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Jesus' hearers : they were impossible under His
idea of Faith. When Faith is an isolated and
subtle act of the soul, some will always ask,
What is Faith? and some will always reply,
There are seven kinds, more or less, and the
end will be hopeless confusion. If Faith be
defined as the sense of the unseen which de-
tects, recognises, loves, and trusts the goodness
existing in numerous forms and persons in the
world, and rises to its height in trusting Him
who is its source and sum, then it is needless
to inquire, ' What is Faith ? ' We are walking


by Faith in one world every day with our souls,
as we are walking by sight in another world
with our bodies. No one asked Jesus, * How
can Faith be obtained?' because Jesus did not
regard Faith as an arbitrary gift of the Al-
mighty, or an occasional visitant to favoured
persons, but as one of the senses of the soul.
Jesus did not divide men into those who had
Faith and those who had not, but into those
who used the faculty, and those who refused to
use it. He expected people to believe when He
presented evidence, as you expect one to look if
you show him a picture. One might have weak
faith as one might have short sight : one might
be faithless as one might be blind. That is
beside the question. The Race has sight, al-
though a few may be blind, and the Race has
Faith, although a few may not believe.

Jesus regarded the feeblest effort of this
faculty with hope because it lifted the soul
above the limitations of this life and allied it to
the Eternal. * With God all things are possible,'
and therefore, ' If thou canst believe, all things
are possible to him that believeth.' When His
disciples caught a glimpse of the higher life and
prayed,' Increase our Faith,* Jesus encouraged


them. ' If ye had Faith as a grain of mustard
seed (synonym for smallness), ye might say unto
this sycamine tree (synonym for greatness), Be
thou plucked up by the root, and be thou
planted in the sea ; and it should obey you. * It
was not easy to believe strongly any more than
to see far, and Faith, like any other faculty,
must be trained by discipline. Jesus was evi-
dently satisfied with the father who said with
tears, ' Lord, I believe ; help Thou mine unbe-
lief,* and ever cast His protection over strug-
gling Faith. Positive unbelief or absolute in-
capacity of Faith, Jesus refused to pity or con-
done. It was not a misfortune : it was a wilful
act. It was atrophy through misuse or neglect,
and was, to His mind, sin.

This judgment would be a gross injustice if
Faith were an accomplishment of saints ; it is
an inevitable conclusion if Faith be an inherent
faculty. No one could be reduced to this help-
less state unless he had habitually shut his
soul against the unseen as it lapped him round
and had fastened his whole interest on this
world. It was one of the paradoxes of Jesus*
day, that the same people were the conventional
believers and the typical unbelievers. The


Pharisees believed in their creed with pathetic
tenacity and disbeheved in Jesus with hope-
less obstinacy, and the reason of their faith
and their unbehef was the same. It was
their utter and unquahfied worldHness. They
beheved in a kingdom where its citizens strove
for the chief seats of the synagogues and the
highest rooms at feasts ; they were offended
with a kingdom whose type was a Httle child
and whose Messiah came to serve. They had
lived so long in the dark of vain ambition and
material aims, that their eye-balls had withered,
and when they came into the open they could
not see. * How can ye believe,' said Jesus to
the Jews, illuminating at one stroke His idea of
Faith and the reason of their unbelief, 'which
receive honour one of another, and seek not the
honour that cometh from God only?'

Jesus' attitude to miracles hangs on His idea
of Faith. Define Faith as the antagonist of
reason, and miracles are then a necessity. They
are the twelve legions of angels which inter-
vene on the side of Truth. Define Faith as the
supplement to reason in the sphere of the un-
seen, and miracles are at best a provisional
assistance. If Faith had been alert and strong,


then miracles had been an incumbrance. Since
Faith was weak and inert, miracles served a
purpose. For a moment the spiritual order
projected itself into the natural and arrested
attention. No one could deny another state,
and he might be roused to possess it. A mira-
cle was a sign, a lightning flash that proves the
electricity in the air ; otherwise a useless and
alarming phenomenon to men. Jesus did not
think highly of physical miracles ; He was an-
noyed when they were asked ; He wrought
them with great reserve ; He depreciated their
spiritual value on all occasions. If blind men
could not see the light, let them have the
lightning, but it was a poor makeshift. * If I
do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
But if I do, though ye believe not me (recog.
nise me), believe the works, that ye may know
and believe that the Father is in me and I in
Him.* So He put it to the Jews, and His
heart sometimes failed Him about His own dis-
ciples. * Believe me that I am in the Father,
and the Father in me : or else believe me for
the very works' sake.'

