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in heart ; and this condition comes from keeping the moral
law ' (De Div. Qucest., Ixxxiii. qu. 48). ' Fides qucerit,
intellectus invenit ' (De Trin., xv. 2).

Anselm's famous ' credo ut intelligam ' was changed by
Abelard into intelligo ut credam ; and henceforth Faith and
knowledge appear, in the Schoolmen, as principles which
may not always work together harmoniously^ 1

A very brief summary of the teaching of St. Thomas
Aquinas about Faith must suffice, as a specimen of the
doctrine of the Schoolmen. Divine truth, he says, is
divided, not in itself, but in its relation to our knowledge.
Part of it can be known by human reason, part only by
revelation. 2 Revelation is necessary for some truths

1 Bernard's most characteristic utterance about Faith is rhetorical and
auti-raiionalist : ' Fides attingit inaccessa, deprehendit ignota, compre-
hemUt imraensa, apprehendit novissima, ipsam denique aeternitatem suo
illo sinu vastissimo quodam modo circumcludit. Beatam trinitatem quam
non intelligo credo, et fide teneo quam non capio mente.' Serm. in Cant.,
76. a Contra Gentiles, i. 3.


which entirely transcend human knowledge, but it is not
confined to what is essentially beyond our faculties.
There are truths, such as the existence of God, which are
capable of demonstration, but only by a course of reason
which few have brains enough to follow ; and therefore
God has revealed them. The distinction between reason
and revelation corresponds to the distinction between
knowledge and Faith. Faith comes between opinion and
knowledge ; it involves an act of the will. ' The intellect,'
he says, * assents to a thing in two ways, in one way because
it is moved to assent by the object itself, which is known
by itself, or by something else ; in the other way the
intellect assents to a thing, not because it is sufficiently
moved to assent by the object itself, but by a certain
choice, by which it voluntarily inclines to one side rather
than the other. If this choice is made from doubt and
fear of the alternative, it is opinion ; if with certainty and
without fear, it is Faith.' l He also says that the objective
ground of Faith is authority, of knowledge, reason. And
since the authority is divine truth, it may be said that
Faith has a greater certainty than knowledge, which
relies on human reason. 2 Since, however, the objects of
Faith are less fully apprehended, being above the intellect
of man, knowledge from another point of view is more
certain than Faith. The certainty of Faith, on one side,
comes from the will, which is guided by ' veritas prima sive
Deus.' Faith, however, is not an act of arbitrary choice ;
it presupposes some knowledge : ' cognitio fidei prcesupponit
cognitionem naturalem siciU et natura gratiam.* Faith
cannot demonstrate what it believes ; else it would be
knowledge and not Faith ; but it does investigate the
grounds by which a man is led to believe e.g. that the
words were spoken by God. 4

i De Veritate, Quacst. xiv., art. 1.
* Summa TheoL, 2. 2, qu. 4, art. S.
De Veritate, Quacst. xiv., art. 9.
Summa TheoL, 2. 2, qu. 1, art. 4.


It is plain from these passages that Faith, for St. Thomas
Aquinas, necessarily involves both an intellectual and a
moral act ; and also, I think, that he has shrunk from
subjecting the basis of Church authority to a searching
scrutiny. The practical question which we all have to
face is whether we ought to allow ' the will to believe ' to
influence us in our choice of authorities e.g. whether we
may choose to follow the authority of the Church in pre-
ference to that of a naturalist or metaphysician. St.
Thomas Aquinas says that the will is guided by * the
primary Truth, which is God.' If so, Faith would seem
to be only the human side of divine grace, immanent
in the human mind ; and it must be ultimately independent
of and superior to all external authority, even that of the
Church. The authority of the Church can only be ac-
cepted as final on the further assumption that the donum
veritatis belongs to one institution and one only.

