PDF Version | Acknowledgements | Table of Contents | Preface | Chapter 1 The Temporal And The Eternal | Chapter 2 Biblical Sabbathism | Chapter 3 No-Sabbathism And The Sunday | Chapter 4 Sabbatarianism | Chapter 5 The Present Situation
by the late
A.H. Lewis D.D., LL.D.
Author of "Paganism Surviving in Christianity"
"A Critical History of Sunday Legislation" etc.
THIS BOOK, THE LAST WORK OF
Abram Herbert Lewis
For many years the corresponding secretary of the American Sabbath Tract Society, is fraternally dedicated to all lovers of truth. It is published by the Society not only as a contribution to the discussion of a great religious issue, but also as an affectionate tribute to the author's Christian manhood, his ripe scholarship, and his lifelong labors for the recognition of the Sabbath of Jehovah, Sabbath of Jesus, the Christ.
ara apoleipetai sabbatismos to lao tou Theo. Hebrews iv, 9.
By the American Sabbath Tract Society, Plainfield, New Jersey
By The Bible Sabbath Association
3316 Alberta Drive
Gillette, Wyoming 82718
United States of America
Many thanks to David Hill of Queensland, Australia, for transcribing and editing this book.
Abram H. Lewis was the most noted Sabbatarian writer of the Nineteenth Century. This, his last book, capped a distinguished career promoting the day that the Creator made holy. May we continue to observe the Sabbath rest, which is truly a picture and object lesson of the Millennial Kingdom.
3316 Alberta Drive
Gillette, Wyoming 82718
This book is in the public domain. For a printed copy, or computer disk, please write: The Bible Sabbath Association, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718.
I. THE TEMPORAL AND THE ETERNAL
§1. Importance of the contrast
§2. The contrast in animism
§3. The contrast in mythology
§4. The contrast in astrology
§5. The contrast in religion
§6. The contrast in philosophy
§7. The intellectual dilemma
II. BIBLICAL SABBATHISM
§8. The spiritual power of Hebraism
§9. The fourth commandment
§10. The work and the rest of God
§11. Creation and redemption
§12. The root of authority
§13. The Sabbathism of the Psalms
§14. The Pharisees
§15. The Christ
III. NO-SABBATHISM AND THE SUNDAY
§16. The resurrection of the sun
§17. The Sunday of Mithra
§18. Mythology re-enters as Gnosticism
§19. Jehovah rejected as the Demiurge
§20. Justin, Tertullian, the Didache
§21. Sunday legislation begins
§22. Roman Catholic
§23. Rejected by the Reformers
V. THE PRESENT SITUATION
§25. The decay of Sunday
§26. How can we attain Spiritual Sabbathism?
§27. Protestants must lead
APPENDIX: Notes and References
Crises are inevitable, for they are ordained of God. History is filled with them. All great reforms come by crises, for evil grows strong while men sleep. Escape from crises is impossible. God is in them, and eternal verities would be forgotten but for them. All great movements, whether political, social, or religious, are born in some crisis in which elements of the outgrown are destroyed. Religious issues remain unsettled until they are settled right, that is, on spiritual grounds.
Three great crises in the Sabbath question have appeared in history, as the present work will show. A fourth crisis is at hand. The key to the present situation is a spiritual key. The coming epoch is to be met on higher ground than was occupied at any time in the past history of Christianity. It demands an upward step so important that it must be called revolutionary as well as evolutionary. The entire Sabbath question calls for a new spiritual basis -- new in comparison with positions hitherto taken by Christians.
The hour demands clearness of conviction concerning fundamental and eternal spiritual values. Dogmatism is useless, compromises are delusive. In the presence of unspiritual and irreligious holidayism, Protestant theories concerning the Sabbath question are on trial before the grand jury of Christian history. Indictment has begun. History is an impartial and relentless judge, and the inexorable logic of events is an unbribable executive officer. The court is permanently open, and the trial will be finished.
Our time is burdened with materialistic philosophy and "scientific" unfaith. The popular call is for immediate tests and demonstrated finality. Spirituality and the eternal verities are out of date, for they can neither be verified in the laboratory nor cashed at the bank. If you admit to men of practical and materialistic temper that spirituality and the eternal verities are hard to define, you are regarded as defending the ghostly relics of primitive thought. They can not understand that the struggle for spirituality is not finished, that it is the chief end of man, and that until it is finished the word will never be fully definable. To define spirituality to a materialistic temperament is like defining fatherhood to a reckless boy. You can tell him that it is something infinitely noble and beautiful which he has not yet attained, and which no man fully appreciates; that is about all.
But at such a time as this it must be clearer than ever before to any religiously minded person that all questions which are at bottom spiritual are important. One of these is the question of Sabbath observance. Spiritually apprehended, Sabbathism becomes of timely, vital, practical significance to the twentieth century. Spiritually discerned, the question of Sabbath reform becomes a large question. It no longer appears a small, or legalistic, or casuistical, or ceremonial issue. It instantly transcends sectarianism. It becomes, not a question of formal deeds, but a question as to what men shall be at heart. It is inseparable from the struggle between flesh and spirit, between naturalism and a spiritual philosophy of life. It is the question whether time is merely a metaphysical puzzle, or whether men can transcend time by consecrating it, and live in the eternal while yet in time. Sabbath reform in the twentieth century can mean nothing less than this. In this century three words are on trial for their life the words "sacred," "eternal," and "Sabbath." Most Christians probably think that the fate of the last word has already been settled adversely, and that of the first two favorably. But to think so is to be at ease in Zion; it is to be ignorant of the powerful silent influences which are slowly substituting other terms, "more scientific" terms, for "sacred", and are modifying "eternal" till it will fit a godless universe.
In preparing to write this book I sent certain inquiries to men of various denominational connections, unlike my own. Thirty answers are before me, from the ablest representatives of Protestant Christianity, teachers in the strongest theological seminaries in the United States. I wrote:
"I am at work on a book on the religious and spiritual value of Sabbathism. My purpose is to aid, in uplifting the question of Sabbath reform to a higher plane, and to show that Sabbath observance has the highest pragmatic value in the development of Christian character and spiritual life. In view of the vital interest involved, I venture to ask your aid through your own helpful suggestions and through such books or other literature as you may recommend. I seek the broadest view touching Sabbath observance and Sabbathism, whether the seventh day or the first day be considered as sacred, or whether all days be considered equal and alike in the matter of Sabbath observance. Questions: (1) Is Sabbath observance an essential element in Christianity? (2) Do Protestants need a higher estimate of Sabbath observance and a better conception of its value in developing and promoting spiritual life? (3) If these are needed, how can they be attained? (4) Considering present tendencies, what results are likely to come if a higher estimate of the religious and spiritual value of Sabbath observance is not secured?"
All the answers to the first question were in the affirmative. In some cases the writers defined "essential" negatively, saying that Sabbath observance -- based on legislation human or divine -- is not essential as faith in Christ is essential, but that in its practical, vital relations to the life, growth, and perpetuity of the Christian church, it is essential. In most of the answers it was held or implied that no specific day of the week is important, one day in seven being sufficient.
The answers to the second question were emphatically in the affirmative. The answers to the third question called for clear, vigorous, and frequent instruction from Protestant pulpits concerning the religious value of Sabbath observance. It was held that fearless preaching of fundamental doctrines concerning sin and righteousness, grace and repentance, would tone up weak consciences and promote Sabbath observance.
The answers to the fourth question showed a clear consensus of opinion that present tendencies toward Sabbathlessness must result disastrously to Christianity. "Physical and spiritual decline will, I fear, result to individuals, communities, and nations." "There will be a decline of spiritual power, increase of worldliness, postponement of the millennium." "The growth of the church will be retarded and its life endangered." "Unless the Sabbath is properly appreciated and observed in our American life, our institutions will be imperiled. The loss of the Sabbath will mean, in large part, the loss of our civilization." "It is certain, in my judgment, that, if Sabbath observance is not carefully maintained, the spiritual life of the church will be seriously impaired." "The consequence would be a less vital Christianity." "If a better and more general observance of the Sabbath be not secured, we are certain to see, and speedily, the decline of spiritual religion, then the decay of morality, then the subversion of our civil liberty." "There will result nervous prostration of our race, further inroads upon the social rights of those who toil, and dulling of the ethical and religious instincts." "There will be increase of present stress and strain, and a greater number of suicides." "The danger seems to me that we shall become a nation of materialists." "I regret the lack of interest in these things. I share the consequent perplexity of the day. It seems futile to say that we have fallen upon a strange period, in which the spirit of the times is at once educational and unspiritual."
These answers enable us to see the situation through the eyes of men who are thoughtful concerning the great issues involved. They ought to arrest attention, compel consideration, and induce action on the part of Christian men, and especially Christian leaders.
If there is to be Sabbath reform, we can all agree that its watchword must be, Back to Christ! Around no other banner can we rally. From no other source can we derive the tremendous energy which will be needed. There are differences of opinion as to Christ's Sabbathism, and of the relation of his resurrection to the Sabbath. But there can be no question that if there is to be cooperation or reform, the person of the Christ must be made central.
Our task, then, since the question of sacred time is involved, must be nothing less than to consider anew the concepts of the temporal and the eternal as related to the Christ. To do this we must begin with a clear perception of the importance of both experiences -- that of time and that of eternity; we must trace the antithesis in religious history and in philosophy, and decide how, if at all, there may be a living reconciliation between the concepts of time and eternity; we must look to the Scriptures for an interpretation of the problem and its profound relation to the Christ. This being done, we shall be in a position to estimate the subsequent history of Christianity, and to meet the present situation. Shall we indeed find in the Christ the very spirit and secret of Spiritual Sabbathism, or has Christianity pinned its faith to an unimportant Jewish reformer named Jesus?
When the death of the lamented author of this book occurred, November 3, 1908, the first draft had been completed and the revision begun. The work of revision has been completed by one of the author's executors, his son, Mr. E. H. Lewis. It was the editor's understanding that the revision was to include the expansion of the earlier chapters and the condensation of the later chapters. To this task, therefore, he has applied himself, though realizing that unconscious changes of style were often unavoidable. At his request the undersigned committee of the publishers have compared the completed work with the first draft, and find that the revision has been performed with conscientious regard to the spirit and purpose of the author.
Attention is called to the Appendix. This is designed to contain all necessary notes and references. But neither footnotes nor index-numbers will be found in the text, since it is desired that the reader's attention shall not needlessly be diverted from the argument.
THEO. L. GARDINER,
Editor of The Sabbath Recorder.
ARTHUR E. MAIN,
Dean of Alfred Theological Seminary.
WILLIAM C. DALAND,
President of Milton College.
THE TEMPORAL AND THE ETERNAL
§1. Importance of the contrast. -- The antithesis between the transitory and the enduring is possibly the most important contrast used by man. Every practical value can be read in terms of these two words. Whatever worth inheret in money or progress or law or goodness or affection -- that worth can in some sense be measured by its degree of permanence in time.
Mystics and men of affairs have alike admitted this. Kings have been great in proportion as they built for the future. States have been valuable in proportion as they were stable. Scripture is precious, because, though the grass withereth and the flower fadeth, the words of God have endured. Song has been cherished because it permanently enshrined some human joy, or "some natural sorrow, loss, or pain which has been and may be again." Great pictures have become too dear to be sold, because they have caught the happy moment, or the beloved face, or the thrilling ideal, out of the stream of time, and made it forever fair and young. Sculpture still brings to us a sense of divine repose, for the Greeks knew how to set eternity in the brows and eyes of Jove. And, conversely, great men were great because they brought a permanent purpose to bear upon the transitory moment. They have known that the eternal is always applicable here and now, in these troublous hours and this obscure place. "A moment," said Goethe, "can be made representative of eternity."* "This is eternal life," said our Lord.
At the heart of every labor worthy of a man there is an effort to endow and dignify the fleeting moment with permanent value. It is something for Cheops to have built thirteen acres of stone into a tomb -- though now the tomb is empty. It is something for Homer to have planted Olympus in the midst of time, even though his beautiful immortals perished after one thousand of the world's many thousand years. It is something for Heraclitus**[ ] to have left us the lasting verses which lament that nothing lasts. It is more to have formed an eternal purpose like Paul's, and to have endured to the end. But define the eternal how you will, you can not oust it from art, or morality, or statecraft -- much less from religion. The essence of valuable living is in some way to bring time and eternity together; to relate them; to make them interpenetrate.
When we speculate systematically about time and eternity, we meet with tremendous technical problems, and are in danger of losing the practical importance of the contrast. In this book we are not to speculate, but we are to summarize some of the speculations of the past in order to emphasize two distinctions -- that between speculation and spirituality, and that, between carnal living and spiritual living. Let there be no mistake as to the final purpose and upshot of our inquiry. It is intensely practical. Though at times the distinctions made may seem unreal, they are such as concern the battle of life, and in that battle they are to be tested. We seek a practical adjustment of the temporal and the eternal. The search is not new. From the first minute of recorded time the search has been going on, and the path of it is marked not only by hope and joy but by blood and tears.
We begin our search with an examination of primitive thought. We ask how "savages" have dimly struggled upward toward the contrast between the temporal and the eternal. We shall use the headings “animism” “mythology,” and "astrology," though these are all phases of the same thing. By animism we shall mean the peopling of nature with a multitude of souls; by mythology, the effort of primitive men to explain the origin of things; by astrology, the effort to relate the enduring heavenly bodies to the practical needs of mortal man.
The crudeness and grossness of primitive thought can not hide a certain thread of the spiritually permanent in that thought. Why it was necessary for man to develop slowly in time it is not for us to say; it is God's method for man, and only the spiritual philosophy of the future can explain it. But the law is certain -- first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. And it is a very great error to lament the principle. The whole of life, the joy of it as well as the sorrow, springs from the upward struggle. The helpless babe does not suggest the great man which he may become within a half century of earth's years, but the potencies of greatness are in the babe. In the childhood of the race, too, there are spiritual potencies. In the tropical forest of primitive thought there is one tree which overtops the rest. The tangled undergrowth is primitive knowledge; the towering tree is the aspiration of man toward God.
From the beginning there is communion of man with God. It is such communion as the little child may hold with his father -- a communication full of minor misunderstandings but of essential reality. Primitive thought is God's spiritual kindergarten for the race. The very likeness which exists in all primitive thought shows this. Need is one, the world over. Naturalistic philosophy asserts that the brain is a machine which grinds out the same phenomena, wherever it is. But men are not automata. God has made of one blood all men to dwell upon the earth, and he is their God. If we are to be likened to mechanisms at all, let us be likened to the instruments of wireless telegraphy. There is some spiritual attunement among all men, and between each one and God. There must be intercommunication; continents can not divide us, nor the deep abyss of heaven.
§2. The contrast in animism. -- Viewed as animism, primitive thought peoples nature with innumerable minds. Once the world was full of “momentary” gods -- parts of it still are. The savage imagines a soul to rest for a moment in an object, and so consecrate it. The fetish is preserved in the hope that the soul may again return, and it is sometimes threatened with punishment if the soul fails to return. At the next stage of development, the more important objects of nature are hallowed by the permanent residence of a god. What is there in nature which has not, at some time, in some place, in some sense been considered sacred? Sun, moon, stars, sky, air, clouds, thunder, water, ocean, lakes, rivers, springs, wells, earth, mountains, high places, caverns, stones, trees, graves, houses, hours, days, weeks, months, years, the chieftain, the king, the medicine man, the shaman, the priest, the woman consecrated to a god, statues, images, amulets, the dishes touched by a consecrated person, the ant, the ass, the bat, the bear, the bee, the beetle, the bull, the butterfly, the cat, the cow, the coyote, the crab, the crocodile, the crow, the deer, the dog -- and so on through the alphabet of animals -- all these things and more have been held sacred. And what has been the fate of most of them? The sacredness of most of these things has been destroyed by time. They were all perceived at last to have been but momentary gods, and therefore not gods at all. Time, in large amounts, is the essence of any contract with a god. And time is precisely what the false gods have not been able to assure; there came a day for each when they could not keep their promise.
This is why so many scientific men have no confidence in the future of any religion. They say that religion has had its turn at the wheel, and has failed to guide men into the haven. They say that time has overthrown the proudest religious systems of antiquity, and will strip the last vestige of sacredness from those which now exist. They say that animism and religion are merely obsolete science.
If these were mere assertions of polemists, we might cheerfully pass them by. But the historical tendency is obvious and undeniable. Whatever our own security of belief, we can not escape the question as to the future fate of the sentiment of sacredness. The great question of the future is whether anything is sacred or can be made sacred.
In civilized countries no animal is today considered sacred, and many species have been exterminated. In Christian lands, as in non-Christian, the person of the king was once considered sacred; now it is caricatured in popular journals. We mourn in American youth the lack of reverence, but why in youth alone? "Reverence," said a serious and able Englishman to Professor Bosanquet, “is a thing I can not understand.” I suppose he meant that in science, in politics, in religion, nothing is intrinsically sacred; everything must submit to reason. To this serious and able Englishman reason was probably to be revered -- though one must speak with caution as to just what he meant.
