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W. (William) Sanday.

Christology and personality : containing: I. Christologies ancient and modern, II. Personality in Christ and in ourselves / by William Sanday online

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of his little children of whom he is in travail until
Christ be formed in them (iv. 19), he in like manner
does not profess to follow the process, but fixes his
eye upon the result.

In my book I ventured to describe that hidden
unconscious region, the 'subliminal self as it is
often called, as the proper and natural sphere of
Divine influence upon the soul. Does not that cor-
respond to our experience ? Are we not sure that
there is such Divine influence.^ And, if there is,



44 The Problem of Personality

does not the greater part of it elude our conscious-
ness ? Does not St. Paul repeatedly imply that it
works beneath the surface ? Is it not just this that
he means when he says, We know not how to pray
as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh inter-
cession for us with groanings which cannot be
uttered' (Rom. viii. 26).?

It is true that in certain exceptional natures
these secret workings come nearer to the surface
than they do with others. In the Old Testament
God is represented as speaking with Moses ' face to
face, as a man speaketh unto his friend ' (Ex. xxxiii.
11). There is an element of primitive realism in
the expression; .but I can well believe that the
language is that of some prophet who had himself
had a more vivid experience of God than falls to
the lot of ordinary men. I should be inclined to
say as much of the Prophets generally when they
claim 'The Lord spake unto me saying', or when
they set down a sort of dialogue between God and
themselves (e. g. Is. vi. 5-13; Jer. i. 4-10, xv. 15-21,
&c.). Here again the experience is so vivid that
it rises up into consciousness to a degree that we
cannot parallel from ourselves. I would say the
same of other latter-day saints. There are doubt-
less many degrees of communion ; and the measure
that we should apply to these degrees is the extent
to which they enter into consciousness. But in
ordinary experience the communion that I speak of
is usually sub- or unconscious; and even in excep-



//. Personality in Ourselves and in Christ 45

tional experience, it begins in the sub- or uncon-
scious region and gradually expands upwards and
outwards.

Some of my hearers may remember, in the
volume of Cambridge Theological Essays (1905), an
essay by Canon J. M. Wilson of Worcester on ' The
Idea of Revelation, in the light of modern know-
ledge and research'. In reviewing this essay, I
rather felt compelled to take exception to the strong
antithesis that was drawn between two ways of
conceiving of Revelation, the one subjective and
internal, the other objective and external; as if
these conflicting modes of conception seriously
competed with each other at the present time.
I thought we were sufficiently agreed that the
method of Divine revelation to man was through
the action of the Spirit of God upon the human
spirit and human faculties of apprehension. But
all that side of the antithesis seemed to me to be
stated by Canon Wilson exceedingly well. I will
quote a paragraph which treats of the subjective
or internal method of Revelation on the broadest
possible scale.

We may . . . regard it [the universe] as essen-
tially one continuous whole, in which, from hidden
sources of life within, which we call Divine>
mysterious and ordered movements spring up,
progressing towards some remote end. Such a
development in the spheres of matter and of phys-
ical life is popularly called Evolution; in that of
the intellect it is called Knowledge; and in the realm



46 The Problem of Personality

of conscience and will it may be called Revelation,
though perhaps there is no real distinction. Reve-
lation, from this point of view, is regarded as the
growth of evolution of the Divine Life, and of the
knowledge of its own nature, in the human race
(op. cit., p. 224).

Canon Wilson is treating of 'movements', where
hitherto we have been concerned rather with indi-
viduals. But it is the Divine action upon indi-
viduals which goes to make a movement. Accord-
ingly, when Canon Wilson speaks of 'hidden
sources of life within, which we call Divine', I feel
justified in translating this as applying to the
'subliminal states' or 'subliminal self of elect serv-
ants of God. The phrase is convenient, and in
itself it is quite harmless; if pernicious meanings
have been read into it, they can be put aside.

It is true that the prophetic utterances were
essentially public. But the publicity consisted in
proclaiming from the housetops secrets whispered
to them in the inner chambers. It was the special
privilege of the prophets that they were admitted
to the inner counsels of God. And the way in
which they were admitted to them was, not that
they beheld any visible writing upon the wall, but
that 'impulses of deeper birth' came to them —
impulses deeper and more searching than fall to
the lot of common men.

