Friedrich Hügel.

Eternal life : a study of its implications and applications online

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Edinburgh: T. & T. CLARK, 38 George Street

i9 J 3


I was as a beast before Thee.
Nevertheless I am continually with Thee :
Thou holdest me fast by my right hand.
Whom have I in heaven but Thee ?
And beside Thee I desire naught upon earth.
Though my flesh and my heart fail :
Thou, God, abidest my rock and my portion for ever.

PS. Ixxiii. 22, 23, 25, 26.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He
loved us. We love, because He first loved us.

1 John iv. 10, 19.

Thou hast created us unto Thyself, O Lord ; and
our heart finds no rest until it rests in Thee.

St. Augustine, Confessions, 1. i. 1.

1 .




The history of the following book is indeed

*j simple yet somewhat unusual. The Rev. Dr.
James Hastings invited me to contribute to his

^ Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics ; and his
instructions concerning " Eternal Life," the first of
the articles thus undertaken by me, were to make

") the paper as long as the subject-matter might
seem to deserve or require. He was, in this,
doubtless thinking primarily of his Encyclopaedia
as a whole ; whereas I myself became so engrossed
in my subject that I allowed my composition to

^ grow as long as its great subject-matter pressed
it to become. The result, anyhow, was that the
article, when sent in, was found to be far too long
for the scope of the Encyclopaedia ; and Dr.
Hastings kindly arranged with Messrs. T. & T.
Clark, the publishers of the Encyclopaedia, to
issue my article as a separate book — the present
volume. Both Dr. Hastings and Messrs. Clark
have been very patient and truly generous in

vi Preface

their dealings with me throughout these agree-
ments ; and I now beg to thank them cordially.

This little private history is recounted here in
order to explain how any writer possessed of
even average modesty could venture on so be-
wilderingly vast a subject. I sincerely doubt
whether I would ever have dared directly to
undertake a volume upon this subject-matter.
Yet this task, thus originally undertaken as but
one of several articles, did not, somehow, appear
preposterously ambitious ; the work, once it was
started, seemed to grow under my hands; and
nothing as yet attempted by me has flowed so
readily from my pen. The subject had doubt-
less been occupying my mind and life for many
a year; and thus there is some reason to hope
that these pages may, in their turn, live for a
while and that they may, here and there, help
some religious students and strugglers.

This is presumably the right place for saying a
few words about certain peculiarities of the book,
in the order of their appearance within its pages.

The Method is very deliberately an analysis
of more or less advanced states of soul — of con-
siderable spiritual experience and of considerable
articulation of such experience ; it is not a history

Preface vii

claiming to begin with the beginnings, or at
least with the really early experiences and utter-
ances of mankind. Much is now made of the
savage, the supposedly brute-like beginnings of
man ; and a purely historical, an entirely genetic
method and account is now often demanded.
Yet, as a matter of simple fact, we really know
man only as man ; and the interior significance
of his earlier and earliest acts and utterances
we understand, where we understand them at
all, only from analyses of his more advanced
and more articulate condition. I am, of course,
fully aware that Buddhism and the Dionysiac
Cult appeared late in the history of man. Yet
at this, comparatively late, stage we are offered
an amount of experience, and of articulation of
this experience, sufficient, when explained in
the light of still later experiences and articula-
tions, for us to arrive at some sober, reasonably
certain conclusions ; whereas much further back
we do not get such volume and such clearness
of material.

I have striven hard throughout the book
never to lose sight of the very important element
of truth embodied, even, I think, exaggerated,
in the attempts at a "purely genetic method,"
and in such Naturalism in Anthropology. Hence
I have endeavoured to remain continuously

viii Preface

alive to the profound need and continuous action
of the body, of the senses, of sensible objects
and of the physical environment, within and for
man's mental, spiritual, religious life. And I
have attempted, on reaching at last the very
late period at which this fundamental fact has
been systematically recognized even to excess,
sincerely to appraise the strength and the
weakness of this Method and Naturalism.