But consider again the divine right of kings, and the sacredness of their persons. Do we imagine that the sentiment which produced that faith was a slight force? On the contrary, it dates back to a time when sacredness was the greatest of forces.
It dates back to the taboo. A thing tabooed is at once blessed and cursed, it is sacrosanct. Amid such things the savage lived. Every act of his life was governed by them. Religion, such as it was, was the very essence of his conduct. Half of the things that we do were forbidden him. If by accident he ate of the chieftain's food, which is sacrosanct, and then learned whose food it was, he died of fear. If the medicine man cursed him, the same result followed. We can catch glimpses of this terrible energy in the case of peoples suddenly civilized. A few years ago the person of the Mikado was sacrosanct, and any dish that he touched must be broken after he used it, must be broken because a taboo dish is dangerous. Before the Japanese have lost this sense of the Mikado's sacredness, before they have ceased to feel that he may demand the life of any subject, before he has ceased to symbolize all that is dear to his subjects -- a great war comes. The Japanese have meantime suddenly learned chemistry, engineering, modern military practice. Young Japan goes forth to die for the Emperor, and ends by routing a Christian nation's forces. But for what will Japan fight when the Mikado shall no longer have the sacred right to command men's lives? The Japanese have embraced science. But science, as Laplace said, does not need the hypothesis of God, and to scientific method nothing is intrinsically sacred. The world's debt to science is beyond calculation, but it is awkward that the principle of Laplace fits crime as neatly as it fits science. Let us grant that for free and unimpeded progress of science the hypothesis of God is not needed. We must also grant that the hypothesis of God is not needed for the free and unimpeded progress of crime. It is awkward company for so admirable a personage as science to be in. We can not infer that progress in science means progress in crime. Therefore we must assume that in proportion as science rejects the idea of sacredness she offers or recognizes some substitute for it. What will that substitute be? What will the scientific Japanese of the future die for? Will it be for policy? utility? the scientifically advisable? There is a saying of the Christ that the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath day. And now comes a school of distinguished Aramaic scholars who assure us that in the language of Christ "Son of man" means simply "man." I do not accept this version of the word. But the idea that man is the lord of the Sabbath is an idea so congenial to contemporary thought that in logic its defenders should extend it to every institution which claims divine sanction. If man is lord of one religious institution, why not of all? Why should marriage be celebrated by priests, or burial be solemnized by the clergy? Motherhood, fatherhood, the helplessness of children, the memory of the noble dead, promises, chastity, truth -- these things we are wont to call sacred. But are they perhaps merely matters of policy? If man is "lord" of religious institutions, then he is competent to abolish the marriage institution or any other institution human or divine. He is lord of everything ever called sacred in human life. It is an immense responsibility.
Is it possible to believe that "lordship" over what is sacred will ever result in the abolition of the sentiment? We can not think that the time will ever come when men shall cease to feel that some things, some times, are more sacred than others. The hour when the boy knelt at his mother's knee; the hour when the man looked into his child's dying eyes; the hour when the sinner struggled up from baseness and consecrated himself to a new life -- these hours are sabbatic as compared with the hours of moral chaos or of empty barrenness which preceded them. Take away such hours from life, secularize life to the extreme, and life would not be worth living. Men will not be content to face death in such a mood, to pass from a secular life into a secular silence.
But false gods will continue to expire at the touch of time. The name of sacred will not forever attach to things which are essentially impermanent. The eloquent silence of oblivion will be God's only comment upon every institution which fails to satisfy the soul's hunger for God.
§3. The contrast in mythology. -- Mythology is very largely, though not wholly, a speculation on the origin of things. A "myth" is a "word," or story. It is a word about the gods rather than a word from them or a word to them. It is a story about how the gods produced the present state of things. It is not an appeal to the gods for help, comfort, courage. The savage whose prayer is brief and earnest will not hesitate, in colder mood, to spin an endless tale of the creation. The distinction is significant. Our secular and our scientific moods are allied to the relatively cold mood of mythology.
The keynote of mythology is multiplicity. Every object in nature must be explained, and its origin may recede indefinitely, precisely as origins recede in science. Therefore the literature of mythology is vast, and is constantly growing as anthropological science reports new finds. George Eliot showed scholarship and humor when she made her Mr. Casaubon die before his great "Key to All Mythologies" was fairly begun. Merely to read through the long list of human races in Quatrefages gives one a sense of shock, and makes one feel a stranger in the earth. If then we recall that each race has not one but several mythical explanations of every bird, animal, and tribe, we see that finite man presents an infinite variety of problems. Each mythology rests upon an earlier one, represents a reform. We can understand the noble Greek Zeus as he was explained by Greek philosophers and dramatists; but we can not understand the ignoble Zeus of obscure Greek legend, or the Zeus whose grave was shown in Crete, except as we appreciate that mythology was one long series of prehistoric reforms in scientific thought. The history of modern science is strewn with abandoned hypotheses. The history of ancient science is strewn with abandoned creators. Zeus has died not merely in Crete but in a thousand other places. His grave might even be shown in America. In fact this whole hemisphere, nine thousand miles long, is the grave of a race of creators. In Curtin's "American Creation-Myths," or in Brinton's various books, one can read how vast was the system which was understood on this continent by scores of aboriginal tribes. The theory of our red brothers was in general this: America was once inhabited by a race of perfect men, utterly different from those now living. They were godlike and divine; they were the gods. At length however they began to break their perfect brotherly love with quarrels, and this evil fact itself reacted upon them and changed them. Some were changed to birds, some to animals, some to trees, some to mountains. If we start with any given creature we can follow back to its human-divine origin. Each is the result of a fall. The myth-makers can tell the story in every case, and the name of the stories is legion. How such a system throws light upon man's ethical nature! It does not explain the bird or beast, but it throws light upon man. It is useless for man to deny moral responsibility. He knows that he can fall from grace. And mythology, like a vast luminous projection of his soul upon the sky, shows these spiritual facts within the soul.
Only one of the myriads of creation-myths bears directly on our investigations. This is the Babylonian, which was discovered in 1875 by George Smith on a series of clay tablets which are now preserved in the British museum. It is a highly polytheistic story, as befitted a nation which recognized sixty thousand gods or more. It records a strife between the dragon of chaos (Tiamat) and the gods. The gods, led by Marduk, are victorious. Marduk splits the dragon in twain, as one splits a flat fish, and of the two parts makes heaven and earth. Much ingenuity has been expended to trace the creation-story of Genesis to this source. Later we shall consider this matter in its spiritual significance, and show that the Hebraic story is partly a criticism of mythology, partly something more profound. Undoubtedly some West Semitic variant of the myth was known to the early Hebrews, and undoubtedly it was the task of the prophets to disillusion their hearers' minds concerning it. Dragon worship, star worship, moon worship, Baal worship -- the struggle against these makes half the history of Israel. Babylonian, Canaanitish, and Assyrian ideas were only too influential among the less spiritually minded Hebrews, as we know from the burning words of the prophets. We can guess at the force to be combated when we learn, from the wonderful Tel el-Amarna tablets, discovered in 1887, that a king of Jerusalem (Urusalim) wrote in the Babylonian language to his Egyptian overlord in the fifteenth century before Christ.
As we recall the burning words directed by the prophets against false gods, we must admit that the temporal element in mythology is vast and hateful. Much of what was permitted in prehistoric days becomes ghastly under a fuller spiritual light.
But we can not deny a certain slender thread of spiritual reality in mythology. When the Aztecs believed that maize was once a god who gave his life that men might eat him and live, we must say that this creation-myth dimly foreshadowed the true bread of life, which cometh down out of heaven. When the Aztecs solemnly ate little cakes of maize in honor of the self-slain god, the Jesuit missionaries were in terror, for they believed that Satan was luring the poor savages into blasphemy against the holy eucharist. But if the beloved disciple John had been the missionary, he would have smiled gently and said, "He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not."
The truly scientific explanation of things does not attempt to reach beginnings. It is content to carry the research back step by step through natural causes, and to rest content when the limits of knowledge are reached. And its method is impersonal. It can not work with spirits that interrupt the chain of law. This fact has brought anxiety to the religious mind, but it is a needless anxiety. The final aim of science is not metaphysical, but practical. It uses impersonal methods to personal ends. The physician’s only interest in the abstract formula is to save personal life. And so, while creation-myths are not literally true, they are dim gropings after truth. As science they are transitory; but there is in each some parable, some assurance that the origin of things is not blind force or fate. Slowly, slowly have men developed in time, yet, from the beginning, without a parable spoke He not unto them.
We do not deny that modern science has sometimes failed to see her own limited purpose. She has sometimes erected her impersonal principles into gods. Speaking for the scientific men of his day, Huxley bravely says: "Most of us are idolaters, and ascribe divine powers to the abstractions Force, Gravity, Vitality, which our own brains have created." When this happens, mythology returns. Then the fight between the transitory abstraction and the eternally spiritual must be renewed.
Surely we have offered good reasons for discriminating between the transitory and the permanent in mythology. Yet doubtless we must contend with opposition both from the religious and from the scientific side. The one will accuse us of defending “superstitions”; the other of defending "survivals". Well, superstition is superstitio a thing left over. But if in what is left over there is any spiritual nutrition, it is for us to gather up the fragments of the bread of life, that nothing be lost. And as to "survivals", that bugbear of the pseudo-scientific mind, we point out emphatically that science has dogmatized about "the survival of the fittest." She has said that in nature only the fit survives; but, to science, thought is a part of nature. Therefore science faces the paradox that only superstitions are fit to survive. Let her explain her own paradox, and we are content.
It would be a curious world if there were no survivals. Roughly speaking, Geology asserts that first the algae, and then invertebrates appeared, then the mosses and the fishes, then the ferns and the amphibians, then the pines and the reptiles, then the grains and the birds, and lastly the mammals. But it is only too obvious that not merely the mammals have survived. The mammals could not survive, in fact, but for the continued existence of the lower forms of life. The living fern and fish and pine and grain still serve us. Nay, in the form of coal, the dead fern and pine still serve us. And what is true here of nature is true also of thought. In thought as in nature, the primitive we have always with us. And some of the achievements of primitive thought -- such as the idea of God, the idea of sacredness, and the idea of stern responsibility -- are to be regarded as precious and permanent achievements.
Unless we recognize this fact and study its meaning, we can not safely build for the future. Our religion ought to face forward; it ought to leave the dead past to bury its dead; but in its haste it must not bury the quick with the dead.
§4. The contrast in astrology. -- The eighth Psalm, is an exquisitely noble and spiritual view of man's relation to the starry heavens. "When I behold the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained, what is man that thou art mindful of him? . . . Thou hast made him but little lower than God." The second sentence thrills us with a sense of man's spiritual possibilities, but the first abases all pride of intellect. Man can not divine the secrets of the stars, nor draw down their power by magic, nor use them to penetrate the future. Man's power is of the earth. There he must live and work. He can not stand considering the stars, wrapped in futile contemplation of possible disaster foretold by them.
Yet in our versions of Psalm viii the word "behold" -- raah -- is translated "consider." Our very words betray the ancient power of astrology; for to consider the heavens meant to the Romans to consult the constellations (sidera). Two other words used above are of astrological origin -- "disaster" and "contemplation." A disaster is produced by unfavorable stars (astera). Contemplation is consideration of the heavenly templa. The astrologers cut the heavens into "temples", and to contemplate is to find one's magic hour within a section of the zodiac. The root which means divide (tem) appears in tempus, time, and in templum, a temple or place marked out on earth, or in the sky, or on the side of the human head, to indicate our magic relations to the celestial temples.
We rightly and emphatically shake our heads at astrology. But there are plenty of persons who still astrologize, who still seek to know the future by magic means. In any large city of the world you can get your future predicted by an astrologer or a palmist. And many persons who scorn the palmist astrologize unconsciously, as when they fear the terrestrial effect of sun-spots; or dread Friday, or the number thirteen, or moon-stroke; or fancy that they have a lucky number; or respect predictions as to the exact date of the earth's destruction. As to that date, "none knoweth save the Father." Yet in all ages the astrologer has pretended to know, and has commanded the money of the frightened.
The sign of Jupiter  was considered auspicious, and physicians placed it before their prescriptions to make them efficacious. There the sign remains to this hour, though its meaning has been lost; ancient conviction lingers on as a modern habit. Even great men who were by no means credulous have astrologized instinctively. It is fundamental with astrology that the star which presides at our birth affects our destiny on earth. Well, Napoleon believed in his star. Shakespeare tells us that the fault is in ourselves, not in our stars, if we are underlings. But our fate is not wholly in our hands, and when a man feels himself borne onward to great deeds and great dangers, he must acknowledge his dependence either on nature or on God.
We have astronomy, and for reasonable minds astrology is dead. We can not say of this dead only that which is good, but we need not persecute the dead. Juvenal long ago admitted, in that tremendous sixth satire against feminine credulity, that the way to make astrology powerful is to persecute it. We must discriminate between the temporal and the eternal, even in astrology. The impulse of it was to grasp the relation between the temporal and the eternal. The method was to construct the heavens as a huge organism by analogy with the earth and the human body.
At first the savage pays little attention to the heavens; he sleeps at night, just as most of us do. But gradually a sense of the starry glories dawns upon him. The heavenly bodies are enduring, while men come and go; sun, moon, stars must be divine. The poet Tennyson, looking at the heavens and the earth, asks himself whether, after all, these things are not God. Perhaps these fair and eternal objects are God, -- only it is our doom to see him as these things. Perhaps our eyes, which falsely tell us that far things are small and that parallels meet, play us false; perhaps it is they which sunder God into heaven and earth. The eye of man, says Tennyson, can not really see; but if it could, were not the Vision -- He? Less subtly reflecting the savage sees moon and stars as actual gods. He is too literal, and literalism is the very soul of astrology and magic. But he can not help it.
For he relies on the starry heavens, especially the moon and the sun, as means of thinking. Their permanence helps him at every step. Their motions are steadier and larger than his. At first he paid small attention to times. Life was one long irresponsible holiday, and hunger was his only clock. But then he perceived that the sun measures time; the sun-god has daughters, the days and the nights. He further noted that some days brought him joy and luck, others misfortune and pain. Probably there was magic in days. Perhaps the magic of days could be calculated ahead.
The moon too was a measurer of time. Once in so often the thin scimitar of light grew to maturity and flooded earth with glory. It was a victory of the enduring over the transitory. It was the creation of a world of light. It was a god slaying the dragon of darkness. Long before Sinai's red granite flamed with Jehovah’s lightning, the mountain had its name from the Arabian moon-god, Sin. At his festival the idols grew darker and darker, only to recover their brightness when the festival was about to end. And what influence upon human life might not these changes of the moon foretell or portend? To this day the Mentras of the Malay peninsula believe that human strength declines and recovers with the moon. The savage could not know our satellite's influence upon the tides; he could not see the "moon-led waters white" as the poet or the mathematician sees them. But the women of Babylonia knew that there was a mysterious physical relation between them and the month, and they worshiped the lady moon as the queen of heaven and mother of gods. So also did the Grecian women until the cult grew base; then came a reform, and the moon-goddess became Diana, the virgin.
The month, then, was magical in its influence. Indeed, in certain languages we see the power of thought itself expressed in terms of the moon. Mens is mind, and mensis is month. Mensuration is measure. Thus mind and month are both measures. The moon and the mind are both dividers, and both divide in order to conquer.
As for the week, who shall say whether the moon gave humanity the week or whether humanity gave the moon the week? The astronomer laughs at the question, but the psychological student of the number-concept hesitates. Comte pointed out that there is, so to speak, a week in the very structure of the mind. Primitive counting can grasp two triads and a rest, or three couples and a rest, but must then begin anew. The Eastern nations early had the universal week, which is quite distinct from the lunar week. Greece used the decade. In Rome the week conquered the decade, and is now firmly ingrained in human thought. When these psychological facts are thoroughly considered, it will appear that the astronomer merely astrologizes when he asserts the "derivation" of the universal week from the lunar. The moon is at least in part a construct of the human eye; its color is "in the eye," not in the lunar rock. And the moon does not make the power of counting. It is we who divide the orb into quarters. So, as to the exact relation of the moon to the week, let us not mythologize, as our present anthropologists are inclined to do. Let us wait till we know whether the "idealist" or the “realist" is right in metaphysics, and until psychology has been more profoundly related to the normative sciences. We will even ask serious "consideration" for the astronomer Delambre's acute remark: "Those who reject the Mosaic account of creation will be at a loss to assign to the week an origin having much semblance of probability."
Almost every primitive religion had its lunar festivals. The day of the new moon, as well as the eighth, fifteenth, and twenty-second, was likely to be in some sense magical, sacred, blessed, auspicious or inauspicious. Traces of such feeling are found in Egypt, China, India and Africa, as I well as in Asia.