* You stick a garden-plot with ordered twigs.
To show inside lie germs of herbs unborn,


And check the careless step would spoil their birth ;
But when herbs wave, the guardian twigs may go.
. . . This book's fruit is plain,
Nor miracles need prove it any more.'

Jesus was Himself the one convincing and
permanent miracle, the ' avenue into the un-
seen.' When any one believes in Jesus, he has
the key of revelation and the vision of Heaven.
* Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under
the fig-tree, believest thou ? thou shalt see
greater things than these. And He saith unto
him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter
ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of
God ascending and descending upon the Son
of man.*

With Jesus' idea of faith religion is indepen-
dent of external evidence, and carries a warrant
in her own bosom. The foundation of Faith is
a grave problem, and its difficulty is admirably
raised in an Eastern legend. The world rests on
an elephant. Very good : and the elephant itself
on a tortoise : and the tortoise ? on air — sooner
or later you come to air — no foundation. There
are two conceivable grounds on which Faith can
stablish herself, and each is a priceless assistance.
One is the testimony of faithful people in all


the ages ; this is an infallible Church. The
other is that * volume which is a Divine sup-
plement to the laws of nature and of con-
science ' : this is an infallible Book. But what
is to certify the Church or the Book ? Their
character alone can be their certificate, and how
am I to identify this character save by my
Faith ? We end where we began — with Faith,
which must be self-verifying and self-sustaining.
We believe in Jesus, not because the prophets
anticipated Him or disciples have magnified
Him, but, in the last issue, because He is such
an one as we must believe. Jesus is the justi-
fication because He is the satisfaction of Faith.
Faith is thankful for every aid, and strengthens
herself on the Bible, but Faith is self-sufficient.

* In its true nature,* to quote Mr. Green again,

* Faith can be justified by nothing but itself,*
or, as John Baptist has it, * What He hath seen
and heard, that He testifieth ... he that
hath received His testimony hath set to his
seal that God is true.*

Jesus* idea of Faith explained His contradic-
tory attitude to this visible world, which was
sometimes one of friendliness, sometimes one of
watchfulness. When He saw the world as the


shadow of the real, He loved it and wove it
into an endless parable. Its fertility, tenderness,
richness, brilliancy were all signs of the King-
dom of Heaven fulfilled in Himself. ' I am the
true vine ; * 'I am the good Shepherd ' ; ' I am
the Light of the world ' ; He was the * living
water.' He was the substance of every appear-
ance : the truth under every form. The spiritual
was embodied in this world, as Jesus was God
in human flesh, and he that believed, like St.
John, could see. This was the appreciation of
the world. When Jesus thought of the world
as the veil of the spiritual, He was concerned, and
warned His disciples lest they should be caught
by the glitter of the visible, lest they should be
held in the prison of the material. They must
have a sense of proportion, seeking first the
Kingdom of God and His righteousness : they
must not fret about this world, knowing it to
be an appendage of the Kingdom. They ought
not to lay up for themselves treasures on earth,
because they would be lost ; they must store
their treasures in heaven, because they would
last. They ought not to fear the trials of this
life, because persecution cannot injure the soul ;
they ought to fear spiritual disaster only,


because it is destruction to be cast into hell fire.
He that seeks to house his soul in barns is a
fool ; he that prepares an everlasting dwelling-
place is wise. The world as a parable is perfect ;
as a possession it is worthless. It is never to
be compared with the soul, or the kingdom of
God. Jesus did not denounce the world as
wicked, He disparaged it as unreal. This is the
depreciation of the world.

