. In like manner he denied the existence of preexistent matter out of which the world was fashioned. He believed the world to be eternal both in matter and form. It is, and there is no reason to doubt that it always has been and always will be. He admitted the existence of mind in man; and, therefore, assumed that there is an infinite intelligence, of which reason in man is a manifestation. But this infinite intelligence, which he called God, was pure intelligence, destitute of power and of will; neither the creator nor the framer of the world; unconscious, indeed, that the world exists; as it is occupied exclusively in thought of which it is itself the object. The world and God are coeternal; and yet, in a certain sense, God is the cause of the world. As a magnet acts on matter, or as the mere presence of a friend stirs the mind, so God unconsciously operates on matter, and awakens its dormant powers. As the universe is a cosmos, an ordered system; and as innumerable organized beings, vegetable and animal, exist in the world, Aristotle assumed that there are "forms" inherent in matter, which determine the nature of all such organizations. This is very much what in modern language would be called "vital force," "vitality," "vis formativa,""Bildungstrieb," or Agassiz's "immaterial principle," which is different in every distint species, and which constitutes the difference between one species and another. The soul is the "forma"of the man. "It is the principle that gives form, motion, and development to the body, the entelecheia of it; i. e., that substance, which only manifests itself in the body which is formed and penetrated by it, and continues energizing in it as the principle of life, determining and mastering matter. Thus, the body is nothing of itself; it is what it is, only through the soul, the nature and being of which it expresses, to which it stands in the relation of a medium in which the object, the soul, is realized; and so it cannot be imagined without the body, nor the body without it; one must be produced contemporaneously with the other."142 Of course there can be no immortality of the soul. As no plant is immortal, as the vital principle does not exist separately from the plant, so the soul has no existence separate from the body. The two begin and end together. "The really human in the soul, that which has come into being, must also pass away, the understanding even; only the divine reason is immortal; but, as the memory belongs to the sensitive soul, and individual thought depends on the understanding or passive nous only, all self-consciousness must cease with death."143 "Thus, then, Aristotle's doctrine of the soul shows that his defect, as well as that of Plato, and indeed of all antiquity, was his imperfect acquaintance with the idea of personality; and on that head he cannot be acquitted of a pantheistic tendency."144 "His God is not a really personal one, or is only an imperfect personality."145"The nous, or reason, allows souls, with their bodies, to sink back into nothingness, from which they severally issued. It alone exists on, ever the same and unalterable, for it is no other than the divine nous in individual existence, the divine intelligence enlightening the night of human understanding, and must be conceived just as much the prime mover of human discursive thought and knowledge, as of his will."146

    This brief review of the Grecian philosophy in its relation to theology, shows that in all its forms it was more or less pantheistic. This remark will not be recognized as correct by those, who with Cousin, limit the use of the word Pantheism to designate either the doctrine which makes the material universe God; or that which denies the existence of anything but matter and physical force, which is atheism; nor by those who take the word strictly as meaning the theory which admits of only one substance, which is the substance of God; and which consequently makes matter as much a mode of God's existence as mind. Its correctness, however, will be admitted by those who mean by Pantheism the doctrine which makes all the intelligence in the world the intelligence of God, and all intellectual activity modes of the activity of God, and which necessarily precludes the possibility of human liberty and responsibility.

    The authorities on this subject are, so far as Plato and Aristotle are concerned, of course their own writings; with regard to those philosophers whose works are not preserved, or of which only fragments are extant, their systems are more or less fully detailed by the ancient writers, as Plutarch and Cicero. The general reader will find the information he needs in one or more of the numerous histories of philosophy; as those of Brucker, Ritter, Tenneman, and Cousin; among the latest and best of which is Dollinger's "The Gentile and the Jew in the Courts of the Temple of Christ," London, 1862.

D. Mediaeval Pantheism.

The Neo-Platonists.

    Pantheism, as it appeared in the Middle Ages, took its form and character from Neo-Platonism. This was an eclectic system in which the Eleatic doctrine of the unity of all being was combined with the Platonic doctrine concerning the phenomenal universe. The philosophers recognized as the representatives of this school are Plotinus (A. D. 205-270), Porphyry (born A. D. 233), Jamblichus in the fourth century, and Proclus in the fifth. Neo-Platonism was monism. It admitted of only one universal Being. This Being considered in itself was inconceivable and indescribable. It was revealed, or self-manifested in the world-soul, and world-reason, which constituted a trinity; one substance in different aspects or modes of manifestation. The world is therefore "the affluence of God," as fire emits heat. The soul of man is a mode of God's existence, a portion of his substance. Its destiny is absorption in the infinite Being. This was not to be attained by thought, or by meditation, but by ecstasy. This constituted the peculiar feature of the Neo-Platonic school. "Union with God" was to be attained by "a mystical self-destruction of the individual person (Ichheit)" in God.147 Schwegler148 says: "From the introduction of Christianity monism has been the character and the fundamental tendency of the whole modern philosophy." This remark, coming from an advocate of that theory, must be taken with no small amount of allowance. It is, however, true that almost all the great departures from the simplicity of the truth as revealed in the sacred Scriptures, have assumed more or less distinctly a pantheistic tendency.

John Scotus Erigena.

    The most pronounced Pantheist among the schoolmen was John Scotus Erigena. Little is known of his origin or history. From his name Scotus and designation Erigena (son of Erin), it has been generally assumed that he was an Irishman. It is known that he enjoyed the protection and patronage of Charles the Bald of France, and that he taught in Paris and perhaps in England.

    His principal work is that "De Divisione Naturae." By nature he means all being. The fourfold divisions which he makes of nature, are only so many manifestations or aspects under which the one Being is revealed or is to be contemplated. Those divisions are: (1.) That which creates and is not created. (2.) That which creates and is created. (3.) That which does not create but is created. (4.) That which neither creates nor is created. "This division of nature," says Ritter,149 "is made simply to show that all is God, since the four natures are only revelations of God."

    Scotus agreed with most philosophers in making philosophy and religion identical, and in admitting no higher source of knowledge than human reason. " Conficitur," he says, "veram esse philosophiam veram religionem, conversimque veram religionem esse veram philosophiam."150

    The leading principles of his philosophy are the following: (1.) The distinction with him between being and not-being, is not that between something and nothing, between substantial existence and non-existence, but between affirmation and negation. Whatever may be affirmed is; whatever is denied is not. (2.) All being consists in thought. Nothing is but as it exists in the mind and consciousness. (3.) With God, being, thought, and creating are identical. God's being consists in thinking, and his thoughts are things. In other words, the thought of God is the real being of all that is. (4.) Consequently the world is eternal. God and the world are identical. He is the "totum omnium."

    His system is, therefore, a form of idealistic Pantheism. Ritter devotes the ninth book of his "Geschichte der Christlichen Philosophie,"151 to the exposition of the philosophy of Scotus. The few following passages from the "De Divisione Naturae," are sufficient to show the correctness of the above statement of his principles.

    "Intellectus enim omnium in Deo essentia omnium est. Siquidem id ipsum est Deo cognoscere, priusquam fiunt, quae facit, et facere, quae cognoscit. Cognoscere ergo et facere Dei unum est."152 "Maximus ait: Quodcunque intellectus comprehendere potuerit, id ipsum fit."153 "Intellectus enim rerum veraciter ipsae res sunt, dicente Sancto Dionysio, 'Cognitio eorum, quae sunt, ea, quae sunt, est.'"154 "Homo est notio quaedam intellectualis in mente divina aeternaliter facta. Verissima et probatissima definitio hominis est ista: et non solum hominis, verum etiam omnium quae in divina sapientia facta sunt."155 Omnis visibilis et invisibilis creatura Theophania, i. e., divina apparitio potest appelari.156 "Num negabis creatorem et creaturam unum esse?"157 "Creation [with Erigena] is nothing else than the Lord of creation; God in some ineffable manner created in the creation."158

    Scotus translated the works of the so-called St. Dionysius, the Areopagite, and in so doing prepared the way for that form of mystical Pantheism which prevailed through the Church down to the period of the Reformation. The pseudo-Dionysius was a Neo-Platonist. His object was to give the doctrine of Plotinus a Christian aspect. He adopted the principle of the unity of all being. All creatures are of the essence of God. But instead of placing the self-manifestation of God in nature, in the world-soul, he placed it principally in the hierarchy of rational being, -- cherubim, seraphim, thrones, principalities, and powers, and souls of men. The destiny of all rational creatures, is reunion with God; and this reunion, as the Neo-Platonists taught, was to be attained by ecstasy and the negation of Self. It was this system, which, in common with all other forms of Pantheism, precluded the idea of sin, which was reproduced by the leading mystics of the Middle Ages, and which, when it found its way among the people as it did with the Beghards and Brethren of the Free Spirit, produced, as substantially the same system has done in India, its legitimate fruits of evil. Of the mystical Pantheism of the Middle Ages, however, enough has already been said in the Introduction, in the chapter on Mysticism

E. Modern Pantheism.


    The revival of Pantheism since the Reformation is principally due to Spinoza; he was born at Amsterdam in 1634, and died at Ghent in the forty-fourth year of his age. He was descended from a wealthy Jewish Portuguese family, and enjoyed the advantage of a highly finished education. He early devoted himself to the study of philosophy, and was at first a disciple of Des Cartes. Leibnitz characterizes the system of Spinoza as Cartesianism run wild. Des Cartes distrusted the testimony of the senses. His starting-point was the consciousness of existence, "I think." In that proposition the existence of a thinking substance is necessarily included. The outward world produces impressions on this thinking substance. But after all, these sensations thus produced, are only states of self-consciousmiess. Self, therefore, and its varying states, are all of which we have direct knowledge. It is not all, however, that Des Cartes believed actually existed. He was a sincere Catholic, and died in communion with the Church. He acknowledged not only the existence of mind, but also of God and of matter. Our knowledge, however, of God and of matter as substances distinct from our minds, was arrived at by a process of reasoning. The validity of that process Spinoza denied. He admitted the existence of only one substance, and gave such a definition of the word as precluded the possibility of there being more substances than one. With him substance is that which exists of itself, of necessity, and is absolutely independent. There is, therefore, but one substance possible. We come, however, everywhere into contact with two classes of phenomena: those of thought and those of extension. Thought and extension, therefore, are the two attributes of the one infinite substance. Individual things are the modes under which the infinite substance is constantly manifested. In Spinoza's system there are the three radical ideas of substance, attribute, and mode. Of these that of substance alone has any reality. The other two are mere appearances. If we look at anything through a glass colored red the object will appear red; if the glass be blue, the object will appear blue; but the color is not really an attribute of the object. Thus substance (the one) appears to us under one aspect as thought and under another as extension. The difference is apparent and not real. The finite has therefore no real existence. The universe is sunk into the Infinite; and the Infinite is a substance of which nothing can be affirmed. Of the Infinite nothing can be denied, and therefore nothing can be affirmed for "omnis deter minatio est negatio." The Infinite, therefore, is practically nothing

    A sufficient account of modern Pantheism in its general features as represented by Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, and their successors and disciples, has been given already at the commencement ol this chapter. More detailed information may be found in the numerous recent histories of philosophy, as those of Morell, Schwegler, Michelet, and Rosenkranz, and in Hunt's "History of Pantheism."

F. Conclusion.

    The fact that Pantheism has so extensively prevailed in every age and in every part of the world, is a proof of its fascination and power. Apart from a divine revelation, it seems to have been regarded as the most probable solution of the great problem of the universe. Nevertheless it is so unsatisfactory, and does such violence to the laws of our nature, that it has never to any extent taken hold on the hearts of the people. India may be regarded as furnishing an exception to this remark. But even there, although Pantheism was the ground form of the popular religion, it had to resolve itself into polytheism in order to meet the necessities of the people. Men must have a personal god whom they can worship and to whom they can pray.

    The most obvious remark to be made of the whole system is that it is a hypothesis. From its very nature it is incapable of proof. It is a mere theory assumed to account for the phenomena of the universe. If it did satisfactorily account for them, and did not contradict the teachings of the Bible, it might be safely admitted. But it is not only inconsistent with all that the Scriptures reveal concerning the nature of God and his relation to the world, but it contradicts the laws of belief which God has impressed on our nature, subverts the very foundation of religion and morality and involves even the deification of sin.

    Had we no divine revelation on the subject, Theism merely as a theory could not fail to secure the assent of every devout mind in preference to Pantheism. Theism supposes the existence of a personal, extramundane God, the creator and preserver of the universe; everywhere present in his wisdom and power, directing all events to the accomplishment of his infinitely wise designs. It supposes the material universe to be distinct from God, dependent on his will, upheld by his power, and pregnant with physical forces ever active under his control. It supposes that man is the creature of God, owing his existence to the will of God, created after his image, a free, rational, moral, and accountable agent, capable of knowing, loving, and worshipping God as a Spirit infinite in his being and perfections. Although this theory may have, for the reason, some problems, such as the origin and prevalence of evil, without a satisfactory solution, yet as it meets and satisfies all the demands of our nature, and solves the problem as to the origin and nature of the universe, it commends itself to the reason, the heart, and the conscience with a force which no sophistry of speculation can resist.

    Pantheism, on the other hand, does violence to our nature, and contradicts the intuitive convictions of consciousness.

    1. We are conscious that we are free agents. This is a truth which no man can deny with regard to himself, and which every man assumes with regard to others. This truth Pantheism denies. It makes our activity only a form of the activity of God, and assumes that his acts are determined by necessity as much as the development of a plant or animal.

    2. It is intuitively certain that there is a real distinction between moral good and evil: that the one is that to which man is bound to be conformed, and the other that which he is bound to hate and to avoid; that the one deserves approbation, and that the other deserves disapprobation, and merits punishment. These are convictions which belong to the rational nature of man; and they cannot be destroyed without destroying his rationality. Pantheism, however, pronounces these convictions delusions; that there is no such thing as sin, in the sense above stated; that what we call sin is mere weakness; imperfect development, as unavoidable as feebleness in an infant. It goes further: it pronounces evil good. It makes the sinful acts and passions of men as much the acts and states of God as holy acts and holy feelings. There is no good but being; and the men of power are the men of being; and, therefore, the strongest are the best; the weak are to be despised; they deserved to be conquered and trodden under foot. Hence where Pantheism has become a religion the deities who represent evil are the most honoured and worshipped.

    3. Pantheism not only destroys the foundation of morals, but it renders all rational religion impossible. Religion supposes a personal Being endowed not only with intelligence and power, but with moral excellence; and to be rational, that Being must be infinite in all his perfections. Pantheism, however, denies that an infinite Being can be a person; that it is intelligent, self-conscious, or possessed of moral attributes. It is just as impossible to worship such a Being as it is to worship the atmosphere, or the law of gravitation, or the axioms of Euclid.

4.It is no extravagance to say that Pantheism is the worst form of atheism. For mere atheism is negative. It neither deifies man nor evil. But Pantheism teaches that man, the human soul, is the highest form in which God exists; and that evil is as much a maniestation of God as good; Satan as the ever-blessed and adorable Redeemer. Beyond this it is impossible for the insanity of wickedness to go.

    5. Man, according to this system, is no more immortal than the leaves of the forest, or the waves of the sea. We are transient forms of universal Being.

    Our nature is indestructible; as it is impossible that we should not believe in our own individual existence, in our free agency, in our moral obligations; in our dependence and responsibility to a Being capable of knowing what we are and what we do, and of rewarding and punishing as He sees fit, so it is impossible that Pantheism should ever be more than a philosophical speculation, where the moral nature of man has once been developed by the knowiedge of the living and true God. 


1. “De l’Homme.” Works, edit. Paris, 1793, vol. iii. p.221, note.
2. Introduction to the General History of Philosophy, vol. i. p. 169.
3. See First Principles of a New System of Philosophy, by Herbert Spencer.
4. De Natura Deorum, ii. 22, p. 1116, edit. Leipzig, 1850.
5. See Rixner’s Geschichte der Philosophie, vol. i. sect. 120.
6. See Youman’s Conservation and Correlation of Forces, p. 372.
7. Croonian Lectures on Matter and Force. Given at the Royal College of Physicians, in 1868. By Henry Bruce Jones, A.M., M.D., F.R.S., London, 1868, p. 17.
8. Rixner’s Geschichte der Philosophie, i. 303-318. Ritter’s History of Philosophy, translated by A. J. W. Morrison, iii. 399-447.
9. F. Fabri
10. Leviathan, chap. i.
11. Morell’s History of Modern Philosohy, New York, 1848, pp. 71, 72.
12. Observations on Man, chap. i. sect. 2, and Morell, p. 98.
13. Morell, p. 92.
14. Morell, p. 97.
15. Edinburgh Review, Oct. 1806, p. 157.
16. “Address before British Association,” Athenaeum, for August 29, 1868. Quoted by Perowne’s Hulsean Lectures, for 1868. Appendix. Note A.
17. Page 102.
18. F. Fabri in Herzog’s Real-Encyclopadie, art. “Materialismus.”
19. New York, 1855.
20. Vol. i. p. 5.
21. Philosophie Positiva, vol. ii. p. 515.
22. Vol. i. p. 11.
23. Vol. ii. p. 47.
24. Ibid. p. 73.
25. See Prof. Porter’s Human Intellect, p. 54.
26. Lay Sermons, pp. 174, 175.
27. Huxley’s Lay Sermons, Addresses, etc., London, 1870, No. VIII. “The Scientific Aspects of Positivism.” p. 178.
28. Philosophie Positive, vol. ii. p. 516.
29. Philosophie Positive, vol. ii. pp. 14, 15.
30. Ibid. vol. ii. p. 268.
31. Lay Sermons, etc., p. 164.
32. Professor Huxley says: “For these sixteen years, it has been a periodical source of irritation to me to find M. Comte put forward as a representative of scientific thought; and to observe that writers whose philosophy had its legitimate parent in Hume, or in themselves, were labelled ‘Comtists,’ or ‘Positives,’ by public writers, even in spite of vehement protests to the contrary. It has cost Mr. Mill hard rubbings to get that label off; and I watch Mr. Spencer, as one regards a good man struggling with adversity, still engaged in eluding its adhesiveness, and ready to tear away skin and all, rather than let it stick. My own turn might come next; and, therefore, when an eminent prelate of the other day gave currency and authority to the popular confusion, I took an opportunity of incidentally revindicating Hume’s property in the so-called ‘New Philosophy’ and at the same time of repudiating Comtism on my own behalf.” – Ut Supra, p. 165. The mistake complained of as a very natural one, as Comte and Hume have so much in common. Professor Huxley’s quotation from Faust is in point here: –

“Ungefahr sagt das der Pfarrer auch
Nur mit ein bischen andern Worten.”

33. See Correlation and Conservation of Forces. A collection of papers by distinguished scientific men. By Edward l. Youmans, M.D. New York, 1865, p. 405.
34. Ibid. p. 405.
35. See Correlation and Conservation of Forces, p. 411.
36. Ibid. p 413.
37. Ibid. p. 119. Also, New Quarterly Journal of Science for 1864.
38. Youman’s, p. 407.
39. Outlines of Physiology, Smith’s Philadelphia edition, 1868, p. 932.
40. Youman’s, p. 402.
41. “Physical Basis of Life” in his Lay Sermons, p. 158.
42. Lay Sermons, p. 144.
43. Ibid. p. 149.
44. Lay Sermons, p. 151.
45. Ibid. p. 142.
46. Protoplasm; or Life, Matter, and Mind, by Lionel S. Beale, M.B., F.B.S. Second edition, London, 1870, p. 3.
47. Protoplasm, p. 4.
48. Lay Sermons, pp. 151, 152.
49. Lay Sermons, pp. 155, 156.
50. Ibid. p. 157.
51. Ibid. p. 158.
52. Hume, Works, edit. Edinburgh, 1826, iv. p. 193.
53. First Principles, New York, 1869, p. 556.
54. Ibid. p. 211.
55. Ibid. p. 212.
56. Ibid. p. 217.
57. Physiology and Pathology of Mind, Lond. 1868, p. 42.
58. Ibid. p. 43.
59. Evangelischer Glaube. Romischer Irrglaube. Und weltlicher Unglaube. Gotha, 1870.
60. See Berger, I. iii. 5; part i. pp. 264 to 271.
61. As regards Protoplasm in relation to Professor Huxley’s Essay on the Physical Basis of Life, by James Hutchison Stirling, F.R.C.S., LL. D. Edit. New Haven, p. 15.
62. See Life, Matter, and Mind, by Lionel S. Beale, M.B., F.R.S., London, 1870, p. 17. Dr. Beale quotes from a paper by Professor Huxley in the first number of the Academy, p. 13.
63. See his Address as President of the British Association, reported in the London Athenaeum, September 17th, 1870. The little that is necessary to say on the subject of spontaneous generation in such a work as this, is reserved until the question concerning the origins of man comes up for consideration.
64. Kraft und Stoff, Zehnte Fluflage, Leipzig, 1869, p. 209.
65. Croonian Lectures, p. 66.
66. Correlation of Vital and Physical Forces, p. 5.
67. As Regards Protoplasm in Relation to Professor Huxley’s Essay on the Physical Basis of Life, by James Hutchison Stirling, F.R.C.S., LL. D. Edinburgh, Blackwood & Sons. Republished as one of the Yale University series, p. 39. This is considered to us the best refutation of the theory of the correlation of physical and vital force.
68. As Regards Protoplasm, etc., pp. 41, 42.
69. Ibid. p. 42.
70. Ibid. p. 42.
71. Ibid. p. 43.
72. As regards Protoplasm, etc., pp. 47, 48.
73. See Professor Barker’s Lecture, above referred to, for a summary of these arguments, page 24.
74. Athenaeum for August 29, 1868, quoted Hulsean Lectures for 1868; Appendix, Note A.
75. The Recent Progress of Science, with an Examination of the asserted identity of the Mental Powers with Physical Forces. An Address before the American Association for the Advancement of Science. August, 1868. By Frederick A. P. Barnard, S. T. D., LL. D., pp. 41, 42.
76. Paper in the Agricultural Report, 1854-1855, p. 448.
77. Page 441.
78. Protoplasm; or Life, Matter, and Mind. By Lionel S. Beale, M. B., F. R. S. Second Edition. London, J. Churchill & Sons, 1870, Dr. Beale is an authority in the department of Physiology. His book, How to work with the Microscope, has reached a fourth edition.
79. Page 103.
80. Protoplasm, etc., pp. 116, 117.
81. Ibid. p. 16.
82. Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection. A series of Essays. By Alfred Russel Wallace, author of The Malay Archipelago, etc., etc. McMillan & Co., London, 1870, p. 365.
83. Barnard’s Address, p. 45.
84. Ibid. p. 49.
85. Barker’s Lecture, pp. 26, 27.
86. Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, p. 368.
87. Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, p. 369.
88. Institutiones Theologiae, fifth edit., Halle, 1826, p. 215.
89. Pyschology, by Henry, first edition, p. xviii.
90. History of Philosophy, translated by Wight, N.Y. 1852, p. 78.
91. Ibid. p. 121.
92. Psychology, fourth edition, N.Y. 1856, p. 447.
93. Ethices, v. xl. schol. Jena, 1803, p. 297.
94. Fichte, Von seligen Leben, p. 143, edit. Berlin, 1806.
95. Strauss, Dogmatik i. p. 517.
96. Geschichte der letzen Systeme der Philosophie in Deutschland, vol. ii. p. 647.
97. Lectures on the True, the Beautiful, and the Good, trans. Wight, N.Y. 1854, p. 365.
98. Hunt’s Essay on Pantheism, London, 1866, p. 312.
99. Ethices, part ii. prop. Xi. coroll., vol. ii. p. 87, edit. Jena, 1803.
100. Ibid. prop. xlviii. Demon. vol. ii. p. 121.
101. Ibid. Scholium.
102. Elements of Psychology, translated by Henry, N.Y. 1856, p. 429.
103. Princeton Review, 1856, p. 368.
104. Essay on Pantheism, p. 231.
105. Hamilton’s Discussions, p. 43.
106. History of Modern Philosophy, N.Y. 1848, p. 660.
107. Hunt, p. 231.
108. Ethices, iv. prop. xx., vol. ii. p. 217, edit. Jena, 1803.
109. Ibid.
110. In the Tubingen Zeitschrift, Drittes Heft, p. 233.
111. Hunt, p. 233.
112. Cousin’s History of Modern Philosophy, translated by Wight, New York, 1852, vol. i. pp. 186, 187, 189.
113. Dogmatik, ii. p. 215.
114. Encyklopadie, p. 51.
115. Leo, the historian, we believe.
116. 1836, p. 575.
117. Bischer, quoted in Evangelische Kirchen-Zeitung, 1839, p. 31.
118. Philosophical Fragments, Preface to First Edition. See History of Modern Philosophy, translated by Wight, N.Y. 1852, vol. i. pp. 112. 113.
119. Essays and Lectures chiefly on the Religion of the Hindus, vol. ii. p. 75; edit. London, 1862.
120. A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, so far as it illustrates the Primitive Religion of the Brahmans, pp. 18, 19.
121. History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, etc., p. 23.
122. Ibid. p. 24.
123. Dollinger, The Gentile and the Jew, translated by Darnell, London, 1862, vol. i. p. 250.
124. Ibid. vol. i. p. 252.
125. Histoire Generale de la Philosophie, Paris, 1863, vol. i. p. 107.
126. Historie Generale de la Philosophie, Paris, 1867, vol. i. p. 116; edit. 1863, p. 111.
127. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. p. 260.
128. Ibid. vol. i. p. 261.
129. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. p. 349.
130. Ibid. pp. 349-350.
131. Ibid. p. 350.
132. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. p. 351.
133. Ibid. p. 351.
134. Ibid. p. 307.
135. The Gentile and the Jew, p. 307.
136. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. pp. 308 and 309.
137. Ibid. p. 309.
138. Historie Generale de la Philosophie, Paris, 1863, p. 122.
139. The Gentile and the Jew, vol. i. p. 339.
140. Ibid. p. 312.
141. The Gentile and the Jew, p. 329.
142. The Gentile and the Jew, p. 338.
143. Ibid. p. 339.
144. Ibid. p. 340.
145. Ibid. p. 336.
146. Ibid. p. 339
147. History of Philosophy. Translated from the German by Julius H. Seelye, p. 157.
148. Ibid. p. 158.
149. Geshichte der Christlichen Philosophie, vol. iii. p. 224.
150. De Praedest. cap. i. 1, Migne, Patr. vol. cxxii. p. 358, a
151. Vol. iii. pp. 206-296.
152. De Divisione Naturae, II. 20; edit. Westphalia, 1838, p. 118.
153. Ibid. I. 9, p. 9.
154. Ibid. II. 8, p. 95.
155. Ibid. IV. 7, p. 330.
156. Ibid. III. 19, p. 240.
157. Ibid. II. 2, p. 88.
158. Ritter, vol. iii. p. 234.


The Knowledge of God

§ 1. God can be known.§ 2. God cannot be fully known.§ 3. Hamilton's Doctrine.

    HAVING considered the arguments in favor of the doctrine that God is, and also the various systems opposed to Theism, we come now to consider the question, Can God be known? and if so, How? that is, How does the mind proceed in forming its idea of God, and, How do we know that God really is what we believe Him to be?

§ 1. God can be known.

    It is the clear doctrine of the Scriptures that God can be known. Our Lord teaches that eternal life consists in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. The Psalmist says, "In Judah is God known" (Ps. lxxvi. 1). Isaiah predicts, that "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord" (Is. xi. 9). Paul says even of the heathen, that they knew God, but did not like to retain that knowledge (Rom. i. 19, 20, 21, 28).

A. State of the Question.

    It is, however, important distinctly to understand what is meant when it is said, God can be known.

    1. This does not mean that we can know all that is true concerning God. There were some among the ancient philosophers who taught that the nature of God can be as fully understood and determined as any other object of knowledge. The modern speculative school teaches the same doctrine. Among the propositions laid down by Spinoza, we find the following: "Cognitio aeternae et infinitae essentiae Dei, quam unaquaeque idea involvit, est adaequata et perfecta."1 Hegel says, that God is, only so far as He is known. The sin against the Holy Ghost, according to Hegel, is to deny that He can be known.2 Cousin holds the same doctrine. "God in fact," he says, "exists to us only in so far as He is known."3

    According to Schelling, God is known in his own nature by direct intuition of the higher reason. He assumes that there is in man a power which transcends the limits of the ordinary consciousness (an Anschauungs Vermogen), which takes immediate cognizance of the Infinite. Hegel says that "Man knows God only so far as God knows Himself in man; this knowledge is God's self-consciousness, but likewise a knowledge of the same by man, and this knowledge of God by man is the knowledge of man by God."4 Cousin finds this knowledge in the common consciousness of men. That consciousness includes the knowledge of the Infinite as well as of the finite. We know the one just as we know the other, and we cannot know the one without knowing the other. These philosophers all admit that we could not thus know God unless we were ourselves God. Self-knowledge, with them, is the knowledge of God. Reason in man, according to Cousin, does not belong to his individuality. It is infinite, impersonal, and divine. Our knowledge of God, therefore, is only God knowing Himself. Of course it is in no such sense as this that the Scriptures and the Church teach that God can be known.

God Inconceivable.

    2. It is not held that God, properly speaking, can be conceived of; that is, we cannot form a mental image of God. "All conception," says Mr. Mansel,5 "implies imagination." To have a valid conception of a horse, he adds, we must be able "to combine" the attributes which form "the definition of the animal" into "a representative image." Conception is defined by Taylor in the same manner, as "the forming or bringing an image or idea into the mind by an effort of the will." In this sense of the word it must be admitted that the Infinite is not an object of knowledge. We cannot form an image of infinite space, or of infinite duration, or of an infinite whole. To form an image is to limit, to circumscribe. But the infinite is that which is incapable of limitation. It is admitted, therefore, that the infinite God is inconceivable. We can form no representative image of Him in our minds. The word, however, is often, and perhaps commonly, used in a less restricted sense. To conceive is to think. A conception is therefore a thought and not necessarily an image. To say, therefore, that God is conceivable, in common language, is merely to say that He is thinkable. That is, that the thought (or idea) of God involves no contradiction or impossibility. We cannot think of a round square, or that a part is equal to the whole. But we can think that God is infinite and eternal.

God Incomprehensible.

    3. When it is said that God can be known, it is not meant that He can be comprehended. To comprehend is to have a complete and exhaustive knowledge of an object. It is to understand its nature and its relations. We cannot comprehend force, and specially vital force. We see its effect, but we cannot understand its nature or the mode in which it acts. It would be strange that we should know more of God than of ourselves, or of the most familiar objects of sense. God is past finding out. We cannot understand the Almighty unto perfection. To comprehend is (1.) To know the essence as well as the attributes of an object. (2.) It is to know not some only, but all of its attributes. (3.) To know the relation in which these attributes stand to each other and to the substance to which they belong. (4.) To know the relation in which the object known stands to all other objects. Such knowledge is clearly impossible in a creature, either of itself or of anything out of itself. It is, however, substantially thus that the transcendentalists claim to know God.

Our Knowledge of God Partial.

    4. It is included in what has been said, that our knowledge of God is partial and inadequate. There is infinitely more in God than we have any idea of; and what we do know, we know imperfectly. We know that God knows; but there is much in his mode of knowing, and in its relation to its objects, which we cannot understand. We know that He acts; but we do not know how He acts, or the relation which his activity bears to time, or things out of Himself. We know that He feels; that He loves, pities, is merciful, is gracious; that He hates sin. But this emotional element of the divine nature is covered with an obscurity as great, but no greater, than that which rests over his thoughts or purposes. Here again our ignorance, or rather, the limitation of our knowledge concerning God, finds a parallel in our ignorance of ourself. There are potentialities in our nature of which, in our present state of existence, we have no idea. And even as to what we are now, we know but little. We know that we perceive, think, and act; we do not know how. It is perfectly inscrutable to us how the mind takes cognizance of matter; how the soul acts on the body, or the body on the mind. But because our knowledge of ourselves is thus partial and imperfect, no sane man would assert that we have no self-knowledge.

    The common doctrine on this subject is clearly expressed by Des Cartes:6 "Sciri potest, Deum esse infinitum et omnipotentem, quanquam anima nostra, utpote finita, id nequeat comprehendere sive concipere; eodem nimirum modo, quo montem manibus tangere possumus, sed non ut arborem, aut aliam quampiam rem brachiis nostris non majorem amplecti: comprehendere enim est cogitatione complecti; ad hoc autem, ut sciamus aliquid, sufficit, ut illud cogitatione attingamus."

    Even Spinoza7 says: "Ad quaestionem tuam, an de Deo tam claram, quam de triangulo habeam ideam, respondeo affirmando. Non dico, me Deum omnino cognoscere; sed me quaedam ejus attributa, non autem omnia, neque maximam intelligere partem, et certum est, plurimorum ignorantiam, quorundam eorum habere notitiam, non impedire. Quum Euclidis elementa addiscerem, primo tres trianguli angulos duobus rectis aequari intelligebam; hancque trianguli proprietatem clare percipiebam, licet multarum aliarum ignarus essem."

    While, therefore, it is admitted not only that the infinite God is incomprehensible, and that our knowledge of Him is both partial and imperfect; that there is much in God which we do not know at all, and that what we do know, we know very imperfectly; nevertheless our knowledge, as far as it goes, is true knowledge. God really is what we believe Him to be, so far as our idea of Him is determined by the revelation which He has made of Himself in his works, in the constitution of our nature, in his word, and in the person of his Son. To know is simply to have such apprehensions of an object as conform to what that object really is. We know what the word Spirit means. We know what the words infinite, eternal, and immutable, mean. And, therefore, the sublime proposition, pregnant with more truth than was ever compressed in any other sentence, "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and immutable," conveys to the mind as distinct an idea, and as true (i. e., trustworthy) knowledge, as the proposition "The human soul is a finite spirit." In this sense God is an object of knowledge. He is not the unknown God, because He is infinite. Knowledge in Him does not cease to be knowledge because it is omniscience; power does not cease to be power because it is omnipotence; any more than space ceases to be space because it is infinite.

B. How do we know God?

    How does the mind proceed in forming its idea of God? The older theologians answered this question by saying that it is by the way of negation, by the way of eminence, and by the way of causality. That is, we deny to God any limitation; we ascribe to Him every excellence in the highest degree; and we refer to Him as the great First Cause every attribute manifested in his works. We are the children of God, and, therefore, we are like Him. We are, therefore, authorized to ascribe to Him all the attributes of our own nature as rational creatures, without limitation, and to an infinite degree. If we are like God, God is like us. This is the fundamental principle of all religion. This is the principle which Paul assumed in his address to the Athenians (Acts xvii. 29): "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device." For the same reason we ought not to think that He is simple being, or a mere abstraction, a name for the moral order of the universe, or the unknown and unknowable cause of all things, -- mere inscrutable force. If we are his children, He is our Father, whose image we bear, and of whose nature we partake. This, in the proper sense of the word, is Anthropomorphism, a word much abused, and often used in a bad sense to express the idea that God is altogether such a one as ourselves, a being of like limitations and passions. In the sense, however, just explained, it expresses the doctrine of the Church and of the great mass of mankind. Jacobi8 well says: "We confess, therefore, to an Anthropomorphism inseparable from the conviction that man bears the image of God; and maintain that besides this Anthropomorphism, which has always been called Theism, is nothing but atheism or fetichism."

C. Proof that this Method is Trustworthy.

    That this method of forming an idea of God is trustworthy, is proved, --

    1. Because it is a law of nature. Even in the lowest form of fetichism the life of the worshipper is assumed to belong to the object which he worships. The power dreaded is assumed to possess attributes like our own. In like manner under all the forms of polytheism, the gods of the people have been intelligent personal agents. It is only in the schools of philosophy that we find a different method of forming an idea of the Godhead. They have substituted to. o'n for o` w'n, to. qei/on for o` Qeo,j, to. avgaqo,n for o` avgao,j. It is here as with regard to the knowledge of the external world. The mass of mankind believe that things are what they perceive them to be. This philosophers deny. They affirm that we do not perceive the things themselvcs, but certain ideas, species, or images of the things; that we have, and can have, no knowledge of what the things themselves really are. So they say we can have no knowledge of what God is; we only know that we are led to think of Him in a certain way, but we are not only not authorized to believe that our idea corresponds to the reality, but, say they, it is certain that God is not what we take Him to be. As the people are right in the one case, so are they in the other. In other words, our conviction that God is what He has revealed Himself to be, rests on the same foundation as our conviction that the external world is what we take it to be. That foundation is the veracity of consciousness, or the trustworthiness of the laws of belief which God has impressed upon our nature. "Invincibility of belief," according to Sir William Hamilton, "is convertible with the truth of belief,"9 although, unhappily, on this subject, he did not adhere to his own principle, "That what is by nature necessarily believed to be, truly is."10 No man has more nobly or more earnestly vindicated this doctrine, which is the foundation of all science and of all faith. "Consciousness," he says, "once convicted of falsehood, an unconditioned scepticism, in regard to the character of our intellectual being, is the melancholy but only rational result. Any conclusion may now with impunity be drawn against the hopes and the dignity of human nature. Our personality, our immateriality, our moral liberty, have no longer an argument for their defence. 'Man is the dream of a shadow.' God is the dream of that dream."11 The only question, therefore, is, Are we invincibly led to think of God as possessing the attributes of our rational nature? This cannot be denied; for universality proves invincibility of belief. And it is a historical fact that men have universally thus thought of God. Even Mr. Mansel12 exclaims against the transcendentalists, " Fools, to dream that man can escape from himself, that human reason can draw aught but a human portrait of God." True, he denies the correctness of that portrait; or, at least, he asserts that we cannot know whether it is correct or not. But this is not now the question. He admits that we are forced by the constitution of our nature thus to think of God. And by the fundamental principle of all true philosophy, what we are forced to believe must be true. It is true, therefore, that God really is what we take Him to be, when we ascribe to Him the perfections of our own nature, without limitation, and to an infinite degree.

Our Moral Nature demands this Idea of God.

    2. It has already been shown, when speaking of the moral argument for the existence of God, that all men are conscious of their accountability to a being superior to themselves, who knows what they are and what they do, and who has the will and purpose to reward or punish men according to their works. The God, therefore, who is revealed to us in our nature, is a God who knows, and wills, and acts; who rewards and punishes. That is, He is a person; an intelligent, voluntary agent, endowed with moral attributes. This revelation of God must be true. It must make known to us what God really is, or our nature is a lie. All this Mr. Mansel, who holds that God can not be known, admits. He admits that a sense of dependence on a superior power is "a fact of the inner consciousness;" that this superior power is "not an inexorable fate, or immutable law, but a Being having at least so far the attributes of personality, that He can show favour or severity to those dependent upon Him, and can be regarded by them with the feelings of hope, and fear, and reverence, and gratitude."13No man, however, is, or can be grateful to the sun, or to the atmosphere, or to unintelligent force. Gratitude is a tribute of a person to a person. Again, the same author admits that "the moral reason, or will, or conscience of man, call it by what name we please, can have no authority save as implanted in him by some higher spiritual Being, as a law emanating from a law-giver."14 "We are thus compelled," he says, "by the consciousness of moral obligation, to assume the existence of a moral [and of course of a personal] Deity, and to regard the absolute standard of right and wrong as constituted by the nature of that Deity."15 Our argument from these facts is, that if our moral nature compels us to believe that God is a person, He must be a person, and consequently that we arrive at a true knowledge of God by attributing to Him the perfections of our own nature.

Our Religious Nature makes the same Demand.

    3. The argument from our religious, as distinct from our moral nature, is essentially the same. Morality is not all of religion. The one is as much a law and necessity of our nature as the other. To worship, in the religious sense of the word, is to ascribe infinite perfection to its object. It is to express to that object out aknowledgments for the blessings we enjoy, and to seek their continuance; it is to confess, and praise, and pray, and to adore. We cannot worship the law of gravity, or unconscious force, or the mere order of the universe. Our religious nature, in demanding an object of supreme reverence, love, and confidence, demands a personal God, a God clothed with the attributes of a nature like our own; who can hear our confessions, praises, and prayers; who can love, and be loved; who can supply our wants, and fill all our capacities for good. Thus again it appears that unless our whole nature is a contradiction and a falsehood, we arrive at a true knowledge of God when we ascribe to Him the perfections of our own nature.

    Mr. Mansel admits that our nature does demand a personal and moral Deity; but, he says, "the very conception of a moral nature is in itself the conception of a limit, for morality is the compliance with a law; and a law, whether imposed from within or from without, can only be conceived to operate by limiting the range of possible actions."16 In like manner he says, "The only human conception of personality is that of limitation." Therefore, if God be infinite, he can neither be a person, nor possess moral attributes. This is the argument of Strauss, and of all other pantheists, against the doctrine of a personal God. Mr. Mansel admits the force of the argument, and says we must renounce all hope of knowing what God is, and be content with "regulative knowledge," which teaches not what God really is, but what He wills us to think Him to be. We are thus forbidden to trust to our necessarv beliefs. We must not regard as true what God by the constitution of our nature forces us to believe. This is to subvert all philosophy and all religion, and to destroy the difference between the rational and the irrational. Why is this contradiction between reason and conscience, between our rational and moral nature, assumed to exist? Simply because philosophers choose to give such a definition of morality and personality that neither can be predicated of an infinite Being. It is not true that either morality or personality imply any limitation inconsistent with absolute perfection. We do not limit God when we say He cannot be irrational as well as rational, unconscious as well as conscious, finite as well as infinite, evil as well as good. The only limitation admitted is the negation of imperfection. Reason is not limited when we say it cannot be unreason; or spirit, when we say that it is not matter; or light, when we say it is not darkness; or space, when we say it is not time. We do not, therefore, limit the Infinite, when we exalt Him in our conceptions from the unconscious to the conscious, from the unintelligent to the intelligent, from an impersonal something to the absolutely perfect personal Jehovah. All these difficulties arise from confounding the ideas of infinite and all.

    4. The fourth argument on this subject is, that if we are not justified in referring to God the attributes of our own nature, then we have no God. The only alternative is anthropomorphism (in this sense) or Atheism. An unknown God, a God of whose nature and of whose relation to us we know nothing, to us is nothing. It is a historical fact that those who reject this method of forming our idea of God, who deny that we are to refer to Him the perfections of our own nature, have become atheists. They take the word "spirit," and strip from it consciousness, intelligence, will, and morality; and the residue, which is blank nothing, they call God. Hamilton and Mansel take refuge from this dreadful conclusion in faith. They say that reason forbids the ascription of these, or of any other attributes, to the Infinite and Absolute, but that faith protests against this conclusion of the reason. Such protest, however, is of no account, unless it be rational. When Kant proved that there was no rational evidence of the existence of God, and fell back from the speculative to the practical reason (i. e., from reason to faith), his followers universally gave up all faith in a personal God. No man can believe in the impossible. And if reason pronounces that it is impossible that the Infinite should be a person, faith in His personality is an impossibility. This Mr. Mansel does not admit. For while he says that it is a contradiction to affirm the Infinite to be a person, or to possess moral attributes, he nevertheless says that, "Anthropomorphism is the indispensable condition of all human theology;"17 and he quotes from Kant18 this passage: "We may confidently challenge all natural theology to name a single distinctive attribute of the Deity, whether denoting intelligence or will, which, apart from anthropomorphism, is anything more than a mere word, to which not the slightest notion can be attached, which can serve to extend our theoretical knowledge." It is greatly to be lamented that men should teach that the only way in which it is possible for us to form an idea of God, leads to no true knowledge. It does not teach us what God is, but what we are forced against reason to think He is.

Argument from the Revelation of God in Nature.

    5. A fifth argument is from the fact that the works of God manifest a nature like our own. It is a sound principle that we must refer to a cause the attributes necessary to account for its effects. If the effects manifest intelligence, will, power, and moral excellence, these attributes must belong to the cause. As, therefore, the works of God are a revelation of all these attributes on a most stupendous scale, they must belong to God in an infinite degree. This is only saying that the revelation made of God in the external world agrees with the revelation which He has made of himself in the constitution of our own nature. In other words, it proves that the image of himself which He has enstamped on our nature is a true likeness.

Argument from Scripture.

    6. The Scriptures declare God to be just what we are led to think He is, when we ascribe to Him the perfections of our own nature in an infinite degree. We are self-conscious, so is God. We are spirits, so is He. We are voluntary agents, so is God. We have a moral nature, miserably defaced indeed, God has moral excellence in infinite perfection. We are persons, so is God. All this the Scriptures declare to be true. The great primal revelation of God is as the "I am," the personal God. All the names and titles given to Him; all the attributes ascribed to Him; all the works attributed to Him, are revelations of what He truly is. He is the Elohim, the Mighty One, the Holy One, the Omnipresent Spirit; He is the creator, the preserver, the governor of all things. He is our Father. He is the hearer of prayer; the giver of all good. He feeds the young ravens. He clothes the flowers of the field. He is Love. He so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish but have everlasting life. He is merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth. He is a present help in every time of need; a refuge, a high tower, an exceeding great reward. The relations in which, according to the Scriptures, we stand to God, are such as we can sustain only to a being who is like ourselves. He is our ruler, and father, with whom we can commune. His favour is our life, his loving-kindness better than life. This sublime revelation of God in his own nature and in his relation to us is not a delusion. It is not mere regulative truth, or it would be a deceit and mockery. It makes God known to us as He really is. We therefore know God, although no creature can understand the Almighty unto perfection.

Argument from the Manifestation of God in Christ.

    7. Finally, God has revealed Himself in the person of his Son. No man knoweth the Father but the Son; and he to whom the Son shall reveal Him. Jesus Christ is the true God. The revelation which He made of Himself was the manifestation of God. He and the Father are one. The words of Christ were the words of God. The works of Christ were the works of God. The love, mercy, tenderness, the forgiving grace, as well as the holiness, the severity and power manifested by Christ, were all manifestations of what God truly is. We see, therefore, as with our own eyes, what God is. We know that although infinite and absolute, He can think, act, and will; that He can love and hate; that He can hear prayer and forgive sins, that we can have fellowship with Him, as one person can commune with another. Philosophy must veil her face in the presence of Jesus Christ, as God manifest in the flesh. She may not presume in that presence to say that God is not, and is not known to be, what Christ himself most clearly was. This doctrine that God is the object of certain and true knowledge lies at the foundation of all religion, and therefore must never be given up.

§ 2. God cannot be fully known.

    The modern German philosophers take the ground that all science, all true philosophy, must be founded on the knowledge of being, and not of phenomena. They reject the authority of the senses and of consciousness, and teach that it is only by the immediate cognition of the Absolute that we arrive at any true or certain knowledge. God, or rather, the Infinite, can be as thoroughly known and comprehended as the simplest object of sense or of consciousness; He is, only so far as He is known.

    It would seem impossible that the presumption of men should be so extreme that such a creature as man should pretend to understand the Almighty to perfection, when in fact he cannot understand himself or the simplest objects with which he is in daily contact. The assumption is that being, as such, Infinite and Absolute Being, can be known; that is, that we can determine what it is, and the necessary laws by which it is developed into the phenomenal world. This knowledge is attained apriori;not by any induction or deduction from our own nature or the facts of experience, but by an immediate act of cognition, which transcends all consciousness. The great service rendered by Sir William Hamilton and Mr. Mansel to the cause of truth was to demonstrate the utter futility of this pretended philosophy of the Infinite, on the principles of its advocates. To the common mind it needed no refutation, being intuitively seen to be impossible and absurd.

Sir William Hamilton's Argument.

    Hamilton shows, in the first place, that the immediate intuition of Schelling, which Hegel ridiculed as a mere imagination, the dialectics of Hegel, which Schelling pronounced a mere play of words, and the impersonal reason of Cousin which enters into our consciousness but not into our personality, utterly fail to give us a knowledge of the Infinite. "Existence," he says, "is revealed to us only under specific modifications, and these are known only under the conditions of our faculties of knowledge. Things in themselves, matter, mind, God, all in short that is not finite, relative, and phenomenal, as bearing no analogy to our faculties, is beyond the verge of our our knowledge."19 In what sense Hamilton places God "beyond the verge of our knowledge" will be seen in the sequel. It is, however, self-evident that our knowledge must be limited by our faculties of knowing. Other animals may have senses which we do not possess. It is utterly impossible that we should have the kind of knowledge due to the exercise of those senses. It is probable that there are faculties dormant in our nature which are not called into activity in our present state of being. It is clear that we cannot now attain the knowledge which those faculties may hereafter enable us to attain. It is just as plain that we cannot cognize the Infinite, in the sense of these philosophers, as that we cannot see a spirit, or guide ourselves in space, as does the carrier-pigeon or the migrating salmon.

Only the Infinite can know the Infinite.

    2. In the second place, it is admitted that none but the Infinite can know the Infinite, and to know God in this sense, it is admitted that we must be God. "Schelling claimed for the mind of man, what Kant had demonstrated to be impossible, a faculty of intellectual intuition which is apart from sense, above consciousness, and released from the laws of the understanding, and which comprehends the absolute by becoming the absolute, and thus knows God by being God."20 This assumption that man is God, shocks the reason and common sense of men as well as outrages their religious and moral convictions.

    3. In the third place, Hamilton and Mansel demonstrate that, assuming the definitions of the Absolute and Infinite given by the transcendentalists, the most contradictory conclusions may logically be deduced from them. "There are three terms familiar as household words in the vocabulary of philosophy, which must be taken into account in every system of metaphysical theology. To conceive the Deity as He is, we must conceive him as First Cause, as absolute, and as infinite. By First Cause, is meant that which produces all things, and is itself produced of none. By the Absolute, is meant that which exists in and by itself, having no necessary relation to any other being. By the Infinite, is meant that which is free from all possible limitation; that than which a greater is inconceivable, and which, consequently, can receive no additional attribute or mode of existence which it had not from all eternity."21

    According to these definitions, in the sense in which they are intended to be taken, it follows : --

    1. That the Infinite and Absolute must include the sum of all being. For "that which is conceived as absolute and infinite must be conceived as containing within itself the sum, not only of all actual, but of all possible modes of being. For if any actual mode can be denied of it, it is related to that mode and limited by it; and if any possible mode can be denied of it, it is capable of becoming more than it now is, and such a capability is a limitation."22

    2. If the Absolute and Infinite be as above defined, it cannot be the object of knovledge. To know is to limit. It is to distinguish the object of knowledge from other objects. We cannot conceive, says Hamilton, of an absolute whole; i. e., of a whole so great that we cannot conceive of it as a part of a greater whole. We cannot conceive of an infinite line, or of infinite space, or of infinite duration. We may as well think without thought, as to assign any limit beyond which there can be no extension, no space, no duration. "Goad imagination to the utmost, it still sinks paralyzed within the bounds of time."23 It follows, therefore, from the very nature of knowledge, according to Hamilton, that the Infinite and Absolute cannot be known.

The Infinite cannot Know.

    3. It also follows from these premises, that the Infinite cannot know. All knowledge is limitation and difference. It supposes a distinction between subject and object, between the knower and what is known, inconsistent with the idea of the Absolute.

    4. It follows also that the Absolute cannot be conscious, for consciousness involves a distinction between the self and the not-self. It is knowledge of ourselves as distinct from what is not ourselves. Even if conscious only of itself; there is the same distinction between subject and object; the self as subject and a mode of the self as the object of consciousness. "The almost unanimous voice of philosophy," says Mansel, "in pronouncing that the Absolute is both one and simple must be accepted as the voice of reason also, so far as reason has any voice in the matter." "The conception of an absolute and infinite consciousness contradicts itself."24

The Absolute cannot be Cause.

    5. It is equally clear that the Absolute and Infinite cannot be cause. Causation implies relation; the relation of efficiency to the effect. It also implies change; change from inaction to activity. It moreover implies succession, and succession implies existence in time. "A thing existing absolutely (i. e., not under relation)," says Hamilton, "and a thing existing absolutely as a cause, are contradictory." He quotes Schelling25 as saying, "He would deviate wide as the poles from the idea of the Absolute, who would think of defining its nature by the notion of activity." "But he who would define the Absolute by the notion of a cause," he adds, "would deviate still more widely from its nature, inasmuch as the notion of a cause involves not only the notion of a determination to activity, but of a determination to a particular, nay a dependent, kind of activity."26 "The three conceptions, the Cause, the Absolute, the Infinite, all equally indispensable, do they not," asks Mr. Mansel,27 "imply contradiction to each other, when viewed in conjunction, as attributes of one and the same Being? A cause cannot, as such, be absolute: the Absolute cannot, as such, be cause."

    6. According to the laws of our reason and consciousness, there can be no duration without succession, but succession as implying change cannot be predicated of the Absolute and Infinite, and yet without succession there can be no thought or consciousness; and therefore, to say that God is eternal is to deny that He has either thought or consciousness.

    7. Again, "Benevolence, holiness, justice, wisdom," says Mansel, "can be conceived by us only as existing in a benevolent and holy and just and wise being, who is not identical with any one of his attributes, but the commnon subject of them all; in one word, in a person. But personality, as we conceive it, is essentially a limitation and a relation. -- To speak of an absolute and infinite persons is simply to use language to which, however true it may be in a superhuman sense, no mode of human thought can possibly attach itself."28

The Conclusion to which Hamilton's Argument leads.

    What then is the result of the whole matter? It is, that if the definitions of the Absolute and Infinite adopted by transcendentalists be admitted, the laws of reason lead us into a labyrinth of contradictions. If their idea of an infinite and absolute Being be correct, then it must include all being actual and possible; it can neither know nor be the object of knowledge; it cannot be conscious, or cause, or a person, or the subject of any moral attribute. Hamilton infers from all this, that a philosophy of the Absolute is a sheer impossibility; that the Absolute, from its nature and from the necessary limits of human thought, is unknowable, and consequently that the stupendous systems of pantheistic atheism which had been erected on the contrary assumption, must fall to the ground. Those systems have indeed already fallen by their own weight. Although only a few years ago they claimed the homage of the intellectual world and boasted of immutability, they have at the present time scarcely a living advocate.

    Unhappily, however, Hamilton, like Samson, is involved in the ruin which he created. In overthrowing pantheism he overthrows Theism. All that he says of the Absolute as unknowable, he affirms to be true of God. All the contradictions which attend the assumption of an absolute and infinite being as the ground of philosophy, he says attend the assumption of an infinite God.

§ 3. Hamilton's Doctrine.

A. God an Object of Faith, but not of Knowledge.

    The sense in which Hamilton and his followers represent God as unknowable, has been a matter of dispute. When he says that we can know that God is, but not what He is, he says only what had been said a hundred times before. Plato had said that the search after God was difficult, and that when He is found, it is impossible to declare his nature. Philo still more explicitly teaches that the divine essence is without qualities or attributes, and as we know nothing of any essence but by its distinguishing attributes. God in his own nature is altogether unknowable.29 This is repeated continually by the Greek and Latin fathers; who, however, in most cases at least, meant nothing more than that God is incomprehensible. Others again, in asserting the incapacity of man to know God, refer to his spiritual blindness occasioned by sin. Therefore, while they deny that God can be known by the unregenerate, they affirm that He is known by those to whom the Son has revealed Him. In like manner although the Apostle asserts that even the heathen know God, he elsewhere speaks of a kind of knowledge due to the saving illumination of the Holy Spirit. It is in the sense that God is past finding out that the devout Pascal says,30"We know there is an infinite, but we are ignorant of its nature. . . . We may well know that there is a God, without knowing what He is." And even John Owen says, "All the rational conceptions of the minds of men are swallowed up and lost, when they would exercise themselves directly on that which is absolute, immense, eternal, and infinite. When we say it is so, we know not what we say, but only that it is not otherwise. What we deny of God we know in some measure -- but what we affirm we know not; only we declare what we believe and adore."31 Professor Tyler adds, that while the philosophy of Hamilton "confines our knowledge to the conditioned [the finite], it leaves faith free about the unconditioned [the infinite]; indeed constrains us to believe in it by the highest law of our intelligence."

    Although Hamilton often uses the same language when speaking of God as unknowable, as that employed by others, his meaning is very different. He really teaches an ignorance of God destructive of all rational religion, because inconsistent with the possibility of faith.

Different Kinds of Ignorance.

    There are different kinds of ignorance. First, there is the ignorance of the idiot, which is blank vacuity. In him the statement of a proposition awakens no mental action whatever. Secondly, there is the ignorance of a blind man, of colour. He does not know what colour is; but he knows there is something which answers to that word and which produces a certain effect on the eyes of those who see. He may even understand the laws by which the production of colour is determined. A blind man has written a treatise on optics. Thirdly, there is the ignorance under which the mind labors when it can prove contradictory propositions concerning the same object, as that the same figure is both square and round And fourthly, there is the ignorance of imperfect knowledge. Paul speaks of knowing what passes knowledge.

    Our ignorance of God, according to Hamilton, is neither the ignorance of the idiot nor of imperfect knowledge, but it is analogous to the ignorance of a blind man of colours, and more definitely, the ignorance we labor under with regard to any object of which we can prove contradictions.

Proof that Hamilton Denies that we can Know God.