Efforts have been made to trace the Hebrew Sabbath to the Babylonian lunar seventh day. But recent investigations indicate that this theory is quite indefensible. The word Shabbatum occurs in Babylonian, but it names the fifteenth day of the month. Whereas the Hebrew Shabath means 'to desist', Clay says of Shabbatum, “The very root from which the word is derived, if in use in the Assyro-Babylonian language, is almost unknown, and can not be shown with our present knowledge to have the meaning ‘to rest, cease, or desist.’” Nor is there any indication that the Shabbatum, or fifteenth of the month, was a day of rest. As for other Babylonian days, it is only certain that (in two months of the year) the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, twenty-eighth, and nineteenth were "evil days", on which the king might not offer a sacrifice, or the augur make an oracle, or a physician touch the sick. Apparently on these days the surly gods would not receive sacrifice or answer queries or assist the physician. A curse would follow if these officials ventured to perform religious duties on the magic holiday of Marduk and Ishtar. Come not unto us, ye that labor and are heavy-laden, for we will not give you rest! It is a strange contrast to a true Sabbath.
When in Egypt and Babylonia astrology had proceeded far enough to discover the motions of the planets, new magic arose. Each day of the week became sacred to some one of the seven planets, counting the sun and moon. And now the day of twenty-four hours is measured, and each hour is presided over by a planet. In Egypt the hours were assigned in turn to Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, the Moon. Each day of the year and each hour of the day had its astrological meaning. All times were magical. There was a veritable polytheism of time, and men's activities were weakened by fear.
There is no need for us to explain the pseudoscience of astrology as it was perfected in the middle ages. It was not different, psychologically, from that of early Assyria or early Egypt. In the middle ages the astrologer took precedence of the physician at the birth of a prince, that the royal horoscope might be rightly cast and warnings of threatened disasters be given. This happened in Christian lands, and clearly shows that paganism had never been quite conquered. The same caricature of sacred times may be seen in early Assyria. We have an ancient Assyrian calendar on which every day of the year is marked as either lucky or unlucky. For Egypt we have even fuller records. The priests could tell you of what divine event each day of the year was symbolic. A defeat of a sun-god on a given date would give to that day an eternal curse; a victory would give it the charm of an amulet. The devout Egyptian must know the magic calendar. If he bathed in the Nile on Paophi 22, he would certainly be devoured by a crocodile, for on that date Sit sent a crocodile to attack Osiris. On Paophi 12 every action was dangerous. On Thot 20 no work could safely be done, no stranger safely entertained. On Mechir 30 it was forbidden to speak aloud. A child born on Tybi 4 will live to be old. The sixth of Tybi is fortunate, the seventh inimical. And so on and so on -- a terrific list of restrictions and dangers, alternating with the rashest auguries of good. The god Thot, however, knows the secrets of each day, and has such knowledge of the other gods that he can compel them. He gives his magic knowledge to his priests, and they can put it at the service of those who pay for it.
In such ways were the eternal heavens bent to very trivial temporalities. Numbers themselves, those children of time, became magical. Three, six, seven, nine, ten, twelve, thirteen -- what number has not promised or threatened the credulous believer? Even unity has been considered magical, and worshiped as an end in itself.
But we have seen enough to assure us that the sacredness of sacred times is not what primitive men thought it to be. The terrible fear of taboo, the terrible foreboding of disaster -- these were the harsh forms by which astrology groped toward spiritually sacred time. The harshness means the importance of sacred time. But it must sorely have puzzled some ancient Egyptian to find that noble joy could happen to him on an "inauspicious" day. And on the sabbatum some gloomy Babylonian king, shut up in his palace, may have said: "Alas that God should fail me in my utmost need."
§5. The contrast in religion. -- To perceive in the history of religion two opposite tendencies regarding time and eternity, it is unnecessary to define either term with strictness. Whether we call time the measure of motion, or the underlying reality of phenomena, or a mere illusion of the senses, or a form under which the human mind constructs experience, or the form of the human will; whether we call eternity an eternal now, or an endless duration, or the reality behind time, or an unknown something quite different in its nature from time -- the fact remains that instinctively some religions have valued time more than others have valued it.
The ancient Persians placed great emphasis upon time. In the religion of Zoroaster (Zarthusht) the world is regarded as having a definite beginning and a definite end in time, and the history of it is brief. The entire period is only twelve thousand years. During the first third of this period the will of God (Ahura Mazda) is supreme. During the second third there is a tremendous struggle between good and evil, Ahura and Ahriman. During the last third the evil is defeated. The first half of the twelve thousand years sees the calm life of the waiting spiritual forces, including the undisturbed existence (for the second three thousand years) of one gigantic primeval man, the righteous Gayomart. Then for six thousand years comes the life of ordinary men, a life of struggle and responsibility. The final destiny of every man is decided in these six thousand years. Zoroaster is sent to men to enlighten and encourage them in the midst of the six thousand years. "I have created thee," says Ahura to Zoroaster, "in the middle time . . . for whatever is in the middle is more precious, as the heart is in the midmost of the body." This conception of the world made each moment of life significant. Man is working out his own destiny day by day. And he is a fellow worker with God. He is in the thick of the fight against evil. The issue between good and evil, which seemed doubtful when Zoroaster appeared, is indeed not doubtful; the good will prevail; but unless each man fights shoulder to shoulder with the cause of the good, he will be condemned at the judgment to the fires of hell. Life is short and every minute counts. History is irreversible. When once the end of the world has come, it will be a full end, and there will be no renewing. There will be no purgatory, no future probation, no reincarnation, no revolving cycles of creation and destruction. It is now or never.
Contrast with this temper of mind that of ancient India. The creator Brahman lives in a weary succession of a hundred divine days and nights, each of a length beyond man's appreciation. At the end of each night he creates the world anew. After this early Brahmanism we have Buddhism, in which the alternate periods of creation and destruction oppress the imagination beyond words. A great period, or Kalpa, of cosmical evolution -- the period between two destructions of the world -- is divided into four incalculable periods: that of destruction, that of duration of destruction, that of renovation, that of duration of renovation. It is impossible to exhaust one of these periods by numbering hundreds of thousands of years. If a mountain of iron were touched once in a hundred years by a piece of soft muslin, the mountain would be worn to nothing before one incalculable elapsed. Such was the teaching of Buddha; but nevertheless Buddhists have tried to calculate these periods, and one estimate of an incalculable requires three hundred and fifty-two septillions of kilometres of ciphers. If a disciple would free himself from evil and be purged to perfection, it is through such periods as these that he must forever die and be born again, passing through endless reincarnations. What a man does in this life is important, but not because it leads to salvation at a last judgment. It is important because law, Karma, is inexorable, and the consequences of each act last through inconceivable years. A blow received today is punishment for a blow given in some previous incarnation, perchance a million years ago.
Once started on such thoughts as these, the human mind quickly passes beyond vast periods and spaces which calm the soul, and comes to an ever receding emptiness which terrifies. It evokes aeons and solitudes which make the thought of God impossible; which freeze the blood; which force the soul to groan with insupportable tedium or sink in vertigo. Add to these spectres the conviction of Karma, relentless in its logic, omniscient in the details of its cruelty, and it is the wonder of psychology that the Hindu mind could support such a creed. The patience of that mind is abnormal. If these be metaphysical thoughts, then we can not say that metaphysics is without practical importance. It can drive a man to insanity. It can ungear the soul from practical endeavor and so paralyze it by eternity that it is useless in time.
Of course the Hindu mind has been obliged to seek relief from such thoughts. The popular forms of Indian religion have found it in various genial polytheisms. The higher speculative forms have found it in denying reality to time. In the system of Shankara, the most famous commentator on the Vedas, time and space form the tissue of a veil -- maya, illusion -- which separates us from reality. At bottom things are eternal in the sense of being timeless, and if we could open our eyes we should see nothing but eternal good, a good already accomplished. The yogi, the man of spiritual enlightenment, is able to do this by contemplation. The state which he attains is nirvana, a condition of passive rest and subtle quiet joy. But though the yogi may thus elude the terrors of infinite duration, he theoretically takes himself out of all actual struggle in the world of time. As a matter of fact there have been yogis who have done India a great deal of practical good, men who have emerged from their peaceful dream, refreshed for genuine service. But the desire to escape all the responsibilities of time -- this always means a touch of spiritual paralysis. Even in our own day, when a new spirit of action is awakening in India, it is not surprising to find a distinguished Hindu leader declaring that altruistic action is useless. The late Swami Vivekananda said that a man's trying to help the world is "like the running of a white mouse in its circular cage." "We can not add happiness to the world. All these talks about a millennium are very nice as schoolboys' stories, but no better than that."
If there were in the world no type of religion save the ancient Persian and the ancient Hindu types, the modern western mind would unquestionably prefer the Persian. It strikes a certain chord of response in us. To feel that now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation -- this appeals to us, no matter how recreant we may have been in seizing opportunity divinely offered. It is in line with the stern doctrine, Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own souls. It is in line with the less spiritual principle that time is money. It chimes with the cry for progress. It strengthens our feeling that we too are making history. We like to feel that "something happens in what happens," and that our efforts to make things happen do really count.
And yet the Persian type of religion had its dangers. We know so little of spiritual life in that far place and day that we can not clearly record those dangers. Yet the Persians probably lacked patience; probably built with too little regard for the terrestrial future. Haste and anxiety may have made them cruel. In spite of their noble prayers to Ahura -- prayers in which the note of aspiration, inquiry, and effort is still to be detected -- they could not know the peace of God which passeth understanding. If there is action without reflection, or zeal without knowledge, then progress becomes a mere beating of the air. Carlyle complained of our boasted modern progress that much of it is "all action and no go?” It may even have dawned upon the ancient Persians that though they should win their salvation and escape hell-fire, they would possibly be restless in eternity for lack of occupation. Such a fear may be guessed at from the rise of a Zoroastrian heresy called the Zervanite. Zervan (Zrvan) is time, and this heresy not only makes time infinite, but deifies it. Of this heresy we shall hear again, in our third chapter.
As the religious imagination tries to conceive of God, it is inclined to oscillate between the concept of time and that of eternity. And, rightly or wrongly, it associates with this antithesis various others -- change and permanence, appearance and reality, activity and rest. Thus arise two opposing conceptions of God, or of God and the world.
In one picture, the world is real and time and space are genuine facts. This is true not only for us, but for God. To him, as to us, the past is past, the future is to come. He watches the course of history calmly, and guides it to a glorious issue. Or, he watches the course of history with anxiety, and struggles to make the good prevail in time. He acknowledges in men a genuine power of freedom, and expects them to work with him, producing real results in history. The struggle against sin is a real struggle. Evil is a reality, which men must help to root out of the constitution of things. God loves men truly, and arms them for the fight.
In the other picture, time and space are appearance merely. They are subjective illusions -- such as we suffer when we seem to see a stick bent in the pool, or when we imagine a sad night to have been longer than it was; or they are forms of our finite constitution, necessary modes of our thinking, but modes which God does not share. God is eternal in the sense of being quite out of relation with time. His life is a nunc stans, an eternal now -- and even this way of stating it is false to the fact, for it is temporal and paradoxical. To such a God there is no past or future -- nay, in strict logic, no present either. There is no change in him. He does not strive. To him the darkness and, the light are both alike, and evil is mere seeming, and men's efforts are but appearance. He is pure being, the only reality. If we say that he loves us, it is by a figure of speech, for human emotions can not in strictness be attributed to him. He is omniscient, omnipotent, infinite, timeless, unchangeable, absolute. But since these attributes, taken abstractly, seem to nullify each other, he is in very truth indefinable save by negatives, and in strictness we have no right to call him either personal or impersonal. Silence is our only answer to questions as to the absolute.
Such are the two extremes to which the religious imagination is carried by the antithesis of which we are speaking, and those which are instinctively associated with it as corollaries. But the soul can not rest content with either picture alone, with either picture conceived intellectually. The religious paradox insists that God is at once timeless and in time, at once in scrutable and known, at once passionless and loving, at once and in some sense active and at rest. Later we shall see in what way the Bible offers a spiritual solution of the problem.
§6. The contrast in philosophy. -- We next inquire whether philosophers have achieved any general agreement among themselves as to the definition of time and eternity.
Every philosophy has tried to reconcile the temporal with the eternal, the transitory with the permanent, the changing with the immutable, the contingent with the necessary, the dependent with the independent, the many with the one, the particular with the universal. Thought can not proceed at all without the help of such contrasts as these nor can it rest content in either group of abstractions. There is one group of thinkers who stand merely for the temporal, the transitory, the changing, the contingent, the dependent, the many, the particular. There is no one group who stand merely for the eternal, the permanent, the immutable, the necessary, the independent, the one, the universal. Doubtless, however, there are temperamental biases.
Apparently the “temporal” group of concepts was especially vivid to Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Democritus, Hobbes, Ampere, Weisse, Kierkegaard, Beneke, Duhring. Apparently it is now especially vivid to Messrs. Ostwald, Haeckel, Hoffding, Bergson, James, Dewey, B. Russell, Hodgson, Schiller, Sturt.
Apparently the "eternal" group of concepts impressed with peculiar force Parmenides, Zeno of Elea, Melissus, Plato, Aristotle, Shankara, Ramanuja, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Eckhardt, Boehme, Spinoza, Kant, Fichte, Hegel. Today this group of concepts attracts such men as Messrs. Bradley, Bosanquet, McTaggart, Eucken, Munsterberg, Royce, Caird, Watson, Taylor, Ormond.
We make these groupings with hesitation, and in the notes will be found certain qualifications of them. But after all we are not attempting a chapter in the biography of philosophers. The point is merely that there are two general philosophical temperaments, to one of which time is relatively real and stubborn, while to the other it is relatively unreal and illusory. But we must hesitate long in the case of certain great thinkers. Such names as Augustine, Newton, Leibnitz, Lotze, give us pause. In these men the two temperaments collide so sharply that no radical system results. Indeed some judges would probably declare the same of Aristotle, of Kant, of Dahring, or of Messrs. Eucken, Munsterberg, Royce. But it does not follow that because we seem to find deep inner contradictions in a thinker like Augustine such men have failed to be influential. It is impossible to name more influential thinkers than Aristotle, Augustine, Kant.
From the development of such temperamental differences as those above described have come the various philosophical systems. They result when different men persistently ask of their own intellects the exact definition of the great concepts by which the race has thought its way upward. Systems result when different types of mind inquire of themselves what spirit really is, what matter really is, what space, time, motion, force, consciousness, goodness, God, really are. The mind does not hesitate to ask of itself even the question what it really is to be; even a child, reflecting upon the word is, may wonder what "is" is. When the answer eludes the questioner, the question takes a different form, but it does not cease to recur unless the thinker sinks back to the unquestioning animal level. The question, "What is God?" may change to "What is God to me?" -- in which form it seems more real, though now a definition of "me" is also required. The question as to what time really is may become the question as to whether time is real at all. By such shifting of the questioning from phase to phase of experience the problems of philosophy get reduced to a small number, the solution of any one of which would quickly lead to the solution of the others. Hoffding has said that the problems are only four -- that of consciousness, that of knowledge, that of being, that of values. He also thinks -- but perhaps too hopefully -- that all these may be at bottom one, the problem of the relation between continuity and discontinuity.
The critical analysis of the time-concept has been comparatively late; and a great deal of attention is now being paid to it. In early Greek philosophy the question was rather as to the relations of change and permanence. To Heraclitus change is the great reality; everything changes, flows. Plato met the Heracliteans by pointing out that ideas are less changing than matter. A mathematical relation, for example remains true and real though the materials that it concerns are changing. Geometrical roundness and squareness are changeless and timeless, however perishable round things and square things may be. Thus Plato set an impassible gulf between mental forms and material objects. The former have their perfect and eternal existence in God, who is pure mind. The latter, including the entire visible world, are perishable. Time is not real, but is a moving image of immovable eternity; it was created, and it will cease to be. Aristotle, that greatest of ancient students of physical facts, refused to admit the impassible gulf. He gave to every object its own form, and made the world and time as eternal as God and eternity. Time is the number of motion, and motion proceeds in some way from an unmovable mover, God.
Discontented with the static look of Aristotle's realism, the Neoplatonists tried to rehabilitate Plato by establishing a closer connection between time and spiritual energy. Plotinus regards time as generated by the activity of the world-spirit, which longs to give to formless matter the form of perfection. The spirit of man shares this energy, and can imitate the eternal perfection "by going", by striving. The present thus acquires a new dignity and becomes the very life of the soul. There would be no time save for the restless spiritual energy which strives to transcend time. It is a noble conception, and helps to account for the immense influence of Neoplatonism, which, like certain other religions, struggled with early Christianity for possession of the Roman world. But with its doctrine of time Neoplatonism combined a conviction of the unreality of matter and of evil, and a strong tendency to dream. It therefore failed to master the intellect of the hard-headed Roman people. Only men of Augustine's type could do that -- men to whom had been given a profound sense of the reality of the Christian struggle against evil.
