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BERNARD MOSES




THE KEYS



OF



THE CEEEDS



LONDON : PRINTED BY

SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE
AND PARLIAMENT STREET



THE KEYS



OF



THE CEEEDS



' '



LONDON
TRUBNER & CO., LUDGATE HILL

1875



AH rights reserved



BERNARD MOSES



* v i

. ; . < .
i i < ' i



PBEFACE .



THE LETTEES contained in this volume were written
between the autumns of 1873 and 1874. The
reason for publishing them anonymously will be
obvious to all who read them. Happily, religious
and historical truth needs not for its confirmation
the authority of a name. The Editor has been
careful to omit all references of a personal nature,
saving only in so far as was necessary to make the
position of the writer intelligible. It is considered
sufficient to add that the quotations from Scrip-
ture have been made, as was natural under the
circumstances, from both the Douay and the En-
glish versions.

LONDON: Easter 1875.



CONTENTS.



-CO-



PAGE

I. THE SHADOW OF DEATH ...... 1

II. THE SOUL 8

III. GOD . . . . . . . . . .15

IV. IN HIS OWN IMAGE, MALE AND FEMALE . . 20

V. IN HIS OWN IMAGE, INTELLECTUAL, MORAL, EMOTIONAL 25

VI. THE FALL AND THE INCARNATION . . . 34

VII. THE ATONEMENT . . . . . . .41

VIII. THE Two JEHOVAHS 46

IX. GOD-MAN AND MAN-GOD . . . . .52

X. THE BRIGHTNESS or HIS GLORY AND THE EXPRESS

IMAGE or HIS PERSON . . . . . 58

XI. THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD 62

XII. THE APOSTASY . . . . . . . 72

XIII. THE WORD MADS FLESH . . . . . .81

XIV. ' OUT OF EGYPT HAVE I CALLED MY SON ' 86

XV. THE KINGDOM OF HEAYEN 95



Vlll CONTENTS.

LETTER PAGE

XVI. THE HOLT CATHOLIC CHURCH . . . . 103

XVII. THE CHURCH; ITS SECRET AND METHOD, IN THEOLOGY 110

XVIII. THE CHURCH; ITS SECRET AND METHOD, IN MORALS 115

XIX. THE SUPERNATURAL 123

XX. MIRACLE . . . 127

XXI. THE CHRISTIAN OLYMPUS . . . . . 137

XXII. THE Two TRINITIES 141

XXIII. THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS . . . 149

XXIV. HELL . . 153

XXV. FOR EVER . . 158

XXVI. NIRVANA . ... .... 163

XXVII. OUR COUNTRY 168

XXVIII. THE CHURCH ACTUAL 174

XXIX. MAN'S GOD AND NATURE'S GOD . 180

XXX. THE CHURCH POSSIBLE 190



' ! -'

, -. > o i . > . -. . -






A .



THE



KEYS OF THE CEEEDS.



upon me, and with such fell and menacing grasp that
my doctors hold out but faint hope of escape by the
expatriation to which they doom me.

Do not, however, think that I am excusing my-
self from complying with your request. On the
contrary ; next to the delight I should have derived
from renewal of the converse which has been the
chief solace of my lonely life, will be the pleasure I
4 shall take in seeking to exorcise the demon that

B



Vlll CONTENTS.

LETTER PAGE

XVI. THE HOLT CATHOLIC CHURCH . . . . 103

XVII. THE CHURCH; ITS SECRET AND METHOD, IN THEOLOGY 110

XVIII. THE CHURCH; ITS SECRET AND METHOD, IN MORALS 115

XIX. THE SUPERNATURAL 123

XX. MIRACLE 127

XXI. THE CHRISTIAN OLYMPUS . . . . . 137

XXII. THE Two TRINITIES . 141



The reader is requested in make the follow iny correctwn* :-



Page 69, line 4 from bottom, for successors read successor.
., 167, last line but one, for whose read where.
194, line 6. after dividing add thpse.



Key? of th Creed?.



. -1






I ' - , . - *'.''.* *

' - . "
. ;, -



THE



KEYS OF THE CEEEDS.



LETTER I.

THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

DEAREST AND BEST FRIEND, Even were my mind
disposed otherwise than it is, your touching appeal
would deprive me of the power to choose. I cannot,
alas ! come to you as you kindly suggest ; for in-
firmity, marching far in advance of age, has seized
upon me, and with such fell and menacing grasp that
my doctors hold out but faint hope of escape by the
expatriation to which they doom me.

