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MAN has no deeper or wider interest than theology ;
none deeper, for however much he may change, he
never loses his love of the many questions it covers ;
and none wider, for under whatever law he may live
he never escapes from its spacious shade; nor does
he ever find that it speaks to him in vain or uses a
voice that fails to reach him. Once the present
writer was talking with a friend who has equal fame
as a statesman and a man of letters, and he said,
'Every day I live, Politics, which are affairs of
Man and Time, interest me less, while Theology,
which is an affair of God and Eternity, interests me
more.' As with him, so with many, though the many
feel that their interest is in theology and not in dogma.
Dogma, they know, is but a series of resolutions
framed by a council or parliament, which they do
not respect any the more because the parliament was
composed of ecclesiastically-minded persons ; while the
theology which so interests them is a discourse touch-
ing God, though the Being so named is the God man
conceived as not only related to himself and his world
but also as rising ever higher with the notions of the
self and the world. Wise books, not in dogma but in
theology, may therefore be described as the supreme



need of our day, for only such can save us from much
fanaticism and secure us in the full possession of a
sober and sane reason.

Theology is less a single science than an ency-
clopaedia of sciences; indeed all the sciences which
have to do with man have a better right to be called
theological than anthropological, though the man it
studies is not simply an individual but a race. Its
way of viewing man is indeed characteristic ; from this
have come some of its brighter ideals and some of its
darkest dreams. The ideals are all either ethical or
social, and would make of earth a heaven, creating
fraternity amongst men and forming all states into a
goodly sisterhood ; the dreams may be represented by
doctrines which concern sin on the one side and the
will of God on the other. But even this will cannot
make sin luminous, for were it made radiant with
grace, it would cease to be sin.

These books then, which have all to be written by
men who have lived in the full blaze of modern light,
though without having either their eyes burned
out or their souls scorched into insensibility, are in-
tended to present God in relation to Man and Man
in relation to God. It is intended that they begin, not
in date of publication, but in order of thought, with a
Theological Encyclopsedia which shall show the circle
of sciences co-ordinated under the term Theology,
though all will be viewed as related to its central or
main idea. This relation of God to human know-
ledge will then be looked at through mind as a com-
munion of Deity with humanity, or God in fellowship


with concrete man. On this basis the idea of Revela-
tion will be dealt with. Then, so far as history and
philology are concerned, the two Sacred Books, which
are here most significant, will be viewed as the scholar,
who is also a divine, views them; in other words,
the Old and New Testaments, regarded as human
documents, will be criticised as a literature which
expresses relations to both the present and the future ;
that is, to the men and races who made the books,
as well as to the races and men the books made.
The Bible will thus be studied in the Semitic family
which gave it being, and also in the Indo-European
families which gave to it the quality of the life to
which they have attained. But Theology has to do
with more than sacred literature; it has also to do
with the thoughts and life its history occasioned.
Therefore the Church has to be studied and presented
as an institution which God founded and man ad-
ministers. But it is possible to know this Church
only through the thoughts it thinks, the doctrines
it holds, the characters and the persons it forms, the
people who are its saints and embody its ideals of
sanctity, the acts it does, which are its sacraments,
and the laws it follows and enforces, which are its
polity, and the young it educates and the nations it
directs and controls. These are the points to be pre-
sented in the volumes which follow, which are all to be
occupied with theology or the knowledge of God and
His ways.

A. M. F.


THE main objects of this volume are threefold. \ Firstly,
to vindicate for religious Faith its true dignity as
a normal and healthy part of human nature. Next,
to insist that Faith demands the actual reality of its
objects, and can never be content with a God who is
only an ideal. Lastly, to show in detail how most of the
errors and defects in religious belief have been due to a
tendency to arrest the development of Faith prematurely,
by annexing it to some one faculty to the exclusion of
others, or by resting on given authority. The true
goal is an unified experience which will make authority
no longer external. This scheme has compelled me to
state, far too briefly and dogmatically, my grounds of
disagreement with certain religious opinions which are
widely held, such as the infallibility of ' the living voice
of the Church,' and the finality of the 'appeal to Holy
Scripture, and also with those religious philosophies which
make religion exclusively an affair of the will, or the in-
tellect, or the aesthetic sense. My criticisms of these various
theories are all intended to show the errors which result
from a premature synthesis. Faith claims the whole man,
and all that God's grace can make of him. If any part of
ourselves is left outside our religion, our theory of Faith
is sure to be partly vitiated by the omission ; and con-
versely, an inadequate theory of Faith is likely to be
reflected in one-sided or distorted practice.