    That this view of his doctrine is correct is proved, (1.) Because he asserts in such broad terms that God cannot be known; that He is not only inconceivable, but incogitable. (2.) Because, he says, that we know that God is not, and cannot be, what we think He is. It is not merely that we cannot determine with certainty that our idea of God is correct, but we know that it is not correct. "To think that God is, as we can think Him to be," he says, "is blasphemy. The last and highest consecration of all true religion, must be an altar, 'Agnw/stw| Qew/|, 'To the unknown and unknowable God."32 (3.) Because both he and Mansel continually assert that the Infinite cannot be a person; cannot know; cannot be cause; cannot be conscious; cannot be the subject of any moral attributes. To think of God as infinite, and to think of Him as a person is an impossibility. (4.) The illustrations which these writers employ determine clearly their meaning. Our ignorance of God is compared to our incapacity to conceive of two straight lines inclosing a portion of space; or to think "a circular parallelogram." It is not merely that we cannot understand such a figure, but we see that, in the nature of things, any such figure is impossible. So we not only cannot understand how God can be absolute and yet a person, but we see that an absolute person is as much a contradiction as a square circle. (5.) Accordingly Herbert Spencer and others, in carrying out Hamilton's principles, come to the conclusion not only that we cannot know God, but that it is impossible that a personal God should exist. There can be no such being.

Hamiltons Doctrine of God as an object of Faith.

    Hamilton and Mansel, however, are not only Theists, but Christians. They believe in God, and they believe in the Scriptures as a divine revelation. They endeavor to avoid what seem to be the inevitable consequences of their doctrine, by adopting two principies: first, that the unthinkable is possible, and, therefore, may be believed. By the unthinkable is meant that which the laws of reason force us to regard as self-contradictory. On this subject Mansel says: "It is our duty to think of God as personal, and it is our duty to believe that He is infinite. It is true that we cannot reconcile these two representations with each other; as our conception of personality involves attributes apparently contradictory to the notion of infinity. But it does not follow that this contradiction exists anywhere but in our own minds: it does not follow that it implies any impossibihity in the absolute nature of God. . . . It proves that there are limits to man's power of thought; and it proves no more."33 The conclusion is, that as whatever is possible is credible, therefore, as it is possible that God though infinite may be a person, his personality may be rationally believed.

The Unthinkable, or Impossible, cannot be an object of Faith.

    On this it may be remarked, --

    1. That there is a great difference between the irreconcilable and the self-contradictory. In the one case the difficulty arises, or may arise, out of our ignorance or mental weakness; in the other, it arises out of the nature of the things themselves. Many things are irreconcilable to a child which are not so to a man. Many things are irreconcilable to one man and not to another; to men and not to angels. But the self-contradictory is imnpossible, and is seen to be so by all orders of mind. That two and two should make twenty, or that the same figure should be a square and a circle, is just as irreconcilable to an angel as to a child. What is self-contradictory cannot possibly be true. Now, according to Hamilton and Mansel, infinity and personality are not only irreconcilable, but contradictory. The one affirms what the other denies. According to their doctrine the Infinite cannot be a person, and a person cannot be infinite, any more than the Infinite can be finite, or the finite infinite. The one of necessity excludes the other. If you affirm the one, you deny the other. There is a great difference between not seeing how a thing is, and clearly seeing that it cannot be. Hamilton and Mansel constantly assert that an absolute person is a contradiction in terms. And so it is, if their definition of the absolute be correct; and if a contradiction, it is impossible.

    2. If to our reason the personality of an infinite God be a contradiction, then it is impossible rationally to believe that He is a person. It is in vain to say that the contradiction is only in our mind. So is faith in our mind. It is impossible for one and the same mind to see a thing to be false, and believe it to be true. For the reason to see that a thing is a contradiction, is to see it to be false; and to see it to be false, and to believe it to be true, is a contradiction in terms. Even if to other and higher minds the contradiction does not exist, so long as it exists in the view of any particular mind, for that mind faith in its truth is an impossibility.

    It may be said that a man's reason may convince him that the external world does not really exist, while his senses force him to believe in its reality. So reason may pronounce the personality of God a contradiction, and conscience force us to believe that He is a person. This is to confound consecutive with contemporaneous states of mind. It is possible for a man to be an idealist in his study, and a realist out of doors. But he cannot be an idealist and a realist at one and the same time. The mind is a unit. A man's reason is the man himself; so is his conscience, and so are all his other faculties. It is the one substantive self that thinks and believes. To assume, therefore, that by necessity he must think one way and believe another; that the laws of his reason force him to regard as false what his conscience or senses force him to regard as true, is to destroy his rationality. It is also to impugn the wisdom and goodness of our Creator, for it supposes Him to have put one part of our constitution in conflict with another; to have placed us under guides who alternately force us to move in opposite directions. It even places this contradiction in God himself. For what reason, in its legitimate exercise, says, God says; and what conscience, in its legitimate exercise, says, God says. If, therefore, reason says that God is not a person, and conscience says that He is, then -- with reverence be it spoken -- God contradicts Himself.

Knowledge essential to Faith.

    It is one of the distinguishing doctrines of Protestants that knowledge is essential to faith. This is clearly the doctrine of Scripture. How can they believe on Him of whom they have not heard? is the pertinent and instructive query of the Apostle. Faith includes the affirmation of the mind that a thing is true and trustworthy. But it is impossible for the mind to affirm anything of that of which it knows nothing. Romanists indeed say that if a man believes that the Church teaches the truth, then he believes all the Church teaches, although ignorant of its doctrines. It might as well be said that because a child has confidence in his father, therefore he knows all his father knows. Truth must be commnunicated to the mind, and seen to be possible, before, on any evidence, it can be believed. If, therefore, we cannot know God, we cannot believe in Him.

B. Regulative Knowledge.

    The second principle which Hamilton and Mansel adopt to save themselves from scepticism is that of regulative knowledge. We are bound to believe that God is what the Scriptures and our moral nature declare Him to be. This revelation, however, does not teach us what God really is, but merely what He wills us to believe concerning Him. Our senses, they say, tell us that things around us are, but not what they are. We can, however, safely act on the assumption that they really are what they appear to be. Our senses, therefore, give only regulative knowledge; i e., knowledge sufficient to regulate our active life. So we do not, and cannot, know what God really is; but the representations contained in the Scriptures are sufficient to regulate our moral and religious life. We can safely act on the assumption that He really is what we are thus led to think Him to be, although we know that such is not the fact.

    We must be "content," says Mansel,34 "with those regulative ideas of the Deity, which are sufficient to guide our practice, but not to satisfy our intellect, -- which tell us not what God is in Himself, but how He wills that we should think of Him." "Though this kind of knowledge," says Hampden,35 "is abundantly instructive to us in point of sentiment and action; teaches us, that is, both how to feel, and how to act towards God; -- for it is the language that we understand, the language formed by our own experience and practice; -- it is altogether inadequate in point of science." Regulative knowledge, therefore, is that which is designed to regulate our character and practice. It need not be true. Nay, it may be, and is demonstrably false, for Hamilton says it is blasphemy to think that God really is what we take Him to be.

Objections to the Doctrine of Regulative Knowledge.

    1. The first remark on this doctrine of regulative knowledge is, that it is self-contradictory. Regulative truth is truth designed to accomuplish a given end. Design, however, is the intelligent and voluntary adaptation of means to an end; and the intelligent adaptation of means to an end, is a personal act. Unless, therefore, God be really a person, there can be no such thing as regulative knowledge. Mr. Mansel says, we cannot know what God is in Himself, "but only how He wills that we should think of Him." Here "will" is attributed to God; and the personal pronouns are used, and must be used in the very statement of the doctrine. That is, we must assume that God is really (and not merely in our subjective apprehensions) a person, in order to believe in regulative knowledge, which form of knowledge supposes that He is not, or may not be a person. This is a contradiction.

    2. Regulative knowledge is, from the nature of the case, powerless, unless its subjects regard it as well founded. Some parents educate their children in the use of fictions and fairy tales; but belief in the truth of these is essential to their effect. So long as the world believed in ghosts and witches, the belief had power. As soon as men were satisfied that there were no such real existences, their power was gone. Had the philosophers convinced the Greeks that their gods were not real persons, there would have been an end to their mythology. And if Hamilton and his disciples can convince the world that the Infinite cannot be a person, the regulative influence of Theism is gone. Men cannot be influenced by representations which they know are not conformed to the truth.

    3. This theory is highly derogatory to God. It supposes Him to propose to influence his creatures by false representations; revealing Himself as Father, Governor, and Judge, when there is no objective truth to answer to these representations. And worse than this, as remarked above, it supposes Him to have so constituted our nature as to force us to believe what is not true. We are constrained by the laws of our rational and moral being to think of God as having a nature like our own, and yet we are told it is blasphemy so to regard Him. The theory supposes a conflict between reason and conscience, -- between our rational and moral nature. The latter forcing us to believe that God is a person, and the former declaring personality and deity to be contradictory ideas. We do not forget that Mr. Mansel says that the incogitable may be real, that the contradiction is in our own minds, and not necessarily in the nature of things. But this amounts to nothing; for he says continually that the Absolute cannot be a person, cannot be a cause, cannot be conscious, cannot either know or be known. He says, "A thing -- an object -- an attribute -- a person -- or any other term signifying one out of many possible objects of consciousness, is by that very relation necessarily declared to be finite."36 That is, if God be a person, He is of necessity finite. Here the personality of God is said not only to be incogitable, or inconceivable, but impossible. And this is the real doctrine of his book. It must be so. It is intuitively true that the whole cannot be a part of itself; and if the Infinite be "the All," then it cannot be one out of many. If men adopt the principles of pantheists, they cannot consistently avoid their conclusions. Hamilton teaches not merely that God may not be what we think Him to be, but that He cannot so be; that we are ignorant what He is; that He is to us an unknown God. If God, by the laws of our reason, thus forces us to deny his personality, and by the laws of our moral nature makes it not only a duty, but a necessity to believe in his personality, then our nature is chaotic. Man, in that case, is not the noble creature that was formed in the image of God.

    4. This doctrine of regulative knowledge destroys the authority of the Scriptures. If all that the Bible teaches concerning the nature of God and concerning his relation to the world, reveals no objective truth, gives us no knowledge of what God really is, then what it teaches concerning the person, offices, and work of Christ, may all be unreal, and there may be no such person and no such Saviour.

C. Objections to the whole Theory.

    1. The first and most obvious fallacy in the theory of Hamilton and Mansel, as it appears to us, lies in their definition of the Absolute and Infinite, or in the language of Hamilton, the Unconditioned. By the Absolute they mean that which exists in and of itself, and out of all relation. The Infinite is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived or is possible; which includes all actual and all possible modes of being. Mansel subscribes to the dictum of Hegel that the Absolute must include all modes of being, good as well as evil. In like manner the Infinite must be All. For if any other being exists, the Infinite must of necessity be limited, and, therefore, is no longer infinite.

    These definitions determine everything. If the Absolute be that which is incapable of all relation, then it must be alone; nothing but the Absolute can be actual or possible. Then it can neither know nor be known. And if the Infinite be all, then again there can be no finite. Then it is just as certain that the Absolute and Infinite cannot be cause, or conscious, or a person, as that a square cannot be a circle, or the whole a part of itself. When a definition leads to contradictions and absurdities, when it leads to conclusions which are inconsistent with the laws of our nature, and when it subverts all that consciousness, common sense, and the Bible declare to be true, the only rational inference is that the definition is wrong. This inference we have the right to draw in the present case. The very fact that the definitions of the Absolute and Infinite which Hamilton and Mansel have adopted from the transcendentalists, lead to all the fearful conclusions which they draw from them, is proof enough that they must be wrong. They are founded upon purely speculative a priori grounds. They can have no authority. For if, as these philosophers say, the Absolute and Infinite cannot be known, how can it be defined? Neither the etymology nor the usage of the words in question justifies the above given definitions of them. Absolute (ab and solvo) means, free, unrestrained, independent; as when we speak of an absolute monarch or absolute promise; or, unlimited, as when we speak of absolute space. The word is also used in the sense of finished, or perfect. An absolute being is one that is free, unlimited, independent, and perfect. God is absolute, because He is not dependent for His existence, nature, attributes, or acts, on any other being. He is unlimited, by anything out of Himself or independent of his will. But this does not imply that He is the only being; nor that in order to be absolute He must be dead, unconscious, or without thought or will. Much less does the word infinite, as applied to God, imply that He must include all forms of being. Space may be infinite without being duration, and duration may be infinite without being space. An infinite spirit does not include material forms of existence, any more than an infinite line is an infinite surface or an infinite solid. When it is said that anything is infinite, all that is properly meant is that no limit is assignable or possible to it as such. An infinite line is that to which no limit can be assigned as a line; infinite space is that to which no limit can be assigned as space; an infinite spirit is a spirit which is unlimited in all the attributes of a spirit. It is a great mistake to assume that the infinite must be all. Infinite power is not all power, but simply power to whose efficiency no limtation can be assigned; and infinite knowledge is not all knowledge, but simply knowledge to the extent of which no limit is possible. So too an infinite substance is not all substance, but a substance which is not excluded from any portion of space by other substances, or limited in the manifestation of any of its attributes or functions by anything out of itself. God, therefore, may be a Spirit infinite, eternal, and immutable in his being and perfections, without being matter, and sin, and misery.

    It may be said that as infinite space must include all space, so an infinite being must of necessity include all modes of being. This, however, is a mere play on words. Infinite is sometimes inclusive of all, not from the meaning of the word, but from the nature of the subject of which infinitude is predicated. Infinite space must include all space, because space is in its nature one. But an infinite line does not include all lines, because there may be any number of lines; and an infinite being is not all being, because there may be any number of beings.

    It must excite the wonder and indignation of ordinary men to see the fundamental truths of religion and morality endangered or subverted out of deference to the assumption that the Absolute must be unrelated.

Wrong Definition of Knowledge.

    2. The second fallacy involved in Hamilton's theory concerns his idea of knowledge. When it is said that God is unknowable, everything depends on what is meant by knowledge. With him to know is to understand, to have a distinct conception, or mental image. This is evident from his using interchangeably the words unthinkable, unknowable, and inconceivable. Thus on a single page37 Mansel uses the phrases that of which "we do not and cannot think," that "which we cannot conceive," and "that which we are unable to comprehend," as meaning one and the same thing. This is also proved from the manner in which other words and phrases are employed; for example, the Infinite, the Absolute, an absolute beginning, an absolute whole, an absolute part, any increase or diminution of the complement of being. The only sense, however, in which these things are unthinkable, is, that we cannot form a mental image of them. A distinguished German professor, when anything was said to which he could not assent, was accustomed to spread out his hands and close his eyes and say, "Ich kann gar keine Anschauung davon machen." I cannot see it with my minds eye, I cannot make an image of it. This seems to be a materialistic way of looking at things. The same may be said of cause, substance, and soul, of none of which can we frame a mental image; yet they are not unthinkable. A thing is unthinkable only when it is seen to be impossible, or when we can attach no meaning to the words, or proposition, in which it is stated. This impossibility of intelligent thought may arise from our weakness. The problems of the higher mathematics are unthinkable to a child. Or, the impossibility may arise from the nature of the thing itself. That a triangle should have four sides, or a circle be a square, is absolutely unthinkable. But in neither of these senses is the Infinite unthinkable. It is not impossible, for Hamilton and Mansel both admit that God is in fact infinite; nor is that proposition unintelligible. It conveys a perfectly clear and distinct idea to the mind. When the mind affirms to itself that space is infinite, i. e., that it cannot be limited, it knows what it means just as well as when it says that two and two are four. Neither is an absolute beginning unthinkable. If, indeed, by absolute beginuing is meant uncaused beginning, the coming into existence of something out of nothing, and produced by nothing, then it is impossible and therefore incogitable. But the dictum is applied to a creation ex nihilo, which is declared to be unthinkable. This, however, is denied. We will to move a limb, and it moves. God said, Let there be light, and light was. The one event is just as intelligible as the other. In neither case can we comprehend the nexus between the antecedent and the consequent, between the volition and the effect; but as facts they are equally thinkable and knowable.

    It is not possible to give the evidence scattered through the writings of Hamilton and Mansel, that they use the word "to know" in the sense of comprehending, or, forming a mental image of the object known. Mansel38 quotes the following sentence from Dr. McCosh's work on the "Method of the Divine Government," namely, "The mind seeks in vain to embrace the infinite in a positive image, but is constrained to believe, when its efforts fail, that there is a something to which no limits can be put." This sentence Mansel says may be accepted "by the most uncompromising adherent" of Sir W. Hamilton's doctrine, that the infinite is unthinkable and unknowable. To know, therefore, according to Hamilton and Mansel, is to form a mental image of; and as we cannot form such an image of God, God cannot be known. Mansel is disposed to think that this reduces the controversy to a matter matter of words. And Dr. Tyler, in his able exposition of Hamilton's philosophy, says,39 "So it be admitted, as it must, that all our intelligence of God is by analogy, it matters but little, practically, whether the conviction be called knowledge, belief, or faith." It is, however, very far from being a dispute about words. For Hamilton constantly asserts that God is not, and cannot be, what we think He is. Then we have no God. For what is God as infinite, if as Mansel says, "The Infinite, if it is to be conceived at all, must be conceived as potentially everything and actually nothing."40

What is meant by Knowledge.

    Knowledge is the perception of truth. Whatever the mind perceives, whether intuitively or discursively, to be true, that it knows. We have immediate knowledge of all the facts of consciousness; and with regard to other matters, some we can demonstrate, some we can prove analogicallv, some we must admit or involve ourselves in contradictions and absurdities. Whatever process the mind may institute, if it arrives at a clear perception that a thing is, then that thing is an objects of knowledge. It is thus we know the object with which heaven and earth are crowded. It is thus we know our fellow men. With regard to anything without us, when our ideas, or convictions concerning it, correspond to what the thing really is, then we know it. How do we know that our nearest friend has a soul, and that that soul has intelligence, moral excellence, and power? We cannot see or feel it. We cannot form a mental image of it. It is mysterious and imcomprehensible. Yet we know that it is, and what it is, just as certainly as we know that we ourselves are, and what we are. In the same way we know that God is, and what He is. We know that He is a spirit, that He has intelligence, moral excellence, and power to an infinite degree. We know that He can love, pity, and pardon; that He can hear and answer prayer. We know God in the same sense and just as certainly as we know our father or mother. And no man can take this knowledge from us, or persuade us that it is not knowledge, but a mere irrational belief.

Hamilton's Doctrine Leads to Scepticism.

    3. The principles on which Hamilton and Mansel deny that God can be known, logically lead to scepticism. Hamilton has indeed rendered invaluable service to the cause of truth by his defence of what is, perhaps, infelicitously called the "Philosophy of Common Sense." The principles of that philosophy are: (1.) That what is given in consciousness is undoubtedly true. (2.) That whatever the laws of our nature force us to believe, must be accepted as true. (3.) That this principle applies to all the elements of our nature, to the senses, the reason, and the conscience. We cannot rationally or consistently with our allegiance to God, deny what our senses, reason, or conscience pronounce to be true. (4.) Neither the individual man, nor the cause of truth, however, is to be left to the mercy of what any one may choose to say reason or conscience teaches. Nothing is to be accepted as the authoritative judgment of either reason or conscience, which does not bear the criteria of universality and necessity.

    Hamilton has drawn from the stores of his erudition, in this department perhaps unexampled, proof that these principles have been recognized by the leading philosophic minds in all ages. He himself sustains them with earnestness as the safeguards of truth. He impressively asserts that if consciousness once be convicted of falsehood, all is lost; we have then no resting place for either science or religion; that absolute scepticism follows, if it be denied that necessity and universality of belief are not decisive proof of the truth of what is thus believed. Even Stuart Mill admnits that "whatever is known to us by consciousness, is known beyond possibility of question."41 Mr. Mansel tells us that it is from consciousness we get our idea of substance, of personality, of cause, of right and wrong, in short of everything which lies at the foundation of knowledge and religion; and therefore if consciousness deceive us we have nothing to depend upon. Mansel thus expounds the famous aphorism of Des Cartes, "Cogito ergo sum," i. e., "I, who see, and hear, and think, and feel, am the one continuous self, whose existence gives unity and connection to the whole. Personality comprises all that we know of that which exists; relation to personality comprises all that we know of that which seems to exist."42 "Consciousness," he says, "gives us the knowledge of substance. We are a substantive existence."43 "I exist as I am conscious of existing; and conscious self is itself the Ding an sich, the standard by which all representations of personality must be judged, and from which our notion of reality, as distinguished from appearance, is originally derived."44 Hamilton and Mansel therefore teach that the veracity of consciousness is the foundation of all knowledge, and that the denial of that veracity inevitably leads to absolute scepticism. Nevertheless they teach that our senses deceive us; that reason deceives us; that conscience deceives us; that is, that our sensuous, rational, and moral consciousness are alike deceptive and unreliable.

    Our senses give us the knowledge of the external world. They teach us that things are, and what they are. It is admitted that the universal and irresistible belief of men, as that belief is determined by their sense and consciousness, is that things really are what to our senses they appear to be. Philosophers tell us this is a delusion. Kant says that they certainly are not what we take them to be. Mansel says this is going rather too far. We cannot know, indeed, what they are, but it is possible that they are in fact what they appear to be. In either case they are to us all unknown quantity, and the senses deceive us. They assume to teach more than they have a right to teach, and we are bound to believe them.

    Kant teaches that our reason, that the necessary laws of thought which govern our mental operations, lead to absolute contradictions. In this Hamilton and Mansel fully agree with him. They tell us that reason teaches that the Absolute must be all things actual and possible; that there cannot be an absolute or infinite person, or cause; that being and not-being are identical; that the infinite is "potentially all things and actually nothing." These and similar contradictions are said to be inevitable results of all attempts to know God as an Absolute and Infinite Being. "The conception of the Absolute and Infinite, from whatever side we view it, appears encompassed with contradictions. There is a contradiction in supposing such an object to exist, whether alone or in conjunction with others; and there is a contradiction in supposing it not to exist. There is a contradiction in conceiving it as one, and there is a contradiction in conceiving it as many. There is a contradiction in conceiving it as personal; and there is a contradiction in conceiving it as impersonal. It cannot without contradiction be represented as active; nor, without equal contradiction, be represented as inactive. It cannot be conceived as the sum of all existence; nor yet can it be conceived of as a part only of that sum."45 Yet all this we are called upon to believe; for it is our duty, he says, to believe that God is infinite and absolute. That is, we are bound to believe what our rational consciousness pronounces to be contradictory and impossible.

    Conscience, or our moral consciousness, is no less deceptive. Mr. Mansel admits that we are conscious of dependence and of moral obligation; that this involves what he calls "the consciousness of God," i. e., that we stand in the relation to God of one spirit to another spirit, of one person to another person; a person so superior to us as to have rightfully supreme authority over us, and who has all the power and all the moral perfections which enter into our idea of God. But all this is a delusion. It is a delusion, because what our moral consciousness thus teaches involves all the contradictions and absurdities above mentioned; because it is said to teach not what God is, but only what it is desirable that we should think He is; and because we are told that it is blasphemy to think that He is what we take Him to be.

    The theory, therefore, of Hamilton and Mansel as to the knowledge of God is suicidal. It is inconsistent with the veracity of consciousness, which is the fundamental principle of their philosophy. The theory is an incongruous combination of sceptical principles with orthodox faith, the anti-theistic principles of Kant with Theism. One or the other must be given up. We cannot believe in a personal God, if an infinite person be a contradiction and absurdity.

    God has not so constituted our nature as to make it of necessity deceptive. The senses, reason, and conscience, within their appropriate spheres, and in their normal exercise, are trustworthy guides. They teach us real, and not umerely apparent or regulative truth. Their combined spheres comprehend all the relations in which we, as rational creatures, stand to the external world, to our fellow-men, and to God. Were it not for the disturbing element of sin, we know not that man, in full communion with his Maker, whose Favour is light and life, would have needed any other guides. But man is not in his original and normal state. In apostatizing from God, man fell into a state of darkness and confusion. Reason and conscience are no longer adequate guides as to "the things of God." Of fallen men, the Apostle says: "That when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things" (Rom. i. 21-23); or, worse yet, into an absolute and infinite being, without consciousness, intelligence, or moral character; a being which is not potentially all things, and actually nothing. It is true, therefore, as the same. Apostle tells us, that the world by wisdom knows not God. It is true in a still higher sense, as the Lord himself says, that no man "knoweth the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." (Matt. xi. 27.)

Necessity of a Supernatural Revelation.

    We need, therefore, a divine supernatural revelation. Of this revelation, it is to be remarked, first, that it gives us real knowledge. It teaches us what God really is; what sin is; what the law is; what Christ and the plan of salvation through Him are; and what is to be the state of the soul after death. The knowledge thus communicated is real, in the sense that the ideas which we are thus led to form of the things revealed conform to what those things really are. God and Christ, holiness and sin, heaven and hell, really are what the Bible declares them to be. Sir William Hamilton46 divides the objects of knowledge into two classes: those derived from within, from the intelligence; and those derived from experience. The latter are of two kinds: what we know from our own experience, and what we know from the experience of others, authenticated to us by adequate testimony. In the generally received sense of the word this is true knowledge. No man hesitates to say that he knows that there was such a man as Washington, or such an event as the American Revolution. If the testimony of men can give us clear and certain knowledge of facts beyond our experience, surely the testimony of God is greater. What He reveals is made known. We apprehend it as it truly is. The conviction that what God reveals is made known in its true nature, is the very essence of faith in the divine testimony. We are certain, therefore, that our ideas of God, founded on the testimony of his Word, correspond to what He really is, and constitute true knowledge. It is also to be remembered that while the testimony of men is to the mind, the testimony of God is not only to, but also within the mind. It illuminates and informs; so that the testimony of God is called the demonstration of the Spirit.

    The second remark concerning the revelation contained in the Scriptures is, that while it makes known truths far above the reach of sense or reason, it reveals nothing which contradicts either. It harmonizes with our whole nature. It supplements all our other knowledge, and authenticates itself by harmonizing the testimony of enlightened consciousness with the testimony of God in his Word.

    The conclusion, therefore, of the whole matter is, that we know God in the same sense in which we know ourselves and things out of ourselves. We have the same conviction that God is, and that He is, in Himself, and independently of our thought of Him, what we take Him to be. Our subjective idea corresponds to the Objective reality. This knowledge of God is the foundation of all religion; and therefore to deny that God can be known, is really to deny that rational religion is possible. In other words, it makes religion a mere sentiment, or blind feeling, instead of its being what the Apostle declares it to be, a logikh. latrei,a, a rational service; the homage of the reason as well as of the heart and life. "Our knowledge of God," says Hase, "developed and enlightened by the Scriptures, answers to what God really is, for He cannot deceive us as to his own nature."47


1. Ethices, ii. prop. xlvi. edit. Jena, 1803, vol. ii. p. 119.
2. See Mansel's Limits of Religious Thought, Boston, 1859, p. 301.
3. Sir William Hamilton's Discussions, p. 16. Princeton Review on Cousin's Philosophy, 1856.
4. Werke, xii. p. 496, edit. Berlin, 1840.
5. Prolegomena Logica, edit. Boston, 1860, p. 34.
6. Epistolae, I., cx., edit. Amsterdam, 1682.
7. Epistolae, lx., vol. i. p. 659, edit. Jena, 1802.
8. "Von den gottlichen Dingen," Werke, iii. pp. 422, 423, edit. Leipzig, 1816.
9. Philosophy, edit. Wight, New York, 1854, p. 233.
10. Ibid. p. 226.
11. Ibid. p. 234.
12. Limits of Religious Thought, edit. Boston, 1859, pp. 56, 57.
13. Limits of Religious Thought, etc., p. 120.
14. Ibid. p. 121.
15. Ibid. p. 122.
16. Limits of Religious Thought, etc., p. 127.
17. Limits of Religious Thought, etc., p. 261.
18. "Kritik der Praktischen Vernunft." Works, edit. Rosenkranz, vol. viii. p. 282.
19. Discussions, p. 23.
20. Progress of Philosophy, by S. Taylor. LL.D., p. 200.
21. Mansel, p. 75.
22. Mansel, p. 76.
23. Hamilton's Discussions, p. 35.
24. Mansel, pp. 78, 79.
25. Bruno, p. 171.
26. Discussions, p. 40.
27. Mansel, p. 77.
28. Mansel, pp. 102, 103.
29. Strauss, Dogmatik, i. p. 527.
30. Pensees, partio II. art. iii. 5
31. Tyler's Progress of Philosophy, second edit. p. 147.
32. Discussions, p. 22.
33. Limits of Religious Thought, p. 106.
34. Limits of Religious Thought, p. 132.
35. Bampton Lectures, 1832, p. 54.
36. Limits of Religious Thought, p. 107.
37. Page 110.
38. Page 280.
39. See Progress of Philosophy, by Samuel Tyler, LL.D., p. 207.
40. Limits of Religious Thought, p. 94.
41. Logic, Introduction, p. 4, edit. N.Y. 1846.
42. Limits of Religious Thought, p. 105.
43. Ibid. p. 288.
44. Ibid. p. 291.
45. Limits of Religious Thought, p. 85.
46. Lectures on Logic. Lecture 32d.
47. See on this subject, Sir William Hamilton's Discussions on Philosophy and Literature, Hamilton's Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic, edited by Rev. Henry L. Mansel and John Veitch, M.A.; Philosophy of Sir William Hamilton, arranged and edited by O. W. Wight, translator of Cousin's History of Modern Philosophy; The Limits ofReligious Thought, eight lectures on the Bampton Foundation, by Henry Longueville Mansel, B. D.; Calderwood's Philosophy of the Infinite; Dr. McCosh's works on the Method of the Divine Government; The Intuitions of the Mind; Defence of Fundamental Truths; Princeton Review, April, 1862, Philosophy of the Absolute, an article by Dr. Charles W. Shields; October, 1861, Review of Dr. Hickok's Rational Psychology, by Dr. Stephen Alexander; and A Philosophical Confession of Faith, by the same writer, a very able and concise statement of fundamental principles, in the number for July, 1867, of the same journal. See also Mill's Review of Hamilton's Philosophy,and the admirable work of Professor Noah Porter, of New Haven, on the Human Intellect, part fourth, chap. viii.



Nature and Attributes of God

§1. Definitions of God.§2. Divine Attributes. §3. Classification of the Divine Attributes.
§4. Spirituality of God.§ 5. Infinity.
   § 6. Eternity.§7. Immutability. §8. Knowledge.
§9. The Will of God.§10. The Power of God.§ 11. Holiness of God.
   § 12. Justice.
§ 13. The Goodness of God. § 14. The Truth of God.§ 15. Sovereignty.

§1. Definitions of God.

    THE question whether God can be defined, depends for its answer on what is meant by definition. Cicero1 says, "Est definitio, earum rerum, quae sunt ejus rei propriae, quam definire volumus, brevis et circumscripta quaedam explicatio." In this sense God cannot be defined. No creature, much less man, can know all that is proper to God; and, therefore, no creature can give an exhaustive statement of all that God is.

    To define, however, is simply to bound, to separate, or distinguish; so that the thing defined may be discriminated from all other things. This may be done (1.) By stating its characteristics. (2.) By stating its genus and its specific difference. (3.) By analyzing the idea as it lies in our minds. (4.) By an explanation of the term or name by which it is denoted. All these methods amount to much the same thing. When we say we can define God, all that is meant is, that we can analyze the idea of God as it lies in our mind; or, that we can state the class of beings to which He belongs, and the attributes by which He is distinguished from all other beings. Thus, in the simple definition, God is ene perfectissimum, the word ens designates Him as a being, not an idea, but as that which has real, objective existence; and absolute perfection distinguishes Him from all other beings. The objection to this and most other definitions of God is, that they do not bring out with sufficient fulness the contents of the idea. This objection bears against such definitions as the following: Ens absolutum, the self-existent, independent being; and that by Calovius, "Dens est essentia spiritualis infinita;" and Reinhard's2 "Deus est, Natura necessaria, a mundo diversa, summas complexa perfectiones et ipsius mundi causa;" or Baumgarten's "Spiritus perfectissimus, rationem rui ipsius rerumque contingentium omnium seu mundi continens;" or, that of Morus, "Spiritus perfectissimus, conditor, conservator, et gubernator mundi." Probably the best definition of God ever penned by man, is that given in the "Westminster Catechism": "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." This is a true definition; for it states the class of beings to which God is to be referred. He is a Spirit; and He is distinguished from all other spirits in that He is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being and perfections. It is also a complete definition, in so far as it is an exhaustive statement of the contents of our idea of God.

    In what sense, however, are these terms used? What is meant by the words "being," and "perfections," or "attributes" of God? In what relation do his attributes stand to his essence and to each other? These are questions on which theologians, especially during the scholastic period, expended much time and labor.

Being of God.

    By being is here meant that which has a real, substantive existence. It is equivalent to substance, or essence. It is opposed to what is merely thought, and to a mere force or power. We get this idea, in the first place, from consciousness. We are conscious of self as the subject of the thoughts, feelings, and volitions, which are its varying states and acts. This consciousness of substance is involved in that of personal identity. In the second place, a law of our reason constrains us to believe that there is something which underlies the phenomena of matter and mind, of which those phenomena are the manifestation. It is impossible for us to think of thought and feeling, unless there be something that thinks and feels. It is no less impossible to think of action, unless there be something that acts; or of motion, unless there be something that moves. To assume, therefore, that mind is only a series of acts and states, and that matter is nothing but force, is to assume that nothing (nonentity) can produce effects.

    God, therefore, is in his nature a substance, or essence, which is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable; the common subject of all divine perfections, and the common agent of all divine acts. This is as far as we can go, or need to go. We have no definite idea of substance, whether of matter or mind, as distinct from its attributes. The two are inseparable. In knowing the one we know the other. We cannot know hardness except as we know something hard. We have, therefore, the same knowledge of the essence of God, as we have of the substance of the soul. All we have to do in reference to the divine essence, as a Spirit, is to deny of it, as we do of our own spiritual essence, what belongs to material substances; and to affirm of it, that in itself and its attributes it is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. When, therefore, we say there is a God, we do not assert merely that there is in our minds the idea of an infinite Spirit; but that, entirely independent of our idea of Him, such a Being really exists. Augustine3 says, "Deus est quaedam substantia; nam quod nulla substantia est, nihil omnino est. Substantia ergo aliquid esse est."

If, therefore, a divine essence, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, exists, this essence existed before and independent of the world. It follows also that the essence of God is distinct from the world The Scriptural doctrine of God is consequently opposed to the several forms of error already mentioned; to Hylozoism, which assumes that God, like man, is a composite being, the world being to Him what the body is to us; to Materialism, which denies the existence of any spiritual substance, and affirms that the material alone is real; to extreme Idealism, which denies not only the reality of the internal world, but all real objective existence, and affirms that the subjective alone is real; to Pantheism, which either makes the world the existence form of God, or, denying the reality of the world, makes God the only real existence. That is, it either makes nature God, or, denying nature, makes God everything.

§2. Divine Attributes.

    To the divine essence, which in itself is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, belong certain perfections revealed to us in the constitution of our nature and in the word of God. These divine perfections are called attributes as essential to the nature of a divine Being, and necessarily involved in our idea of God. The older theologians distinguished the attributes of God, (1.) From predicates which refer to God in the concrete, and indicate his relation to his creatures, as creator, preserver, ruler, etc. (2.) From properties, which are technically the distinguishing characteristics of the several persons of the Trinity. There are certain acts or relations peculiar or proper to the Father, others to the Son, and others to the Spirit. And (3.) From accidents or qualities which may or may not belong to a substance, which may be acquired or lost. Thus holiness was not an attribute of the nature of Adam, but an accident, something which he might lose and still remain a man; whereas intelligence was an attribute, because the loss of intelligence involves the loss of humanity. The perfections of God, therefore, are attributes, without which He would cease to be God.

Relation of the Attributes to the Essence of God.

    In attempting to explain the relation in which the attributes of God stand to his essence and to each other, there are two extremes to be avoided. First, we must not represent God as a composite being, composed of different elements; and, secondly, we must not confound the attributes, making them all mean the same thing, which is equivalent to denying them all together. The Realists of the Middle Ages tended to the former of these extremes, and the Nominalists to the other. Realists held that general terms express not merely thoughts, or abstract conceptions in our minds, but real or substantive, objective existence. And hence they were disposed to represent the divine attributes as differing from each other realiter, as one res or thing differs from another. The Nominalists, on the other hand, said general terms are mere words answering to abstractions formed by the mind. And consequently when we speak of different attributes in God, we only use different words for one and the same thing. Occam, Biel, and other Nominalists, therefore, taught that "Attributa divina nec rei, nec rationis distinctione, inter se aut ab essentia divina distingui; sed omnem distinctionem esse solum in nominibus." The Lutheran and Reformed theologians tended much more to the latter of these extremes than to the former. They generally taught, in the first place, that the unity and simplicity of the divine essence precludes not only all physical composition of constituent elements, or of matter and form, or of subject and accidents; but also all metaphysical distinction as of act and power, essence and existence, nature and personality; and even of logical difference, as genus and specific difference.

    In the second place, the theologians were accustomed to say that the attributes of God differ from his essence non re, sed ratione. This is explained by saying that things differ ex natura rei, when they are essentially different as soul and body; while a difference ex ratione is merely a difference in us, i. e., in our conceptions,  i. e., "quod distincte solum concipitur, cum in re ipsa distinctum non sit." Hence the divine attributes are defined as "conceptus essentiae divinae inadequatae, ex parte rei ipsam essentiam involventes, eandemque intrinsice denominantes." Aquinas says, "Deus est unus re et plures ratione, quia intellectus noster ita multipliciter apprehendit Deum, sicuti res multipliciter ipsum representant." The language of the Lutheran theologian Quenstedt4 exhibits the usual mode of reprosenting this subject: "Si proprie et accurate loqui velimus, Deus nullas habet proprietates, sed mera et simplicissima est essentia quae nec realem differentiam nec ullam vel rerum vel modoruni admittit compositionem. Quia vero simplicissimam Dei essentiam uno adequato conceptu adequate concipere non possumus, ideo inadequatis et distinctis conceptibus, inadequate essentiam divinam repraesentantibus, eam apprehendimus, quos inadequatos conceptus, qui a parte rei essentiae divinae identificantur, et a nobis per modum affectionum apprehenduntur, attributa vocamus." And again, "Attributa divina a parte rei et in se non multa sunt, sed ut ipsa essentia divina, ita et attributa, quae cum illa identificantur, simplicissima unitas sunt; multa vero dicuntur (1.) sugkatabatikw/j, ad nostrum concipiendi modum, . . . . (2.) evnerghtikw/j, in ordine ad effecta."5 The favorite illustration to explain what was meant by this unity of the divine attributes, was drawn from the sun. His ray, by one and the same power (as was then assumed) illuminates, warms, and produces chemical changes, not from any diversity in it, but from diversity in the nature of the objects on which it operates. The force is the same; the effects are different. The meaning of these theologians is further determined by their denying that the relation of attribute and essence in God is analogous to the relation of intelligence and will to the essence of the soul in man; and also by the frequently recurring declaration, borrowed from the schoolmen, that God is actus purus. Schleiermacher goes still further in the same direction. With him the divine attributes are mere Beziehungen, or relations of God to us. He commonly resolves them into mere causality. Thus he defines the holiness of God to be that causality in Him which produces conscience in us.

Divine Attributes.

    A third and less objectionable way of representing the matter is adopted by those who say with Hollazius: "Attributa divina ab essentia divina et a se invicem, distinguuntur non nominaliter neque realiter sed formaliter, secundum nostrum concipiendi modum, non sine certo distinctionis fundamento."6 This is very different from saying that they differ ratione tautum. Turrettin says the attributes are to be distinguished not realiter, but virtualiter; that is, there is a real foundation in the divine nature for the several attributes ascribed to Him.

    It is evident that this question of the relation of the divine attributes to the divine essence merges itself into the general question of the relation between attributes and substance. It is also evident that this is a subject about which one man knows just as much as another; because all that can be known about it is given immediately in consciousness.

    This subject has already been referred to. We arc conscious of ourselves as a thinking substance. That is, we are conscious that that which is ourselves has identity, continuance, and power. We are further conscious that the substance self thinks, wills, and feels. Intelligence, will, and sensibility, are its functions, or attributes, and consequently the attributes of a spirit. These are the ways in which a spirit acts. Anything which does not thus act, which has not these functions or attributes, is not a spirit. If you take from a spirit its intelligence, will, and sensibility, nothing remains its, substance is gone; at least it ceases to be a spirit. Substance and attributes are inseparable. The one is known in the other. A substance wituout attributes is nothing, i. e., no real existence. What is true of spiritual substances is true of matter. Matter, without the essential properties of matter, is a contradiction.

    We know, therefore, from consciousness, as far as it can be known, the relation between substance and its attributes. And all that can be done, or need be done, is to deny or correct the false representations which are so often made on the subject.

The Divine Attributes do not differ merely in our Conception.

    To say, as the schoolmen, and so many even of Protestant theologians, ancient and modern, were accustomed to say, that the divine attributes differ only in name, or in our conceptions, or in their effects, is to destroy all true knowledge of God. Thus even Augustine confounds knowledge and power, when he says,7 "Nos ista, quae fecisti videmus quia sunt: tu autem quia vides ea, sunt." So Scotus Erigena8 says, "Non aliud est ei videre, aliud facere; sed visio illius voluntas ejus est, et voluntas operatio." Thomas Aquinas9 says the same thing: "Deus per intellectum suum causat res, cum suum esse sit suum intelligere." And again, "Scientia (Dei) causat res; nostra vero causatur rebus et dependat ab eis." Even Mr. Mansel,10 to aggravate our ignorance of God, speaks of Him as "an intellect whose thought creates its own object." It is obvious that, according to this view, God is simply a force of which we know nothing but its effects. If in God eternity is identical with knowledge, knowledge with power, power with ubiquity, and ubiquity with holiness, we are using words without meaning when we attribute any perfection to God. We must, therefore, either give up the attempt to determine the divine attributes from our speculative idea of an infinite essence, or renounce all knowledge of God, and all faith in the revelation of Himself, which He has made in the constitution of our nature, in the external world, and in his Word. Knowledge is no more identical with power in God than it is in us. Thought in Him is no more creative than is thought in us. Otherwise creation is eternal, and God creates everything -- all the thoughts, feelings, and volitions of his creatures, good and evil; and God is the only real agent, and the only real being in the universe. According to this doctrine, also, there can be no difference between the actual and the possible, for the one as well as the other is always present to the divine mind. It would also follow that the creation must be infinite, or God finite. For if knowledge is causative, God creates all He knows, and you must limit his knowledge if you limit creation. It need hardly be remarked that this doctrine is derogatory to God. It is not only a much higher idea, but one essential to personality, that there should be a real distinction between the divine attributes. That which from its nature and by necessity does all that it can do, is a force, and not a person. It can have no will. The doctrine in question, therefore, is essentially pantheistic. "However much," says Martensen, "we must guard our idea of God from being degraded by anything that is merely human, from all false Anthropomorphism, yet we can find in Nominalism only the denial of God as He is revealed in the Scriptures. It is the denial of the very essence of faith, if it is only in our thoughts that God is holy and righteous, and not in his own nature; if it is we who so address Him, and not He who so reveals Himself. We teach, therefore, with the Realists (of one class), that the attributes of God are objectrvely true as revealed, and therefore have their ground in the divine essence." There is a kind of Realism, as Martensen admits, which is as destructive of the true idea of God as the Nominalism which makes his attributes differ only in name. It grants, indeed, objective reality to our ideas; but these ideas, according to it, have no real subject. "The idea of omnipotence, righteousness, and holiness," he says, "is a mere blind thought, if there be not an omnipotent, righteous, and holy One."11

The Divine Attributes not to be resolved into Causality.

    It amounts to much the same doctrine, to resolve all the attributes of God into causality. It was a principle with some of the schoolmen, "Affectus in Deo denotat effectum." This was so applied as to limit our knowledge of God to the fact that God is the cause of certain effects. Thus, when we say God is just, we mean nothing more than that He causes misery to follow sin; when we say He is holy, it only means that He is the cause of conscience in us. As a tree is not sweet, because its fruit is luscious, so God is not holy, he is only the cause of holiness. Against this application of the principle, Aquinas himself protested, declaring, "Cum igitur dicitur, Deus est bonus; non est sensus, Deus est causa bonitatis; vel Deus non est malus. Sed est sensus: Id, quod bonitatem dicimus in creaturis, praeexistit in Deo; et hoc quidem secundum modum altiorem. Unde ex hoc non sequitur, quod Deo competat esse bonum, in quantum causat bonitatem; sed potius e converso, quia est bonus, bonitatem rebus diffundit."12 And the Lutheran theologian, Quenstedt, says, "Dicunt nonnulli, ideo Deum dici justum, sanctum, misericordem, veracem, etc., non quod revera sit talis, sed quod duntaxat sanctitatis, justitiae, misericordiae, veritatis, etc., causa sit et auctor in aliis. Sed si Deus non est vere misericors, neque vere perfectus, vere sanctus, etc., sed causa tantum misericordiae et sanctitatis in aliis, ita etiam et nos pariter juberemur esse non vere misericordes, non vere perfecti, etc., sed sanctitatis saltem et misericordiae in aliis auctores."13

The Divine Attributes differ Virtualiter.

    Theologians, to avoid the blank ignorance of God which must follow from the extreme view of the simplicity of his essence, which requires us to assunie that the divine attributes differ only in our conceptions, or as expressing the diverse effects of the activity of God, made a distiniction between the ratio rationantis and the ratio rationatae. That is, the reason as determining, and the reason as determined. The attributes, they say, differ not re, but ratione;not in our subjective reason only; but there is in God a reason why we think of Him as possessing these diverse perfections. This idea, as before stated, was often expressed by saying that the divine attributes differ neither realiter, nor nominaliter, but virtualiter. If this be understood to mean that the divimie perfections are really what the Bible declares them to be; that God truly thinks, feels, and acts; that He is truly wise, just, and good, that He is truly omnipotent, and voluntary, acting or not acting, as He sees fit; that He can hear and answer prayer; it may be admitted. But we are not to give up the conviction that God is really in Himself what He reveals Himself to be, to satisfy any metaphysical speculations as to the difference between essence and attribute in an infinite Being. The attributes of God, therefore, are not merely different conceptions in our minds, but different modes in which God reveals Himself to his creatures (or to Himself); just as our several faculties are different modes in which the inscrutable substance self reveals itself in our consciousness and acts. It is an old saying, "Qualis homo, talis Deus." And Clemens Alexandrinus14 says, "If any one knows himself, he will know God." And Leibnitz expresses the same great truth when he says,15 "The perfections of God are those of our own souls, but He possesses them without limit. He is an ocean of which we have only received a few drops. There is in us something of power, something of knowledge, something of goodness; but these attributes are in entireness in Him." There is indeed danger in either extreme, danger of degrading God in our thoughts, by reducing Him to the standard of our nature, and danger of denying Him as He is revealed. In our day, and among educated men, and especially among students of philosophy, the latter danger is by far the greater of the two. We should remember that we lose God, when we lose our confidence in saying Thou! to Him, with the assurance of being heard and helped.  

§3. Classification of the Divine Attributes.

    On few subjects have greater thought and labor been expended than on this. Perhaps, however, the benefit has not been commensurate with the labor. The object of classification is order, and the object of order is clearness. So far as this end is secured, it is a good. But the great diversity of the methods which have been proposed, is evidence that no one method of arrangement has such advantages as to secure for it general recognition.

    1. Some, as has been seen, preclude all necessity of a classification of the attributes, by reducing them all to unity, or regarding them as different phases under which we contemplate the Supreme Being as the ground of all things. With them the whole discussion of the divimie attributes is an analysis of the idea of the Infinite and Absolute.

    2. Others arrange the attributes according to the mode in which we arrive at the knowledge of them. We form our idea of God, it is said, (1.) By the way of causation; that is, by referring to Him as the great first cause every virtue manifested by the effects which He produces. (2.) By the way of negation; that is, by denying to Him the limitations and imperfections which belong to his creatures. (3.) By the way of eminence, in exalting to an infinite degree or without limit the perfections which belong to an infinite Being. If this is so, the attributes conceived of by one of these methods belong to one class, and those conceived of, or of which we attain the knowledge by another method, belong to another class. This principle of classification is perhaps the one most generally adopted. It gives rise, however, really but to two classes, namely, the positive and negative, i. e., those in which something is affirmed, and those in which something is denied concerning God. To the negative class are commonly referred simplicity, infinity, eternity, immutability; to the positive class, power, knowledge, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Instead of calling the one class negative and the other positive, they are often distinguished as absolute and relative. By an absolute attribute is meant one which belongs to God, considered in Himself, and which implies no relation to other beings; by a relative attribute is meant one which implies relation to an object. They are also distinguished as immanent and transient, as communicable and incommunicable. These terms are used interchangeably. They do not express different modes of classification, but are different modes of designating the same classification. Negative, absolute, immanent, and incommunicable, are designations of one class; and positive, relative, transitive, and communicable, are designations of the other class.

    3. A third principle of classification is derived from the constitution of our own nature. In man there is the substance or essence of the soul, the intellect, and the will. Hence, it is said, we can most naturally arrange the attributes of God under three heads. First, those pertaining to his essence; second, those referring to his intellect; and third, those referring to his will, the word "will" being taken in its most comprehensive sense.

    4. Others again seek the principle of classification in the nature of the attributes themselves. Some include the idea of moral excellence, and others do not. Hence they are distinguished as natural and moral. The word natural, however, is ambiguous. Taking it in the sense of what constitutes or pertains to the nature, the holiness and justice of God are as much natural as his power or knowledge. And on the other hand, God is infinite and eternal in his moral perfections, although infinity and eternity are not distinctively moral perfections. In the common and familiar sense of the word natural, the terms natural and moral express a real distinction.

    5. Schleiermacher's method is, of course, peculiar. It is based on the characteristic principle of his system, that all religion is founded on a sense of dependence, and all theology consists in what that sense of dependence teaches us. He does not treat of the divine attributes in any one place, but here and there, as they come up according to his plan. Our sense of dependence does not awaken in our consciousness a feeling of opposition to God's eternity, omnipotence, omnipresence, or omniscience. These, therefore, are treated of in one place. But we, as dependent creatures, are conscious of opposition to God's holiness and righteousness. These, therefore, belong to another head. And as this opposition is removed through Christ, we are brought into relation to God's grace or love, and to his wisdom. These form a third class.

    That so many different principles of classification have been adopted, and that each of those principles is carried out in so many different ways, shows the uncertainty and difficulty attending the whole subject. It is proposed in what follows to accept the guidance of the answer given in the "Westminster Catechism," to the question, What is God? It is assumed in that answer that God is a self-existent and necessary Being; and it is affirmed of Him, I. That He is a Spirit. II. That as such He is infinite, eternal, and immutable. III. That He is infinite, eternal, and immutable, (1.) In his being. (2.) In all that belongs to his intelligence, namely, in his knowledge and wisdom. (3.) In all that belongs to his will, namely, his power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Whatever speculative objections may be made to this plan, it has the advantage of being simple and familiar.

§4. Spirituality of God.

A. The Meaning of the Word "Spirit."

    The fundamental principle of interpretation of all writings, sacred or profane, is that words are to be understood in their historical sense; that is, in the sense in which it can be historically proved that they were used by their authors and intended to be understood by those to whom they were addressed. The object of language is the communication of thought. Unless words are taken in the sense in which those who employ them know they will be understood, they fail of their design. The sacred writings being the words of God to man, we are bound to take them in the sense in which those to whom they were originally addressed must inevitably have taken them. What is the meaning of the word "spirit?" or rather, What is the usus loquendi of the Hebrew and Greek words to which our word "spirit" corresponds? In answering this question, we learn what our Lord meant when he said God is a Spirit. Originally the words x;Wr and pneu/ma meant the moving air, especially the breath, as in the phrase pneu/ma bi,ou;then any invisible power; then the human soul. In saying, therefore, that God is a Spirit, our Lord authorizes us to believe that whatever is essential to the idea of a spirit, as learned from our own consciousness, is to be referred to God as determining his nature. On this subject consciousness teaches, and has taught all men, --

    1. That the soul is a substance; that our thoughts and feelings have a common ground, of which they are the varying states or acts. Substance is that which has an objective existence, and has permanence and power. Even Kant says: "Wo Handlung, mithin Thatigkeit und Kraft ist, da ist auch Substanz," where operation, and consequently activity and power are, there is substance.16 This is not only the common oonviction of men, but it is admitted by the vast majority of philosophers. As before remarked, that there should be action without something acting, is as unthinkable as that there should be motion without something moving.

    2. Consciousness teaches that the soul is an individual subsistence. This is included in the consciousness of the unity, identity, and permanence of the soul. It is not that we are conscious simply of certain states of the soul, from which we infer its substance and subsistence; but that such are the contents of the knowledge given to us in the consciousness of self. Des Cartes famous aphorism, Cogito ergo sum, is not a syllogism. It does not mean that existence is inferred from the consciousness of thought; but that the consciousness of thought involves the consciousness of existence. Des Cartes himself so understood the matter, for he says: "Cum advertimus nos esse res cogitantes, prima quaedam notio est quae ex nullo syllogismo concluditur; neque etiam cum quis dicit 'Ego cogito, ergo sum, sive existo,' existentiam ex cogitatione per syllogismum deducit, sed tanquam rem per se notam simplici mentis intuitu agnoscit."17 Mansel says: "Whatever may be the variety of the phenomena of consciousness, sensations by this or that organ, volitions, thoughts, imaginations, of all we are immediately conscious as affections of one and the same self. It is not by any after-effort of reflection that I combine together sight and hearing, thought and volition, into a factitious unity or compounded whole, in each case I am immediately conscious of myself seeing and hearing, willing and thinking. This self-personality, like all other simple and immediate presentations, is indefinable, but it is so because it is superior to definition."18 This individual subsistence is thus involved in the consciousness of self, because in self-consciousness we distinguish ourselves from all that is not ourselves.

    3. As power of some kind belongs to every substance, the power which belongs to spirit, to the substance self, is that of thought, feeling, and volition. All this is given in the simplest form of consciousness. We are not more certain that we exist, than that we think, feel, and will. We know ourselves only as thus thinking, feeling, and willing, and we therefore are sure that these powers or faculties are the essential attributes of a spirit, and must belong to every spirit.

    4. Consciousness also informs us of the unity or simplicity of the soul. It is not compounded of different elements. It is composed of substance and form. It is a simple substance endowed with certain attributes. It is incapable of separation or division.

    5. In being conscious of our individual subsistence, we are conscious of personality. Every individual subsistence is not a person. But every individual subsistence which thinks and feels, and has the power of self-determination, is a person; and, therefore, the consciousness of our subsistence, and of the powers of thought and volition, is the consciousness of personality.

    6. We are also conscious of being moral agents, susceptible of moral character, and the subjects of moral obligation.

    7. It need not be added that every spirit must possess self-consciousness. This is involved in all that has been said. Without self-consciousness we should be a mere power in nature. This is the very ground of our being, and is necessarily involved in the idea of self as a real existence.

    It is impossible, therefore, to overestimate the importanc of the truth contained in the simple proposition, God is a Spirit. It is involved in that proposition that God is immaterial. None of the properties of matter can be predicated of Him. He is not extended or divisible, or compounded, or visible, or tangible. He has neither bulk nor form. The Bible everywhere recognizes as true the intuitive convictions of men. One of those convictions is that spirit is not matter, or matter spirit; that different and incompatible attributes cannot belong to the same substance. In revealing, therefore, to us that God is a Spirit, it reveals to us that no attribute of matter can be predicated of the divine essence. The realistic dualism which lies at the bottom of all human convictions, underlies also all the revelations of the Bible.

B. Consequences of the Spirituality of God.

    If God be a spirit, it follows of necessity that He is a person -- a self-conscious, intelligent, voluntary agent. As all this is involved in our consciousness of ourselves as spirit, it must all be true of God, or God is of a lower order of being than man.

    It follows also that God is a simple Being, not only as not composed of different elements, but also as not admitting of the distinction between substance and accidents. Nothing can either be added to, or taken from God. In this view the simplicity, as well as the other attributes of God, are of a higher order than the corresponding attributes of our spiritual nature. The soul of man is a simple substance; but it is subject to change. It can gain and lose knowledge, holiness, and power. These are in this view accidents in our substance. But in God they are attributes, essential and immutable.

    Finally, it follows from God's being a spirit, that He is a moral as well as an intelligent Being. It is involved in the very nature of rational voluntary being, that it should be conformed to the rule of right, which in the case of God is his own infinite reason. These are primary truths, which are not to be sacrificed to any speculative objections. It is vain to tell us that an infinite spirit cannot be a person, because personality implies self-consciousness, and self-consciousness implies the distinction between the self and the not-self, and this is a limitation. It is equally vain to say that God cannot have moral excellence, because moral goodness implies conformity to law, and conformity to law again is inconsistent with the idea of an absolute Being. These are empty speculations; and even if incapable of a satisfactory solution, would afford no rational ground for rejecting the intuitive truths of reason and conscience. There are mysteries enough in our nature, and yet no sane muan denies his own personal existence and moral accountability. And he is worse than insane who is beguiled by such sophistries into renouncing his faith in God as a pcrsonal Spirit and a loving Father.

The Scriptures confirm these Views.