Do not, however, think that I am excusing my-
self from complying with your request. On the
contrary ; next to the delight I should have derived
from renewal of the converse which has been the
chief solace of my lonely life, will be the pleasure I
^ shall take in seeking to exorcise the demon that

B



2 THE SHADOW OF DEATH.



oppresses you, ancl making you a partaker in the
peace I myself have g,t length found.

I should be disposed to reproach yen for deferring
your communication until now, and choosing to suffer
in silence rather than tell me what you know would
distress me, but that I am conscious of having been so
much absorbed in things affecting myself as to justify
in a measure your suspicion that human intercourse
had become indifferent to me. The charge would be
true only to a certain extent in respect of things in
general, but wholly untrue where you are in question.
For, as you must well know, you have ever been a
prime element in my life, whether as an object of
worship, hope, and longing, when in my young and
ardent days I offered you, as my dearest and best, a
sacrifice to the inexorable Divinity of Ecclesiasticisrn,
and heedless of your sufferings and my own, took
the vows which severed us, and kept them until too
late ! Small atonement will it be then if by aught
I can say now I succeed in restoring to you some of
the peace you so well deserve. And who has the
right to command me if you have not ?

But there are other reasons in presence of which
your hesitation cannot fail to vanish. The develop-
ment of my mind in regard to the very questions on
which you are so sorely exercised, has reached a stage
at which utterance of some sort is no longer optional
but compulsory. Long ere you broke the too long



THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 3

silence my resolution was taken ; and you have but
modified and determined the form of its expression.
Ordered as a last chance for health, if not for life, to a
Southern clime, I had already selected and partially
packed the materials necessary to enable me to com-
pose the book which has been striving to take shape
in my mind. Not that I intended to publish it, at
least within any time given or contemplated. But I
wished to have it in my power to put into the hands
of any one sufficiently earnest to care to know, and
sufficiently intelligent to be able to comprehend, my
view of the real nature of the world-old contest be-
tween the Spiritual and the Secular, between the
Church and the World, between Religion and Science,
between the Soul and the Flesh, a contest that bids
fair soon to surpass all its previous dimensions ; and
to show also how it is possible, without committing
oneself to popular interpretations, not merely to
minister faithfully in the Church, but to be a con-
scientious and even enthusiastic upholder of it.

Well, I propose then to write my book to you in
a series of letters from my place of exile. And that
you may not be incredulous as to the perfect freedom
of my treatment, I will remind you that as a secular
priest I have never been subject to- the restraint and
supervision imposed upon those who are members of
any religious Order. Locomotion and converse are
thus for me alike untrammelled by superior authority.

u2



4 THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

And even were they not, I have in me sufficient of
the rebel to assert my independence, although no
such overwhelming motive existed as that with which
you have supplied me.

Your case is in some respects a rare one. In
youth it is not unusual for certain temperaments
to feel suah intense longing to know the secrets of
the universe as to be impelled to hasten the termina-
tion of life in order to penetrate, unrestrained by the
limitations of sense, the world that lies beyond. I
well remember having the same feeling myself when,
an ardent neophyte, I watched beside the couch of a
dead friend who in life had been my fellow-explorer
in the realms of mental speculation. Forgetting
almost the claims of affection on my grief, and in-
terpreting the deep calm and content written on the
still face as a proof that now at length he read the
meaning of the problem of God and the Universe,
and had satisfaction therein, with envious curiosity I
cried, ' Oh, that I knew what thou knowest now !
gladly would I take thy place ! ' But you have
passed that period of insubordination, and reached
one at which disappointment has generally become
a habit, and resignation a virtue not so hard of
exercise.

Believe me, then, that in acceding to your most
legitimate demand upon my friendship, I experience
nothing of the reluctance or wrench you anticipate.



THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 5

but throw myself wholly and readily into the service,
grateful at once for the opportunity so timely ac-
corded me, and for the confidence reposed in me.
And that your tender heart may not be apprehensive
on the score of having unduly tasked my failing
powers, I assure you that the prospect of an occupa-
tion so congenial to me, both in its own nature and

O t

in its association with you, has already done much
to excite the action which my doctors declare to be
the main thing necessary for my recovery.