And yet there is an analogy between their ex-
perience and ours. The Spirit spoke to them by



//. Personality in Ourselves and in Christ 47

acting upon and through the inner faculties and
processes of their being. And it is in the same
manner and through the same channels that He
speaks to us. There is no fundamental difference
between the psychology of St. Paul and St. John
and that of modern times. It would in no way
disturb their language or meaning if we were to
insert the 'subliminal self as the medium of Divine
inspiration and Divine indwelling.

And that which was true of the servants — the
prophets and holy men of old — was true also of the
Son. Even with Him, in His incarnate nature,
Divine inspiration and Divine indwelling was not
essentially different in the mode and region of its
working. If I am not mistaken, this inquiry on
which we have been engaged will help us to see
more clearly wherein lies the likeness and wherein
the unlikeness between Christ and ourselves.

In my book I emphasized the likeness in a way
that has seemed to some — and perhaps naturally
seemed — to need qualification. I said: 'The Life
of our Lord, so far as it was visible, was a strictly
human life; He was, as the Creeds teach, "very
Man" ; there is nothing to prevent us from speaking
of this human life of His just as we should speak
of the life of one of ourselves'. I used the present
tense, but I really had in view the historical Life.
I was thinking of the impression that would have
been made on one of us if we had met the Prophet
of Nazareth from day to day in the streets of



48 The Problem of Personality

Capernaum. We should have thought of Him as
the Prophet of Nazareth; and it would at least
have taken some time before we suspected that He
was more than this. The public ministry was
drawing to its close before St. Peter made his great
confession, although for months he had lived at his
Master's side. That was one aspect, the aspect of
likeness; but now I must speak of the comple-
mentary aspect of unlikeness.

If we believe that there is but one God, then we
must also believe that there is but one Divine.
There are not two kinds of Divinity or Deity; there
is but one kind. If, or in so far as, the Holy Spirit
may be said to dwell in our hearts, it was the same
Holy Spirit who dwelt in Christ. The difference
was not in the essence, nor yet in the mode or
sphere, of the indwelling, but in the relation of the
indwelling to the Person, And when I say the Per-
son, I mean the whole Person — each several organ
and faculty — but especially the central core of Per-
sonality, the inner, controlling, and commanding
Person. There are Divine influences at work with-
in ourselves; and those influences touch more lightly
or less lightly upon the Person, but they do not hold
and possess it, as the Deity within Him held and
possessed the Person of the incarnate Christ.

There is the chasm, which we may conceive
filled, but which, as a matter of fact, never is filled.
If we take the high-water mark that human lan-
guage has ever reached, that astonishing saying of



//. Personality in Ourselves and in Christ 49

St. Paul's 'Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ
liveth in me', there, no doubt, the Apostle is speak-
ing of an ideal which he can conceive realized,
though it never has been, and never will be, com-
pletely realized. Our human experience falls far
short of it. If we could conceive of it as realized
we should say, not that there were two Gods, but
that there were two Incarnations.

I have tried to use all the precision of language
that I can. It is demanded of me; and I desire,
to the utmost of my power, to meet the demand.
But this is the furthest point to which I think that
we can profitably go. I would not myself wantonly
go even so far as this. But what has been done
once will not need to be done again.



Ill

RETROSPECT



Ill



Retrospect

The foregoing lectures were delivered in Novem-
ber, 1910, and they might have been published by
the beginning of the year. But, except from my
friend Professor H. R. Mackintosh, to whom refer-
ence has been made above (page 4), neither they
nor my book on Christologies, to which they formed
a sort of continuation, had as yet passed through
the ordeal of criticism by a professed philosopher.
I was promised such a criticism, and I looked for-
ward to it with especial interest, because I regarded
whatever there was of novelty in the book and in
the lectures as submitted in the first instance to the
philosophers. Not until an opinion had been
obtained from them could I feel any security that
w^hat I had written was deserving of the attention
of a wider public. I did not of course expect a
direct endorsement, but the preliminary objections
might be too great to be overcome.