    It need hardly be remarked that the Scriptures everywhere represent God as possessing all the above-mentioned attributes of a spirit. On this foundation all religion rests; all intercourse with God, all worship, all prayer, all confidence in God as preserver, benefactor, and redeemer. The God of the Bible is a person. He spoke to Adam. He revealed himself to Noah. He entered into covenant with Abraham. He conversed with Moses, as a friend with friend. He everywhere uses the personal pronouns. He says, "I am," that "is my name." I am the Lord your God. I am merciful and gracious. Call upon me, and I will answer you. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. O thou that hearest prayer, to thee shall all flesh come. Our Lord has put into our lips words which reveal that God is a spirit, and all that being a spirit implies, when He teaches us to say: "Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done." Everywhere the God of the Bible is contrasted within the gods of the heathen, as a God who sees, hears, and loves. These are not regulative, they are real truths. God does not mock us when He thus presents Himself to us as a personal Being within whom we can have intercourse, and who is everywhere present to help and save. "To human reason," says Mansel, "the personal and the infinite stand out in apparently irreconcilable antagonism; and the recognition of the one in a religious system almost inevitably involves the sacrifice of the other."19 This cannot be so. According to the Bible, and according to the dictates of our own nature, of reason as well as of conscience, God is a spirit, and being a spirit is of necessity a person; a Being who can say I, and to whom we can say Thou.  

§ 5. Infinity.

    Although God reveals Himself as a personal Being capable of fell worship with man, whom we can worship and love, and to whom wc can pray with the assurance of being heard and answered; nevertheless He fills heaven and earth; He is exalted above all we can know or think. He is infinite in his being and perfections. The ideas with which we are most familiar are often those of which we are the least able to give an intelligent account. Space, time, and infinity, are among the most difficult problems of human thought. What is space? is a question which has never been satisfactorily answered. Some say it is nothing; where nothing is space is not; it is "negation defined by boundary lines;" others, with Kant and Hamilton, say that it is "a condition of thought," "the subjective condition of sensibility;" others that it is an attribute or accident of God; others that it is that in which real existences can act and move. Notwithstanding these conflicting statements of philosophers, and the real obscurity of the subject, every man knows clearly and definitely what the word "space" means, although no man may be able to define it satisfactorily. It is much the same with the idea of infinity. If men would be content to leave the word in its integrity, as simply expressing what does not admit of limitation, there would be no danger in speculating about its nature. But in all ages wrong views of what the infinite is, have led to fatal errors in philosophy and religion. Without attempting to detail the speculations of philosophers on this subject, we shall simply endeavor to state what is meant when it is said that God is infinite in his being and perfections.

The Idea of Infinity not merely Negative.

    Being, in this connection, is that which is or exists. The being of God is his essemice or substance, of which his perfections are the essential attributes or modes of manifestation. When it is said that God is infinite as to his being, what is meant is, that no limitation can be assigned to his essence. It is often said that our idea of the infinite is merely negative. There is a sense in which this may be true, but there is a sense in which it is not true. It is true that the form of the proposition is negative when we say that no limit can be assigned to space, or possible duration, or to the being of God. But it implies the affirmation that the object of which infinity is predicated is illimitable. It is as much a positive idea which we express when we say a thing is infinite as when we say that it is finite. We cannot, indeed, form a conception or mental image of an infinite object, but the word nevertheless expresses a positive judgment of the mind. Sir William Hamilton and others, when they say that the infinite is a mere negation, mean that it implies a negation of all thought. That is, we mean nothing when we say that a thing is infinite. As we know nothing of the inhabitants of the other planets of our system, if such there be, or of the mode in which angels and disembodied spirits take cognizance of material objects, our ideas on such subjects are purely negative, or blank ignorance. "The infinite," Mansel says, "is not a positive object of human thought."20 Every man, however, knows that the propositions "Space is infinite," and "Space is finite," express different and equally definite thoughts. When, therefore, we say that God is infinite, we mean something; we express a great and positive truth.

A. The Infinite not the All.

    The infinite, although illimitable and incapable of increase, is not necessarily all. An infinite body must include all bodies, infinite space all portions of space, and infinite duration all periods of duration. Hence Mr. Mansel says that an infinite being must of necessity include within itself all actual and all possible forms or modes of being. So said Spinoza, many of the schoolmen, and even many Christian theologians. The sense in which Spinoza and Mansel make this assertion is the fundamental principle of Pantheism. Mr. Mansel, as we have seen, escapes that conclusion by appealing to faith, and teaching that we are constrained to believe what reason pronounces to be impossible, which itself is an impossibility. The sense in which theologians teach that an infinite being must comprehend within it all being, is, that in the infinite is the cause or ground of all that is actual or possible. Thus Howe21says, "Necessary being must include all being." But he immediately adds, not in the same way, "It comprehends all being, besides what itself is, as having had, within the compass of its productive power, whatsoever hath actually sprung from it; and having within the compass of the same power, whatsoever is still possible to he produced." This, however, is not the proper meaning of the words, nor is it the sense in which they are generally used. What the words mean, and what they are generally intended to mean by those who use them is, that there is only one being in the universe; that the finite is merely the modus existendi, or manifestation of the Infinite. Thus Cousin says, God must be "infinite and finite together at the summit of being and at its humblest degree . . . ; at once God, nature, and humanity."22 Even some of the Remonstrants regard this as the necessary consequence of the doctrine of the infinitude of the divine essence. Episcopius23 says, "Si essentia Dei sic immensa est, tum intelligi non potest quomodo et ubi aliqua creata essentia esse possit. Essentia enim creata non est essentia divina; ergo aut est extra essentiam divinam, aut, si non est extra eam, est ipsa essentia illa, et sic omnia sunt Deus et divina essentia." "God is infinite," says Jacob Bohme, "for God is all." This, says Strauss,24 is exactly the doctrine of the modern philosophy.

    It has already been remarked in a previous chapter, in reference to this mode of reasoning, that it proceeds on a wrong idea of the infinite. A thing may be infinite in its own nature without precluding the possibility of the existence of things of a different nature. An infinite spirit does not forbid the assumption of the existence of matter. There may even be many infinites of the same kind, as we can imagine any number of infinite lines. The infinite, therefore, is not all. An infinite spirit is a spirit to whose attributes as a spirit no limits can be set. It no more precludes the existence of other spirits than infinite goodness precludes the existence of finite goodness, or infinite power the existence of finite power. God is infinite in being because no limit can be assigned to his perfections, and because He is present in all portions of space. A being is said to be present wherever it perceives and acts. As God perceives and acts everywhere, He is everywhere present. This however, does not preclude the presence of other beings. A multitude of men even may perceive and act at the same time and place. Besides, we have very little knowledge of the relation which spirit bears to space. We know that bodies occupy portions of space to the exclusion, of other bodies; but we do not know that spirits may not coexist in the same portion of space. A legion of demons dwelt in one man.

B. Infinitude of God in relation to Space.

    The infinitude of God, so far as space is concerned, includes his immensity and his omnipresence. These are not different attributes, but one and the same attribute, viewed under different aspects. His immensity is the infinitude of his being, viewed as belonging to his nature from eternity. He fills immensity with his presence. His omnipresence is the infinitude of his being, viewed in relation to his creatures. He is equally present with all his creatures, at all times, and in all places. He is not far from any one of us. "The Lord is in this place," may be said with equal truth and confidence, everywhere. Theologians are accustomed to distinguish three modes of presence in space. Bodies are in space circumscriptively. They are bounded by it. Spirits are in space definitively. They have an ubi. They are not everywhere, but only somewhere. God is in space repletively. He fills all space. In other words, the limitations of space have no reference to Him. He is not absent from any portion of space, nor more present in one portion than in another. This of course is not to be understood of extension or diffusion. Extension is a property of matter, and cannot be predicated of God. If extended, He would be capable of division and separation; and part of God would be here, and part elsewhere. Nor is this omnipresence to be understood as a mere presence in knowledge and power. It is an omnipresence of the divine essence. Otherwise the essence of God would be limited. The doctrine, therefore, taught by the older Socinians that the essence of God is confined to heaven (wherever that may be), and that He is elsewhere only as to his knowledge and efficiency, is inconsistent with the divine perfections and with the representations of Scripture. As God acts everywhere, He is present everywhere; for, as the theologians say, a being can no more act where he is not than when he is not.

    The older and later theologians agree in this view of the divine immensity and omnipresence. Augustine25 says God is not to be regarded as everywhere diffused, as the air or the light: "Sed in solo coelo totus, et in sola terra totus, et in coelo et in terra totus, et nullo contentus loco, sed in seipso ubique totus." Thomas Aquinas says,26 Deus "est in omnibus per potentiam, in quantum omnia ejus potestati subduntur; est per praesentiam in omnibus, in quantum omnia nuda sunt et aperta oculis ejus. Est in omnibus per essentiam in quantum adest omnibus ut causa essendi sicut dictum est." Quenstedt says,27 "Est Deus ubique illocaliter, impartibiliter, efficaciter; non definitive ut spiritus, non circumscriptive ut corpora, sed repletive citra sui multiplicationem, extensionem, divisionem, inclusionem, aut commixtionem more modoque divino incomprehensibili." The Bible teaches the infinitude of God, as involving his immensity and omnipresence, in the clearest terms. He is said to fill all in all, i. e., the universe in all its parts. (Eph. i. 23.) "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." (Jer. ixiii. 23, 24.) "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." (Ps. cxxxix. 7-12.) It is "in Him we (i. e., all creatures) live, and move, and have our being." (Acts xvii. 28.) Everywhere in the Old and in the New Testamnent, God is represented as a spiritual Being, without form, invisible, whom no man hath seen or can see; dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, and full of glory; as not only the creator, and preserver, but as the governor of all things; as everywhere present, and everywhere imparting life, and securing order; present in every blade of grass, yet guiding Arcturus in his course, marshalling the stars as a host, calling them by their names; present also in every human soul, giving it understanding, endowing it with gifts, working in it both to will and to do. The human heart is in his hands and He turneth it even as the rivers of water are turned. Wherever, throughout the universe, there is evidence of mind in material causes, there, according to the Scriptures, is God, controlling and guiding those causes to the accomplishment of his wise designs. He is in all, and over all things; yet essentially different from all, being over all, independent, and infinitely exalted. This immensity and omnipresence of God, therefore, is the ubiquity of the divine essence, and consequently of the divine power, wisdom, and goodness. As the birds in the air and the fish in the sea, so also are we always surrounded and sustained by God. It is thus that He is infinite in his being, without absorbing all created beings into his own essence, but sustaining all in their individual subsistence, and in the exercise of their own powers.

§ 6. Eternity.

A. Scriptural Doctrine.

    The infinitude of God relatively to space, is his immensity or omnipresence; relatively to duration, it is his eternity. As He is free from all the limitations of space, so He is exalted above all the limitations of time. As He is not more in one place than in another, but is everywhere equally present, so He does not exist during one period of duration more than another. With Him there is no distinction between the present, past, and future; but all things are equally and always present to Him. With Him duration is an eternal now. This is the popular and the Scriptural view of God's eternity. "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." (Ps. xc. 2.) "Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end." (Ps. cii. 25-27.) He is "The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity." (Is. lvii. 15.) "I am the first and I am the last; and besides me there is no God." (Is. xliv. 6.) "A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past." (Ps. xc. 4.) "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2 Pet. iii. 8.) He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." (Heb. xiii. 8.) God is He "which is [ever is], and which was, and which is to come." (Rev. i. 4.) Throughout the Bible He is called the eternal or everlasting God; who only hath immortality. The primal revelation of Himself to his covenant people was as the "I am."

    What is taught in these and similar passages, is, first, that God is without beginning of years or end of days. He is, and always has been, and always will be; and secondly, that to Him there is neither past nor future; that the past and the future are always and equally present to Him.

B. Philosophical View.

    These are Scriptural facts, and necessarily follow from the nature of God as self-existent, infinite, and immutable. With these representations the teaching of theologians for the most part agrees. Thus Augustine says: "Fuisse et futurum esse non est in ea [scil. vita divina], sed esse solum, quoniam aeterna est: nam fuisse et futurumn esse non est aeternum."28 "Nec tu tempore tempora praecedis, alioquin non omnia tempora praecederes sed praecedis omnia praeterita celsitudine semper praesentis aeternitatis; et superas omnia futura, quia illa futura sunt et cum venerint praeterita erunt; tu autem idem ipse es, et anni tui non deficiunt."29 Aquinas, to the same effect says, "AEternitas est tota simul."30 Or, as the schoolmen generally were accustomed to say, "In aeternitate est unicum instans semper praesens et persistens;" or, as they otherwise expressed it, "Eternitas est interminabilis vitae simul et perfecta possessio." The same view of this attribute is given by the later theologians. Thus Quenstedt says, "AEternitas Dei est duratio vel permanentia essentiae divinae interminabilis, sine principio et fine carens, et indivisibilis, omnem omnino successionem excludens."31

    The only thing open to question in these statements is, the denial of all succession in the divine consciousness. Our idea of eternity is arrived at from our idea of time. We are conscious of existence in space, and we are conscious of protracted or continuous existence. The ideas of space and duration are necessarily given in the consciousness of continuous existence. We see also that events succeed each other, that their occurrence is separated by a longer or shorter period of duration, just as bodies are separated by a greater or less interval in space. We therefore know, from consciousness or from experience, of no kind of duration which is not successive. Instead of saying, as is commonly done, that time is duration measured by succession, which supposes that duration is antecedent to that by which it is measured, and independent of it, it is maintained by some that duration without succession is inconceivable and impossible. As space is defined to be "negation betwixt the boundary-lines of form," so time is said to be "the negation betwixt the boundary-points of motion." Or, in other words, time is "the interval which a body in motion marks in its transit from one point of space to another."32 Hence, if there be no bodies having form, there is no space; and if there is no motion, there is no time. "If all things were annihilated, time as well as space must he annihilated; for time is dependent on space. If all things were annihilated, there could be no transition, no succession of one object with respect to another; for there would be no object in being, -- all would be perfect emptiness, nothingness, non-being-ness. Under an entire annihilation, there could be neither space nor time."33 The same writer34 elsewhere says, "Were the earth, as well as the other globes of space, annihilated, much more would time be annihilated therewith."35 All this, however, is to be understood, it is said, of "objective time, that is, of time as dependent upon created material conditions."36 As objective timelessness follows from the annihilation of material existences, so timelessness as regards thinking personalities is conceivable only on the destruction of thought. "We have seen that there can be a state of timelessness for material creation, only by destroying its operation, that is, its attribute of motion: precisely in analogy therewith, there can be a state of timelessness for intellectual creation, only by destroying the laws of intellect, that is, its operation of thinking."37If, therefore, God be a person, or a thinking Being, He cannot be timeless; there must be succession; one thought or state must follow another. To deny this, it is said, is to deny the personality of God. The dictum, therefore, of the schoolmen, and of the theologians, that eternity precludes succession -- that it is a persistent, unmoving Now -- is according to this repudiated.

    There are, however, two senses in which succession is denied to God. Time first has reference to external events. They are ever present to the mind of God. He views them in all their relations, whether causal or chronological. He sees how they succeed each other in time, as we see a passing pageant, all of which we may take in in one view. In this there is perhaps nothing which absolutely transcends our comprehension. The second aspect of the subject concerns the relation of succession to the thoughts and acts of God. When we are ignoramit, it is wise to be silent. We have no right to affirm or deny, when we cannot know what our affirmation or denial may involve or imply. We know that God is constantly producing new effects, effects which succeed each other in time; but we do not know that these effects are due to successive exercises of the divine efficiency. It is, indeed, incomprehensible to us how it should be otherwise. The miracles of Christ were due to the immediate exercise of the divine efficiency. We utter words to which we can attach no meaning, when we say that these effects were due, not to a contemporaneous act or volition of the divine mind, but to an eternal act, if such a phrase be not a solecism. In like manner we are confounded when we are told that our prayers are not heard and answered in time -- that God is timeless -- that what He does in hearing and answering prayer, and in his daily providence, He does from eternity. It is certain that God is subject to all the limitations of personality, if there be any. But as such limitations are the conditions of his being a person and not a mere involuntary force, they are the conditions of his infinite perfection. As constant thought and activity are involved in the very nature of a spirit, these must belong to God; and so far as thinking and acting involve succession, succession must belong to God. There are mysteries connected with chronological succession, in our nature, which we cannot explain. We know that in dreams months may be compressed into moments, and moments extended to months, so far as our consciousness is concerned. We know that it often happens to those near death, that all the past becomes instantly present. Had God so constituted us that memory was as vivid as present consciousness, there would to us be no past, so far as our personal existence is concerned. It is not impossible that, hereafter, memory may become a consciousness of the past; that all we ever thought, felt, or did, may be ever present to the mind; that everything writtenon that tablet is indelible. Persons who, by long residence in foreign countries, have entirely lost all knowledge of their native language, have been known to speak it fluently, and understand it perfectly, when they came to die. Still more wonderful is the fact that uneducated persons, hearing passages read in an unknown language (Greek or Hebrew, for example), have, years after, when in an abnormal, nervous state, repeated those passages correctly, without understanding their meaning. If unable to comprehend ourselves, we should not pretend to be able to comprehend God. Whether we can understand how there can be succession in the thoughts of Him who inhabits eternity or not, we are not to deny that God is an intelligent Being, that He actually thinks and feels, in order to get over the difficulty. God is a person, and all that personality implies must be true of Him.

Modern Philosophical Views.

    The modern philosophy teaches that "Die Ewigkeit ist die Einheit in dem Unterschiede der Zeitmomente -- Ewigkeit und Zeit verhalten sich wie die Substanz und deren Accidentien."38 That is, Eternity is the unity underlying the successive momnents of time, as substance is the unity underlying the accidents which are its manifestations. Schleiermacher's illustration is borrowed from our consciousness. We are conscious of an abiding, unchanging self, which is the subject of our ever changing thoughts and feelings. By the eternity of God, therefore, is meant nothing more than that He is the ground-being of which the universe is the ever changing phenonmenon. The eternity of God is only one phase of his universal causality. "Unter der Ewigkeit Gottes verstehen wir die mit allem Zeitlichen auch die Zeit selbst bedingende schlechthin zeitlose Ursachlichkeit Gottes."39 To attain this philosophical view of eternity, we must accept the philosophical view of the nature of God upon which it is founded, namely, that God is merely the designation of that unknown and unknowable something of which all other things are the manifestations. To give up the living, personal God of the Bible and of the heart, is an awful sacrifice to specious, logical consistency. We believe what we cannot understand. We believe what the Bible teaches as facts; that God always is, was, and ever will be, immutably the same; that all things are ever present to his view; that with Him there is neither past nor future; but nevertheless that He is not a stagnant ocean, but ever living, ever thinking, ever acting, and ever suiting his action to the exigencies of his creatures, and to the accomplishment of his infinitely wise designs. Whether we can harmonize these facts or not, is a matter of minor importance. We are constantly called upon to believe that things are, without being able to tell how they are, or even how they can be.

§7. Immutability.

    The immutability of God is intimately connected with his immensity and eternity, and is frequently included with them in the Scriptural statements concerning his nature. Thus, when it is said, He is the First and the Last; the Alpha and Omega, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; or when in contrast with the ever changing and perishing world, it is said: "They shall be changed, but thou art the same;" it is not his eternity more than his immutability that is brought into view. As an infinite and absolute Being, self-existent and absolutely independent, God is exalted above all the causes of and even above the possibility of change. Infinite space and infinite duration cannot change. They must ever be what they are. So God is absolutely immutable in his essence and attributes. He can neither increase nor decrease. He is subject to no process of development, or of self-evolution. His knowledge and power can never be greater or less. He can never be wiser or holier, or more righteous or more merciful than He ever has been and ever must be. He is no less immutable in his plans and purposes. Infinite in wisdom, there can be no error in their conception; infinite in power, there can be no failure in their accomplishment. He is "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James i. 17.) "God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent; hath He said and shall He not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Num. xxiii. 19.) "I am the LORD, I change not." (Mal. iii. 6.) "The counsel of the LORD standeth forever; the thoughts of his heart to all generations." (Ps. xxxiii. 11.) "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand." (Prov. xix. 21.) "The LORD of Hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand." (Is. xiv. 24.) "I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." (Is. xlvi. 9, 10.) Those passages of Scripture in which God is said to repent, are to be interpreted on the same principle as those in which He is said to ride upon the wings of the wind, or to walk through the earth. These create no difficulty.

Philosophical Statement.

    Theologians, in their attempts to state, in philosophical language, the doctrine of the Bible on the unchangeableness of God, are apt to confound immutability with immobility. In denying that God can change, they seem to deny that He can act. Augustine says, on this subject: "Non invenies in Deo aliquid mutabilitatis; non aliquid, quod aliter nunc sit, aliter paulo ante fuerit. Nam ubi invenis aliter et aliter, facta est ibi quaedam mors: mors enim est, non esse quod fuit."40 Quenstedt uses language still more open to objection, when he says that the immutability of God is "Perpetua essentiae divinae et omnium ejus perfectionum identitas, negans omnem omnino motum cum physicum, tum ethicum."41 Turrettin is more cautious, and yet perhaps goes too far. He says: "Potestas variandi actus suos, non est principium mutabilitatis in se, sed tantum in objectis suis; nisi intelligatur de variatione internorum suorum actuum, quos voluntas perfecta non variat, sed imperfecta tantum."42 The clause italicized in the above quotation assumes a knowledge of the nature of God to which man has no legitimate claim. It is in vain for us to presume to understand the Almighty to perfection. We know that God is immutable in his being, his perfections, and his purposes; and we know that He is perpetually active. And, therefore, activity and immutability must be compatible; and no explanation of the latter inconsistent with the former ought to be admitted.

The Absolute Attributes of God not inconsistent with Personality.

    These attributes of infinity, eternity, and immutability, are freely admitted by the modern philosophy to belong to the absolute Being. But it is maintained that such a Being cannot be a person. Personality implies self-consciousness. Self-consciousness necessarily implies limitation, a distinction between the self and the not-self. Ohne Du kein Ich, -- unless there be something objective and independent to which we stand opposed, as subject and object, there can be no consciousness of self. But nothing can be thus objective and independent in relation to the Absolute; and, therefore, the Absolute cannot have any consciousness of self, and consequently cannot be a personal Being. We have already seen (chap. iv.) that this objection is founded on an arbitrary definition of the Infinite and Absolute. It assumes that the Infinite must be all, and that the Absolute must be alone, without relation to anything out of itself. It is here only necessary to remark, in reference to the objection, (1.) That it may be admitted as a fact that the slumbering consciousness of self in the human soul is awakened and developed by contact with what is not only external to itself but also independent of it. But God is not subject to that law. He is eternally perfect and immutable; having in Himself the plenitude of life. There is, therefore, no analogy between the cases, and no ground for inferring in this case that what is true in us, who begin life as an undeveloped germ, must be true in relation to God. (2.) In the second place, we have no right to assume that even with regard to a finite intelligence created in the perfection of its being, self-consciousness is dependent on what is independent of itself. Such a being would of necessity be conscious of its own feelings; for thought is a state of consciousness in an intelligent being. If God, therefore, can make an intelligent being in the perfection of its limited nature, it would be self-conscious even were it left alone in the universe. (3.) Admitting it to be true that "without a Thou there can be no I," we know that, according to the Scriptures and the faith of the Church universal, there are in the unity of the Godhead three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit; so that from eternity the Father can say I, and the Son Thou.

    We must abide by the teachings of Scripture, and refuse to subordinate their authority and the intuitive convictions of our moral and religious nature to the arbitrary definitions of any philosophical system. The Bible everywhere teaches that God is an absolute Being, in the sense of being self-existent, necessary, independent, immutable, eternal, and without limitation or necessary relation to anything out of Himself. It teaches moreover that He is infinite; not in the sense of including all being, all power, all knowledge in Himself, to the exclusion of all other intelligent agents; but in the sense that no limit can be assigned to his being or perfections, other than that which arises out of his own perfection itself. He would cease to be infinite could He be unwise or untrue. It is to be remembered that God is infinite and absolute as a spirit, and a spirit from its nature is living, active, intelligent, self-conscious, and personal.

§8. Knowledge.

A. Its Nature.

    By knowledge is meant the intellectual apprehension of truth. It supposes a subject and object; an intelligent subject that apprehends, and something true that is apprehended.

    So far as we are concerned, knowledge is either intuitive or discursive. Our senses give us immediate knowledge of their appropriate objects; the understanding perceives intuitively primary truths; our moral and aesthetic nature gives us the immediate cognition of things right or wrong, and beautiful or deformed. Most of our knowledge, however, is derived ab extra, by instruction, observation, comparison, deduction, etc. In all cases there is the distinction between the mind which perceives and the object which is perceived.

    Such being the nature of knowledge, can there be knowledge in God? Can there be this distinction between subject and object in an absolute and infinite Being? Not only are the wicked and the worldly disposed to think that God cannot know; that either He is too exalted to take cognizance of earthly things; or that it is impossible even for an infinite mind to embrace the universe and all its perpetual changes in his mental vision; but the possibility of knowledge, in the ordinary and proper sense of the word, is expressly denied to God by a large class of philosophers, and virtually even by many theologians of the highest rank in the history of the Church.

The Pantheistic Theory precludes the possibility of Knowledge of God

    1. As, according to the pantheistic theory, the universe is the existence form of God, as the infinite comes to intelligent consciousness and life only in the finite, there is and can be no knowledge in the infinite as distinguished from the finite. God lives only so far as finite beings live; he thinks and knows only so far as they think and know. Omniscience is only the sum or aggregate of the intelligence of the transient forms of finite beings. All this, as even Hamilton and Mansel admit, necessarily flows from the idea of an absolute Being which precludes the possibility of any such conditions or relations as are involved in consciousness or intelligence. Strauss therefore says:43 "Not in Himself, but in finite intelligences is God omniscient, which together constitute the fulness or completeness of all the possible forms or degrees of knowledge." And Spinoza says:44 "Intellectus et voluntas, qui Dei essentiam constituerent, a nostro intellectu et voluntate toto coelo differe deberent, nec in ulla re, praeterquam in nomine, convenire possent; non aliter scilicet, quam inter se conveniunt canis, signum coeleste, et canis, animal latrans." This subject was considered in the chapter on Pantheism.

Knowledge and Power not to be confounded.

    2. The possibility of knowledge in God is virtually denied by those who deny any distinction between knowledge and power. Knowledge, which is power, ceases to be knowledge; and therefore if omniscience is only a different name for omnipotence, it ceases to be a distinct attribute of God. It makes little difference whether we expressly deny a given perfection to God, or whether we so determine it as to make it mean nothing distinctive. It is deeply to be regretted that not only the Fathers, but also the Lutheran and Reformed theologians, after renouncing the authority of the schoolmen, almost immediately yielded themselves to their speculations. Instead of determining the nature of the divine attributes from the representations of Scripture and from the constitution of man as the image of God, and from the necessities of our moral and religious nature, they allowed themselves to be controlled by a priori speculations as to the nature of the infinite and absolute. Even Augustine, as before stated, says: "Nos ista, qum fecisti videmus, quia sunt: tu autem quia vides ea, sunt."45 And Scotus Erigena says,46 "Voluntas illius et visio et essentia anum est."47 . . . . "Visio Dei totius universitatis est conditio. Non enim aliud est ei videre, aliud facere; sed visio illius voluntas ejus est, et voluntas operatio." Thomas Aquinas also says,48 "Deus per intellectum suum causat res, cum suum esse sit suum intelligere. Unde necesse est, quod sua scientia sit causa rerum."

    The Lutheran and Reformed theologians represent God as simplicissima simplicitas, admitting of no distinction between faculty and act, or between one attribute and another. Thus Gerhard says: "Deus est ipsum esse subsistens, omnibus modis indeterminatum."49 "Solus Deus summe simplex est, ut nec actus et potentiae, nec esse et essentiae compositio ipsi competat."50 "Essentia, bonitas, potentia, sapientia, justitia, et reliqua attributa omnia sunt in Deo realiter unum."51 He also says: "In Deo idem est esse et intelligere et velle." In like manner the Reformed theologian Heidegger52 says: "Voluntas ab intellectu non differt, quia intelligendo vult et volendo intelligit. Intelligere et velle ejus idemque perpetuus indivisus actus." This does not mean simply that in an intelligent being, every act of the will is an intelligent act. He knows while he wills, and knows what he wills. The meaning is, that knowledge and power in God are identical. To know a thing is, and to will it, are the same undivided and perpetual act. From this it would seem to follow, that as God knows from eternity He creates from eternity; and that "all He knows, is." We are thus led, by these speculations, into pantheistical views of the nature of God and of his relation to the world.

    This mode of representation is carried still further by the modern philosophical theologians. With Schleiermacher, all the attributes of God are virtually merged into the idea of causality. With him God is ens summum prima causa.53He says that God's thinking and willing are the same, and that his omnipotence and omimiscience are identical. When we say that He is omnipotent, we only mean that He is the cause of all that is. And when we say that He is omniscient, we only mean that He is an intelligent cause. His power and knowledge are limited to the actual. The possible is nothing; it is the object neither of knowledge nor of power. "Gott," says Schleiermacher, "weiss Alles was ist; und Alles ist, was Gott weiss und dieses beides ist nicht zweierlei sondern einerlei, weil sein Wissen und sein allmachtiges Wollen eines und dasselbe ist," i. e., God knows all that is, and all is that God knows. God, therefore, is limited to the world, which is the phenomenon of which He is the substance.

    Another philosophical view of this subject, adopted even by those who repudiate the pantheistic system and maintain that God and the world are distinct, is, that as God is immanent in the world, there is in Him no difference between self-consciousness and world-consciousness, as they express it, i. e., between God's knowledge of Himself and his knowledge of the world. They therefore define omniscience by saying, "Insofern Gott gedacht wird als die Welt mit seinem Bewusstseyn umfassend, nennen wir ihn den Allwissenden."54 That is, "So far as we conceive of God as embracing the world in his consciousness, we call him omniscient." Whatever such language may mean to those who use it, to the ordinary mind it conveys the revolting idea that all the sins of men enter into the consciousness of God.

The Doctrine of the Scriptures on this Subject.

    The Scriptural view of this subject, which distinguishes the attributes in God as distinct, and assumes that knowledge in Him, in its essential nature, is what knowledge is in us, does not conflict with the unity and simplicity of God as a spiritual being. There is a sense in which knowledge and power, intellect and will, may be said to be identical in man. They are not different substances. They are different modes in which the life or activity of the soul manifests itself. So in God when we conceive of Him as a spirit, we do not think of Him as a compound being, but as manifesting his infinite life and activity, in knowing, willing, and doing. What, therefore, we must hold fast to, if we would hold fast to God, is, that knowledge in God is knowledge, and not power or eternity; that it is what knowledge is in us, not indeed in its modes and objects, but in its essential nature. We must remove from our conceptions of the divine attributes all the limitations and imperfections which belong to the corresponding attributes in us; but we are not to destroy their nature. And in determining what is, and what is not, consistent with the nature of God as an infinitely perfect being, we are to be controlled by the teachings of the Scriptures, and by the necessities (or laws) of our moral and religions nature, and not by our speculative notions of the Infinite and Absolute. God, therefore, does and can know in the ordinary and proper sense of that word. He is an ever present eye, to which all things are perfectly revealed. "All things," says the Apostle, "are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." (Heb. iv. 13.) "The darkness and the light are both alike" to Him. (Ps. cxxxix. 12.) "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?" (Ps. xciv. 9.) "O Lord thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting and my up-rising, thou understandest my thought afar off." (Ps. cxxxix. 1, 2.) "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good" (Prov. xv. 3.) "Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?" (Prov. xv. 11.) "Great is our Lord and of great power: his understanding is infinite." (Ps. cxlvii. 5.) "O house of Israel I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them." (Ezek. xi. 5.) "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." (Acts. xv. 18.) "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Matt. x. 30.)

    This knowledge of God is not only all-comprehending, but it is intutive and immutable. He knows all things as they are, being as being, phenomena as phenomena, the possible as possible, the actual as actual, the necessary as necessary, the free as free, the past as past, the present as present, the future as future. Although all things are ever present in his view, yet He sees them as successive in time. The vast procession of events, thoughts, feelings, and acts, stands open to his view.

    This infinite knowledge of God is not only clearly and constantly asserted in Scripture, but is also obviously included in the idea of an absolutely perfect being. Such a being cannot be ignorant of anything; his knowledge can neither be increased nor diminished. The omniscience of God follows also from his omnipresence. As God fills heaven and earth, all things are transacted in his presence. He knows our thoughts far better than they are known to ourselves. This plenitude of divine knowledge is taken for granted in all acts of worship. We pray to a God who, we believe, knows our state and wants, who hears what we say, and who is able to meet all our necessities. Unless God were thus omniscient, He could not judge the world in righteousness. Faith in this attribute in its integrity is, therefore, essential even to natural religion.

B. The Objects of Divine Knowledge.

    Various distinctions are made by theologians as to the objects of the divine knowledge.

    1. God is said to know Himself and all things out of Himself. This is the foundation of the distinction between the scientia necessarta and the scientia libera. God knows Himself by the necessity of his nature; but as everything out of Himself depends for its existence or occurrence upon his will, his knowledoe of each thing as an actual occurrence is suspended on his will, and in that sense is free. Creation not being necessary, it depended on the will of God whether the universe as an object of knowledge should exist or not. This distinction is not of much importance. And it is liable to the objection that it makes the knowledge of God dependent. Being the cause of all things, God knows everything by knowing Himself; all things possible, by the knowledge of his power, and all things actual, by the knowledge of his own purposes.

    2. This distinction between the possible and actual, is the foundation of the distinction between the knowledge of simple intelligence and the knowledge of vision. The former is founded on God's power, and the latter upon his will. This only means that, in virtue of his omniscient intelligence, He knows whatever infinite power can effect; and that from the consciousness of his own purposes, He knows what He has determined to effect or to permit to occur. This is a distinction which the modern philosophical theologians ignore. Nothing, according to their philosophy is possible, but the actual. All that can be, either is, or is to be. This follows from the idea of God as mere cause. He produces all that can be; and there is in Him no causality for what does not exist.

The Actual and the Possible.

    It seems to be an inconsistency in those orthodox theologians who deny the distinction in God between knowledge and power, to admit, as they all do, the distinction between the actual and possible. For if God creates by thinking or knowing, if in Him, as they say, intelligere et facere idem est, then all he knows must be, and must be as soon as He knows or thinks it, i. e., from eternity. If, however, we retain the Scriptural idea of God as a spirit, who can do more than He does; if we ascribe to Him what we know to be a perfection in ourselves, namely, that our power exceeds our acts, that a faculty and the exercise of that faculty are not identical, then we can understand how God can know the possible as well as the actual. God is not limited to the universe, which of necessity is finite. God has not exhausted Himself in determining to cause the present order of things to be.

C. Scientia Media.

    Intermediate between things possible and actual, some theologians assume a third class of events, namely, the conditionally future. They do not actually occur, but they would occur provided something else should occur. Had Christ come a thousand years sooner than the date of his actual advent, the whole history of the world would have been different. This is a popular mode of regarding the concatenation of events. It is constantly said, that if Cromwell had been permitted to leave England; or, if Napoleon had failed to escape from Elba, the state of Europe would have been very different from what it is at present. God, it is assumed, knows what would have been the sequence of events on any or every possible hypothesis. It is therefore said that there must be in God, besides the knowledge of simple intelligence by which He knows the possible, and the knowledge of vision by which He knows the actual, a scientia media, by which He knows the conditionally future. Illustrations of this form of knowledge, it is thought, are found in Scripture. In 1 Samuel xxiii. 11, it is said that David inquired of the Lord whether the men of Keilah would deliver him, should he remain among them, into the hands of Saul; and was answered that they would. Here, it is argued, the event was not merely possible, but conditionally certain. If David remained in Keilah, he certainly would have been delivered up. Thus our Lord said, that if his mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, the people of those cities would have repented. Here again is declared what would have happened, if something else had happened.

The Origin of this Distinction.

    This distinction was introduced into theology by the Jesuit theologians Fonseca and Molina; by the latter in his work "De Concordia Providentiae et Gratiae Divinae cum Libero Arbitrio Hominis." Their object was to reconcile the foreordination of God with the freedom of man, and to explain the reason why some, and not others, were elected to eternal life. God foresaw who would repent and believe, if they received the knowledge of the Gospel and the gift of the Spirit, and these He elected to salvation. This theory of a scientia media was, for a like purpose, adopted by the Lutheran and Remonstrant theologians, but was strenuously opposed by the Reformed or Augustinians. (1.) Because all events are included under the categories of the actual and possible; and, therefore, there is no room for such a class as events conditionally future. It is only possible, and not certain, how men would act under certain conditions, if their conduct be not predeterminmod, either by the purpose of God, or by their own decision already formed. Besides, it is the fundamental principle of the theologians who adopt this theory, or at least of many of them, that a free act must from its nature be uncertain as to its occurrence. A free agent, it is said, can always act contrary to any amount of influence brought to bear upon him, consistent with his free agency. But if free acts must be uncertain, they cannot be foreseen as certain under any conditions. (2.) The futurition of events, according to the Scriptures, depends on the foreordination of God, whc foreordains whatever comes to pass. There is no certainty, therefore, which does not depend on the divine purpose. (3.) The kind of knowledge which this theory supposes cannot belong to God, because it is inferential. It is deduced from a consideration of second causes and their influence, and therefore is inconsistent with the perfection of God, whose knowledge is not discursive, but independent and intuitive. (4.) This theory is inconsistent with the Scriptural doctrine of God's providential government, as it assumes that the free acts of men are not under his control. (5.) It is contrary to the Scriptural doctrine, inasmuch as it supposes that election to salvation depends on the foresight of faith and repentance, whereas it depends on the good pleasure of God. (6.) The examples quoted from the Bible do not prove that there is a scientia media in God. The answer of God to David, about the men of Keilah, was simply a revelation of the purpose which they had already formed. Our Lord's declaration concerning Tyre and Sidon was only a figurative mode of stating the fact that the men of his generation were more hardened than the inhabitants of those ancient cities. It is not denied that God knows all events in all possible combinationis and connections, but as nothing is certain but what he ordains to effect or permit, there can be no class of events conditionally future, and therefore there can be no scientia media. By conditionally future is meant what is suspended on a condition undetermined by God.

D. Foreknowledge.

    Among the objects of the divine kniowledge are the free acts of men. The Scriptures abundantly teach that such acts are foreknown. Such knowledge is involved in the prediction of events which either concern the free acts of men, or are dependent on them. If God be ignorant of how free agents will act, his knowledge must be limited, and it must be constantly increasing, which is altogether inconsistent with the true idea of his nature. His government of the world also, in that case, must be precarious, dependent, as it would then be on the unforeseen conduct of men. The Church, therefore, in obedience to the Scripuires, has, almost with one voice, professed faith in God's foreknowledge of the free acts of his creatures.

    The Socinians, however, and some of the Remonstrants, unable to reconcile this foreknowledge with human liberty, deny that free acts can be foreknown. As the omnipotence of God is his ability to do whatever is possible, so his omniscience is his knowledge of everything knowable. But as free acts are in their nature uncertain, as they may or may not be, they cannot be known before they occur. Such is the argument of Socinus. This whole difficulty arises out of the assumption that contingency is essential to free agency. If an act may be certain as to its occurrence, and yet free as to the mode of its occurrence, the difficulty vanishes. That free acts may be absolutely certain, is plain, because they have in a multitude of cases been predicted. It was certain that the acts of Christ would be holy, yet they were free. The continued holiness of the saints in heaven is certain, and yet they are perfectly free. The foreknowledge of God is inconsistent with a false theory of free agency, but not with the true doctrine on that subject.

    After Augustine, the common way of meeting the difficulty of reconciling foreknowledge with liberty, was to represent it as merely subjective. The distinction between knowledge and foreknowledge is only in us. There is no such difference in God. "Quid est praescientia," asks Augustine, "nisi scientia futurorum? Quid autem futurum est Deo, qui omnia supergreditur tempora? Si enim scientia Dei res ipsas habet, non sunt ei futurae, sed praesentes, ac per hoc non jam praescientia, sed tantum scientia dicipotest."55

E. The Wisdom of God.

    Wisdom and knowledge are intimately related. The former is manifested in the selection of proper ends, and of proper means for the accomplishment of those ends. As there is abundant evidence of design in the works of nature, so all the works of God declare his wisdom. They show, from the most minute to the greatest, the most wonderful adaptation of means to accomplish the high end of the good of his creatures and the manifestation of his own glory. So also, in the whole course of history, we see evidence of the controlling power of God making all things work together for the best interests of his people, and the promotion of his kingdom upon earth. It is, however, in the work of redemption that this divine attribute is specially revealed. It is by the Church, that God has determined to manifest, through all ages, to principalities and powers, his manifold wisdom.

    Of course those who deny final causes deny that there is any such attribute as wisdom in God. It is also said that the use of means to attain an end is a manifestation of weakness. It is further urged that it is derogatory to God, as it supposes that He needs or desires what He does not possess. Even Schleiermacher says: "Bei Gott is Allwissenheit und Weisheit so ganzlich einerlei, dass die Unterscheidung keinen Werth hat, die Weisheit ware nichts als auch wider absolute Lebendigkeit der Allmacht, also Alwissenheit." Wisdom is omniscience, omniscience is omnipotence, omnipotence is simply causality of all that is. Thus God sinks into the mere cause or ground of all things. It is not thus the Scriptures speak. We are called on to worship, "The only wise God." "O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all," is the devout exclamation of the Psalmist. (Ps. civ. 24.) And in contemplation of the work of redemption the Apostle exclaims, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" (Rom. xi. 33.)

§9. The Will of God.

A. The Meaning of the Term.

    If God is a spirit He must possess all the essential attributes of a spirit. Those attributes, according to the classification adopted by the older philosophers and theologians, fall under the heads of intelligence and will. To the former, are referred knowledge and wisdom; to the latter, the power of self-determination, efficiency (in the case of God, omnipotence), and all moral attributes. In this wide sense of the word, the will of God includes: (1.) The will in the narrow sense of the word. (2.) His power. (3.) His love and all his moral perfections. In our day, generally but not always, the word "will" is limited to the faculty of self-determination. And even the older theologians in treating of the will of God treat only of his decrees or purposes. In their definitions, however, they take the word in its wide sense. Thus Calovius56 says, "Voluntas Dei est, qua Deus tendit in bonum ab intellectu cognitum." And Quenstedt defines it as "ipsa Dei essentia cum, connotatione inclinationis ad bonum concepta."57 Turrettin says, the object of the intellect is the true; the object of the will, the good. Hence it is said, that God wills Himself necessarily, and all things out of Himself freely. Although the word seems to be taken in different senses in the same sentence, God's willing Himself means that He takes complacency in his own infinite excellence: his willing things out of Himself, means his purpose that they should exist. Although the theologians start with the wide definition of the word, yet in the prosecution of the subject they regard the will as simply the faculty of self-determination, and the determinations themselves. That is, the power to will, and volitions or purposes. It is altogether better to confine the word to this its proper meaning, and not make it include all the forms of feeling involving approbation or delight.

    God then as a spirit is a voluntary agent. We are authorized to ascribe to Him the power of self-determination. This the Bible everywhere does. From the beginning to the end, it speaks of the will of God, of his decrees, purposes, counsels, and commands. The will is not only an essential attribute of our spiritual being, but it is the necessary condition of our personality. Without the power of rational self-determination we should be as much a mere force as electricity, or magnetism, or the principle of vegetable life. It is, therefore, to degrade God below the sphere of being which we ourselves occupy, as rational creatures, to deny to Him the power of self-determination; of acting or not acting, according to his own good pleasure.

B. The Freedom of the Divine Will.

    The will of God is free in the highest sense of the word. An agent is said to be free, (1.) When he is at liberty to act or not to act, according to his good pleasure. This is liberty in acting. (2.) He is free as to his volitions, when they are determined by his own sense of what is wise, right, or desirable.

    Freedom is more than spontaneity. The affections are spontaneous, but are not free. Loving and hating, delighting in and abhorring, do not depend upon the will.

    God is free in acting, as in creating and preserving, because these acts do not arise from the necessity of his nature. He was free to create or not create; to continue the universe in existence or to cause it to cease to be. He is free also in keeping his promises, because his purpose so to do is determined by his own infinite goodness. It is indeed inconceivable that God should violate his word. But this only proves that moral certainty may be as inexorable as necessity.

C. The Decretive and Preceptive Will of God.

    The decretive will of God concerns his purposes, and relates to the futurition of events. The preceptive will relates to the rule of duty for his rational creatures. He decrees whatever he purposes to effect or to permit. He prescribes, according to his own will, what his creatures should do, or abstain from doing. The decretive and preceptive will of God can never be in conflict. God never decrees to do, or to cause others to do, what He forbids. He may, as we see He does, decree to permit what He forbids. He permits men to sin, although sin is forbidden. This is more scholastically expressed by the theologians by saying, A positive decretive will cannot consist with a negative preceptive will; i. e., God cannot decree to make men sin. But a negative decretive will may consist with an affirmative preceptive will; e. g., God may command men to repent and believe, and yet, for wise reasons, abstain from giving them repentance.

    The distinction between voluntas beneplaciti et signi, as those terms are commonly used, is the same as that between the deeretive and preceptive will of God. The one referring to his decrees, founded on his good pleasure; the other to his commands, founded on what He approves or disapproves.

    By the secret will of God, is meant his purposes, as still hidden in his own mind; by his revealed will, his precepts and his purposes, as far as they are made known to his creatures.

D. Antecedent and Consequent Will.

    These terms, as used by Augustinians, have reference to the relation of the decrees to each other. In the order of nature the end precedes the means, and the purpose of the former is antecedent to the purpose of the latter. Thus it is said, that God by an antecedent will, determined on the manifestation of his glory; and by a consequent will, determined on the creation of the world as a means to that end.

    By Lutherans and Remonstrants these terms are used in a very different sense. According to their views, God by an antecedent will determined to save all men; but, foreseeing that all would not repent and believe, by a subsequent will He determined to save those who he foresaw would believe. That is, He first purposed one thing and then another.

E. Absolute and Conditional Will.

    These terms, when employed by Augustinians, have reference not so much to the purposes of God, as to the events which are decreed. The event, but not the purpose of God, is conditional. A maw reaps, if he sows. He is saved, if he believes. His reaping and salvation are conditional events. But the purpose of God is absolute. If He purposes that a man shall reap, He purposes that he shall sow; if He purposes that he shall be saved, He purposes that he shall believe. Anti-Augustinians, on the other hand, regard the purposes of God as conditional. He purposes the salvation of a man, if he believes. But whether he believes or not, is left undetermined; so that the purpose of God is suspended on a condition not under his control, or, at least, undecided. A father may purpose to give an estate to his son, if he be obedient; but whether the son will fulfil the condition is undetermined, and therefore the purpose of the father is undecided. It is, however, manifestly inconsistent with the perfection of God, that He should first will one thing and then another; nor can his purposes be dependent on the uncertainty of human conduct or events. These are questions, however, which belong to the consideration of the doctrine of decrees. They are mentioned here because these distinctions occur in all discussions concerning the Divine Will, with which the student of theology should be familiar.

    In this place it is sufficient to remark, that the Greek word qe,lw, and the corresponding English verb, to will, sometimes express feeling, and sometimes a purpose. Thus in Matt. xxvii. 48, the words eiv qe,lei auvto,nare correctly rendered, "if he delight in him." Comp. Ps. xxii. 8. It is in this sense the word is used, when it is said that God wills all men to be saved. He cannot be said to purpose or determine upon any event which is not to come to pass. A judge may will the happiness of a man whom he sentences to death. He may will him not to suffer when he wills him to suffer. The infelicity in such forms of expression is that the word "will" is used in different senses. In one part of the sentence it means desire, and in the other purpose. It is perfectly consistent, therefore, that God, as a benevolent Being, should desire the happiness of all men, while he purposes to save only his own people.

F. The Will of God as the Ground of Moral Obligation.

    The question on this subject is, Whether things are right or wrong, simply because God commands or forbids them? Or, does He command or forbid them, because they are right or wrong for some other reason than his will? According to some, the only reason that a thing is right, and therefore obligatory, is, that it tends to promote the greatest happiness, or the greatest good of the universe. According to others, a thing is right which tends to promote our own happiness; and for that reason, and for that reason alone, it is obligatory. If vice would make us happier than virtue, we should be bound to be vicious. It is a more decorous mode of expressing substantially the same theory, to say that the ground of moral obligation is a regard to the dignity of our own nature. It makes little difference whether it be our own dignity of our own happiness, which we are bound to regard. It is self, in either case, to whom our whole allegiance is due. Others, again, place the ground of moral obligation in the fitness of things, which they exalt above God. There is, they affirm, an eternal and necessary difference between right and wrong, to which God, it is said, is as much bound to be conformed as are his rational creatures.

    The common doctrine of Christians on this subject is, that the will of God is the ultimate ground of moral obligation to all rational creatures. No higher reason can be assigned why anything is right than that God commands it. This means, (1.) That the divine will is the only rule for deciding what is right and what is wrong. (2.) That his will is that which binds us, or that to which we are bound to be conformed. By the word "will" is not meant any arbitrary purpose, so that it were conceivable that God should will right to be wrong, or wrong right. The will of God is the expression or revelation of his nature, or is determined by it; so that his will, as revealed, makes known to us what infinite wisdom and goodness demand. Sometimes things are right simply because God has commanded them; as circumcision, and other ritual institutions were to the Jews. Other things are right because of the present constitution of things which God has ordained; such as the duties relating to property, and the permanent relations of society. Others, again, are right because they are demanded by the immutable excellence of God. In all cases, however, so far as we are concerned, it is his will that binds us, and constitutes the difference between right and wrong; his will, that is, as the expression of his infinite perfection. So that the ultimate foundation of moral obligation is the nature of God.

§10. The Power of God.

A. The Nature of Power, or, The Origin of the Idea.

    We get the idea of power from our own consciousness. That is, we are conscious of the ability of producing effects. Power in man is confined within very narrow limits. We can change the current of our thoughts, or fix our attention on a particular object and we can move the voluntary muscles of our body. Beyond this our direct power does not extend. It is from this small measure of efficiency that all the stores of human knowledge and all the wonders of human art are derived. It is only our thoughts, volitions, and purposes, together with certain acts of the body, that are immediately subject to the will. For all other effects we must avail ourselves of the use of means. We cannot will a book, a picture, or a house into existence. The production of such effects requires protracted labor and the use of diverse appliances.

B. Omnipotence.

    It is by removing all the limitations of power, as it exists in us, that we rise to the idea of the omnipotence of God. We do not thus, however, lose the idea itself. Almighty power does not cease to be power. We can do very little. God can do whatever He wills. We, beyond very narrow limits, must use means to accomplish our ends. With God means are unnecessary. He wills, and it is done. He said, Let there be light; and there was light. He, by a volition created the heavens and the earth. At the volition of Christ, the winds ceased, and there was a great calm. By an act of the will He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, and raised the dead. This simple idea of the omnipotence of God, that He can do without effort, and by a volition, whatever He wills, is the highest conceivable idea of power, and is that which is clearly presented in the Scriptures. In Gen. xvii. 1, it is said, "I am the Almighty God." The prophet Jeremiah exclaims, "Ah Lord God! behold thou hast made the heavens and the earth by thy great power, and stretched out arm; and there is nothing too hard for thee." (Jer. xxxii. 17.) God is said to have created all things by the breath of his mouth, and to uphold the universe by a word. Our Lord says, "With God all things are possible." (Matt. xix. 26.) The Psalmist long before had said, "Our God is in the heavens; He hath done whatsoever He pleased." (Ps. cxv. 3.) And again, "Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places." (Ps. cxxxv. 6.) The Lord God omnipotent reigneth, and doeth his pleasure among the armies of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth, is the tribute of adoration which the Scriptures everywhere render unto God, and the truth which they everywhere present as the ground of confidence to his people. This is all we know, and all we need to know on this subject: and here we might rest satified, were it not for the vain attempts of theologians to reconcile these simple and sublime truths of the Bible with their philosophical speculations.

C. The Negation of Power.

    The sensuous school of philosophers deny that there is any real efficiency or power in existence. Their principle is, that all knowledge is derived from the senses; and consequently, that, as we cannot know anything of which the senses do not take cognizance, it is unphilosophical or unreasonable to admit the existence of anything else. Our senses, however, do not take cognizance of efficiency. It cannot be felt, or seen, or heard, or tasted. Therefore it does not exist. A cause is not that to which an effect is due, but simply that which uniformly precedes it. All we can know, and all we can rationally believe, is the facts which affect our senses, and the order of their sequence; which order, being uniform and necessary, has the character of law. This is the doctrine of causation proposed by Hume, Kant, Brown, Mill, and virtually by Sir William Hamilton; and it is this principle which lies at the foundation of the Positive Philosophy of Comte. Of course, if there be no such thing as power, there is no such attribute in God as omnipotence.

    It is sufficient to say, in this connection, in reference to this theory, (1.) That it is contrary to every man's consciousness. We are conscious of power, i. e., of the ability to produce effects. And consciousness has the same authority, to say the least, when it concerns what is within, as when it concerns what affects the senses. We are not more certain that our hand moves, than we are that we have the power to move, or not to move it, at pleasure. (2.) This theory contradicts the intuitive and indestructible convictions of the human mind. No man believes, or can believe really and permanently, that any change or effect can occur without an efficient cause. The fact that one event follows another, is not the ultimate fact. It is intuitively certain that there must be an adequate reason for that sequence. Such is the universal judgment of mankind. (3.) The argument, if valid against the reality of power, is valid against the existence of substance, of mind, and of God. This is admitted by the consistent advocates of the principle in question. Substance, mind, and God, are as little under the cognizance of the senses as power; and, therefore, if nothing is to be admitted but on the testimony of the senses, the existence of substance, mind, and God, must be denied. This principle, therefore, cannot be admitted without doing violence to our whole rational, moral, and religious nature. In other words, it cannot be admitted at all; for men cannot, permanently, either believe or act contrary to the laws of their nature.

D. Absolute Power.

    By absolute power, as understood by the schoolmen and some of the later philosophers, is meant power free from all the restraints of reason and morality. According to this doctrine, contradictions, absurdities, and immoralities, are all within the compass of the divine power. Nay, it is said that God can annihilate Himself. On this subject Des Cartes says, Deus "non voluit tres angulos trianguli aequales esse duobus rectis, quia cognovit aliter fieri non posse. Sed contra . . . . quia voluit tres angulos trianguli necessario aequales esse duobus rectis, idcirco jam hoc verum est, et fieri aliter non potest, atque ita de reliquis."58 This "summa indifferentia," he says, "in Deo, summum est ejus omnipotentiae argumentam."59

    It is, however, involved in the very idea of power, that it has reference to the production of possible effects. It is no more a limitation of power that it cannot effect the impossible, than it is of reason that it cannot comprehend the absurd, or of infinite goodness that it cannot do wrong. It is contrary to its nature. Instead of exalting, it degrades God, to suppose that He can be other than He is, or that He can act contrary to infinite wisdom and love. When, therefore, it is said that God is omnipotent because He can do whatever He wills, it is to be remembered that his will is determined by his nature. It is certainly no limitation to perfection to say that it cannot be imperfect.

    In this view of the omnipotence of God, the great body of the theologians, especially among the Reformed, agree. Thus Zwingle60 says: "Summa potentia non est nisi omnia possit, quantum ad legitimum posse attinet: nam malum facere aut se ipsum deponere aut in se converti hostiliter aut sibi ipsi contrarium esse posse impotentia est, non potentia." Musculus,61 "Deus omnipotens, quia potest quae vult, quaeque ejus veritati, justitiae conveniunt." Keckermann,62 "Absolute possibilia sunt, quae nec Dei naturae, nec aliarum rerum extra Deum essentiae contradicunt." This scholastic doctrine of absolute power Calvin63 stigmatizes as profane, "quod . . . merito detestabile nobis esse debet."

Potentia Absoluta and Potentia Ordinata.