Reserving myself until I shall have reached my
destination, I will only say further in this letter, that
the manner in which you express your solicitude
helps to shape the form of my ansAver. Is the pro-
blem of the world's creeds, you ask, in truth soluble
only by death, as the poet implies when he speaks of

The Shadow cloaked from head to foot,
Who keeps the keys of all the Creeds :

and the feeling you describe as so intolerable as to
prompt you almost irresistibly to suicide, is that of
desire to find those keys.

In the mean time I would conjure you to bear in
mind this consideration. Even were it certain that
Death is the custodian sole of the mysteries in ques-
tion, it does not follow that under any circumstances
-there, in the world to which Death would intro-
duce you, more than in this one the secret would
be imparted to you. The poet speaks of the ' Shadow '



6 THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

only as keeping the keys, in no wise of parting with
them. Consider, moreover, that in drawing a con-
trast between the two sides of the grave so immea-
surably to the disadvantage of this one, you are fol-
lowing a philosophy more in accordance with the
theology you have been accustomed to deprecate,
than with the scepticism you are wont to avow. For
it is, as you know, the theological usage to exalt
the life hereafter as a condition of all perfection in
being and knowing, and to repudiate this one as a
mistake and a failure. While scepticism, preferring
science or knowledge to the faith inculcated by theo-
logy, and not ashamed when ignorant to confess
ignorance, holds that strong as may be our convic-
tion that we survive and retain our identity after
death, we have 110 certitude of the fact. So that if
death be indeed the end of all things for the indi-
vidual, to court death for the sake of obtaining in-
formation on that or any other point, would be to
perpetrate a bull of the most ghastly kind.

You will be surprised to find me speaking thus of
a tendency which my life has been spent in combat-
ing. But the truth is that, though as Anglican par-
son and Catholic priest it has been my function to
advocate the claims of faith, as a man I am not the
less alive to those of the intellect; and, indeed, as I
go on, you will find that it was on grounds rational
rather than religious that I adhered to the practice



THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 7

and profession of my creed, so long after the dissipa-
tion of the early illusions under whose influence that
creed received my implicit adherence.

In plain language, I conscientiously remained an
officiating priest of the Catholic Church, even while
convinced that the authority and doctrines of the
Church are founded altogether in what would com-
monly be regarded as an illusion. And in the letters
which will follow this one, I propose to show you
the sense in which, and the reasons why, I and every
thinker who deserves the name, are compelled so to
regard them ; to put you in possession, in fact, of the
Keys of the Creeds, and so enable you to judge for your-
self how far you are likely to further your search by
taking the poet's hint ; and whether, if it were so,
the result would be worth the cost.

Tell me in your next if my plan has your approval.



8



LETTEE II.

THE SOUL.

MY first concern on reaching this sunny shore, dear
friend, was for your letter. Having read it, I hardly
know in which respect the profuseness of your ex-
pressions strikes me as most excessive, whether in
that of your gratitude or that of your surprise. As for
the former, believe me that I am but too glad to have
my long budding resolve forced into flower and fruit,
and to find its ripening sun in one whose affection, in
spite of the blight and disappointment that fell upon
it when I felt compelled to take the step that placed
an impassable barrier between us, has been so deep
and constant as yours.

As for the latter, surely you were not ignorant
that the Church has ever claimed to be the sole de-
pository of the knowledge you seek ; and why
wonder, then, that I should deem myself competent
to impart it to you 9

Your surprise, however, has another source. You
had no notion that I had ceased to be the true be-
liever you once knew me. Ah, if you only knew



THE SOUL. 9

how many fill the priestly office without having even
my justification, but simply as a mode of occupation
and means of livelihood, your wonder would be that
the incredulity of ecclesiastics does not force itself on
the notice of the laity to the imminent peril of the
Church's existence.

Yet to say that we do not believe, would be to
mislead you by saying but half the truth. To all
the fundamental doctrines of Christianity specified
by you, and the long list of others which grow
naturally out of them, I can truly say I believe. It
is the sense in which I believe them that will con-
stitute the essence of my letters to you.

