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BY THE AUTHOR OF
( PRO CHRISTO ET ECCLESIA'
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" THE thing before men was a human life, entirely native, and
unflinchingly complete. Its conditions were those of human
simplicity, unadorned and undisguised. And yet it was undeniable
that in the texture of human history a new thing had appeared.
Perfect stainlessness, perfect sureness of spiritual intuition, and as
it seemed of communion with the Unseen, a tone of unique and
unfaltering authority, contributed elements in an impression which
included, and was greater than, them all.
" We who look back from such a distance, who have seen so
much crumble and alter, who belong to a generation which has
changed everything, and which feels itself on the brink of further
change, who have seen the outer form and fabric of the religion in
which this living truth found body cracked, and shaking, and dis-
figured, and as it may seem to many awaiting by destruction the
end of its decay we still find that one Name is honoured above
" Do we ask what explains this wonderful thing, what secret is
at the heart of all this ? Ah ! there we are upon the very threshold
of the inner Sanctuary, and it is not for me to-day to enter there.
Only we may put to ourselves the question whether it may not be
that that old kinship between man and the Being, high and holy,
who in Nature is part revealed and part concealed, that kinship
which is the secret of man's power to interpret Nature, which makes
all his best moral effort seem to him to be but a response and an
imitation whether it may not be that that kinship has found at length
some new and full completion, a unity final, and yet infinitely
germinal:' " The Fulness of Christ," E. S. Talbot, Bishop of
WHO LIVE THE LIFE OF WHICH
I WOULD offer my thanks to a friend who, although
absorbed in important philosophic work, was
generous enough to read the greater part of this
book in manuscript and by his suggestions to
give me valuable help ; also to others who have
kindly considered the proof sheets.
SYNOPSIS OF VOLUNTAS DEI
INTRODUCTION ........ I
There are three common hypotheses of the origin of our universe.
These three set forth by analogies and examined
1. The Materialistic hypothesis that all things mechanically
evolve, and are mere combinations of matter.
2. The Psychic hypothesis that spirit, potential in matter,
has been the formative principle and will become more
and more dominant.
3. The God hypothesis.
The strong and weak points of each hypothesis considered.
If all three were equally reasonable, the fact that the third satisfies
feeling and activity as well as reason is likely to make it always
the belief of che greater part of mankind ; but there is no moral
defect involved in the acceptance of any of these theories by men
who honestly find their natures satisfied by them. The theist
must whole-heartedly allow that an honest man's intelligent
adherence to what seems to him truth cannot be offens ve to
God j while materialist or psychist must not accuse theist of
lack of candour for adhering to the God hypothesis even though
his reason may not be wholly satisfied ; for it is probably quite
as candid to adhere to what satisfies volitional and emotional
nature, although reason be not wholly convinced, as to reject
a satisfying belief merely because no reasonable proof can be
The fact of the diverse and unnumbeied multitude living in what
they believe to be consciousness of God is considered as weighing
down the scale on the side of the God hypothesis.
QUALITIES OF PURPOSE . . . . . .19
Belief in creative Intelligence involves belief in creative purpose.
The conditions under which we seek truth require us to make.
the facts we know the basis of inference as to the nature of
The qualities of purpose considered in concrete life.
1. Purpose exercised between precise forecast and exact fulfil-
ment. This only possible for the mere mechanic work-
ing in inanimate matter.
2. Inventor or artist works out new ideal in inanimate matter.
Forecast less precise ; result less accurate.
3. Gardeners and herdsmen work out inward ideals in the
material of life. These desire only the perfection of the
life they tend, without forecasting individual variation. .
4. The schoolmaster, parent, or missionary works out inward
ideals in a higher form of life. The higher the material
in which the purpose must be worked out, the stronger
and nobler must be the purpose.
This is the law of purpose ; and we may infer from it that God
executes His purpose in the sphere of autonomous life, that the
divine Will is not a force that works mechanically between
precise forecast and exact fulfilment.
CREATIVE PURPOSE . . . . . . -
When increasing knowledge shatters the traditional pictures of
the unknown, it is better to build these up again rather than
seek to live by a faith unaided by imagination, always bearing in
mind that all words and images are merely symbols of truth.
Assuming God as first cause, we must try to picture His relation
Metaphysical difficulties notwithstanding, we postulate Creator
and creation, and must paint the unknown in analogies from
the life we know.
Matter, whether organic or inorganic, is now described in a way
that to the plain man implies that it is only a form of energy.
Energy may be thought of as the body of life. Let us picture
how this creation can have come to be.
We may conceive of creation as the gift of life.
Autonomy is of the essence of life j for since we insist that man
is self-directing, spite of scientific evidence that he is determined,
we need not suppose all other things entirely different from him
in this respect.