With the Reformation, controversy about the meaning
of Faith became, for the second time in the history of the
Church, acute. Every one knows that * Justification by
Faith ' was the corner-stone of Luther's doctrinal system.
His own account of the process by which he found the light
is as follows. When he first read the words of the Epistle
to the Romans, iustitia Dei in eo revelatur, he said to him-
self, ' Is it not enough that wretched sinners, already
damned for original sin, should be overwhelmed by so
many calamities by the decrees of the Ten Command-
ments, but God must threaten us, even in His Gospel,
with His justice and anger ? ' But at last, he says, * I
perceived that the justice of God is that whereby, with
God's blessing, man lives, namely, Faith. Thereupon I
felt as if born again, and it seemed to me that the gates of
heaven stood wide open.' It is not easy to see how the
justice, or righteousness, of God can be identified with
Faith, if Faith has a human side at all ; but Luther found
ineffable peace in the thought that those who, through


Faith in Christ as the revelation of God's righteousness,
have accepted Him, are clothed with a righteousness not
their own with the righteousness of Christ imputed to
them. The form of this doctrine is derived chiefly from
the Epistle to the Romans, studied in Latin with St.
Augustine's commentary. In the sixteenth century, how-
ever, it was a crucial question, What is the proper instru-
ment of justification ? This ' justification ' (to ' justify '
means to pronounce righteous, 1 by judicial decree, but with
no suggestion of a legal fiction) was regarded as the applica-
tion of the merits of Christ to the individual, which applica-
tion, it was agreed on all hands, must be through an instru-
ment divinely appointed. An important passage, often
appealed to, in Clement of Rome, 2 says : ' We also are
not justified by ourselves, neither by our own wisdom or
knowledge or piety or any works which we did in holiness
of heart, but by that Faith in which God Almighty has
justified all men from the beginning.'

Both sides were also agreed that Faith justifies. But
the Catholics distinguished between fides informis, inert
opinion, and fides formata, which is perfected by the love
and good works which spring from it. Among the proposi-
tions anathematised by the Council of Trent were : that a
man may be justified without grace : that man is Justified
only by the imputation of the Justice of Christ, or only by
the remission of sins, without inherent grace, or charity :
that Justifying Faith is nothing but confidence in the
mercy of God, who forgives sins for the sake of Christ :
that man is absolved and justified because he firmly
believes that he is absolved and Justified.

On the other hand, the Reformers held that Faith is the
one principle which God's grace uses for restoring us to
His favour. We need a radical change, which change is

1 As in Clirysostom's comment : ' When a just judge's sentence pronounces
us just (Sinalovs &irod>>i) what signifies the accuser?' Horn, in Ep. ad
Rom. 16. Clem. i. 32.


called justification from God's side, and regeneration on
our side. It is initiated by the secret influence of the
Holy Ghost, co-operating, as a rule, with the Word of God.
or some other means of grace ; and it appropriates salva-
tion, leading to a feeling of absolute peace and confidence
that our sins are forgiven. ' Justification,' according to
this theory, ' is a change in God's dealings with us ; and
Faith means trust.' l

This is clearly an attempt to narrow the meaning of
Faith, by excluding from it some of the elements which it
had been made to contain ; and accordingly the Reformers
defined Faith largely by negations. It is not intellectual
belief, e.g. in the fact of the Incarnation ; it is not know-
ledge and acceptance of any dogmas ; it is, in itself, quite
separate from charity or any good works ; if it must be
defined, it is a trust in Christ's merits for salvation. From
this trust, all the fruits of the Spirit are said to flow.
Melanchthon, the Confession of Augsburg, and the more
moderate Lutherans generally, defined Faith as c fiduciary
apprehension ' of Gospel mercy. Faith in itself has no
virtue, the meritorious cause of Justification being the
death and satisfaction of Christ, which Faith appropriates.
Faith is to be defined rather by what it does than by what
it is : this is a favourite answer to the objection that Faith
is certainly not only fiduciary apprehension, which may be
destitute of any moral element. A real apprehension of
Christ, they say, must necessarily be beyond explanation.
But if so, it is not adequately explained as being ' fiduciary
apprehension.' The word ' apprehension,' moreover, needs
definition. It is an ambiguous term, which tends to con-
fuse the reception of news with the appropriation of a

As for the exclusion of love and good works from Justify-
ing Faith, the question seems to be little more than a
scholastic dispute of no great practical interest. Faith

1 Newman, Lectures on Justification, p. 6.


from our point of view, is in its earliest stage a vague and
undifferentiated apprehension of God, the first stirring of
divine grace, which is an active principle working in and
through the natural faculties. It is intended to develop
and find explicit expression in all parts of our nature. If
we must answer the question whether Faith or love is the
formal cause of Justification, we can only say that Faith
is the beginning, love the crown, of the spiritual life, and
that those who put love first, in time as well as in dignity,
are in error. The Catholic doctrine is that Faith, as a
disposing condition, is prior to Justification, and that
caritas is posterior to it. The only antecedent of Faith
is a bona voluntas, a pia affectio. This accords with the
view taken in these lectures.