    There is a sense of the terms in which absolute power is generally recognized among theologians. A distinction is commonly made between the potentia absoluta and the potentia ordinata of God. By the latter is meant the efficiency of God, as exercised uniformly in the ordered operation of second causes; by the former, his efficiency, as exercised without the intervention of second causes. Creation, miracles, immediate revelation, inspiration, and regeneration, are to be referred to the potentia absoluta of God; all his works of providence to his potentia ordinata. This distinction is important, as it draws the line between the natural and supernatural, between what is due to the operation of natural causes, sustained and guided by the providential efficiency of God, and what is due to the immediate exercise of his power. This distinction, indeed, is rejected by the modern philosophy. God in creating and sustaining the world, does it as a whole. Nothing is isolated. There is no individual act, but only a general efficiency on the part of God; and, consequently, no particular event can be referred to his absolute power or immediate agency. Everything is natural. There can be no miracle, and no special providence.64

E. Confounding Will and Power.

    Another perversion of the Scriptural doctrine on this subject is, that which denies any distinction between will and power, or faculty and act, in God. It is said that it is unphilosophical to say that God can do anything. We use the word "can" only in reference to difficulty to be overcome. When nothing stands in the way, when all opposition is precluded, then we no longer say, we can. It is, therefore, inconsistent with the nature of an absolute Being to say that He is able to do this or that.65 It is further denied that willing can be ascribed to God, if any difference be assumed between willing and doing. The ordinary definition of omnipotence, Potest quod vult, is to be rejected. It is admitted, that the distinction between will and power is unavoidable, if we determine the nature of God from the analogy of our constitution. As will and power are distinct in us, we are disposed to think they are distinct in Him. But this method of determining the attributes of God heads to the destruction of the true idea of an absolute being. In such a being, no such distinction can be admitted; and therefore, in relation to God there can be no distinction between the actual and the possible. Nothing is possible but the actual; and all that is possible becomes actual. Strauss66 says, after Schleiermacher,67 that by the omnipotence of God is to be understood "not only that all that is has its causality in God, but that everything is and occurs for which any causality in God exists." Bruch68 says, that by the omnipotence of God is meant nothing more than that He is the original ground and cause of all things. He quotes Nitsch69 as saying, that "The idea of omnipotence is the repetition and application of the idea of God as creator of heaven and earth." Nitsch, however, does not understand the passage in the sense put upon it; for he adds, in his note commenting on the dictum of Abelard, "Deus non potest facere aliquid praeter ea quae facit," that, if this means that the actual exhausts the resources of God, it is to be rejected. The words of Abelard, nevertheless, correctly express the doctrine of the modern German school of theologians on this subject. Schleiermacher's language on this point is explicit and comprehensive. "Alles ist ganz durch die gottliche Allmacht und ganz durch den Naturzusammenhang, nicht aber darf die erstere als Erganzung der letztern angesehen werden. Die Gesammtheit des endlichen Seins ist als vollkommene Darstellung der Allmacht zu denken, so dass alles wirklich ist und geschieht, wozu eine Productivitat in Gott ist. Damit fallt weg die Differenz des Wirklichen und Moglichen, des absoluten und hypothetischen. Wollens oder Konnens Gottes; denn dies fuhrt auf einen wirksamen und unwirksamen Willen und letzterer kann bei Gott unmoglich statt finden; so wenig als Konnen und Wollen getrennt sein konnen." That is, "Everything is entirely through the divine omnipotence, and everything is through the course of nature. The former, however, must not be regarded as supplementary to the latter. The aggregate of finite things is the complete revelation of God's omnipotence, so that everything is and occurs for which there is a productivity in God. Thus the difference between the actual and the possible, between the absolute and hypothetical willing and power of God, disappears, because this implies an operative and inoperative will, but the latter is impossible in God; just as little as willing and power can be separated."70 This passage is quoted by Schweizer,71 who adopts the views which it presents.

This Doctrine Destroys our Knowledge of God.

    In reference to this doctrine, it may be remarked, --

    1. That it utterly confounds all our ideas of God. It renders all knowledge of Him impossible. If will and power are identical, then those words lose for us their meaning. We cannot know what God is, if this doctrine be true; and if we know not what He is, we cannot rationally worship, love, or trust Him.

    2. The doctrine effectually destroys the personality of God. A person is a self-conscious, self-determining being. But in denying will to God, self-determination, and consequently personality, is denied to Him. This consequence is admitted by the advocates of this doctrine. "If in God," says Strauss, "willing and power are identical, then there can be no freedom of the will in God, in the sense of the Church theologians, who hold that it was possible for God not to create the world, or to have created it other than it is. If there be no ability in God to do what He does not do, there can be no freedom of will or power of choice." "Mit diesem Konnen fallt auch die Freiheit im Sinne eines Wahlvermogens hinweg."72 This, however, it is said, is not the doctrine of fate; for fate supposes an ab extra necessity to which God is subject. If it does not teach fate, it at least teaches inexorable necessity. Spinoza says, "Ea res libera dicetur, quae ex sola suae naturae necessitate existit et a se sola ad agendum determinatur. Necessaria autem, vel potius coacta quae ab alio determinatur ad existendum et operandum certa ac determinata ratione."73 And again,74 "Deum nullo modo fato subjicio, sed omnia inevitabili necessitate ex Dei natura sequi concipio." In this sense the sun is free in shining. It shines from the necessity of its nature. We think from a like necessity; but we can think of one thing or another, changing the current of our thoughts at pleasure. And thus we are free in exercising the power of thought. This freedom is denied to God. He can think only in one way. And all his thoughts are creative. He does, therefore, what He does, from a necessity of his nature, and does all He is able to do. God, according to this doctrine, is not a personal Being.

    3. The Scriptures constantly represent God as able to do whatever He wills. They recognize the distinction between the actual and the possible; between ability and act; between what God does, and what He is able to do. With Him all things are possible. He is able of stones to raise up children unto Abraham.. He can send me, says our Lord, twelve legions of angels.

    4. As this is the doctrine of the Bible, it is the instinctive judgment of the human mind. It is a perfection in us, that we can do far more than we actually accomplish. With us the actual is not the measure of the possible.

    5. It is, therefore, a limitation of God, a denial of his omnipotence, to say that He can do only what He actually brings to pass. There is infinitely more in God than simple causality of the actual.

    It is consequently an erroneous definition of omnipotence to call it All-power, meaning thereby that all the efficiency in the universe is the efficiency of God; which is not only a pantheistic doctrine, but it makes the finite the measure of the infinite.  

§ 11. Holiness of God.

    This is a general term for the moral excellence of God. In I Sam. ii. 2, it is said, "There is none holy as the LORD;" no other Being absolutely pure, and free from all limitation in his moral perfection. "Thou Holy One of Israel," is the form of address which the Spirit puts into the lips of the people of God. "Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is Holy." (Ps. xcix. 9.) "Holy and reverend is his name." (Ps. cxi. 9.) "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." (Hab. i. 13.) "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for Thou only art Holy." (Rev. xv. 4.) Holiness, on the one hand, implies entire freedom from moral evil; and, upon the other, absolute moral perfection. Freedom from impurity is the primary idea of the word. To sanctify is to cleanse; to be holy, is to be clean. Infinite purity, even more than infinite knowledge or infinite power, is the object of reverence. Hence the Hebrew word vAdq', as used in Scripture, is often equivalent to venerandus. "The Holy One of Israel," is He who is to be feared and adored. Seraphim round about the throne who cry day and night, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, give expression to the feelings of all unfallen rational creatures in view of the infinite purity of God. They are the representatives of the whole universe, in offering this perpetual homage to the divine holiness. It is because of his holiness, that God is a consuming fire. And it was a view of his holiness which led the prophet to exclaim, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the king, the LORD of hosts." (Is. vi. 5.)

    It is in their application to the moral attributes of God, that the two methods of determining his nature come most directly into conflict. If we allow ourselves to be determined in answering the question, What is God? by the teachings of his Word, and the constitution of our own nature; if we refer to Him, in an infinite degree, every good we find in ourselves, then we can have no hesitation in believing that He is holy, just, and good. But if the philosophical notion of the absolute and infinite is to decide every question concerning the divine nature, then we must give up all confidence in our apprehensions of God, as an object of knowledge. This Strauss, the most candid of the recent philosophical theologians, frankly admits. He says: "The ideas of the absolute and of the holy are incompatible. He who holds to the former must give up the latter, since holiness implies relation; and, on the other hand, he who holds fast the idea of God as holy, must renounce the idea of his being absolute; for the idea of absolute is inconsistent with the slightest possibility of its being other than it is. The impossibility of referring moral attributes to God had been admitted by some of the fathers of the Church."75

The Reasons urged for denying Moral Attributes to God.

    The grounds on which it is denied that moral attributes can be predicated of God, are such as these : --

    1. To assume that God can delight in good, and hate evil, takes for granted that He is susceptible of impression ab extra, which is inconsistent with his nature.

    2. It is said that moral excellence implies subjection to a moral law. But an absolute and infinite Being cannot be thus subject to law. It is true that God is not subject to any law out of Himself. He is exlex, absolutely independent. He is a law unto Himself. The conformity of his will to reason is no subjection. It is only the harmony of his nature. God's being holy, implies nothing more than that He is not in conflict with Himself. On this point even the rationalistic theologian Wegscheider says: "Minime Deus cogitandus est tanquam pendens ex lege ethics vol eidem subjectus tanquam potestati cuidam alienae, sed Deus sanctus ipsa ea lex est, natura quidam hypostatica indutus."76

    3. It is said that moral excellence must be free. A moral agent, to be holy, must voluntarily do right. But this implies that he is able to do wrong. There must, therefore, be at least a metaphysical possibility of God's being evil, or He cannot be good. But all possibility of the Absolute being other than it is, is inconsistent with its nature. To this it may be answered that the ideas of liberty and necessity are indeed antagonistic; but that liberty and absolute certainty are perfectly compatible. That an infinitely wise Being will not act irrationally, is as absolutely certain as that the self-contradictory cannot be true. The one is as inconceivable as the other. It is just as impossible that an infinitely holy Being should be unholy as that light should be darkness. The impossibility, however, is of a different kind. The former is what Augustine calls the felix necessitas boni, which is the highest idea of freedom.

    4. Strauss says that those who attribute moral perfections to God, forget that a purely spiritual Being can have nothing of what we call reason, wisdom, goodness, wrath, righteousness, etc. "Strictly speaking," he adds "the ascription of moral attributes to God supposes that He is material; and the most abstract theological ideas on the subject are really founded on Materialism." This is founded on the assumption that spirit is impersonal, a generic force, which becomes individual and personal only by union with a material organization, just as the Realists define man to be generic humanity, individualized and rendered personal by union with a given corporeal organization.

    It is surely most unreasonable to sacrifice to such speculations all religion, and all confidence in the intuitive judgments of the human mind, as well as all faith in God and in the Bible.

    It is scarcely less destructive of the true doctrine, to define holiness in God as the causality of conscience in us. That we are moral beings is not admitted to be a proof that God has moral attributes. That the sun produces cheerfulness in us is no proof that the sun is cheerful. But if we know nothing of God except that He is the cause of all things, He is to us only an inscrutable force, and not a Father, and not a God.

§ 12. Justice.

A. Meaning of the Word.

    The word justice, or righteousness, is used in Scripture sometimes in a wider and sometimes in a more restricted sense. In theology, it is often distinguished as justitia interna, or moral excellence, and justitia externa, or rectitude of conduct. In Hebrew qyDic; means, in a physical sense, straight;and in a moral sense, right, what is as it should be. And hq'd'c. means rightness, that which satisfies the demands of rectitude or law. The Greek word di,kaioj has the physical sense of equal; and the moral sense of, conformed to what is right; and dikaiosu,nhis either that which divides equally, i. e., equity in the moral sense, or that which satisfies the demands of right. The Latin justus and justitia are commonly used in the wide sense for what is right, or as it should be. Cicero77 defines justitia as "animi affectio suum cuique tribuens." This definition he elsewhere amplifies, saying: "Justitia erga Deos religio, erga parentas pietas, creditis in rebus fides, in moderatione animadvertendi lenitas, amicitia in benevolentia nominatur."78

    When we regard God as the author of our moral nature, we conceive of Him as holy; when we regard Him in his dealings with his rational creatures, we conceive of Him as righteous. He is a righteous ruler; all his laws are holy, just, and good. In his moral government He faithfully adheres to those laws. He is impartial and uniform in their execution. As a judge he renders unto every man according to his works. He neither condemns the innocent, nor clears the guilty; neither does He ever punish with undue severity. Hence the justice of God is distinguished as rectoral, or that which is concerned in the imposition of righteous laws and in their impartial execution; and distributive, or that which is manifested in the righteous distribution of rewards and punishment. The Bible constantly represents God as a righteous ruler and a just judge. These two aspects of his character, or of our relation to Him, are not carefully distinguished. We have the assurance which runs through the Scriptures, that "The judge of all the earth" must "do right." (Gen. xviii. 25.) "God is a righteous judge." (Ps. vii. 11, marginal reading.) "He shall judge the world with righteousness." (Ps. xcvi. 13.) "Clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of hs throne." (Ps. xcvii. 2.) Notwithstanding all the apparent inequalities in the distribution of his favours; notwithstanding the prosperity of the wicked and the afflictions of the righteous, the conviction is everywhere expressed that God is just; that somehow and somewhere He will vindicate his dealings with men, and show that He is righteous in all his ways and holy in all his works.

B. Justice in its Relation to Sin.

    As the sense of guilt is universal among men, and as the manifestations of sin are so constant and pervading, it is mainly in its relation to sin that the justice of God is revealed. Hence many theologians define the justice of God as that attribute of his nature which is manifested in the punishment of sin. Goodness, it is said, is manifested in bestowing good, and justice in the infliction of punishment. Schleiermacher says, "Justice is that causality in God which connects suffering with actual sin."79 Schweizer says, "We know God as just only through the punishment of sin." Hegel says, "The manifestation of the nothingness of the finite as power, is justice." This is the philosophical, statement of the principle that "Might is Right," a principle which underlies the morals and religion of the modern philosophy.

C. The Reformation of the Offender is not the Primary Object of Punishment.

    As the justice of God is specially manifested in the punishment of sin, it is of primary importance to determine why sin is punished.

    One prevalent theory on this subject is, that the only legitimate end of punishment is the reformation of the offender.

    It is of course to be admitted, that the good of the offender is often the ground or reason why evil is inflicted. A father chastises a child in love, and for its good. And God, our heavenly Father, brings suffering upon his children for their edification. But evil inflicted for the benefit of the sufferer, is chastisement, and not punishment. Punishment, properly speaking, is evil inflicted in satisfaction of justice.

    That the good of the sufferer is not the primary end of the infliction of punishment, is proved : --

    1. Because the punishment of the wicked is always, in the Scriptures, referred to the anger of God, and the chastisement of his people to his love. The cases, therefore, are not analogous. This difference of representation is designed to teach us that the wicked and the good do not stand in the same relation to God, as objects of benevolence; but that the one He punishes to testify his disapprobation and satisfy his justice, and the other He chastises to bring them nearer to Himself.

    2. In many cases the nature of the punishment precludes the possibility of the good of the offender being the ground of its infliction. The deluge, the destruction of the cities of the plain, and the overthrow of Jerusalem, were certainly not designed for the benefit of the men who suffered from those desolating inflictions. Much less can it be assumed that the punishment of the fallen angels, and of the finally impenitent, is intended to be reformatory.

    3. Scripture and experience both teach that suffering, when of the nature of punishment, has no tendency to reform. When suffering is seen to come from a father's hand, and to be a manifestation of love, it has a sanctifying power; but when it comes from the hand of God, as a judge and an avenger, and is the expression of displeasure and a proof of our alienation from God, its tendency is to harden and to exasperate. Hence the Apostle says, that so long as men are under condemnation, they bring forth fruit unto sin; and that, only when reconciled to God and assured of his love, do they bring forth fruit unto God. The great New Testament prophet, in his vision of the world of woe, represents the lost as gnawing their tongues with pain and blaspheming God. The denunciation of punishment is addressed to fear, but fear is not the principle of genuine obedience.

    4. On this subject, appeal may be fairly made to the common consciousness of men. Such is our moral hebetude that it is only glaring offences which awaken our moral sensibilities, and reveal their true nature. When any great crime is committed, there is an instinctive and universal demand for the punishment of the criminal. No man can pretend that the desire for his reformation is the feeling which prompts that demand. That is not so much as thought of. It is the instinctive judgment of the mind that he ought to suffer. It is not benevolence towards him which calls for the infliction of punishment.

D. The Prevention of Crime is not the Primary End of Punishment.

    The doctrine that the only legitimate end of punishment is the prevention of crime, has had great prevalence in the Church and the world. It is the common doctrine of jurists. It is, of course, to be conceded that the good of society and of the moral government of God, is one important end of punishment in all governments, human or divine. It is, however, rather an important collateral effect of the administration of justice, than its immediate design. The doctrine in question merges justice into benevolence. According to this way of thinking, it is only because God has a view to the happiness of his rational creatures, that He visits sin within punishment. This doctrine was adopted by some of the early fathers. In answer to the objection that the Bible represented God as a vindictive being, because it speaks of his anger and of his determination to punish, they said that He punished only out of benevolence. Thus Clemens Alexandrinus80 says, "Men ask how God can be good and kind if He is angry and punishes? They should remember that punishment is for the good of the offender and for the prevention of evil." And Tertullian81 says: "Omne hoc justitiae opus procuratio bonitatis est." Origen,82 also to the same effect, says: "Ex quibus omnibus constat, unum eundemque esse justum et bonum legis et evangeliorum Deum, et benefacere cum justitia et cum bonitate punire."

    Many later theologians take the same view. Leibnitz defines justice to be benevolence guided by wisdom. Wolf, who modified the whole system of theology in accordance with the philosophy of Leibnitz, adopted the same view. So did Stapfer,83 who says: "Quando Deus ejusmodi malum triste ex peccato necessario se quens creaturae accidere sinit, . . . dicitur peccatorem punire, et hoc seusu ipsi tribuitur justitia vindicativa. In justitia punitiva bonitas cum sapientia administratur.84 Notio justititae resolvitur in notionem sapientiae et bonitatis." Grotius, the jurist, makes this idea of justice the fundamental principle of his great work, "De Satisfactione Christi."

The Optimist Theory.

    In this country the same view has been extensively adopted, and made, as it must of necessity be, the controlling principle of those systems of theology in which it is incorporated. It is assumed that happiness is the greatest good; and hence that the purpose and desire to promote happiness is the sum of all virtue. From this it follows, that this world, the work of a God of infinite benevolence, wisdom, and power, must be the best possible world for the production of happiness; and, therefore, the permission of sin, and its punishment, must be referred to the benevolence of God. They are the necessary means for securing the greatest amount of happiness. If happiness be not the greatest good; if holiness be a higher end than happiness; if expediency be not the ground and measure of moral obligation, it is obvious that this whole structure collapses.

Proof of the Scriptural Doctrine.

    It is admitted that happiness is promoted by justice, and therefore that it is contrary to a wise benevolence that men should be allowed to sin with impunity. But justice cannot properly be merged into benevolence. And that the promotion of happiness by the prevention of crime is not the primary end of the infliction of punishment, is evident, --

    1. From the testimony of every man's consciousness. Every man knows that benevolence and justice, as revealed in his own consciousness, are different sentiments. The one prompts to the promotion of happiness, the other involves the instinctive judgment, that a criminal ought to suffer for his crime. We do not stop to ask, or to think, what may be the collateral effect on others of the infliction of punishment. Anterior to such reflection, and independent of it, is the intuitive perception, that sin should be punished, for its own sake, or on account of its inherent ill-desert. These instinctive moral judgments are as clear and as trustworthy revelations of the nature of God as can possibly be made. They force conviction in spite of all speculative sophistries. Every man knows the righteous judgment of God, that those who sin are worthy of death. If justice and benevolence are distinct in us, they are distinct in God. If we, in obedience to the nature which He has given us, intuitively perceive or judge that sin ought to be punished for its own sake, and irrespective of the good effect punishment may have on others, then such also is the judgment of God. This is the principle which underlies and determines all our ideas of the Supreme Being. If moral perfection be not in Him what it is in us, then He is to us an unknown something, and we use words without meaning when we speak of Him as holy, just, and good.

Argument from the Religious Experience of Believers.

    2. This sense of justice, which is indestructible in the nature of man, and which, in common with reason and conscience, has survived the Fall, is not only revealed in the ordinary experience of men, but still more distinctly in their religious consciousness. What is commonly called "conviction of sin," is only a modification, and higher form, of those inward experiences which are common to all men. All men know that they are sinners. They all know that sin, as related to the justice of God, is guilt, that which ought to be punished; and that, as related to his holiness, it renders us polluted and offensive in his sight. They also know, intuitively, that God is just as well as holy; and, therefore, that his moral perfection calls for the punishment of sin, by the same necessity by which He disapproves of and hates it. Under the pressure of these convictions, and the consciousness of their utter inability either to satisfy divine justice, or to free themselves from the defilement and power of sin, men either tremble in the constant looking for of judgment, or they look out of themselves for help. When, under either the common or saving operations of the Spirit of God, these sentiments are deepened, then their nature is more clearly revealed. A man, when thus convinced of sin, sees that not only would it be right that he should be punished, but that the justice, or moral excellence of God, demands his punishment. It is not that he ought to suffer for the good of others, or to sustain the moral government of God, but that he, as a sinner and for his sins sought to suffer. Were he the only creature in the universe, this conviction would be the same, both in nature and degree. Such is the experience of men under the conviction of sin, as recorded in the Scriptures and in the history of the Church. In many cases criminals under the pressure of these feelings have delivered themselves to the officers of justice to be punished. More frequently they resort to self-inflicted tortures to satisfy the clamors of conscience. We have, therefore, an inward revelation, which can neither be suppressed nor perverted, that justice is not benevolence.

The Sense of Justice not due to Christian Culture.

    3. That this sense of justice is not due to Christian culture, or to the influence of peculiar forms of doctrine, but belongs to the common consciousness of men, is plain. (a.) Because it is impressed upon all human languages as far as known or cultivated. All languages have different words for justice and benevolence. There could not be this difference in the words, if the sentimenti themselves were not different. Every one knows that when we say a man is just, we mean one thing; and when we say he is benevolent, we mean another thing. (b.) All history as it records the workings of human nature, reveals this innate sense of justice. We everywhere hear men calling for the punishment of offenders, or denouncing those who allow them to escape with impunity. No mass of men ever witness a flagrant act of cruelty or wrong without an irrepressible manifestation of indignation. The voice of nature, which in such cases is the voice of God, demands the punishment of the wrong-doer. (c.) In all religions which reveal the inward convictions of men, there are expiatory rites. Every sacrifice for sin, the smoke from every altar, which has been going up through all ages and from every part of the world, are so many attestations to the truth of reason and of Scripture, that there is such an attribute as justice in God, distinct from his benevolence.

Argument from the Holiness of God.

    4. The truth of this doctrine may also be inferred from the holiness of God. If He is infinitely pure, his nature must be opposed to all sin; and as his acts are determined by his nature, his disapprobation of sin must manifest itself in his acts. But the disfavour of God, the manifestation of his disapprobation, is death, as his favour is life. It cannot be that this essential opposition between holiness and sin should be dependent for its manifestation on the mere ab extra consideration that evil would result from sin being allowed to go unpunished. It might as well be said that we should feel no aversion to pain, unless aware that it weakened our constitution. We do not approve of holiness simply because it tends to produce happiness; neither do we disapprove of sin simply because it tends to produce misery. It is inevitable, therefore, that the perfection of the infinitely holy God should manifest its opposition to sin, without waiting to judge of the consequences of the expression of this divine repugnance.

    5. The doctrine that the prevention of crime is the only legitimate end of punishment, or that there is no such attribute in God as justice, as distinguished from benevolence, rests on the assumption, before remarked upon, that all virtue consists in benevolence; which again rests on the assumption that happiness is the highest good; which makes expediency the ground of moral obligation, and the rule of moral conduct. It is indeed a solecism to use the word moral in such connections, for, on this theory, the word has no meaning. A thing may be wise or unwise, expedient or inexpedient, but in no other sense right or wrong. Wrong becomes right, and right becomes wrong, as the greater amount of happiness flows from the one or from the other. As this utilitarian theory of morals has been banished from the schools of philosophy, it should be banished from systems of theology.

Argument from the Connection between Sin and Misery.

    6. The inseparable connection between sin and misery is a revelation of the justice of God. That holiness promotes happiness is a revelation of the relation in which God stands to holiness; and that sin produces misery is no less a revelation of the relation in which He stands to moral evil. This constitution of things depending on the nature and will of God, proves that sin is evil in its own nature, and is punished for its own sake. The law of God which includes a penalty as well as precepts, is in both a revelation of the nature of God. If the precepts manifest his holiness, the penalty as clearly manifests his justice. If the one is immutable, so also is the other. The wages of sin is death. Death is what is due to it in justice, and what without injustice cannot be withheld from it. If the prevention of crime were the primary end of punishment, then if the punishment of the innocent, the execution, for example, of the wife and children of a murderer, would have a greater restraining influence than the punishment of the guilty murderer, their execution would be just. But this would shock the mural sense of men.

Argument from the Scriptural Doctrines of Satisfaction and Justification.

    7. The Scriptural doctrines of satisfaction and justification rest on the principle that God is immutably just, i. e., that his moral excellence, in the case of sin, demands punishment, or expiation. The Bible clearly teaches the necessity of satisfaction to justice in order to the forgiveness of sin. Christ was set forth as a propitiation, in order that God might be just in justifying the ungodly. This assumes that it would be unjust, i. e., contrary to moral rectitude, to pardon the guilty without such a propitiation. This necessity for a satisfaction is never referred to expediency or to governmental considerations. If sin could have been pardoned, without a satisfaction. the Apostle says, Christ is dead in vain. (Gal. ii. 21.) If there could have been a law which could have given life, salvation would have been by the law (Gal. iii. 21.)

    Moreover, if there is no such attribute in God as justice, as distinguished from benevolence, then there can be no such thing as justification. There may be pardon, as the act of a sovereign remitting a penalty and restoring an offender to favour; but no such thing as justification, as an act of a judge proceeding according to law and pronouncing the demands of justice satisfied. The Scriptures, however, according to the almost unanimous judgment of the Church, pronounce that justification is more than an act of executive clemency. Conscience is not satisfied with mere forgiveness. It is essential to peace with God, that the soul should see that justice is satisfied. This is the reason why the death of Christ, why his blood, is so inexpressibly precious in the eyes of his people. All the experience of the saints is a protest against the principle that expiation is unnecessary, that sin can be pardoned without a satisfiction of justice.

Paul's Argument.

    The whole argument of the Apostle in his Epistle to the Romans is founded on the principle that justice is a divine attribute distinct from benevolence. His argument is: God is just. All men are sinners. All, therefore, are guilty, i. e., under condemnation. Therefore no man can be justified, i. e., pronounced not guilty, on the ground of his character or conduct. Sinners cannot satisfy justice. But what they could not do, Christ, the Eternal Son of God, clothed in our nature, has done for them. He has brought in everlasting righteousness, which meets all the demands of the law. All those who renounce their own righteousness, and trust to the righteousness of Christ, God justifies and saves. This is the gospel as preached by Paul. It all rests on the assumption that God is just.

    The doctrine of the vindicatory justice, which has this clear evidence of its truth, in the moral nature of man, in the religious experience of believers, and in the teaching and doctrines of the Scriptures, has ever been considered as a turning point in theology.

E. Philosophical Views of the Nature of Justice.

    The teachings of the Scriptures, and the faith of the Church, so far as the divine attributes are concerned, are founded on the assumption that God is a personal Being. It is involved in that assumption, not only that He possesses intelligence and moral character, but that he thinks, feels, wills, and acts. It is, moreover, involved in the idea of personality, that thinking, feeling, willing, and acting in God, are, in all that is essential, analogous to what those terms signify in us. The modern philosophy, however, teaches that, if God be an absolute Being, thinking, feeling, willing, and acting are inconsistent with his nature. Hence, --

    1. Some teach that God is only the original ground of beings having in Himself no distinctive attributes. What we call the attributes of God are only the attributes of finite creatures having the ground of their being in God. That they are intelligent, moral, voluntary agents, is no proof that the same is true of God. That the sun produces the sensation of heat in us is no proof that it experiences the same sensation. The attributes of God, therefore, are only different aspects of the causality in Him which produces different effects. Justice, then, is not an attribute of God; it is only the causality to which the connection between sin and suffering is to be referred.

    2. Others, while insisting that personality, and all that it involves, are incompatible with the idea of an absolute Being, still maintain that we are constrained, and bound, to believe in the personality of God, on the authority of the Bible and of our own moral nature. But the Bible reveals, it is said, not absolute, but only regulative truth; not what He is, but what it is expedient for us to think He is. Justice in God, then, is for us what generosity in a fairy is for nursery children.

    3. Others again, while they admit personality in God, make it a personality which precludes all willing, and all acting, except in the form of law, or general, uniform efficiency. Justice in God, therefore, is only a name for one form, or one mode, of the manifestation of the power of God. As it is to be referred to his ordination, or to his nature, that fire burns and acids corrode, so it is to be referred to his general efficiency that sin produces misery. There is no special intervention of God, when fire burns; and there is no special decision, or judgment on his part, when a sinner is punished. Punishment is not the execution of a sentence pronounced by an intelligent being on the merits of the case, but the operation of a general law. Bruch (Professor of Theology in the Theological Seminary in Strasbourg) is a representative of this mode of thinking. He professes Theism, or faith in a personal God, but he teaches that the attributes of God are nothing else (als die Modalitaten seiner ewigen Wirksamkeit) "than the modes if his constant efficiency." Since among men justice is exercised in a succession of special acts, it is erroneously inferred that there is a like succession of acts of the will of God by which He approves or condemns. The great difficulty, he says, arises from judging of God after the analogy of our own nature. He admits that the Bible does this; that it constantly speaks of God as a righteous judge, administering justice according to his will. In this case, however, he adds, it is important to separate the real truth from the imperfection of its Scriptural form. Penalties are not evils inflicted by a special act of the divine will, but the natural consequences of sin, which cannot fail to manifest themselves. There is an organic connection between sin and evil. All the activity or agency of God is in the form of laws having their foundation in his nature. Thus justice is simply that law, or uniform mode of divine operation, by which sin is made its own punishment.85 Hence there is no distinction between natural and positive inflictions; the deluge was either no punishment, or it was the natural consequence of the sins of the antediluvians. Hence, there is no such thing as forgiveness. The only possible way to remove the suffering is to remove the sin. But how is the sin of theft or murder to be removed? We can understand how pride or envy may be subdued and the suffering they occasion be escaped: but how can a past act be removed? A man hardened in sin suffers little or nothing for a special offence; the morally refined suffer indescribably. Thus, according to this theory, the better a man is, the more severely he is punished for his sin. Strauss is consistent enough to carry the principle out, and discard altogether the ideas of reward and punishment, as belonging to a low form of thought. He quotes and adopts the dictum of Spinoza: "Beatitudo non est virtutis praemium, sed ipsa virtus."

    4. Scarcely distinguished from the doctrine last mentioned, is that presented by Dr. John Young.86 His doctrine is that there are certain eternal and immutable laws arising out of the nature of things, independeimt of the will or nature of God, to which He is as much subject as his creatures. One of these laws is, that virtue produces happiness, and vice misery. The one is, therefore, rewarded, and the other punished, by the necessary and immutable operation of that law, and not by the will of God. God, therefore, ceases to be the ruler of the world. He is Himself subordinate to eternal and necessary laws. That this doctrine is at variance with the whole tenor of the Bible cannot be doubted. It is no less opposed to the dictates of our own moral and religious nature. It is revealed in that nature that we are subject, not to necessary and self-acting laws, but to an intelligent, personal God, to whom we are accountable for our character and conduct, and who rewards and punishes his creatures according to their works.

    As a philosophical theory, this doctrine is much below the standard of the German theologians. For they, as far as they are Theists, admit that these immutable laws are determined by the nature of God, and are the uniform modes of his operation. Indeed, as God and his creatures exhaust the whole category of being, the "nature of things," apart from the nature of God and of his creatures, seems to be a phrase without meaning. It is tantamount to the "nature of nonentity."

§ 13. The Goodness of God.

A. The Scriptural Doctrine.

    Goodness, in the Scriptural sense of the term, includes benevolence, love, mercy, and grace. By benevolence is meant the disposition to promote happiness; all sensitive creatures are its objects. Love includes complacency, desire, and delight, and has rational beings for its objects. Mercy is kindness exercised towards the miserable, and includes pity, compassion, forbearance, and gentleness, which the Scriptures so abundantly ascribe to God. Grace is love exercised towards the unworthy. The love of a holy God to sinners is the most mysterious attribute of the divine nature. The manifestation of this attribute for the admiration and beatification of all intelligent creatures, is declared to be the special design of redemption. God saves sinners, we are told, "That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus." (Eph. ii. 7.) This is the burden of that Epistle.

    As all the modifications of goodness above mentioned are found even in our dilapidated nature, and commend themselves to our moral approbation, we know they must exist in God without measure and without end. In him they are infinite, eternal, and immutable.


    The goodness of God in the form of benevolence is revealed in the whole constitution of nature. As the universe teems with life, it teems also with enjoyment. There are no devices in nature for the promotion of pain for its own sake; whereas the manifestations of design for the production of happiness are beyond computation. The manifestation of the goodness of God in the form of love, and specially of love to the undeserving, is, as just stated, the great end of the work of redemption. "God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John iii. 16.) "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John iv. 10.) The Apostle prays that believers might be able to comprehend the height and depth, the length and breadth, of that love which passes knowledge. (Eph. iii. 19.)


    Love in us includes complacency and delight in its object, with the desire of possession and communion. The schoolmen, and often the philosophical theologians, tell us that there is no feeling in God. This, they say, would imply passivity, or susceptibility of impression from without, which it is assumed is incompatible with the nature of God. "We must exclude," says Bruch,87 "passivity from the idea of love, as it exists in God. For God cannot be the subject of passivity in any form. Besides, if God experienced complacency in intelligent beings, He would be dependent on them; which is inconsistent with his nature as an Absolute Being." Love, therefore, he defines as that attribute of God which secures the development of the rational universe; or, as Schleiermacher expresses it, "It is that attribute in virtue of which God communicates Himself."88 According to the philosophers, the Infinite develops itself in the finite; this fact, in theological language, is due to love. The only point of analogy between love in us and love in the Absolute and Infinite, is self-communication. Love in us leads to self-revelation and communion; in point of fact the Infinite is revealed and developed in the universe, and specially in humanity. Bruch admits that this doctrine is in real contradiction to the representations of God in the Old Testament, and in apparent contradiction to those of the New Testament. If love in God is only a name for that which accounts for the rational universe; if God is love, simply because He develops himself in thinking and conscious beings, then the word has for us no definite meaninig; it reveals to us nothing concerning the real nature of God. Here again we have to choose between a mere philosophical speculation and the clear testimony of the Bible, and of our own moral and religious nature. Love of necessity involves feeling, and if there be no feeling in God, there can be no love. That He produces happiness is no proof of love. The earth does that unconsciously and without design. Men often render others happy from vanity, from fear, or from caprice. Unless the production of happiness can be referred, not only to a conscious intention, but to a purpose dictated by kind feeling, it is no proof of benevolence. And unless the children of God are the objects of his complacency and delight, they are not the objects of his love. He may be cold, insensible, indifferent, or even unconscious; He ceases to be God in the sense of the Bible, and in the sense in which we need a God, unless He can love as well as know and act. The philosophical objection against ascribing feeling to God, bears, as we have seen, within equal force against the ascription to Him of knowledge or will. If that objection be valid, He becomes to us simply an unknown cause, what men of science call force; that to which all phenomena are to be referred, but of which we know nothing. We must adhere to the truth in its Scriptural form, or we lose it altogether. We must believe that God is love in the sense in which that word comes home to every human heart. The Scriptures do not mock us when they say, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him." (Ps. ciii. 13.) He meant what He said when He proclaimed Himself as "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth." (Ex. xxxiv. 6.) "Beloved," says the Apostle, "let us love one another: fot love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation con our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (1 John iv. 7-1l.) The word love has the same sense throughout this passage. God is love; and love in Him is, in all that is essential to its nature, what love is in us. Herein we do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

B. The Existence of Evil.

    How can the existence of evil, physical and moral, be reconciled with the benevolence and holiness of a God infinite in his wisdom and power? This is the question which has exercised the reason and tried the faith of men in all ages of the world. Such is the distance between God and man, such the feebleness of our powers, and such the limited range of our vision, it might seem reasonable to leave this question to be answered by God himself. If a child cannot rationally sit in judgment on the conduct of his parents, nor a peasant comprehend the affairs of an empire, we certainly are not competent to call God to account, or to ask of Him the reason of his ways. We might rest satisfied with the assurance that the Judge of all the earth must do right. These considerations, however, have not availed to prevent speculation on this subject. The existence of evil is constantly brought forward by sceptics as an argument against religion; and it is constantly in the minds of believers as a difficulty and a doubt. While it is our duty to obey the injunction, "Be still and know that I am God," it is no less our duty to protest against those solutions of this great problem which either destroy the nature of sin or the nature of God.

Theories which involve the Denial of Sin.

    Most of the theories proposed to account for the existence of evil, come under one or the other of the three following classes:

    First, those which really or virtually deny the existence of evil in the world. What we call evil is distinguished as physical and moral, pain and sin. There is some plausibility in the argument to prove that pain is not necessarily an evil. It is necessary to the safety of sentient creatures. But pain exists far beyond the bounds of this necessity. Such is the amount and variety of suffering in the world, of the just and of the unjust, of infants and of adults, that no philosophy can smother the conviction that the misery which weighs so heavily on the children of men, is an appalling evil. There is no such trial to our faith, as to see an infant suffering excruciating pain. If, however, pain could be removed from the category of evil, sin is not so easily disposed of. The world lies in wickedness. The history of man is, to a large degree, the history of sin. If God be holy, wise, and omnipotent, how can we account for this widely extended and long-continued prevalence of sin?

    One solution is sought in the denial that sin is an evil. In other words, it is denied that there is any such thing as sin. What we so regard is, as some maintain, nothing more than limitation of being. To be free from sin, we must be free from limitation, i. e.. infinite. It is not an evil that one tree is smaller, less beautiful, or less valuable than others; or that a plant has not the sensitive life of an animal; or that all animals have not the rational powers of man. As in a forest, we see trees of every shape and size, perfectly and imperfectly developed, and this diversity is itself a good; so among men there are some more, and some less conformed to the ideal standard of reason and right, but this is not an evil. It is only diversity of development; the manifold forms of an endless life.

    Others say that what we call sin is the necessary condition of virtue. There can be no action without reaction; no strength without obstacles to be overcome; no pleasure without pain; and no virtue without vice. Moral goodness is mastery over moral evil. There cannot be one without the other. All would be dead and motionless, a stagnant sea, were it not for this antagonism.

    Others again say that sin has only a subjective reality. It is analogous to pain. Some things affect us agreeably, others disagreeably; some excite self-approbation, some disapprobation. But that is simply our own concern. God no more participates in our judgments than He does in our sensations.

    Others do not so expressly deny the existence of sin. They admit that it is not only evil to us, but that it involves guilt in the sight of God, and therefore should be punished. Nevertheless, they represent it as arising necessarily out of the constitution of our nature. All creatures are subject to the law of development -- to a "Werden." Perfection is a goal to be reached by a gradual process. This law controls every sphere of life, vegetable, animal, intellectual, and moral. Every plant is developed from a seed. Our bodies begin in a germ; infancy is feeble and suffering. Our minds are subject to the same law. They are, of necessity, open to error. Our moral life is not an exception to this rule. Moral beings, at least those constituted as we are, cannot avoid sin. It is incident to their nature and condition. It is to be outlived and overcome. If the world be so constituted and so directed that there is a continued progress toward perfection; if all evil, and especially all sin, be eliminated by this progress, the wisdom, goodness, and holiness of God will be thereby vindicated. Bruch89 asks, "Why has God (der heilige Urgeist) brought men into the world with only the potentiality of freedom (which with him includes perfection), and not with the actuality, but left that perfection to be attained by a long process of development? The only answer to that question," he says, is, "that development lies in the very nature of the finite. It must strive toward perfection by an endless process, without ever reaching it in its fulness. We might as well ask why God has ordained that the tree should be developed from a germ? or why the earth itself has passed through so many periods of change, ever from a lower to a higher state? or why the universe is made up of things finite, and is itself finite?" He adds the further consideration, "that God, with the possibility of sin, has provided redemption by which it is to be overcome, banished, and swallowed up." "The annihilation of sin is the design of the whole work of redemption. 'The Son of Man is come that He might destroy the works of the devil.' (1 John iii. 8.) Sin, however, will disappear only when not the individual alone, but when the whole race of man has reached the goal of its destination, -- and when," he asks, "will this happen?"90 That question he leaves unanswered. On a following page, however, he quotes Klaiber91 as saying: "Divine revelation gives the only possible and satisfactory answer to the question, how the existence of sin can be reconciled with the holiness of God, an answer which satisfies not only our pious feelings, but our anthropological and theological speculations, in that it makes known the truth that God determined on the creation of beings, who, as free agents, were subject to the possibility of sin, and who were through their own fault sunk in evil, in connection with redemption; so that sin is only a transient, vanishing phenomenon in the development of finite beings. This is the great idea which pervades the whole of revelation; yea, which is its essence and its goal."

    It is obvious that all theories which make sin a necessary evil, destroy its nature as revealed in Scripture, and in our own consciousness.

Sin considered as the Necessary Means of the Greatest Good.

    A much more plausible theory, belonging to the class of those which virtually, although not professedly, destroy the nature of sin, is that which regards it as the necessary means of the greatest good. Sin, in itself; is an evil; relatively, it is a good. The universe is better with it than without it. In itself, it is an evil that the smaller animals should be devoured by the larger; but as this is necessary to prevent the undue development of animal life, and as it ministers to the higher forms thereof, it becomes a benevolent arrangement. The amputation of a limb is an evil; but if necessary to save life, it is a good. Wars are dreadful evils, yet the world is indebted to wars for the preservation of civil and religious liberty, for which they are a small price. Better have war than lose the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. Thus, if sin be the necessary means of the greatest good, it ceases to be an evil, on the whole, and it is perfectly consistent with the benevolence of God to permit its occurrence. This has been a favorite method of solving the problem of evil in all ages. This is the idea which Leibnitz wrought out so elaborately in his "Theodicee." It has been adopted by many theologians who do not carry it on to its legitimate consequences. Thus Twesten92 says: "If the world be absolutely dependent on the most perfect Being; if it be the work of the highest love, power, and wisdom; and if it be constantly controlled and governed by God, it must be absolutely perfect." Hence even sin, although like pain an evil in itself, must on the whole be a good. It is a necessary element in a perfect world. Twesten, therefore, says,93 "If the world, with the sin and misery which it contains, produces a greater amount of good, and reveals the divine power and love more fully than could otherwise be possible, then the consistency of the existence of evil with the universal causality (or government) of God is thereby vindicated." The word good in this connection, according to the common doctrine of optimists, does not mean moral good, but happiness. The principle on which this theory is founded was propounded in a posthumous treatise of President Edwards, in which he taught that virtue consists in the love of being. This principle was adopted and carried out by Drs. Hopkins and Emmons in their systems of theology, which for many years had great influence in this country.

Objections to this Theory.

    Plausible as this theory is, it is liable to many objections.

    1. In the first place, we have no right to limit the infinite God. To say that this is the best possible world, is to say that God can make nothing greater or better; which, unless the world be infinite, is to say that God is finite. It is enough for us to believe that the world with its finite results, is what God in his wisdom saw fit to call into existence; but that it is the best He could make, is a gratuitous and derogatory assumption.

    2. It is unscriptural, and contrary to our moral reason, to make happiness the end of creation. The Bible declares the glory of God, an infinitely higher end, to be the final cause for which all things exist. It is the instinctive judgment of men, that holiness or moral excellence is a greater good than happiness. But, on this theory, holiness has no value except as a means of producing happiness. This cannot be believed, except under a protest from our moral nature. The theory in question, therefore, solves the problem of evil by denying its existence. Nothing is an evil which tends to the greatest happiness. Sin is the necessary means of the greatest good, and therefore is not an evil.

The Doctrine that God cannot prevent Sin in a Moral System.

    The second general method of reconciling the existence of sin with the benevolence and holiness of God, is, not to deny that sin, even all things considered, is an evil; but to affirm that God cannot prevent all sin, or even the present amount of sin, in a moral system. It assumes that certainty is inconsistent with free agency. Any kind or degree of influence which renders it certain how a free agent will act, destroys his liberty in acting. He must always be able to act contrary to any degree of influence brought to bear upon him, or he ceases to be free. God, therefore, of necessity limits Himself when He creates free agents. They are beyond his absolute control. He may argue and persuade, but He cannot govern.

    This doctrine that God cannot effectually control the acts of free agents without destroying their liberty, is so contrary to the Scriptures, that it has never been adopted by any organized portion of the Christian Church. Some theologians avail themselves of it for an emergency, when treating of this subject, although it is utterly at variance with their general scheme. Twesten, for example, who, as we have seen, in one place teaches that God voluntarily permits sin as the necessary means of the greatest good, in another place94 says that He cannot prevent it in a moral system. "Mit der Freiheit," he says, "war die Moglichkeit des Misbrauchs gegeben; ohne jene zu vernichten, konnte Gott diesen nicht verhindern." That is, without destroying liberty, God cannot prevent its abuse. If this be so, then God cannot govern free agents. He cannot secure the accomplishment of his purposes, or the fulfilment of his promises. There is no security for the triumph of good in the universe. Angels and saints in heaven may all sin, and evil become dominant and universal. On this theory, all prayer that God would change our own hearts, or the hearts of others, becomes irrational. All this is so contrary to the teaching of the Bible, which everywhere asserts the sovereignty and supremacy of God,  declaring that the hearts of men are in his hand, and that He turns them as the rivers of water; that He makes his people willing in the day of his power, working in them to will and to do, according to his good pleasure; it is so inconsistent with the promise to give repentance and faith, with the assertion of his power to change the heart; it is so incompatible with the hopes and confidence of the believer, that God can keep him from falling; and so subversive of the idea of God as presented in the Bible and revealed in our nature, that the Church has, almost with one accord, preferred to leave the mystery of evil unexplained, rather than to seek its solution in a principle which undermines the foundation of all religion.

The Scriptural Doctrine.

    The third method of dealing with this question is to rest satisfied with the simple statements of the Bible. The Scriptures teach, (1.) That the glory of God is the end to which the promoticn of holiness, and the production of happiness, and all other ends are subordinate. (2.) That, therefore, the self-manifestation of God, the revelation of his infinite perfection, being the highest conceivable, or possible good, is the ultimate end of all his works in creation, providence, and redemption. (3.) As sentient creatures are necessary for the manifestation of God's benevolence, so there could be no manifestation of his mercy without misery, or of his grace and justice, if there were no sin. As the heavens declare the glory of God, so He has devised the plan of redemption, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God." (Eph. iii. 10.) The knowledge of God is eternal life. It is for creatures the highest good. And the promotion of that knowledge, the manifestation of the manifold perfections of the infinite God, is the highest end of all his works. This is declared by the Apostle to be the end contemplated, both in the punishment of sinners and in the salvation of believers. It is an end to which, he says, no man can rationally object. "What if God, willing to show his wrath (or justice), and to make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory." (Rom. ix 22, 23.) Sin, therefore, according the Scriptures, is permitted, that the justice of God may be known in its punishment, and his grace in its forgiveness. And the universe, without the knowledge of these attributes, would be like the earth without the light of the sun.

    The glory of God being the great end of all things, we are not obliged to assume that this is the best possible world for the production of happiness, or even for securing the greatest degree of holiness among rational creatures. It is wisely adapted for the end for which it was designed, namely, the manifestation of the manifold perfections of God. That God, in revealing Himself, does promote the highest good of his creatures, consistent with the promotion of his own glory, may be admitted. But to reverse this order, to make the good of the creature the highest end, is to pervert and subvert the whole scheme; it is to put the means for the end, to subordinate God to the universe, the Infinite to the finite. This putting the creature in the place of the Crcator, disturbs our moral and religious sentiments and convictions, as well as our intellectual apprehensions of God, and of his relation to the universe.

    The older theologians almost unanimously make the glory of God the ultimate, and the good of the creature the subordinate end of all things. Twesten, indeed, says95 it makes no difference whether we say God proposes his own glory as the ultimate end, and, for that purpose, determined to produce the highest degree of good; or that He purposed the highest good of his creatures, whence the manifestation of his glory flows as a consequence. It, however, makes all the difference in the world, whether the Creator be subordinate to the creature, or the creature to the Creator; whether the end be the means, or the means the end. There is a great difference whether the earth or the sun be assumed as the centre of our solar system. If we make the earth the centre, our astronomy will be in confusion. And if we make the creature, and not God, the end of all things, our theology and religion will in like manner be perverted. It may, in conclusion, be safely asserted that a universe constructed for the purpose of making God known, is a far better universe than one designed for the production of happiness.

§ 14. The Truth of God.

    Truth, is a word of frequent occurrence and of wide signification in the Bible. The primary meaning of the Greek word avlh,qeia(from av and lh,qw) is openness; what is not concealed. But in the Hebrew, and therefore in the Bible, the primary idea of truth is, that which sustains, which does not fail, or disappoint our expectations. The true, therefore, is, (1.) That which is real as opposed to that which is fictitious or imaginary. Jehovah is the true God, because He is really God, while the gods of the heathen are vanity and nothing, mere imaginary beings, having neither existence nor attributes. (2.) The true is that which completely comes up to its idea, or to what it purports to be. A true man is a man in whom the idea of manhood is fully realized. The true God is He in whom is found all that Godhead imports. (3.) The true is that in which the reality exactly corresponds to the manifestation. God is true, because He really is what He declares himself to be; because He is what He commands us to believe Him to be; and because all his declarations correspond to what really is. (4.) The true is that which can be depended upon, which does not fail, or change, or disappoint. In this sense also God is true as He is immutable and faithful. His promise cannot fail; his word never disappoints. His word abideth forever. When our Lord says, "Thy word is truth," He says that all that God has revealed may be confided in as exactly corresponding to what really is, or is to be. His word can never fail, though heaven and earth pass away.

    The truth of God, therefore, is the foundation of all religion. It is the ground of our assurance, that what He has revealed of Himself and of his will, in his works and in the Scriptures, may be relied upon. He certainly is, and wills, and will do, whatever He has thus made known. It is no less the foundation of all knowledge. That our senses do not deceive us; that consciousness is trustworthy in what it teaches; that anything is what it appears to us to be; that our existence is not a delusive dream, has no other foundation than the truth of God. In this sense, all knowledge is founded on faith, i. e., the belief that God is true.

    The theologians are accustomed to say: (1.) "Veritas Dei in essentia, est convenientia omnium eorum, quae ad naturam perfectissimi pertinent eamque totam constituunt; qua ratione Deus verus opponitur fictis et commentitiis." (Jer. x. 8, 10, 11; John v. 20, 21.) (2.) "Veritas Dei in intellectu, est convenientia cogitationum cum objecto." . . . . (Job xi. 7; Acts xv. 18.) (3.) "Veritas Dei in voluntate est convenientia decreti ac propositi efficacis cujusque cum rationibus in intellectu probe cognitis et judicatis." (Rom. xi. 33.) (4.) "Veritas Dei in factis, est convenientia actionum cum proposito." (Ps. xxv. 10) (5.) "Veritas Dei in dictis, quae singulatim vocari solet veracitas, est convenientia verborum omnium cum recta cogitatione animique sententia, et efficaci voluntatis proposito." (Num. xxiii. 19; 1 Sam. xv. 29; Tit. i. 2; Heb. vi. 18.) "Haec cernitur (a). in doctrin's (Is. xvii. 17); (b), in praedictionibus, promissionibus, ut et comminationibus. (Num. xxiii. 19.)"96

    To the same effect the Reformed theologian Endemann, says, "Veracitas Deo duplici sensu recte adscribitur, (1.) Quatenus nunquam errat, quia est omniscius, nunquam errorem aliis significat, quia id repugnat bonitati ejus. . . . (2.) Quatenus Deus ea actu sentit, quae verbis vel factis entibus intelligentibus significat. Deus actionibus et sermonibus suis eum intendit finem, ut sibi homines credant, confidant, etc., quem finem everteret si semel a veritate discederet. Scriptura docet idem scil. quod Deus . . . . [est] verax, immunis ab omni errore et mendacio. . . . Fidelis est Deus, quatenus ingenue aliquid promittit; atque promissum certissimo complet. . . . Severitatem Deo tribuimus quatenus comminationes suas implet."97

    The philosophical theologians virtually deny that there is any such attribute in God as truth. They say that what is intended by that term is only the uniformity of law. The efficiency of God is always exercised in such a way that we may confide in the regular sequence of events. In this respect it may be said that God is true. Bruch98 admits "That this idea arises necessarily out of our religious consciousness, inasmuch as we embrace with full confideuce what we regard as a divine revelation, and are persuaded that God in due time will fulfil whatever He has purposed, promised, or threatened. This confidence is in the strongest terms often expressed in the sacred writings, and is the source of the firm faith by which the Christian receives the revelation made in Christ; and of the unshaken confidence with which he anticipates the fulfillment of the divine promises." Nevertheless, although this idea of the truth of God has its foundation in our own nature, and is so clearly recognized in Scripture, and although it enters so deeply into the religious experience and hopes of the believer, it is a delusion. There is no such attribute in God. It is unphilosophical, and therefore impossible that there should be the distinction, which must then be assumed, between purpose and act in the divine mind. The ascription of truth or veracity to God rests, says Bruch, "on the assumption of a distinction in Him between thought and its manifestation, between his promises and threatenings, and their accomplishment, which not only destroys the unity of the divine essence, but reduces Him to the limitations and changes of time. . . . As the ascription of veracity to God arises out of what we observe in ourselves, it bears the impress of anthropomorphism, and has no claim to scientific recognition."99 He further objects to the ascription of truth to God, in the ordinary sense of that term, because God works uniformly according to law, and therefore. "properly speaking, there can be no such thing as promises oe threatenings with him."100 The idea is, that as God has established certain physical laws, and if men comply with them they are well, if they violate them, they suffer for it; so there are laws which determine the well-being of rational creatures: if we observe those laws, we are happy; if we disregard them, we are miserable. God has nothing to do with it, except as He established those laws and carries them out. The philosophical idea, therefore, of the truth of God, is the immutability of law, physical and moral. This view is still more definitely presented by Schweizer.101 God from the beginning to the end of the world is one and the same causality; this, in reference to the moral world, is his truth, veracitas, fidelitas, in so far as the later revelations, or manifestations of this causality, correspomid to what the earlier manifestations would lead us to expect. God, according to this view, is not so much a person, as a name for the moral order of the universe. There is, of course, some truth in this mode of representation. The laws of God, by which He governs his creatures, rational and irrational, are uniform. It is true that a man reaps what he sows; that he receives here and hereafter the natural consequences of his conduct. If he sows to the flesh, he reaps corruption; if he sows to the spirit, he reaps life everlasting. But these laws are administered by a personal God, who, as He controls physical laws so as to produce plenty or famine, health or pestilence, as to Him seems fit, so also He controls all the laws which determine the well-being of the souls of men, so as to accomplish his designs and to secure the fulfilment of his promises and threatenings. The laws of a well-ordered human government are uniform and impartial, but that is not inconsistent with their human administration.

    It is a great mercy that, at least in some cases, those whose philosophy forbids their believing in the personality of God, believe in the personality of Christ, whom they regard as a man invested with all the attributes of the Godhead, and whom they love and worship accordingly.

§ 15. Sovereignty.

    Sovereignty is not a property of the divine nature, but a prerogative arising out of the perfections of the Supreme Being. If God be a Spirit, and therefore a person, infinite, eternal, and immutable in his being and perfections, the Creator and Preserver of the universe, He is of right its absolute sovereign. Infinite wisdom, goodness, and power, with the right of possession, which belongs to God in all his creatures, are the immutable foundation of his dominion. "Our God is in the heavens; He hath done whatsoever He pleased." (Ps. cxv. 8.) "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Dan. iv. 35.) "All that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine." (1 Chron. xxix. 11.) "The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." (Ps. xxiv. 1.) "Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all." (1 Chron. xxix. 11.) "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine." (Ez. xviii. 4.) "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioned it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?" (Is. xlv. 9.) "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?" (Matt. xx. 15.) He "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." (Eph. i. 11.) "Of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen." (Rom. xi. 36.)

    From these and similar passages of Scriptures it is plain, (1.) That the sovereignty of God is universal. It extends over all his creatures from the highest to the lowest. (2.) That it is absolute. There is no limit to be placed to his authority. He doeth his pleasure in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. (3.) It is immutable. It can neither be ignored nor rejected. It binds all creatures, as inexorably as physical laws bind the material universe.

    This sovereignty is exercised, (1.) In establishing the laws, physical and moral, by which all creatures are to be governed. (2.) In determining the nature and powers of the different orders of created beings, and in assigning each its appropriate sphere. (3.) In appointing to each individual his position and lot. It is the Lord who fixes the bounds of our habitation. Our times are in his hands. He determines when, where, and under what circumstances each individual of our race is to be born, live, and die. Nations, no less than individuals, are thus in the hands of God, who assigns them their heritage in the earth, and controls their destiny. (4.) God is no less sovereign in the distribution of his favours. He does what He wills with his own. He gives to some riches, to others, honour; to others, health; while others are poor, unknown, or the victims of disease. To some, the light of the gospel is sent; others are left in darkness. Some are brought through faith unto salvation; others perish in unbelief. To the question, Why is this? the only answer is that given by our Lord. "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight."

    Although this sovereignty is thus universal and absolute, it is the sovereignty of wisdom, holiness, and love. The authority of God is limited by nothing out of Himself, but it is controlled, in all its manifestations, by his infinite perfections. If a man is free and exalted, in proportion as he is governed by enlightened reason and a pure conscience, so is he supremely blessed who cheerfully submits to be governed by the infinite reason and holiness of God. This sovereignty of God is the ground of peace and confidence to all his people. They rejoice that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth; that neither necessity, nor chance, nor the folly of man, nor the malice of Satan controls the sequence of events and all their issues. Infinite wisdom, love, and power, belong to Him, our great God and Saviour, into whose hands all power in heaven and earth has been committed.