In the beginning we get motion, tension, attraction, repulsion, and
by degrees what we call the " inanimate " universe God exer-
cising in this stage something analogous to mechanical purpose.
When life begins to express itself in organic forms, autonomy
becomes more decided j God's purpose works more intricately.
Along the line of intelligent life we get greater and greater
autonomy, which at last calls for what we know as the highest
form of purpose that of the parent or teacher.
Pantheistic thought identifies the life of the universe with God j
but life lends itself both to good and evil, to progress and retro-
gression. It appears saner to regard life as the not-God, which
came from God, and is being trained by Him to form with Himself
a new unity.
It is never life that is limited, but the power of the organism to
utilise life for its own ends. The perfection of the organism
would be its power to utilise life fully for its highest end.
When life at last in man becomes conscious of itself, and able
consciously to respond to God, we get " spiritual life," which
entails pre-eminently the power to utilise more and more of the
universal life for the highest end.
The speculations of this chapter seem to harmonise with experience.
PROVIDENCE AND AUTONOMY ..... 43
Can we detect in world evolution a purpose which tallies with the
types of purpose we have found in man ?
The order we perceive in inorganic nature tallies with such human
purpose as we have called mechanical.
In the earliest stage of life physical strength and adaptation seem
to be the aim.
Later on the aim seems to be a balance of physical force and intelli-
gence $ not the strongest body, nor the strongest intelligence, but
the best combination of these persists. We therefore get defects
in the physical nature and in intelligence handed down along
the line of fullest life.
Later, when what we call God consciousness or spiritual life is
added, nature again strives for a balance of the three qualities ;
again defects in each aspect are handed down along the line of
The purpose suggested by the development of human life is health
of body and brain, excellence of intelligence, excellence of will
power, excellence of extra-regarding impulses which make for the
perfection of corporate life. The prevailing desire of nature
seems to be to rid itself of defects in all these.
The disease germ or parasite does not belong to the method, but
militates against the purpose.
If this tendency to excellence of life indicates God's will, very much
must happen in our universe which merely represents the will
of the autonomous creature before it is won by the persuasive
purpose of God.
If disease and defect were the will of God, God and the life-force
would be at war.
xii VOLUNTAS DEI
But on what grounds do we claim that all that happens including
disease and defect is " providential " ?
Going back to what in man we saw to be the highest sort of pur-
pose, we find that the teaching and training of autonomous life
cannot mean the ordering of all its joys and sorrows.
We therefore assume that the supreme purpose of the universe may
only be accomplished when the creature co-operates with the
life-force, i.e. with God.
Bearing of this on the doctrine of prayer.
THE PURPOSE IN HUMANITY . . . . -53
Since God gave autonomy to His creation, He must have power
to realise His purpose by that method.
As " faithful Creator " He must be related to His creation (i) by
accepting the struggle between right and wrong as His own, (2)
by thus ensuring a compensating gain to creation for all the
suffering entailed by freedom.
We have found that in organic nature the stream of life discards
disease and defect and failure in intelligence, in temperance and
courage, in affection for offspring and co-operation with fellows.
In human affairs progress is more complex. Conscience, or satis-
faction in virtue, seems to belong to the fullest force of human
life. Life sound, abundant, beautiful does not flow along the
generations of those who break through customs to gratify
passion: it flows along the generations of the law-abiding,
but also of those who disregard present law in the effort to
mould and obey the higher law of the future.
The push of conscience must be seen not only in the will, but in
Along this line we get the growth of the hope in social progress
or personal immortality, or both.
This is exemplified in the history of the human race. Nations
with a religion of pessimism and fear show powers of accurate
observation and vivid imagination j but advance in political
justice and social amelioration are only found with those who
hope in the future.
This hope develops intellect. Thus, intellectual as well as moral
force is found necessary to fulness of life. A hopeful intellectual
life makes for universal fellowship. Monopolies always yield
to the advance of a fuller life.
Perfection of conscious life is to be manifested in physical health
and beauty, mental genius and social love.
But the individual dies imperfect.
The perfect fulfilment of every individual life seems involved in.
any purpose of the universe worthy to be called divine^
As death and desuetude of ideas attach to any divine purpose we
can detect here, we are driven to produce the line of hope bejond
this world, towards a synthesis of individual and racial im-
EMERGENCE OF RELIGIOUS LIFE ..... 65
As the senses emerge in biological evolution, the psychic qualities
connected with them also evolve. By the same process we see
man's consciousness of God evolve within his self-consciousness.
Animal sympathy produces altruism e.g. mother and young j dog
and master. In the same way human sympathy with God pro-
duces susceptibility to divine influence.
God-consciousness described in Holy Writ in terms of physical con-
No line can be drawn between man's psychic and spiritual powers.