Melanchthon recedes considerably from the rigour of
Luther's doctrine of Justification by Faith only. He
explains that it only means that we must renounce the
merit of the good works which are undoubtedly associated
with Faith ; and he calls Justification by Faith ' Paulina
figura.' Nothing can show Melanchthon's position more
clearly than the following passage from his Directions for
Visitors, sanctioned by Luther. * Although, there are some
who think that nothing should be taught before Faith,
and that repentance should be left to follow from and after
Faith, so that the adversaries may not say that we retract
our former doctrine, yet the matter must be thus viewed :
Because repentance and law belong alike to the common
Faith (for one must believe of course that there is a God
who threatens and commands) let it be for the man of
degraded character that such portions of Faith [Luther
had taught that Faith has no portions] are allowed to
remain under the names of precept, law, fear, etc., in order
that they may understand more discriminately the Faith
in Christ which the Apostles call Justifying Faith, i.e. which
makes Just and cancels sin, an effect not produced by
Faith in the precept and by repentance, and that the man


of low character may not be misled by the word Faith and
ask useless questions.' x

The English Reformers attempted no definition of Faith,
and no definition is to be found in our Articles. But in the
Homilies we read : ' A quick and living Faith is not only
the common belief of the Articles of our faith, but it is also
a true trust and confidence of the mercy of God through
our Lord Jesus Christ, and a steadfast hope of good things
to be received at God's hand.' The Homily goes on to say :
* Dead Faith is not the sure and substantial Faith that
saveth sinners. Another Faith there is in Scripture, which
is not idle, unfruitful, dead, but worketh by charity, as
St. Paul declareth.' 2 Elsewhere : * There is one work in
the which be all good works ; that is, Faith that worketh
by charity. If thou have it, thou hast the ground of all
good works : for the virtues of strength, wisdom, temper-
ance, and justice, be all referred to this same Faith.' 3 This
is a popular statement of a sound doctrine of Faith.

The difference between the Catholic and the Protestant
view of Faith may be made clearer if I quote a few sen-
tences in which Newman sums up his own view of Faith, in
opposition to that of the Reformers. * Justifying Faith is
Faith developed into height and depth and breadth, as if
in a bodily form ; not as a picture but as an image ; with a
right side and a left, a without and a within ; not a mere
impression or sudden gleam of light upon the soul, not
knowledge, or emotion, or conviction, which ends with
itself, but the beginning of that which is eternal, the
operation of the indwelling Power which acts from within
us outwards and round about us, works in us mightily, so
intimately with our will as to be in a true sense one With
it ; pours itself out into our whole mind, runs over into
our thoughts, desires, feelings, purposes, attempts, and

1 Harnack, History of Dogma, vii. p. 255.
* Sermon of Faith, Part L
Of Good Works, Part L


works, combines them all together into one, makes the
whole man its one instrument, and justifies him into one
holy gracious ministry, one embodied lifelong act of Faith,
one sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is his
reasonable service. Such is Faith . . . existing indeed
in feelings, but passing on into acts, into victories of what-
ever kind over self. . . . These acts we sometimes call
labours, sometimes endurances, sometimes confessions,
sometimes devotions, sometimes services ; but they are
all instances of self-command, arising from Faith seeing the
invisible world, and Love choosing it.' 1

Now hear Luther. Perhaps you will think that the
difference is after all mainly one of emphasis. c Faith is a
divine work in us, through which we are changed and
regenerated by God. Oh, it is a living, busy, active, power-
ful thing, this Faith, so that it is impossible for it not to
do us good continually. Neither does it ask whether good
works are to be done, but before one asks it has done
them, and is doing them always. But any one who does
not such works is an unbelieving man, who gropes and
looks about him for Faith and good works, and knows
neither what Faith is nor what good works are. Faith is
a living, deliberate confidence in the grace of God, so certain
that for it it could die a thousand deaths. And such
confidence and knowledge of divine grace makes us Joyous,
brave, and cheerful towards God and all creation.' 2