I knew that I was trespassing off my own proper
ground. The only excuse that could be made, was
that it was trespassing in pursuit of game started on
the theological side of the hedge. I thought that
perhaps excuse enough, because I was sure that

(53)



54 The Problem of Personality

questions like those I have raised would some day
come up for discussion, and it seemed well to
make a beginning, however modest that beginning
might be.

As I am writing now (February, 1911) I have
had sufficient philosophical criticism to enable me
to take my bearings; and, without anticipating the
result, I feel that I ought at least to complete the
case stated in Christologies to the extent to which
these lectures may be said to complete it.

I will come back quickly to the philosophical
questions which are the most important that I have
now to deal with. But as I have the opportunity
of looking back over the ground traversed in my
book, I will avail myself of it to try to correct
one or two incidental points that seem to need
correction. Those writers are to be envied who,
with a sharp and clear recollection of all the facts
that have to be embraced and summarised, and
with the pen wielded by a flexible and dexterous
hand, set down exactly what they mean, neither
less nor more. But it is too easy, either from
defective memory or from defective skill, to let the
scales of justice incline unduly to the one side or to
the other. It is a matter of very real regret to me
that in one or two personal references, either to
schools or to individuals, I should have seemed to
do injustice that was far from my intention. The
passage about the doctrine or theory of Kenosis and



///. Retrospect 55

its maintainers (Christologies, pp. 71-8) has been
described as 'severe'; and I am the more sorry
that it should present itself in this light because
I myself may be thought to preach a Ken otic
doctrine. It would ill become me to impute blame
to those who, at the most, were only engaged as
I am myself in 'experimental thinking'. Nothing
could be further from my intention than to revive
what I hope I may call forgotten controversies.
The mellowing effect of time has passed over these,
and I hope that the kindly treatment of this part
of my own book by reviewers will show how little
tendency there is to take hold of vulnerable points
or to re-open old sores. Still I do not acquit
myself of imperfect memory and insufficient stress
on caveats and disclaimers that I ought to have re-
membered (especially, I may say. Bishop Gore's
Dissertations, pp. 94-97, 179-201). So far as my
own view of Kenotic theory is concerned, I am only
anxious that it should be kept as much as possible
within general terms; I do not want it to be
allowed to harden into a system of scholastic or
quasi-scholastic definitions. When St. Paul wrote
to the Philippians, he was not using the language
of doctrine but of morals of wide imaginative out-
look, and the more we can follow his example the
better.

Another regret that I have is that I should have
been thought to do injustice to a writer for whom
I have a sincere respect and regard. Professor



56 The Problem of Personality

Wilhelm Herrmann, of Marburg (op. cit., pp. 107
ff.). I had hoped that the opening sentences of
my reference to him would be taken to cover and
qualify all that followed. 1 am glad to see that
they were so taken by my reviewer in the Oxford
Magazine. And, to say truth, the criticism which
followed was not meant to be read too literally and
seriously. I was quite aware of the essential merits
of that which I was criticising. Here, too, I was
dealing with a phase of controversy which I hoped
might be regarded as past and done with, and to
which it was possible to look back with something
of a smile. Apart from this, I gather from my
friend Professor Peake — one of the most learned of
bibliographers — that my criticisms were based upon
an old translation which the publishers had after-
w^ards superseded.

In the course of the paragraph relating to Herr-
mann there occurs an allusion to the greatest of the
Reformers for which one of my own best friends
rebukes me. Since my undergraduate days, when
I first read Carlyle's Lectures on Heroes, I have been
an admirer of Luther, and I would not for a great
deal say anything really disrespectful of him.^ I
hardly think that what I wrote even hinted at any-
thing of the kind. But the context, if it were taken
more seriously than it was meant, might also give
to the allusion a colour that was not intended.

^I am not prepared to express an opinion on the last important
phase of the Luther controversy started by FSre Denifle's Luther
u. Luthertum (Band i. 1904).