Augustine was a mystic as passionate as Plotinus, but he was also, a shrewd, strong, practical organizer of spiritual forces. It is therefore not surprising to find him deeply divided in mind as to the nature of time. "If no one asks me what time is, I know; but if I wish to explain it to an inquirer, then I do not know." He believes with Plato that it was created with the world. But when he abstracts from his experience of it, he finds it consisting of three unreal parts -- the past which no longer is, the present which is a mere imaginary point, the future which is not yet -- and so he wonders whether it is not a mere subjective illusion. His ardent prayers for enlightenment do not solve the abstract problem.
During the middle age the Platonic and Aristotelian views reappear with various modifications. The most significant of these is the schoolmen's distinction between time and duration. Time, which applies to man only, may be viewed either as duration or as succession, but in reality includes both. Duration is applicable to God, but succession is not.
At the beginning of the modern period, Descartes makes time unreal, but space real. Spinoza regards space as an attribute of God, but denies both duration and succession to the divine nature. With Hobbes the modern spirit of skepticism concerning both time and space sets in. To Hobbes time is a certain image or phantasm left upon the mind by the motion of a moving body. To Locke time is the mere succession of ideas, and reality is known to us only through sensation. To Hume the relation between cause and effect is merely customary, not necessary, and since cause and effect are a temporal relation, the reality of time is annihilated.
Kant meets the skepticism of Hume with the severest analysis of consciousness that has ever been made, and the conclusion that time and space are essential ways of human thinking, though they have no validity for that unknown reality which is ultimate. They are not ultimate, for time can not be conceived either as beginning or as not beginning, and space can not be conceived either as ending or as not ending. Yet they have this much permanence -- that they are of the very structure of our consciousness. Their permanent contradictoriness is the condition of all human thinking, and science ought to be possible, even if no other than scientific knowledge is possible to man.
Such are the typical conclusions -- not the arguments -- about time, from Plato to Kant. Kant makes time real for the life which now is, and in his great book on the practical reason he attempts to build a practical philosophy as strenuous as those which his criticism had destroyed. But the chief result of his life's work was the proposition that ultimate reality is unknowable, and this is the legacy he leaves to his philosophical heirs. Many have accepted it. Hence we have the school of agnostics, a school which includes a large number of the ablest scientists of the time. Mr. Bertrand Russell, the philosophical mathematician of the English Cambridge, remarks that "It is customary with philosophers to deny the reality of space and time", but he forgets for the moment that Kant killed off many philosophers and nipped many more in the bud. It is precisely because time and space are hard things to handle in philosophy that so many men have turned their backs upon metaphysics in disgust. A Darwin meddles not with the infinite, but devotes his life to a study of real changes which have taken place in time. The same feeling that leads so many Christians to ask, "What is the practical use of metaphysics, anyway?" leads scientific men to say, "What is the practical use of either religion or metaphysics?"
But agnosticism is not the only type of thought since Kant. The desire for some positive assurance as to the ultimate nature of things is very strong in human nature. Men like Fichte and Hegel built upon this fact. They felt that to assert positively the impossibility of absolute knowledge was itself an absolute statement, and they assumed the existence, in the human soul, of some standard of absolute knowledge. Hence in Europe -- as formerly in India -- arose the so-called systems of absolutism. The whole of reality is called the Absolute. Absolutism assumes that in the absolute all positive and negative characteristics meet; it is the ground in which all opposites, even good and evil, are reconciled. The question then arises as to whether human knowledge is adequate to determine the absolute. The idea of God is not the same as that of the absolute, and it is precisely one of the questions of metaphysics whether the absolute is in any sense personal. Fichte and Hegel preferred to identify God and the absolute, but whether either was warranted by his method in doing so is still a subject of warm debate. Fichte conceived the absolute as the Divine Will, in which man shares by virtue of his spiritual nature. Hegel conceived it as the Divine Idea, which is ever coming more and more into consciousness in the process of history. By means of these concepts these thinkers sought to show how what is absolute comes to express itself in temporal experience. To Fichte, the temporal and spatial world is involuntarily constructed by each mind in its spiritual activity, and since there are absolute laws at work, the result is essentially the same for all minds. To Hegel "everything is spirit, and spirit is everything"; but just what spirit is -- whether it is the process of thought or whether it includes the independent striving of free spirits -- about this the critics of Hegel do not agree. Whatever it is, it is something to which time is unreal.
It is impossible here to discuss the close reasoning by which Fichte, in his system of "antitheses," and Hegel, in his system of "thesis, antithesis, and synthesis," defended their conclusions. Still less is it possible to follow the attempts, sometimes brilliantly illuminating and sometimes ludicrously absurd, which Hegel made to apply his dialectic to nature and to human history. We are attempting here to summarize conclusions only, and learn if there is any general philosophical consensus as to the nature of time and eternity. When we add that both these absolutisms, professedly theistic, have led to absolutisms theistic and absolutisms atheistic, it becomes clear that neither Fichte nor Hegel has won the philosophical world. Yet each was a thinker of the first rank.
Of the systems deriving from Hegel, that which is just now most discussed is Mr. F. H. Bradley's. Mr. Bradley's absolutism concludes that knowledge is unequal to the real because knowledge is relational to the core, and the absolute is not relational. But just as in the animal there is feeling which is lower than reason, so in man there is feeling which is higher than reason. Like any mystic, Mr. Bradley the skeptic here appeals to the private consciousness. To this mystical higher plane of feeling the absolute is present. Yet even here it is not present as absolute merely; it is present together with appearance; at the highest level we can not wholly escape the relational. Mr. Bradley has worked out this position with great brilliance and acuteness, but it can not be said to have met with any general acceptance among thinkers. It does not reconcile good and evil in any way that appeals to our spiritual activity, and it is not surprising that one graceless critic has called it "the higher synthesis of God and the devil." Such flings do not disturb Mr. Bradley, who, when he desires, is a master of irony, but who is at heart a thinker of the greatest seriousness and sincerity. It is obvious that in this absolutism time figures as mere appearance. "If time is not unreal," says Bradley, "I admit that our absolute is a delusion."
The noble absolutism of Professor Royce, though deeply indebted both to Hegel and to Bradley, refuses to admit the unreality of time. Royce makes much of the fact that our present consciousness of time has always some duration; there is a time-span, a more than specious present; we are never aware of the present as a mere moment, and must assume that it is a false abstraction to divide time into a non-existent past, an imaginary present point, and a non-existent future. Rather our present is, as certain older thinkers said, like our grasp of a bit of melody; we are conscious of the musical phrase as passing note by note, yet at the same time we grasp the phrase as a whole. Our actual present then includes something of the past and of the future. If this be true of our present, much truer is it of God's. God is eternal, yet his consciousness includes both past and future. If it be answered that this makes God static, the critic is asked to conceive once more the phrase of music, or any human act. It is then seen that our present owes its duration to our active will; for it is the meaning of the music that we are trying to grasp, it is the purpose of the act that gives it reality. Time then is the form of the will, and is included within the eternal by the fact of purpose. God is eternal, because he is working out an eternal purpose. Furthermore, as our own true meaning and purpose, could we but realize it, is one with God's, so our true higher selves, toward which we strive, are included in God.
The absolutism of Fichte finds its most noticeable recent representative, or heir, in that of Professor Munsterberg. Once more we see the essence of reality regarded as will, or rather as deed, act. But since Fichte's day scientific knowledge has greatly advanced; Munsterberg himself is a distinguished experimental psychologist. Nevertheless, instead of being drawn into "psychologism" -- the habit of regarding ultimate reality as the psychologist regards the human mind -- this modern idealist draws a sharp line between absolute and scientific knowledge. The great World-deed, in which we as free agents share, and which we unwittingly affirm every time we will to deny it, is timeless, but it creates time. Precisely as a man freely wills to take his mind into the psychologist's laboratory and try to measure it, so the Ultimate Will freely produces time itself. It is a free creation, and man is not its slave. Space, time, and quantity are not perceptions, but acts which we execute in order to make the free valuation of existence possible. The striving of the will becomes the starting-point for two opposite directions. We call the starting-point "now", and we create the "no-more" and the "not-yet." The absolute striving toward an aim shifts the "now" continually into the "no-more," thus separating itself into an endless series of units of effort. In every act, the aim and the attainment coalesce. In the act both past and future are made one, and that is the meaning of eternity. The World-act (Welt-tat) is eternal in time, as the circle is endless in space. The spiritual world is eternal, for it is act in every fiber; and in the act future and past become a unit.
The argument is sufficiently subtle, and any attempt to summarize it mutilates it. But when, in spite of the sense of freedom which is aroused by reading the system, we learn that "strictly speaking, nothing in the world of causes really evolves", we are left wondering why, after all, the Timeless Deed should express itself in time. The assurance that "striving is alone valuable" hardly relieves our perplexity. The abstract eternal striving of a timeless will is hardly more attractive to the natural man than the concrete mortal striving of the psychological will. The system requires us to think of ourselves as each divided horizontally, so to speak, into a timeless ego and a psychological ego. Doubtless, however, an experimental psychologist, wearied of studying nervous reactions and observing mortal time-measurements, may enjoy retreating into an utterly timeless self.
We have now sketched three or four types of absolutism without finding any substantial agreement as to time. To Fichte and Munsterberg it is a creation of the timeless will; to Royce it is included within an eternal purpose which is not -- in the Fichtean sense -- timeless. To Bradley it is mere appearance, hopelessly relational. Such are the results of one constructive school of philosophy since Kant. But there are other post-Kantian schools besides agnosticism and absolutism. There is, for instance, naturalism.
The mood of naturalism is known to us all in some elementary form. As children we have all wondered, with Mark Twain's boy, whether the stars were supernaturally created, or whether "they just naturally happened." The enormous advances of physical science have cast suspicion upon the word "supernatural," just as they have cast suspicion upon the word "sacred." The scientist repeats the remark of Laplace, that in the construction of a mechanism of the heavens, the hypothesis of God is not needed. When, therefore, the scientific mind is confronted with abstract systems like Hegel's or Bradley's, it is tempted to swing to the opposite extreme and declare that time and matter and energy are real, and that nothing else is. There is energy and there are the real forms in which it is expressed -- matter, motion, change, time -- and there is nothing else. God is an imaginary being, “a gaseous vertebrate.” Consciousness is something given off by energy, or it is potential energy, or it is a product of the imagination (whatever that is); it is like the fly on the balance wheel, imagining that it makes the wheel revolve; it is the noise of the whistle, not the force in the whistle; it is the delusion of a stone which, being thrown from an unknown hand, awakes in flight and imagines itself a bird; it is not a reality but an epiphenomenon.
There is such a thing as the eternal, but its true name is time. There is one permanent thing; its name is energy. At all events Ostwald says, "from what I know of science I have the impression that energy will outlive everything else in the universe." Ostwald, being more cautious than some naturalists, declares that he does not feel justified in saying more than this. But his caution is pathetic. If energy should outlast everything else but then cease to last, what would be left? Apparently nothing, and we shall not be accused of introducing poetry into philosophy if we say that nothing is another name for death. It is then a choice between everlasting energy and everlasting death. Or, since Ostwald elsewhere agrees to call energy "work," it is a choice between eternal cosmic work and eternal cosmic death. A Godless universe, ending in eternal work or eternal death. And this is a popular philosophy! No wonder that the people need out-door recreation on Sunday!
Some philosophers who look on this picture and on that -- absolutism and naturalism -- feel the need of something different from either. Rather than lose God out of the universe entirely, Mill preferred a finite God limited by time. So does William James. So do Schiller and Rashdall of Oxford. We have Hoffding saying that "If time is an illusion, it is also an illusion of the second potency if we imagine that we can lightly rid ourselves of it," and yet Hoffding is a most sympathetic student of religion. We have, finally, Bergson basing his whole philosophy upon the reality of time.
Bergson's system is having a great vogue in France, and it is surprising that he has not yet been translated. He distinguishes between pure duration and spatialized duration. Pure duration is of the very essence of life. The vital impulse, elan vital, is pure duration, and is the creative inner force from the lowest organisms to the highest man. At every instant it produces something new; its method is creative evolution, l’evolution creatrice. Evolution is not mere vague "development"; it is an irreversible process, filled with new meaning at every step. This pure duration, however, is essentially hid from the intellect, because the process of conceptual reasoning is spatial. Space is a "later" thing than time, and wholly subordinate. Reason is a late product of life, and, so to say, is only a by-product at that. When thought attempts to perceive time it spatializes it, treats it as if it were a clock-face. All abstract thinking is static and geometric. It arrests life, and in trying to give form to it merely succeeds in deforming it. Thought is utterly inadequate to represent life or instinct or duration. "Intelligence is the art of making artificial objects" -- not of representing life as it is in nature.
Whatever, may be thought of Bergson's onslaught upon human intelligence, it is a legitimate reaction from the extreme artificiality of the Hegels and Bradleys. Nor is it surprising that attempts have already been made to give this biological theory religious significance. In the recent articles of M. Le Roy duration is assigned to the very essence of the divine nature. God is like duration, for at every point he creates the new. He is in the very movement that we call evolution. Each hour brings genuine novelties into existence, genuine achievement, new forms of life, new thrills of hope. M. Le Roy's theology is doubtless regarded as heretical, but long ago men perceived that God is not in every sense immutable. If he were in every sense changeless, he could not answer prayer. In some sense he is indeed "the most changeable of beings."
§7. The intellectual dilemma. -- Bergson brings us to a new sense of the limitations of thought. Thought never quite overtakes life. We perhaps "think the day over" when it is one, but first we have to get through the day; we have to do things and decide things, even though we act without much reflection. If this is true of common life, how much truer it is of speculation. If the need for rest does not cut short our philosophizing, some inscrutable paradox finally does. Jehovah shuts the way with a dilemma, saying, "Your thoughts are not my thoughts," and sends us back to experience for a wider range of materials. In all the centuries Christians have known that certain things have been concealed from the wise and prudent. They have been obliged to act, and action requires faith.
Surely in the main this must be our attitude on perceiving that as to "time" the masters disagree and leave us darkling. They plunge us into a dilemma. They lead us to an intellectual impasse, a blank stone wall. To be sure, our very method has precipitated the result, for we have abstracted merely the conclusions from systems already abstract enough. Yet if the great critical thinkers had achieved any real definition of either time or eternity, even the bare conclusions should have agreed. Our degree of success in explaining the antinomy by philosophical aid has not been such as to warrant our continuing the speculation. We have failed. What then? Shall we turn from metaphysics in despair as well as in defeat?
Christians have often done so. The theologian Mansel, in his famous lectures on the limits of religious thought, ended in blank agnosticism. God is wholly unknowable. But if unknowable, why God? Why not, with Spencer, merely the Unknowable? Mr. Benn, the materialist, gloats over Mansel's conclusion.
It is not for us to call God unknowable. That is much too "practical" a conclusion. It is of a piece with the excessive practicality of those good people who have refused to support colleges and laboratories, and have seen no use for higher mathematics. God sends severe or gentle retribution to such men. Too often he is obliged to throw important discoveries into the hands of men who are not ordinarily called religious. His gentle retributions come in the way of wireless telegraphy, or redeemed farms, or antitoxin. The last named blessing we owe to two men -- one a German and one a Japanese -- neither of whom would pass muster as a "practical" man or as an orthodox Christian. But Behring and Kitasuto loved their laboratory and they loved mankind, and they have their reward.
We need then to look deep enough to see that in all abstract and abstruse thinking there is an element of the eternal, an element which may serve spiritual ends. The mathematics which gave us wireless telegraphy are timeless, and enable us to conquer time. They may indeed be used to an evil end, but it is only a few months since they enabled God's servant, the lightning, to save from one ship more lives than thunderbolts destroy in years. The impersonal biological laws revered by Behring and Kitasuto have saved the lives of thousands of children, and vastly increased the amount of spiritual energy available on earth in the struggle against sense and sin.
What is true of science is true of philosophy. The great thinkers have been vastly influential in establishing a conviction of the eternal in the hearts of men. The men whom we have quoted and found wanting are men whose systems sprang out of devotion to goodness. Plato's beatific vision of God's thought cheered the hearts of Augustine and Athanasius. Aristotle guided the thinking of the church for a thousand years. Spinoza has been called the God-intoxicated thinker, and his system glows with a pure white light of religious fervor. Kant destroyed systems for the sole purpose of establishing the moral law. Hegel was no dreamer, but an observant interpreter of history. Fichte was a soldier of German liberty. Huxley was the very soul of honesty, and maintained that it is man's duty to fight again the cruel method of nature. There is not, among the fifty-four philosophers whom we have named, a single man to whose system all elements of spiritual vitality are denied. This fact we must gratefully recognize and to it we must later return. Whatever noble ideal has been revealed to philosophy we may seek out, honor and learn from. The vision -- not the proof -- is for us the important thing.
We are all metaphysicans, however crude. Some ideal of time and eternity we must entertain. We can not leave the temporal and the eternal to be mingled in our lives haphazard. Shall we aim so to divide our days that half shall be secular and half sacred? Is that the crude outcome of our speculations? I think not; but even that would be a philosophy of life, a spiritual attitude, and it -- would be better than drifting. Without some such philosophy we shall suffer acute or gradual secularization.