In the nineteenth century, and at the present time,
there has been and is much controversy about the meaning
of Faith. In the popular teaching of the Roman Church
there is a disastrous tendency to regard it as an act of
violence exercised by the will upon the intellect, in obedi-
ence to external authority. The quotations from St.
Thomas Aquinas, though they contain nothing to which
we could object, show how easily this view might be taken.

1 Newman, Lectures on Justification, p. 302.
3 Luther, Preface to Epistle to the Romans.


But the Thomist philosophy was an honest attempt to
place theology on a rational basis. At the present day,
even so liberal a Romanist as Father Tyrrell can define
Faith as ' voluntary certainty,' and as * an actively free
belief.' ' Under the force of evidence,' he says, ' our mind
is passive and receptive like a mirror ; but hi the case of
free assent, like Faith, we have to assert ourselves. A
certain sense of unreality, one might almost say of pretence,
is the normal and natural accompaniment of these freely
chosen beliefs.' ' The difference between this and mere
fictions or working hypotheses is that in the case of Faith
we hold to the belief in obedience to the command of God
as made known to us by the voice of conscience. But all
this will not prevent that seeming black to us, which God
tells us, and which we sincerely believe, to be white.
Therefore a certain sense of unreality is part of the trial
of Faith.' ' The great mass of our beliefs are reversible,
and are dependent for their stability on the action or
permission of the will.' I shall deal with this strange theory
of Faith in a later lecture. Here I merely wish you to
note its existence. It has had two logical and inevitable
developments. With the help of the Kantian philosophy,
or later systems based on Kant, the intellectual aspect of
things has been disparaged, and the * will- world ' exalted
to supremacy. All mere ' facts ' being thus discredited
in advance, Faith can create its own world with consider-
able independence. On the other side we see the larger
and stronger party in the Roman Church scorning and
prohibiting all attempts to accommodate dogmas to modern
discoveries, and falling back upon implicit, unquestioning
obedience to whatever the Church has chosen to declare.

We have now sketched the career of this remarkable
word during the two thousand years of its life. Ilio-ris
Fides Glaube Faith : they are not exact equivalents ;
each has had a history of its own. The conception has
been narrowed in various ways now into bare assent,


now into bare trust and confidence in a divine Person ;
now into a subjective assurance which claims to be its
own evidence ; now into vague feeling ; now into a cheer-
ful optimistic outlook upon the world ; now into implicit
obedience and submission to authority. It will be my
object in these Lectures to do justice to the partial truth
contained in these various one-sided views, while exposing
their limitations.




WE have sketched the history of the word Faith and its
cognates in the Bible and in the Church, and have shown how
from the first it has been, for Christians, the accepted term
for the religious temper traced back to its source. Faith,
Hope, and Love, with Faith at the beginning, Hope in the
middle, and Love at the end, as the crown and fulfilment
of the other two this is Christianity in a nutshell. And
we have seen how the two meanings of intellectual con-
viction and moral trust, which both legitimately belong
to the words ?r terns, fides, Faith, and to the Christian virtue
which they describe, were brought together in the New
Testament, never again to be divided, but also never, as
history shows, to work quite smoothly together. In this
lecture I wish to approach our subject from a very different
side the psychological and ask, What is the primary
ground of Faith, as a human faculty or state of conscious-
ness ?