When Jesus* idea of faith is accepted, then
its province in human life will be finally de-
limitated, and various frontier wars brought to
an end. Painters will still give us charming
pictures of Faith and Reason, but they will no
longer represent Reason as a mailed knight
picking his way from stone to stone, while Faith
as a winged angel floats by his side. Faith and
Reason will be neighbouring powers, each
absolute in its own region. It is the part of
Reason to verify intellectual conceptions and
apply intellectual principles, and Faith must
not disturb this work. It is the part of Faith
to gather those hopes and feelings which lie
outside the intellect, and Faith must not be
hampered by Reason. When the knight comes
to the edge of the cliff, he can go no farther;


then Faith, Hke AngeHco's San Michclc, opens
his strong wings and passes out in the lonely
quest for God. An Eastern has understood
Jesus perfectly. ' What Reason is to things
demonstrable,' he says, * is Faith to the invisible
realities of the spirit-world.*

One may also hope that with Christian views
of Faith we shall not hear any more of a recon-
ciliation between Science and Religion, which
is as if you proposed to reconcile Geology and
Astronomy. Science has, for its field, everything
material ; religion, everything spiritual. When
the scientist comes, as he constantly does, on
something beyond his tests, as, for instance,
life, he ought to leave it to Religion. When
the saint comes on something material, as, for
instance, creation, he ought to leave it to
Science. Faith has no apparatus for science ;
science has no method of discovering God.
For the phenomena of the universe we look to
Science ; for the facts of the soul to Faith. 'A
division as old as Aristotle,' say the authors of
the Unseen Universe, 'separates speculators into
two great classes: those who study the How of
the universe, and those who study the Why.
All men of Science are embraced in the


former of these ; all men of Religion in the

Define Faith as the Religious faculty, and
you at once lift from its shoulders the burden
of Theology. In the minds of many, Faith and
Theology have been so confounded together as
to be practically one, and Faith has been exer-
cised on dogmas when it should have been rest-
ing in God. Theology is a Science ; it is creat-
ed by reason. Religion is an experience ; it is
guided by faith. The Catholic doctrine of the
Trinity, for instance, is a very elaborate effort
of reason, and is not, strictly speaking, within
the scope of faith. When one says, ' I believe *
in the Nicene Creed, he means that he assents
to the theological statement. When one says,
* Lord, I believe,' in Jesus' sense, he means that
he trusts — a very different thing. Jesus' physical
Resurrection, in the same way, is a question that
can only be decided by evidence, and is within
the province of reason. His spiritual Resurrec-
tion is a drama of the soul, and a matter of faith.
When I declare my belief that on the third
day Jesus rose, I am really yielding to evi-
dence. When I am crucified with Christ, buried
with Christ, and rise to newness of life in


Christ, I am believing after the very sense of

Our wisdom in this day of confusion is to
extricate Faith from all entanglements, and
exercise the noblest, surest, strongest faculty of
our nature on Jesus Christ, whose Person con-
stitutes the evidence of the unseen, whose one
demand on all men is Trust, whose promise,
fulfilled to an innumerable multitude, is Rest.

* Remember what a martyr said
On the rude tablet overhead :
I was born sickly, poor, and mean,
A slave ; no misery could screen
The holders of the pearl of price
From Caesar's envy ; therefore twice
I fought with beasts, and three times saw
My children suffer by his law.
At last, my own release was earned,
I was some time In oeing burned ;
But at the close a hand came through
The fire above my head, and drew
My soul to Christ, whom now I sec*




This is my commandment,* said Jesus, * that
ye love one another as I have loved you ' ;
* Every particle of matter in the universe,' said
Newton, 'attracts every other particle with a
force directly proportioned to the mass of the
attracting particle, and inversely to the square
of the distance,' are the two monumental de-
liverances in human knowledge, and the Law
of Love in the sphere of metaphysics is the
analogue of the law of gravitation in the sphere
of physics. The measure of ignorance in
Science has been isolation, when nature appears
a series of unconnected departments. The
measure of ignorance in Religion has been
selfishness, when the Race appears a certain
number of individuals fighting each for his own
hand. The master achievement of knowledge