Intellectually defeated, we are not to despair. We are to return to experience for a broader and richer view, we are to make a new spiritual estimate. We are to gain from spiritual activity new materials toward self-definition and self-realization. In this mood, then, we turn from the philosophers to the prophets. We turn from systems of life to him who said, with unparalleled audacity and with unparalleled humility, "I am the life."
§8. The spiritual power of Hebraism. -- There is a tendency, even among biblical scholars, to overlook the profound spiritual element in the Old Testament. With reverent historical criticism we have no quarrel; nor have we any with reverent spiritual criticism, so far as it follows Christ, the supreme spiritual critic. But for a certain type of scholarship, that which can find only the primitive in the Old Testament, we have only indignation. The Old Testament rises above every other ancient book, not excepting the Avesta and the Vedas, as the Alps rise above the pyramids. We have quoted the biologist Huxley several times, because he was a fair-minded modern thinker, however agnostic in his conclusions. "All that is best," says Huxley, "in the ethics of the modern world, in so far as it has not grown out of Greek thought or barbarian manhood, is the direct development of the ethics of old Israel. There is no code of legislation, ancient or modern, at once so just and so merciful, so tender to the weak and poor, as the Jewish law; and, if the gospels are to be trusted, Jesus of Nazareth himself declared that he taught nothing but that which lay, implicitly or explicitly, in the religious and ethical system of his people." Such is the testimony of one who can not be called a partisan of any Judaistic creed. The simple truth is that the work and person of our Lord can not be understood at all except as Christianity is regarded as the child of Judaism. The Old Testament was Christ's Bible. He gravely declared that certain things permitted to an earlier and obstinate people could not be permitted to men who came into the world later in time. But the Christ never failed to see the permanent spiritual element in those earlier scriptures. He saw light in them; he brought light out of them; but he never made light of them. It is a significant fact. To ridicule the creation story, to make light of the story of the fall, to regard Moses as barbaric or mythical, to rest satisfied in the idea that Abraham was a mere eponym --these are signs of intellectual superficiality and spiritual blindness. Of the creation story we shall speak presently. As to the fall, there is no narrative in sacred literature which has profounder spiritual meaning, for it voices the whole Hebraic conviction of man’s personal responsibility to God, as over against all philosophies which confuse God and man with nature. As to Moses -- Huxley's testimony just quoted is perhaps enough; but his life is profoundly significant at every step. How God guides men, redeems them from violence, makes their strength spiritually effective instead of destructive, consecrates their intellects till divine law becomes human law, -- these things are shown in Moses; take him out of the world's spiritual history, and spiritual language would be sadly mutilated. As for Abraham, type of renunciation, faith, purpose, progress, loyalty -- it may be said of him that Jehovah's will was his peace. His spiritual superiority makes him the forerunner of him who said, "Not my will, but thine, be done."
And as Hoffding remarks, these are the profoundest words ever uttered on this planet. The reality of our spiritual relations with God is as truly the pole-star of the Old Testament dispensation as of the New. This fact is to be deeply meditated before we relapse into the superficial criticism of things Jewish. It may be that such statements have previously been reiterated at tedious length, but everything depends on our approaching the creation story in a fair-minded way. To be fair-minded toward the stories of Genesis, one must have sought to read them with spiritual appreciation.
§9. The fourth commandment. -- This is equally true of those early theocratic codes which we find in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, and especially of the ten commandments. If we are to read the ten commandments aright, we must do so in the spirit of our Lord. It is a high criterion, but we must be content with nothing lower. We shall fail to see these ancient laws just as he saw them; his view is lofty, we can not attain unto it. But we can struggle toward it. If there is a temporal element in these commands, we can not venture to define it in other terms than his. And if we fail to see the spiritual element which remains valid for the religious consciousness, it is for lack of listening to the Spirit.
First it should be noted that the ten commandments were known to Israel as "the ten words." This means, ten brief words from Jehovah, not ten interminable myths about him. It means ten brief and solemn suggestions, not ten interminable lists of prescriptions or proscriptions. It means ten words of equal and supreme importance, to be kept in love as a means of salvation from sin; they are not an end but a means; they are not grace but the means of grace.
We are not unaware of the difficulties which later theology found in grasping the meaning of such terms as law and grace. But the difficulties should fade before the significance of the phrase, “the ten words." Each was meant as a word to the wise, for a word to the wise is sufficient.
The fourth word appears in three different phases in Ex. xxiii, 12; Deut. v, 15; and (by implication) in Gen. ii, 3. Three motives are given, which we may call the philanthropic motive, the national motive, and the eternal motive. The first two motives pave the way to the third, and -- as we shall see -- are taken up into the deep spiritual meaning of the third.
In Ex. xxiii, 12, the word reads: "Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest; [marg. keep Sabbath] that thine ox and thine ass may have rest, and the son of thine handmaid, and the sojourner, may be refreshed." The philanthropic motive -- and even the motive of mercy for the beasts -- is here uppermost. The employer! what is his duty toward the employed? It is one half of the greatest question of economics. The word is brief -- it is a word to the wise -- but had it been received it would have solved in advance the problem of labor and capital. What! would a rest of one day in seven solve that mighty problem? Has not the worker even now his Sunday, his day for worship or recreation? Has not the hint been observed? And has it so much as touched the surface of the monstrous puzzle of modern industry?
The hint has not been observed, for the motive was an essential part of it. The word called for charity. It called for love. Like that word which so troubled Paul -- the tenth word, concerning covetousness -- it asks for a state of heart. Had it been loyally observed, it would not now be necessary in a republic to protect the rights of laborers by civil law -- as if civil law could, in the last analysis, protect any right. When there is love of money and scorn for humanity, civil law is hopelessly crippled. Civil laws were never yet framed, and never will be framed, which can not be eluded by a nation of money-worshipers.
Before we condemn Ex. xxiii, 12, as a primitive and transitory bit of Jewish legalism, let us bow our heads in shame. Let us confess that the ideal it suggests is centuries in advance of us. Let us acknowledge that conflicts between law and grace do not arise except when men refuse to accept God's saving suggestions. And as for the relation of the philanthropic motive to the eternal motive -- what is more eternal than love for men? What is more divine than the anxiety to give others rest, opportunity, the spiritual life? If Ex. xxiii, 12, does not breathe the love of a righteous God for lost souls, what scripture breathes it? To keep the Sabbath for men's sake, that they may keep it, is to keep it for God's sake. The Sabbath was made for man, and, to the eye of faith, God was made flesh for man.
In Deut. v, 15, (Am. Stand. Rev.) the word reads as follows: "And thou shalt remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and Jehovah thy God brought thee out thence by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm: therefore Jehovah thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day." Here a national motive is added to the word, which in the verse immediately preceding, Deut. v, 14, is the same as that of Ex. xxiii, 12. The joining of the two motives is itself important. Deut. v, 15, does not forget the charitable motive, but gives it a larger significance in view of Israel's origin and mission. But we must not pass lightly over the motive of escape from bondage. The mere escape was nothing, for it was escape into the wilderness. But the escape as an escape to Sinai and the new covenant was everything. From that moment Israel's national life and spiritual power really begin. There Israel had its new birth of freedom. And how? By a free covenanting with God. It was no longer a matter of conforming to tradition -- it was a free choice. There Israel accepted the ten words. There he became a co-worker with God. To escape from Egypt was deliberately to choose God's leadership, and to accept every part of his pure and austere worship. There at Sinai the children of Israel deliberately accepted the Sabbath as preeminently the mark of their loyalty to Jehovah. As such it was understood by Isaiah, by Jeremiah, by Ezekiel. Thus in some sense Israel was a convert at Sinai, and his future vigor was due to this fact. At Sinai Israel was spiritually both redeemed and created.
In the wilderness the struggle for national existence was fought out -- even as in our Battle of the Wilderness the American people fought for national life. It was a struggle for life in both cases. Nor do we use this parallel without purpose, for it suggests all those mysteries of sorrow and suffering which the struggle for national existence has always brought. In our Civil War we lost a million men that this nation might live. One trembles to think how often in that struggle human life was sacrificed, through men's imperfect judgment, for the national good. Shall we venture to say that in our struggle God approved the death of every one of those million men? Yet we fought because we believed that God is marching on.
It is with such thoughts as these that we approach the statement (Num. xv, 32-36) that in the wilderness a man was put to death, by express order of Jehovah, for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. In view of the national struggle we can understand the rigor of the sentence. Yet it is only human to wish that we had a comment of our Lord upon Num. xv, 32-36. We have his comment upon Lev. xxiv, 20, where it is expressly commanded by Jehovah to render eye for eye and tooth for tooth. Our Lord's comment (Matt. v, 38) is well known: "Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, Resist not him that is evil." The divine command of Matt. v, 38, supersedes that of Lev. xxiv, 20. But upon Num. xv, 32-36, we have no such comment. Two things, however, are certain: First, the death penalty for Sabbath-breaking shows that even in the wilderness the primitive command was moral and not magical. The violated Sabbath did not automatically revenge itself, as the tabooed days of Egypt and Babylonia were thought to do. The offense was rigorously punished on the ground of the national importance of the Sabbath. Secondly, we are still centuries behind the spirit of Matt. v, 38. We resist not merely evil, but him who is evil; we demand eye for eye. It will not do to condemn the rigor of primitive morality except as we are striving toward perfection with equal moral energy. Even our Lord came to send the sword as well as peace, but only as a means to peace. If we are to resist evil unto blood, it is not because shedding of blood is good, but because blood means life. All the great virtues are tinged with blood. For them lives have been lost and counted as gain. To comment on Num. xv, 32-36, in the spirit of Christ, we must first be sure that we have caught the spiritual force of that grim story. Not until our peaceful vigor equals that of primitive and bloody vigor have we learned the lesson of war. "We need a moral substitute for war," says William James. We need, in short, the grim courage of our opinions when we know them to be in line with Christ.
We now pass to the third motive for Sabbath keeping, which we have called the eternal motive, and which completes the philanthropic and the national motive. It is found in Genesis ii, 3, where the Sabbath is associated with the creation of the world, as in Deut. v, 15, it is associated with the redemption and creation of Israel, and in Ex. xxiii, 12, it is associated with the loving kindness which creates rest and opportunity for the servant. If it can be shown that the Hebraic conception of the world's creation is the conception of a process fundamentally philanthropic and redemptive, then the three motives are shown to be one at heart. This important unity can easily be demonstrated, and without descending to rabbinical methods. We shall revert to this matter in §11.
Meantime we turn to a task quite different. We turn to consider the immense mass of objections which have been urged against the first two chapters of Genesis by modern critics. We may divide these critics, for convenience, as (a) the historical, (b) the literary, (c) the geological, (d) the philosophical.
The historical critics assert that the Sabbath was connected with the creation by the priests and scribes for the purpose of explaining an institution then existing, whose actual origin was lost in dim antiquity. Thus the critics attempt to explain the explainers; the critic explains the scribe. Such, as Hume long since pointed out, is the method of all naturalistic explanation; it is temporal; it connects an event with what immediately precedes it in time. But the method merely shifts to the critic the task of the scribe. If the priestly explanation does not satisfy, then of course the critic must explain not merely the priest but the tradition received by the priest. The critic must go back and back until he comes to a resting-place. And what will that be? It will quite as clearly be "the beginning" as ever the priests thought it to be. Historical criticism will be lost in the psychology of primitive thought as we have shown in quoting Delambre's remark in §4. It will then have to cease to exist as historical criticism, and become spiritual criticism. It will end either with a Creator or with atheism. In either case it will have on its hands the philosophical adjustment of the temporal and the eternal. It will have to deal with the value of the week and the Sabbath as a working solution of the problem of time and eternity. This is the perfectly certain end of the logical process, and so the historical critic is set aside. We are not content with the historical regressus. We raise the question whether eternal truth might not be confirmed or revealed as well in the fifth century before Christ as in the ninth. We ask whether a priest might not be as good a medium of revelation as a prophet. We find in the historical critic merely another scribe, without the assurance that the critic's insight into God's methods is as deep as the scribe's.
Next the literary critics. They confront us with the "legal" style of the narrative. They say that the first chapter is formal and precise, showing a desire to bring into an artificial and priestly scheme the whole unknown course of the world. We answer that the style is indeed legal. It has the august brevity of the greatest laws. Its keynote is brevity, not garrulity; reverence, not speculation; simplicity, not multiplicity. The writer is so guided that he sees lingering in the mind of Israel a longing for the mythology of Babylonia, a desire to pluck out the heart of God's mystery. He meets that mythologizing tendency -- which is not yet quite dead in modern times -- by a solemn reticence. God is in heaven and thou art upon earth; therefore let thy words be few.
No, if the style of Genesis is "legal", it is not more so than the style of the prophets and sages of Israel when they come face to face with "the beginning" of things. The varying and undulant eloquence of the Book of Job is admirable, touching the imagination at many points and warning it against any fixed image of God. But the varying and undulant eloquence is not the most significant thing in Job. The keynote of the book is the sentence: "I will lay my hands upon my lips."
In mythology, the reverse is true. God does not question, but man prattles. The still small voice is choked. In Greek philosophy we have a similar plethora of words. To the Greek the logos, or reason, is free play of mind and speech, and sometimes this free play is merely play. In modern speculation we have the same phenomenon; we have what Hobbes called "the frequency of insignificant speech." We have a veritable polytheism of systems, a pantheon of theories. As William James says, philosophy has its life in words.
But there comes a time when we must mean what we say. In the hour of mystery or of promise, the question is how much we are willing to assert and maintain, promise and fulfill. The residuum is always small. Sacred promises are made in few words. The sincerest philosophic confessions are the briefest. And these facts let us into the secret of Genesis, and also of John. The logos of John's gospel is not free speculation -- though afterwards the Gnostics so misunderstood it. It is a person, in whom law and love meet, and God's promises are fulfilled. Christ is a social and spiritual revelation, and not a speculative or astrological revelation.
The actual residuum of cosmogony in Genesis bears a resemblance undoubtedly to the Babylonian conception of the firmament in the midst of waters above and beneath. The language was quite intelligible to an audience which may have believed that creation began by a struggle between Leviathan of the waters, and Jehovah the maker of heaven and earth. But no more than this can be said. The story is stripped of every vestige of polytheism. Professor Santayana has called modern science “myth conscious of its essential ideality, reduced to its fighting weight, and valued only for its significance." If we were to take myth in its original sense -- a word about God -- there would be no objection to calling the story myth, stripped of its polytheism and valued only for its spirituality. But the word is not commonly so used, and it is more accurate to regard Genesis as a deliberate criticism of mythology. The writer knew that Babylonia had mythologized. That way magic and materialism lie, and he spoke against both. Later we shall see that his words had a still profounder meaning.
We next turn to the scientific critics. By these we mean, not the scientific historical critics, but the geological critics. They tell us that in certain respects the Mosaic order of creation is literally at variance with the theories of modern geology. But we are not attempting in this book to reconcile literal variances; we are doing our best to pursue a discussion on a different and much higher plane. Our notes will furnish references entirely adequate to the investigation of Genesis and geology on the plane of literalism.
And we call especial attention to the "Omphalos" of the biologist Philip Gosse. There is a very perfect effort to force spiritual method and literal method into one, and there is nothing more cruelly pathetic in the history of theology. It was a complete failure to satisfy either Christians or geologists. "The theory," says Gosse's son, "was that there had been no gradual modification of the surface of the earth, but that when the catastrophic act of creation took place, the world presented, instantly, the structural appearance of a planet in which life had long existed. The theory, coarsely enough, was defined by a hasty press as being this -- that God hid the fossils in the rock in order to tempt Geologists into infidelity.... Adam would certainly possess hair and teeth and bones in a condition which it must have taken many years to accomplish, yet he was created full-grown yesterday. He would certainly display an omphalos, yet no umbilical cord had ever attached him to a mother.... This 'Omphalos,' my father thought, was to bring all the turmoil of scientific speculation to a close, and fling geology into the arms of Scripture. . . . But, alas! atheists and Christians alike looked at it and laughed. . . . Darwin continued silent, the youthful Huxley was scornful, and even Charles Kingsley . . . wrote that 'he could not give up the painful and slow conclusion of five and twenty years' study of geology, and believe that God has written on the rocks one enormous and superfluous lie.' . . . My father could not recover from amazement at having offended everybody by an enterprise which had been undertaken in the cause of universal reconciliation. . . . How much devotion had he given . . . only to be left storming around this red morass [the newly made lawn where Gosse used wearily to exercise] with no one in the world to care for him except one pale-faced child with its cheek pressed to the window."