When we try to analyse the contents of Faith, after
claiming for it this very comprehensive range, we must


be prepared for the criticism that we have given only
bare outlines, or else that we have left rival constructions
side by side in the form of patent inconsistencies. For
we cannot hope to understand and co-ordinate all the
highest experiences of the human spirit. And our own
generation, it seems to me, is not called upon even to
attempt any ambitious construction. We must be
content to clear the site for a new building, and to get the
materials ready. The wise master-builder is not yet
among us. ' Revivals ' are only a stop-gap ; they create
nothing. They recover for us parts of our spiritual heritage
which were in danger of being lost, and having achieved
this, they have done their work. The words Catholic
and Protestant are much like the words Whig and Tory
hi politics. They are the names of obsolescent distinc-
tions, survivals of old-world struggles. When the next
constructive period comes, it will be seen that the spiritual
Latin empire and the Teutonic revolt against it belong
to past history. Already the crucial question is, not
whether Europe shall be Catholic or Protestant, but
whether Christianity can come to terms with the awakening
self-consciousness of modern civilisation, equipped with
a vast mass of new scientific knowledge, and animated for
the first time by ideals which are not borrowed from
classical and Hebrew antiquity.

The great danger in our path, I venture to think, comes
from the democratisation of thought, which has affected
religion, ethics, philosophy, and sociology in fact, almost
every department of mental activity except natural
science. We see its results in hysterical sentiment alism,
which is the great obstacle in the way of using organised
effort for social amelioration. We see them in the frank
adoption of materialistic standards, such as the pleasure
and pain calculus, as soon as we leave the region of abstract
speculation. And in philosophy it is impossible to miss
the connection between the new empiricism, with ita


blatant contempt for idealism, whether of the ancient
or modern type, and the democratic claim to decide all
things in heaven and earth by popular vote. It is possible
to sympathise thoroughly with the spread of education,
and yet to be aware of the enormous dangers to civilisation
which the false theory of natural equality brings with it.
It has bred a dislike of intellectual superiority, and a
reluctance to allow reason and knowledge to arbitrate on
burning questions. Everywhere we find the praises of
feeling or instinct sung, and the dangers of intellectualism
exposed. Now instinct is the tendency in humanity to
persistence, reason is the tendency to variation. Most
variations, we are reminded, fail to establish themselves ;
instinct is therefore the safer guide. But the tendency
to variation is just what has raised man above the lower
animals ; it is the condition of progress. And in civilised
man reason has largely displaced instinct, which is no
longer so trustworthy as in the brutes. Since this process
is certain to go further, distrust of reason is suicidal, and
to exclude it from matters of Faith must be disastrous.
I believe that the Kantian antithesis between the specula-
tive and practical reason is wholly fallacious, a residuum
of the dualism which Kant found dominant in philosophy
and failed to overcome. If this dualism is abandoned, the
contrast between Faith and knowledge falls with it. And
yet the temptation to ' heal slightly ' the wounds of
religion by reverting to this separation of Faith from fact
has proved irresistible to very many, and I believe that it
is a main source of the notorious inefficacy of our apolo-
getics. The intellectual difficulties raised by science are
not popular, and we are tempted to override them because
the masses are still ignorant and superstitious ; but I
believe that here is still our great problem, and that we
shall do well to agree with our adversary quickly, while
we are in the way with him.