has been the discovery of unity. Before New-
ton, gravitation was holding the world together;
it was his honour to formulate the law. Before
-•Jesus, Love was preventing the dissolution of
the Race ; it was His glory to dictate the law.
Newton found a number of fragments and left
a physical universe. Jesus found a multitude
of individuals and created a spiritual kingdom.
The advance from a congeries of individuals to
an organised society is marked by four mile-
stones. First, we are simply conscious of other
men and accept the fact of their existence ; we
realise our mutual dependence and come to a
working agreement. This is the infancy of the
•Race and conscience is not yet awake. Then
we discover that there are certain things one
must not do to his neighbour, and certain ser-
vices one may expect from his neighbour, that
to injure the next man is misery and to help
him is happiness. This is the childhood of the
Race, and conscience now asserts itself. After-
wards we begin to review the situation and to
collect our various duties : we arrange them
under heads and state them in black and white.
This is the youth of the Race, and reason is
now in action. Finally, we take up our list of


black and white rules and try to settle their
connection. It is not possible to trace them all
to one root and comprehend them in one act?
What a light to conscience, a relief to reason, a
joy to the heart ! This is the mature manhood
of the Race, and the heart is now in evidence.
From an instinct to duties, from duties to rules,
and now from rules to Law. State that Law
and the Race becomes one society.

Jesus came at a point of departure ; He
received the race from Moses and led it into
liberty. The Jew of Jesus' day was, in spite of
all his limitations, the most spiritual man in
the world, and the more thoughtful Jews were
sick of a code and thirsting for a principle.
* Master,' said a scribe to Jesus, * which is the
great commandment in the law ? ' and this
anonymous seeker after truth has suffered un-
just reproach. He has been imagined a mere
pedant held in the bonds of a vain theology, or
a cunning sophist anxious to entrap Jesus into
a war of words. He ought rather to be thought
of as an earnest student whose mind had out-
grown a worn-out system, and who was waiting
forthe new order. His desire was not a puerile
comparison of rules ; he had tasted the tedium


of such debates in Pharisaic circles : his desire
was to get from the branches to the root. He
believed that Jesus had made the discovery.
Jesus recognised a congenial mind and placed a
generous interpretation on the scribe's words,
* Thou art not far/ He said, ' from the kingdom
of God.'

Jesus addressed Himself to the unity of moral
law in His first great public utterance, and only
concluded His treatment before His arrest in
the garden. His Sermon on the Mount was a
luminous and comprehensive investigation of
the ten words with a purpose — to detect their
spiritual source and organic connection. It was
the analysis of a code in order to indentify the
principle. It was the experimental search for a
law, conducted with every circumstance of
spiritual interest before a select audience ; it
was a sustained suggestion by a score of illus-
trations that the law had been found. Moses
said, * Do this or do that.* Jesus refrained from
regulations — He proposed that we should love.
Jesus, while hardly mentioning the word, plant-
ed the idea in His disciples* minds, that Love
was Law. For three years He exhibited and
enforced Love as the principle of life, until,


before He died, they understood that all duty
to God and man was summed up in Love. Prog-
ress in the moral world is ever from complexity
to simplicity. First one hundred duties ; after-
wards they are gathered into ten command-
ments ; then they are reduced to two : love of
God and love of man ; and, finally, Jesus says
His last word : ' This is my commandment,
that ye love one another, as I have loved you.*
When Jesus proposes to sum up the whole
duty of man in Love, one is instantly charmed
with the sentiment, and understands how it
made the arid legalism of the scribes to blossom
like the rose. How can one conquer sin? How
can one come to perfection ? How can one
have fellowship with God? How can one save
the world ? And to a hundred questions of
this kind Jesus has one answer: * Love the man
next you.* It is the poetry of idealism ; it is
quite beyond criticism as a counsel of perfec-
tion. But we are haunted with the feeling that
this is not a serious treatment of the subject.
We are inclined to turn from the Galilean
dreamer and fall back on the casuists. It is
one of our limitations to imagine that poetry
is something less than truth instead of its only


adequate expression, and that the heart is an im-
pulsive child whose vagaries have to be checked,
instead of the imperial power in human nature.
We are redeemed in this matter by the inspira-
tion of Jesus. Had Jesus repeated the hackneyed
programme of negation with a table of * shalt
nots,' He would have afforded another dreary
instance of moral failure. When Jesus publish-
ed His positive principle of Love, and left each
man to draw up his own table, He gave a bril-
liant pledge of spiritual success. By this magi-
cal word of Love He not only brought the dry
bones together and made a unity ; He clothed
them with flesh and made a living body. He
may have forfeited the name of moralist, He has
gained the name of Saviour.

