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If the question of the ground of faith is thus to be resolved into the question of the nature of grace, it may be asked why the modern mind, which so intensely raised the former question, seems to have been peculiarly indifferent to the latter.

Even were this indifference certainly the case, it would prove nothing. Great concentration on one aspect of a question is a protection, not only from the assaults of other questions, but from other aspects of the same question. This is at once a necessity of concentration without which we cannot advance, and a limitation of it which may make it barren for disovery. Only one interest can be the focus of our attention at one time, but the way in which that relegates other matters to the circumference, not because they are less vital or better solved, but merely because we are not interested, might as much exclude us from the true solution even of the problem which possesses us, as a concentration on mirrors to the ignoring of light would prevent us discovering the reason of a reflection.

This might be a sufficient reply, the more convincing that these last two centuries have certainly left us no solution of their problems which is so sure, so much in the nature of things, so harmonising to our 19 perplexities, that it leaves us no call to seek farther afield.

But the deeper reason is that facts are often far from being what they seem. The great central problems of life, in particular, change far less in matter and substance than in form and temper from one age to another. The new garb, it must be admitted, transforms the old problem beyond knowing till we confine attention to its main features. Then, under the new names Rationalism and Romanticism, we recognise the old antagonisms of free-will and predestination which at one era bore the names Pelagianism and Augustinianism, and, at another, Arminianism and Calvinism.

The most obvious and transforming change is in temper.

The old intensity required the old dogmatic security, the loss of which has been our dominant perplexity, for the particular way of God's working necessarily becomes a more hesitating concern when we have to face the doubt whether He works at all. Yet the question of whether God works can never be separated from the question of how He works.

A still more important reason for the different temper is the extension of the question from the sphere of personal salvation to the whole realm of experience, whereby it underwent the calming change from theological dogma to philosophical theory. But this extension was implicit in it from the beginning, and Calvin had already gone a long way towards making 20 it explicit: and, if principles live in a serener air when applied to the universe than to our individual salvation, they are not necessarily altered, nor even our personal stake in them made less.

Rationalism, the chief movement of the eighteenth century, is not difficult to recognise as Pelagian. Those who still retained the old dogmatic certainty of the doctrine of election immediately recognised in it the ancient foe. And they were right because, though it conceived the problem of human freedom far more profoundly, its interest was the same, and its temper not so very different, and for the reason that its principle was the same, and its limitations the same, in kind, if not in degree.

Its interest too was in the rational and responsible individual. As never before, it realised the amazing significance of the fact that nothing is of real value for truth or beauty or goodness which is not of our own insight, choice and deliberate purpose. In particular, it achieved a clear understanding of the necessity for absolute independence in moral judgment and moral decision, if they are to be truly moral, by making plain that what we merely take over as accepted or do as customary is, for that very reason, not moral. Moreover, the bearing of this significance of the moral person on the rejection of external authorities was evident from the beginning, as the defenders of the infallibilities were not slow to perceive.

Negative assaults can always be resisted, but here 21 was a new, positive, convincing presentation of the basis of all sound reverence, even reverence for man as man, man not as great or good or wise, but man simply as a responsible being, an end in himself, and the measure of the value of all other ends.

Here was the old Pelagian interest, enormously deepened. Yet, in spite of this deepening, there went with it much of the same shallow temper. The adherents of Rationalism, with a few notable exceptions, were just as cheaply optimistic about man, talking glibly about the infinite perfectibility of the human race; and for the old reason that they measured what man ought to be very comfortably by rules he could tolerably easily fulfil. The profounder spirits conceived morality by a larger imperative, but its maxims, though they imposed a yoke not easy and a burden not light, came short of the infinite in man's striving; and, though their test was fitness to be universal laws, they could not embrace the fullness of life, but remained empty forms.

This moralistic temper itself was a limitation, but it showed itself in a dull common-sense, which could only see the world through smoked spectacles and had no perception that the marvel even of man is in reflecting all the world's wonder and variety. It gave nothing to its beloved in sleep, but often talked as if the mind had to make its own world out of nothing; and would only then find it very good. Its supreme limitation is seen in its conception of God. He was a useful explanation of things as they are, and 22 He may be necessary some day again as a judge of things as they ought to have been, but to introduce Him seriously into the system now seemed to upset the whole regard for the moral individual, which was the recent, the intense, and certainly the true discovery. If God did things for us, we seemed to have less responsibility; and to appeal to Him was to betray our moral independence. For it, in short, piety was only morality on crutches.