It is true that belief of the kind to which I refer
would for the world in general be but another name
for unbelief. But the world in general has an ex-
ceedingly limited capacity of comprehension. And
it is its own misfortune if it places a gross ma-
terialising interpretation upon truths which are not
amenable to the faculties wherewith it is wont to
judge them. Anyhow, let it receive the faith in
whart sense it may, the world is the better for having
it, at lea.st until some substitute be found which has
never yet been discovered.

It is because you yourself, while possessing the
faculties necessary for a proper appreciation of the
meaning of Christian dogma, have never yet found
the effective angle at which to bring those faculties



10 THE SOUL.

to bear upon it, that yon have been reduced to your
recent pass. This is due to the fact that you have
been reared a Protestant, and have never quitted the
Protestant groove. Catholicism prohibits inquiry,
but allows full play to the emotions. Protestantism
on the other hand, quenches the emotions, but
allows inquiry, though only to a very limited extent,
inasmuch as it dictates both the method and the
conclusions. That is, while Catholicism closes one
eye, that of the intellect, and allows full scope to the
other, representing the feelings, Protestantism

^

wholly closes the latter, and permits the former to
be but half open ; and is thus fatal to both the
religious and intellectual perceptions of its pro-
fessors.

To take as an instance the Anglican divine
whom you truly rank as surpassing in theological in-
sight all others of his communion in these days, the
late Frederick Denison Maurice. Well ; pure, in-
tense, spiritual-minded, and laborious as he was, he
failed, as you admit, to grasp a single abstruse truth
with such distinctness as to enable him to make it
clear to you or to anyone. The reason is that,
being Protestant, and severed from the Church, he
sought in vain for the keys which alone can unlock
the mysteries he sought to explore, and which the
Church alone possesses. One might as well seek to
traverse the ocean in a fog without a compass.



THE SOUL. 11

And it is by following the Protestant usage of dis-
carding three-fourths of the mind's faculties, and
seeking to judge all things by the remaining fourth,
that he and you have been stranded in difficulty and
darkness. In religion, as in art, reason plays but a
subordinate part compared with that of the im-
agination. Hence a Protestant regime, however
favourable to physical analysis or science, is fatal
to religion and art, which appertain to the emotional
rather than to the intellectual side of our nature.

You must not, however, accept the term imagi-
nation in its usual restricted sense. Neither must
you suppose that because a thing exists only in the
imagination it has no actual existence. It is in
virtue of our being compounded of two elements, the
real and the ideal, that man is an intelligent being.
The former includes all that side of him which is
cognisable by sense ; the latter that which he knows
only through the spirit. The real, which is of the
earth, earthly, we share with the animals. The
ideal, which is of heaven, exalts us out of their
sphere into heaven. By the faculties appertaining
to the real we may know the organisation of our
bodies and the physical world. By those of the
ideal we know God, we overcome the world, we attain
immortality.

It is humanity only in its limitations, its striv-
ings, its failures, its sufferings, its dying, that we



12 THE SOUL.

recognise in the real. In the ideal we see it no
longer c vile ' and a ( body of death/ but divested of
limitations, translated into the infinite, triumphant
over sin, misery, death, risen from the grave,
ascended into heaven, seated on the right hand of
God.

The process of idealisation consists in imagining
an object as transcending its limitations, existing in
a perfection not actually attainable by it, and filling
infinity with its expanded characteristics. All that
is necessary to truthfulness of idealisation is the pre-
servation of character and proportion.

The faculty by which we perform the act of
idealisation is known as the Soul. Call to mind the
colloquial method of describing a person who cares
for nothing but what is appreciable by sense : a
voluptuary who exists only for fleshly delights, an
artist to whom the real suggests nothing beyond the
real, a beautiful face expressive of nothing but its
own beauty of form and colouring, we speak of
these as being without soul. The higher imagination
is wanting, and we despise them accordingly ; thus
giving proof positive that for us the ideal is more
than the real. By the soul we are conscious of our
limitations. By it, therefore, we are conscious of
the infinite. To possess soul is to have a percep
tion of a greater and better than we are or can be.
Without it we should be as the animals who, having



THE SOUL. 13

no conception of a better towards which they can
strive, remain for ever at the same stage of being,
unchanged save bj outward accidents of their con-
dition. Man alone is able to look and strive up-
wards through the power he possesses of looking
beyond his real, that is, through the soul.

To speak of man's faculty of idealisation, then, is
to speak of his soul. By means of this he transcends
the finite and approaches the infinite. Thus it is
with the soul that he conceives the personified in-
finite we call God.