1. De Oratore, i. 42, 189, edit. Leipzig, 1850, p. 34.
2. Dogmatik, p. 92.
3. Emarratio in Psalmum, lxvii. I. 5, edit. Benedictines, vol. iv. p. 988 c.
4. Theologia, part I. cap. viii. § 2, edit. Leipzig, 1715, p. 426.
5. Ibid. II. cap. viii. § 2, p. 426.
6. Examen Theologicum, edit. Leipzig, 1763, p. 235.
7. Confessiones, XIII. xxxviii. 53, edit. Benedictines, vol. i. p. 410 b.
8. De Divisione Naturae, iii. 29, edit. Westphalia, 1838, p. 264.
9. Summa, I. xiv. 8, edit. Cologne, 1640, p. 30.
10. Limits, p. 195.
11. Dogmatik, p. 113.
12. Summa, I. xiii. 2, edit. Cologne, 1640, p. 23.
13. Theologia, I. viii. § ii. 2, p. 481.
14. Poedagogus, III. i. edit. Cologne, 1688, p. 214 a.
15. "Theodicee" Prefacem, Works, p. 469, edit. Berlin, 1848.
16. Werke, edit. Leipzig, 1838, vol. ii. p. 173.
17. Meditationes de Prima Philosophia, Responsio ad Secundas Objectiones, III., edit. Amsterdam, 1685, p. 74.
18. Prolegomena Logica, Boston, 1860, p. 123. See also McCosh's Intuitions of the Mind, p. 143.
19. Limits, p. 148.
20. Prolegomena Logica, Boston, 1860, p. 52.
21. "Living Temple," Works, London, 1724, vol. i. p. 70.
22. History of Modern Philosophy, translated by Wight. New York, 1852, vol. i. p. 113.
23. Institutiones Theologicae, IV. ii. 13, edit. Amsterdam, 1550, vol. i. p. 294.
24. Dogmatik, vol. i. p. 556.
25. De Praesentia Dei seu Epistola CLXXXVII. iv. 14, edit. Benedictines, vol. ii. p. 1023, d.
26. Summa, I. viii. 3, edit. Cologne, 1640, p. 16.
27. Theologia, I. viii. § 1, p. 413.
28. Confessiones, IX. x. 24, edit. Benedictines, vol. i. p. 283, c.
29. Ibid. XI. xiii. 16, p. 338, a.
30. Summa, I. x. 4, edit. Cologne, 1640, p. 16.
31. Theologia, I. viii. § I. xvii. p. 413.
32. Jamieson, p. 199.
33. Ibid. p. 163
34. Rev. George Jamieson, M.A., one of the ministers of the parish of Old Machar, Aberdeen, The Essentials of Philosophy, wherein its constituent Principles are traced throughout the various Departments of Science with analytical Strictures on the Views of some of our leading Philosophers.
35. Ibid., p. 200.
36. Ibid.
37. Ibid.
38. Strauss, Dogmatik, i. p. 561.
39. Christliche Glaube, I. § 52, Werke, edit. Berlin, 1842, vol. iii. p. 468.
40. In Joannis Evangelium Tractatus, xxiii. 9, edit. Benedictines, vol. iii. p. 1952, b, c.
41. Theologia, I. viii. § I. xx. p. 414.
42. Locus III. xi. 9, edit. Edinburgh, 1847, vol. i. p. 186.
43. Dogmatik, i. p. 575.
44. Ethices, I. xvii. Scholium, edit. Jena, 1803, vol. ii. p. 53.
45. Confessiones, XIII. xxxviii. 53, edit. Benedictines, vol. i, p. 410, b.
46. De Divisione Naturae, III, 17, p. 235.
47. Ibid. 29, p. 264.
48. Summa, I. xiv. i, edit. Cologne, 1640, p. 36.
49. Tom. i. loc. iii. cap. vi. § 43, p. 106, edit. Tubingen, 1762.
50. Ibid. cap. x. § 80, p. 119.
51. Ibid. chap. vii. § 47, p. 108.
52. Corpus Theologiae Christiane Tiguri, 1732.
53. Christliche Glabue, i. § 55. Werke, edit. Berlin, 1842, vol. iii. p. 295.
54. Bruch, Die Lebre von den gottlichen Eigenschaften, p. 162.
55. De Diversis Quoestumibus ad Simplicaianum, II. ii. 2, edit. Benedictines, vol. vi. p. 195, a. Compare also what he says on this subject, De Civitate Dei, XI. xxi.: Ibid. vol. vii. p. 461.
56. Systema Locurum Theologicorum, tom. ii. cap. 9; Wittenburg, 1655, p. 439.
57. Theologia, I. viii. § 1, xxvii. p. 418.
58. Meditationes. Responsiones Sextae, vi. edit. Amsterdam, 1685, p. 160.
59. Ibid. p. 181.
60. De Providentia Dei, Epilogus. Opera, edit. Turici, 1841, vol. iv. p. 133.
61. See Loci Communes Theologici, edit. Basle, 1573, pp. 402-408.
62. Systema Theologiae, lib. I. cap. v. 4; edit. Hanoviae, 1603, p. 107.
63. Institutio, III. xxiii. 2, edit. Berlin, 1834, part ii. p. 148.
64. Strauss, i. p. 592; Schliermacher, I. § 54. Werke, edit. Berlin, 1842, vol. III. p. 285.
65. Bruch, p. 155.
66. Dogmatik, vol. i. p. 587.
67. Glaubenslehre, I. § 54.
68. Die Lehre von den gottlichen Eigenschaften, p. 154.
69. Christlichen Lehre, p. 160.
70. Gess, Uebersicht uber das System Schliermacher's, p. 88.
71. Glaubenslehre, I. p. 263.
72. Dogmatik, vol. i. p. 487.
73. Ethices, i. def. vii. edit. Jena, 1803, vol. ii. p. 36.
74. Epistola xxiii. Ibid. vol. i. 513.
75. "So wollen also die Begriffe des Absoluten und des Heiligen nicht zusammengehen; sondern wer das Absolute festhalt, der lost die Heiligkeit auf, welche nur an einem in Relation gestellten Wesen etwas ist; und wer es umgekehrt mit der Heiligkeit ernstlich nimmt der tritt der Idee der Absolutheit zu nahe, welche durch den leisesten Schatten der Moglichkeit, anders zu sein als sie ist, verunreinigt wird. Diese Einsicht in die Unanwendbar keit moralischer Attribute aut Gott hatten schon einzelne Kirchenvater . . . erkanute. -- Dogmatik, vol i. p. 595.
76. Institutiones, p. 273.
77. De Finibus, v. 23, 65, edit. Leipzig, 1850, p. 1042.
78. Partitiones Oratoriae, 22, 78, edit. ut sup. p. 194.
79. Christlichen Glaube, § 84, Works, Berlin, 1843, vol. iv. p. 465.
80. Paedag gus, I. viii; edit. Cologne, 1688, p. 114, c. and p. 115.
81. Adversus Marcionem, II. 10; edit. Basel, 1562, p. 179, seu II. 13; edit. Leipzig, 1841, iii. p. 90. Bibliotheca, Gerdorf, vol. vi.
82. De Principiis, II. v. 3; edit. Paris, 1733, vol. i. p. 88, a.
83. Institutiones, i. 153; edit. Tiguri, 1743, p. 154.
84. Ibid. p. 154.
85. See the section on the "Gerechtigkeit Gottes" in Bruch's Lehre von den Gottlichen Eigenschaften, pp. 275-296.
86. Light and Life of Men.
87. Eigenschaften, page 240.
88. Christlichen Glaube, § 166; Works, Berlin, 1843, vol. iv. p. 513.
89. Eigenschaften, p. 266.
90. Eigenschaften, p. 269, 270.
91. Von der Sunds und Erlosung, p. 21, Stud. der Ev. Geistl. Wurtembergs. vol. ii. part 2, Stuttgart, 1835.
92. Dogmatik, ii. p. 121.
93. Ibid. p. 130.
94. Dogmatik, ii. p. 137.
95. Dogmatik, vol. ii. p. 89.
96. Hollaz, Examen Theologicum, edit. Leipzig, 1763, pp. 243, 244.
97. Compendium Theologicum, I. § 33; edit. Hanoviae, 1777, pp. 97, 99.
98. Eigenschaften, p. 250.
99. Eigenschaften, p. 250.
100. Ibid. p. 252.
101. Glaubenslehre, vol. i. p. 443.


The Trinity

§ 1. Preliminary Remarks.§ 2. Biblical Form of the Doctrine. § 3. The Transition Period.
§ 4. The Church Doctrine as presented by the Council of Nice.   § 5. Points decided by these Councils.
§ 6. Examination of the Nicene Doctrine.§ 7. Philosophical Form of the Doctrine of the Trinity.

§ 1. Preliminary Remarks.

    THE doctrine of the Trinity is peculiar to the religion of the Bible. The Triad of the ancient world is only a philosophical statement of the pantheistic theory which underlies all the religion of antiquity. With the Hindus, simple, undeveloped, primal being, without consciousness or attributes, is called Brahm. This being, as unfolding itself in the actual world, is Vishnu; as returning into the abyss of unconscious being, it is Shiva. In Buddhism we find essentially the same ideas, in a more dualistic form. Buddhism makes more of a distinction between God, as the spiritual principle of all things, and nature. The soul of man is a part, or an existence-form, of this spiritual essence, whose destiny is, that it may be freed from nature and lost in the infinite unknown. In Platonism, also, we find a notional Trinity. Simple being (to. ovn)has its lo,goj, the complex of its ideas, the reality in all that is phenomenal and changing. In all these systems, whether ancient or modern, there is a Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis; the Infinite becomes finite, and the finite returns to the Infinite. It is obvious, therefore, that these trinitarian formulas have no analogy with the Scriptural doctrine of the Trinity, and serve neither to explain nor to confirm it.

    The design of all the revelations contained in the Word of God is the salvation of men. Truth is in order to holiness. God does not make known his being and attributes to teach men science, but to bring them to the saving knowledge of Himself. The doctrines of the Bible are, therefore, intimately connected with religion, or the life of God in the soul. They determine the religious experience of believers, and are presupposed in that experience. This is specially true of the doctrine of the Trinity. It is a great mistake to regard that doctrine as a mere speculative or abstract truth, concerning the constitution of the Godhead, with which we have no practical concern, or which we are required to believe simply because it is revealed. On the contrary, itunderlies the whole plan of salvation, and determines the character of the religion (in the subjective sense of that word) of all true Christians. It is the unconscious, or unformed faith, even of those of God's people who are unable to understand the term by which it is expressed. They all believe in God, the Creator and Preserver against whom they have sinned, whose justice they know they cannot satisfy, and whose image they cannot restore to their apostate nature. They therefore, as of necessity, believe in a divine Redeemer and a divine Sanctifier. They have, as it were, the factors of the doctrine of the Trinity in their own religious convictions. No mere speculative doctrine, especially no doctrine so mysterious and so out of analogy with all other objects of human knowledge, as that of the Trinity, could ever have held the abiding control over the faith of the Church, which this doctrine has maintained. It is not, therefore, by any arbitrary decision, nor from any bigoted adherence to hereditary beliefs, that the Church has always refused to recognize as Christians those who reject this doctrine. This judgment is only the expression of the deep conviction that Antitrinitarians must adopt a radically and practically different system of religion from that on which the Church builds her hopes. It is not too much to say with Meyer,1 that "the Trinity is the point in which all Christian ideas and interests unite; at once the beginning and the end of all insight into Christianity."

    This great article of the Christian faith may be regarded under three different aspects: (1.) The Biblical form of the doctrine. (2.) The ecclesiastical form, or the mode in which the statements of the Bible have been explained in the symbols of the Church and the writings of theologians. (3.) Its philosophical form, or the attempts which have been made to illustrate, or to prove, the doctrine on philosophical principles. It is only the doctrine as presented in the Bible, which binds the faith and conscience of the people of God.

§ 2. Biblical Form of the Doctrine.

A. What that Form is.

   The form in which this doctrine lies in the Bible, and in which it enters into the faith of the Church universal, includes substantially the following particulars.

    1. There is one only living and true God, or divine Being. The religion of the Bible stands opposed not only to Atheism, but to all forms of polytheism. The Scriptures everywhere assert that Jehovah alone is God. (Deut. vi. 4.) "The Lord our God is one Lord." "I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God." (Is. xliv. 6.) "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well." (James ii. 19.) The Decalogue, which is the foundation of the moral and religious code of Christianity, as well as of Judaism, has as its first and greatest commandment., "Thou shalt have no other God before me." No doctrine, thererfore, can possibly be true which contradicts this primary truth of natural as well as of revealed religion.

    2. In the Bible all divine titles and attributes are ascribed equally to the Father, Son, and Spirit. The same divine worship is rendered to them. The one is as much the object of adoration, love, confidence, and devotion as the other. It is not more evident that the Father is God, than that the Son is God; nor is the deity of the Father and Son more clearly revealed than that of the Spirit.

    3. The terms Father, Son, and Spirit do not express different relations of God to his creatures. They are not analogous to the terms Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor, which do express such relations. The Scriptural facts are, (a.)The Father says I; the Son says I; the Spirit says I. (b.)The Father says Thou to the Son, and the Son says Thou to the Father; and in like manner the Father and the Son use the pronouns He and Him in reference to the Spirit. (c.)The Father loves the Son; the Son loves the Father; the Spirit testifies of the Son. The Father, Son, and Spirit are severally subject and object. They act and are acted upon, or are the objects of action. Nothing is added to these facts when it is said that the Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct persons; for a person is an intelligent subject who can say I, who can be addressed as Thou, and who can act and can be the object of action. The summation of the above facts is expressed in the proposition, The one divine. Being subsists in three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. This proposition adds nothing to the facts themselves; for the facts are, (1.) That there is one divine Being. (2.) The Father, Son, and Spirit are divine. (3.) The Father, Son, and Spirit are, in the sense just stated, distinct persons. (4.) Attributes being inseparable from substance, the Scriptures, in saying that the Father, Son, and Spirit possess the same attributes, say they are the same in substance; and, if the same in substance, they are equal in power and glory.

    4. Notwithstanding that the Father, Son, and Spirit are the same in substance, and equal in power and glory, it is no less true according to the Scriptures, (a.)That the Father is first, the Son second, and the Spirit third. (b.) The Son is of the Father (evk qeou/, the lo,goj, eivko.n, avpau,gasma, tou/ qeou/);and the Spirit is of the Father and of the Son. (c.)The Father sends the Son, and the Father and Son send the Spirit. (d.)The Father operates through the Son, and the Father and Son operate through the Spirit. The converse of these statements is never found. The Son is never said to send the Father, nor to operate through Him nor is the Spirit ever said to send the Father, or the Son, or to operate through them. The facts contained in this paragraph are summed up in the proposition: In the Holy Trinity there is a subordination of the Persons as to the mode of subsistence and operation. This proposition again adds nothing to the facts themselves.

    5. According to the Scriptures, the Father created the world, the Son created the world, and the Spirit created the world. The Father preserves all things; the Son upholds all things; and the Spirit is the source of all life. These facts are expressed by saying that the persons of the Trinity concur in all acts ad extra. Nevertheless there are some acts which are predominantly referred to the Father, others to the Son, and others to the Spirit. The Father creates, elects, and calls; the Son redeems; and the Spirit sanctifies. And, on the other hand, there are certain acts, or conditions, predicated of one person of the Trinity, which are never predicated of either of the others. Thus, generation belongs exclusively to the Father, filiation to the Son, and procession to he Spirit. This is the form in which the doctrine of the Trinity lies in the Bible. The above statement involves no philosophical element. It is simply an arrangement of the clearly revealed facts bearing on this subject. This is the form in which the doctrine has always entered into the faith of the Church, as a part of its religious convictions and experience.

    To say that this doctrine is incomprehensible, is to say nothing more than must be admitted of any other great truth, whether of revelation or of science. To say that it is impossible that the one divine substance can subsist in three distinct persons, is certainly unreasonable, when, according to that form of philosophy which has been the most widely diffused, and the most persistent, everything that exists is only one of the innumerable forms in which one and the same infinite substance subsists; and when, according to the Realists, who once controlled the thinking world, all men are the individualized forms of the numerically same substance called generic humanity.

B. Scriptural Proof of the Doctrine.

    No such doctrine as that of the Trinity can be adequately proved by any citation of Scriptural passages. Its constituent elements are brought into view, some in one place, and some in another. The unity of the Divine Being; the true and equal divinity of the Father, Son, and Spirit; their distinct personality; the relation in which they stand one to the other, and to the Church and the world, are not presented in a doctrinal formula in the Word of God, but the several constituent elements of the doctrine are asserted, or assumed, over and over, from the beginning to the end of the Bible. It is, therefore, by proving these elements separately, that the whole doctrine can be most satisfactorily established. All that is here necessary is, a reference to the general teachings of Scripture on the subject, and to some few passages in which everything essential to the doctrine is included.

The Progressive Character of Divine Revelation.

    1. The progressive character of divine revelation is recognized in relation to all the great doctrines of the Bible. One of the strongest arguments for the divine origin of the Scriptures is the organic relation of its several parts. They comprise more than sixty books written by different men in different ages, and yet they form one whole; not by mere external historical relations, nor in virtue of the general identity of the subjects of which they treat. but by their internal organic development. All that is in a full-grown tree was potentially in the seed. All that we find unfolded in the fulness of the gospel lies in a rudimental form in the earliest books of the Bible. What at first is only obscurely intimated is gradually unfolded in subsequent parts of the sacred volume, until the truth is revealed in its fulness. This is true of the doctrines of redemption; of the person and work of the Messiah, the promised seed of the woman; of the nature and office of the Holy Spirit; and of a future state beyond the grave. And this is specially true of the doctrine of the Trinity. Even in the book of Genesis there are intimations of the doctrine which receive their true interpretation in later revelations. That the names of God are in the plural form; that the personal pronouns are often in the first person plural ("Let us make man in our image"); that the form of benediction is threefold, and other facts of like nature, may be explained in different ways. But when it becomes plain, from the progress of the revelation, that there are three persons in the Godhead, then such forms of expression can hardly fail to be recognized as having their foundation in that great truth.

    2. Much more important, however, is the fact, that not only in Genesis, but also in all the early books of Scripture, we find a distinction made between Jehovah and the angel of Jehovah, who himself is God, to whom all divine titles are given, and divine worship is rendered. As the revelation is unfolded, such distinction becomes more and more manifest. This messenger of God it called the word, the wisdom, the Son of God. His personality and divinity are clearly revealed. He is of old, even from everlasting, the Mighty God, the Adonai, the Lord of David, Jehovah our Righteousness, who was to be born of a virgin, and bear the sins of many.

    3. In like manner, even in the first chapter of Genesis, the Spirit of God is represented as the source of all intelligence, order, and life in the created universe; and in the following books of the Old Testament He is represented as inspiring the prophets, giving wisdom, strength, and goodness to statesmen and warriors, and to the people of God. This Spirit is not an agency, but an agent, who teaches and selects; who can be sinned against and grieved; and who, in the New Testament, is unmistakably revealed as a distinct person. When John the Baptist appeared, we find him speaking of the Holy Spirit as of a person with whom his countrymen were familiar, as an object of divine worship and the giver of saving blessings. Our divine Lord also takes this truth for granted, and promised to send the Spirit, as a Paraclete, to take his place; to instruct, comfort, and strengthen them, whom they were to receive and obey. Thus, without any violent transition, the earliest revelations of this mystery were gradually unfolded, until the Triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit, appears in the New Testament as the universally recognized God of all believers.

The Formula of Baptism.

    4. In the formulas of Baptism and of the Apostolic Benediction, provision was made to keep this doctrine constantly before the minds of the people, as a cardinal article of the Christian faith. Every Christian is baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The personality, the divinity, and consequently the equality of these three subjects, are here taken for granted. The association of the Son and Spirit with the Father, the identity of relation, so far as dependence and obedience are concerned, which we sustain to the Father, Son, and Spirit respectively; the confession and profession involved in the ordinances; all forbid any other interpretation of this formula than that which it has always received in the Church. If the expression, "In the name of the Father," implies the personality of the Father, the same implication is involved when it is used in reference to the Son and Spirit. If we acknowledge our subjection and allegiance to the one, we acknowledge the same subjection and allegiance to the other divine persons here named.

The Apostolic Benediction.

    In the apostolic benediction a prayer is addressed to Christ for his grace, to the Father for his love, and to the Spirit for his fellowship. The personality and divinity of each are therefore solemnly recognized every time that this benediction is pronounced and received.

    5. In the record of our Lord's baptism, the Father addresses the Son, and the Spirit descends in the form of a dove. In the discourse of Christ, recorded in the 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of John's Gospel, our Lord speaks to and of the Father, and promises to send the Spirit to teach, guide, and comfort his disciples. In that discourse the personality and divinity of the Father, Son, and Spirit are recognized with equal clearness. In I Cor. xii. 4-6, the Apostle speaks of diversity of gifts, but the same Spirit; of diversity of administration, but the same Lord; and of diversities of operations, but the same God.

    It is not to be forgotten, however, that the faith of the Church in the doctrine of the Trinity, does not rest exclusively or principally on such arguments as those mentioned above. The great foundation of that faith is what is taught everywhere in the Bible of the unity of the Divine Being; of the personality and divinity of the Father, Son, and Spirit; and of their mutual relations.

§ 3. The Transition Period.

A. The Necessity for a more Definite Statement of the Doctrine.

    The Biblical form of the doctrine of the Trinity, as given above, includes everything that is essential to the integrity of the doctrine, and all that is embraced in the faith of ordinary Christians. It is not all, however, that is included in the creeds of the Church. It is characteristic of the Scriptures, that the truths therein presented are exhibited in the form in which they address themselves to our religious consciousness. To this feature of the Word of God, its adaptation to general use is to be attributed. A truth often lies in the mind of the Church as an object of faith, long before it is wrought cut in its doctrinal form; that is, before it is analyzed, its contents clearly ascertained, and its elements stated in due relation to each other. When a doctrine so complex as that of the Trinity is presented as an object of faith, the mind is forced to reflect upon it, to endeavour to ascertain what it includes, and how its several parts are to be stated, so as to avoid confusion or contradiction. Besides this internal necessity for a definite statement of the doctrine, such statement was forced upon the Church from without. Even among those who honestly intended to receive what the Scriptures taught upon the subject, it was inevitable that there should arise diversity in the mode of statement, and confusion and contradiction in the use of terms. As the Church is one, not externally merely, but really and inwardly, this diversity and confusion are as much an evil, a pain, and an embarrassment, troubling its inward peace, as the like inconsistency and confusion would be in an individual mind. There was, therefore, an inward and outward necessity, in the Church itself, for a clear, comprehensive, and consistent statement of the various elements of this complex doctrine of Christian faith.

B. Conflict with Error.

    Besides this necessity for such a statement of the doctrine as would satisfy the minds of those who received it, there was a further necessity of guarding the truth from the evil influence of false or erroneous exhibitions of it. The conviction was deeply settled in the minds of all Christians that Christ is a divine person. The glory which He displayed, the authority which He assumed, the power which He exhibited, the benefits which He conferred, necessitated the recognition of Him as the true God. No less strong, however, was the conviction that there is only one God. The difficulty was, to reconcile these two fundamental articles of the Christian faith. The mode of solving this difficulty, by rejecting one of these articles to save the other, was repudiated by common consent. There were those who denied the divinity of Christ, and endeavoured to satisfy the minds of believers by representing Him as the best of men; as filled with the Spirit of God; as the Son of God, because miraculously begotten; or as animated and controlled by the power of God: but, nevertheless, merely a man. This view of the person of Christ was so universally rejected in the early Church, as hardly to occasion controversy. The errors with which the advocates of the doctrine of the Trinity had to contend were of a higher order. It was of course unavoidable that both parties, the advocates and the opponents of the doctrine, availed themselves of the current philosophies of the age. Consciouslv or unconsciously, all men are more or less controlled in their modes of thinking on divine subjects by the metaphysical opinions which prevail around them, and in which they have been educated. We accordingly find that Gnosticism and Platonism coloured the views of both the advocates and the opponents of the doctrine of the Trinity during the Ante-Nicene period.

The Gnostics.

    The Gnostics held that there was a series of emanations from the primal Being, of different orders or ranks. It was natural that those addicted to this system, and who professed to be Christians, should represent Christ as one of the highest of these emanations, or Eons. This view of his person admitted of his being regarded as consubstantial with God, as divine, as the creator of the world, as a distinct person, and of his having at least an apparent or docetic union with humanity. It therefore suited some of the conditions of the complicated problem to be solved. It, however, represented Christ as one of a series of emanations, and reduced Him to the category of dependent beings, exalted above others of the same class in rank, but not in nature. It moreover involved the denial of his true humanity, which was as essential to the faith of the Church, and as dear to his people as his divinity. All explanations of the Trinity, therefore, founded on the Gnostic philosophy were rejected as unsatisfactory and heretical.

The Platonizers.

    The Platonic system as modified by Philo, and applied by him to the philosophical explanation of the theology of the Old Testarnent, had far more influence on the speculations of the early Fathers than Gnosticism. According to Plato, God formed, or had in the divine reason, the ideas, types, or models of all things, which ideas became the living, formative principles of all actual existences. The divine reason, with its contents, was the Logos. Philo, therefore, in explaining creation, represents the Logos as the sum of all these types or ideas, which make up the ko,smos nohto,j, or ideal world. In this view the Logos was designated as evndia,qetoj (mente conceptus). In creation, or the self-manifestation of God in nature, this divine reason or Logos is born, sent forth, or or projected; becoming the lo,goj proforiko,j, giving life and form to all things. God, as thus manifested in the world, Philo called not omly lo,goj, but also uivo,j, eivkw,n, ui`o.j monogenh,j, ski,a, para,deigma, do,xa, and deu,teros Qeo,j. In the application of this philosophy to the doctrine of Christ, it was easy to make him the lo,goj proforiko,j, to assume and assert his personality, and to represent him as specially manifested or incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. This attempt was made by Justin Martyr, Tatian, and Theophilus. It succeeded so far as it exalted Christ above all creatures; it made him the creator and preserver of all things, the light and life of the world. It did not satisfy the consciousness of the Church, because it represented the divinity of Christ as essentially subordinate; it made his generation antemundane, but not eternal; and especially because the philosophy, from which this theory of the Logos was borrowed, was utterly opposed to the Christian system. The Logos of Plato and Philo was only a collective term for the ideal world, the ivde,a tw/n ivdew/n;and therefore the real distinction between God and the Logos, was that between God as hidden and God as revealed. God in himself was o` qeo,j; God in nature was the Logos. This is, after all, the old heathen, pantheistic doctrine, which makes the universe the manifestation, or existence form of God.

Origen's Doctrine.

    Origen presented the Platonic doctrine of the generation and nature of the Logos in a higher form than that in which it had been exhibited in the speculations of others among the fathers. He not only insisted, in opposition to the Monarchians or Unitarians, upon the distinct personality of the Son, but also upon his eternal, as opposed to his antemundane, generation. Nevertheless, he referred this generation to the will of the Father. The Son was thus reduced to the category of creatures, for according to Origen, creation is from eternity. Another unsatisfactory feature of all these speculations on the Logos-theory was, that it made no provision for the Holy Spirit. The Logos was the Word, or Son of God, begotten before creation in order to create, or, according to Origen, begotten from eternity; but what was the Holy Spirit? He appears in the baptismal service and in the apostolic benediction as a distinct person, but the Logos-theory provided only for a Dyad, and not a Triad. Hence the greatest confusion appears in the utterances of this class of writers concerning the Holy Ghost. Sometimes, He is identified with the Logos; sometimes, He is represented as the substance common to the Father and the Son; sometimes, as the mere power or efficiency of God; sometimes, as a distinct person subordinate to the Logos, and a creature.

The Sabellian Theory.

    Another method of solving this great problem and of satisifying the religious convictions of the Church, was that adopted by the Monarchians, Patripassians, or Unitarians, as they were indifferently called. They admitted a modal trinity. They acknowledged the true divinity of Christ, but denied any personal distinctions in the Godhead. The same person is at once Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; these terms expressing the different relations in which God reveals Himself in the world and in the Church. Praxeas, of Asia Minor, who taught this doctrine in Rome, A. D. 200; Noetus, of Smyrna, A. D. 280; Beryll, bishop of Bostra, in Arabia, A. D. 250; and especially Sabellius, a presbyter of Ptolemais, A. D. 250, after whom this doctrine was called Sabellianism, were the principal advocates of this theory. The only point as to which this doctrine satisfied the religious convictions of Christians, was the true divinity of our Lord. But as it denied the distinct personality of the Father and of the Spirit, to whom every believer felt himself to stand in a personal relation, to whom worship and prayers were addressed, it could not be received by the people of God. Its opposition to Scripture was apparent. In the Bible the Father is represented as constantly addressing the Son as "Thou," as loving Him, as sending Him, as rewarding and exalting Him; and the Son as constantly addresses the Father and refers everything to his will, so that their distinct personality is one of the most clearly revealed doctrines of the Word of God. Sabellianism was, therefore, soon almost universally rejected.


    Although Origen had insisted on the distinct personality of the Son, and upon his eternal generation, and although he freely called him God, nevertheless he would not admit his equality with God. The Father, alone, according to him was ov qeo,j, the Son was simply qeo,j. The Son was qeo.j evk qeou/ and not avuto-qeo,j. And this subordination was not simply as to the mode of subsistence and operation, but as to nature; for Origen taught that the Son was of a different essence from the Father, e[teroj katV ouvsi,an, and owed his existence to the will of the Father. His disciples carried out his doctrine and avowedly made Christ a creature. This was done by Dionysius of Alexandria, a scholar of Origen, who spoke of the Son as poi,hmaand kti,sma, a mode of representation, however, which he subsequently retracted or explained away. It is plain, however, that the principles of Origen were inconsistent with the true divinity of Christ. It was not long, therefore, before Arius, another presbyter of Alexandria, openly maintained that the Son was not eternal, but was posterior to the Father; that He was created not from the substance of God, but evk ouvk ovntw/n,and therefore was not o`moou,sioj with the Father. He admitted that the Son existed before any other creature, and that it was by Him God created the world.

    It is to be constantly remembered that these speculations were the business of the theologians. They neither expressed nor affected to express the mind of the Church. The great body of the people drew their faith, then, as now, immediately from the Scriptures and from the services of the sanctuary. They were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. They addressed themselves to the Father as the creator of heaven and earth, and as their reconciled God and Father, and to Jesus Christ as their Redeemer, and to the Holy Ghost as their sanctifier and comforter. They loved, worshipped, and trusted the one as they did the others. This was the religious belief of the Church, which remained undisturbed by the speculations and controversies of the theologians, in their attempts to vindicate and explain the common faith. This state of confusion was, however, a great evil, and in order to bring the Church to an agreement as to the manner in which this fundamental doctrine of Christianity should be stated, the Emperor Constantine summoned the First Ecumenical Council, to meet at Nice, in Nicomedia, A. D. 325.  

§ 4. The Church Doctrine as presented by the Council of Nice.

A. The Objects for which that Council was convened.

    The object for which the Council was called together was three-fold. (1.) To remedy the confusion which prevailed in the use of several important words employed in discussions on the doctrine of the Trinity. (2.) To condemn errors which had been adopted in different parts of the Church. (3.) To frame such a statement of the doctrine as would include all its Scriptural elements, and satisfy the religious convictions of the mass of believers. This was an exceedingly difficult task.

    1. Because the usus loquendi of certain important terms was not then determined. The word u`po,stasij, for example, was used in two opposite senses. It was often taken, in its etymological sense, for substance, and is used by the Council itself as synonymous with ouvsia. But it had already begun to be used in the sense of person. As it expresses reality, as opposed to what is phenomenal or apparent, or mode of manifestation, it came to be universally used in the Greek Church, in the latter sense, as a safeguard against the idea of a mere modal Trinity. It will be admitted that great confusion must prevail, if one man should say there is only one u`po,stasij in the Godhead, and another affirm that there are three, when both meant the same thing, the one using the word in the sense ofsubstance, and the other in that of person.

    In the Latin Church the same difficulty was experienced in the use of the words substantia and subsistentia. These words were often interchanged as equivalent, and both were used, sometimes in the sense of substance, and sometimes in that of suppositum.Usage finally determined the former to mean substance or essence, and the latter a mode in which substance exists, i. e., suppositum. According to established usage, therefore, there is one substance, and there are three subsistences in the Godhead.

    To express the idea of a suppositum intelligens, or self-conscious agent, the Greeks first used the word pro,swpon. But as that word properly means the face, the aspect, and as it was used by the Sabellians to express their doctrine of the threefold aspect under which the Godhead was revealed, it was rejected, and the word u`po,stasijadopted. The Latin word persona (from per and sono)properly means a mask worn by an actor and through which he spoke; and then the role or character which the actor sustained. On this account the word had a struggle before it was adopted in the terminology of theology.

    The celebrated term o`moou,sioj, so long the subject of controversy, was not free from ambiguity. It expressed plainly enough sameness of substance, but whether that sameness was specific or numerical, the usage of the word left undecided. Porphyry is quoted as saying, that the souls of men and of irrational animals are o`moou,sioi, and Aristotle as saying that the stars are o`moou,sioi, and men and brutes are said to be o`moou,sioi as to their bodies; and in like manner angels, demons, and human souls, are said to be all o`moou,sioi. In this sense, Peter, James, and John are o`moou,sioi, as having the same nature in kind. On this account the use of the word was objected to, as admitting of a Tritheistic interpretation. The Council, however, determined the sense in which it was to be understood in their decisions, by saying that the Son was begotten evk th/j ou`siaj tou/ patro/j, and by denying that He was created. As God is a spirit, and as we are spirits, we are said, in Scripture, to be like Him, and to be his children, to be of the same nature. But with regard to the Son it was declared that He was of the same numerical essence with the Father; He is truly God, possessing the same attributes and entitled to the same homage. Thus explained, the word became an insuperable barrier against the adoption of the Nicene Creed by any who denied the true divinity of the Son of God.

Difference of Opinion among the Members of the Council.

    2. A second difficulty with which the Council had to contend was diversity of opinion among its own members. All the conflicting views which had agitated the Church were there represented. The principal parties were, first, the Arians, who held, (1.) That the Son owed his existence to the will of the Father. (2.)That He was not eternal; but that there was a time when He was not. (3.) That He was created evx ouvk ovntw/n,out of nothing, and was therefore kti,sma kai. poi,hma. (4.) That He was not immutable, but trepto.j fu,sei. (5.) That his preeminence comisisted in the fact that He alone was created immediately by God, whereas all other creatures were created by the Son. (6.) He was not God of Himself, but was made God, evqeopoih,qh;that is, on account of his exalted nature, and the relation in which He stands to all other creatures, as Creator and Governor, He was entitled to divine worship.

    One of the passages of Scripture on which the Arians principally relied was Prov. viii. 22, which in the Septuagint is rendered: e;ktise, me avrch.n o`dw/n auvtou/ (He created me in the beginning of his ways). As Wisdom, there spoken of, was universally understood to be the Logos, and as the Septuagint was regarded as authoritative, this passage seemed to prove, beyond dispute, that the Logos or Son was created. The Orthodox were forced to explain away this passage by saying that kti,zeinwas here to be taken in the sense of genna/n, the word elsewhere used to express the relation between the Father and the Son. Ignorance, or neglect of the Hebrew, prevented their answering the argument of the Arians by showing that the word hk'q', here rendered by the Septuagint e;ktise, means not only to establish, but to possess. The Vulgate, therefore, correetly renders the passage, "Dominus possidet me;" and the Engish version also reads, "The Lord possessed me." The Arians proper constituted a small minority of the Council.

The Semi-Arians.

    The second party included the Semi-Arians and the disciples of Origen. These held with the Arians, (1.) That the Son owed his existence to the will of the Father. (2.) That He was not of the same essence, but e[teroj katV ouvsi,an. They seemed to hold that there was an essence intermediate between the divine substance and created substances. It was in reference to this form of opinion that Augustine afterwards said,2 "Unde liquido apparet ipsum factum non esse per quem facta sunt omnia. Et si factus non est, creatura non est: si autem creatura non est, ejusdem cum Patre substautiae, est. Omnis enim substantia quae Deus non est, creatura est; et quae creatura non est, Deus est."

    (3) The Son was, therefore, subordinate to the Father, not merely in rank or mode of subsistence, but in nature. He belonged to a different order of beings. He was not auvto,qeoj, o` Qeo,j,or o` avlhqino.j qeo,j; but simply qeo,j, a term which, according to Origen, could be properly applied to the higher orders of intelligent creatures.

    (4.) The Son, although thus inferior to the Father, having life in Himself, was the source of life, i. e., the Creator.

    (5.) The Holy Spirit, according to most of the Arians and to Origen, was created by the Son, -- the first and highest of the creatures called into being by his power.

The Orthodox.

    The third party in the Council were the Orthodox, who constituted the great majority. All Christians were the worshippers of Christ. He was to them the object of supreme love and the ground of their confidence; to Him they were subject in heart and life. They looked to Him for everything. He was their God in the highest sense of the word. He was, moreover, in their apprehension, a distinct person, and not merely another name for the Father. But as the conviction was no less deeply rooted in the minds of Christians, that there is only one God or divine Being, the problem which the Council had to solve was to harmonize these apparently incompatible convictions, namely, that there is only one God, and yet that the Father is God, and the Son, as a distinct person, is God, the same in substance and equal in power and glory. The only thing to be done was, to preserve the essential elements of the doctrine, and yet not make the statement of it self-contradictory. To meet these conditions, the Council framed the following Creed, namely, "We believe in one God, the Father almighty, the maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, only begotten, begotten of the Father, that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten and not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made whether in heaven or on earth; who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven; and was incarnate and became man, suffered and rose again on the third day; ascended into heaven, and will come to judge the living and the dead. And we believe in the Holy Ghost. But those who say, that there was a time when He (the Son) was not, that He was not before He was made, or was made out of nothing, or of another or different essence or substance, that He was a creature, or mutable, or susceptible of change, the Holy Catholic Church anathematizes."

B. Council of Constantinople. The so-called Athanasian Creed.

    The most obvious deficiency in the Nicene Creed is the omission of any definite statement concerning the Holy Spirit. This is to be accounted for by the fact that the doctrine concerning the Son, and his relation to the Father, was then the absorbing subject of controversy. Athanasius, however, and other expounders and defenders of the Nicene Creed, insisted that the Spirit is consubstantial with the Father and the Son, and that such was the mind of the Council. As this, however, was disputed, it was distinctly asserted in several provincial Councils, as in that of Alexandria, A. D. 362, aud that of Rome, A. D. 375. It was opposition to this doctrine which led to the calling of the Second Ecumenical Council, which met in Constantinople, A. D. 381. In the modification of the Nicene Creed, as issued by that Council, the following words were added to the clause, "We believe in the Holy Ghost," namely: "Who is the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets." Some of the Greek and the great body of the Latin fathers held that the Spirit proceeded from the Son as well as from the Father, and by the Synod of Toledo, A. D. 589, the words filioque were added to the creed. This addition was one of the causes which led to the separation of the Eastern and Western Churches.

The Athanasian Creed.

    After the Council of Constantinople, A. D. 381, the controversies which agitated the Church had reference to the constitution of the person of Christ. Before the questions involved in those controversies were authoritatively decided.. the so-called Athanasian Creed, an amplification of those of Nice and of Constantinople came to be generally adopted, at least, among the Western Churches. That creed was in these words, namely: "Whoever would be saved, must first of all take care that he hold the Catholic faith, which, except a man preserve whole and inviolate, he shall without doubt perish eternally. But this is the Catholic faith, that we worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For the person of the Father is one; of the Son, another; of the Holy Spirit, another. But the divinity of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is one, the glory equal, the majesty equal. Such as is the Father, such also is the Son, and such the Holy Spirit. The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, the Holy Spirit is uncreated. The Father is infinite, the Son is infinite, the Holy Spirit is infinite. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, the Holy Spirit is eternal. And yet there are not three eternal Beings, but one eternal Being. As also there are not three uncreated Beings, nor three infinite Beings, but one uncreated and one infinite Being. In like manner, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, and the Holy Spirit is omnipotent. And yet, there are not three omnipotent Beings, but one omnipotent Being. Thus the Father is God, the Son, God, and the Holy Spirit, God. And yet there are not three Gods, but one God only. The Father is Lord, the Son, Lord, and the Holy Spirit, Lord. And yet there are not three Lords, but one Lord only. For as we are compelled by Christian truth to confess each person distinctively to be both God and Lord, we are prohibited by the Catholic religion to say that there are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made by none, nor created, nor begotten. The Son is from the Father alone, not made, not created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is not created by the Father and the Son, nor begotten, but proceeds. Therefore, there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And in this Trinity there is nothing prior or posterior, nothing greater or less, but all three persons are coeternal, and coequal to themselves. So that through all, as was said above, both unity in trinity, and trinity in unity is to be adored. Whoever would be saved, let him thus think concerning the Trinity."

    It is universally agreed that Athanasius was not the author of this creed. It appears only in the Latin language in its original form; and it has modes of expression borrowed from the writings of Augustine, and of Vincent of Lerins. A. D. 434. As it also contains allusions to subsequent controversies concerning the person of Christ, it is naturally referred to some period between the middle of the fifth and the middle of the sixth centuries. Although not issued with the authority of any Council, it was soon universally admitted in the West, and subsequently in the East, and was everywhere regarded as an ecumemiical symbol.

    The Doctrine of the Trinity as set forth in these three ancient creeds, -- the Nicene, the Constantinopolitan, and Athanasian (so-called), -- is the Church Form of that fundamental article of the Christian faith. There is no difference, except as to amplification, between these several formulas.

§ 5. Points decided by these Councils.

A. Against Sabellianism.

    These Councils decided that the terms Father, Son, and Spirit, were not expressive mnerely of relations ad extra, analogous to the terms, Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor. This was the doctrine known as Sabellianism, which assumed that the Supreme Being is not only one in essence, but one in person. The Church doctrine asserts that Father, Son, and Spirit express internal, necessary, and eternal relations in the Godhead; that they are personal designations, so that the Father is one person, the Son another person, and the Spirit another person. They differ not as a;llo kai. a;llo, but as a;lloj kai. a;lloj; each says I, and each says Thou, to either of the others. The word used in the Greek Church to express this fact was first pro,swpon, and afterwards, and by general consent, u`po,stasij;in the Latin Church, "persona,"and in English, person. The idea expressed by the word in its application to the distinctions in the Godhead, is just as clear and definite as in its application to men.

B. Against the Arians and Semi-Arians.

    The Councils held that the Father, Son, and Spirit are the same in substance, and equal in power and glory. Whatever divine perfection, whether eternity, immutability, infinity, omnipotence, or holiness, justice, goodness, or truth, can be predicated of the one, can in the same sense and measure be predicated of the others. These attributes belonging to the divine essence, and that essence being common to the three persons, the attributes or perfections are in like manner common to each. It is not the Father as such, nor the Son as such, who is self-existent, infinite, and eternal, but the Godhead, or divine essence, which subsists in the three persons. The Greek words used to express that which was common to the three persons of the Trinity were, as we have seen, ouvsi,a, fu,sij, and at first, u`po,stasij;to which correspond the Latin words substantia, or essentia, and natura;and the English, substance, essence, and nature. The word selected by the Nicene fathers to express the idea of community of substance, was, o`moou,swj. But this word, as we have already seen, may express either specific sameness, or numerical identity. In the former sense, all spirits, whether God, angels, or men, are o`moou,sioi. They are similar in essence, i. e., they are rational intelligences. That the Council intended the word to be taken in the latter sense, as expressing numerical identity, is plain, (1.) Because in its wider sense o`moou,sioj does not differ from o`moiou,sioj, which word the Council refused to adopt. The Arians were willing to admit that the Father, Son, and Spirit were o`moiou,sioi, but refused to admit that they were o`moou,sioi. This proves that the words were used in radically different senses. (2.) Because this Council declares that the Son was eternal; that He was not created or made, but begotten evk th/j ouvsi,aj tou/ patro,j,"of the very essence of the Father." (3.) This is implied in the explanation of "eternal generation" universally adopted by the Nicene fathers, as "the eternal communication of the same numerical essence whole and entire, from the Father to the Son." (4.) If the term o`moou,sioj be taken in the sense of specific sameness, then the Nicene Creed teaches Tritheism. The Father, Son, and Spirit are three Gods in the same sense that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are three men, for all men in that sense of the term are o`moou,sioi. It is the clear doctrine of these Councils that the same numerical, infinite, indivisible essence subsists in the three persons of the Trinity. This is still further evident from the inadequate illustrations of this great mystery which the early fathers sought for in nature; as of the light, heat, and splendor of the sun; the fountain and its streams; and especially from memory, intelligence, and will in man. In all these illustrations, however inadequate, the point of analogy was unity (numerical identity) of essence with triplicity.

C. The Mutual Relation of the Persons of the Trinity.

    On this subject the Nicene doctrine includes, --

    1. The principle of the subordination of the Son to the Father, and of the Spirit to the Father and the Son. But this subordination does not imply inferiority. For as the same divine essence with all its infinite perfections is common to the Father, Son, and Spirit, there can be no inferiority of one person to the other in the Trinity. Neither does it imply posteriority; for the divine essence common to the several persons is self-existent and eternal. The subordination intended is only that which concerns the mode of subsistence and operation, implied in the Scriptural facts that the Son is of the Father, and the Spirit is of the Father and the Son, and that the Father operates through the Son, and the Father and the Son through the Spirit.

    2. The several persons of the Trinity are distinguished by a certain "property," as it is called, or characteristic. That characteristic is expressed by their distinctive appellations. The first person is characterized as Father, in his relation to the second person; the second is characterized as Son, in relation to the first person; and the third as Spirit, in relation to the first and second persons. Paternity, therefore, is the distinguishing property of the Father; filiation of the Son; and procession of the Spirit. It will be observed that no attempt at explanation of these relations is given in these ecumenical creeds, namely, the Nicene, that of Constantinople, and the Athanasian. The mere facts as revealed in Scripture are affirmed.

    3. The third point decided concerning the relation of the persons of the Trinity, one to the other, relates to their union. As the essence of the Godhead is common to the several persons, they have a common intelligence, will, and power. There are not in God three intelligences, three wills, three efficiencies. The Three are one God, and therefore have one mind and will. This intimate union was expressed in the Greek Church by the word pericw,rhsij, which the Latin words inexistentia, inhabitatio, and intercommunio, were used to explain. These terms were intended to express the Scriptural facts that the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son; that where the Father is, there the Son and Spirit are; that what the one does the others do (the Father creates, the Son creates, the Spirit creates), or, as our Lord expresses it, "What things soever" the Father "doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." (John v. 19.) So also what the one knows, the others know. "The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." (1 Cor. ii. 10, 11.) A common knowledge implies a common consciousness. In man the soul and body are distinct, yet, while united, they have a common life. We distinguish between acts of the intellect, and acts of the will, and yet in every act of the will there is an exercise of the intelligence; as in every act of the affections there is a joint action of the intelligence and will. These are not illustrations of the relations of the persons of the Trinity, which are ineffable, but of the fact that in other and entirely different spheres there is this community of life in different subsistences, -- different subsistences, at least so far as the body and soul are concerned.

    This fact -- of the intimate union, communion, and inhabitation of the persons of the Trinity -- is the reason why everywhere in Scripture, and instinctively by all Christians, God as God is addressed as a person, in perfect consistency with the Tripersonality of the Godhead. We can, and do pray to each of the Persons separately; and we pray to God as God; for the three persons are one God; one not only in substance, but in knowledge, will, and power. To expect that we, who cannot understand anything, not even ourselves, should understand these mysteries of the Godhead, is to the last degree unreasonable. But as in every other sphere we must believe what we cannot understand; so we may believe all that God has revealed in his Word concerning Himself, although we cannot understand the Almighty unto perfection. 

§ 6. Examination of the Nicene Doctrine.

A. Subordination.

    A distinction must be made between the Nicene Creed (as amplified in that of Constantinople) and the doctrine of the Nicene fathers. The creeds are nothing more than a well-ordered arrangement of the facts of Scripture which concern the doctrine of the Trinity. They assert the distinct personality of the Father, Son, and Spirit; their mutual relation as expressed by those terms; their absolute unity as to substance or essence, and their consequent perfect equality; and the subordination of the Son to the Father, and of the Spirit to the Father and the Son, as to the mode of subsistence and operation. These are Scriptural facts, to which the creeds in question add nothing; and it is in this sense they have been accepted by the Church universal.

    But the Nicene fathers did undertake, to a greater or less degree, to explain these facts. These explanations relate principally to the subordination of the Son and Spirit to the Father, and to what is meant by generation, or the relation between the Father and the Son. These two points are so intimately related that they cannot be considered separately. Yet as the former is more comprehensive than the latter, it may be expedient to speak of them in order, although what belongs to the one head, in a good degree belongs also to the other.

    The ambiguity of the word o`moou,sioj has already been remarked upon. As ouvsi,a may mean generic nature common to many individuals, not unum in numero, but ens unum in multis, so o`moou,sioj(consubstantial) may mean nothing more than sameness of species or kind. It is therefore said, that "the term homoousion, in its strict grammatical sense differs from monoousion or toutoousion, as well as from heteroousion, and signifies not numerical identity, but equality of essence or community of nature among several beings."3 "The Nicene Creed," Dr. Schaff adds, "does not expressly assert the singleness or numerical unity of the divine essence (unless it be in the first article: 'we believe in one God), and the mnamn point with the Nicene fathers was to urge against Arianism the strict divinity and essential equality of the Son and Holy Ghost with the Father. If we press the difference of homoousion from monoousion, and overlook the many passages in which they assert with equal emphasis the monarchia or numerical unity of the Godhead, we must charge them with tritheism."

    Gieseler goes much further, and denies that the Nicene fathers held the numerical identity of essence in the persons of the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Spirit were the same in substance as having the same nature, or same kind of substance. This he infers was their doctrine not only from the general style of their teaching, and from special declarations, but from the illustrations which they habitually employed. The Father and the Son are the same in substance as among men father and son have the same nature; or as Basil says, Father and Son differ in rank, as do the angels, although they are the same in nature. Gieseler says that the numerical sameness of nature in the three divine persons, was first asserted by Augustine. It was he, according to Gieseler, who first excluded all idea of subordination in the Trinity.4 "Athanasius and Hilary understood the proposition, 'There is one God of the Father. Basil the Great and the two Gregories understood by the word God a generic idea (Gattungsbegriff), belonging equally to the Father and the Son. Basil in the 'Apologia ad Caesarienses," says, h`mei/j e[na qeo.n, ouv tw| avriqmw/|, avlla. th/| fu,sei o`mologou/men,and endeavours to show that there can be no question of number in reference to God, as numerical difference pertains only to material things. Augustine on the contrary expressly excludes the idea of generic unity,5 and understands the proposition 'there is one God' not of the Father alone, but of the whole Trinity,6 and, therefore, taught that there is one God in three persons." This, however, is the precise doctrine of the Nicene Creed itself, which affirms faith "in one God," and not in three. Basil in the place quoted is refuting the charge of Tritheism. His words are, pro.j de. tou.j evphrea,zontaj h`mi/n to. tri,qeon, evkei/no lege,sqw o[tiper h`mei/j e[na qeo.n,etc.7 On page 460 reasons have already been given for assuming that the sameness of substance taught by the Nicene fathers was not simply generic but numerical. On this subject Pearson, a thorough advocate of the Nicene Creed, says, "As it (the divine nature) is absolutely immaterial and incorporeal, it is also indivisible; Christ cannot have any part of it only communicated unto Him, but the whole, by which He must be acknowledged co-essential, of the same substance with the Father; as the Council of Nice determined, and the ancient fathers before them taught."8 If the whole divine essence belongs equally to the several persons of the Trinity, there is an end to the question, whether the sameness be specific or numerical. Accordingly the Bishop says: "The Divine essence being by reason of its simplicity not subject to division, and in respect of its infinity uncapable of multiplication, is so communicated as not to be multiplied; insomnuch that He which proceedeth by that communication hath not only the same nature, but is also the same God. The Father God, and the Word God; Abraham man, and Isaac man: but Abraham one man, Isaac another man; not so the Father one God, and the Word another, but the Father and the Word both the same God."9

    Gieseler says that Augustine effectually excluded all idea of subordination in the Trinity by teaching the numerical sameness of esence in the persons of the Godhead. This does indeed preclude all priority and all superiority as to being and perfection. But it does not preclude subordination as to the mode of subsistence and operation. This is distinctly recognized in Scripture, and was as fully taught by Augustine as by any of the Greek fathers, and is even more distinctly affirmed in the so-called Athanasian Creed, representing the school of Augustine, than in the Creed of the Council of Nice. There is, therefore, no just ground of objection to the Nicene Creed for what it teaches on that subject. It does not go beyond the facts of Scripture. But the fathers who framed that creed, and those by whom it was defended, did go beyond those facts. They endeavoured to explain what was the nature of that subordination. While denying to the Father any priority or superiority to the other persons of the Triimity, as to being or perfection, they still spoke of the Father as the Monas, as having in order of thought the whole Godhead in Himself; so that He alone was God of Himself (auvto,qeoj, in that sense of the word), that He was the fountain, the cause, the root, fons, origo, principium, of the divinity as subsisting in the Son and Spirit; that He was greater than the other divine persons. They understood many passages which speak of the inferiority of the Son to the Father, of the Logos as such; and not of the historical Son of God clothed in our nature. Thus Waterland10 says of these fathers, "The title of o` Qeo.j, being understood in the same sense with auvto,qeoj, was, as it ought to be, generally reserved to the Father, as the distinguishing personal character of the first person of the Holy Trinity. And this amounts to no more than the acknowledgment of the Father's prerogative as Father. But as it might also signify any Person who is truly and essentially God, it might properly be applied to the Son too: and it is so applied sometimes, though not so often as it is to the Father."

    Hilary of Poictiers expresses the general idea of the Nicene fathers on this point, when he says: "Et quis non Patrem potiorem confitebitur, ut ingenitum a genito, ut patrem a filio, ut eum qui miserit ab eo qui missus est, ut volentem ab ipso qui obediat? Et ipse nobis erit testis: Pater major me est. Haec ita ut sunt, intelligenda sunt, sed cavendum est, ne apud imperitos gloriam Filii honor Patris infirmet."11

    Bishop Pearson12 says the preeminence of the Father "undeniably consisteth in this: that He is God not of any other but of Himself, and that there is no other person who is God, but is God of Himself. It is no diminution to the Son, to say He is from another, for his very name imports as much; but it were a diminution to the Father to speak so of Him; and there must be some preeminence, where there is place for derogation. What the Father is, He is from none; what the Son is, He is from Him; what the first is, He giveth; what the second is, He receiveth. The First is Father indeed by reason of his Son, but He is not God by reason of Him; whereas the Son is not so only in regard of the Father, but also God by reason of the same." Among the patristical authorities quoted by Pearson, are the following from Augustine:13
"Pater de nullo patre, Filius de Deo Patre. Pater quod est, a nullo est: quod autem Pater est, propter Filium est. Filius vero et quod Filius est, propter Patrem est, et quod est, a Patre eat." "Filius non hoc tantum habet nascendo, ut Filius sit, sed omnino ut sit. . . . Filius non tantum ut sit Filius, quod relative dicitur, sed omnino ut sit, ipsam substantiam nascendo habet."14

    The Reformers themselves were little inclined to enter into these speculations. They were specially repugnant to such a mind as Luther's. He insisted on taking the Scriptural facts as they were, without any attempt at explanation. He says: "We should, like the little children, stammer out what the Scriptures teach: that Christ is truly God, that the Holy Ghost is truly God, and yet that there are not three Gods, or three Beings, as there are thre. Men, three Angels, three Suns, or three Windows. No, God is not thus divided in his essence; but there is one only divine Being or substance. Therefore, although there are three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, yet the Being is not divided or distinguished; since there is but one God in one single, undivided, divine substance."15

    Calvin also was opposed to going beyond the simple statement of the Scriptures.16 After saying that Augustine devotes the fifth book on the Trinity to the explanation of the relation between the Father and the Son, he adds: "Longe vero tutius est in ea quam tradit relatione subsistere, quam subtilius penetrando ad sublime mysterium, per multas evanidas speculationes evagari. Ergo quibus cordi erit sobrietas et qui fidei mensura contenti erunt, breviter quod utile est cognitu accipiant: nempe quum profitemur nos credere in unum Deum, sub Dei nomine intelligi unicam et simplicem essentiam, in qua comprehendimus tres personas vel hypostaseis: ideoque quoties Dei nomen indefinite ponitur, non minus Filium et Spiritum, quam Patrem designari: ubi autem adjungitur Filius Patri, tunc in medium venit relatio: atque ita distinguimus inter personas. Quia vero proprietates in personis ordinem secum ferunt, ut in Patre sit principium et origo: quoties mentio sit Patris et Filii simul, vel Spiritus, nomen Dei peculiariter Patri tribuitur. Hoc modo retinetur unitas essentiae et habetur ratio ordinis, quae tamen ex Filii et Spiritus deitate nihil minuit: et certe quum ante visum fuerit Apostolos asserere Filium Dei illum esse, quem Moses et Prophetae testati sunt esse Jehovam, semper ad unitatem essentiae, venire necesse est." We have here the three essential facts involved in the doctrine of the Trinity, namely, unity of essence, distinction of persons, and subordination without any attempt at explanation.