What is the scat of Faith ? Does it spring from the
intellectual side of our nature ? ~^ we attain to Faith by
carefully weighing the evidence for the existence of God,
for a future life, for the Resurrection of Christ, or the Virgin
Birth, or the historical accuracy of the narratives in the
Old Testament ? Or shall we, still within the province
of the intellect, agree with Fichte that * we are saved, not
by history, but by metaphysics,' and base our Faith on the
conclusions of some philosophical system ? Or, with


orthodox Romanism, shall we maintain that the main
facts of religion, the foundations of theistic belief, have
been demonstrated by the scholastic philosophy, confirming
and supplementing the divine revelation which has also
been given us ? Or shall we, with Schleiermacher, abandon
rationalism, both orthodox and unorthodox, and make
religion a matter of pure feeling ? Or, with some of the
mystics, shall we affirm the existence of direct intuition,
through a special organ, which puts us into immediate
connection with God and the spiritual world ? Or shall
we follow the voluntarists, and make Faith an affair of
choice, an act of the will ? Or are the pragmatists right
in treating it as a working hypothesis, determined by
practical needs, and to be accepted, if we choose, ' at our
own risk ' ? Or, lastly, is it founded solely on external
revelation, a body of divine knowledge and precept dropped
from the sky ? These alleged grounds of Faith will all
have to be considered in turn, though not in the order in
which I have just named them. But I am constrained to
regard them all as, at best, only secondary grounds of
Faith. . None of them singly, nor all of them collectively,
are adequate to the idea of Faith. Faith is something
deeper, more universal, more fundamental, than anything
that can be assigned to the independent activities of the
intellect, will, or feelings. Behind all these determinations
lies the deep-seated religious instinct or impulse.

This innate instinct or impulse arises in the psycho-
logical necessity which obliges us to assign values to our ex-
perience. 1 It is our nature to pass judgments, to call some
things good, others bad, to acquit and condemn, accept
and reject. We rearrange our world according to what we
consider the worth of its ingredients to be. Objects, after
passing through our minds, are no longer all on the same

1 So Lotze says, 'Faith is the feeling which is appreciative of value.' But
I shall show that Faith is not only feeling, if 'feeling ' excludes the will and


level. They are ranked and classified ; a hierarchy of
values is established.

It is impossible for the human mind to inhibit this native
propensity to assign values. We may try to force ourselves
to regard nature objectively, as a concatenation of facts
upon which we forbear to pass Judgment. But the most
rigorous and detached scientist, unless he confines himself
to pure mathematics, which are independent of existential
truth, cannot abstain from some kind of valuation. (There
are other values besides ethical values, as we shall shortly
explain.) However rigidly we may confine ourselves to
quantitative categories in the course of our investigations,
we have set before ourselves a purpose to establish the
general laws to which the changes of phenomena conform ;
and we could never embark on such an enterprise unless we
believed that the knowledge of general laws has either an
intrinsic or a practical value. In most cases the assumed
value is intrinsic ; the man of science seeks truth for its
own sake. It is sometimes worth while to prove to the
materialist (for the creed is not extinct, though the name
is disavowed) that he has imported into his system a great
deal that on his own principles he has no right to touch ;
that all sympathetic interest in the results of molecular
movements is an intrusion of the value-judgment into a
field from which it has been by hypothesis excluded ; that
he has no right to talk about ' progress/ or ' degeneration,'
or ' the survival of the fittest.' For the truth is, that to
investigate the purely quantitative aspect of things with-
out reference to the qualitative, to discard all reference to
meaning, interest, or value, is to attempt an abstraction
which is impossible to the human mind. These are aspects
of reality which we cannot keep out of sight, even when
we wish to ignore them. 1

1 Of. Miss Benson's Venture of Rational Faith: 'There is nothing in the
scientific aspect of phenomena which can make anything in any possible way
worth while ; for even the idea of ' ' worth " does not enter into the concep-
tions of science, and thus the essential nature of everything we care for is


The world, then, has values as well as existence. And I
do not mean only values for ourselves, but intrinsic values
or, if this phrase be objected to, values which for all who
can apprehend them are ends in themselves, not means to
something else. We do not create or imagine these values ;
they are as much given to us as the existential aspect of
things. We cannot prove that the world exists ; and we
cannot prove that our valuation is anything more than
subjective ; but Faith accepts these values, not as assigned
by ourselves, but as objectively real. Somewhere, some
day, or somehow, the real world is arranged according to
their pattern.

Faith has usually connected this realm of values with
the name of God. God whether the God of theism,
pantheism, agnostic monism, or deism is the self-existent
summum genus in whom we believe that our highest ideals
are realised. Those who deny or doubt the existence of

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Online LibraryWilliam Ralph IngeFaith and its psychology → online text (page 4 of 21)