UNION OF GOD WITH CREATION ..... 77
As the line of tendency in evolution passes through intelligence
to consciousness of God and the immortal hope, it points to a
destiny that is union with God.
Eternal truth can only be apprehended by a variety of analogies.
The idea of union thus considered! Plant and seedling. Animal and
offspring. In the union of herd, hive, flock, unity of purpose
is added to unity of kind. Greater difference goes with closer
union, as in unity of marriage $ unity of understanding.
Difference, personality, self-hood, are necessary to a high degree
of unity. We have no conception of real unity that does not
depend on difference.
Four sorts of unity of kind, of purpose, of feeling, of interpreta-
tion. All these exemplified in the brief hour of family life.
But man seeks an abiding union on these lines. Hence
1. Ancestor worship identifying kindred with God.
2. Tribal gods deifying the corporate purpose.
3. Mystery religions, involving unity of feeling deifying
the intuitions of the race.
4. Philosophies, involving unity of interpretation deifying
The religion which can satisfy humanity must offer all these sorts
of unity in one, and the unity must be between different persons
man and God.
It is this to which nature unconsciously tends. It is this which
man consciously seeks. It is in this search that God meets
man bestowing re-creative love.
xiv VOLUNTAS DEI
NEWNESS OF LIFE .......
Susceptibility to God's influence develops with the growing God-
Illustration the sea breaking into a new inlet.
Communion of God and man may be described as " telepathic."
Union of man with God does not mean identity. True union
depends on community of kind and difference of identity.
We rarely see anything perfect after its kind. Degree of perfection
in plants or animals depends on environment. Whatever the
general level reached by a class or species, it will respond to an
So with the human race. Hence the function of the most God-
conscious man must be to better the social environment of his
To describe this function in another way : the highest human
work is creative ; and the highest material for this work is con-
scious autonomous life, and the highest product is a new humanity.
The greatest men will, therefore, always be working to create
new men and a new human environment.
Thus the greatest men have been founders of world religions which,
in proportion to their greatness, transcend local and national
But while any society is still imperfect, human excellence, which
must be God's intention, cannot be perfectly realised in it.
The highest development possible to the individual in an imperfect
environment can only be perfection of volition.
When this is attained by the founder of a religion the result must
be a society that will transcend all human distinctions.
SON OF MAN ........ 99
Man everywhere has the inward conviction that he could do right
but does not.
On the basis of this conviction all law and justice rest.
It would seem natural that this sense of ability to do right should
The man who attained to perfect volition would be the true Son of
If Tightness of will involves compassion manward, such an one
must sympathise with the shortcoming of his race.
Such Tightness of will involves " singleness of eye," which is the
way of divine illumination.
Illumination foresight and insight are to be had by holding the
activities steadily directed to the right.
To this end God gives the universe autonomy, but exercises over
it fostering care.
Think of the fostering care of a parent, guardian, lover. Such care
can only impart illumination when its object sympathises with
So Creative Intelligence watches over creation, ever ready to give
light to each ready recipient.
As in biological evolution we see physical senses coming to different
degrees of perfection, so in human history character evolves.
Light is always imparted to the individual as he is able to
God will first have full effect on human life when undeviating
adherence to right is produced in the human will.
Goodness realised reveals lack of goodness in all else. Thus we get
the proclamation of the reign of God in contrast to the current
SON OF GOD ........ 107
The universal conviction that man can do right but does not,
makes it reasonable to expect that a man should some time
appear who does right.
But goodness cannot be achieved by individual effort alone ; it
must be also the gift of dectiny, i.e. predestination.
Individual man, personal though he be, is indivisible from the
stream of life.
Man is thus born into a scheme of things which, if free-will and the
sense of sin be realities, as we believe, is not perfectly adjusted
to God's will. While it is probable that what works against
God's will is self-destructive, which limits possible extent of dis-
cord, such discord, when personal, may be the diabolic element
which, as well as the divine, environs the spirit of man.
It is certain that every child chooses between ideals determined by
forces other than itself.
Every individual is partly made, and wholly environed, by forces
other than himself.
This undoubted truth underlay the ancient stories of the divine or
regal descent of every great man.
In the Hebrew poem of creation all life originates from the brood-
ing of the Spirit ; and Hebrew prophets looked forward to the
perfecting of human polity as an act of God, cosmology and
eschatology thus alike figuring forth the truth that all that is
good is of God.
xvi VOLUNTAS DEI
Again, if we take the "fruits of the Spirit" and their opposite as
described by St. Paul, we see that only in a community or family
where the fruits exist and their opposites are absent, can the
best sort of child be born.
Whether, then, the doctrine of the divine Fatherhood of Jesus be
fact, or only a poetic representation of fact, the idea it symbolises
is still true.