A strong insistence will be found throughout
these pages upon the Parozisia, the Proximate
Second Coming — upon the Eschatological Ele-
ment operative in the life and teaching of Our
Lord and in all genuine and fruitful Christianity.
The problem involved is so delicate and so far-
reaching that we cannot wonder if the great
majority of believers have, ever since the first
enthusiastic age, turned away from it with
instinctive fear or sickening dismay. Yet no
repudiation of historico-critical scholars, however
audacious or one-sided they may be in part
of their conclusions, will prevent the battle con-
cerning Christianity — the testing of its claim
abidingly to supply the full sanity and truth
of religion and of life — from turning, more and
more, in this and the next two or three genera-
tions, around the precise significance, place,

Preface ix

and range of this element in Christian teaching.
In any case, the writer could not, in a serious
study of Eternal Life, pass over this, the deepest
and most operative revelation concerning the
Temporal and the Eternal ever vouchsafed to man.
And here he would take his stand very deliberately
with those who indeed find a genuine and full
eschatolosfical element in Our Lord's life and
teaching, yet who discover it there as but one of
two movements or elements, — a gradual, prophetic,
immanental, predominantly ethical element ; and
this sudden, apocalyptic, transcendental, purely
religious element. Indeed, the interaction, the
tension, between these two elements or move-
ments, is ultimately found to be an essential con-
stituent, and part of the mainspring, of Christianity,
of religion, and (in some form) even of all the
deepest spiritual life.

It is, surely, very interesting to note how
that brilliant German-French teacher and writer,
Albert Schweitzer, who insists, more exclusively
again than Professor Loisy, upon one single
element, the Eschatological and Apocalyptic, in
Our Lord's life and teaching, has found even this
picture of Christ so deeply fascinating for his
own soul, that he has abandoned his high posts
and brilliant prospects in Europe, and has gone,
as a simple medical missionary — the Lutheran

x Preface

Church authorities having refused him a clerical
ordination and appointment — to labour at win-
ning the heathen to this purely ascetical and trans-
cendental Messiah -Christ and Saviour. This
picture of Our Lord is deeply repulsive — I am
convinced, most rightly repulsive — to the large
majority of believers. And yet the Eschatological
element will have to be apprehended, accepted,
and practised with renewed vigour and a new range
— within a larger, more varied world than ever
before, as one out of two movements in the Life
of our life. And so practised, as an enriching
heroism and wise enthusiasm apprehensive of the
Eternal God, it will reawaken Christianity to its
fullest attractiveness and vigour.

I have had much trouble as to where to draw
the line between Modern Times and the Present
Day — as to how to group Kant and his deriva-
tives. I first attempted to take Kant, his four
great successors (Fichte, Schleiermacher, Hegel,
and Schopenhauer), and Ritschl, all together ;
as already conjointly forming part of our con-
temporary life. But this arrangement refused to
work well. So then I tried to treat Kant and
his four immediate successors as concluding the
Historical Retrospect, and to retain Ritschl alone
in the Contemporary Survey. I found, how-

Preface xi

ever, that especially Schleiermacher and Schopen-
hauer, and indeed also Fichte and Hegel, are
more copiously and more directly operative
within our own lives than is Kant ; and, again,
that Ritschlianism, though it could never have
existed without Kant, is, nevertheless, largely
determined by a quite un-Kantian attitude
towards the Historic Christ and towards the
Christian Community. I continue to dislike the
break between Kant and those four great
followers of his, and, still more, the position, so
far away and so far down, of Ritschlianism. Yet
Kant, those four Kantians, and Ritschl appear
thus at last to occupy the places naturally
marked out for them by their origins and
affinities. Especially does Ritschlianism really
belong to the group of Institutional Religion,
in spite of its largely forced interpretation and
its grave impoverishing of the experience and
tradition furnished by these Institutions.