The reason was simply that the idea of God as omnipotent direct force was never called in question. Man was a finite force operating within frontiers which, though marvellously delimited, would be utterly submerged by much less than the measureless flood of omnipotence. Therefore, nothing was more important in the whole system than to delimit man from God, and to secure that God remained in deistic isolation from a system, which, the more perfect He had made it, could the better do without Him. And, with this isolation of God, everything went that was not of striving and crying.

The poetic and philosophical movement which followed, and which dominated the nineteenth century, usually called the Romantic Movement, was not a completion of Rationalism, but a reaction from it. That it had any kinship with Augustinianism or Calvinism is less easy to perceive, because, while its interest was the same, and its limitations the same, and for the reason that essentially its principle was the same, its temper does not encourage comparison.


It had the same sense that morality is subtler than rules, that the foundation of peace is securer than resolution, that the highest in man is a reflection of things far beyond man's achieving, and that God is the eternal presence of a self-revealing, immanent reality in all happenings. As never before, it conceived the world as a great, changing, opulent spiritual reality, and valued in man the infinite variety of type, the amazing individuality wherein he reflects the riches of the universe. This spacious worldly temper does not suggest either the fifth century or the sixteenth. But how many other interests have suffered a similar transformation, yet remained essentially the same! And there are indications that even the old temper was not wholly changed. In its own way it also said "Glory to God in the Highest."

Moreover, by it the authorities at once began to recover their places. Only one authority proclaimed itself infallible, but others acted as though they were. The discovery of the individual had considerable lip service, but was really an embarrassment. The fact that there are no spiritual values except through the worth of our own insight, choice and personal consecration, and no spiritual ends unless the moral person is an end in himself, was implicitly denied even when explicitly affirmed, vague incarnations of values, now more state than church, being set over man, as images to which he must bow and which it is his end in creation to serve. The essence of the whole matter was that the individual is only a pattern 24 in the web, important as pattern, but only because the warp and woof run through him as through all the rest of the universe. The final word was immanent cosmic process, and rational man was but its highest vehicle and most conscious mirror.

This is predestinarianism in a way to have taken away even Calvin's breath; and it gives a calm superiority to good and evil, which no doubt he would have rejected with all the intensity of his vehement spirit. But is it other than the logic of his position? If the glory of God is to act by omnipotence directed in a straight line by omniscience, He could only fix the scheme of all things in an eternal process of Reason, in respect of which we can only say that we have often had dreams that it is not all very good. Once you begin with the Absolute and conceive it thus mechanically as force, the only peace you can arrive at is to do your best to contemplate the whole as a very marked improvement upon your own unfortunate confinement to the part.

The problems of an ordered universe and a responsible individual when divided, as in Rationalism and Romanticism, are so very easy that one often wonders why so many people have taken the trouble to write so copiously about them. Start from one end and you find the moral individual a self-contained force, so you refuse to travel farther; start from the other and the universe is an all pervading force, which, in spite of all appearances, merely flows through the individual. Both are neat, mechanical explanations, and the mind 25 of man feels a satisfaction in what is neat and mechanical.

But on such terms, how shall we at once reverence the sinner for the great responsibility which even her sin shows she carried in her soul, and the little child who, from his simple receptiveness, has hidden in his heart all the measureless possibilities of the Kingdom of God? Above all, why should we ever speak of God, for, buried in His world, we lose Him as effectively as when He is excluded from it?

The illuminating fact which makes us persons and not things, is that we are nothing except what we receive, yet we can receive nothing to profit except as our own; and both solutions are easy and worthless, because by them the things God has joined are divided.

The problem of the eighteenth century was the individual with that strange frontier over which nothing should pass without his own judgment and activity; and the problem of the nineteenth the different and spacious individuality which is a response to all the varied wealth of the world and the mirror of the infinite opulence of the Reason that works in all things.

It does not become us to be ungrateful for all the material both movements have provided for the solution. But we shall discover its true value only when we realise that the problem of the twentieth century ought to be to put the problems of the eighteenth and of the nineteenth together and to show 26 how the nature of a person is such and the grace which succours it is such that they cannot be divided, making it appear how a higher sense of responsibility is a deeper humility, and a more entire humility a more courageous responsibility, or, in other words, how absolute moral independence and absolute religious dependence are not opposites but necessarily one and indivisible.

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