    Calvin was accused by some of his contemporaries of teaching the incompatible doctrines of Sabellianism and Arianism. In a letter to his friend Simon Grynee, rector of the Academy of Basle, dated May, 1531, he says the ground on which the charge of Sabellianism rested, was his having said that Christ was "that Jehovah, who of Himself alone was always self-existent, which charge," he says, "I was quite ready to meet." His answer is: "If the distinction between the Father and the Word be attentively considered, we shall say that the one is from the other. If, however, the essential quality of the Word be considered, in so far as He is one God with the Father, whatever can be said concerning God may also be applied to Him the Second Person in the glorious Trinity. Now, what is the meaning of the name Jehovah? What did that answer imply which was spoken to Moses? I AM THAT I AM. Paul makes Christ the author of this saying."17 This argument is conclusive. If Christ be Jehovah, and if the name Jehovah implies self-existence, then Christ is self-existent. In other words, self-existence and necessary existence, as well as omnipotence and all other divine attributes, belong to the divine essence common to all the persons of the Trinity, and therefore it is the Triune God who is self-existent, and not one person in distinction from the other persons. That is, self-existence is not to be predicated of the divine essence only, nor of the Father only, but of the Trinity, or of the Godhead as subsisting in three persons. And, therefore, as Calvin says, when the word God is used indefinitely it means the Triune God, and not the Father in distinction from the Son and Spirit.

B. Eternal Generation.

    As in reference to the subordination of the Son and Spirit to the Father, as asserted in the ancient creeds, it is not to the fact that exception is taken, but to the explanation of that fact, as given by the Nicene fathers, the same is true with regard to the doctrine of Eternal Generation. It is no doubt a Scriptural fact that the relation between the First and Second persons of the Trinity is expressed by the relative terms Father and Son. It is also said that the Son is begotten of the Father; He is declared to be the only begotten Son of God. The relation, therefore, of the Second Person to the First is that of filiation or sonship. But what is meant by the term, neither the Bible nor the ancient creeds explain. It may be sameness of nature; as a son is of the same nature as his father. It may be likeness, and the term Son be equivalent to eivkw,n, avpau,gasma, carakth,r, or lo,goj, or revealer. It may be derivation of essence, as a son, in one sense, is derived from his father. Or, it may be something altogether inscrutable and to us incomprehensible.

    The Nicene fathers, instead of leaving the matter where the Scriptures leave it, undertake to explain what is meant by sonship, and teach that it means derivation of essence. The First Person of the Trinity is Father, because He communicates the essence of the Godhead to the Second Person; and the Second Person is Son, because He derives that essence from the First Person. This is what they mean by Eternal Generation. Concerning which it was taught, --

    1. That it was the person not the essence of the Son that was generated. The essence is self-existent and eternal, but the person of the Son is generated (i. e., He becomes a person) by the communication to Him of the divine essence. This point continued to be insisted upon through the later periods of the Church. Thus Turrettin18says, "Licet Filius sit a Patre, non minus tamen auvto,qeoj dicitur, non ratione Personae, sed ratione Essentiae; non relate qua Filius, sic enim est a Patre, sed absolute qua Deus, quatenus habet Essentiam divinam a se existentem, et non divisam vel productam ab alia essentia, non vero qua habens essentiam illam a seipso. Sic Filius est Deus a seipso, licet non sit a seipso Filius."

    Again,19 "Persona bene dicitur generare Personam, quia actiones sunt suppositorum; sed non Essentia Essentiam, quia quod gignit et gignitur necessario multiplicatur, et sic via sterneretur ad Tritheismum. Essentia quidem generando communicatur; sed generatio, ut a Persona fit originaliter, ita ad Personam terminatur" This is the common mode of representation.

    2. This generation is said to be eternal. "It is an eternal movement in the divine essence."

    3. It is by necessity of nature, and not by the will of the Father.

    4. It does not involve any separation or division, as it is not a part, but the whole and complete essence of the Father that is communicated from the Father to the Son.

    5. It is without change.

    The principal grounds urged in support of this representation, are the nature of sonship among men, and the passage in John v. 26, where it is said, "As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself."

    It is admitted that the relation between the First and Second persons in the Trinity is expressed by the words Father and Son, and therefore while everything in this relation as it exists among men, implying imperfection or change, must be eliminated, yet the essential idea of paternity must be retained. That essential idea is assumed to be the communication of the essence of the parent to his child; and, therefore, it is maintained that there must be a communication of the essence of the Godhead from the Father to the Son in the Holy Trinity. But, in the first place, it is a gratuitous assumption that, so far as the soul is concerned, there is even among men any communication of the essence of the parent to the child. Traducianism has never been the general doctrine of the Christian Church. As, therefore, it is, to say the least, doubtful, whether there is any communication of the essence of the soul in human paternity, it is unreasonable to assume that such communication is essential to the relation of Father and Son in the Trinity.

    In the second place, while it is admitted that the terms Father and Son are used to give us some idea of the mutual relation of the First and Second persons of the Trinity, yet they do not definitely determine what that relation is. It may be equality and likeness. Among men Father and Son belong to the same order of beings. The one is not inferior in nature, although he may be in rank, to the other. And the son is like his father. In the same manner in the Holy Trinity the Second Person is said to be the eivkw,n, the avpau,gasma, the carakth,r, the lo,goj, the Word or Revealer of the Father, so that he who hears the Son hears the Father, he who hath seen the one has seen the other. Or the relation may be that of affection. The reciprocal love of father and son is peculiar. It is, so to speak, necessary; it is unchangeable, it is unfathomable; it leads, or has led, to every kind and degree of self-sacrifice. It is not necessary to assume in reference to the Trinity that these relations are all that the relative terms Father and Son are intended to reveal. These may be included, but much more may be implied which we are not now able to comprehend. All that is contended for is, that we are not shut up to the admission that derivation of essence is essential to sonship.

    As to the passage in John v. 26, where it is said the Father hath given to the Son to have life in Himself, everything depends on the sense in which the word Son is to be taken. That word is sometimes used as a designation of the lo,goj, the Second Person of the Trinity, to indicate his eternal relation to the First Person as the Father. It is, however, very often used as a designation of the incarnate lo,goj, the Word made flesh. Many things are in Scripture predicated of the Godman, which cannot be predicated of the Second Person of the Trinity as such. If in this passage the Son means the Logos, then it does teach that the First Person of the Trinity communicated life, and therefore the essence in which that life inheres, to the Second Person. But if Son here designates the Theanthropos, then the passage teaches no such doctrine. That it is the historical person, Jesus of Nazareth here spoken of,may be argued not only from the fact that He is elsewhere so frequently called the Son of God, as in the comprehensive confession required of every Christian in the apostolic age, "I believe that Jesus is the Son of God;" but also from the context. Our Lord had healed an impotent man on the Sabbath. For this the Jews accused Him of breaking the Sabbath. He vindicated Himself by saying that He had the same right to work on the Sabbath that God had, because He was the Son of God, and therefore equal with God. That He had power not only to heal but to give life, just as the Father had life in Himself, so had He given to the Son tohave life in Himself. He had also given Him authority to execute judgment. He was to be the judge of the quick and dead, because He is the Son of man, i. e., because He had become man for us and for our salvation. His accusers need not be surprised at what He said, because the hour was coming when all who are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they who have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they who had done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. The subject of discourse, therefore, in the context, is the historical person who had healed the impotent man, and who with equal propriety could be called God or man, because He was both God and man. What the passage teaches, therefore, concerns the constitution of Christ's person as He appeared on earth, and not the nature of the relation of the Father and Son in the Godhead.

C. Eternal Sonship.

    There is, therefore, a distinction between the speculations of the Nicene fathers, and the decisions of the Nicene Council. The latter have been accepted by the Church universal, but not the former. The Council declared that our Lord is the Eternal Son of God, i. e., that He is from eternity the Son of God. This of course involves the denial that He became the Son of God in time; and, consequently, that the primary and essential reason for his being called Son is not his miraculous birth, nor his incarnation, nor his resurrection, nor his exaltation to the right hand of God. The Council decided that the word Son as applied to Christ, is not a term of office but of nature; that it expresses the relation which the Second Person in the Trinity from eternity bears to the First Person, and that the relation thus indicated is sameness of nature, so that sonship, in the case of Christ, includes equality with God. In other words, God was in such a sense his Father that He was equal with God. And consequently every time the Scriptures call Jesus the Son of God, they assert his true and proper divinity. This does not imply that every time Christ is called the Son of God, what is said of Him is to be understood of his divine nature. The fact is patent, and is admitted that the person of our Lord may be designated fromu either nature. He may be called the Son of David and the Son of God. And his person may be designated from one nature when what is predicated of Him is true only of the other nature. Thus, on the one hand, the Lord of Glory was crucified; God purchased the Church with his blood; and the Son is said to be ignorant; and, on the other hand, the Son of Man is said to be in heaven when He was on earth. This being admitted it remains true that Christ is called the Son of God as to his divine nature. The Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity as such and because of his relation to the First Person, is the Son of God. Such is the doctrine of the Nicene Council, and that it is no less the doctrine of the Scriptures, is plain from the following considerations : --

    1. The terms Father, Son, and Spirit, as applied to the persons of the Trinity, are relative terms. The relations which they express are mutual relations, i. e., relations in which the different persons stand one to another. The First Person is called Father, not because of his relation to his creatures, but because of his relation to the Second Person. The Second Person is called Son, not because of any relation assumed in time, but because of his eternal relation to the First Person. And the Third Person is called Spirit because of his relation to the First and Second.

    2. If, as the whole Christian Church believes, the doctrine of the Trinity is a Scriptural doctrine, and if, as is also admitted by all the parties to this discussion, it was the purpose of God to reveal that doctrine to the knowledge and faith of his people, there is a necessity for the use of terms by which the persons of the Trinity should be designated and revealed. But if the terms Father, Son, and Spirit do not apply to the persons of the Trinity as such, and express their mutual relations, there are no such distinctive terms in the Bible by which they can be known and designated.

    3. There are numerous passages in the Scriptures which clearly prove that our Lord is called Son, not merely because He is the image of God, or because He is the object of peculiar affection, nor because of his miraculous conception only; nor because of his exaltation, but because of the eternal relation which He sustains to the First Person of the Trinity. These passages are of two kinds. First, those in which the Logos is called Son, or in which Christ as to his divine nature and before his incarnation is declared to be the Son of God; and secondly, those in which the application of the term Son to Christ involves the ascription of divinity to Him. He is declared to be the Son of God in such a sense as implies equality with God. To the former of these classes belong such passages as the following: Rom. i. 3, 4, where Christ is declared to be kata. sa,rka, the Son of David, and kata. pneu/ma,the Son of God. That pneu/ma a`giosu,nhj does not here mean the Holy Spirit, much less a pneumatic state, but the higher or divine nature of Christ, is evident from the antithesis. As to his human nature, He is the Son of David; as to his divine nature, He is the Son of God. As to his humanity, He is consubstantial with man; as to his divinity, He is consubstantial with God. If his being the Son of David proves He was a man, his being the Son of God proves that He is God. Hence Christ was called Son before his incarnation, as in Gal. iv. 4, "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman." It was the Logos that was sent, and the Logos was Son. Thus in John i. 1-14, we are taught that the Logos was in the beginning with God, that He was God, that He made all things, that He was the light and life of men, and that He beame flesh, and revealed his glory as the Son of God. Here it is plain that the Logos or Word is declared to be the Son. And in the eighteenth verse of that chapter it is said, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father (ov w;n evij to.n ko,lpon tou/ patro,j)He hath declared Him." Here the present tense, ov w;n, expresses permanent being; He who is, was, and ever shall be, in the bosom of the Father, i. e., most intimately united with Him, so as to know Him, as He knows Himself, is the Son. According to Chrysostom, this language implies the sugge,neia kai, e`no,thj th/j ouvsi,aj of the Father and the Son, which were not interrupted by his manifestation in the flesh. To the latter class belong such passages as the following: John v. 18-25, where Christ calls God his Father in a sense which implied equality with God. If sonship implies equality with God, it implies participation of the divine essence. It was for claiming to be the Son of God in this sense, that the Jews took up stones to stone Him. Our Lord defended Himself by saying that He had the same power God had, the same authority, the same life-giving energy, and therefore was entitled to the same honour. In John x. 30-38 there is a similar passage, in which Christ says that God is his Father in such a sense that He and the Father are one. In the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is argued that Christ does not belong to the category of creatures; that all angels (i. e., all intelligent creatures higher than man) are subject to Him, and are required to worship Him because He is the Son of God. As Son He is the brightness of the Father's glory, the express image of his person, upholding all things by the word of his power. Because He is the Son of God, He is the God who in the beginning laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of his hands. They are mutable, but He is unchangeable and eternal.

    There can, therefore, be no reasonable doubt that according to the Scriptures, the term Son as applied to Christ expresses the relation of the Second to the First Person in the adorable Trinity. In other words, it is not merely an official title, but designates the Logos and not exclusively the Theanthropos.

    4. Another argument in proof of this doctrine is derived from the fact that Christ is declared to be "the only-begotten Son of God," "his own Son," i. e., his Son in a peculiar and proper sense. Angels and men are called the sons of God, because He is the Father of all spirits. Holy men are his sons because partakers of his moral nature, as wicked men are called children of the devil.
God's people are his sons and daughters by regeneration and adoption. It is in opposition to all these kinds of sonship that Christ is declared to be God's only Son, the only person in the universe to whom the word can be applied in its full sense as expressing sameness of essence.

Objections to the Doctrine.

    The speculative objections to this doctrine of eternal sonship have already been considered. If Christ is Son, if He is God of God, it is said He is not self-existent and independent. But self-existence, independence, etc., are attributes of the divine essence, and not of one person in distinction from the others. It is the Triune God who is self-existent and independent. Subordination as to the mode of subsistence and operation, is a Scriptural fact; and so also is the perfect and equal Godhead of the Father and the Son, and therefore these facts must be consistent. In the consubstantial identity of the human soul there is a subordination of one faculty to another, and so, however incomprehensible to us, there may be a subordination in the Trinity consistent with the identity of essence in the Godhead.

Psalm ii. 7.

    More plausible objections are founded on certain passages of the Scriptures. In Ps. ii. 7, it is said, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." From this it is argued that Christ or the Messiah was constituted or made the Son of God in time, and therefore was not the Son of God from eternity. To this it may be answered, --

    1. That the term Son, as used in the Scriptures, expresses different relations, and therefore may be applied to the same person for different reasons; or, have one meaning, i. e., express one relation in one place, and a different one in another. It may refer or be applied to the Logos, or to the Theanthropos. One ground for the use of the designation does not exclude all the others. God commanded Moses to say unto Pharaoh, "Israel is my son, even my first-born." (Ex. iv. 22.) And He said of Solomon, "I will be his father and he shall be my son." (2 Sam. vii 14.) The word son here expresses the idea of adoption, the selection of one people or of one man out of many to stand to God in a peculiar relation of intimacy, affection, honour, and dignity. If for these reasons the theocratic people, or a theocratic king, may be called the Son of God, for the same reasons, and preeminently, the Messiah may be so designated. But this is no argument to prove that the Logos may not in a far higher sense be called the Son of God.

    2. The passage in question, however, need not be understood of an event which occurred in time. Its essential meaning is, "Thou art my Son, now art thou my Son." The occasion referred to by the words "this day" was the time when the Sonship of the king of Zion should be fully manifested. That time, as we learn from Rom. i. 4, was the day of his resurrection. By his rising again from the dead, He was clearly manifested to be all that He claimed to be, -- the Son of God and the Saviour of the world.

    3. There is another interpretation of the passage which is essentially the same as that given by many of the fathers, and is thus presented by Dr. Addison Alexander in his commentary on Acts xiii. 33, "The expression in the Psalm, 'I have begotten thee,' means, I am He who has begotten thee, i. e., I am thy father. 'To-day' refers to the date of the decree itself (Jehovah said, Today, etc.); but this, as a divine act, was eternal, and so must be the Sonship which it affirms."

Acts xiii. 32, 38.

    It may be urged, however, that in Acts xiii. 32, 33, this passage is quoted in the proof of the resurrection of Christ, which shows that the Apostle understood the passage to teach that Christ was begotten or made the Son of God when He rose from the dead. The passage in Acts reads thus in our version: "We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again (avnasth,saj); as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." Here there is no reference to the resurrection. The glad tidings which the Apostle announced was not the resurrection, but the advent of the Messiah. That was the promise made to the fathers, which God had fulfilled by raising up, i. e., bringing into the world the promised deliverer. Compare Acts ii. 30; iii. 22, 26; vii. 31, in all which passages where the same word is used, the "raising up" refers to the advent of Christ; as when it is said, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me." The word is never used absolutely in reference to the resurrection unless, as in Acts ii. 32, where the resurrection is spoken of in the context. Our translators have obscured the meaning by rendering avnasth,saj"having raised up again,"instead of simply "having raised up," as they render it elsewhere.

    That this is the true meaning of the passage is clear from the succeeding verses. Paul having said that God had fulfilled his promise to the fathers by raising up Christ, agreeably to Psalm ii. 7, immediately adds as an additional fact, "And as concerning that He raised Him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, He said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." (Acts xiii. 34, 35.) The Apostle, therefore, does not teach that Christ was made the Son of God by his resurrection. But even, as just remarked, if He did teach that the Theanthropos was in one sense made the Son of God, that would not prove that the Logos was not Son in another and higher sense.

Luke i. 35.

    The same remark is applicable to Luke i. 35: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." Bishop Pearson, one of the most strenuous defenders of "eternal generation," and of all the peculiarities of the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity, gives four reasons why the Theanthropos or Godman is called the Son of God. (1.) His miraculous conception. (2.) The high office to which he was designated. (John x. 34, 35, 36.) (3.) His resurrection, according to one interpretation of Acts xiii. 33. "The grave," he says, "is as the womb of the earth; Christ, who is raised from thence, is as it were begotten to another life, and God, who raised him, is his Father."20 (4.) Because after his resurrection He was made the heir of all things. (Heb. i. 2-5.) Having assigned these reasons why the Godman is called Son, he goes on to show why the Logos is called Son. There is nothing, therefore, in the passages cited inconsistent with the Church doctrine of the eternal Sonship of our Lord. The language of the angel addressed to the Virgin Mary, may, however, mean no more than this, namely, that the assumption of humanity by the eternal Son of God was the reason why He should be recognized as a divine person. It was no ordinary child who was to be born of Mary, but one who was, in the language of the prophets, to be the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Son of the Highest. It was because the Eternal Son was made of a woman, that that Holy Thing born of the virgn was to be called the Son of God.

    It need hardly be remarked that no valid objection to the doctrine of the eternal Sonship of Christ, or, that He is Son as to his divine nature, can be drawn from such passages as speak of the Son as being less than the Father, or subject to Him, or even ignorant. If Christ can be called the Lord of glory, or God, when his death is spoken of, He may be called Son, when other limitations are ascribed to Him. As He is both God and man, everything that is true either of his humanity or of his divinity, may be predicated of Him as a person; and his person may be denominated from one nature, when the predicate belongs to the other nature. He is called the Son of Man when He is said to be omnipresent; and He is called God when He is said to have purchased the Church with his blood.

D. The Relation of the Spirit to the other Persons of the Trinity.

    As the councils of Nice and Constantinople were fully justified by Scripture in teaching the eternal Sonship of Christ, so what they taught of the relation of the Spirit to the Father and the Son, has an adequate Scriptural foundation.

    That relation is expressed by the word procession, with regard to which the common Church doctrine is, (1.) That it is incomprehensible, and therefore inexplicable. (2.) That it is eternal (3.) That it is equally from the Father and the Son. At least such is the doctrine of the Latin and all other Western churches. (4.) That this procession concerns tha personality and operations of the Spirit, and not his essence.

    The Scriptural grounds for expressing this relation by the term procession, are (1.) The signification of the word spirit. It means breath, that which proceeds from, and which gives expression and effect to our thoughts. Since Father and Son, as applied to the First and Second persons of the Trinity, are relative terms, it is to be assumed that the word Spirit as the designation of the Third Person, is also relative. (2.) This is further indicated by the use of the genitive case in the expressions pneu/ma tou/ patro,j, tou/ ui`ou/, which is explained by the use of the preposition evk, as pneu/ma evk toi/ patro,j. The revealed fact is that the Spirit is of the Father, and the Church in calling the relation, thus indicated, a procession. does not attempt to explain it. (3.) In John xv. 26, where the Spirit is promised by Christ, He is said to proceed from the Father.

    That the Latin and Protestant churches, in opposition to the Greek Church, are authorized in teaching that the Spirit proceeds not from the Father only, but from the Father and the Son, is evident, because whatever is said in Scripture of the relation of the Spirit to the Father, is also said of his relation to the Son. He is said to be the "Spirit of the Father," and "Spirit of the Son;" He is given or sent by the Son as well as by the Father; the Son is said to operate through the Spirit. The Spirit is no more said to send or to operate through the Son, than to send or operate through the Father. The relation, so far as revealed, is the same in the one case as in the other.

    When we consider the incomprehensible nature of the Godhead, the mysterious character of the doctrine of the Trinity, the exceeding complexity and difficulty of the problem which the Church had to solve in presenting the doctrine that there are three persons and one God, in such a manner as to meet the requirements of Scripture and the convictions of believers, and yet avoid all contradiction, we can hardly fail to refer the Church creeds on this subject, which have for ages secured assent and consent, not to inspiration, strictly speaking, but to the special guidance of the Holy Spirit.

§ 7. Philosophical Form of the Doctrine of the Trinity.

    The philosophical statements of the doctrine of the Trinity have been intended by their authors either to prove it, or to illustrate it, or to explain it away and substitute some speculative theory as to the constitution of the universe for the Scriptural doctrine of the Triune God. The two former of these classes, those designed for proof, and those designed for illustration, need not be discriminated. It may be remarked in reference to them all that they are of little value. They do not serve to make the inconceivable intelligible. The most they can do, is to show that in other spheres and in relation to other subjects, we find a somewhat analogous triplicity in unity. In most cases, however, these illustrations proceed on the assumption that there are mysteries in the Godhead which have no counterpart in the constitution of our nature, or in anything around us in the present state of our existence.

    We have already seen that the fathers were accustomed to refer to the union of light, heat, and radiance in the one substance of the sun; to a fountain and its streams; to the root, stem, and flower of a plant; to the intellect, will, and affections in the soul; as examples of at least a certain kind of triplicity in unity, elsewhere than in the Godhead. The last-mentioned analogy, especially, was frequently presented, and that in different forms. Augustine said, that as man was made in the image of the Triune God, we have reason to expect something in the constitution of our nature answering to the Trinity in the Godhead. He refers to the memory, intelligence, and will, as co-existing in one mind, so that the operations of the one are involved in the operations of the others. Gregory of Nyssa refers for his illustration to the soul, the reason, and the living power, united in one spiritual substance in man. It was admitted, however, that these analogies did not hold as to the main point, for these different powers in man are not different subsistences, but different modes of activity of one and the same personal essence, so that these illustrations lead rather to the Sabellian, than to the Scriptural view of the doctrine of the Trinity.

    By far the most common illustration was borrowed from the operations of our consciousness. We conceive of ourselves as objective to ourselves, and are conscious of the identity of the subject and object. We have thus the subjective Ego, the objective Ego, and the identity of the two; the desired Thesis, Analysis, and Synthesis. In one form or another, this illustration has come down from the fathers, through the schoolmen and reformers, to theologians of our own day. Augustine21 says, "Est quaedam imago Trinitatis, ipsa mens, et notitia ejus, quod est proles ejus ac de seipsa verbum ejus, et amor tertius, et haec tria unum atque una substantia." Again,22 "Haec -- tria, memoria, intelligentia, voluntas, quoniam non sunt tres vitae, sed una vita; nec tres mentes, sed una mens: consequenter utique nec tres substantiae sunt, sed una substantia." And,23 "Mens igitur quando cogitatione se conspicit, intelligit se et recognoscit: gignit ergo hunc intellectum et cognitionem suam. . . . Haec autem duo, gignens et genitum, dilectione tertia copulantur, quae nihil est aliud quam voluntas fruendum aliquid appetens vel tenens." Anselm24 has the same idea: "Habet mens rationalis, quum se cogitando intelligit, secum imaginem suam ex se natam, id est cogitationem sui ad suam similitudinem, quasi sua impressione formatam, quamvis ipsa se a sua imagine, non nisi ratione sola, separare possit, quae imago ejus verbum ejus est. Hoc itaque modo, quis neget, summam sapientem, quum se dicendo intelligit, gignere consubstantialem sibi similitudinem suam, id est Verbum suum." Melancthon25 adopts and carries out the same idea: "Filius dicitur imago et lo,goj: est igitur imago cogitatione Patris genita; quod ut aliquo modo consideran possit, a nostra mente exempla capiamus. Voluit enim Deus in homine conspici vestigia sua. . . . Mens humana cogitando mox pingit imaginem rei cogitatae, sed nos non transfundimus nostram essentiam in illas imagines, suntque cogitationes illae subitae et evanescentes actiones. At Pater aeternus sese intuens gignit cogitatonem sui, quae est imago ipsius, non evanescens, sed subsistens, communicata ipsi essentia. Haec igitur imago est secunda persona. . . . Ut autem Filius nascitur cogitatione, ita Spiritus Sanctus procedit a voluntate Patris et Filii; voluntatis enim est agitare, diligere, sicut et cor humanam non imagines, sed spiritus seu halitus gignit." Leibnitz,26 says "Je ne trouve rien dans les creatures de plus propre a illustrer ce sujet, que la reflexion des espirits, lorsqu'un meme esprit est son propre objet immediat, et agit sur soi-meme en pensant a soi-meme et a ce qu'il fait. Car he redoublement donne une image ou ombre de deux substances respectives dans une meme substance absolue, savoir de celle qui entend, et de celle qui est entendue; l'un et l'autre de ces etres eat substantiel, l'un et l'autre est un concret individu, et ils different par des relations mutuelles, mais ils ne sont qu'une seule et meme substance individuelle absolue."

    Of the theologians of the seventeenth century belonging to the Reformed Church, Keckermann was the most disposed to present the doctrines of the Bible in a philosophical form. We find, therefore, with him a similar attempt to make the mystery of the Trinity intelligible. He regards the existence of God as consisting in self- conscious thought. As thought is eternal, it must have an eternal, absolute, and perfect object. That object must, therefore, itself be God. The unity of the divine essence demands that this object should be in God himself, and therefore, it eternally returns to Him.27

    The modern theologians of Germany, who profess allegiance to the Scriptures, have, in many cases, taken the ground that absolute unity in the divine essence would be inconsistent with self-consiousness. We become self-conscious by distinguishing ourselves from what is not ourselves, and especially from other persons of like nature with ourselves. If, therefore, there were no person objective to God, to whom He could say Thou, He could not say I. Thus Martensen28 says: Although the creature can have no adequate comprehension of the divine nature, we have a semblance of the Trinity in ourselves; as we are formed in the image of God, we have the right to conceive of God according to the analogy of our own nature. As distinction of persons is necessary to self-consciousness in us, so also in God. Therefore, if God be not a Trinity, He cannot be a person. How, he asks, can God from eternity be conscious of Himself as Father, without distinguishing Himself from Himself as Son? In other words, how can God be eternally self-conscious, without being eternally objective to Himself? That with us the objective Ego is merely ideal and not a different person from the subjective Ego, arises from our nature as creatures. With God, thinking and being are the same. In thinking Himself his thought of Himself is Himself in a distinct hypostasis. Dr. Shedd29 has given a similar exposition, "in proof that the necessary conditions of self-consciousness in the finite spirit, furnish an analogue to the doctrine of the Trinity, and go to prove that trinity in unity is necessary to self-consciousness in the Godhead."

Pantheistic Trinitarianism.

    In all that precedes, reference has been made to those who have had for their object to vindicate the doctrine of the Trinity, by showing that it is not out of analogy with other objects of human thought. There are, however, many modern systems which profess to be Trinitarian, which are in fact mere substitutions of the formulas of speculation for the doctrine of the Bible. Men speak of the Trinity, of the Father, Son, and Spirit, when they mean by those terms something which has not the least analogy with the doctrine of the Christian Church. Many by the Trinity do not mean a Trinity of persons in the Godhead, but either three radical forces, as it were, in the divine nature, which manifest themselves in different ways; or three different relations of the same subject; or three different states or stages of existence. Thus with some, the absolute power or efficiency of the Supreme Being considered as creating, upholding, and governing the world, is the Father; as illuminating rational creatures, is the Son; and, as morally educating them, is the Spirit. According to Kant, God as creator is the Father; as the preserver and governor of men, He is the Son; and as the administrator of law, as judge and rewarder, He is the Spirit. With DeWette, God in Himself is the Father; as manifested in the world, the Son; and as operating in nature, the Spirit. Schleiermacher says, God in Himself is the Father; God in Christ is the Son; God in the Church, is the Holy Spirit. The avowed Pantheists also use the language of Trinitarianism. God as the infinite and absolute Being is the Father; as coming to consciousness and existence in the world, He is the Son; as returning to Himself, the Spirit. Weisse attempts to unite Theism and Pantheism. He pronounces the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity the highest form of philosophical thought. He professes to adopt that doctrine ex animo in its commonly admitted sense. There is a threefold personahity (Ichheit) in God necessary to the constitution of his nature. When the world was created the second of these persons became its life, merging his personality in the world and became impersonal, in order to raise the world into union and identity with God. When the curriculum of the world is accomplished, the Son resumes his personality.30


1. Lehre von der Trinitat, vol. i. p. 42.
2. De Trinitate, I. vi. 9, edit. Benedictines, vol. viii. p. 1161, c.
3. Schaff's History of the Christian Church, vol. iii. p. 672.
4. Kirchengeschichte, vol. vi. § 60, p. 323. Bonn, 1855.
5. De Trinitate, VII. vi. edit. Benedictines, vol. viii. p. 1314, d.
6. Epistola, CCXXXVIII. iii. 18, vol. ii. p. 1304, a.
7. Epistola, VIII. edit. Migne, vol. iii. p. 115, e.
8. Pearson, On Creed, seventh edition, 1701, p. 135.
9. Pearson, p. 132.
10. Works, vol. i. p. 315.
11. De Trinitate, III., Works, Paris, 1631, p. 23, a. See on this point Schaff's History of the Christian Church, vol. iii. § 60. Pearson, On the Creed, and especially, Bull's Defence of the Nicene Creed, fourth edition.
12. Page 35.
13. In Joannis Evangelium Tractatus, xix. 13, edit. Benedictines, vol. iii. p. 1903, a.
14. De Trinitate, v. xv. 16, vol. viii. p. 1286, c, d.
15. Die Dritte Predigt a. Tage d. heil. Dreifaltigk, 5; Works, ed. Walch, vol. xiii. p. 1510.
16. Institutio, I. xiii. 19, 20, edit. Berlin, 1834, part i. pp. 100, 101.
17. Calvin's Letters, vol. i. pp. 55, 56, edit. Presbyterian Board, Philadelphia.
18. Locus III. xxviii. 40, edit. Edinburgh, 1847, vol. i. p. 260.
19. Ibid. xxix. 6, p. 262.
20. Pearson on Creed, p. 106.
21. De Trinitate, IX. xii. 18, edit. Benedictines, Paris, 1837, vol. viii. p. 1352, b.
22. Ibid. X. xi. 18, p. 1366, a.
23. Ibid. XIV. vi. 8, pp. 1443. d. 1444, a.
24. Monologium, xxxiii., edit. Migne, p. 188, b. See also Thomas Aquinas, I. xxvii. 3, edit. Cologne, 1640, p. 56.
25. Loci Communes, De Filio, edit. Erlangen, 1828, vol. i, pp.19, 21.
26. Remarque sur le Lavre d'un Antitrinitaire Anglois, edit. Geneva, 1768, vol. i.p. 27.
27. Opera, edit. Cologne, 1614, vol. ii. Systema Theologiae (tract at end of vol.), p. 72, the last of three pages marked 72.
28. Dogmatik, pp. 129, 130.
29. History of Christian Doctrine, vol. i. p. 366.
30. C. H. Weisse, Idee der Gottheit; Dresden, 1833, pp. 257 ff., 273.
The Literature of the doctrine of the Trinity would fill a volume. Bull's Defence of the Nicene Creed, Pearson On the Creed, Waterland On the Trinity, Meier's Geschichte der Lebre von der Trinitat, Baur's Geschichte der Lehre Von der Trinitat, Dorner's History of the Person of Christ, in five volumes, one of the series of Clark's Foreign Theological Library, a very valuable collection of important modern works, Shedd's History of Chirstian Doctrine, and the other historical works on the doctrines of the Church, open the whole field to the theological student.


The Divinity of Christ

§1. Testimony of the Old Testament.
§2. General Characteristics of the New Testament Teaching concerning Christ.

§ 3. Particular Passages which Teach the Divinity of Christ.

§ 1. Testimony of the Old Testament.

    THE doctrine of redemption is the distinguishing doctrine of the Bible. The person and work of the Redeemer is therefore the great theme of the sacred writers. From the nature of the work which He was to accomplish, it was necessary that He should be at once God and man. He must participate in the nature of those whom He came to redeem; and have power to subdue all evil, and dignity to give value to his obedience and sufferings. From the beginning to the end, therefore, of the sacred volume, from Genesis to Revelation, a Godman Redeemer is held up as the object of supreme reverence, love, and confidence to the perishing children of men. It is absolutely impossible to present a tithe of the evidence which the Scriptures contain of the truth of this doctrine. It is to the Bible what the soul is to the body -- its living and all-pervading principle, without which the Scriptures are a cold, lifeless system of history and moral precepts. It seems, therefore, to be a work of supererogation to prove to Christians the divinity of their Redeemer. It is like proving the sun to be the source of light and heat to the system of which it is the centre. Still as there are men, professing to be Christians, who deny this doctrine, as there have been, and still are men, who make the sun a mere satellite of the earth, it is necessary that a part at least of the evidence by which this great truth is proved should be presented, and should be at command to resist the gainsayers.

The Protevangelium.

    Immediately after the apostasy of our first parents it was announced that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. The meaning of this promise and prediction is to be determined by subsequent revelations. When interpreted in the light of the Scriptures themselves, it is manifest that the seed of the woman means the Redeemer, and that bruising the serpents head means his final triumph over the powers of darkness. In this protevangelium, as it has ever been called, we have the dawning revelation of the humanity and divinity of the great deliverer. As seed of the woman his humanity is distinctly asserted, and the nature of the triumph which he was to effect, in the subjugation of Satan, proves that he was to be a divine person. In the great conflict between good and evil, between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, between Christ and Belial, between God and Satan, he that triumphs over Satan, is, and can be nothing less than divine. In the earliest books of Scripture, even in Genesis, we have therefore clear intimations of two great truths; first, that there is a plurality of persons in the Godhead; and secondly, that one of those persons is specially concerned in the salvation of men, -- in their guidance, government, instruction, and ultimate deliverance from all the evils of their apostasy. The language employed in the record of the creation of man, "Let us make man, in our image, after our likeness," admits of no satisfactory explanation other than that furnished by the doctrine of the Trinity.

Jehovah and the Angel Jehovah.

    On this primary and fundamental revelation of this great truth all the subsequent revelations of Scripture are founded. As there is more than one person in the Godhead, we find at once the distinction between Jehovah as the messenger, a mediator, and Jehovah as He who sends, between the Father and the Son, as co-equal, co-eternal persons, which runs through the Bible, with ever-increasing clearness. This is not an arbitrary or unauthorized interpretation of the Old Testament scriptures. In Luke xxiv. 27, it is said of our Lord, that "beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Moses therefore did testify of Christ; and we have a sure ground on which to rest in interpreting the passages of the Old Testament, which set forth the person and work of the great deliverer, as referring to Christ.

    He who was promised to Adam as the seed of the woman, it was next declared should be the seed of Abraham. That this does not refer to his descendants collectively, but to Christ individually, we know from the direct assertion of the Apostle (Gal. iii. 16), and from the fulfilment of the promise. It is not through the children of Abraham as a nation, but through Christ, that all the nations of the earth are blessed. And the blessing referred to, the promise to Abraham, which, as the Apostle says, has come upon us, is the promise of redemption. Abraham therefore saw the day of Christ and was glad, and as our Lord said, Before Abraham was I am. This proves that the person predicted as the seed of the woman and as the seed of Abraham, through whom redemption was to be effected, was to be both God and man. He could not be the seed of Abraham unless a man, and he could not be the Saviour of men unless God.

    We accordingly find throughout the Old Testament constant mention made of a person distinct from Jehovah, as a person, to whom nevertheless the titles, attributes, and works of Jehovoh are ascribed. This person is called the ~yhOila/ %a;l>m;, hw'Ohy., ~yIhOla/..He claims divine authority, exercises divine prerogatives, and receives divine homage. If this were a casual matter, if in one or two instances the messenger spoke in the name of him who sent him, we might assume that the person thus designated was an ordinary angel or minister of God. But when this is a pervading representation of the Bible; when we find that these terms are applied, not first to one, and then to another angel indiscriminately, but to one particular angel; that the person so designated is also called the Son of God, the Mighty God; that the work attributed to him is elsewhere attributed to God himself; and that in the New Testament, this manifested Jehovah, who led his people under the Old Testament economy, is declared to be the Son of God, the lo,goj, who was manifested in the flesh, it becomes certain that by the angel of Jehovah in the early books of Scripture, we are to understand a divine person, distinct from the Father.

A. The Book of Genesis.

    Thus as early as Gen. xvi. 7, the angel of Jehovah appears to Hagar and says, "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude." And Hagar, it is said, "called the name of Jehovah that spake unto her [Attah el Roi]Thou God seest me" (ver. 13). This angel therefore is declared to be Jehovah, and promises what God only could perform. Again, in Gen. xviii. 1, it is said, Jehovah appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre, who promised to him the birth of Isaac. In ver. 18, he is again called Jehovah. Jehovah said, "Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the time appointed I will return unto thee . . . . and Sarah shall have a son." As the angels turned toward Sodom, one of them, called Jehovah, said, "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?" and, "Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now and see," etc., and Abraham, it is added, stood before Jehovah. Through the whole of Abraham's intercession in behalf of the cities of the plain, the angel is addressed as Adonai, a title given only to the true God, and speaks as Jehovah, and assumes the authority of God, to pardon or punish as to him seems fit. When the execution of the sentence pronounced on Sodom is mentioned, it is said, "Jehovah rained . . . . brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven." With regard to this and similar remarkable expressions, the question is not, What may they mean? but, What do they mean? Taken by themselves they may be explained away, but taken in the light of the connected revelations of God on the subject, it becomes apparent that Jehovah is distinguished as a person from Jehovah; and therefore that in the Godhead there is more than one person to whom the name Jehovah belongs. In this case, the words "brimstone and fire" may be connected with the words "from Jehovah," in the sense of "fire of God" as a figurative expression for the lightning. The passage would then mean simply, "Jehovah rained lightning on Sodom and Gomorrah." But this is not only against the authorized punctuation of the passage as indicated by the accents, but also against the analogy of Scripture. That is, it is an unnatural interpretation, and brings this passage into conflict with those in which the distinction between the angel of Jehovah and Jehovah, i. e., between the persons of the Godhead, is clearly indicated.

    In Gen. xxii. 2, God commands Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. The angel of Jehovah arrests his hand at the moment of immolation, and says (ver. 12), "Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me." And in ver. 16, the angel of the Lord said, "By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah . . . . that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed." And Abraham called the name of that place "Jehovah-jireh." Here God, the angel of Jehovah, and Jehovah are names given to the same person, who swears by Himself and promises the blessing of a numerous posterity to Abraham. The angel of Jehovah must therefore be a divine person.

    In Jacob's vision, recorded Gen. xxviii. 11-22, he saw a ladder reaching to heaven, "and behold Jehovah stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth." Here the person elsewhere called the angel of Jehovah, and who had given the same promise to Abraham, is called the Lord God of Abraham and the God of Israel. In Gen. xxxii. 24-32, Jacob is said to have wrestled with an angel, who blessed him, and in seeing whom Jacob said, "I have seen God face to face." The prophet Hosea, xii. 4, in referring to this event, says, "Jacob had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us; even Jehovah God of Hosts; Jehovah is his memorial." The angel with whom Jacob wrestled, was the Lord God of Hosts.

B. The other Historical Books of the Old Testament.

    In Exodus iii. we have the account of the revelation of God to Moses on Mount Horeb. "The angel of the LORD," it is said, "appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush." And Moses turned to see this great sight, "and when Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him, out of the midst of the bush . . . . and said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." Here the angel of Jehovah is identical with Jehovah, and is declared to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The personal distinction between Jehovah and the angel of Jehovah (i. e., between the Father and the Son, as these persons are elsewhere, and usually in the later Scriptures, designated), is clearly presented in Ex. xxiii. 20, where it is said, "Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him." The last phrase is equivalent to, "I am in him." By the name of God, is often meant God himself as manifested. Thus it is said of the temple, 1 Kings viii. 29, "My name shall be there," i. e., "There will I dwell." As in the New Testament the Father is said to send the Son, and to be in Him; so here Jehovah is said to send the angel of Jehovah and to be in him. And as the Son of Man had power on earth to forgive sin, so the angel of Jehovah had authority to forgive or punish at his pleasure. Michaclis, in his marginal annotations to his edition of the Hebrew Bible, says in reference to this passage (Ex. xxiii. 20): "Bechat ex Kabbala docen, hunc angelum non esse ex numero creatorum existentium extra Dei essentiam, sed ex emanationibus, quae intra Dei essentiam subsistunt, sic in Tanchuma explicari, quod sit Metatron, Princeps faciei, John vi. 46." That the angel of Jehovah is a divine person, is further manifest from the account given in Exodus xxxii. and xxxiii. of what God said to Moses after the people had sinned in worshipping the golden calf. In punishment of that offence God threatened no longer personally to attend the people. In consequence of this manifestation of the divine displeasure the whole congregation were assembled before the door of the Tabernacle, and humbled themselves before God. And Jehovah descended and spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend. And Moses interceded for the people and said, If thy presence go not with us carry us not up hence. And Jehovah said, My presence (i. e., I myself) shall go with thee and I will give thee rest. This shows that a divine person, Jehovah, had previously guided the people, and that on their repentance, He promised to continue with them. This person, called the angel of Jehovah, Jehovah himself, is in Is. lxiii. 9, called "the angel of the face of Jehovah," i. e., the angel or the messenger, who is the image of God. It can hardly be doubted, therefore, that this angel was the Son of God, sent by Him and therefore called his angel; who in Is. lxiii. is designated as the Saviour of Israel and the Redeemer of Jacob; who came to reveal God, as He was the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, in whom was his name, or, as it is expressed in the New Testament, the fulness of the Godhead; who in the fulness of time, for us men and for our salvation, became flesh, and revealed his glory as the only begotten Son full of grace and truth.

    In subsequent periods of the history of God's people this same divine person appears as the leader and God of Israel. He manifested himself to Joshua (v. 14) as "Prince of the host of the Lord"; to Gideon (Judges vi. 11), as the angel of Jehovah, and spake to him, saying, i. e., Jehovah said to him, Go in this thy might and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. In verse 16 it is again said, "Jehovah said unto him surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man." When Gideon became aware who it was that spoke to him he exclaimed, "Alas, O Lord God, for because I have seen the angel of Jehovah face to face. And Jehovah said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die." The same angel appeared to Manoah and promised him a son, and revealed himself as he had done to Gideon by causing fire to issue from a rock and consume the sacrifice which had been placed upon it. When Manoah knew that it was the angel of Jehovah, he said unto his wife, "We shall surely die, because we have seen God."

C. Different Modes of explaining these Passages.

    There are only three methods on which these and similar passages in the Old Testament can with any regard to the divine authority of the Scriptures be explained. The one is that the angel of Jehovah is a created angel, one of the spirits who wait continually on God and do his will. The fact that he assumes divine titles, claims divine prerogatives, and accepts divine homage, is explained on the principle, that the representative has a right to the titles and honours of the Being, or person whom he represents. He speaks as God because God speaks through him. This hypothesis, which was early and extensively adopted, might be admitted if the cases of the kind were few in number, and if the person designated as the angel of Jehovah did not so obviously claim to be himself Jehovah. And what is a more decisive objection to this mode of interpretation, is the authority of the subsequent parts of the Word of God. These passages do not stand alone. The Church might well hesitate on the ground of these early revelations to admit the doctrine of a plurality of persons in the Godhead. If everywhere else in Scripture God were revealed as only one person, almost any degree of violence of interpretation might be allowed to bring these passages into harmony with that revelation. But as the reverse is true; as with ever increasing clearness the existence ot three persons in the Godhead is made known in Scripture, it becomes in the highest degree unnatural to explain these passages otherwise than in accordance with that doctrine. Besides this we have the express testimony of the inspired writers of the New Testament, that the angel of the Lord, the manifested Jehovah who led the Israelites through the wilderness, and who dwelt in the temple, was Christ; that is, was the lo,goj, or Eternal Son of God, who became flesh and fulfilled the work which it was predicted the Messiah should accomplish. The Apostles do not hesitate to apply to Christ the language of the Old Testament used to set forth the majesty, the works, or the kingdom of the Jehovah of the Hebrew Scriptures. (John xii. 41; Rom. xiv. 11; 1 Cor. x. 4; Heb. i. 10-13, and often elsewhere.) The New Testament, therefore, clearly identifies the Logos or Son of God with the Angel of Jehovah, or Messenger of the Covenant, of the Old Testament.

    The second hypothesis on which these passages have been explained, admits that the angel of the Lord is a really divine person, but denies that he is personally distinguished from Jehovah. It was one and the same person who sent and was sent, was speaker and the one spoken to. But this assumption does such violence to all just rules of interpretation, and is so inconsistent with the subsequent revelations of the Word of God, that it has found little favour in the Church. We are, therefore, shut up to the only other mode of explaining the passages in question, which has been almost universally adopted in the Church, at least since the Reformation. This assumes the progressive character of divine revelation, and interprets the obscure intimations of the early Scriptures by the clearer light of subsequent communications. The angel, who appeared to Hagar, to Abraham, to Moses, to Joshua, to Gideon, and to Manoah, who was called Jehovah and worshipped as Adonai, who claimed divine homage and exercised divine power, whom the psalmists and prophets set forth as the Son of God, as the Counsellor, the Prince of Peace, the mighty God, and whom they predicted was to be born of a virgin, and to whom every knee should bow and every tongue confess, of things in heaven and things on earth, and things under the earth, is none other than He whom we now recognize and worship as our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. It was the Lo,goj a;sarkoj whom the Israelites worshipped and obeyed; and it is the Lo,goj e;nsarkoj whom we acknowledge as our Lord and God.

    It is universally admitted that the Old Testament does predict a Messiah, one who was to appear in the fulness of time to effect the redemption of his people, and through whom the knowledge of the true religion was to be extended throughout the world. While it is clearly revealed that this Redeemer was to be the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Judab, and of the house of David, it was no less clearly revealed that He was to be a divine person. He is presented under the different aspects of a triumphant king, a suffering martyr, and a divine person. Sometimes these representations are all combined in the descriptions given of the coming Deliverer; sometimes the one, and sometimes the other view of his character is held up either exclusively or most prominently in the prophetic writings. They, however, are all exhibited in the Hebrew Scriptures, as they all combine and harmonize in the person and work of our Lord and Saviour

D. The Psalms.

    In the second Psalm, the heathen are represented as combining against the Messiah, verses 1-3. God derides their efforts, verses 4, 5. He declares his purpose to constitute the Messiah king in Zion, That this Messiah is a divine person is plain: (1.) Because He is called the Son of God, which, as has been shown, implies equality with God. (2.) He is invested with universal and absolute dominion. (3.) He is the Jehovah whom the people are commanded in verse 11 to worship. (4.) Because all are required to acknowledge his authority and do Him homage. (5.) Because those are pronounced blessed who put their trust in Him, whereas the Scriptures declared them to be cursed who put their trust in princes.

    In the twenty-second Psalm, a sufferer is described whose words our Lord upon the cross appropriates to Himself, verses 1-19. He prays for deliverance, verses 19-21. The consequences of that deliverance are such as prove that the subject of the psalm must be a divine person. His sufferings render it certain, (1.) That all good men will fear and love God because He rescued this sufferer from his enemies. (2.) That provision will be made for the wants of all men. (3.) That all nations will be converted unto God. (4.) That the blessings which He secures will last forever.

    In the forty-fifth Psalm a king is described who must be a divine person. (1.) Because his perfect excellence is the ground of the praise rendered to Him. (2.) Because his kingdom is declared to be righteous and everlasting. (3.) He is addressed as God, "Thy throne O God is forever and ever," which is quoted Heb. i. 8, and applied to Christ for the very purpose of proving that He is entitled to the worship of all intelligent creatures. (4.) The Church is declared to be his bride, which implies that He is to his people the object of supreme love and confidence.

    The seventy-second Psalm contains a description of an exalted king, and of the blessings of his reign. These blessings are of such a nature as to prove that the subject of the psalm must be a divine person. (1.) His kingdom is to be everlasting. (2.) Universal. (3.) It secures perfect peace with God and good-will among men. (4.) All men are to be brought to submit to Him through love. (5.) In Him all the nations of the earth are to be blessed, i. e., as we are distinctly taught in Gal. iii. 16, it is in Him that all the blessings of redemption are to come upon the world. The subject of this psalm, is therefore, the Redeemer of the world.

    The hundred and tenth Psalm is repeatedly quoted and expounded in the New Testament, and applied to Christ to set forth the dignity of his person and the nature of his work. (1.) He is David's Lord. But if David's Lord, how can He be David's Son? This was the question which Christ put to the Pharisees, in order to convince them that their ideas of the Messiah fell far below the doctrine of their own Scriptures. He was indeed to be David's Son, as they expected, but at the same time He was to be possessed of a nature which made Him David's Lord. (2.) In virtue of this divine nature He was to sit at God's right hand; that is, to be associated with Him on terms of equality as to glory and dominion. Such is the Apostles exposition of this passage in Heb. i. 13. To no angel, i. e., to no creature, has God ever said, "Sit on my right hand." The subject of this psalm is no creature; and if not a creature, He is the Creator. (3.) This person, who is at once David's Son and David's Lord, is eternally both priest and king. This again is referred to in Heb. vii. 17, to prove that He must be a divine person. It is only because He is possessed of "an endless life," or, as it is elsewhere said, because He has life in Himself even as the Father has life in Himself, that it is possible for Him to be a perpetual priest and king. (4.) In verse 5, He is declared to be the supreme Lord, for He is called Adonai, a title never given to any but the true God.

E. The Prophetical Books.

    In Isaiah iv. 2, the appearance of the Branch of Jehovah is predicted, to whose advent such effects are ascribed as prove Him to be a divine person. Those effects are purification, the pardon of sin, and perfect security.

    Chapter vi. contains an account of the prophet's vision of Jehovah in his holy temple, surrounded by the hosts of adoring angels, who worship Him day and night. The person thus declared to be Jehovah, the object of angelic worship, the Apostle John tells us, iii. 41, was none other than Christ, whom all Christians and all angels now worship.

    In chapters vii.-- ix. the birth of a child whose mother was a virgin, is predicted. That this child was the eternal Son of God, equal with the Father, is proved, (1.) From his name Immanuel, which means God with us, i. e., God in our nature. (2.) The land of Israel is said to be his land. (3.) He is called Wonderful, Counsellor,. the Mighty God, Father of Eternity, anid Prince of Peace. (4.) His kingdom is everlasting and universal. (5.) The consequences of his advent and dominion are such as flow only from the dominion of God. In the eleventh chapter we have another description of the perfection of his person and of his kingdom, which is applicable only to the person and kingdom of God. It is only where God reigns that the peace, holiness, and blessedness which attend the coming of the predicted deliverer, are ever found. The same argument may be drawn from the prophetic account of the Messiah and of his kingdom contained in the latter part of Isaiah, from the fortieth chapter to the sixty-sixth. This Messiah was to effect the redemption of his people, not merely from the Babylonish captivity, but from all evil; to secure for them the pardon of sin, and reconciliation with God; the prevalence of true religion to the ends of the earth; and, finally, the complete triumph of the kingdom of light over the kingdom of darkness. This is a work which none other than a divine person could effect.

    The prophet Micah (v. 1-5) predicted that one was to be born in Bethlehem, who was to be, (1.) The Ruler of Israel, i. e., of all the people of God. (2.) Although to be born in time and made of a woman, his "goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (3.) He shall rule in the exercise of the strength and majesty of God, i. e., manifest in his government the possession of divine attributes and glory. (4.) His dominion shall be universal; and (5.) Its effects peace; i. e., perfect harmony, order, and blessedness.

    The prophet Joel does not bring distinctly into view the person of the Redeemer, unless it be in the doubtful passage in ii. 23. He goes through the usual round of Messianic predictions; foretells the apostasy of the people, reproves them for their sins, threatens divine judgments, and then promises deliverance through a "teacher of righteousness" (according to one interpretation of ii. 23), and then the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh. The gift of the Holy Ghost is everywhere represented as the characteristic blessing of the Messianic period, because secured by the merit of the Redeemer's death. That He thus gives the Holy Spirit is the highest evidence of his being truly God.

    In Jeremiah xxiii., the restoration or redemption of God's people is foretold. This redemption was to be effected by one who as declared to be, (1.) A descendant of David. (2.) He is called the Branch, a designation which connects this prophecy with those of Isaiah in which the Messiah receives the same title. (3.) He was to be a king. (4.) His reign was to be prosperous, Judah and Israel were to be again united; i. e., perfect harmony and peace were to be secured. (5.) This deliverer is called Jehovah, our Righteousness. In the thirty-third chapter, the same deliverance is predicted, and the same name is here given to Jerusalem which in the former passage was given to the Messiah. In the one case it is symbolical, in the other significant.

    In Daniel ii. 44, it is foretold that the kingdom of the Messiah is to be everlasting, and is destined to supersede and absorb all other kingdoms. In vii. 9-14, it is said that one like unto the Son of Man was brought unto the Ancient of Days; and a dominion, glory, and kingdom given unto Him; that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him; his dominion is to be an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. In ix. 24-27, is recorded the prediction concerning the seventy weeks, and the coming and work of the Messiah, which work is truly divine.

    The first six chapters of the prophecies of Zechariah are a series of visions, foreshadowing the return of the Jews from Babylon, the restoration of the city, and the rebuilding of the temple; the subsequent apostasy of the people; the advent of the Messiah; the establishment of his kingdom, and the dispersion of the Jews. From the ninth chapter to the end of the book, the same events are predicted in ordinary prophetic language. Jerusalem is called upon to rejoice at the advent of her king. He was to be meek and lowly, unostentatious and peaceful, and his dominion universal. In chapter xi. He is represented as a shepherd who makes a last attempt to gather his flock. He is to be rejected by those whom He came to save, and sold for thirty pieces of silver. For this enormity the people are to be given up to long desolation; but at last God will pour upon them the Spirit of grace and supplication, and they shall look upon me, saith Jehovah, whom they have pierced, and mourn. This shepherd is declared to be God's fellow, associate, or equal. His kingdom shall triumph, shall becomc universal, and holiness shall everywhere prevail.

    In Malachi iii. 1-4, it is predicted (1.) That a messenger should appear to prepare the way of the Lord. (2.) That the Lord, i.e., Jehovah, the messenger of the covenant, i. e., the Messiah, should come to his temple. (3.) At his advent the wicked shall be destroyed, and the Church saved.1

    It is plain, even from this cursory review, that the Old Testament clearly predicts the advent of a divine person clothed in our nature, who was to be the Saviour of the world. He was to be the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Judab, of the house of David; born of a virgin; a man of sorrows; and to make "his soul an offering for sin." He is, however, no less clearly declared to be the Angel of Jehovah, Jehovah, Elohim, Adonai, the Mighty God, exercising all divine prerogatives, and entitled to divine worship from men and angels. Such is the doctrine of the Old Testament as to what the Messiah was to be; and this is the doctrine of the New Testament, as to what Jesus of Nazareth in fact is.

§ 2. General Characteristics of the New Testament Teaching concerning Christ.

A. The Sense in which Christ is called Lord.

    The first argument from the New Testament in proof of the divinity of Christ, is derived from the fact that He is everywhere called Lord; the Lord; our Lord. It is admitted that the Greek word ku,rioj means owner, and one who has the authority of an owner, whether of men or things. The Lord of a vineyard is the owner of the vineyard, and the Lord of slaves is the owner of slaves. It is also admitted that the word is used with all the latitude of the Latin word Dominus, or the English Master or Mister. It is applied as a title of respect, not only to magistrates and princes, but to those who are not invested with any official authority. It is, therefore, not merely the fact that Jesus is called Lord, that proves that He is also God; but that He is called Lord in such a sense and in such a way as is consistent with no other hypothesis. In the first place, Christ is called Lord in the New Testament with the same constancy and with the same preeminence that Jehovah is called Lord in the Old Testament. This was the word which all the readers, whether of the Hebrew or Greek Scriptures, under the old economy were accustomed to use to express their relation to God. They recognized Him as their owner, as their Supreme Sovereign, and as their protector. He was in that sense their Lord. The Lord is on our side. The Lord be with you. The Lord He is God. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Thou Lord art good. Thou Lord art most high forever. O Lord, there is none like unto thee. I will praise the Lord. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. O Lord, thou art my God. The religious ear of the people was educated in the use of this language from their infancy. The Lord was their God. They worshipped and praised Him, and invoked his aid in calling him Lord. The same feelings of reverence, adoration, and love, the same sense of dependence and desire of protection are expressed throughout the New Testament in calling Jesus Lord. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Lord, save me. Joy of thy Lord. Lord, when saw we thee a hungered? He that judgeth me is the Lord. If the Lord will. To be present with the Lord. Them that call on the Lord. Which the Lord shall give me in the last day. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour.