There is throughout the book a vigilant attention
to the nature, range, and implications of our know-
ledge — to Epistemology, especially to the ontologi-
cal character and witness of Religion — the central
position occupied, in the fullest experiences and
articulations of Religion, by the Reality, the
Difference, and yet the Likeness, of God. A

xii Preface

critical Realism — a Realism not of Categories or
Ideas but of Organisms and Spirits, of the Spirit,
a purified but firm Anthropomorphism are here
maintained throughout as essential to the full
vigour and clear articulation of Religion. It is
plain that this difficult subject is indeed inexhaust-
ible, and that much discussion and discrimination
will be required in this matter from ourselves and
from our successors ; yet it is, surely, quite as
plain that Subjectivism has had its day for a
good long while to come. Certainly, nothing can
well be more arid, more drearily reiterative and
useless, in face of the entrancing richness and the
tragic reality of life, than is most of the still
copious literature, not seldom proceeding from
thinkers of distinction and technical competence,
which attempts to find or to make a world worthy
of man's deepest, ever costly and difficult, re-
quirements and ideals, within avowedly mere
projections of himself. We have thus everywhere
man's wants and man's illusions — illusions which,
at their best, are of a tribal or even racial range
and utility, but which, one and all, convey no trust-
worthy intimation of any trans-subjective, more
than merely human validity and reality whatsoever.

The chapter on our present-day Social
Problems does not, of course, aim at any

Preface xiii

description or solution of these problems as such,
but only endeavours to elucidate the causes at
work here against or for the experience and
conception of Eternal Life. The largely still
obscure, but abiding and deep, instincts and
needs of a spiritual kind struggling for expres-
sion in the present acute social agitations and
troubles appear to fit in well with the Theory of
Knowledge articulated in this book, and especially
with the Two Movements found here to be
essential to all fully fruitful religion. And thus
these very agitations and troubles contribute
powerful, because quite spontaneous and un-
expected, additional reasons for holding those
analyses of philosophy and of religion to be sub-
stantially true and adequate to the central facts of
life. We have up to this point simply sought
and sincerely followed the lines of the fullest life
and of continual rebirth : and hence the joys as
well as the pangs of expansion can now be ours,
and not the sorry pleasures and dreary pains of
contraction or, at least, of rigidity in face of the
agitated present and the dim future apparently
confronting our race. And that joy, pang, and
expansion is, each and all, in the closest touch
with, and is occasioned and sustained by, the
experience of Eternal Life — the reality of the
Abiding God.

xiv Preface

I much wished to avoid the acute problems
and conflicts of the present concerning Church
Authority, and thus to keep myself and my reader
in regions undisturbed by such immediate and
embittering controversies. But I soon discovered
that I could only escape the questions concerning
Religious Institutions on the hypothesis that
Eternal Life can be vividly experienced and clearly
conceived outside all such Institutions. Yet all
sane and full Epistemology, and all the more
complete, characteristic and fruitful religious ex-
periences and personalities imperatively demand,
in the writer's judgment, some genuine Institu-
tionalism. And the excesses and defects traceable
in Epistemology and in Religion compel us to
search out the precise place, function, need,
and checks of Institutionalism within the full
religious complex, and especially within the
experience of Eternal Life — as these have been,
and continue to be apprehended by earnest and
saintly souls. If man's spirit is awakened by
contact with the things of sense, and if his con-
sciousness of the Eternal and the Omnipresent is
aroused and (in the long run) sustained only by
the aid of Happenings in Time and in Space, then
the Historical, Institutional, Sacramental must be
allowed a necessary position and function in the
full religious life. No cutting of knots however

Preface xv

difficult, no revolt against, no evasion of abuses
however irritating or benumbing, are adequate
solutions. Only the proper location, the heroic use,
the wise integration of the Institutional within the
full spiritual life are really sufficient. The writer is
no Quaker, but a convinced Roman Catholic ; and
hence, do what he will, he cannot avoid, he cannot
even minimize these for himself utterly intrinsic

The Bibliography has been kept very short and
sober — only such works have been mentioned here
as appeared to be of first-rate importance for the
elucidation of the subject, and amongst these,
generally only such as have been fully assimilated
by the writer's mind. The book makes no pre-
tension to exhaustiveness ; and bibliographies, in
proportion as they are at all complete, readily
distract both writer and reader from the experiences
and realities professedly in view.

I regret, however, not to have found room for
the following authors and writings so entirely
within my two conditions.