Such was the typical and heart-breaking result of literalism in religion clashing with literalism in science -- for there is literalism even in geology. What then? Are we to side with geology against Genesis? The established results of modern geology, so far as a growing science can boast of established results, we do not question. But is geology a form of theology? No great geologist would say so; none would make such a pretension. Geology does not deal with "the beginning," but with the long process of becoming. Genesis, too, speaks of the process of becoming, but speaks as if it were brief. Is there a contradiction here? Literally there is, but not spiritually. Geology does not pretend to fasten upon God's nature the aeons of becoming by which it strives to interpret the earth. It can not and does not insist that God's activity is infinitely tedious, but only that to finite comprehension it may seem so. Even to geology time is not necessarily long; the "length" can not be apprehended save as the imagination foreshortens it. Even in the scientific imagination there is the eternal present which transcends time, and were it not so, no geologist could reason at all about the past. A thousand years, nay a million, must be to him as yesterday when it is past -- it must be as a watch in the night. If he attempted, the folly of trying to grasp the aeons which his mathematics postulate, he would go mad. If he attempted to realize in his petty attention the infinite shades of change in the making of earth, he would be swallowed in vastness as hopelessly as any Hindu dreamer. Geology talks of periods, but it knows very well that there are no periods in geologic time. No man can fix the point of time when the carboniferous became the permian, or the tertiary the modern. Our “periods,” a philosophic geologist would say, "are just so much harmless mythology, that we use as helps to thought." The ages of geology are not the ages of God.
As for the days of Genesis, it is absolutely essential that we escape all literalism in striving to comprehend their meaning. That they have a meaning, profound and lasting, is a religious belief. To know what that meaning is, spiritually and not literally, spiritually and not magically, is in some sense our entire task in this book. God does not literally live in days -- he inhabiteth eternity. He is not conditioned by evening and morning -- for the darkness and the light are both alike to him. He does not literally work -- the worlds were framed by his word. He does not literally rest -- "my Father worketh hitherto and I work." All these things are parables, and it is for us to know them spiritually -- not literally and not magically. If we attempt the task of literal or magical reconciliation between things which are spiritually true, we shall get as a result "oppositions of science falsely so called."
Scripture throws light on scripture. Gen. i, shows us God alone with his work; we see spirit giving form to matter. But Proverbs viii shows us "Wisdom" there in the beginning. Before the earth was, she was. When he marked out the foundations of things, there she was by him, as a master workman. And when we consider that to the spiritual thought of the Old Testament wisdom is righteousness, is duty, the picture becomes even more vivid. God's duty was with him. In making earth he did an act of justice and of mercy, and his duty was daily his delight. Wisdom rejoiced as she worked. As Phillips Brooks said: "Wisdom is older than sorrow."
In Job, God withdraws once more into his aloneness -- not because Proverbs viii is spiritually untrue; but because Job's scientific pretensions were arrogant. Though we have just learned in Proverbs that wisdom, joyful duty, was the master workman, Jehovah demands of Job, "Whereupon were the foundations fastened, or who laid the corner-stone thereof ?" Then follows a series of comments on animal life, a series which might well be read by every Christian who has just laid down his "Origin of Species." Job listens, for he must. He that argueth with God must reply. And Job replies, in a spirit which every true scientist would apply to himself, "I am of small account."
Then in John comes the statement that the Word was with God in the beginning, and that the worlds were made through him. We are not unaware of the history of the term logos in Heraclitean and Stoic thought, in Egyptian speculation, in the emanation -- subtleties of Neoplatonism and of Gnosticism. This is not the place in which to attempt any estimate of the spiritual value of those speculations, much less of their scientific value. What has previously been said (§1) about the unity of man's spiritual aspirations applies in general here. But we say that John throws spiritual light upon Genesis. "The Spirit of God -- the wind of Elohim brooded upon the deep." That austere answer was enough to ancient Israel, casting about among Babylonian mythology for ways to surprise the secrets of God. Tiamat -- the dragon of the deep -- is no person; it is tehom, the deep; and on that shall no more be said. But, says John, if you would know what that spirit of Elohim was, look at the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth. It was redeeming love. Creation was the redemption of chaos. If you would know the nature of tehom, the deep, look into the chaos of your own unredeemed heart as it was before the light of creative love made it a new heart. If you search for the "scientific" beginning, you shall not find it. Enough if you know by experience the meaning of "a new creature." Enough if by the eye of faith you see that Creation itself is God's sacrifice of self, the refusal to accept an undisturbed and unethical eternity. He is too spiritual, too holy, to be content with nothing but endless ages of astronomy. He must create beings who can suffer and choose and achieve, and he must suffer with and for them. It is a great mystery, but how infinitely nobler it is than a universe of mere mechanics.
In these various comments of scripture upon scripture, spiritual search-lights are thrown here and there upon man’s finite thought, all to the end that he may be saved from false oppositions, false literalism, false signs. The first two chapters of Genesis contain within themselves precisely such mutual illumination. It has been asserted by historical criticism that the second chapter is the earlier. Let it be granted. Then the two chapters present a composite narrative. Can we spare either part of it? The object of the first is to present a synoptic picture of the whole process; the second foreshortens all this picture till the making of man occupies the foreground. In the first chapter, “God created man in his own image." The phrase is brief, and "created" is necessarily vague. In the second chapter we read: "Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Both accounts use physical figures, but the one supplements the other, warns us not to accept it literally. It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves; but he has not carved us out of stone, or moulded us out of dust, or forged us out of metal; he has made bodies for us, but has breathed into us the divine breath, and we are of inspired origin.
When such facts of Scripture are pondered, surely the last vestige of any spiritual conflict between Genesis and geology must disappear. It is an imaginary conflict, and fades away when both Genesis and geology are viewed sub specie aeternitatis.
§ 10. The work and the rest of God. -- But a spiritual view of the world is our goal, it is never quite an achievement. And the philosophic critics warn us that in emphasizing the symbolic nature of human thought we are in danger of losing all sense of reality. Does there then remain a philosophical problem after the scientific problem disappears? For example, is it unphilosophical to regard God as a creator? Aristotle maintained that the Good created the animals; but may it not be answered that "good" and "animals" are concepts which are wholly disparate, and that no amount of ingenuity can establish a causal nexus between them? Naturalism regards God and nature as incommensurable, and unreconcilable, and therefore abandons God. Genesis speaks of the work and the rest of God. Naturalism denies both, and substitutes the work of eternal energy, and the rest of eternal death.
Even Hoffding, who is by no means a naturalist, says: "If the dogma of creation offers an explanation of the origin of the world, we must mean by explanation something very different from what is meant by it in scientific thought. To cease thinking is not the same thing as to begin understanding."
Hoffding is a learned, an acute, a thorough thinker, and -- we may take his statement as representative of modern philosophy in this matter. But he is surely too accomplished a psychologist not to know that, after all, even in science, understanding does sometimes begin when thinking ceases. We can not scientifically quite understand how a man can raise his arm; we can not understand it unless we stop thinking about it, and proceed to do the act. It was a profound remark of Goethe that "The thinker makes a great mistake when he inquires after cause and effect; they both together constitute the indivisible phenomenon."
Professor Hoffding is an admirer -- as who is not? -- of the intellectual achievements of Goethe. In Hoffding's remarkable book on the philosophy of religion, it is Goethe who furnishes the mottoes of the most significant chapters. And perhaps we may venture at this point, in the face both of naturalism and of Hoffding's intellectual despair, to quote certain other remarks of Goethe. One is this: "There is no limit to the increase of experience, but theories can not in like manner become clearer and more perfect. Therefore all modes of looking on the world must repeat themselves; and this leads to a curious result, namely, that with extended experience a limited theory may again come into favor." This would seem to have some bearing on Genesis. Still another: "I am convinced that the Bible will always appear more beautiful the more we understand it." And another: "The reason why the Bible has such an unceasing influence is because no one, as long as the world endures, will ever arise and say: I grasp the work as a whole, and understand it in all its parts. But we say humbly: As a whole let us respect it, and in its parts apply it." Finally: "To the several perversities of the day a man should always oppose the great masses of universal history."
These remarks of Goethe should put us in the mood to receive with respectful attention and our utmost spiritual insight the first two chapters of the Bible, in spite of all the contempt which is poured upon creationism by modern philosophy. That contempt may be, in Goethe's phrase, one of the perversities of the day. When it is asserted that "there never was a beginning," it is possible that the assertion is merely self-betrayal; for in the materialistic mind spirituality has indeed had, as yet, no beginning.
We have seen that modern philosophy has succeeded, in the case of several schools, in erecting noble ideals of God. The trouble has not been with the ideals, but with the exact intellectual demonstration of them. They have not been generally accepted by thinkers because they have not been cogently systematized by close reasoning. We have admitted our own complete inability to conclude any one of the abstract lines of verification which might establish some one system beyond cavil. We have, to adopt Hoffding's scornful phrase with boldness, ceased thinking. And yet we have not admitted that he who ceases thinking must utterly fail to understand. Therefore we return to some of the neglected realities of philosophy, some of the ideals of perfection.
And first there is an ideal concerning the work and the rest of God. It is symbolized in the brief words of Genesis, words which are a solemn assurance that it has a profound meaning for us. It is dialectically stated in Greek thought as early as Aristotle. We may speak therefore of the relations of Aristotle's ideal to Genesis. Aristotle strives to reconcile motion, activity, energy, work, with God's eternal peace.
Plato, indeed, had foreshadowed Aristotle's ideal. "Can we ever be made to believe," he says, "that Motion and life and soul are not present with perfect being? Can we imagine that being is devoid of life and mind, and exists in awful unmeaningness an everlasting fixture? . . . The philosopher can not possibly accept the notion of those who say that the whole is at rest, either as unity or in many forms; and he will be utterly deaf to those who assert universal motion. As children say entreatingly, 'Give us both,' so he will include both the movable and the immovable in his definition of being and all." Starting from this necessity of our nature, Aristotle distinguishes between motion, or change, and true energy or function. The former is the latter in the process of attaining its goal. True energy is active, but it is activity with a purpose, and it transcends the mere idea of change. Energy therefore, in the Aristotelian sense, is marked by eternal achievement of purpose, self-realizing activity. This Aristotelian use of "energy" is highly technical, but it is extremely important in the history of thought. Nor is it irrelevant to Genesis. Indeed, it was a deliberate effort to give real meaning to the word genesis which Plato had used to supplement his idea of being. Genesis is not a mere temporal process; it is the function of purposive activity.
Perhaps we seem to have plunged once more into a world of mere words. How can there be activity without motion? Aristotle would answer that the question springs from our own weakness of spiritual nature. God's energy is perfect, because his strength is equal to a purposeful activity in which there is no defeat. He is infinitely active, and glad in his perfect work. In his work he is at rest. The fulfilment of perfect functioning is easeful and joyful. Work is being done, but the purpose at every point conquers the resistance, and the victory is complete always.
In the divine activity, then, as conceived by Aristotle, time is real, but not ultimately stubborn. God is not utterly timeless, in the sense that he is geometrical; but he transcends time in every pulse of his activity, conquering death by his perfect life. As Doctor Schiller puts it, "Time is the measure of the impermanence of the imperfect, and the perfecting of the time-consciousness would carry us out of Time into Eternity."
Such is Aristotle's ideal of God, and it is no unworthy contribution to our study of Genesis. We do not say that it has been philosophically established to the satisfaction of every thinker, but we say that it shows spiritual insight. What is creation but a symbol of God's righteous purpose, his eternal life, his heaven? In heaven, as Christians strive to conceive it, there is precisely what Aristotle predicates of God -- perfect activity without fatigue, perfect life without decay, perfect rest without sloth.
But the instant comment of every practical mind must be -- heaven is high, we can not attain unto it. That is also the thought of Genesis. God accommodates his perfect rest-in-activity to man. He admits the imperfect, the changing, the impermanent. And he knows that the very conditions of human life make heaven on earth unattainable. Yet in the midst of time there may be a practical symbol of the eternal; there may be the weekly Sabbath, type of heaven. There may be six days of consecrated work, followed by one of consecrated rest. And in this pulsing of the weeks there may be a moving image of eternity. A man can not work and rest at the same time; he is not God. But he can consecrate his work, and from the Sabbath he may renew the eternal life which shall help him to give some sabbatic quality to the work days. Time is itself sacred -- not in the magical sense, not in the polytheistic sense -- but in the sense that it can be consecrated. As the years go by, the pressure of work will increase, until men are strained and worn by even their consecrated labors. Increasingly then there will be the need of the Sabbath.
Yet what will not partisan spirit cry out? It will ask, How do you know that one day in seven is the necessary ratio -- much less any particular day? If the appeal is, to scientific rather than revealed knowledge, we do not know. Attempts have been made to establish the weekly rest day on a scientific basis. There are needs that science can not establish, for science follows upon life, not precedes it. The notion that science can establish spiritual institutions is precisely one of those "perversities of the day," of which Goethe speaks. To it we can oppose only the larger masses of universal history, seen in the light of universal need. People will never understand Sabbathism until they try it, and try it on a high spiritual plane.
The last man who will attempt to understand the ideal of spiritual sabbathism is the scientific man. Yet of all men he needs the Sabbath most. The constant practice of weighing and measuring facts is work of the most exhausting sort. Unquestionably it produces a habit of mind which is unspiritual. The scientist will retort that what we understand as spirituality he understands as mythology, or at best as poetry. We pass the mythological slur, recalling Huxley's words (§8). But when we remember the poetry of the Psalms and the music of Haydn's "Creation", we partly accept the interpretation. And we remind the scientific man of Darwin's confession that if he had his life to live over, he would give attention to poetry and to music. His mind, he said, seemed to have become a machine for the observation of facts and the forming of generalizations. Darwin, always courageous and truthful, said in these words what every weary scientist may well ponder. Poetry and music would have rested Darwin by what is superficially called "change of work." But what a change! They would have unfixed his patient gaze from the machinery of the universe, the never-ceasing wheels of time, and turned it toward the world of spiritual values. Must the scientist eternally describe and never appreciate? Shall the world of love and hope and joy grow more and more unreal to him, more and more a mere "epiphenomenon"? These are real questions, as real as the question of any Sunday law.
§11. Creation and redemption. -- We have found that the conception of God's work and rest, his perfect functioning of personal activity, is by no means a bit of childish mythology, but a clew which was seized upon by Aristotle as the most promising of all philosophical clews. We now inquire a little further as to the nature of God's work and rest.
For there are many phases of the creation problem, and skeptical inquirers, from Job to Jonathan Edwards, have insisted on knowing the relation of creation to redemption. Did God create evil? Could he make man without accepting the blame for man's sin? Is man really free? How could God make matter out of nothing? How can there, indeed, be a first cause of things, when every cause in turn requires explanation? Such are the ancient problems of theology. They are not unimportant. They are not impractical. They are not puzzles of the lecture room and the study. They are the problems confronted and seriously reckoned with by Job, by Isaiah, by Plato, by the Buddha -- by every man possessed of deep feeling. Isaiah actually cuts the gordian knot in one place when he makes Jehovah cry: "I create evil -- I am Jehovah!" And yet the Jehovah of Isaiah hates evil as profoundly as it is possible to hate it.
But these very important antitheses have never been solved except to and by the will. They are solved by doing. There is such a thing as a calculus of the motions of piano-keys in motion, but the little child who plays by ear does not know it, nor indeed does the greatest pianist know it. A nightingale can draw harmony out of the atmosphere; mathematics can not. A spiritual activity then is able to reconcile, for us, the antithesis of these problems. Sometimes that activity must be stern; sometimes the struggle against sin must proceed without the sense of God's perfect joy and rest in labor. But evil can be destroyed through the grace of God and the effort of the forgiven soul. The will can be proved free both by using it and by surrendering it. Even "a first cause" can partly be understood, as we shall presently see.
All these facts are clearly enough suggested in the Bible. They are in the plan of creation and the plan of salvation, and these plans are one. It is a little unfashionable today to speak of the plan of salvation, and indeed the phrase may be abused. Man is not so well acquainted with the plans of God as some theologians have assumed. But that God has a plan of creation and salvation, that he has an eternal and joyful purpose -- to deny this is to adopt the planlessness of eternal energy, and the purposelessness of eternal death.
The spiritual solution of the problems is, we repeat, suggested in many places in the Bible, and illumines the entire Book. The whole history, the whole movement of the Book is a solution. This is what we mean by saying that creation and redemption are inseparable, and that creation centers in Christ. The thought is not new. It has indeed been impaired by the excesses of overzealous -- advocates. Typologists have allegorized about it. They have given the plainest facts occult meaning. Everything is a type of something, and nothing is literally true -- to a certain type of thinker. Christ has been made central by astronomical calculations and decentralized by Gnostic speculation. There has always been this conflict between typology and the historical interpretation of the Bible. But we can not deny the instinct to seek God in history, for he is our supreme need. That instinct is like the self-orientation of the carrier-dove, who seeks her home. "Thou hast made us for thyself," cries Augustine, "and our souls are restless till they rest in thee."
That there is a profound spiritual continuity between the older and the later concepts of God in the Bible is clear enough when we glance at the meaning of certain words. The word Jeshua, for example, means, Jehovah is salvation; and Jesus is the same word as Jeshua. When, therefore, in Isaiah, Jehovah says, "I am thy saviour and thy redeemer," he is almost literally saying, "My name is Jesus the redeemer." We may give Isaiah's words whatever qualification a sound historical criticism may prescribe. But the flashing spiritual continuity of those two ideals, Jehovah and Jesus, is absolutely unmistakable. Jehovah the creator is spiritually one with Jesus the redeemer. Theological and historical questions arise, but there can be no question as to the nature of the spiritual hunger which was answered by both conceptions.