If the Incarnation was the culmination of the world -process, it
could only be the beginning of a saving life ; further, that life, if
truly human, must go on to develop in the heavens. For true
humanity implies much more than a body in human shape in-
habited by Divinity 5 it involves a personal immortality.
This asserted in the Pauline doctrine of the resurrection and
mediation of Christ.
The Church now admits she has mistaken crisis for process in her
doctrine of the first, and also of the last, things. The Church
may also have mistaken crisis for process in her account of the
Advent of Christ.
But he who sees truth and mistakes its form lives more wisely than
he who fails entirely to see it.
Sun, photosphere, and sunbeam suggested as an analogy for the
doctrine of the Trinity.
OMNIPOTENCE . . . . . . . .123
The simplest idea of omnipotence is analogous to the power of an
adult over a child.
This power may be analysed into three sorts in an ascending scale
1. Power to change the place of matter, i.e. to move the
2. Power to influence the child's behaviour.
3. Power to conceive of the effect desired.
The effect desired may be (a) mere acquiescence ; or (b] intelli-
gent acquiescence j or (c) a good balance of spontaneity and
Power may also be reckoned quantitatively. The power that lasts
longest and extends over the greatest range is the greatest degree
Government by force can belong only to the infancy of the child
or of the race.
A clear conception of a strong character to be moulded, and self-
restraint in the process of evoking it, mark the highest degree
of power in the adult over a child.
If to this were added the power to create the child, we should get
the complete notion of creative and administrative power which
we associate with Omnipotence.
To get our simplest conception of creation let us imagine a gardener
creating a rose. He must exhibit, first, power to conceive the
rose character. His conception must extend to all possible
varieties of the rose life.
At the same time, to form the conception is to set its limits.
These limits are twofold the outward and visible possibilities,
and the character of the inner secret life.
If we attribute to such a life any power of self-direction, it follows
that the creator-gardener cannot know which possibility will
develop and which will fail. His power, after creation, will be
of the same nature as that of the adult over the child.
In both cases higher power is strictly regulated in relation to
inferior power, its secret being the ability to conceive an end and
regulate action toward that end.
Hence this must be our conception of Omnipotence.
The creation of the finite must therefore involve the self-regulation
of the Infinite.
If so, how can we assume we understand the degree of self-limita-
If the end Omnipotence has in view is a form of created life able
to freely co-operate with Him, that would seem to involve
limiting Himself so far as to give the ability to resist Him.
This resistance in lower nature would mean disease and degenera-
tion j in higher nature, these together with moral disease and
But it is only the possibility of resistance, not resistance itself, that
can be said to be necessary.
We cannot conceive of Omnipotence as able to have all things that
seem to us good. Foreknowledge appears to us good, but the
supreme good appears to us to be the hope of something better
than we have ever experienced.
We cannot conceive God as both having all things at once and as
having this supreme joy of expectation. We s"hould reniember
this when inclined to dogmatise as to what Omnipotence must
or must not include.
It appears, however, to require a greater degree of power to create
a living existence whose successive attainments would be an ever-
varying and glad surprise to the Creative Mind than to create a
passive thing whose career would be from the beginning static
to the Creative Mind.
The Christian will here remember that our Lord represented God
as a Father, and thus gave His authority to the idea that God's
happiness is concerned in the choices that men make.
The responsibility felt by the best parents for the careers of their
children is something that perhaps comes as near to touching the
great Reality as anything we know.
If so, God's prescience must extend to all possibilities of disaster,
and against the results of all possible disaster He must provide.
God's re-creating influence on His creatures must be unceasing
though not coercive.
xviii VOLUNTAS DEI
THE DIVINE-HUMAN REVELATION . . . -139
The facts of the universe are a parable from which we must abstract
But only that interpretation which has been thoroughly assimilated
can be perfectly articulate. When articulate it is a less perfect
interpretation than that to which the mind is already advancing.
We dimly see in the creative process the Source of life, the
developing life, and the relation of potential unity between them.
The nature of the Source is indicated by the quality of the develop-
ment energy into life, life into self-hood.
Illegitimate anthropomorphism perhaps consists in assuming that
what we know as self-hood reveals the absolute nature of the
It is because the Incarnation indicates vital union with the Source
notwithstanding our ignorance, that it is of such vast importance.
What should we expect the revelation to be that came to and
through one whose human will was perfectly united to the
Divine will ?
1. That he would reveal more truly the nature of God in His re-
lation to creation God as the supreme lover of humanity,
the supreme sufferer with humanity, and the supreme
attraction of humanity.
2. That he would reveal more truly the results of the divine
influence on the world, laying emphasis on the repairing
of disaster, " binding up that which is broken," " healing
that which is sick."
This activity of the Creator, when applied to free, self-conscious
mind, produces the higher social development of the individual
by means of a higher psychic environment. The highest and