After Kierkegaard, it would have been well
briefly to have quoted and analysed the utterances
concerning Eternal Life to be found in Paul de
Lagardes Paper on the Relation of the German
State to Theology, Church, and Religion, first
published in 1873 aR d finally reprinted in his

xvi Preface

"Deutsche Schriften," ed. 1886. Amidst much
that is prejudiced, wayward, even perverse, we
get here a poignant sense of the continuous real
presence of the Eternal, and of our persistent
need and search of the Eternal, within all religious
History and Succession — a sense all the more
striking since it proceeds from one engrossed
throughout a lifetime in the most minute textual
and linguistic studies.

There ought to have appeared, perhaps as
the conclusion to the remarks upon Naturalism
in Anthropology, a grateful acceptance of the
admirable pages of C. P. Tiele, in his " Elements
of the Science of Religion," 1897, v °l» "•» concern-
ing the Infinite present within man — pages which
sprang so fresh and deep and admirably adequate
from the pen of that great scholar and genuine

It would have been right, perhaps in connection
with Kant's Epistemology, to have made appreci-
ative mention of Oswald Kiilpes "Einleitung in die
Philosophic" For this little volume, first published
in 1895, an< 3 already at its fifth edition in 19 10, is
a cheering proof that a carefully self-consistent,
sober, and non-subjec'tivist theory of knowledge
can, in the Germany of our day, be furnished in
a short handbook, and that it can find there a
large world of appreciative readers.

Preface xvii

And, finally, some careful attention ought pro-
bably to have been given, at the end of the
Feuerbach section, to Professor Paul Natorps
positions in his " Religion innerhalb der Grenzen
der Humanitat," 2nd ed. 1908. This exquisitely
written booklet is indeed but a variant (distin-
guished by greater sobriety, elasticity, and peda-
gogic, accommodating tact) of the Feuerbachian
Illusionism. Yet the attempt to "save" Religion
by the elimination of all Ontology, and by re-
ducing it to a purely human-social Moralism, is too
characteristic of the atmosphere of our times, and is
too subtly and completely destructive of religion, not
to deserve the most repeated study and refutation.
The Contents and Index, on the contrary, err,
if at all, on the side of over-copiousness ; yet such
a book as the present, if serviceable at all, seemed
to require ready aids to its study in almost any
reasonable direction and combination.

There now remain only two obligations, as
pressing as they are pleasant.

I have very gratefully to thank the friends who
have most kindly helped me to make this work
less unworthy of its great theme.

Mr. Edmund G. Gardner, Lecturer on Dante

at University College, London, aided me especially

xviii Preface

in the sections on St. Thomas, Darwin, and Marx,
and in the chapter on Institutional Religion. I
remain indeed alone responsible for everything
printed here ; yet I am anxious to acknowledge
the support which I have derived from the careful
reading of this my fellow- Roman Catholic.

Mr. Clement C. J. Webb, Wilde Lecturer on
Natural and Comparative Religion in the Univer-
sity of Oxford, was of much service on points
connected with Plato and Aristotle, in regard to
the translations from Spinoza, and also as to
Kant and Schopenhauer, and concerning Epi-
genesis and Evolution.

And two other friends have most patiently and
skilfully criticized throughout the form and sequence
of the book ; and it is to their generous aid that
the reader largely owes such clearness and sim-
plicity as these pages may now show.

And I have once again, as in the case of my
Mystical Element, to submit these my conclu-
sions — conclusions which cannot fail to be at least
imperfect in many ways and degrees — to my
fellow-workers, and above all to the test and
judgment of my fellow-Christians and of the

Catholic Church.



1st October 19 12,



A generous range and development necessary in any fruitful
study of Eternal Life .....

Eternal Life, an experience and conception latent, and in
various degrees patent, throughout all specifically human
life ; but fully operative and vividly recognized in re-
ligion alone ......

It involves, in proportion to such fulness and vividness,
Simultaneity, a complete Present and Presence

Indication of the three parts of this work — an Historical
Retrospect, a Contemporary Survey, and Prospects and
Conclusions ......



Rough division into evidences furnished by the Oriental
religions, properly so called, and those supplied by the
Grseco-Roman and the Jewish- Christian worlds and
their intermixtures, inclusive of Mediaeval and Modern
West European and North American civilization


The writer without first-hand experience or knowledge here.