This is not the kind of intellectualism which paralyses

viii FAITH

action. To escape this, it is only necessary to remember
that, in the life of man, thought and action are equally
important. The normal course of all experience is ex-
pansion followed by concentration. Ideals are painted
by imaginative thought, but realised only in action.
Character is consolidated thought. Action and contem-
plation must act and react upon each other ; otherwise
our actions will have no soul, and our thoughts no body.
This is the great truth which the higher religions express
in their sacraments. A sacrament is more than a symbol.
The perception of symbols leads us from the many to the
one, from the transitory to the permanent, but not from
appearance to reality. This belongs to the sacramental
experience, which is symbolism retranslating itself into
concrete action, returning to the outer world and to
mundane interests ; but in how different a manner from
our earlier superficial experience ! The formula ' From
symbol to sacrament ' completes and Christianises the
Platonic (or Plotinian) scheme, and gives the mystic a
rule of life. ' Are we not here to make the transitory
permanent ? ' asks Goethe. ' This we can only do if
we know how to value both.' There are two essential
movements in the spiritual life : one which finds God hi
the world, mainly through thought and feeling ; the
other which re-finds the world hi God, mainly through
moral action. The former reaches permanence through
change, the latter change through permanence. So the
spiral goes on, hi ever- diminishing circles (gyrans gyrando
vadit Spiritus), till in heaven, we may be sure, the dis-
harmony between thought and action is finally attuned.

NOTE. This book is an expansion of ten lectures which
were delivered in London on the Jowett Foundation, in
the early months of this year. For this reason, the form
of lectures has been adhered to throughout.





FAITH AS A RELIGIOUS TERM continued, .... 24




























BIBLIOGRAPHY, ...,..*. 243

INDEX, . 245


(a) In the BiUe

I PROPOSE to consider the first of the theological virtues,
in order to determine, if possible, in what it consists. I
will not begin by attempting a definition of ' Faith ' ; but
a brief indication of the sense in which the word will be
used in the course of the discussion seems desirable.
Broadly speaking, when we use the word Faith, without
special reference to religion, we mean, either the holding
for true of something which is not already verified by
experience or demonstrated by logical conclusion, 1 or con-
fidence in the wisdom and integrity of a person. In the
former sense, the corresponding verb is c believe,' in the
latter it is ' trust.' In the former sense, the conception
of Faith is independent of the character or quality of the
thing believed. I may believe in a God or in a devil ; in
the habitability of Mars or in the man in the moon ; or I
may believe that if I make one of a party of thirteen at
dinner it will be a good speculation to insure my life. The
grossest superstition might be called Faith in this sense.
But in religious language, to which the word more properly
belongs, Faith has a more limited and a more dignified
meaning. * It is the general expression for subjective
religion.' 2 It is used for conviction as to certain ultimate

1 Cf. Fechner, Die drei Motive und Grunde des Glauben*, p. 1.


facts relating to the order of the universe and our place in
it. And we shall see in the sequel that this conviction is
not the result of a purely intellectual Judgment, but has a
more vital origin. It involves an eager and loyal choice, a
resolution to abide by the hypothesis that the nature of
things is good, and on the side of goodness. That is to
say, Faith, in the religious sense, is not simply belief ; it
is inseparable from the sister virtues of hope and
love. 1

After this preliminary statement about the meaning of
the word, I will proceed to sketch the historical growth of
* Faith ' as a theological concept. For it is a complex idea
and has a history.

Let us take first the history of the Greek words TTMTTIS and
Trio-Tcveev. IL'cms means the trust which we place in any
person or thing, and the conviction, or persuasion, which we
hold about any subject. 2 Less frequently, it means fidelity,
and so the pledge of fidelity, acquiring the meaning of
promise, security. ^Eschylus (Frag. 276) has OVK dvS/ob?
upKOL TTICTTIS, a A. A.' opK(av oivrjp and TTicrrt? became a
common technical term for * proof.' 8 The word first

occurs in Hesiod TriVreis yap TOI o/xws KOU dino-riai <oA.<rai'
ai/fy>ag, i.e. ' in money matters be neither confiding nor
suspicious ' ; while Theognis has learned by experience
that it is safest to trust nobody : Trio-ret ^P 7 ?/ AaT ' oAeo-aa,
aTTto-riy S' tVdWa. In the first-mentioned sense it is
opposed to knowledge, and is thus almost a synonym of
Soa, though TTto-ris could never (like Sda) be contrasted
with aA.vj0ia, or vo^o-is, but only with 7rio-n}ju,^, or yraxrts.
Very instructive is Plato (Rep. 10. 601) : rov avrov apa

(TKevovs 6 [J.V Troirjrrjs iri(TTiv opOrjv eei irepl /caXXovs T KOU

7rov;/otas, fvi/wv T<{) ciSori KOI ayayica^o/ici/os <XKOVV irapa TOV

1 On the connection between Faith and Hope, cf. Newman, Lectures on
Justification, p. 256 n. * Luther and Calvin both virtually grant that faith
and hope are inseparable, or parts of one thiuj,, though Luther (and perhaps
Calvin) denies this of faith and love.' Cf. p. 15.