This sense of the infinite, or soul, includes the
sense of perfection, or conscience. The soul enables
us to recognise, the conscience impels us to follow,
perfection. It is a mistake to restrict the domain of
conscience to religion or morals. There is no direc-
tion in which the impulse towards perfection does
not find ample room for its exercise. The posses-
sion of the power of discerning ideal perfection in
one or more directions, and of reproducing it in the
real, constitutes genius. The extent to which genius
is productive depends mainly upon its combination
with energy and faith, or confidence in one's ideal
and oneself. ' Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do
it with all thy might,' is the application of the rule
of conscience to every department of life, industrial,
artistic, literary, social, political, religious. For
in each there is a standard of perfection capable of



14 THE SOUL.

being discerned and approached ; and he alone is a
conscientious worker who strives to the utmost to
discern and approach it. To renounce the struggle
after perfection, and at the bidding of the temporary
and expedient to be content with a low and degrad-
ing success, is to seek the real at the expense of the
ideal, to serve mammon instead of God, to gain the
world and lose the soul.

It is with the application of conscience to theology,
or the science of God, that our concern in these
letters will mainly lie.



15



LETTER III.

GOD.

THE idea of God has a twofold origin ; the craving
of the intellect for a cause, and of the soul for per-
fection. Confident that nothing he sees is self-
existent, man necessarily postulates something that is
self-existent, and as necessarily proceeds to invest
that something with a nature and attributes. Neces-
sarily conceiving of it as superior to himself and all
he sees around him, he finds no point at which to
pause in the process of construction short of the in-
finite. Aware of no faculties but those which he
finds himself capable of exercising or appreciating.,
he takes it for granted that whatever he deems best
exists also in his Deity; only, without limitations.
Embarking in metaphysical speculation, he argues
that as he himself constitutes the best thing existing
in the finite, and God the best in the infinite, he
must be the special though finite manifestation of
the infinite God. That is, he must be made in God's
image, and endowed with the various qualities, phy-
sical, mental, and spiritual, of his Maker,



16 GOD.

Having come to the conclusion that man, though
derived from God and resembling him, is yet not
God, but has a separate existence and personality,
the earliest metaphysicians did not trouble them-
selves about the problem which has occupied their
successors through all following ages, whether abso-
lute Being, such as a self-existent Creator must be,
can be represented in the relative and finite, and
become an object of cognition at all, and brought
within the grasp of the subject man. Neither did
they entertain doubts as to the possibility of reason-
ing from the relative to the absolute, or from, the
snbject to the object, and identifying that which
depends on our consciousness with that on which we
depend. Nor did they stumble at the proposition
that a conception of air infinite and absolute being
by a finite and relative one, involves a contradiction
on the ground that such conception must itself be
limited and imperfect, and therefore altogether in-
adequate and fallacious.

No ; they set before them one distinct and intel-
ligible idea, and though scattered over all regions
and among all races, they never let it go ; but how-
ever meagre their opportunities and dim their lights,
however barbaric their surroundings and evil their
times, that idea was ever steadily embodied and
reflected in their theology. And however widely
they differed in detail, the principle that governed



GOD. 17

them was always one and the same, for it was the
Catholic principle that God, translating himself into
the finite, had made man in his own image ; so that
man had no option bnt to make God in his image
by retranslating himself into the infinite, and ima-
gining himself as divested of limitations.

All theology, therefore, is based on the assump-
tion that, man being God in petto, God is man in
extenso. But such translation of God into man, you
will perceive, constitutes an incarnation. And thus,
having by the aid of the imagination leaped the
chasm in reason left by metaphysics, and as it were
taken the kingdom of heaven by violence, theology
found itself fairly launched on its momentous career.

You will observe that I refrain from using the
term Revelation in regard to any knowledge that
man has of God, thus far. And I shall abstain from
using it, at least in any sense resembling the popular
one. My reason is, that I wish to show you the
extent to which the human mind is capable of evolv-
ing by itself a theology in accordance with Catholic
dogma. I expect to avoid some embarrassment by
adopting this course. For if we were to start by re-
garding the fundamental principle of theology just
stated as a ' revealed ' one, we should have to allow
that every nation, tribe, or sect, which sets up a
god made more or less in the likeness of man, whether


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