///. Retrospect 51

The above are incidental personalities that did
not affect my main argument. The only other
point to which I think that I need refer here is
also independent of the main argument, though it
belongs to a portion of my book which means much
to me. I included in the volume a discussion
which I thought would help to explain the founda-
tion on which it rested and at the same time con-
tinued a train of thought in a previous publication.*
The Hibbert Journal for October, 1910, p. 203,
criticised this with some point, if also with some
condescension. The subject was the continuity of
Christian thought in the past and in the present.
All that I would wish to say about it now is that it
may be regarded from two points of view, religious
or scientific. In the one case the leading idea is that
of the Providential order; w^e think of the Divine
guidance of the Church manifested down the cen-
turies, and we expect to find congruity between its
different parts. In the other case the leading idea
is evolution; and that too is a continuous process;
one part does not contradict another, but grows
naturally out of it; the type is preserved, though it
is steadily developed. In my book, especially in
the Preface, I wrote from the point of view that I
have called religious. There is, however, the scien-
tific standpoint as well. For myself, I regard the

^Chapter on 'Symbolism', taking up The Life of Christ in Recent
Research (1907). The passages involved were pp. 234f-9, and
Preface p. vi. f.



58 The Problem of Personality

two as different aspects of the same thing. In the
one aspect it is God,

* Existent behind all laws, who made them and, lo,
they are!'

In the other aspect it is law, as the expression of the
will of God. Any one may make his choice between
these two modes of presentation, or use at one time
one and at another time the other according to his
context. They do not contradict, but rather sup-
plement, each other.

The reception of my book in the non-philosoph-
ical portion of the public Press had been all, and
more than all, that I could hope for. I have always
had a scruple about thanking my reviewers, because
to do so might seem to make a personal matter of it
and to suggest that their verdicts 'went by favour'.
But I could not help being struck and touched by
the generally sympathetic treatment accorded to me.
I have lived long enough to see a great improve-
ment in this respect, in the care with which a
writer's views are reproduced and the insight and
considerateness with which his aims are appreciated.
This extends even to those to whom the particular
point of view is more or less uncongenial. I have
myself reaped the full benefit from this advance,
and I cannot forget it.

But I awaited with especial interest the judge-
ment that would come sooner or later from the side
of philosophy. I have said that I think of Professor



///. Retrospect 59

H. R. Mackintosh as philosopher as well as theolo-
gian; and his very full review of me in two successive
numbers in the Expository Times (vol. xxi, pp. 486
ff., 553 ff.) was quite humbling in its kindness. I
would venture to ask any one who desires to follow
out the subject further than the point to which I
have brought it to refer to these two articles. They
will see there the views which I have been trying
to commend presented at their very best, except
perhaps at a single point in regard to which I am
responsible. It will be borne in mind that the
articles are a review of my book, and that the writer
had not before him the further material and correc-
tion contained in the lectures that I am now pub-
lishing. It was one of the chief objects of those
lectures to remove the particular misunderstanding
of which I have just spoken (see pp. 6-8).

I have read over again, with a view to this chap-
ter, the three objections to my theory stated by Pro-
fessor Mackintosh, op. cit., pp. 556-8. The first is
the attribution of superiority to the unconscious.
All my philosophical critics have laid stress upon
this. When Mr. J. K. Mozley did so in the Cam-
bridge Review, I replied disclaiming the intention to
assert such superiority. And it is true that I did
not intend to assert it. But I can now see that it
was at least very natural that my critics should
think otherwise; and I have tried to explain {loc.
cit.) how it was that I came to give this impression.
It was never distinctly and deliberately before my



60 The Problem of Personality

mind. But I was feeling my way; and I was feel-
ing my way along the particular line which my
argument followed. I had no idea of challenging
what I may call the received or current psychology,
except so far as it was directly affected by the fuller
recognition of the sub- and unconscious. I did
not mean to depreciate the conscious states. I did
not mean to question the processes commonly re-
ferred to them. I hope that in the second of these
lectures I have emphasized the importance of those
states in a way that may be sufficient to clear me of
this suspicion. From the point of view of the Self,
and the responsibility of the Self and the formation
of Character, they are all-important. And I do not
wish to describe them as acting otherwise than my
critics would themselves. I would only seek to
enhance the relative importance of the sub- and un-
conscious states. It seems to me that in the past
these states have been too much left out of sight,
simply because the mind has not been allowed to
dwell sufficiently upon them. The great outstand-
ing fact which elevates them in the mental scale is
the fact that in a sub- or unconscious form they con-
tain the whole deposit of a man's past. They con-
tain, not only all the stores of memory, but all the
effects of those stores upon the roots of Self and of
Character.

