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The change from religious dogma to philosophical theory has had three far-reaching effects. It has diminished passion and increased inquiry; it has made incredible the belief that God uses the sole method adequate to His nature only in a few concerns of a few people; it has shown that the question of our dependence on God cannot be solved by the easy method of denying the duty of moral independence.

Yet, with all the change of form, the substance remains, in essence, the old question of the relation of God and man: and, after all is said, the only answer is by faith in what we believe we can most surely trust and in which we seek our emancipation from the mere flux of things. For the eighteenth century it was in what secured us moral independence, and for the nineteenth in what gave us religious dependence; and, if we have a special problem in the twentieth it is to unite both. There is no purely intellectual view of the universe, but all views are consciously or unconsciously religious views of what ought to be man's life in it. Therefore, most of the philosophical appurtenances are mere stage properties, and the living heart of the problem, when we strip them off, is still the mere theological or 28 anti-theological dogma of the predestined or the free. It is, therefore, simpler for us, while not forgetting what the past two centuries have contributed, to begin with the old controversy concerning grace.

No other controversy has so much life-blood in it. There were hard arguments and occasionally hard blows. Religion was concerned, and not merely theology, for the issue at stake seemed to be whether man's trust was to be in God or in himself. If the arguments were furnished from the study of the thinker, they were often as hotly disputed in the hut of the labourer; and even the trenches have known them in the form of one's number being up.

Simple, practical faith may be without perplexity so long as it trusts the assurance of the heart that God's succour and His children's service are not thus at variance. And there is in most men a haunting sense of an utter trust in God and not in man which not only does not annihilate the moral personality, but is its supreme succour, giving the feeling that both sides have somewhere missed their way. But there are few matters on which it is more difficult to live without thinking, even though all thinking about how we act readily confuses practical faith.

No criticism short of a criticism of the conception of grace upon which the whole controversy turns, requires any pause for consideration; because, if grace is the might of omnipotence directed by omniscience, no dubiety can arise respecting the side faith must 29 embrace. Its lot must be cast in with Augustinianism, for there is no faith, without, in the end, ascribing everything to God. To-day, as always when we are forced to recognise life's appalling failures, faith must rely, not partially, but utterly, upon God.

Even semi-Pelagianism can provide no satisfactory religious basis. If God will only act when we begin, or continue acting only as we fulfil certain conditions, then, in the last resort, our reliance is on man and not God. But, to the miserable uncertainty and painful anxiety of that trust, all experience - and not least our present distress - bears witness.

The religious man always has ascribed, and found his whole peace and confidence in ascribing, all things to God. Any good result, in particular, he does not dream of ascribing in part to God and in part to his own right resolve. He speaks, not of man that runneth, but of God who giveth the victory, and he has only one hymn of praise: "O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!"

Pelagianism, instead of affording calm trust and patience, causes men to seek security in their own doings, or, what is worse, in their own emotions, creating in them a restless endeavour to excite their souls in public or to impose upon themselves disciplines in private. But the end of neither way is peace. On our own insight and initiative, or on our own fidelity and continuance, faith cannot build, seeing how nothing is more in need of the Divine succour than our failure to make right beginnings, except our failure to 30 continue "in any stay." Would temptation only abide without, it never would be temptation. Wherefore, the succour of our tempted, weak and wavering wills is the supreme work of grace.

This whole concern about our own effort, moreover, is hostile to the spirit of peace. The faith which does not rely wholly upon God, but partly on exciting or disciplining its own soul, lives in valetudinarian anxiety about its spiritual health. To be perpetually feeling our own pulse is the surest way to rob ourselves of the self-forgetting vigour in which health is displayed.

Morally, moreover, even though it be rather a moral than a religious theory, Pelagianism is equally shallow and unsatisfying.

Though, in some sense, we must affirm that, what we ought to do that we can do, moral sincerity, as little as religious earnestness, concurs when Pelagius affirms that "man can be without sin, and can keep the Divine commands, easily if he will." To be able so much as to fancy this to be true, we must, as Harnack says, "belong to those lucky people, who, cold by nature and temperate by training, never notice any appreciable difference between what they ought to do and what they actually can do," and must have no experience either of the passionate nature or of the moral conflict of men like Augustine. Even thus favoured by the frosty powers, we should still not succeed in cherishing the idea of the easy triumph of good resolve, did we not confuse real morality, which 31 requires true insight and right motive, with respectability, which requires only visible conformity. In true morals, even as in true religion, if we believe in God at all, He must be the strength of all our doing.

No better success, either religious or moral, attends the attempt to make the theory less Pelagian, by emphasising more the backing of God and making man's doing mainly a condition for deserving God's support.

Morality, as a doing to win God's backing, is not moral, for it works with a corrupt personal motive of selfish good, complicated by a corrupt personal hesitation due to considering another interest than duty. Our attention is directed from our task to our merit with God. But merit is no more a right moral than a right religious motive, and the eye that regards it is not single, and the whole body will certainly not be full of light.

A mixture of independent purpose and dependent faith, moreover, fails to maintain the very sense of responsibility, for the sake of which the semi-Pelagian theory is chiefly esteemed. Responsibility requires absolute, not partial, independence. We may not say, "We cannot," in face of what we ought; and not even dependence on God may involve us in dubiety regarding our power to obey. A really independent moral personality is not, as this theory conceives it, a lake at low water and an arm of the sea at high.

If grace is the irresistible might of omnipotence, directed in a straight line by omniscience, and man's will is a finite force running counter to it, the 32 operation of God must be marked by no failure and no error; and where we meet with either, we do not meet with God. Hodge's argument abides indisputable. Everything, he says, on the Arminian side at ones loses its value, if it be admitted that regeneration or effectual calling is the work of omnipotence. As with the scientist or the metaphysician, so here, God is absolute, unconditioned force, force infinite and direct, in respect of which the finite force of the human will is in nothing be regarded. What is to be said in that case, except that faith and reason seem to be for once agreed?

The inevitable reaction, nevertheless, from Augustinianism to Pelagianism, from Calvinism to Armianism, testifies that man's spiritual needs are not satisfied, and the shallowness of the Pelagian argument is only a proof of the depth of the instinct, for men are usually satisfied with bad argument only when their convictions rest on other grounds. Being convinced that the very business of religion is to give us succour in this vast world of overwhelming forces, we cannot rest content to ascribe our whole life to the direct operation of God, after a fashion that makes God the most overwhelming of all forces, the most destructive of any reality to which the name personality could be given.

But, if grace is the direct force of omnipotence, the only way of escape is to keep the personality, in some measure, apart from God, and to set it over against Him. 33 To set the finite against the Infinite, to ascribe value to the human will over against the Absolute will may not be convincing in logic, but how is the personality, which alike gives meaning to morality and value to religion, to be preserved, if not by thus setting our religious dependence and our moral independence in antagonism?

Argument, moreover, can at times be too triumphant. If we have to consider the work of omnipotence alone in regeneration, what reason have we to go beyond it in any other sphere? Is it responsible only for the regenerate, and not also for the unregenerate? Why should we restrict it to effectual calling, and not ascribe to it also vicious desire and the perverse will? Is not all the world the work of Omnipotence? If, then, God can work anywhere with overwhelming fiat, why not everywhere? Can a world, thus easily to be corrected, be evil, yet Omnipotence be good and blameless?

These questions may not be dismissed as a mere logical dilemma which practical faith may ignore. Faith, on the contrary, is deeply involved: for the faith which works with this direct idea of God's omnipotence is, in a world in which God seems so sparing of good and so tolerant of evil, continually locked in a death-struggle with the fear that, either God cannot help, or does not care.

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