    Jesus Christ, therefore, is Lord to Christians in the same sense that Jehovah was Lord to the Hebrews. The usage referred to is altogether peculiar; no man -- not Moses, nor Abraham, nor David, nor any of the prophets or Apostles, is ever thus prevailingly addressed or invoked as Lord. We have but one Lord; and Jesus Christ is Lord. This is an argument which addresses itself to the inward experience, rather than to the mere understanding. Every believer knows in what sense he calls Jesus Lord; and he knows that in thus recognizing Him as his owner, as his absolute sovereign, to whom the allegiance of his soul, and not merely of his outward life, is due; and as his protector and Saviour, he is in communion with the Apostles and martyrs. He knows that it is from the New Testament he has been taught to worship Christ in calling him Lord.

    But in the second place, Jesus Christ is not only thus called Lord by way of eminence, but He is declared to be the Lord of lords; to be the Lord of glory; the Lord of all; the Lord of the living and the dead; the Lord of all who are in heaven and on earth, and under the earth. All creatures, from the highest to the lowest, must bow the knee to Him, and acknowledge his absolute dominion. He is in such a sense Lord as that no man can truly call Him Lord but by the Holy Ghost. If his Lordship were merely the supremacy which one creature can exercise over other creatures, there would be no necessity for a divine illumination to enable us to recognize his authority. But if He is Lord in the absolute sense in which God alone is Lord; if He has a right in us, and an authority over us, which belong only to our Maker and Redeemer, then it is necessary that the Holy Spirit should so reveal to us the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, as to lead us to prostrate ourselves before Him as our Lord and our God.

    In the third place, Christ is called Lord, when that word is used for the incommunicable divine names and titles Jehovah and Adonai. It is well known that the Jews from an early period had a superstitious reverence, which prevented their pronouncing the word Jehovah. They therefore, in their Hebrew Scriptures, gave it the vowel points belonging to the word Adonai, and so pronounced it whenever they read the sacred volume. When they translated their Scriptures into Greek, they uniformly substituted ku,rioj, which answers to Adon, for Jehovah. In like manner, under the influence of the LXX., the Latin Christians in their version used Dominus; and constrained by the same wide spread and long-continued usage, the English translators have, as a general thing, put Lord (in small capitals) where the Hebrew has Jehovah. In very many cases we find passages applied to Christ as the Messiah, in which He is called Lord, when Lord should be Jehovah or Adonai. In Luke i. 76, it is said of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, that he should go before the face of the Lord; but in Malachi iii. 1, of which this passage declares the fulfilment, the person speaking is Jehovah. The day of Christ, in the New Testament, is called "the day of the Lord;" in the Old Testament it is called "the day of Jehovah, the great day." lwOdBB"h; hwO"hy> ~wOy. Romans x. 13, quotes Joel ii. 32, which speaks of Jehovah, and applies it to Christ, saying, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Rom xiv. 10, 11, quotes Isaiah xlv. 23, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord (Jehovah), every knee shall bow to me," etc. This is common throughout the New Testament, and therefore Christ is there set forth as Lord in the same sense in which the Supreme God is Lord. The meaning of the word as applied to Christ being thus established, it shows how constant and familiar is the recognition of his divinity by the sacred writers. They acknowledge Him to be God every time they call Him Lord.

B. Christ presented as the Object of our Religious Affections.

    Another general feature of the New Testament, intimately connected with the one just mentioned, and consequent upon it, is, that Christ is everywhere recognized as the proper object of all the religious affections. As He is our Lord, in the sense of being our absolute proprietor, our maker, preserver, and redeemer, and our sovereign, having the right to do with us as seems good in his sight, we are called upon to make Him the supreme object of our love, his will the highest rule of duty, and his glory fhe great end of our being. We are to exercise the same faith and confidence in Him that we do in God; yield Him the same obedience, devotion, and homage. We find, therefore, that such is the case fiom the beginning to the end of the New Testament writings. Christ is the God of the Apostles and early Christians, in the sense that He is the object of all their religious affections. They regarded Him as the person to whom they specially belonged; to whom they were responsible for their moral conduct; to whom they had to account for their sins; for the use of their time and talents; who was ever present with them, dwelling in them, controlling their inward, as well as their outward life; whose love was the animating principle of their being; in whom they rejoiced as their present joy and as their everlasting portion. This recognition of their relation to Christ as their God, is constant and pervading, so that the evidence of it cannot be gathered up and stated in a polemic or didactic form. But every reader of the New Testament to whom Christ is a mere creature, however exalted, must feel himself to be out of communion with the Apostles and apostolic Christians, who vowed themselves and were universally recognized by others as being worshippers of Christ. They knew that they were to stand before his judgment seat; that every act, thought, and word of theirs, and of every man who shall ever live, was to lie open to his omniscient eye; and that on his decision the destiny of every human soul was to depend. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, they persuaded men. They enforced every moral duty, not merely on the grounds of moral obligation, but by considerations drawn from the relation of the soul to Christ. Children are to obey their parents, wives their husbands, servants their masters, not as pleasing men, but as doing the will of Christ. True religion in their view consists not in the love or reverence of God, merely as the infinite Spirit, the creator and preserver of all things, but in the knowledge and love of Christ. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God, i. e., whoever believes that Jesus of Nazareth is God manifested in the flesh, and loves and obeys Him as such, is declared to be born of God. Any one who denies that truth, is declared to be antichrist, denying both the Father and the Son, for the denial of the one is the denial of the other. The same truth is expressed by another Apostle, who says, "If our gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest they should see the glory of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ." They are lost, according to this Apostle, who do not see, as well as believe, Jesus to be God dwelling in the flesh. Hence such effects are ascribed to the knowledge of Christ, and to faith in Him; such hopes are entertained of the glory and blessedness of being with Him, as would be impossible or irrational if Christ were not the true God. He is our life. He that hath the Son hath life. He that believes on Him shall live forever. It is not we that live, but Christ that liveth in us. Our life is hid with Christ in God. We are complete in Him, wanting nothing. Though we have not seen Him, yet believing in Him, we rejoice in Him with joy unspeakable. It is because Christ is God, because He is possessed of all divine perfections, and because He loved us and gave Himself for us, and hath redeemed us and made us kings and priests unto God, that the Spirit of God says, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha." The denial of the divinity of the Son of God, the refusal to receive, love, trust, worship, and serve Him as such, is the ground of the hopeless condemnation of all who hear and reject the gospel. And to the justice of this condemnation all rational creatures, holy and unholy, justified or condemned, will say, Amen. The divinity of Christ is too plain a fact, and too momentous a truth, to be innocently rejected. Those are saved who truly believe it, and those are already lost who have not eyes to see it. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. It is the doctrine of the New Testament, therefore, that the spiritual apprehension and the sincere recognition of the Godhead of the Redeemer constitutes the life of the soul. It is in its own nature eternal life; and the absence or want of this faith and knowledge is spiritual and eternal death. Christ is our life; and therefore he that hath not the Son hath not life.

C. The Relations which Christ bears to hi. People and to the World.

    As the relation which believers consciously bear to Christ is that we can sustain to God only, so the relation which he assumes to us, which He claims as belonging to him in virtue of his nature as well as of his work, is that which God only can sustain to rational creatures.

His Authority as a Teacher.

    This is plain as to the authority He assumes as a teacher both of truth and duty. Everything which He declared to be true, all Christians have ever felt bound to believe, without examination and all that He commanded them to do or to avoid, they have ever regarded as binding the conscience. His authority is the ultimate and highest ground of faith and moral obligation. As the infinite and absolute reason dwelt in Him bodily, his words were the words of God. He declared himself to be the Truth, and therefore to question what He said was to reject the truth; to disobey Him was to disobey the truth. He was announced as the Lo,goj, the personal and manifested Reason, which was and is the light of the world, -- the source of all reason and of all knowledge to rational creatures. Hence He spake as never man spake. He taught with authority. He did not do as Moses and the prophets did, speak in the name of God, and say, Thus saith the Lord, referring to an authority out of themselves. But He spoke in his own name, and the Apostles in the name of Christ. He was the ultimate authority. He uniformly places Himself in the relation of God to his people. Ye shall be saved "if ye do whatsoever I command you." He that heareth me heareth God. I and the Father are one; He in me and I in Him. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away. Moses said unto you thus and so, but I say unto you. He did not deny the divine mission of Moses, but He assumed the right to modify or repeal the laws which God had given to his people under the old economy. The whole of revealed truth in the Old as well as in the New Testament is referred to Him as its source. For the ancient prophets taught nothing but what "the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify," which is equivalent to saying that they spake "as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;" or "that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God." And the Apostles presented themselves simply as witnesses of what Christ had taught. Paul declared that he received all his knowledge "by the revelation of Jesus Christ." And in his Epistle to the Corinthians he expresses the same truth by saying negatively, that his knowledge was not derived from human reason (the spirit that is in men), but from the Spirit of God. Nothing is more obvious to the reader of the New Testament than this divine authority as a teacher everywhere claimed by Christ and for Him. To disbelieve Him is to disbelieve God; and to disobey Him is to disobey God. This is entirely different from the authority claimed by the prophets and Apostles. They assumed nothing for themselves. Paul disclaimed all authority over the faith of God's people, except on the ground of the proof which he gave that it was "Christ speaking in" him. (2 Cor. xiii. 3.)

His Control over all Creatures.

    The divine authority of Christ is manifest in the control which He claimed over all his people and over all creatures. All power was and is in his hands. His ministers are under his direction; He sendis one here and another there. All Paul's labors and journeyings were performed under his continued guidance. This is but an illustration of the universal and absolute control which He constantly exercises over the whole universe. The angels in heaven are his messengers, and the course of human history, as well as the circumstances of every individual man, is determined by Him. So also is the eternal destiny of all men in his hands. I will reward every man, He says, according to his works. (Matt. xvi. 27, and Rev. xxii. 12.) "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. vii. 22, 23.) In the last day, at the "time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." (Matt. xiii. 30.) And in ver. 41, "The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." The king in that day will say, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was a hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:" for "inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me." It is the attitude, therefore, in which men stand to Christ (provided they have heard his name), which is to determine their destiny in the last day. Sinning against Christ, denying or rejecting Him, is denying or rejecting God. Our Lord therefore uniformly places Himself in the relation of God to the souls of men, claiming the same authority over them, the same right to decide their destiny, and representing all sin as committed against Himself. Thus also He says, that it were better for a man to have a millstone hung about his neck and he cast into the midst of the sea, than to offend one of the little ones who believe on Him. "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God: but he that denieth me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God." (Luke xii. 8, 9.) "He that loveth father or mother . . . . son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Such supreme love is due to God alone, and Christ in claiming this love from us, places Himself before us as God.

D. The Nature of his Promises.

    The same is plain from the nature of his promises. Christ promises to his people blessings which none but God has either the right or the power to bestow. He promises to forgive sin. It is intuitively certain that God only can forgive sin; He is our moral governor; it is against Him that all sin is committed, and He only has the right to remit its penalty. When therefore Christ says to the soul, Thy sins are forgiven, He exercises a divine prerogative. Even the Man of Sin, who sitteth in the temple of God and exalteth himself above all that is called God, claims no more than the judicial authority of deciding when the conditions of pardon at the bar of God have been fulfilled. He assumes, in relation to the divine law, the relation which a human judge sustains to the law of the land. A judge does not acquit or condemn on his own authority. The authority is in the state or sovereign power. The judge merely determines whether the grounds of condemnation are present or not. But as the sovereign against whom sin is committed, Christ has the right to pardon or to punish. Again, He promises the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist announced his approach as one who was to baptize the people with fire and with the Holy Ghost. And accordingly it is recorded that He did send down on his disciples, especially on the day of Pentecost, power from on high. It had been predicted that God would pour out his Spirit on all flesh; and that prophecy the Apostle Peter teaches was fulfilled when Christ, exalted at the right hand of God, shed forth his gifts on his waiting disciples. In his farewell discourse to the Apostles, He said, I will send you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, who shall abide with you forever. All the sanctifying influences, as well as all the gifts of teaching and of miracles which the Church has ever enjoyed, come from the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives the Spirit to every one severally as He will. "Unto every one of us, says Paul, "is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." (Eph. iv. 7.) He promises to hear and answer the prayers of his people in all ages and in all parts of the world. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it." "Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." "Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." He thus promises his continued presence to his disciples wherever they may be. He also promises to all who believe on Him, eternal life. He has power to quicken or to give life to as many as He will. "My sheep follow me, and I give unto them eternal life." "I will raise them up at the last day." "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life." "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." "A crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me in that day." "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." "Ye believe in God, believe also in me." "I go to prepare a place for you." "I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." It is obvious that the infinite God himself can neither promise nor give anything greater or higher than Christ gives his people. To Him they are taught to look as the source of all blessings, the giver of every good and every perfect gift. There is no more comprehensive prayer in the New Testament than that with which Paul closes his Epistle to the Galatians: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." His favour is our life, which it could not be if He were not our God.

E. His Control over Nature.

    A fourth general feature of the New Testament teaching concerning Christ, relates to the control attributed to Him over the external world. The laws of nature are ordained by God. They can be changed or suspended by Him alone. A miracle, therefore, or any event which involves such change or suspension, is an evidence of the immediate operation of divine power. The efficient agent, therefore, in working a miracle, must possess divine power. When Moses, the prophets, or the Apostles wrought miracles, they expressly disclaimed the idea that it was by their own efficiency. Why look ye on us, says the Apostle Peter, as though by our own power we had made this man whole? When Moses divided the Red Sea, the efficiency by which that effect was produced was no more in him than in the rod with which he smote the waters. Christ, however, wrought miracles by his own inherent power; and it was to his efficiency the Apostles attributed the miracles wrought through them. It was his name, or faith in Him, as Peter taught the people, which effected the instantaneous healing of the lame man. Christ never referred this miraculous power to any source out of Himself; He claimed it as his own prerogative; and He conferred the power upon others. He said of Himself that He had power to lay down his life and power to take it again; that He had life in Himself and could give life to as many as He pleased; I will give you, He said to his disciples, power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the adversary. Every miracle of Christ, therefore, was a visible manifestation of his divinity. When He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, restored the lame, raised the dead, fed thousands with a few loaves of bread, and calmed the raging of the sea, it was by a word, by the effortless exercise of his will. He thus manifested forth his glory, giving ocular demonstration to those who had eyes to see, that He was God in fashion as a man. He therefore appealed directly to his works, "Though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in Him." "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not." (John x. 37, 38.) "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father." (John xv. 24.)

    It is only a small part of the evidence of the divinity of our Lord that can thus be gathered up from the general teaching of the New Testament. It is important to bear in mind that faith in this doctrine rests not on this or that passage, or on this or that mode of representation, but upon the whole revelation of God concerning his Son. The divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ is wrought into the texture of the Scriptures, and is everywhere asserted or assumed. There are, however, many passages in which the doctrine is so clearly presented, that they should not be passed by in any formal discussion of this subject.

§ 3. Particular Passages which Teach the Divinity of Christ.

A. The Writings of St. John.

    John i. 1-14. Why the higher nature of Christ is called o` lo,goj and why John used that designation, are different questions. As the word lo,goj does not occur in Scripture in the sense of reason,it should be taken in its ordinary meaning. The question why the Son is called "The Word" may be answered by saying that the term expresses both his nature and his office. The word is that which reveals. The Son is the eivkw,n and avpau,gasma of God, and therefore his word. It is his office to make God known to his creatures. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. The Son, therefore, as the revealer of God, is the Word. The reason why John selected this designation of the divine nature of Christ, is not so easy to determine. It may indeed be said that there is ground for the use of the term in the usage of the Old Testament and of the Jews who were contemporaries with the Apostle. In the Hebrew Scriptures the manifested Jehovah is called the Word of God, and to Him individual subsistence and divine perfections are ascribed. (Ps. xxxiii. 6; cxix. 89; Is. xl. 8; Ps. cvii. 20; cxlvii. 18.) This is more frequently done in the apocryphal books and in the Targums. It was not therefore an unusual or unknown term introduced by the Apostle John. Still as he only, of the New Testament writers, thus employs the word, there must have been some special reason for his doing so. That reason may have been to counteract the erroneous views concerning the nature of God and his Word, which had begun to prevail, and which had some support from the doctrines of Philo and other Alexandrian Jews. It is, however, of less importance to determine why John calls the Son lo,goj, than to ascertain what he teaches concerning Him. He does teach (1.) That He is eternal. He was in the beginning; i.e.,was before the creation; before the foundation of the world; before the world was. Compare Prov. viii. 23; John xvii. 5, 24; Eph. i. 4. These are all Scriptural forms of expressing the idea of eternity. The Word then was (hvn), He did not begin to be but already was. The h=n of ver. 1 stands opposed to evge,netover. 14. "He was the Word, and became flesh." (2.) The eternal Word existed in intimate union with God. "The Word was with God;" as Wisdom is said to have been with Him in the beginning. (Prov. viii. 30; John i. 18.) (3.) He was God. The word qeo,jis clearly the predicate, as it is without the article (compare John iv. 24, pneu/ma o` qeo,j, God is a Spirit), and because lo,goj is the subject in the whole context. That qeo,j is neither to be taken for qei/oj, nor rendered a God, is plain from what is immediately said of the lo,goj in the following verses, and from the analogy of Scripture, which proves that the lo,goj is qeo,jin the highest sense of the word. In this connection o` qeo.j h=n o. lo,goj would be equivalent to saying, "The Son is the Father." Qeo,j without the article occurs frequently in the New Testament when it refers to the supreme God. (4.) The lo,goj is the creator of all things. All things were made by Him. diV auvtou/. The dia. here does not necessarily express subordinate instrumentality. All things are said to be dia. qeou/ as well as evk qeou/) The Father operates through the Son and the Son through the Spirit. All that the preposition indicates is subordination as to the mode of operation, which is elsewhere taught in relation to the persons of the Trinity. That all creatures owe their being to the Word, is made the more prominent by saying, "Without him was not anything made that was made;" pa/n o` ge,gonenis through Him. He therefore cannot be a creature. He was not only before all creatures, but everything created was by Him caused to be. (5.) The lo,goj is self-existent. He is underived. "In him was life." This is true only of God. The Godhead subsisting in the Father, Word, and Spirit, alone is self-existent, having life in itself. (6.) The life of the Word "is the light of men." Having life in Himself, the Word is the source of life in all that lives, and especially of the intellectual and spiritual life of man; and therefore He is said to be the light of men; i. e., the source of intellectual life and knowledge in all their forms. (7.) The lo,goj, as the true or real light, shineth in darkness (evn th/??| skoti,a| = evn toi/j evskotisme,noij)in the midst of a world alienated from God. The men of the world, the children of darkness, do not comprehend the light; they do not recognize the Word as God, the creator of all things, and the source of life and knowledge. To those who do thus recognize Him, He gives power to become the sons of God, that is, He raises them to the dignity and blessedness of God's children. (8.) This Word became flesh that is, became a man. This use of the word flesh is explained by such passages as 1 Tim. iii. 16; Heb. ii. 14; Rom. viii. 3, in connection with Luke i. 35; Gal. iv. 4; Phil. ii. 7. As to the glory of the incarnate lo,goj, the Apostle says of himself and of his fellow disciples, "We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father"; such as could belong to none other than to Him who is the eternal Son of God, consubstantial with the Father.

Other Passages in St. John's Gospel.

    This introduction, which thus unmistakably sets forth the divine nature of Christ, is the key-note of John's Gospel, and of all his other writings. His main object is to convince men that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh, and that the acknowledgment of Him as such is necessary to salvation. This Apostle was, therefore, in the early Church called the Qeolo,goj, because he taught so clearly and earnestly that the lo,goj is God. In verse 18 of this chapter he says that the Son alone has the knowledge of God, and is the source of that knowledge to others. He showed Nathanael that He knew his character, being the searcher of hearts. In his discourse with Nicedemus, He spoke with divine authority; revealing the things of heaven, because He came from heaven and was even then in heaven. His coming into the world was the highest evidence of divine love, and the salvation of all men depends on faith in Him; that is, on their believing that He is what He declared Himself to be, and trusting Him and obeying Him accordingly. When the Jews censured Him for healing a lame man on the Sabbath, He defended Himself by saying that God worked on the Sabbath; that He and the Father were one; that He did whatever God did; that He could give life to whom He willed; that all judgment was committed to Him, and that He was entitled to the same honour as the Father. In the sixth chapter He sets Himself forth as the source of life, first under the figure of bread, and then under that of a sacrifice. In the eighth chapter He declares Himself to be the light of the world. "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." He alone could give true freedom, freedom from the condemnation and power of sin. He had been the only Saviour from the beginning as He was the object of faith to Abraham, who saw his day, and rejoiced, for he says, "Before Abraham was I am," thereby asserting not only his preexistence, but his eternity, as He declares himself to be the "I am," that is, the self-existing and immutable Jehovah.

    In chapter x., under the character of a shepherd, He represents Himself as the head of all God's people, whose voice they hear, whose steps they follow, and in whose care they trust. For them He lays down his life, and takes it again. To them He gives eternal life, and their salvation is certain, for no one is able to pluck them out of his hands; and He and the Father are one. The eleventh chapter contains the history of the resurrection of Lazarus, on which it maybe remarked, (1.) That his disciples had full confidence that Christ could deliver from death whom He pleased. (2.) That He claims to be the resurrection and the life. To all that believe on Him He is the source of spiritual life to the soul, and of a resurrection to the body. (3.) In illustration and proof of his divine power, He called Lazarus from the grave.

Our Lord's Last Discourse.

    The discourse recorded in the 14th, 15th, and 16th, and the prayer recorded in the 17th chapter, are the words of God to men. No created being could speak as Christ here speaks. He begins by exhorting his disciples to have the same faith in Him which they had in God. He went to prepare heaven for them, and would return and take them to Himself. The knowledge of Him is the knowledge of God. He who had seen Him had seen the Father also; for He and the Father are one. He promised to send them the Holy Ghost to abide with them permanently; and that He would manifest Himself to them as God manifests Himself to the saints, revealing to them his glory and love, and making them sensible of his presence. He would continue to be to his Church the source of life; union with Him is as necessary as the union of a branch to the vine. The Holy Spirit sent by Him would reveal the things of Christ, rendering the Apostles infallible as teachers, and giving divine illumination to all believers. It was necessary that He should leave them in order to send the Spirit, who would convince the world of the sin of not believing Him to be all He claimed to be; of the righteousness of his assumption to be the Son of God and Saviour of the world, of which his going to the Father (i. e. resurrection) was the decisive proof; and also of the certainty of a future judgment, inasmuch as the prince of this world was already judged. The Spirit was to glorify Christ, i. e., to reveal Him as possessing all divine perfections, for whatsoever the Father hath the Son hath likewise. His intercessory prayer could proceed from the lips of none but a divine person. He speaks as one who had power over all flesh, and who could give eternal life to all whom God the Father had given Him. Eternal life consists in the knowledge of God, and of Him whom God had sent. He prays that He, clothed in our nature, might be glorified with the glory which He had before the foundation of the world; that his people might be sanctified; that they might be one by his dwelling in them, and that they might be made partakers of his glory.

    He was condemned by the Jews for claiming to be the Son of God, and by Pilate for claiming to be a king. When He was crucified the heavens were darkened, the earth trembled, the dead arose, and the vail of the temple was rent. By his resurrection his claim to be the Son of God and Saviour of men was authenticated. Thomas, not being present at the first interview between Christ and his disciples, doubted the fact of his resurrection; but when he saw Him he was fully convinced, and owned Him as his Lord and God. (John xx. 28.) That o` ku/rio,j mou kai. o` qeo,j mou is an address to Christ, and not an exclamation, is evident, (1.) From the words avpekri,qh kai. ei=pen, he responded and said, which would be out of place before an exclamation. They introduce a reply to what Christ had said. Thomas answered that he was fully satistied and firmly convinced that Christ was Lord and God. The word eivpei/n never means to exclaim. (2.) Such an exclamation would be abhorrent to a Jew, who had even a superstitious reverence for the name of God, especially for the name Jehovah, and o` ku,rioj o` qeo,j is equivalent to ~yhiOla, hA"hy>. (3.) The repetition of the pronoun mou/ also requires the passage to be considered as an address to Christ.

The Epistles of St. John.

    In his epistles the Apostle John presents the divinity of Christ with equal prominence. The great design of those epistles was to establish the faith of believers in the midst of the errors which had begun to prevail. The chief of those errors was denial, in some form, of the incarnation of the Son of God. Hence the Apostle not only insists so strenuously on the acknowledgment that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh, but makes that the one great fundamental doctrine of the gospel. "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." He begins his epistles by reminding his readers that the Apostles had enjoyed the clearest possible evidence that the Lo,goj th/j zwh/j (He who has life and gives life) was manifest in the flesh. They had seen, looked upon, and handled Him. John gave believers this assurance in order that they might have fellowship with God and with his Son Jesus Christ. Many had already apostatized and denied the doctrine of the incarnation. To deny that doctrine, however, was to deny God; for whosoever denies the Son, rejects the Father also. He exhorts them, therefore, to abide in the Son as the only means of abiding in God and attaining eternal life. The tests by which they were to try those who professed to be inspired teachers, were, (1.) Whether they acknowledged the doctrine of the incarnation, i. e., of the true divinity and humanity of Christ. (iv. 2, 3, 15.) (2.) Conformity of doctrine with the teachings of the Apostles. (3.) Love to God, founded on his redeeming love to us, and love to the brethren, springing from this love to God. In chapter v. he tells his readers that the great truth to be believed is that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the faith which overcomes the world. This great truth is established by the testimony of God, both external and internal, for he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not this testimony makes God a liar, because he believeth not the record which God has given of his Son. In Him is eternal life, so that he that hath the Son, hath life. He closes his epistle by saying: "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true (i. e., that we may know the true God); and we are in Him that is true (i. e., the true God), even in his Son Jesus Christ. This (i. e., this person Jesus Christ) is the true God and eternal life." That this passage is to be referred to Christ, is plain. (1.) Because He is the subject of discourse in the context, and throughout the epistle. The great design of the Apostle is to tell us who and what Christ is. (2.) In the immediately preceding clauses he had called Him the true, "we are in Him that is true," even in Jesus Christ. "The true" and "the true God," are used as convertible expressions. (3.) Christ is repeatedly called "eternal life," by this Apostle, and "eternal life" is said to be in Him, which language is not used of God as such, nor of the Father. (4.) Cpristo,j is the natural antecedent of ou-toj, not only because the nearest, but because it is the prominent subject. (5.) This has been the received interpretation in the Church, at least since the Arian controversy; and the objections urged against it are mainly theological, rather than exegetical. It is to be remarked that Christ is here called not merely qeo,j but o`eo,j, as in John xx. 28.

The Apocalypse.

    The Book of Revelation is one continued hymn of praise to Christ, setting forth the glory of his person and the triumph of his kingdom; representing Him as the ground of confidence to his people, and the object of worship to all the inhabitants of heaven. He is declared to be the ruler of the kings of the earth. He has made us kings and priests unto God. He is the First and the Last, language never used but of God, and true of Him alone. Compare Is. xliv. 6. In the epistles to the seven churches, Christ assumes the titles and prerogatives of God. He calls Himself, He who holds the seven stars in his right hand; the First and the Last; He who has the sharp sword and eyes of fire, from which nothing can be hid. He has the seven spirits. He is the Holy and the True. He has the keys of David; He opens and no man shuts, and shuts and no man opens; his decision on the destiny of men admits of no appeal. He is the supreme arbiter; the faithful and true witness; the avrch. th/j kti,sewj tou/ qeou/, the principle, i. e., both the head and source, of the whole creation. He reproves the churches for their sins, or praises them for their fidelity, as their moral ruler against whom sin is committed and to whom obedience is rendered. He threatens punishments and promises blessings which God alone can inflict or bestow. In chapter v. the Apostle represents all the inhabitants of heaven as prostrate at the feet of Christ, ascribing blessings and honour and glory and power to Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever. The New Jernsalem is the seat of his kingdom. He is its light, glory, and blessedness. He again and again declares himself to be the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last (i. e., the immutable and eternal), the Beginning and the End, for whose second coming the whole Church is in earnest expectation.

B. The Epistles of St. Paul.

    In the epistles of Paul, the same exalted exhibition is made of the person and work of Christ. In the Epistle to the Romans, Christ is declared to be the Son of God, the object of faith, the judge of the world, the God of providence, the giver of the Holy Spirit, and what in the Old Testament is said of Jehovah, the Apostle applies to Christ. In chapter ix. 5, He is expressly dedared to be "over all, God blessed forever." The text here is beyond dispute. The only method to avoid the force of the passage is by changing the punctuation. Erasmus, who has been followed by many modern interpreters, placed a full stop after kata. sa,rka, or after pa,ntwn.In the former case the passage would read, "Of whom is Christ concerning the flesh. The God who is over all be blessed forever;" in the latter, "Of whom Christ came concerning the flesh, who is above all," i. e., higher than the patriarchs. It is frankly admitted by the advocates of these interpretations that the reason for adopting them is to avoid making the Apostle assert that Christ is God over all. As they do not admit that doctrine, they are unwilling to admit that the Apostle teaches it. It was universally referred to Christ in the ancient Church, by all the Reformers, by all the older theologians, and by almost all of the modern interpreters who believe in the divinity of Christ. This uniformity of assent is itself a decisive proof that the common interpretation is the natural one. We are bound to take every passage of Scripture in its obvious and natural sense, unless the plainer declarations of the Word of God show that a less obvious meaning must be the true one. That the common interpretation of this passage is correct is plain, --

    1. Because Christ is the subject of discourse; God is not mentioned in the context. The Apostle is mentioning the distinguishing blessings of the Jewish nation. To them were given the law, the glory, the covenant, and the promises, and above all, from them "as concerning the flesh (i. e., as far as his humanity is concerned), Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever." Here everything is natural and to the point. It shows how preeminent was the distinction of the Jews that from them the Messiah, God manifest in the flesh, should be born. Compared to this all the other prerogatives of their nation sink into insignificance.

    2. The words kata. sa,rkademand an antithesis. There would be no reason for saying that Christ, as far as He was a man, was descended from the Jews, if He was not more than man, and if there were not a sense in which He was not descended from them. As in Rom. i. 3, 4, it is said that kata. sa,rka He was the Son of David, but kata. pneu/mathe Son of God; so here it is said, that kata. sa,rkaHe was descended from the patriarchs, but that in his higher nature He is God over all, blessed forever.

    3. The usage of the language demands the common interpretation. In all exclamations and benedictions, in distinction from mere narration, the predicate uniformly stands before the subject, if the copula ei=naibe omitted. This usage is strictly observed in the Septuagint, in the Apocrypha, and in the New Testament. We therefore always read in such doxologies euvloghto.j o` qeo,j and never o` qeo.j euvloghto,j. In the Hebrew Scriptures, %Wrb" occurs forty times in doxologies and formulas of praise before the subject. It is always "Blessed be God," and never "God be blessed." In the Septuagint, Psalm lxviii. 20 (19), ku,rioj o` qeo.j eu,loghto,j is the only apparent exception to this rule. And there the Hebrew adheres to the common form, and the Greek version is a rhetorical paraphrase of the original. The Hebrew is simply yk'doa] %Wrb' for which the LXX. have, Ku,rioj o` qeo.j euvloghto,j, euvloghto.j ku,rioj.Every consideration, therefore, is in favour of the interpretation which has been accepted by the Church as giving the true meaning of this passage. Christ is God over all, blessed forever.

The Epistles to the Corinthians.

    In the Epistles to the Corinthians, Christ is represented, (1.) As the proper object of religious homage. All believers are represented as his worshippers. (1 Cor. i. 2.) (2.) As the source of spiritual life. (1 Cor. i. 4-9, 30, 31.) (3.) As the Lord of all Christians and the Lord of glory. (1 Cor. ii. 8.) (4.) As creator of the universe (1 Cor. viii. 6), div ou- ta. pa,nta. (5.) As the Jehovah of the Old Testament, who led the Israelites through the wilderness. (1 Cor. x. 1-13.) (6.) As the giver of spiritual gifts. (1 Cor. xii.) (7.) As the Lord from heaven to whom the universe (ta. pa,nta)is subject. (1 Cor. xv. 25.) (8.) A life-giving Spirit (pneu/ma zwopoiou/n), i. e., a Spirit having life in Himself. and a source of life to others. (1 Cor. xv. 45.) (9.) The proper object of supreme love, whom not to love, justly subjects the soul to eternal death. (1 Cor. xvi. 22.) (10.) The object of prayer (1 Cor. xvi. 23), from whom grace is to be sought. (11.) He gives success in preaching the gospel, causing his ministers to triumph. (2 Cor. ii. 14.) (12.) The vision of his glory transforms the soul into his likeness. (2 Cor. iii. 17, 18.) (13.) In his face is the glory of God, to which those only are blind who are lost. (2 Cor. iv. 3-6.) (14.) His presence, or being with Him, constitutes the believers heaven. (2 Cor. v. 1-8.) (15.) Before his judgment-seat all men are to be arraigned. (2 Cor. v. 10.) (16.) His love is the highest motive to action. (2 Cor. v. 14.)


    (1.) Paul says that he was an Apostle not by the will of man, but by Jesus Christ. (i. 1.) (2.) The conversion of the soul is effected by the knowledge of Christ as the Son of God. (ii. 16.) (3.) Spiritual life is maintained by faith of which Christ is the object. (ii. 20, 21.) (4.) Christ lives in us, as God is said to dwell in his people. (ii. 20.) (5.) He was the object of Abraham's faith. (iii. 6-9.) (6.) He was Abraham's seed in whom all nations are blessed. (iii. 16.) (7.) By faith in Him we become the sons of God. (iii. 26.) (8.) The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Christ. (iv. 6.) (9.) His will is our law. (vi. 2.) (10.) His grace or favour the source of all good. (vi. 18.)


    (1.) In Christ and under Him all the objects of God's redeeming love are to be united in one harmonious whole. (i. 10.) (2.) In Him we have eternal life, or are made the heirs of God. (i. 11-14.) (3.) He is exalted above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, i. e., above all rational creatures. (i. 21.) (4.) In Him we are quickened, or raised from the death of sin, made partakers of spiritual life, and exalted to heaven. (ii. 1-6.) (5.) In iii. 9, God is said to have created all things by Jesus Christ. (The text, however, in that passage is somewhat doubtful.) (6.) He fills the universe. (i. 23, and iv. 10.) (7.) He is the head of the Church, from whom it derives its life. (iv. 16.) (8.) He sanctifles the Church. (v. 26.) (9.) The discharge of all social duties is enforced by the consideration of the authority of Christ. We are to serve men as doing service to Him. (vi. 1-9.)


    In Philippians, besides the usual recognition of Christ as the source and giver of grace and peace, which comprehend all spiritual blessings, and the acknowledgment of Him as the end of our being (i. 21, 22), we have in ii. 6-11 the clearest declaration of the divinity of Christ. It is said, (1.) That He "was (or existed, u`pa,rcwn)in the form of God," i. e., was God both as to nature and manifestation. He could not be the one without being the other. The word morfh,may mean either the mode of manifestation, that which appears, as when it is said "the king of heaven appeared on earth evn morfh|/;"or the nature or essence (u`pa,rcwn) itself. The latter view is adopted by most of the fathers. The former, however, is more in accordance with the common usage of the word, and with the immediate context. He who existed in the form of God, took upon Him the form of a servant (morfh,n dou,lou), i. e., the real condition of a servant. (2.) He is declared to be equal with God. The he did not, consider as an i-sa ei-nai qew/|, i. e., an act of robbery, or an unjust assumption. He was fully entitled to claim equality with God. (3.) This truly divine person assumed the fashion of a man, which is explained by saying He was found "in the likeness of men." He appeared in form, carriage, language, mode of thinking, speaking, feeling, and acting, like other men. He was not purus putus homo, a mere man, but "God incarnate," God manifest in the flesh. (4.) This divine person, clothed in man's nature, humbled Himself even unto death, even to the death of the cross. (5.) Therefore He (not God, or the divine nature in Christ, but the Theanthropos), is exalted above every name that is named, "that at the name of Jesus (i. e., the name of the Theanthropos, as it is He as a divine person clothed in the nature of man, who is the object of worship), every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." This is an exhaustive amplification. It includes the whole rational creation, from the highest archangel to the weakest saint; all, all that have life acknowledge Christ to be what God alone can be, their supreme and absolute Lord. It is because Christ is and has done what is represented, that the Apostle says, in the following chapter, that He counted all things as nothing for the knowledge of Christ, and that his only desire was to be found in Him and clothed in his righteousness. This divine Redeemer is to come again, and "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. (iii. 21.)


    Colossians i. 15-20, is expressly designed to set forth the true Godhead of Christ in opposition to the errors springing from the emanation theory, which had already begun to prevail in the churches of Asia Minor. This passage sets forth the relation of Christ, first to God, and secondly to the universe, and thirdly to the Church. Here, as in so many other places of Scripture, the predicates of the Lo,goj a;nsarkoj and of the Lo,goj e;nsarkoj, are mingled together. As in Heb. i. 2, 3, the Son is said to have created all things, and to be the brightness of the Father's glory, and also to have made purification for sin; so here part of what is said belongs to the Logos as existing from eternity, and part belongs to Him as clothed in our nature. It was the Lo,goj a;sarkoj who is declared to be the image of the invisible God and creator of all things; and it is the Lo,goj e;nsarkojwho is declared to be the head of the Church. The relation of Christ to God, in this passage is expressed, (1.) By the words just quoted, "He is the image of the invisible God." He is so related to God that He reveals what God is, so that those who see Him, see God, those who know Him, know God, and those who hear Him, hear God. He is the brightness of God's glory, and his express image. (2.) His relation to God is also expressed by saying that He is begotten from eternity, or the only begotten Son. The words prwto,tokoj pa,shj kti,sewjare indeed variously explained. By Socinians they are made to mean that He was the head of the new dispensation; by Arians that He was the first created of all rational creatures; by many orthodox interpreters trwto,tokoj is taken in its secondary sense, of head or chief. They therefore understand the Apostle to say that Christ is the ruler or head over the whole creation. All these interpretations, however, are inconsistent with the proper meaning of the words, with the context, and with the analogy of Scripture. Prwto,tokojmeans born before. What Christ is said to have been born before, is expressed by pa,shj kti,sewj.He was born (or begotten) before any or every creature, i. e., before creation, or from eternity. All the arguments adduced in a preceding chapter in proof of the eternal generation of the Son, are arguments in favour of this interpretation. Besides, the Arian interpretation is inconsistent with the meaning of the words. That interpretation assumes that the genitive pa,shj kti,sewj is to be taken partitively so that Christ is said to be a part of the creation, the first of creatures, as He is said to be the first of those who rose from the dead, when He is called proto,tokoj tw/n nekrw/n. But pa/sa kti,sijdoes not mean the whole creation, as indicating the class or category to which Christ belongs, but every creature, as indicating a relation or comparison; Christ is the first begotten as to every creature, i. e., begotten before any creature (i. e., eternally, according to the constant usage of Scripture, for what is before creation is eternal.) Besides, the connection requires this interpretation. The Apostle proves that Christ is the image of the invisible God, and the proto,tokoj pa,shj kti,sewjby an argument which proves that He cannot be a creature; and therefore the birth of which he speaks must be before time. Secondly, the relation of Christ to the universe is expressed in this passage by saying, (1.) That He is the Creator of all things. This is amplified, as the all things are declared to include all that are in heaven and earth, visible and invisible, rational and irrational, however exalted, even thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers; that is, the whole hierarchy of the spiritual world. (2.) He is not only the author but the end of the creation, for all things were not only created by Him, but for Him. (3.) He upholds all things; by Him all things consist, i. e., are preserved in being, life, and order. Thirdly, Christ is the head of the Church, the source of life and grace to all its members. For in Him "all fulness," the plenitude of divine blessings dwells. In chapter ii. 3, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (i. e., all knowledge or omniscience) are said to dwell in Christ; and in ii. 9, that He is filled with "the fulness of the Godhead." This is very different from the plh,rwma mentioned in i. 19, where the Apostle is speaking of what Beza calls "cumulatissima omnium divinarum rerum copia, ex qua, tanquam inexhausto fonte, omnes gratiae in corpus pro cujusque membri modulo deriventur;"2 but here the reference is to the divine being, nature, or essence itself, to. plh,rwma th/j qeo,thtoj. The word qeo,thjis abstract of qeo,j as qew.thj is of qei/oj; the former means Godhead, that which makes God, God; the latter means divinity, that which renders divine. The entire plenitude of the divine essence (not a mere emanation of that essence as the rising sect of the Gnostics taught), dwells (katoikei/permanently abides, it is no transient manifestation) in Him bodily, swmatikw/j,invested with a body. The Godhead in its fulness is incarnate in Christ. He is therefore, not merely qeo,j but o` qeo,j in the highest sense. More than Paul says cannot be said.

The Pastoral Epistles

    ln Paul's pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus, besides the ordinary recognition of the divinity of Christ found in almost every page of the New Testament, there are four passages in which, at least according to the comnmon text and the most natural interpretation, he is directly called God. Even 1 Tim. i. 1, kat v evpitagh.n Qeou/ swth/roj h`mw/n kai Kuri,ou VIhsou/ Cristou/, may be naturally rendered, "according to the command of God our Saviour, even our Lord Jesus Christ." This is in accordance with the parallel passages in Titus i. 3, "according to the commandment of God our Saviour;" and Titus ii. 13, "of the great God our Saviour Jesus Christ." In this latter passage there is no reason, as Winer and De Wette acknowledge, for questioning that Christ is called the great God, except what they regard as the Christology of the New Testament. They do not admit that Christ is the great God according to the doctrine of Paul, and therefore they are unwilling to admit that this passage contains that declaration. But if, as we have seen, and as the whole Church believes, not only Paul but all the Apostles and prophets, abundantly teach that the Messiah is truly God as well as truly man, there is no force in this objection. Violence must be done to the ordinary rules of language if tou/ mega,lou qeou/ kai. swth/roj are not referred to the same subject; inasmuch as qeou/ has the article and swth/rojis without it. The fair meaning of the words is, "The Great God who is our Saviour Jesus Christ." This interpretation is also demanded, (1.) By the context. Jesus Christ is the subject of discourse. Of Him it is said that He is the great God our Saviour, who gave Himself for us. (2.) Because the evpifanei,a, appearance (here in reference to the second advent), is repeatedly used in the New Testament of Christ, but never of God as such, or of God the Father. See 2 Tim. i. 10; 2 Thess. ii. 8; 1 Tim, vi. 14; 2 Tim. iv. 1, 8. (3.) The position of the words swth/roj before VIhsou/ Cristou/. If "God" and "Saviour" referred to different persons the natural order of the words would be, "The appearance of the great God and Jesus Christ our Saviour;" and not as it is, "The appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Great God and Saviour obviously belong to the same person in 1 Tim. i. 1. "The command of God our Saviour," and in Titus i. 3, "God our Saviour;" and in this place (Tit. ii. 13) that God and Saviour is declared to be Jesus Christ.

    The most important passage, however, in these pastoral epistles, is 1 Tim. iii. 16. With regard to that passage it may be remarked, (1.) That it admits of two interpretations. According to the ones the Church is declared to be the pillar and ground of truth, according to the other, the pillar and ground of truth is the great mystery of godliness. The latter is greatly to be preferred as equally consistent with the grammatical structure of the passage, and as far more in harmony with the analogy of Scripture. The pillar and ground of truth, the great fundamental doctrine of the Gospel, is often elsewhere declared to be the doctrine of the manifestation of God in the flesh. On this doctrine all our hopes of salvation rest. (2.) Whatever reading be adopted, whether qeo,j, o`j, or o`, all of which appear in different manuscripts, the passage must refer to Christ. He it was who was manifest in the flesh, justified by the Spirit, and received up into glory. (3.) Whatever reading be adopted, the passage assumes or asserts the divinity of our Lord. With the apostolic writers, the doctrine of the incarnation is expressed by saying, that the lo,goj "became flesh" (John i. 14); or, "Christ is come in the flesh" (1 John iv. 2); or, "He who is the brightness of Gods glory "took part of flesh and blood" (Heb. ii. 14); or, He that was "equal with God" was "found in fashion as a man." (Phil. ii. 8.) The same truth, therefore, is expressed, whether we say, "God was manifest in the flesh;" or, "He who was manifest in the flesh;" or, that "the mystery of godliness was manifest in the flesh." (4.) The external authorities are so divided that the most competent editors and critics differ as to what is the original text. For qeo,j we find the great body of the cursive Greek manuscripts and almost all the Greek Fathers. The authority of the Codex Alexandrinus is claimed on both sides. The question there is, whether the letter is Q or O; some say they see distinct traces of the line in the Theta, others say they do not. For o`j C, F, G, of the uncial manuscripts, only two of the cursive manuscripts, and the Coptic and Sahidic versions, are quoted. To this must be added the testimony of the very ancient manuscript recently discovered by Tischendorf the text of which has been published under his auspices at St. Petersburg. For o` the uncial manuscript D, the Latin Vulgate and the Latin Fathers are the witnesses. In view of this state of the question, Wetstein, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Tregelles, among the editors, decide for o`j. Mill, Matthies, as well as the older editors Erasmus, Beza, the Complutensian, and the later ones, as Knapp and Hahn, retain qeo,j.3(5.) The internal evidence, so far as the perspicuity of the passage and the analogy of Scripture are concerned, are decidedly in favour of the common text. There is something remarkable in the passage; it is brought in apparently as a quotation fromn a hymn, as some think, or from a confession of faith, as others suppose, at least, as a familiar formula in which the leading truths concerning the manifestation of Christ are concisely stated. (1.) He is God. (2.) He was manifest in the flesh, or became man. (3.) He was justified, i. e., his claims to be regarded as God manifest in the flesh were proved to be just, by the Spirit (i. e., either by the Holy Ghost, or by the pneu/ma or divine nature revealing itself in Him. Comp. John i. 14). (4.) He was seen of angels. They recognized and served Him. (5.) He was preached unto the Gentiles, as He came to be the Saviour of all men, and not of the Jews only. (6.) He was believed upon as God and Saviour; and (7.) He was received up into glory, where He now lives, reigns, and intercedes.

Epistle to the Hebrews.

    The doctrines of the Bible are generally stated with authority; announced as facts to be received on the testimony of God. It is seldom that the sacred writers undertake to prove what they teach. The first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews is an exception to this general rule. The divinity of Christ is here formally proved. As the design of the Apostle was to persuade the Hebrew Christians to adhere to the gospel, and to guard them from the fatal sin of apostatizing to Judaism, he sets before them the immeasurable superiority of the gospel to the Mosaic economy. The first point of that superiority, and that on which all the others depend, is the superior dignity of Christ as a divine person, to Moses and all the prophets. To set forth that superiority, he first asserts that Christ, the Son of God, is the possessor of all things; that through Him God made the world; that He is the brightness of God's glory, the express image of his nature, upholding all things by the word of his power; and that because He has by Himself made purification for sin, He is now, as the Theanthropos, set down at the right hand of the majesty on high. The true divinity of Christ being thus asserted, the Apostle proceeds to prove that this is the doctrine of the Scriptures. (1.) Because He is in the Bible called the Son of God, a title which cannot be given in its true sense to any creature. Christ, therefore, is higher than the angels; and as the word angels in the Bible includes all intelligent creatures higher than man, Christ is higher than all creatures, and therefore cannot Himself be a creature. He belongs to a different category of being. (2.) All angels (i. e., all the higher intelligences) are commanded to worship Him (i. e., to prostrate themselves before Him). (3.) While the angels are addressed as mere instruments by which God effects his purposes, the Son is addressed as God. "Thy throne O God is for ever and ever." (4.) He laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of his hands. (5.) They are mutable, but He is immutable and eternal. (6.) He is associated with God in glory and dominion. On this great truth, thus established, the Apostle grounds all the duties and doctrines which he urges on the faith and obedience of his readers. It is on this ground that there is no escape for those who reject the salvation which He has provided. (ii. 1-5.) It is on this ground also that He has a dominion never granted to angels, all things being made subject to Him. (ii. 5-10.) As it was a divine person, the eternal Son of God, who assumed our nature, and became a high priest for us, his sacrifice is efficacious, and need not be repeated; and He is a perpetual priest, higher than the heavens, who can save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. This Saviour is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. Faith in Him will enable us to overcome the world, as faith in the promises concerning Christ enabled the ancient worthies to witness a good confession under the greatest trials and sufferings.

The other Sacred Writers of the New Testament.

    The same testimony to the divinity of our Lord is borne by the Apostles James and Peter. The former calls Him the Lord of glory, the latter in his First Epistle represents Him as the proper object of supreme love. Faith in Him secures salvation. His spirit dwelt in the ancient prophets. He is the foundation of the Church. (ii. 6.) Having suffered the just for the unjust to bring us unto God, He is now exalted at the right hand of God, the whole universe of intelligent creatures being subject to Him. (iii. 18.) In his Second Epistle he speaks of the knowledge of Christ as the source of grace and peace (i. 2.), and of holiness (ver. 8). At death believers enter into his everlasting kingdom (ver. 11). Peter was an eyewitness of his divine majesty when he was with Him in the holy mount. Lord and Saviour, equivalent in the lips of a Jew, to Jehovah Saviour, is his common designation of Christ. True religion, according to this Apostle, consists in the knowledge of Christ as the Son of God, to whom, therefore, he ascribes eternal glory.

    Imperfect and unsatisfactory as this survey necessarily is, it is enough to prove not only that the Scriptures teach the divinity of Christ, but that Christianity as a religion consists in the love, worship, and service of the Lord Jesus, whose creatures we are, and to whom we belong by the still dearer relation of those whom He hath purchased with his own precious blood.


1. On this subject see Hengstenberg's Christology; Smith's Messiah; Allix's Juagmen of the Jewish Church.
2. In loc. edit. Geneva, 1565, p. 423.
3. Dr. Henderson has ably vindicated the reading qeo,j in his Critical Examination of the Various Readings in 1 Tim. iii. 16.


The Holy Spirit

§ 1. His Nature. § 2. The Office of the Holy Spirit.
§ 3. History of the Doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit.

§ 1. His Nature.

    The words x;Wr and pneu/ma are used in different senses, both literal and figurative, in the sacred Scriptures. They properly mean wind, as when our Lord says, "The pneu/ma bloweth where it listeth;" then any invisible power; then immaterial, invisible agents, as the soul and angels; then God himself, who is said to be a Spirit, to express his nature as an immaterial, intelligent being; and finally, the Third Person of the Trinity is called "The Spirit" by way of eminence, probably, for two reasons. First, because He is the power or efficiency of God, i. e., the person through whom the efficiency of God is directly exercised; and secondly, to express his relation to the other persons of the Trinity. As Father and Son are terms expressive of relation, it is natural to infer that the word Spirit is to be understood in the same way. The Son is called the Word, as the revealer or image of God, and the Third Person is called Spirit as his breath or power. He is also predominantly called the Holy Spirit, to indicate both his nature and operations. He is absolutely holy in his own nature, and the cause of holiness in all creatures. For the same reason He is called the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Wisdom, of Peace, of Love, and of Glory.

A. His Personality.

    The two points to be considered in reference to this subject, are, first the nature, and second the office or work of the Holy Spirit. With regard to his nature, is He a person or a mere power? and if a person, is He created or divine, finite or infinite? The personality of the Spirit has been the faith of the Church from the beginning. It had few opponents even in the chaotic period of theology and in modern times has been denied by none but Socinians, Arians, and Sabellians. Before considering the direct proof of the Church doctrine that the Holy Spirit is a person, it may be well te remark, that the terms "The Spirit," "The Spirit of God," "The Holy Sprit," and when God speaks, "My Spirit," or, when God is spoken of "His Spirit," occur in all parts of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. These and equivalent terms are evidently to be understood in the same sense throughout the Scriptures. If the Spirit of God which moved on the face of the waters, which strove with the antediluvians, which came upon Moses, which gave skill to artisans, and which inspired the prophets, is the power of God; then the Spirit which came upon the Apostles, which Christ promised to send as a comforter and advocate, and to which the instruction, sanctification, and guidance of the people of God are referred, must also be the power of God. But if the Spirit is clearly revealed to be a person in the later parts of Scripture, it is plain that the earlier portions must be understood in the same way. One part of the Bible, and much less one or a few passages must not be taken by themselves, and receive any interpretation which the isolated words may bear, but Scripture must interpret Scripture. Another obvious remark on this subject is, that the Spirit of God is equally prominent in all parts of the word of God. His intervention does not occur on rare occasions, as the appearance of angels, or the Theophanies, of which mention is made here and there in the sacred volume; but He is represented as everywhere present and everywhere operative. We might as well strike from the Bible the name and doctrine of God, as the name and office of the Spirit. In the New Testament alone He is mentioned not far from three hundred times. It is not only, however, merely the frequency with which the Spirit is mentioned, and the prominence given to his person and work, but the multiplied and interesting relations in which He is represented as standing to the people of God, the importance and number of his gifts, and the absolute dependence of the believer and of the Church upon Him for spiritual and eternal life, which render the doctrine of the Holy Ghost absolutely fundamental to the gospel. The work of the Spirit in applying the redemption of Christ is represented to be as essential as that redemption itself. It is therefore indispensable that we should know what the Bible teaches concerning the Holy Ghost, both as to his nature and office.

Proof of his Personality.

    The Scriptures clearly teach that He is a person. Personality includes intelligence, will, and individual subsistence. If, therefore, it can be proved that all these are attributed to the Spirit, it is thereby proved that He is a person. It will not be necessary or advisable to separate the proofs of these several points, and cite passages which ascribe to Him intelligence; and then others which attribute to Him will; and still others to prove his individual subsistence, because all these are often included in one and the same passage; and arguments which prove the one, in many cases prove also the others.

    1. The first argument for the personality of the Holy Spirit is derived from the use of the personal pronouns in relation to Him. A person is that which, when speaking, says I; when addressed, is called thou; and when spoken of, is called he, or him. It is indeed admitted that there is such a rhetorical figure as personification; that inanimate or irrational beings, or sentiments, or attributes, may be introduced as speaking, or addressed as persons. But this creates no difficulty. The cases of personification are such as do not, except in rare instances, admit of any doubt. The fact that men sometimes apostrophize the heavens, or the elements, gives no pretext for explaining as personification all the passages in which God or Christ is introduced as a person. So also with regard to the Holy Spirit. He is introduced as a person so often, not merely in poetic or excited discourse, but in simple narrative, and in didactic instructions; and his personality is sustained by so many collateral proofs, that to explain the use of the personal pronouns in relation to Him on the principle of personification, is to do violence to all the rules of interpretation. Thus in Acts xiii. 2, "The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them." Our Lord says (John xv. 26), "When the Comforter (o` para,klhtoj) is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth (to. pneu/ma th/j avlhqei,aj) which (o[) proceedeth from the Father, He (evkei/noj)shall testify of me." The use of the masculine pronoun He instead of it, shows that the Spirit is a person. It may indeed be said that as para,klhtoj is masculine, the pronoun referring to it must of course be in the same gender. But as the explanatory words to. pneu/maintervene, to which the neuter o[ refers, the following pronoun would naturally be in the neuter, if the subject spoken of, the pneu/ma, were not a person. In the following chapter (John xvi. 13, 14) there is no ground for this objection. It is there said, "When He (evkei/noj), the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak, and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me (evkei/noj evme. doxa,sei): for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." Here there is no possibility of accounting for the use of the personal pronoun He (evkei/noj)on any other ground than the personality of the Spirit.

    2. We stand in relations to the Holy Spirit which we can sustain only to a person. He is the object of our faith. We believe on the Holy Ghost. This faith we profess in baptism. We are baptized not only in the name of the Father and of the Son, but also of the Holy Ghost. The very association of the Spirit in such a connection, with the Father and the Son, as they are admitted to be distinct persons, proves that the Spirit also is a person. Besides the use of the word eivj to. o;noma, unto the name, admits of no other explanation. By baptism we profess to acknowledge the Spirit as we acknowledge the Father and the Son, and we bind ourselves to the one as well as to the others. If when the Apostle tells the Corinthians that they were not baptized eivj to. o;noma Pau/lou, and when he says that the Hebrews were baptized unto Moses, he means that the Corinthians were not, and that the Hebrews were made the disciples, the one of Paul and the others of Moses; then when we are baptized unto the name of the Spirit, the meaning is that in baptism we profess to be his disciples; we bind ourselves to receive his instructions, and to submit to his control. We stand in the same relation to Him as to the Father and to the Son; we acknowledge Him to be a person as distinctly as we acknowledge the personality of the Son, or of the Father. Christians not only profess to believe on the Holy Ghoat, but they are also the recipients of his gifts. He is to them an object of prayer. In the apostolic benediction, the grace of Christ, the love of the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, are solemnly invoked. We pray to the Spirit for the communication of Himself to us, that He may, according to the promise of our Lord, dwell in us, as we pray to Christ that we may be the objects of his unmerited love. Accordingly we are exhorted not "to sin against," "not to resist," not "to grieve" the Holy Spirit. He is represented, therefore, as a person who can be the object of our acts; whom we may please or offend; with whom we may have communion, i. e., personal intercourse; who can love and be loved; who can say "thou" to us; and whom we can invoke in every time of need.

    3. The Spirit also sustains relations to us, and performs offices which none but a person can sustain or perform. He is our teacher, sanctifier, comforter, and guide. He governs every believer who is led by the Spirit, and the whole Church. He calls as He called Barnabas and Saul, to the work of the ministry, or to some special field of labour. Pastors or bishops are made overseers by the Holy Ghost.