The account of creation is followed by the story of the fall. Yet there is continuity of creation. We may prefer to call it recreation, but the terms are spiritually inseparable. When the psalmist cries, "Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me," there is no logical hairsplitting. The psalm is a prayer for help; and men in need of help do not quibble about words. The psalmist, who cries from out the depths, may indifferently be regarded as sunk in despair, or unransomed from the power of evil, or unredeemed, or unavenged upon his adversary, or sick for healing, or in need of creation, or in need of re-creation. Jehovah meets the stubbornness of Israel with positive assurance that his creative power goes on: "I have showed thee new things from this time.... They are created now, and not from of old." In any typical chapter of scripture we shall find a variety of figures for the same underlying need. Again in Isaiah Jehovah cries, "I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made. . . . Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen. . . . I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour." Here is a particular historical situation, and it is met by a variety of appeal which is passionate with love and warning. Father, creator, maker, he who demands living witnesses before the nations, the master of the servant, the only saviour -- six images of one spiritual fact -- six phrases of one spiritual language.
When we come to the New Testament thinkers the typology becomes extremely rich. The continuity of creation is tremendously asserted by John, who identifies the Christ with the creative word of God. Paul, trained in rabbinical schools, has an elaborate and powerful study of the first and the second Adam. The author of Hebrews sees the priesthood as a shadow of Christ. The evangelists find in Christ the fulfillment of every Messianic prophecy. The passages are too familiar to require quotation, but they all bear witness to the inseparable nature of creation and redemption. It is a process which will not end till death is swallowed up in victory.
Such in the barest outline with many phases untouched is the biblical network of symbolism by which God's eternal life is related to man's imperfection, sin and death. It is not to be treated as a system of magical knowledge, but as a revelation suited to our very simple and very poignant spiritual needs. It must form the background against which all scientific efforts to explain the world are to be viewed. It is woven with the colors of life. It is rich with all the varieties of normal religious experience. Any philosophy which offers a systematic view of the world must compete with it in richness, variety and reality. The scene must be largely handled. The food must satisfy the great hunger of the soul.
Against such a background, then, appear the various technical problems of creationism. When we are told that creation does not explain, we are told that God does not explain; that redemption does not explain; that all the intricate network of religious imagination is an illusion, that it is a mere rainbow. But the Christian remembers that the rainbow means eternal hope, and that it stands unmoved above the roaring cataract of time.
A first cause is intellectually an inscrutable puzzle. Any child, being told that God made all things, may inquire, But who made God? There never was a clever child who did not experience that doubt, and there never was one who could permanently retain it. Every philosopher has denied the possibility of dogmatizing about, a first cause, and every philosopher has ended by dogmatizing about it. Spencer's case is well known, and typical. The section on the Unknowable, in his First Principles, is at bottom, in spite of his struggling protestations, both intensely religious and intensely dogmatic. That it was religious he admitted. That it was dogmatic has repeatedly been shown. He says: "Every one has heard of the king who wished he had been present at the creation of the world that he might have given good advice. He was humble, however, compared with those who profess to understand not only the relation of the creating to the created, but also how the creating is constituted. And yet this transcendent audacity which claims to penetrate the secrets of the power manifested to us through all existence -- nay, even to stand behind that power and note the conditions to its action -- this it is which passes current as piety! May we not without hesitation affirm that a sincere recognition of the truth that our own and all other existence is a mystery absolutely and forever beyond our comprehension contains more of true religion than all the dogmatic theology ever written?"
But affirming things without hesitation is precisely the essence of dogmatism; and we may mildly raise the question whether the agnostic Spencer was not the very prince of dogmatizers. May we perhaps reverse his statement? May we not say that positively to affirm the absolute unknowableness of our own existence is to say what contains more dogmatic theology than all the dogmatic theology ever written? Religion is childlike, sometimes credulous. But for credulous innocence it can not compete with Spencer. He wrote against the credulity of religion, and abandoned his case with the first chapter heading.
In a memorable passage Aristotle analyzes the word "cause," and points out that there is a system of causes. There are the material cause, the formal cause, the efficient or changing cause, and the final cause. The first is the stuff out of which something is made. The second is the form by which it is made. The third is the efficient method by which form is applied to matter, and one form is changed into another. The fourth is the cause for which; it is the end or aim, the purpose which all the preceding causes serve.
At once the words of the Christ come to mind: "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world." Here end and cause have the same meaning. The purpose is the cause. The purpose not merely crowns the work, it caused it. The end made the beginning.
I suppose it would be admitted by even a hardened naturalist that men have sometimes been reformed through the love of Christ. The hardened naturalist would have his own way of "explaining" the fact, and would have a poor opinion of the convert's intellect. But the fact of reformation would remain. What drugs had failed to do to accomplish the reformation of the drunkard, the love of Christ has done. Will our psychology enable us to inspect the method of the change? First, there has been actual formation of new physical tissue that is quite certain. Second, society has received a new species, a new social creation. The man was a lost soul, a sick body; he has got salvation, and the man is literally a new creature.
If these facts do not give a clew as to the method of creation, then the situation is hopeless. But they do give a clew, and philosophy is blind if she does not accept it. Grant that a first cause is an inscrutable mystery to the intellect. Then we must turn to final, to spiritual causes. Can philosophy utterly neglect that tremendous fact of spiritual history -- the fact that Christians see in Christ their creator? Although Genesis does not say whether creation was out of stuff or out of nothing, the Christian knows what creation by fiat is; he was nothing and less than nothing, but his Saviour has made him something.
"Oh, then," says the critic, "salvation is entirely the work of God. Then man is after all a mere machine. He has no freedom." It is an ancient problem, and the contention of absolute predestination was that to which Jonathan Edwards devoted a stern life. But science goes on even though Zeno of Elea demonstrated motion to be impossible, and religion lives in spite of literal logic. Have we not seen a sufficient reason for treasuring Gen. ii? Jehovah breathed into man his own life, and man became in some sense a creator also. A man can not make himself, but in the words of Leviticus he can make himself abominable. If there is one spiritual fact clearer than another in the Bible, it is that man is only too free to act. Adam exercised that freedom, with what results we know.
The causation, then, which we know in the spiritual world is such causation as comes by the influence of the Holy Spirit on the human spirit. There is a mystery here, but so there is in the most elementary psychology of social relations. When George Eliot says that spirit is drawn to spirit as flame to flame, we do not quarrel with the metaphor, but thank God for the creative influence of those who have made us nobler. When Newman says that "voices melt us," he is not asserting a proposition in physics, but a blessed spiritual reality. When the prophets thunder to us, "Thus saith the Lord!" it is still with love that they speak. Through the thunder comes the voice of our Lord. As the Magdalene knew him not until he spoke, but trembled into new life when he spoke her sweet and homely name, "Mary," so every redeemed soul knows the persuasiveness of the divine word. How could the world be created out of nothing by the voice of God? We answer, How can the spoken wish of a mother make a new man out of a prodigal? Stronger than the energy of light, which silently creates the flower from the seed, is the creative influence of God's wish for us.
Aristotle thought that the Good created the animals, even though "good" and "animals" are entirely disparate conceptions. Science has been puzzled to know how the animal could become the man. Is there no hint in our spiritual experience? Are there not the tiger and the ape within us all? And is not the love of God drawing us slowly away from the animal nature? To become a man, in the ideal sense of the word, is the whole of our upward effort. To become like the Man of Nazareth is to be spiritually made. To this end the whole creation groaneth and travaileth even until now.
"But all this," says our stubborn critic, "is the merest poetry. What we want is cold demonstration." Well, there is too much cold demonstration of spiritual matters, but let that pass. Idealistic philosophy attempts such demonstration. It marshals the laws of epistemology, and attempts to show that what we call matter is a spiritual construct; that even what we call "the brain" is such. It marshals the severest mathematics to the defense of this position, and the reader who objects to poetry will find very little of it in Royce's Supplementary Essay to his "The World and the Individual." Let the scorner of "poetry" seek there for system. Possibly he will discover that there is a good deal of “poetry” hidden behind the severest system; that mathematics can demonstrate nothing which spiritual insight has not perceived. Royce's idealism might almost be described as a systematic defence of the words of Cleanthes quoted by Paul: "In him we live and move and have our being." If this seems to the young theologian pantheistic, let him supplement Royce with Howison. Professor Howison's "Limits of Evolution" contains an eloquent defense of final causes, a bitter attack on every other form of creationism, and the final thesis that reality is a society of eternally free spirits, among whom God reigns solely by light and not by power. This conception may raise another line of difficulties, and may even suggest that mythical race of creators who once lived on this continent. But Professor Howison's discussion is penetrating and suggestive, and a study of it may introduce the reader into the entire maze of modern speculation -- provided he is not already acquainted with that maze. As for ourselves, however, we shall not follow the philosophical problem farther. It is enough to perceive the spiritual clew which must be followed. It is enough if we can grasp, in action as in thought, the ideal of God's creative power as revealed in Christ.
A satisfactory philosophy can never be formulated until the general level of thought is higher, and the reality of spiritual activity is better understood, through experience. At present, spiritual activity must seem like a desperate struggle with nature and the flesh. Aristotle's ideal was of motionless energy, the perfection of activity accompanied by perfection of ease. That will always seem a vague abstraction until men know what Christ meant when he said, "My yoke is easy." Men will scorn the idea of God's resting while he works, but they must learn from him who said, "My Father worketh and I work. . . . Come unto me and I will give you rest." In spite of the fact that physics no longer recognizes matter as substance, but only as energy -- so that every solid is produced by, is filled with, etherial motion -- men will have to think of matter as stubborn until they know what it is for flesh to be transformed through the spirit. Evil is a stubborn fact, and its origin can not be explained to the intellect; but evil can be rooted out or transformed into good through regeneration of soul and desperate practical effort; the "final" cause can destroy the evil which no "first" cause can explain. As Munsterberg has said: "To believe in God the creator is so to conceive the world that an ulterior power removes the opposition between the natural and the ethical order. No scientific explanation can make this unity comprehensible; only he who has religious conviction is personally certain of this unity through God."
§12. The root of authority. -- Up to this time we have not used the word "authority." For Christians, Christ is the root of authority; the fruits of the spirit explain the root of authority.
The antithesis between religions of authority and the religion of the spirit has been made familiar by Sabatier's book on the subject. Yet the antithesis is not to be taken as absolute. A religion is a religion of authority in the precise degree that it is a religion of the spirit. The proposition is obvious enough, yet it will not go unchallenged. A definition of "the spirit" will be insisted on.
We have seen the difficulties of defining this word, and must rest content under the charge of harboring an "ineffable philosophy." But the charge is not grievous. All postulates of thought are in some sense ineffable. All definitions of spirit are inadequate, because the whole creation is moving toward a definition of it, and the definition comes through the experience of struggle, of forgiveness, and of new activity. If our Lord was content to define the kingdom as a pearl, as a dragnet, as cash in the bank, as a lost coin, as a marriage feast -- shall we be too hasty to confine the word "spirit" in a formula?
But our critics insist on preventing evasion. They flatly inquire, "Do you mean, by spirit, reason? Do you set reason against authority?" If we answer yes, they will declare that our faith in scripture must fall. If we answer no, they will ask what becomes of our spiritual philosophy. Such is the dilemma -- based, like most dilemmas, on the ambiguity of words.
We answer, Yes. We say that reason is the root of religious authority. If we agree to be governed by the ten words, it is for a reason. But for what reason? Is it for that "reasoning," that free play of spectacular thought -- and fancy -- which Plato called the logos, the word, the reason? Far from it. We have seen too much of the effects of that sort of reason. It was the parent of mythology, of naturalism and of agnosticism. If we accept the ten words, it is for that reason which John identified with love. That is the voice of Christ in the heart, and is the creative authority lying back of all spiritual institutions. The love which is the end of the law is the love which led the law into existence. The divine last word toward which creation struggles is the creative word spoken from the beginning. The ten words of Mt. Sinai have the same authority as the Sermon on the Mount. But our critic, fearing whither such an answer may lead, exclaims impatiently: "This is a pure mysticism, and a perverse mysticism at that. It is impossible to reason with a person who takes refuge in such a position. It brings confusion to systematic thinking, and ruins dogma." No. The true prolegomena to any systematic theology must show a firm grasp of the limits of dogmatic thought. Intellectual confusion is the result, not of mysticism in theology, but of literalism. There is a stern rebuke in store for the thinker or the nation who severs authority from reason, law from grace, commandment from spiritual suggestion, reason from love. To the individual, God sends that rebuke in the form of intellectual despair. To nations he sends it in the form of blood and tears. When a nation takes up the sword of absolute external authority or of absolute internal liberty, it perishes by the sword.
§13. The Sabbathism of the Psalms. -- The Christian Church has always had to turn to the Hebrew Psalms for songs that are profoundly spiritual. The Psalms are, for us, of unequal value, but the best of them remain the high-water mark of lyrical power. They are the songs of sorrow and of joy, of work and rest, of struggle and peace, of sin and salvation. They were very dear to the heart of our Lord, and they had entered into his whole habit of speech; when the darkness of death overcame him, almost his last words were from the Psalms.
Here is the law of love, and here is love of the law. This book shows how deeply the ten words had rooted themselves in the Hebrew heart, and had cast out all fear of the law. Ruskin tells us how as a child he hated the psalm of the law -- Psalm cxix -- but how as a man he came to value it above all others. Such had been the history of Israel. Such is the history of every earnest soul which is seeking for a spiritual solution of the problem of authority. Hatred of restraint, desire for one's own will, a longing after forbidden knowledge -- these are the sources of the problem of authority.
These songs were designed for use on the Sabbath of Jehovah, and on it they were sung, hallowing the day and being hallowed by it. They brought the eternal into time and made the passing hour representative of heaven. They made the Sabbath "a delight."
Israel had forsaken idols. He had learned so to use time as to feel the presence of God in it. The Sabbath itself could not be worshiped, for it was a passing image of eternity. It was nothing in itself. Try to arrest it in thought, and it led you straight to an eternal divine "now." If you personify it (as the mujik in Russia thinks Sunday a person), it will say merely this: "I am nothing -- look to the Eternal; every picture that you can frame of God is temporal, and must pass. But the creator is even now in time, consecrating time. He rested after creation, he rests in heaven, he is resting now -- rest in his strength. Tomorrow the labor of time begins anew -- learn now how to consecrate it. In the busy struggle of the week the law will not help you save as it has passed into your very soul by sabbatic study of it. Meditate upon the law, that it may guide your steps unseen. Jehovah is thy salvation, his plan will triumph. His creation shall be finished and Messiah shall come. God's will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. Strife and reproach shall have a sabbath [such is the word which we translate 'desist']. And there remaineth a Sabbath-rest for the people of God."
The temple is overthrown, and the burnt-offering is no more. The ruins of ancient Judaism are a distant haze on the horizon of history. But Judaism lives on. The spiritual element in it has defied time, and the Sabbath is still a delight to the faithful. It has proved to the heart of the faithful that it is hallowed but is no idol; for it is self-sacrificial; it sacrifices itself at every minute, and refuses to be worshiped. It is no idol; it is divine opportunity.
In the Jewish prayer-book today certain psalms are suggested for the Sabbath. In this group, Psalms. xcv-xcix, one may count thirty names for God. They are many, because the Eternal can not be confined in any one human word, or in any number. And many of them are sweet and homely. God is our shepherd as well as our king. He is our maker, our saviour, our light, the answerer of our prayers, the forgiver of sins, the giver of strength and peace. These are simple words, but they are weighty. These are not abstractions. There is here no speculation, no astrology, no magic. The Sabbath has taught its lesson -- that God is a spirit, and that there is no fathoming his nature by the intellect and no controlling of it by magic. Yet spirit can touch spirit, and to great issues. This is Immanuel, God with us. This is the secret of rest.
§14. The Pharisees. -- In the course of time, Greece became the overlord of Judea, and Antiochus Epiphanes endeavored to crush the religion of Jehovah. He was defeated by the Maccabean uprising. But there was an "Israel after the flesh" which favored Greece. There was a Hellenizing party which bowed to Antiochus, the madman who called himself a revealed god. Many of Israel consented to his worship, and sacrificed to idols, and profaned the Sabbath (1 Mac. i, 43). In opposition to the Hellenizers arose the Hasidean party, who were so devoted to the law that they would not defend themselves on the Sabbath from the Greek invaders. In the course of time the Hellenizers and the Hasideans became the Sadducees and the Pharisees. At first these were political parties.
The Pharisees did not intend this, except negatively. Their doctrine was that Israel must not meddle with politics or aspire to political power, but must remain a nation apart. The nation was now a church, and Jehovah would protect it. Israel should acknowledge no king but God. If Israel was conquered, let the curse be upon the conquerors. The Messiah would come and put all nations under his feet. Let Israel keep the law and wait patiently for the Lord. When, however, the Maccabeans came to act no longer like priests but like princes, the Pharisees were drawn into internal politics. They nobly resisted the brutal Alexander Jannaeus (105 -- 78 B.C.) and eight hundred of them met martyrdom. Their love of the law was sealed with blood.