Jesus was not an agreeable sentimentalist
who imagined that He could cleanse the world
by rose-water ; He was the only thinker who
grasped the whole situation root and branch.
He did not propose to make sin illegal ; that
had been done without conspicuous benefit.
He proposed to make sin impossible by replac-
ing it with love. If sin be an act of self-will,
each person making himself the centre, then
Love is the destruction of sin, because Love con-


nects instead of isolating. No one can be en-
vious, avaricious, hard-hearted ; no one can be
gross, sensual, unclean, if he loves. Love is the
death of all bitter and unholy moods of the
soul, because Love lifts the man out of himself
and teaches him to live in another. Jesus did
not think it needful to eulogise the virtues : it
would have been a work of supererogation when
He had insisted on Love. It is bathos, for
instance, to instruct a mother in tenderness; the
maternal instinct will fulfil itself. Jesus has
changed ethics from a crystal that can only
grow by accretion into a living plant that flow-
ers in its season. He exposed the negative
principle of morals in His empty house swept
and garnished ; He vindicated the positive
principle in His house held by a strong man
armed. The individualism of selfishness is the
disintegrating force which has cursed this world,
segregating the individual and rending society
to pieces. The altruism of Love is the consoli-
dating force which will save the world, reconcil-
ing every man to his fellows and recreating
society. When Jesus makes Love the basis of
social life. He does not need to condescend to
details ; He has established unity.


When Jesus gave His doctrine of Love in its
final form, one is struck by a startling omission.
He laid on His disciples the repeated charge of
Love to one another, He did not once command
them to love God. While His preachers have
in the main exhorted men to love God, Jesus
in the main exhorted them to love their fellow-
men. This was not an accident — a bias given
to His mind by the immense suffering in the
world : it was an intention — the revelation of
Jesus' idea of Love. Conventional religion di-
vides love into provinces — natural love, ranging
from the interest of a philanthropist in the poor
to the passion of a mother for her child, and
spiritual love, whose humblest form is the fellow-
ship of the Christian Church and whose highest
is the devotion of the soul to God. This arti-
fice is the outcome of a limited vision ; it has
been punished by a contracted heart. It has
ended in the disparagement of natural love and
the unreality of spiritual love. Jesus never
once sanctioned this mischievous distinction :
He bitterly satirises its effect on conduct. The
Pharisee offers to God the gift which ought
to have gone to his parents' support — so de-
voted was he to God, so lifted above ordinary


affection ! Our Master accepted the solidarity
of sin, that no one could injure a fellow-creature
without hurting God. ' If the world hate you,
ye know that it hated me before it hated you ; '
and ' He that hateth me, hateth my Father
also.' He accepted with as little reserve the
solidarity of Love — that no one could love a
fellow-creature with a pure, unselfish passion
without loving God. * He that receiveth you
receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth
Him that sent me.' As St. John has it, with
an echo of past words, * Beloved, let us love one
another : for love is of God ; and every one
that loveth is born of God.' Life is the school
of love, in which w^e rise from love of mother
and wife and child through a long discipline
of sacrifice to the love of God. Love is the law
of Life.

It was the habit of Jesus* mind to trace the
seen at every point into the unseen, and He
gave the law of Love its widest and farthest
range. He was not content with insisting that
the unity of the human stood in Love, He sug-
gested that Love was also the unity of the
Divine. The same bond that made one fellow-
ship of St. John and St. Peter was the principle


of communion between the Father and the Son.
With Jesus the Trinity was never a metaphysical
conception — a state of being ; it was an ethical
fact — a state of feeling. It was a revelation of

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