    4. In the exercise of these and other functions, personal acts are constantly attributed to the Spirit in the Bible; that is, such acts as imply intelligence, will, and activity or power. The Spirit searches, selects, reveals, and reproves. We often read that "The Spirit said." (Acts xiii. 2; xxi. 11; 1 Tim. iv. 1, etc., etc.) This is so constantly done, that the Spirit appears as a personal agent from one end of the Scriptures to the other, so that his personality is beyond dispute. The only possible question is whether He is a distinct person from the Father. But of this there can be no reasonable doubt, as He is said to be the Spirit of God and the Spirit which is of God (evk qeou/);as He is distinguished from the Father in the forms of baptism and benediction; as He proceeds from the Father; and as He is promised, sent, and given by the Father. So that to confound the Holy Spirit with God would be to render the Scriptures unintelligible.

    5. All the elements of personality, namely, intelligence, will, and individual subsistence, are not only involved in all that is thus revealed concerning the relation in which the Spirit stands to us and that which we sustain to Him, but they are all distinctly attributed to Him. The Spirit is said to know, to will, and to act. He searches, or knows all things, even the deep things of God. No man knoweth the things of God, but the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. ii. 10, 12.) He distributes "to every man severally as he will." (1 Cor. xii. 11.) His individual subsistence is involved in his being an agent, and in his being the object on which the activity of others terminates. If He can be loved, reverenced, and obeyed, or offended and sinned against, He must be a person.

    6. The personal manifestations of the Spirit, when He descended on Christ after his baptism, and upon the Apostles at the day of Pentecost, of necessity involve his personal subsistence. It was not any attribute of God, nor his mere efficiency, but God himself, that was manifested in the burning bush, in the fire and clouds on Mount Sinai, in the pillar which guided the Israelites through the wilderness, and in the glory which dwelt in the Tabernacle and in the Temple.

    7. The people of God have always regarded the Holy Spirit as a person. They have looked to Him for instruction, sanctification, direction, and comfort. This is part of their religion. Christianity (subjectively considered) would not be what it is without this sense of dependence on the Spirit, and this love and reverence for his person. All the liturgies, prayers, and praises of the Church, are filled with appeals and addresses to the Holy Ghost. This is a fact which admits of no rational solution if the Scriptures do not really teach that the Spirit is a distinct person. The rule Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, is held by Protestants as well as by Romanists. It is not to the authority of general consent as an evidence of truth, that Protestants object, but to the applications made of it by the Papal Church, and to the principle on which that authority is made to rest. All Protestants admit that true believers in every age and country have one faith, as well as one God and one Lord.

B. Divinity of the Holy Spirit.

    On this subject there has been little dispute in the Church. The Spirit is so prominently presented in the Bible as possessing divine attributes, and exercising divine prerogatives, that since the fourth century his true divinity haa never been denied by those who admit his personality.

    1. In the Old Testament, all that is said of Jehovah is said of the Spirit of Jehovah; and therefore, if the latter is not a mere periphrase for the former, he must of necessity be divine. The expressions, Jehovah said, and, the Spirit said, are constantly interchanged; and the acts of the Spirit are said to be acts of God.

    2. In the New Testament, the language of Jehovah is quoted as the language of the Spirit. In Is. vi. 9, it is written, Jehovah said, "Go and tell this people," etc. This passage is thus quoted by Paul, Acts xxviii. 25, "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet," etc. In Jeremiah xxxi. 31, 33, 34, it is said, "Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel;" which is quoted by the Apos. the in Heb. x. 15, saying, "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts," etc. Thus constantly the language of God is quoted as the language of the Holy Ghost. The prophets were the messengers of God; they uttered his words, delivered his commands, pronounced his threatenings, and announced his promises, because they spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. They were the organs of God, because they were the organs of the Spirit. The Spirit, therefore, must be God.

    3. In the New Testament the same mode of representation is continued. Believers are the temple of God, because the Spirit dwells in them. Eph. ii. 22: Ye are "a habitation of God through the Spirit." 1 Cor. vi. :9: "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?" In Rom. viii. 9, 10, the indwelling of Christ is said to be the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ, and that is said to be the indwelling of the Spirit of God. In Acts v. 1-4, Ananias is said to have lied unto God because he lied against the Holy Ghost.

    4. Our Lord and his Apostles constantly speak of the Holy Spirit as possessing all divine perfections. Christ says, "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." (Matt. xii. 31.) The unpardonable sin, then, is speaking against the Holy Ghost. This could not be unless the Holy Ghost were God. The Apostle, in 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11, says that the Spirit knows all things, even the deep things (the most secret purposes) of God. His knowledge is commensurate with the knowledge of God. He knows the things of God as the spirit of a man knows the things of a man. The consciousness of God is the consciousness of the Spirit. The Psalmist teaches us that the Spirit is omnipresent and everywhere efficient. "Whither," he asks, "shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?" (Ps. cxxxix. 7.) The presence of the Spirit is the presence of God. The same idea is expressed by the prophet when he says, "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith Jehovah. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith Jehovah." (Jer. xxiii. 24.)

    5. The works of the Spirit are the works of God. He fashioned the world. (Gen. i. 2.) He regenerates the soul: to be born of the Spirit is to be born of God. He is the source of all knowledge; the giver of inspiration; the teacher, the guide, the sanctifier, and the comforter of the Church in all ages. He fashions our bodies; He formed the body of Christ, as a fit habitation for the fulness of the Godhead; and He is to quicken our mortal bodies. (Rom. viii. 11.)

    6. He is therefore presented in the Scriptures as the proper object of worship, not only in the formula of baptism and in the apostolic benediction, which bring the doctrine of the Trinity into constant remembrance as the fundamental truth of our religion, but abo in the constant requirement that we look to Him and depend upon Him for all spiritual good, and reverence and obey Him as our divine teacher and sanctifier.

Relation of the Spirit to the Father and to the Son.

    The relation of the Spirit to the other persons of the Trinity has been stated before. (1.) He is the same in substance and equal in power and glory. (2.) He is subordinate to the Father and Son, as to his mode of subsistence and operation, as He is said to be of the Father and of the Son; He is sent by them, and they operate through Him. (3.) He bears the same relation to the Father as to the Son; as He is said to be of the one as well as of the other, and He is given by the Son as well as by the Father. (4.) His eternal relation to the other persons of the Trinity is indicated by the word Spirit, and by its being said that he is evk toi. qeou/, out of God, i. e., God is the source whence the Spirit is said to proceed.

§ 2. The Office of the Holy Spirit.

A. In Nature.

    The general doctrine of the Scriptures on this subject is that the Spirit is the executive of the Godhead. Whatever God does, He does by the Spirit. Hence in the creed of Constantinople, adopted by the Church universal, He is said to be to. Pneu/ma( to. ku.rion( to. zwopoio,n.He is the immediate source of all life. Even in the external world the Spirit is everywhere present and everywhere active. Matter is not intelligent. It has its peculiar properties, which act blindly according to established laws. The intelligence, therefore, manifested in vegetable and animal structures, is not to he referred to matter, but to the omnipresent Spirit of God. It was He who brooded over the waters and reduced chaos into order. It was He who garnished the heavens. It is He that causes the grass to grow. The Psalmist says of all living creatures, "Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth." (Ps. civ. 29, 30.) Compare Is. xxxii. 14, 15. Job, speaking of his corporeal frame, says, "The Spirit of God hath made me." (Job xxxiii. 4.) And the Psalmist, after describing the omnipresence of the Spirit refers to his agency the wonderful mechanism of the human body. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . . . my substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." (Ps cxxxix. 14-16.) Cyprian (or the author of the Tract "De Spiritu Sancto," included in his works) says, "Hic Spiritus Sanctus ab ipso mundi initio aquio legitur superfusus; non materialibus aquis quasi vehiculo egons, quas potius ipse ferebat et complectentibus firmamentum dabat con gruum motum et limitem praefinitum. . . . [Hic est] spiritus vitae cujus vivificus calor animat omnia et fovet et provehit et foecundat. Hic Spiritus Sanctus omnium viventium anima, ita largitate sua se omnibus abundanter infundit, ut habeant omnia rationabilia et irrationabilia secundum genus suum ex eo quod sunt et quod in suo ordine suae naturae competentia agunt. Non quod ipse sit substantialis anima singulis, sed in se singulariter manens, de plenitudine sua distributor magnificus proprias efficientias singulis dividit et largitur; et quasi sol omnia calefaciens, subjecta omnia nutrit, et absque ulla sui diminutione, integritatemn suam de inexhausta abundantia, quod satis est, et sufficit omnibus, commodat et impartit."1

The Spirit the Source of all Intellectual Life.

    The Spirit is also represented as the source of all intellectual life. When man was created it is said God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became (hy"x; Xp,k,) a living soul." (Gen. ii. 7.) Job xxxii. 8, says, The inspiration of the Almighty giveth men understanding, i. e., a rational nature, for it is explained by saying, He "teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven." (Job xxxv. 11.) The Scriptures ascribe in like manner to Him all special or extraordinary gifts. Thus it is said of Bezaleel, "I have called" him, "and I have filed him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass." (Ex. xxxi. 2, 3, 4.) By his Spirit God gave Moses the wisdom requisite for his high duties, and when he was commanded to devolve part of his burden upon the seventy elders, it was said, "I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them." (Num. xi. 17.) Joshua was appointed to succeed Moses, because in him was the Spirit. (Num. xxvii. 18.) In like manner the Judges, who from time to time were raised up, as emergency demanded, were qualified by the Spirit for their peculiar work, whether as rulers or as warriors. Of Othniel it is said, "The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel and went out to war." (Judges iii. 10.) So the Spirit of the Lord is said to have come upon Gideon and on Jephthah and on Samson. When Saul offended God, the Spirit of the Lord is said to have departed from him. (I Sam. xvi. 14.) When Samuel anointed David, "The Spirit of the LORD came upon" him "from that day forward." (1 Sam. xvi. 13.) In like manner under the new dispensation the Spirit as represented as not only the author of miraculous gifts, but also as the giver of the qualifications to teach and rule in the Church. All these operations are independent of the sanctifying influences of the Spirit. When the Spirit came on Samson or upon Saul, it was not to render them holy, but to endue them with extraordinary physical and intellectual power; and when He is said to have departed from them, it means that those extraordinary endowments were withdrawn.

B. The Spirits Office in the Work of Redemption.

    With regard to the office of the Spirit in the work of redemption, the Scriptures teach, --

    1. That He fashioned the body, and endued the human soul of Christ with every qualification for his work. To the Virgin Mary it was said, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." (Luke i. 35.) The prophet Isaiah predicted that the Messiah should be replenished with all spiritual gifts. "Behold my servant whom I uphold; mine elect in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." (Is. xlii. 1.) "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD." (Is. xi. 1, 2.) When our Lord appeared on earth, it is said that the Spirit without measure was given unto Him. (John iii. 34.) "And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him." (John i. 32.) He was, therefore, said to have been full of the Holy Ghost.

    2. That the Spirit is the revealer of all divine truth. The doctrines of the Bible are called the things of the Spirit. With regard to the writers of the Old Testament, it is said they spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The language of Micah is applicable to all the prophets, "Truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin." (Micah iii. 8.) What David said, the Holy Ghost is declared to have said. The New Testament writers were in like manner the organs of the Spirit. The doctrines which Paul preached he did not receive from men "but God," he says, "hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit." (I Cor. ii. 10.) The Spirit also guided the utterance of those truths; for he adds, "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; communicating the things of the Spirit in the words of the Spirit" (pneumatikoi/j pneumatika. sugkri,nontej). The whole Bible, therefore, is to be referred to the Spirit as its author.

    3. The Spirit not only thus reveals divine truth, having guided infallibly holy men of old in recording it, but He everywhere attends it by his power. All truth is enforced on the heart and conscience with more or less power by the Holy Spirit, wherever that truth is known. To this all-pervading influence we are indebted for all there is of morality and order in the world. But besides this general influence, which is usually called common grace, the Spirit specially illuminates the minds of the children of God, that they may knew the things freely given (or revealed to them) by God. The natural man does not receive them, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. All believers are therefore called (pneumatikoi,)spiritual, because thus enlightened and guided by the Spirit.

    4. It is the special office of the Spirit to convince the world of sin; to reveal Christ, to regenerate the soul, to lead men to the exercise of faith and repentance; to dwell in those whom He thus renews, as a principle of a new and divine life. By this indwelling of the Spirit, believers are united to Christ, and to one another, so that they form one body. This is the foundation of the communion of saints, making them one in faith, one in love, one in their inward life, and one in their hopes and final destiny.

    5. The Spirit also calls men to office in the Church, and endows them with the qualifications necessary for the successful discharge of its duties. The office of the Church, in this matter, is simply to ascertain and authenticate the call of the Spirit. Thus the Holy Ghost is the immediate author of all truth, of all holiness, of all consolation, of all authority, and of all efficiency in the children of God individually, and in the Church collectively.

§ 3. History of the Doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit.

    During the Ante-Nicene period, the Church believed concerning the Holy Ghost what was revealed on the surface of Scripture, and what was involved in the religious experience of all Christians. There is to them one God, the Father, whose favour they had forfeited by sin, and to whom they must be reconciled: one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, through whom this reconciliation is effected; and one Holy Spirit, by whom they are, through Christ, brought near to God. This all Christians believed, as they professed in their baptism, and in repeating and receiving the apostolic benediction. With this simple faith underlying and sustaining the life of the Church, there coexisted among theologians great obscurity, indistinctness, and inconsistency of statement, especially in reference to the nature and office of the Holy Ghost. This ought not to be a matter of surprise, because in the Scriptures themselves the same work is often ascribed to God and to the Spirit of God, which led some at times to assume that these terms expressed one and the same thing; as the spirit of a man is the man himself. In the Scriptures, also, the terms Word and Breath (or Spirit) are often interchanged; and what in one place is said to be done by the Word, in another is said to be done by the Spirit. The Lo,goj is represented as the life of the world and the source of all knowledge, and yet the same is said of the Spirit. Paul declares in one place (Gal. i. 12) that he received the doctrines which he taught, by the revelation of Jesus Christ; in another (1 Cor. ii. 10), that he was taught them by the Spirit. Misled by such representation, some of the fathers identified the Son and Spirit. Even Tertullian, in one place says, "Spiritus substantia est Sermonis, et Sermo operatio Spiritus, et duo unum sunt."2 Finally, as it is plain from the Scripture that the Spirit is of the Son, as the Son is of the Father (the difference between generation and procession being perfectly inscrutable), all the Arians and semi-Arians who taught that the Son was created by the Father, held that the Spirit was created by the Son. This roused so much controversy and agitation, that first the Council of Nice, A. D. 325, and then that of Constantinople, A. D. 381, were called to frame a satisfactory statement of the Scriptural doctrine on this subject. In the Creed of the Apostles, as it is called, which is so ancient that Rufinus and Ambrose referred it to the Apostles themselves, it is simply said, " I believe on the Holy Ghost." The same words without addition are repeated in the Nicene Creed, but in the Creed of Constantinople it is added, "I believe in the Holy Ghost, the divine (to. ku,rion), the life-giving, who proceedeth from the Father, who is to be worshipped and glorified with the Father and the Son, and who spake through the prophets." In the Athanasian Creed (so-called), it is said that the Spirit is consubstantial with the Father and the Son; that He is uncreated, eternal, and omnipotent, equal in majesty and glory, and that He proceeds from the Father and the Son. These creeds are Catholic, adopted by the whole Church. Since they were framed there has been no diversity of faith on this subject among those recognized as Christians.

    Those who, since the Council of Constantinople have denied the common Church doctrine, whether Socinians, Arians, or Sabellians, regard the Holy Spirit not as a creature, but as the power of God, i.e., the manifested divine efficiency. The modern philosophical theologians of Germany do not differ essentially from this view. De Wette, for example, says, that the Spirit is God as revealed and operative in nature; Schleiermacher says the term designates God as operative in the Church, i. e., "der Gemeingeist der Kirche." This, however, is only a name. God with Schleiermacher is only the unity of the causality manifested in the world. That causality viewed in Christ we may call Son, and viewed in the Church we may call the Spirit. God is merely cause, and man a fleeting effect. Happily Schleiermacher's theology and Schleiermacher's religion were as different as the speculations and the every day faith of the idealist. 


1. Works, edit. Bremae, 1690, on p. 61 of the second set in the Opuscula.
2. Adversus Praxean, 15, Works, edit. Basle, 1562, p. 426.



The Decrees of God

§ 1. The Nature of the Decrees.   § 2. Objections to the Doctrine of Divine Decrees.

§ 1. The Nature of the Decrees.

    IT must be remembered that theology is not philosophy. It does not assume to discover truth, or to reconcile what it teaches as true with all other truths. Its province is simply to state what God has revealed in his Word, and to vindicate those statements as far as possible from misconceptions and objections. This limited and humble office of theology it is especially necessary to bear in mind, when we come to speak of the acts and purposes of God. "The things of God knoweth no man; but the Spirit of God." (1 Cor. ii. 11.) In treating, therefore, of the decrees of God, all that is proposed is simply to state what the Spirit has seen fit to reveal on that subject.

    "The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass."1 Agreeably to this statement: (1.) The end or final cause contemplated in all God's decrees, is his own glory. (2.) They are all reducible to one eternal purpose. (3.) They are free and sovereign, determined by the counsel of his own will. (4.) They comprehend all events.

A. The Glory of God the Final Cause of all his Decrees.

    The final cause of all God's purposes is his own glory. This is frequently declared to be the end of all things. "Thou art worthy," say the heavenly worshippers, "O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Rev. iv. 11.) All things are said to be not only of God and through Him, but for Him. He is the beginning and the end. The heavens declare his glory; that is the purpose for which they were made. God frequently announces his determination to make his glory known. "As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD." (Num. xiv. 21.) This is said to be the end of all the dispensations of his providence, whether beneficent or punitive. "For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it; for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another." (Is. xlviii. 11.) "I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen." (Ezek. xx. 9.) In like manner the whole plan of redemption and the dispensations of his grace, are declared to be designed to reveal the glory of God. (1 Cor. i. 26-31; Eph. ii. 8-10.) This is the end which our Lord proposed to Himself. He did everything for the glory of God; and for this end all his followers are required to live and act. As God is infinite, and all creatures are as nothing in comparison with Him, it is plain that the revelation of his nature and perfections must be the highest conceivable end of all things, and the most conducive to secure all other good subordinate ends. Order and truth, however, depend on things being put in their right relations. If we make the good of the creature the ultimate object of all God's works, then we subordinate God to the creature, and endless confusion and unavoidable error are the consequence. It is characteristic of the Bible that it places God first, and the good of the creation second. This also is the characteristic feature of Augustinianism as distinguished from all other forms of doctrine. And when the Protestants were divided at the time of the Reformation, it was mainly on this point. The Lutheran and Reformed churches are distinguished in all that characterizes their theological systems, by the fact that the latter allow the supremacy and sovereignty of God in the workings of his providence and grace to determine everything for his own glory, while the former lean more or less to the error of restraining God's liberty of action by the assumed powers and prerogatives of man. The Bible, Augustine, and the Reformed, give one answer to all such questions as the following: Why did God create the world? Why did He permit the occurrence of sin? Why was salvation provided for men and not for angels? Why was the knowledge of that salvation so long confined to one people? Why among those who hear the gospel, do some receive, and others reject it? To all these, and similar questions, the answer is, not because the happiness of creatures would be secured in a higher degree by the admission of sin and misery, than by their entire exclusion; some men are saved and others perish not because some of their own will believe and others do not believe, but simply because, Thus it seemed good in the eyes of God. Whatever He does or permits to be done, is done or permitted for the more perfect revelation of his nature and perfections. As the knowledge of God is the ground and sum of all good, it of course follows that the more perfectly God is known, the more fully the highest good (not merely nor necessarily the highest happiness) of the intelligent universe is promoted. But this is a subordinate effect, and not the chief end. It is therefore in accordance with the whole spirit and teachings of the Bible, and with the essential character of Augustinianism, that our standards make the glory of God the end of all his decrees.

B. The Decrees Reducible to one Purpose.

    The second point included in this doctrine is, that the decrees of God are all reducible to one purpose. By this is meant that from the indefinite number of systems, or series of possible events, present to the divine mind, God determined on the futurition or actual occurrence of the existing order of things, with all its changes, minute as well as great, from the beginning of time to all eternity. The reason, therefore, why any event occurs, or, that it passes from the category of the possible into that of the actual, is that God has so decreed. The decrees of God, therefore, are not many, but one purpose. They are not successively formed as the emergency arises, but are all parts of one all-comprehending plan. This view of the subject is rendered necessary by the nature of an infinitely perfect Being. It is inconsistent with the idea of absolute perfection, that the purposes of God are successive, or that He ever purposes what He did not originally intend; or that one part of his plan is independent of other parts. It is one scheme, and therefore one purpose. As, however, this one purpose includes an indefinite number of events, and as those events are mutually related, we therefore speak of the decrees of God as many, and as having a certain order. The Scriptures consequently speak of the judgments, counsels or purposes of God, in the plural number, and also of his determining one event because of another. When we look at an extensive building, or a complicated machine, we perceive at once the multiplicity of their parts, and their mutual relations. Our conception of the building or of the machine is one, and yet it comprehends many distinct perceptions, and the apprehension of their relations. So also in the mind of the architect or mechanist, the whole is one idea, though he intends many things, and one in reference to another. We can, therefore, in a measure, understand how the vast scheme of creation, providence, and redemption, lies in the divine mind as one simple purpose, although including an infinite multiplicity of causes and effects.

C. The Decrees of God are Eternal.

    That the decrees of God are eternal, necessarily follows from the perfection of the divine Being. He cannot be supposed to have at one time plans or purposes which He had not at another. He sees the end from the beginning; the distinctions of time have no reference to him who inhabits eternity. The Scriptures therefore always speak of events in time as revelations of a purpose formed in eternity. The salvation of men, for example, is said to be "according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus." (Eph. iii. 11.) What is revealed in time was hidden for ages, i. e., from eternity in the mind of God. (Eph. iii. 9.) Believers were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Eph. i. 4.) "Who hath saved us, and called us . . . . according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, pro. cro,nwn aivwni,wn, before eternal ages." (2 Tim. i. 9.) Christ as a sacrifice was "foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God." (1 Pet. i. 20, 21; Rom. xi. 33-36; Acts ii. 23.) This is the constant representation of Scripture. History in all its details, even the most minute, is but the evolution of the eternal purposes of God. It is no objection to this doctrine that the Scriptures often represent one purpose of God as consequent upon another, or that they speak of his purposes as determined by the conduct of men. The language of Scripture is founded on apparent truth; they speak, as men always do, as things appear, not as they themselves know or believe them to be. We speak of the concave heavens, or of the firm foundation of the heavens, although we know that it is not concave, and that it does not rest on any foundation. So the Bible speaks of the decrees of God as they appear to us in their successive revelation and in their mutual relations, and not as they exist from eternity in the divine mind. Neither is there any force in the objection that the agent must be before his acts. The sun is not before his brightness, nor the mind before thought, nor life before consciousness, nor God before his purposes. These objections are founded on the assumption that God is subject to the limitations of time. To Him there is neither past nor future, neither before nor after.

D. The Decrees of God are Immutable.

    Change of purpose arises either from the want of wisdom or from, the want of power. As God is infinite in wisdom and power, there can be with Him no unforeseen emergency and no inadequacy of means, and nothing can resist the execution of his original intention. To Him, therefore, the causes of change have no existence. With God there is, as the Scriptures teach, "no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James i. 17.) "The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. (Ps. xxxiii. 11.) "The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand." (Is. xiv. 24.) "I am God . . . . declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." (Is. xlvi. 9, 10.) The uniformity of the laws of nature is a constant revelation of the immutability of God. They are now what they were at the beginning of time, and they are the same in every part of the universe. No less stable are the laws which regulate the operations of the reason and conscience. The whole government of God, as the God of nature and as moral governor, rests on the immutability of his counsels.

E. The Decrees of God are Free.

    This includes three ideas, --

    1. They are rational determinations, founded on sufficient reasons. This is opposed to the doctrine of necessity, which assumes that God acts by a mere necessity of nature, and that all that occurs is due to the law of development or of self-manifestation of the divine being. This reduces God to a mere natura naturans, or vis formativa, which acts without design. The true doctrine is opposed also to the idea that the only cause of events is an intellectual force analogous to the instincts of irrational animals. The acts performed under the guidance of instinct are not free acts, for liberty is a libentia rationalis, spontaneity determined by reason. It is therefore involved in the idea of God as a rational and personal being that his decrees are free. He was free to create or not to create; to create such a world as now is, or one entirely different. He is free to act or not act, and when He purposes, it is not from any blind necessity, but according to the counsel of his own will.

    2. Our purposes are free, even when formed under the influence of other minds. We may be argued or persuaded into certain courses of action, or induced to form our designs out of regard to the wishes or interests of others. God is infinitely exalted above all ab extra influence. "Who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?" (Rom. xi. 34.) "Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like Him? Who hath enjoined Him his way?" (Job xxxvi. 22, 23.) "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord? or being his counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment?" (Is. xl. 13, 14.) "Who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him?" (1 Cor. ii. 16.) God adopted the plan of the universe on the grounds of his own good pleasure, for his own glory, and every subordinate part of it in reference to the whole. His decrees are free, therefore, in a far higher sense than that in which the ordinary purposes of men are free. They were formed purely on the counsel of his own will. He purposes and does what seemeth good in his sight.

    3. The decrees of God are free in the sense of being absolute or sovereign. The meaning of this proposition is expressed negatively by saying that the decrees of God are in no case conditional. The event decreed is suspended on a condition, but the purpose of God is not. It is inconsistent with the nature of God to assume suspense or indecision on his part. If He has not absolutely determined on what is to occur, but waits until an undetermined condition is or is not fulfilled, then his decrees can neither be eternal nor immutable. He purposes one thing if the condition be fulfilled, and another if it be not fulfilled, and thus everything must be uncertain not only in the divine mind, but also in the event. The Scriptures, therefore, teach that He doeth whatsoever He pleaseth. (Ps. cxv. 3.) He doeth his pleasure in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth. (Dan. iv. 35; Ps. cxxxv. 6.) Of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. (Rom. xi. 36.) It is expressly taught that the purposes of God, even as to the future destiny of men, are founded on his own good pleasure. As all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, He has mercy upon whom He will have mercy. It is not according to our works, but of his grace that He saves us. It is of Him that we are in Christ Jesuss, that those who glory should glory in the Lord. (Matt. xi. 26; Rom. viii. 29, 30; ix. 15-18; Eph. i. 5, etc., etc.)

F. The Decrees of God are certainly Efficacious.

    The decrees of God are certainly efficacious, that is, they render certain the occurrence of what He decrees. Whatever God foreordains, must certainly come to pass. The distinction between the efficient (or efficacious) and the permissive decrees of God, although important, has no relation to the certainty of events. All events embraced in the purpose of God are equally certain, whether He has determined to bring them to pass by his own power, or simply to permit their occurrence through the agency of his creatures. It was no less certain from eternity that Satan would tempt our first parents, and that they would fall, than that God would send his Son to die for sinners. The distinction in question has reference only to the relation which events bear to the efficiency of God. Some things He purposes to do, others He decrees to permit to be done. He effects good, He permits evil. He is the author of the one, but not of the other. With this explanation, the proposition that the decrees of God are certainly efficacious, or render certain all events to which they refer, stands good. This is proved, --

    1. From the perfection of God, which forbids the ascription to Him of purposes uncertain as to their accomplishment. No man fails to execute what he purposes, except through the want of wisdom or power to secure the end proposed, or through some vacillation in his own mind. It would be to reduce God to the level of his creatures, to assume that what He decrees, should fail to come to pass.

    2. From the unity of God's plan. If that plan comprehends all events, all events stand in mutual relation and dependence. If one part fails, the whole may fail or be thrown into confusion.

    3. From the evident concatenation of events in the progress of history, which proves that all things are intimately connected, the most important events often depending on the most trivial, which shows that all must be comprehended in the plan of God.

    4. From the providential and moral government of God. There could be no certainty in either if the decrees of God were not efficacious. There could be no assurance that any divine prophecy, promise, or threatening, would be accomplished. All ground of confidence in God would thus be lost, and chance and not God would become the arbiter of all events. The Scriptures variously and constantly teach this doctrine, (a.) By all those passages which assert the immutability and sovereignty of the divine decrees. (b.) By those which affirm that He fixes the bounds of our habitations, that our days are all numbered, and that even a hair from our heads cannot perish without his notice. (c.) By those which declare that nothing can counteract his designs. "The LORD of hosts," says the prophet, "hath purposed, who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back." (Is. xiv. 27.) "I will work, and who shall let it?" (xliii. 13.) (d.) By those which teach doctrines that necessarily assume the certainty of all God's decrees. The whole plan of redemption rests on that foundation. It is inconceivable that God should devise such a scheme, and not secure its executions and that He should send his Son into the world, and leave the consequences of that infinite condescension undetermined. It is, therefore, the doctrine of reason as well as of Scripture, that God has a plan or end for which the universe was created, that the execution of that plan is not left contingent, and that whatever is embraced in the decrees of God must certainly come to pass.

G. The Decrees of God relate to all Events.

    God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass. Some events are necessary, that is, are brought about by the action of necessary causes; others are contingent or free, or are acts of free agents; some are morally good, others are sinful. The doctrine of the Bible is, that all events, whether necessary or contingent, good or sinful, are included in the purpose of God, and that their futurition or actual occurrence is rendered absolutely certain. This is evident,

    1. From the unity of the divine purposes. That unity supposes that the whole scheme of creation, providence, and redemption, was fixed by the divine decree. It was formed from ages in the divine mind, and is gradually unfolded by the course of events. It is therefore inconsistent with this sublime and Scriptural representation, to suppose that any class of actual events, and especially that class which is most influential and important, should be omitted from the divine purpose. He who purposes a machine, purposes all its parts. The general who plans a campaign, includes all the movements of every corps, division, and brigade in his army, and if his foresight were perfect, and his control of events absolute, his foreordination would extend to every act of every soldier. Whatever is wanting in his foreordination is due to the limitation of human power. As God is infinite in knowledge and resources, his purpose must include all events.

    2. It is therefore inconsistent with the perfection of God to suppose either that He could not form a plan comprehending all events, or that He could not carry it into execution, without doing violence to the nature of his creatures.

    3. The universality of the decree follows from the universal dominion of God. Whatever He does, He certainly purposed to do. Whatever He permits to occur, He certainly purposed to permit. Nothing can occur that was not foreseens, and if foreseen it must have been intended. As the Scriptures teach that the providential control of God extends to all events, even the most minute, they do thereby teach that his decrees are equally comprehensive.

    4. Another argument is derived from the certainty of the divine government. As all events are more or less intimately connected, and as God works by means, if God does not determine the means as well as the event, all certainty as to the event itself would be destroyed. In determining the redemption of man, He thereby determined on the mission, incarnation, sufferings, death, and resurrection of his Son, on the gift of the Spirit, upon the faith, repentance, and perseverance of all his people. The prediction of future events, which often depend on the most fortuitous occurrences, or which include those that appear to us of no account, proves that the certainty of the divine administration rests on the foreordination of God extending to all events both great and small.

    The Scriptures in various ways teach that God foreordains whatever comes to pass.

    1. They teach that God works all things according to the counsel of his will. There is nothing to limit the words "all things," and therefore they must be taken in the fullest extent.

    2. It is expressly declared that fortuitous events, that is, events which depend on causes so subtle and so rapid in their operation as to elude our observation, are predetermined; as the falling of the lot, the flight of an arrow, the falling of a sparrow, the number of the hairs of our heads.

Free Acts are Foreordained.

    3. The Bible especially declares that the free acts of men are decreed beforehand. This is involved in the doctrine of prophecy, which assumes that events involving the free acts of a multitude of men are foreseen and foreordained. God promises to give faith, a new heart, to write his law upon the minds of his people, to work in them to will and to do, to convert the Gentiles, to fill the world with the true worshippers of Christ, to whom every knee is gladly to bow. If God has promised these things, He must of course purpose them, but they all involve the free acts of men.

    4. The Scriptures teach that sinful acts, as well as such as are holy, are foreordained. In Acts ii. 23, it is said, "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain;" v. 27. "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." "Truly the Son of Man goeth as it was determined; but woe unto that man by whom He is betrayed." (Luke xxii. 22.) It was foreordained that He should be betrayed; but woe to him who fulfilled the decree. Here foreordination and responsibility are by our Lord Himself declared to coexist and to be consistent. In Rev. xvii. 17, it is said, "God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled." The crucifixion of Christ was beyond doubt foreordained of God. It was, however, the greatest crime ever committed. It is therefore beyond all doubt the doctrine of the Bible that sin is foreordained.

    5. Besides this, the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar, the destruction of Jerusalem, and many other similar events, were predicted, and therefore predetermined, but they included the commission of innumerable sins, without which the predictions, and consequently the revealed purposes of God, could not have been accomplished.

    6. The whole course of history is represented as the development of the plan and purposes of God; and yet human history is little else than the history of sin. No one can read the simple narrative concerning Joseph, as given in the book of Genesis, without seeing that everything in his history occurred in execution of a preconceived purpose of God. The envy of his brethren, their selling him into Egypt, and his unjust imprisonment, were all embraced in God's plan. "God," as Joseph himself said to his brethren, "sent me before you, to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God." (Gen. xlv. 7, 8.) This is but an illustration. What is true of the history of Joseph, is true of all history. It is the development of the plan of God: God is in history, and although we cannot trace his path step by step, yet it is plain in the general survey of events, through long periods, that they are ordered by God to the accomplishment of his divine purposes. This is obvious enough in the history of the Jewish nation, as recorded in the Scripture, but it is no less true in regard to all history. The acts of the wicked in persecuting the early Church, were ordained of God as the means for the wider and more speedy proclamation of the Gospel. The sufferings of the martyrs were the means not only of extending but of purifying the Church. The apostasy of the man of sin being predicted, was predetermined. The destruction of the Huguenots in France, the persecution of the Puritans in England, laid the foundation for the planting of North America with a race of godly and energetic men, who were to make this land the land of refuge for the nations, the home of liberty, civil and religious. It would destroy the confidence of God's people could they be persuaded that God does not foreordain whatsoever comes to pass. It is because the Lord reigns, and doeth his pleasure in heaven and on earth, that they repose in perfect security under his guidance and protection. 

§ 2. Objections to the Doctrine of Divine Decrees.

A. Foreordination inconsistent with Free Agency.

    It is urged that the foreordination of all events is inconsistent with the free agency of man. The force of this objection depends on what is meant by a free act. To decide whether two things are inconsistent, the nature of each must be determined. By the decrees of God are to be understood the purpose of God rendering certain the occurrence of future events. By a free act is meant an act of rational self-determination by an intelligent person. If such an act is from its very nature contingent, or uncertain, then it is clear that foreordination is inconsistent with free agency. This theory of liberty has been adopted by a large body of philosophers and theologians, and is for them an insuperable objection to the doctrine of the divine decrees. In answer to the objection, it may be remarked, (1.) That it bears with equal force against foreknowledge. What is foreknown must be certain, as much as what is foreordained. If the one, therefore, be inconsistent with liberty, so also is the other. This is sometimes candidly admitted. Socinus argues that the knowledge of God embraces all that is knowable. Future free actions being uncertain, are not the objects of knowledge, and therefore it is no impeachment of the divine omniscience to say that they cannot be known. But then they cannot he predicted. We find, however, that the Scriptures are filled with such predictions. It is, therefore, evident that the sacred writers fully believed that free acts are foreknown by the divine mind, and therefore are certain as to their occurrence. Besides, if God cannot foreknow how free agents will act, He must be ignorant of the future, and be constantly increasing in knowledge. This is so incompatible with all proper ideas of the infinite mind, that it has been almost universally rejected, both by philosophers and by Christian theologians. A still weaker evasion is that proposed by some Arminian writers, who admit that God's knowledge is not limited by anything out of Himself, but hold that it may be limited by his own will. In creating free agents, He willed not to foreknow how they would act, in order to leave their freedom unimpaired. But this is to suppose that God wills not to be God; that the Infinite wills to be finite. Knowledge with God is not founded on his will, except so far as the knowledge of vision is concerned, i. e., his knowledge of his own purposes, or of what He has decreed shall come to pass. If not founded on his will, it cannot be limited by it. Infinite knowledge must know all things, actual or possible. It may, however, be said that there is a difference between foreknowledge and foreordination, in so far that the former merely assumes the certainty of future events, whereas the latter causes their futurition. But as the certainty of occurrence is the same in both cases, it makes no difference as to the matter in hand. The decree only renders the event certain; and therefore if certainty be not inconsistent with liberty, then foreordination is not. That an event may be free and yet certain, may be easily proved. (1.) It is a matter of consciousness. We are often absolutely certain how we shall act, so far as we are free to act at all, and conscious that we act freely. A parent may be certain that he will succor a child in distress, and be conscious that his free agency is not thereby impaired. The more certain, in many cases, the more perfectly are we self-controlled. (2.) Free acts have been predicted, and therefore their occurrence was certain. (3) Nothing was more certain than that our Lord would continue holy, harmless, and undefiled, yet his acts were all free. (4.) It is certain that the people of God will repent, believe, and persevere in holiness forever in heaven, yet they do not cease to be free agents. The decrees of God, therefore, which only secure the certainty of events, are not inconsistent with liberty as to the mode of their occurrence. Although his purpose comprehends all things, and is immutable, yet thereby "no violence is offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."

B. Foreordination of Sin inconsistent with Holiness.

    It is further objected that it is inconsistent with the holiness of God that He should foreordain sin. There are two methods of dealing with this and all similar objections. The one may be called the Scriptural method, as it is the one often adopted by the sacred writers. It consists in showing that the objection bears against the plain declarations of Scripture, or against the facts of experience. In either case, it is for us sufficiently answered. It is vain to argue that a holy and benevolent God cannot permit sin and misery, if sin and misery actually exist. It is vain to say that his impartiality forbids that there should be any diversity in the endowments, advantages, or happiness of his rational creatures. It is vain to insist that a holy God cannot permit children to suffer for the sins of their parents, when we constantly see that they do thus suffer. So it is utterly irrational to contend that God cannot foreordain sin, if He foreordained (as no Christian doubts) the crucifixion of Christ. The occurrence of sin in the plan adopted by God, is a palpable fact; the consistency, therefore, of fore-ordination with the holiness of God cannot rationally be denied. The second method of dealing with such objections is to show that the principle on which they are founded is unsound. The principle on which the objection under consideration rests, is that an agent is responsible for all the necessary or certain consequences of his acts. The objection is, that a holy God cannot decree the occurrence of sin, because his decree renders that occurrence certain. That is, an agent is responsible for whatever his act renders certain. That principle, however, is utterly untenable. A righteous judge, in pronouncing sentence on a criminal, may be sure that he will cause wicked and bitter feelings in the criminal's mind, or in the hearts of his friends, and yet the judge be guiltless. A father, in excluding a reprobate son from his family, may see that the inevitable consequence of such exclusion will be his greater wickedness, and yet the father may do right. It is the certain consequence of God's leaving the fallen angels and the finally impenitent to themselves, that they will continue in sin, and yet the holiness of God remain untarnished. The Bible clearly teaches that God judicially abandons men to their sins, giving them up to a reprobate mind, and He therein is most just and holy. It is not true, therefore, that an agent is responsible for all the certain consequences of his acts. It may be, and doubtless is, infinitely wise and just in God to permit the occurrence of sin, and to adopt a plan of which sin is a certain consequence or element; yet as he neither causes sin, nor tempts men to its commission, He is neither its author nor approver. He sees and knows that higher ends will be accomplished by its admission than by its exclusion, that a perfect exhibition of his infinite perfections will be thereby effected and therefore for the highest reason decrees that it shall occur through the free choice of responsible agents. Our great ground of confidence, however, is the assurance that the judge of all the earth must do right. Sin is, and God is; therefore the occurrence of sin must be consistent with his nature; and as its occurrence cannot have been unforeseen or undesigned, God's purpose or decree that it should occur must be consistent with his holiness.

C. The Doctrine of Decrees destroys all Motive to Exertion.

    A third objection is, that the doctrine of foreordination, which supposes the certainty of all events, tends to the neglect of all use of means. If everything will happen just as God has predetermined, we need give ourselves no concern, and need make no effort. (1.) This objection supposes that God has determined the end without reference to the means. The reverse, however, is true. The event is determined in connection with the means. If the latter fail, so will the former. God has decreed that men shall live by food. If any man refuses to eat, he will die. He has ordained that men shall be saved through faith. If a man refuses to believe, he will perish. If God has purposed that a man shall live, He has also purposed to preserve him from the suicidal folly of refusing to eat. (2.) There is another fallacy included in this objection. It supposes that the certainty that an event will happen, acts as a motive to neglect the means of its attainment. This is not according to reason or experience. The stronger the hope of success, the greater the motive to exertion. If sure of success in the use of the appropriate means, the incentive to effort becomes as strong as it can be. On the other hand, the less hope, the less disposition there is to exert ourselves; and where there is no hope, there will be no exertion. The rational and Scriptural foundation for the use of means, and the proper motives to avail ourselves of them, are, (1.) The command of God. (2.) Their adaptation to produce the effect. (3.) The divine ordination which makes the means necessary to the attainment of the end. And (4.) The promise of God to give his blessing to those who obediently avail themselves of the means of his appointment.

D. It is Fatalism.

    It is objected, in the fourth place, that the doctrine of decrees amounts to the heathen doctrine of fate. There is only one point of agreement between these doctrines. They both assume absolute certainty in the sequence of all events. They differ, however, not only as to the ground of that certainty, the nature of the influence by which it is secured, and the ends therein contemplated, but also in their natural effects on the reason and conscience of men.

    The word Fatalism has been applied to different systems, some of which admit, while others deny or ignore the existence of a supreme intelligence. But in common usage it designates the dotrine that all events come to pass under the operation of a blind necessity. This system differs from the Scriptural doctrine of foreordination, (1.) In that it excludes the idea of final causes. There is no end to which all things tend, and for the accomplishment of which they exist. According to the Scriptural doctrine, all things are ordained and controlled to accomplish the highest conceivable or possible good. (2.) In that according to Fatalism the sequence of events is determined by an unintelligent concatenation of causes and effects. According to the doctrine of decrees, that sequence is determined by infinite wisdom and goodness. (3.) Fatalism admits of no distinction between necessary and free causes. The acts of rational agents are as much determined by a necessity out of themselves as the operations of nature. According to the Scriptures, the freedom and responsibility of man are fully preserved. The two systems differ, therefore, as much as a machine differs from a man; or as the actions of infinite intelligence, power, and love differ from the law of gravitation. (4.) The one system, therefore, leads to the denial of all moral distinctions, and to stolid insensibility or despair. The other to a sedulous regard to the will of an infinitely wise and good ruler, all whose acts are determined by a sufficient reason; and to filial confidence and submission. 


1. Westminster Shorter Catechism, 7.




£ 1. Different Theories concerning the Origin of the Universe.§ 2. Mediate and Immediate Creation.
§ 3. Proof of the Doctrine.
  § 4. Objections to the Doctrine.§ 5. Design of the Creation.
§ 6. The Mosaic Account of the Creation.

£1. Different Theories concerning the Origin of the Universe.

    THE question concerning the origin of the universe has forced itself on the minds of men in all ages. That the mutable cannot be eternal, would seem to be self-evident. As everything within the sphere of human observation is constantly changing, men have been constrained to believe that the world as it now is had a beginning. But if it began to be, whence did it come? Without the light of a divine revelation, this question is unanswerable. The data for the solution of the problem do not lie within the sphere either of experience or of reason. All human theories on this subject are nothing more than conjectures more or less ingenious.

    Apart from the pantheistic doctrine which makes the universe the existence form, or, as Goethe calls it, "das lebendige Kleid" (the living garment) of God, the most prevalent views on this subject are, First, those theories which exclude mind from the causative origin of the world; Secondly, those which admit of mind, but only as connected with matter; and Thirdly, the Scriptural doctrine which assumes the existence of an infinite extramundane mind to whose power and will the existence of all things out of God is to be referred.

    It is a self-evident truth that existence cannot spring spontaneously from non-existence. In this sense ex nihilo nihil fit is an universally admitted axiom. Those, therefore, who deny the existence of an extramundane mind, are forced to admit that as the universe now is, it must have always been. But as it is in a state of perpetual change it has not always been as it now is. There was a primordial state out of which the present order of things has arisen. The question is, How?

The purely Physical Theory.

    According to the first hypothesis just mentioned, the primordial condition of the universe was that of universally diffused matter in a highly attenuated state. This matter had the properties, or forces, which it now everywhere exhibits; and under the operation of these forces and in accordance with the laws of heat, motion, etc., not only the great cosmical bodies were formed and arranged themselves in their present harmonious relations, but also all the organisms, vegetable and animal, on this globe and elsewhere, were fashioned and sustained. Every man knows enough of physical laws to be able to predict with certainty that on a cold day in the open air the moisture of his breath will be condensed; so, according to Professor Huxley, on this hypothesis, with adequate knowledge of those laws, it would have been easy from the beginning to predict, not only the mechanism of the heavens, but the fauna and flora of our globe in all the states and stages of its existence.

    The Nebular hypothesis, as first proposed by La Place, was the application of this theory to the explanation of the origin and order of the heavenly bodies. This hypothesis may be thus stated, "Suppose that the matter composing the entire solar system once existed in the condition of a single nebulous mass, extending beyond the orbit of the most remote planet. Suppose that this nebula has a slow rotation upon an axis, and that by radiation it gradually cools, thereby contracting in its dimensions. As it contracts in its dimensions, its velocity of rotation, according to the principles of Mechanics, must necessarily increase, and the centrifugal force thus generated in the exterior portion of the nebula would at length become equal to the attraction of the central mass. This exterior portion would thus become detached, and revolve independently as an immense zone or ring. As the central mass continued to cool and contract in its dimensions, other zones would in the same manner become detached, while the central mass continually decreases in size and increases in density. The zones thus successively detached would generally break up into separate masses revolving independently about the sun; and if their velocities were slightly unequal, the matter of each zone would ultimately collect in a single planetary, but still gaseous, mass, having a spheroidal form, and also a motion of rotation about an axis. As each of these planetary masses became still farther cooled, it would pass through a succession of changes similar to those of the first solar nebula; rings of matter would be formed surrounding the planetary nucleus, and these rings, if they broke up into separate masses, would ultimately form satellites revolving about their primaries."1 We thus have an ordered universe without the intervention of mind. Every one knows, however, that there is a form in which the nebular hypothesis is held by many Christian theists.

Theories which assume Intelligence in Nature itself.

    The obvious impossibility of blind causes acting intelligently, or, of necessary causes being elective in their operation, has led many who deny the existence of an extramundane Mind to hold, that life and intelligence pertain to matter itself in some at least of its combinations. A plant lives. There is something in the seed which secures its development, each after its kind. There is, therefore, something in the plant, which according to this theory is not external to the plant itself, which does the work of mind. That is, it selects or chooses from the earth and air the elements needed for its support and growth. It moulds these elements into organic forms, intended to answer a purpose, and adapted with wonderful skill to accomplish a given object. With regard to this principle of life, this vital force, it is to be remarked that it is in the plant; that it is never manifested, never acts, except in union with the matter of which the plant is composed; when the plant dies, its vitality is extinguished. It ceases to exist in the same sense in which light ceases when darkness takes its place.

    What is true of the vegetable, is no less true of the animal world. Every animal starts in an almost imperceptible germ. But that germ has something in it which determines with certainty the genus, species, and variety of the animal. It fashions all his organs; prepares the eye for tle light yet to be seen; the ear for sounds yet to be heard; the lungs for air yet to be breathed. Nothing more wonderful than this is furnished by the universe in any of its phenomena.

    If, therefore, vegetable and animal life work all these wonders, what need have we to assume an extramundane mind to account for any of the phenomena of the universe? All that is necessary is, that nature, natura naturans, the vis in rebus insita, should act just as we see that the vital principle does act in plants and animals. This is Hylozoism; the doctrine that matter is imbued with a principle of life.

    Another form of this theory is more dualistic. It admits the existence of mind and matter as distinct substances, but always existing in combination, as soul and body in man in our present stage of being. The advocates of this doctrine, therefore, instead of speaking of nature as the organizing force, speak of the soul of the world; the anima mundi, etc.

    It is enough to remark concerning these theories, (1.) That they leave the origin of things unaccounted for. Whence came the matter, which the theory in one form assumes? Whence came its physical properties, to which all organization is referred? And as to the other doctrine, it may be asked, Whence came the living germs of plants and animals? To assume that matter in a state of chaos is eternal; or that there has been an endless succession of living germs; or that there has been an eternal succession of cycles in the history of the universe, chaos unfolding itself into cosmos, during immeasurable ages, are all assumptions which shock the reason, and must of necessity be destitute of proof.

    (2.) These theories are atheistic. They deny the existence of a personal Being to whom we stand in the relation of creatures and children. The existence of such a Being is an innate, intuitive truth. It cannot be permanently disbelieved. And, therefore, any theory which denies the existence of God must be not only false but short-lived.

The Scriptural Doctrine.

    The Scriptural doctrine on this subject is expressed in the first words of the Bible: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The heavens and the earth include all things out of God. Of which things the Scriptures teach that they owe their existence to the will and power of God. The Scriptural doctrine therefore is, (1.) That the universe is not eternal. It began to be. (2.) It was not formed out of any preexistence or substance; but was created ex nihilo. (3.) That creation was not necessary. It was free to God to create or not to create, to create the universe as it is, or any other order and system of things, according to the good pleasure of his will.

    The doctrine of an eternal creation has been held in various forms. Origen, although he referred the existence of the universe to the will of God, still held that it was eternal. We speak of the divine decrees as free and yet as from everlasting. So Origen held that this was not the first world God made; that there never was a first, and never will be a last. "Quid ante faciebat Deus," he asks, "quam mundus inciperet? Otiosam enim et immobilem dicere naturam Dei, impium est simul et absurdum, vel putare, quod bonitas aliquando bene non fecerit, et omnipotentia aliquando non egerit potentatum. Hoc nobis objicere solent dicentibus mundum hunc ex certo tempore coepisse, et secundum scripturae fidem annos quoque aetatis ipsius numerantibus. . . . Nos vero consequenter respondimus observantes regulam pietatis, quoniam non tunc primum cum visibilem istum mundum fecit Deus, coepit operari, sed sicut post corruptionem hujus erit alius mundus, ita et antequam hic esset, fuisse alios credimus."2

    Of course those of the schoolmen who made the thoughts of God creative, or identified purpose with act, or who said with Scotus Erigena, "Non aliud Deo esse et velle et facere," must regard the universe as coeternal with God. This was done by Scotus in a pantheistic sense, but others who regarded the universe as distinct from God and dependent upon Him, still held that the world is eternal. The influence of the modern Monistic philosophy, even upon theologians who believe in an extramundane personal God, has been such as to lead many of them to assume that the relation between God and the world is such that it must have always existed. The common doctrine of the Church has ever been, in accordance with the simple teaching of the Bible, that the world began to be.

    The second point included in the Scriptural doctrine of creation is, that the universe was not formed out of any preexistent matter, nor out of the substance of God. The assumption that any thing existed out of God and independent of his will, has ever been rejected as inconsistent with the perfection and absolute supremacy of God. The other idea, however, namely, that God fashioned the world out of his own substance, has found advocates, more or less numerous, in every age of the Church. Augustine, referring to this opinion, says, "Fecisti coelum et terram; non de te: nam esset aequale unigenito tuo, ac per hoc et tibi, . . . . et aliud praeter te non erat, unde faceres ea; . . . . et ideo de nihilo fecisti coelum et terram."3

    Not only those of the schoolmen and of the modern theologians who are inclined to the Monistic theory, made all things to be modifications of the substance of God, but many Theistic and even Evangelical writers of our day hold the same doctrine.4 Sir William Hamilton also held that it is impossible to conceive the complement of existence being either increased or diminished. When anything new appears we are forced to regard it as something which had previously existed in another form. "We are unable, on the one hand, to conceive nothing becoming something; or, on the other, something becoming nothing. When God is said to create out of nothing, we construe this to thought by supposing that He evolves existence out of Himself; we view the Creator as the cause of the Universe. 'Ex nihilo nihil, in nihilum nil posse reverti,' expresses, in its purest form, the whole intellectual phenomenon of causality."5 To this he elsewhere adds, "In like manner, we conceive annihilation, only by conceiving the Creator to withdraw his creation from actuality into power. . . . The mind is thus compelled to recognize an absolute identity of existence in the effect and in the complement of its causes -- between the causatum and the causa,"6and therefore, "an absolute identity of existence" between God and the world. This doctrine the fathers, and the Church generally, strenuously resisted as inconsistent with the nature of God. It supposes that the substance of God admits of partition or division; that the attributes of God can be separated from his substance; and that the divine substance can become degraded and polluted.

    The third point included in the Scriptural doctrine of creation is, that it was an act of God's free will. He was free to create or not to create. This is opposed to the doctrine of necessary creation, which has been set forth in different forms. Some regard the phenomenal universe as a mere evolution of absolute being by a necessary process, as a plant is developed from a seed. Others, regarding God as a Spirit, make life and thought essential and coeternal with Him, and this life and power are of necessity creative. God's "essence," says Cousin, "consists precisely in his creative power."7 Again, he says,8 "He cannot but produce; so that the creation ceases to be unintelligible; and God is no more without a world than a world without God." As, however, thought is spontaneous, Cousin, when called to account for such utterances, maintained that he did not deny that creation was free.

    Some who do not admit that God is under any natural or metaphysical necessity to give existence to the universe, still assert a moral necessity for the creation of sensitive and rational creatures. God, it is said, is love; but it is the nature of love to long to communicate itself, and to hold fellowship with others than itself. Therefore God's nature impels Him to call into existence creatures in whom and over whom He can rejoice. Others say, that God is benevolence, and therefore is under a moral necessity of creating beings whom He can render happy. Thus Leibnitz says "Dieu n'est point necessite, metaphysiquement parlant, a la creation de ce monde. . . . . Cependant Dieu est oblige, par une necessite morale, a faire les choses en sorte qu'il ne se puisse rien de mieux."9

    According to the Scriptures God is self-sufficient. He needs nothing out of Himself for his own well-being or happiness. He is in every respect independent of his creatures; and the creation of the universe was the act of the free will of that God of whom the Apostle says in Rom. xi. 36, "Of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things."

    The common faith of the Church on this subject is clearly and beautifully expressed by Melancthon:10 "Quod autem res ex nihilo conditae sint, docet haec sententia: ipse dixit et facta sunt; ipse mandavit, et creata sunt, id est dicente seu jubente Deo, res exortae sunt: non igitur ex materia priore exstructae sunt, sed Deo dicente, cum res non essent, esse coeperunt; et cum Joannes in quit: Omnia per ipsum facta esse, refutat Stoicam imaginationem, quae fingit materiam non esse factam."

§ 2. Mediate and Immediate Creation.

    But while it has ever been the doctrine of the Church that God created the universe out of nothing by the word of his power, which creation was instantaneous and immediate, i. e., without the intervention of any second causes; yet it has generally been admitted that this is to be understood only of the original call of matter into existence. Theologians have, therefore, distinguished between a first and second, or immediate and mediate creation. The one was instantaneous, the other gradual; the one precludes the idea of any preexisting substance, and of cooperation, the other admits and implies both. There is evident ground for this distinction in the Mosaic account of the creation. God, we are told, "created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Here it is clearly intimated that the universe, when first created, was in a state of chaos, and that by the life-giving, organizing power of the Spirit of God, it was gradually moulded into the wonderful cosmos which we now behold. The whole of the first chapter of Genesis, after the first verse, is an account of the progress of creation; the production of light; the formation of an atmosphere; the separation of land and water; the vegetable productions of the earth; the animals of the sea and air; then the living creatures of the earth; and, last of all, man. In Gen. i. 27, it is said that God created man male and female; in chapter ii. 7, it is said, that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground." It thus appears that forming out of preexisting material comes within the Scriptural idea of creating. We all recognize God as the author of our being, as our Creator, as well as our Preserver. He is our Creator, not merely because He is the maker of heaven and earth, and because all they contain owe their origin to his will and power, but also because, as the Psalmist teaches us, He fashions our bodies in secret. "Thine eyes," says the sacred writer, "did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." (Ps. cxxxix. 16.) And the Bible constantly speaks of God as causing the grass to grow, and as being the real author or maker of all that the earth, air, or water produces. There is, therefore, according to the Scriptures, not only an immediate, instantaneous creation ex nihilo by the simple word of God, but a mediate, progressive creation; the power of God working in union with second causes.

    Augustine clearly recognizes this idea. "Sicut in ipso grano invisibiliter erant omnia simul quae per tempora in arborem surgerent; ita ipse mundus cogitandus est, cum Deus simul omnia creavit, habuisse simul omnia quae in illo et cum illo facta sunt quando factus est dies: non solum coelum cum sole et luna et sideribus, quorum species manet motu rotabili, et terram et abyssos, quae velut inconstantes motus patiuntur, atque inferius adjuncta partem alteram mundo conferunt; sed etiam illa quae aqua et terra produxit potentialiter atque causaliter, priusquam per temporum moras ita