* Cremer, Biblico-Theological Lexicon, p. 495.

* Lightfoot, Galatians, p. 156.


6 Se xpuptvos f7TL(7Trifj.r)v (' though the implement is
the same, the maker will have only a correct belief about
the beauty or badness of it ... whereas the user will
have knowledge '). IKo-Tts is not necessarily weak con-
viction, but it is unverified conviction. As, however,
all conviction should seek to verify itself, it may be called
incomplete science. Plato (Rep. 6. 511 ; 7. 533) gives us
two divisions of the mind, intelligence (1/0170- is) and opinion
(Soa), each having two subdivisions. The four divisions
thus produced are science(e7rio-Tr?/^),understanding(3iavota),
belief (or faith or persuasion TT terns), and the perception of
images (fucoirta}. And he says that as being is to becom-
ing, so is intelligence to opinion ; and as intelligence is to
opinion, so is science to belief, and understanding to the
perception of images. Faith, for Plato, is a mental condi-
tion which still takes the visible and opinable for true ;
though it possesses a higher degree of clearness than etVao-ia.
It is a stepping-stone to true knowledge.

IL'o-Tis is used in classical Greek of belief in the gods ;
generally (e.g. Eur. Med. 414) of confidence in them rather
than of belief in their existence ; but examples of the other
sense are not wanting. By the time of Plutarch, Greek
thought was already familiar with the idea of * Faith ' as
that which guards a traditional deposit of divine truth.

Cf. Mor. 756 B. : dpKtl r) Trdrpios /ecu TTdAcua Trams, ijs OVK
<TTIV eiTretV ov8' dvtvpeiv TtKfArjpiov evapyevrepov. * The ancient

ancestral Faith is sufficient, than which it is impossible to
mention, or to discover, anything clearer. If pie continues]
this common foundation for the pious life is disturbed and
shaken at any point, the whole becomes insecure and

The verb Trto-TciW, when used in relation to persons,
seems to have expressed a somewhat stronger emotion
than the substantive TTIO-TIS, and accordingly it was not
much used in classical Greek of mere belief in the existence
of gods. For this belief vopi&Lv was the regular word,


indicating acceptance of statutory beliefs rather than any
warmer sentiment. At the beginning of the Memorabilia,
Socrates is accused of not ' believing in ' (i/o/xif"' 1 ) the gods
whom the city worships, and Xenophon replies that
since he certainly trusted in the gods, how can it be true
that he did not believe in them ? So a distinction is recog-
nised which is of great importance in the history of

In the later Platonists, we have a doctrine of Faith
which closely resembles that which I shall advocate in
these lectures. The nature of God, says Plotinus, is diffi-
cult to conceive and perhaps impossible to define. But
we are sure of His existence, because we experience, in our
inmost being, expressible and definable impressions when
we come near to Him, or rather when He comes near to
us. The ardent desire with which we turn towards Him
is accompanied by a pain caused by the consciousness of
something lacking in ourselves ; we feel that there is
something wanting to our being. It must be by His
presence in our souls that God reveals Himself to us, for
we have no means of knowing things except by something
analogous to contact. The light of God's presence is
brighter than the light of science or reason. But none can
see it who is not made like to God, and whose being is not,
like that of God, brought to an inner unity. Elsewhere,
Plotinus explains Faith as a kind of spiritual perception,
as opposed to demonstration (a7ro'Seiis), which is the result
of reasoning. 1