I desire to correct my first way of stating the case
(as it is expressed in Christologies) by not laying
so much stress upon the 'threshold' or 'dividing-



///. Retrospect 61

line' between the conscious and the unconscious.
It may in fact be treated as only imaginary, put in
to help clearness of presentation. I am not sorry
that I made use of such language for that reason.
At the early stages of many a process of exposition
we do put in dividing lines, or make them blacker
than they really are, just for this practical purpose
of impressing them upon the mind. When they
have served this purpose they can be rubbed out
again. And in that sense I shall be quite content
to rub out, or make much fainter, a good deal of
the imagery that I employed at first for temporary
convenience. There is a perpetual uprising of that
w^hich is generated below into the region above ; and
it is only in this upper region that it attains to its
fullest and best expression — fullest and best at least
from the point of view of human life and personal-
ity. All that I willingly admit ; and I hope that the
admission may help to reconcile Professor Mackin-
tosh and others to some of the things that in my
first statement were a stumbling-block to them.

I think of Professor Mackintosh and Mr. Mozley
as philosophical theologians; in the Oxford Maga-
zine for November 24, 1910, I received my first
criticism from a philosopher proper. The initials
attached to it were those of a name well known and
honoured in Oxford; it was just the name that I
should wish to see attached to a review of any
quasi-philosophical work of mine. The contents
were mainly critical, but the criticism could not



62 The Prohlem of Personality

have been more kindly or considerately done. The
details of it seemed to me to fall under two heads.
They covered the whole ground of my book; but
some of them seemed to touch the heart of it, while
others did not. My reviewer dwelt from time to
time on interesting questions as they arose —
questions that might quite well affect the impression
formed of the book and of its writer, but which were
not exactly vital to the particular theory advocated.
For instance, the reviewer desiderated a clearer
statement of my conception of the place of authority
in religion. I would gladly give this as far as I can.
I may refer to a paper on ' Authority in Belief and
Practice' read by me at the Swansea Church Con-
gress in 1909. It may be enough to say here that
I do not regard any authority as exempt from criti-
cism; and I should never wish to shelter myself
behind authority. But I do not regard this as
excluding the endeavour to maintain a loyal con-
tinuity between the teaching of the Church and any
private teaching of my own.

My reviewer devoted considerable space to an-
other subject which has indeed a certain interest
in itself, but which I should have thought had a
very secondary bearing upon the main issue. This
is the question of the appeal to the 'expert', the
exact definition of an expert, and the question how
far T. H. Green is to be regarded as an expert in
philosophy and theology. On this last point I do
not think I could quite agree that * in no sense in



///. Retrospect 63

which he [Green] could be called a first-hand phi-
losopher was he a second-hand theologian '. Green
was certainly a fresh and first-hand thinker on the
subject of religion. But his interpretation of the
Bible and his reconstruction of the historical course
of the beginnings of Christianity depended to a
large extent on data derived from outside. As I
said in my book, they rested for the most part on
the theories and criticisms of Strauss and Baur.
It was in that sense that I described them as
second-hand. I can well believe that Green was
not exactly what we should call an all-round phi-
losopher, equally armed at all points of the history
and principles of philosophy. But I do not know
that any reference that I made to him depended
upon the assumption that he was.

So far as my own appeal to 'experts' in philo-
sophy is concerned, if we are to describe it by that
name, I do not suppose that I could stand a very
severe cross-examination: in particular, if I were
asked why I mentioned the names I did in prefer-
ence to others, my reasons would not be thought
very satisfactory. I mentioned them chiefly be-


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