Range of his competence and contribution . .7,8

Four Oriental complexes of life and doctrine of special

interest for Eternal Life ..... 8


xx Contents


1. Buddhism. The Nirvana described and analyzed by

Lehmann and Oldenberg . . . . 8, 9

Belief in Nirvana and apprehension of life as sheer flux
strictly interconnected. Lesson of this interconnec-
tion, with respect to Eternal Life . . .10

2. Hindooism. Ramanuja largely escapes from Monism

into Theism and belief in Free-Will and Grace . 10-12

The apprehension and conception of Eternal Life
traceable here . . . . . .12

3. Zarathustra : the Gatha-hymns may well go back to

him. Their doctrine profoundly ethical and dualistic.
The Yasht-hymns teach an Eternal Light . . 12, 13

How far Eternal Life is apprehended here . . 13

4. The old Egyptian religion articulates or implies with

certainty little or nothing concerning Eternal Life.
Illustration : the God Ra and the souls identified with
him . . . . . . . 13, 14


First of seven chapters devoted to the Jewish-Christian,
Grasco-Roman, and Modern European revelations, con-
ceptions, civilizations . . . . .15

Range of Israelitish times ; considerably narrower range

of the Israelitish utterances concerning Eternal Life . 15, 16

1. Utterances of the Israelitish Jahvist writer, and the

history of Elijah's conflict with the Baal worship . 16, 17
The prophet Amos : Israel's special responsibilities

and moral dispositions, declared more central than all

ritual observance . . . . .17

Isaiah of Jerusalem : the vision of his vocation ; his

parable of God and His vineyard . . . 17, 18

The prophet Micah\ the ethical character of God . 18

2. Jeremiah: God the fountain of living waters . . 18
Deuteronomy : man is to love God with all he is and

has . . . . . . .18

3. Ezekiel : God as the good shepherd ; as re-animating

the dead ; as the boundless healing waters . . 19, 20

The Priestly Code, akin to Ezekiel's spirit . . 20

4. Lateness of Israel's awaking to conviction of soul's

full, indeed heightened, life after death. Reasons
and profound instructiveness of this fact . .21,22

The Greeks in full contrast with all this. Yet the
Greeks gradually contribute much towards articulation
and completion of the Jewish spiritual outlook . 22, 23

Contents xxi



Their range in time ...... 23

1. The Orgiastic Cultus of Dionysus, as described by

Rohde : ecstatic states here awaken apprehension of

the Non-successive, the Eternal . . . 23-25

The soul here felt itself immortal, divine — the soul as

out of the body, in spite of the body . . .25, 26

Centre of the experience is here the apparent timeless-

ness, eternity of the trance state . . .27

2. The Orphics utilize and transform the Dionysiac cult ;

their doctrine of the Dionysian and the Titanic
elements in man . . . . . 27, 28

The soul's escape from the wheel of births, like yet
unlike here to Buddhism . . . . 28, 29

The soul here is to regain memory of her earthly life
in the Beyond — oblivion is here an evil . . 29, 30

Two currents of conception in the Orphic Tablets ;
traces in the mystical current of two characteristics of
ecstatic states . . . . . - 30, 31

3. Parmenides first precisely formulates the Totum Simul

of Eternity. The clearest of all purely abstract and
monistic, static, and determinist professions . . 31, 32

4. Plato attains the most vivid apprehension and formula-

tion of Eternity as distinct from Time . . .32

Three stages of his growth and corresponding three
groups of his writings. Only last two groups furnish
teachings concerning Eternal Life . . .32, 33

(1) Passages concerning Eternal Life in the Phadrus

and Republic ; in the Thecctetits ; in the Sophist ;
and in the Parmenides . . . • 33) 34

The passages concerning Purgation in this second

group ...... 35

(2) Passages in the third group — the Symposium and

the Timceus . . . . . . 35—37

Plato's two defects. The four great insights, com-
bined in Plato for the first and the last time
amongst Graco-Roman non-Christian souls : the
position of philosophy well within a large national
and individual life ; the need of purification and
the function of the Thumos ; the continuous search
for the organism in all reality ; and a deep sense
of an inexhaustible transcendent Beauty, Truth,
and Goodness, man's love of which constitutes all
his worth . . . . . • 37> 3^

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