In Hebrew, the verb ' trust ' or ' believe ' is connected
with words meaning ' support ' and ' nourish ' ; and the
fundamental idea is stability, trustworthiness. ' Whatever
holds, is steady, or can be depended upon, whether a wall
which securely holds a nail (Isa. xxii. 23, 25), or a brook
which does not fail (Jer. xvi. 18), or a kingdom which is
firmly established (2 Sam. vii. 16), or an assertion which has
> Cf. Plotinus, Enneads, v. 5, 11 ; vi. 7, 24-26 ; vi. 9, 4.


been verified (Gen. xlii. 20), or a covenant which endures
for ever (Ps. Ixxxix. 28), or a heart found faithful (Neh.
ix. 8), or a man who can be trusted (Neh. xiii. 13), or God
Himself who keeps covenant (Deut. vii. 9), is ( faithful.' 1
The difference between * believing in ' (placing trust in)
and simple credence is marked in the Old Testament by
different prepositions following the verb. It cannot be
said that the verb is very common in the Old Testament
in a religious sense ; and there is in Biblical Hebrew no
substantive properly meaning * Faith ' in the active sense.
Accordingly, the Revised Version only admits the sub-
stantive Faith in two places (Deut. xxxii. 20, and Hab. ii. 4).
These are not translations of the same Hebrew word. In
Deut. xxxii. 20, the words are : ' they are a very froward
generation, children hi whom is no Faith.' Here one may
doubt whether the meaning is not simply, ' they cannot be
trusted.' In Habakkuk, however, the active sense is
apparently intended : ' the just shall live by his faith ' ;
but even here the sense is disputed, and the margin of the
Revised Version has ' in his faithfulness.' I think, however,
that the marginal rendering, though more in accordance
with the usage of the word, gives a less satisfactory sense,
because the context shows that a contrast is being drawn
between the arrogant self-sufficiency of the Chaldaean and
the humble trust hi God of the ' just.' We may perhaps,
then, hold that in this one passage of the Old Testament
we have the word Faith used in something like its full
Christian or Evangelical meaning, as an enduring attitude
of the mind and heart towards God.

The notion of Faith, or rather, faithfulness, in the Old
Testament is largely determined by the idea of a covenant
between God and His people. Faith, trust, or faithfulness
belongs to the parties to a covenant ; it has no meaning
outside that relation. The covenant was made between
God and His people collectively ; individuals were parties

1 Warfield in Hastings's Dictionary of the Bible, s. v. Faith.


to it as members of the favoured nation. 1 Faith, or faith-
fulness, is the observance of a right attitude towards the
covenant with God it is the conscientious observance of
the human side of the covenant, the divine side of which
is grace and mercy. We may trace a development in the
Jewish ideas about this covenant. With the decay of the
national fortunes Faith became more spiritual and more
individualistic. It became finally the mental attitude of
those who ' waited for the consolation of Israel,' trusting
in promises which seemed every year further from their

The Septuagint was not able to preserve the distinction,
above referred to, between ' to trust to ' and * to trust in.'
It usually renders both by Tria-reveiv with the dative. Nor
can the Greek reproduce all the meaning of the Hebrew
words. It wavers in translating the Hebrew word for
1 trustworthiness,' the nearest equivalent to Faith, and the
corresponding adjective, rendering them sometimes by
aA7J0ia, aAryflii/os, and sometimes by TTLO-TLS and kindred
adjectives. In Isa. vii. 9, there is a kind of play on words.
1 If ye be not firm ' (in Faith), ' ye shall surely not be made
firm ' (in fact) ; or, ' If ye hold not fast, ye shall not stand
fast.' This is lost hi translation. In the important verse,
Hab. ii. 4, the Septuagint manifestly misunderstands the
original, translating 6 SIKCUOS e/c 7ri<TTws fiov ^rjrrTat = ' the
Just shall live through my faithfulness (to my covenant).'
Still, the word ina-Ttvtiv is satisfactory, as it has the right
association with moral trust, as well as with what may
be called the earlier Greek associations of TTI'O-TIS, as opposed

to 7rt(rT^/>tr/.

Philo's notion of Faith is characteristic of his position as
a mediator between Jewish and Greek thought. As a Jew,
he emphasises trust as determining Faith ; but his philo-

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Online LibraryWilliam Ralph IngeFaith and its psychology → online text (page 1 of 21)