Under Rome neither Pharisee nor Sadducee had any political power, and the distinction became a religious distinction. The Sadducees admitted the authority of the law, but they denied that it needed rabbinical supplements. Also they denied the immortality of the soul. They were naturally men of affairs, and they became the secular or positivistic party in Judaism. The Pharisees insisted that the law needed explanation, and that the scribal comments should be in some sense binding on the faithful. Also they insisted on the immortality of the soul, and the Messianic kingdom. In general, the people followed the Pharisees, in whom they perceived a deeper faith than that of the Sadducees.
But now the Pharisee, driven from all practical life, began to be a fanatic. His original gifts were gifts of the spirit -- the truth that the King of kings is invisible, and the truth that the future is in the hands of God. His original aim was to hasten the coming of a spiritual kingdom upon earth. But essentially he had forgotten this aim. And, as a recent writer remarks, "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your energy when you have forgotten your aim." The Pharisee came to worship the letter. He worshiped not merely the letter of the law, but that of the rabbis.
In the case of the Sabbath his zeal was peculiarly misdirected. The Pharisee loved the Sabbath, and his fathers had died for it. But he did not see that in multiplying sabbatic restrictions he was making a fetish of it, and returning to the primitive standards of taboo. He wished to be blameless before God, and his method was literalism. But literalism is the confusion of physical and spiritual fact, and is the very essence of idolatry. In his ignorance he could not see this, but he continued to act with vigor. "There is nothing more terrible," said Doctor Johnson, "than ignorance in action."
In the rabbinical comments on the law, a hundred and fifty double folio pages are devoted to the Sabbath. We shall not here reproduce these pages, though the enormous bulk of them must not be forgotten. A hundred and fifty pages of taboo! On the Sabbath the Jew must do no work! But how shall we know what work is? The rabbis tell us. There are thirty-nine kinds of work, and each of these may be endlessly divided. Sowing, plowing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, sifting, grinding, riddling, kneading, baking, shearing wool, whitening, carding, dyeing, spinning, warping, making two spools, weaving two threads, hoisting, loosing, sewing two stitches, tearing thread for two sewings, hunting the gazelle, slaughtering, skinning, salting, curing its skin, tanning, cutting up, writing two letters, erasing to write two letters, building, demolishing, quenching, kindling, hammering, carrying from private to public property. Lo, these are the principal works -- forty less one.
Such are the thirty-nine articles of Pharisaic taboo. A word or two must be said about the innumerable subdivisions of things prohibited and permitted. A man who stood outside a house and handed something in was a Sabbath-breaker, but he who received it within was blameless. But if a man reached his hand into the house, and the householder placed a gift therein, the man might withdraw his hand and be blameless. A tailor might not carry his needle on the Sabbath, nor a scribe his pen. Rabbi Shammai said that wool set for dyeing on sixth-day must not be allowed to absorb dye-stuff on the Sabbath; but Rabbi Hillel disagreed with him on this point and others like it. We must confess to a certain admiration for Shammai; if a man must absolutely and utterly desist from "work," why should he not insist on the correct behavior of the wool he had put in the dye-tub? Logic is a terrible idol, but if we are to throw ourselves before this Juggernaut, why offer merely a foot to be crushed? It is hardly remarkable that King Jannaeus warned his wife against the "dyed Pharisees" (Tzevoim).
The anxiety of a strict Pharisaic household to observe the Sabbath must have been pathetic. An egg must not be placed near a boiler, lest accidentally it be cooked; it must not be left on hot sand, lest the same disaster follow. A hundred similar household duties left little time for mothers in Israel to rest, and to meditate on the joyous Psalms of David. Dressing for church was a very serious matter to the Pharisee. A man might wear garters on the Sabbath, but no anklets. He must not wear nailed soles -- for to carry nails is to carry burdens! Burdens! as if this dead body of taboo were not almost as heavy as that sinful "body of this death," concerning which Paul speaks with a groan.
§15. The Christ. -- Our Lord felt the pathos of the Pharisaic religion. "Oh, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them, how often would I have gathered thee as a hen gathers her chickens under her wing, and thou wouldst not."
But pity did not dull the edge of his courage. In him was that, “moral substitute for war" of which we have several times spoken. Repeatedly he broke the Pharisaic Sabbath. An outcry arose. What authority had he? What rabbi had permitted this? He spoke as one having authority, and furthermore he appealed to their reason. This Pharisaic Sabbath observance was new; the Hebraic Sabbath, he said, was not always thus. It was lawful to do good on the Sabbath. The priests in the temple "labored" on the Sabbath and were blameless. His disciples had plucked, rubbed, and eaten grain on the Sabbath as they walked through the fields. They had violated the rabbinical interpretation of reaping and grinding. But David ate the sacred bread itself.
He healed men on the Sabbath. The rabbis had permitted such healing "when life was in danger," but being puzzled to know just when life is in danger, they preferred to risk an occasional death rather than risk the Sabbath. He who suffers pain in the loins may anoint himself with oil, but not with vinegar! He who has inflamed eyes may not apply saliva, though saliva is curative. Then came our Lord and made clay -- thus breaking a sacred prescription -- and anointed the eyes of the blind. He told the palsied man to rise and -- carry a burden! The sick flocked to him. When they did not dare come on the Sabbath, they came after sundown.
He had his own definition of "work" as applied to the Sabbath, and preferred it to the thirty-nine articles of Phariseeism. "My father worketh hitherto, and I work." He approved the kind of "work" that men do when they go to church and worship in spirit; and the Sabbath found him in the synagogue. "The Sabbath was made for man," he said, "and not man for the Sabbath." It was as if he explicitly advised the keeping of the command in Ex. xxiii, 12, where the motive is love for men. We have no record of any direct comment upon the "rest" of God, but we have his own invitation: "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The palsied man, looking back to his own Sabbath with the Lord, could know what that meant. For the first time in years, the Sabbath had brought him rest. Trembling hands and trembling soul had alike felt the peace of the Eternal.
Such was the Sabbathism of our Lord. But he had no thought that his Sabbathism was opposed to Judaism. He expressly declared that it was not. Pharisaic taboo "was not from the beginning."
Once, in discussing the Sabbath with the scribes, he had referred to David's eating the sacred bread. As his own martyrdom drew near, his mind seemed to revert to this act. And now he permitted himself one solemn request, one personal favor. At the last supper he said, "This is my body -- eat ye all of it; do this in remembrance of me."
And so he left them, hoping that they had learned how to keep the ten words in spirit and in truth. His new command of love was only that of Deuteronomy. His face was toward the future; he had left the dead to bury the dead, but he had not buried the quick with the dead. The law was to be fulfilled in love and in reasonableness. The week was passing, and his temporal work was nearly done. A last struggle, a last sacrifice, and he paid his debt to time. He passed -- not with some new strange word upon his lips, but with a word from the Psalms.
He passed almost as obscurely as he had come. At his birth he had shared the lot of the wayfarer; at his death, that of the criminal. He had tasted the full pathos of time -- its mocking fleetness, its uncertainty, its power to destroy memory and divide friends, its whole train of change and decay. But he had done more. In this supreme historical figure of all generations, the Eternal had visibly entered into time, offering to his brethren the paradox of eternal life here and now. He had shown how through repentance, forgiveness, regeneration, consecration, spiritual effort and struggle -- time could be lifted into eternity. To even the best Greek and Hindu thought, the individual had been little more than a transient bubble on the stream of nature's endless process. But the Redeemer changed the status of the individual. In return for truly sincere repentance, faith, and spiritual effort -- he gave the humblest man, woman, or child a dignity above that of kings; the power of spiritual conquest; the assurance of value, responsibility, and immortal peace.
When we speak of the condition of the dead, we must speak without pretense of either scientific or magical knowledge, and without a blind adherence to any one spiritual figure of speech. We know that Lazarus "slept." We know that our Lord said to the thief, "This day shalt thou be with me in paradise." We know that he said, "He that believeth on me hath eternal life." Such contradictory words are not literal but symbolic. To the materialist, they symbolize the utter destruction of consciousness, but to the Christian they must symbolize the conservation of the spirit. Speaking in figurative language, may we not say that Our Elder Brother went home? Speaking figuratively, and with full awareness of the fact, may we not say that he rested in his Father’s house, whence, in the hush of the Sabbath, he returned to assure his disciples that the sabbatic rest which we call death is but the perfection of life?
The doctrine that Christ arose on Sunday can not be maintained, as may be seen in our notes, without direct contradiction of one of the narratives. It is entirely within the bounds of a sound scholarship to maintain that the resurrection took place on the Sabbath.
But even here the spirit of literalism must not blind us. Let us not gnosticize or pretend to know the secrets of the risen Christ. It is the Christ of time, of life on earth, the Christ who lived the eternal life among men, whose example should mold our conduct in time. There is no phase of the resurrection truth which was not already implicit in the Sabbath. Resurrection is but the release from the flesh into the fullness of the Sabbath-rest which begins on earth. It marks the fleeting moment in which sabbatic activity becomes the sabbathism, or "sabbatismos", of which the author of Hebrews speaks. It is the perfect and joyful activity which brings new creation of spirit week by week and will not cease to be creation throughout eternity.
In speaking of the resurrection, we may, if we choose, speak of the change of the dead body to the glorified body. In so speaking we but follow the method of Paul. But Paul's method is far less gross than it has sometimes been thought to be. More and more the thought of resurrection must become ideal. We can not accept a "material" resurrection of the flesh. In an age when science daily employs the conception of the luminiferous ether, that ideal entity which, though of perfect "solidity," transcends "substance," it is impossible but that our conception of the resurrection should be etherialized till it becomes a true, spiritual conception. With the increasing idealization of the resurrection, men will place less and less emphasis on the question as to the exact "time" of that eternal reality, and more and more emphasis on the spiritual adjustment between labor and rest.
NO-SABBATHISM AND THE SUNDAY
§16. The resurrection of the sun. -- Jehovah triumphed over the Baalim in Palestine, and made that corner of the earth our Holy Land. Our Lord revealed the Father who makes his sun to shine upon the evil and the good. The religion of the spirit, homely and human but lofty and pure, had triumphed over the licentious religions of nature. The first missionaries of the Gospel, reared in that purified corner of the earth, could little appreciate that, far and wide around the globe, scores of Baalim still confronted Jehovah. Baal means Lord. Their Lord the Sun was to struggle with our Lord Jesus Christ.
But the first step of the missionaries into the Gentile world revealed the fact. "The common people heard them gladly," but the common people were mostly believers in the resurrection of the sun, and worshiped the earthmother. Some Baal and some Astarte were everywhere. For centuries it was doubtless the first task of missionaries to warn the common people against confounding the dying and the risen Christ with the dying and the risen sun; against identifying Jesus with Tammuz, or Attis, or Elgabal, or Osiris, or Anubis, or Apollo, or Adonis, or Mithra, or Aesculapius, or Balder, or the Celtic Baal. And it was equally their task to warn against giving to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the characteristics of Aphrodite, or Anahita, or Dea Syria, or the Great Mother, or Cybele, or Isis, or Freya. Sometimes they succeeded in their warnings; often they failed.
In distant regions, like Pontus, a certain "Gospel" probably spread more by force of paganism than by force of missionary effort. Pontus was, in some materialistic sense, almost "Christianized" by 112, and without much missionary effort. And Pontus was the seat of Anahita, mother of fertility, where the Sacaean drama of the sun's resurrection was played, a mock king of the revels was put to death, and all the abominations of sex-worship flourished.
"We have seen," says Frazer, "that the conception of the dying and risen God was no new one in these regions [Bithynia and Pontus]. From time immemorial the mournful death and happy resurrection of a divine being appear to have been annually celebrated with alternate rites of bitter lamentation and exultant joy; and through the veil which mystic fancy has woven round this tragic figure we can still detect the features of those great yearly changes in earth and sky which, under all distinctions of race and religion, must always touch the natural human heart with alternate emotions of gladness and regret, because they exhibit on the vastest scale open to our observation the mysterious struggle between life and death. But man has not always been willing to watch passively this momentous conflict; . . . he has taken sides against the forces of death and decay. . . . Nowhere do these efforts, vain and pitiful and pathetic, appear to have been made more persistently and systematically than in Western Asia. . . . A man, whom the fond imagination of his worshipers invested with the attributes of a God, gave his life for the life of the world; after infusing from his own body a fresh current of vital energy into the stagnant veins of nature, he was cut off from the living before his failing strength should initiate a universal decay, and his place was taken by another who played, like his predecessors, the ever-recurring drama of the divine resurrection and death. . . . The blow struck in Golgotha set a thousand expectant strings vibrating wherever men had heard the old, old story of the dying and risen god.”
The enormous mass of facts marshaled by Frazer and other anthropologists to support the foregoing statement may be read in the second or third edition of "The Golden Bough." They produce in Doctor Frazer an ill-concealed belief that the resurrection of Christ is itself a myth. "In the great army of martyrs," he continues, "who in many ages and in many lands, not in Asia only, have died a cruel death in the character of gods, the devout Christian will doubtless discern types and forerunners of the coming Saviour -- stars that heralded in the morning sky the advent of the Sun of Righteousness -- earthen vessels wherein it pleased the divine wisdom to set before hungering souls the bread of heaven. The sceptic, on the other hand, with equal confidence, will reduce Jesus of Nazareth to the level of a multitude of other victims of a barbarous superstition, and will see in him no more than a moral teacher, whom the fortunate accident of his execution invested with the crown, not merely of a martyr, but of a god. The divergence between these views is wide and deep."
It is indeed. As for ourselves, we have already indicated, in our first chapter, how sincerely and devoutly we accept the Christian's belief that the bread of heaven was set before hungering souls in earthen vessels. But in behalf of the Christ whose Bible was the Old Testament, and who gave us the religion of the spirit and not the religion of Baal, we are forced to admit the enormous probability that his resurrection was received in solar terms by thousands of the first converts. We know almost positively that Mariolatry is due to solar worship. We know almost positively that the church fixed December 25 as Christ's birthday because the common people insisted on keeping the Birthday of the Sun -- namely the days immediately following the winter solstice, when the sun begins to grow brighter. We know positively that Easter is of solar origin. And there are strong reasons for believing that Sunday itself came into Christianity as a compromise with solar-worship.
Space forbids us to speak of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, of Adonis, of Attis, of Osiris. The prophet Ezekiel is sufficient authority for the power of the first-named to corrupt Israel. The others may be studied in Frazer's book, "Adonis, Attis, and Osiris." But we may add here a word concerning Apollo, Aesculapius, and two Antichrists.
Apollo was a reformer -- he conquered the giant sun-god Hyperion, type of primitive solar worship. His religion in Greece attained a high degree of nobility. He was the god of the light of reason, and to him music, sculpture, and medicine were sacred. To his temple and that of his son, the physician Asklepios, thousands flocked for healing without drugs; and indeed faith and sunlight without drugs are a better remedy than drugs without faith or sunlight. In the second century at Rome the cult of Aesculapius had great power. Salvation from disease became the great cry of religion. "No one, says Harnack, "could any longer be a God who was not also a Saviour." (The Greek word for “saviour” is the same as that for "healer".) The struggle between Aesculapius the physician and Jesus the physician became intense. The discussion between Celsus and the Christians shows this. Witnesses of cures could be summoned by both sides. Though Origen asserted that Aesculapius was a figment of the imagination, Celsus had asserted that "many Greeks and barbarians" had personally seen him going about and making cures. Now Aesculapius was a sun-god.
Apollo's namesake, Apollonius of Tyana, attained in Asia and in Rome a tremendous reputation for healing, and after his death a temple was erected to him. He had studied the cures wrought in the temples of Aesculapius. He came to Rome, a distinguished figure, beautiful as a god, and was taken for a god. There is a tradition of his having raised to life a Roman girl who was "seemingly dead." Here was a second solar physician disputing the claims of Christ.
Still another was Alexander of Abonoteichos, a Paphlagonian. He began his career of magic in company with a physician trained by Apollonius. With him he carried a tame serpent -- the serpent is always associated with Apollo, Aesculapius, and all oriental sun-gods, being both the sign of the sun's tortuous course through the ecliptic, and a sign of the generative power of sunlight. Even before he reached Abonoteichos a temple was prepared for him. He established an oracle, and this became so famous that he drew an annual revenue of $35,000. From the mysteries which he established he excluded all Christians. He maintained his imposture throughout life, and coins of Ionopolis (the new name he gave the city) bear the device of the serpent with a human head. Such were the Asian Antichrists, all of them sun-magicians, who "deceived many."
The crowning shame of Rome was her admission of a priest of the Sun to the position of Emperor. Elgabal of Syria, a phallic sun-god, contributed Elagabalus the Emperor, and in 217 all gods were proclaimed servants of the Sun. The unnaturally and hideously immoral life of Elagabalus was brought to a violent close by the soldiers of the imperial guard.
§17. The Sunday of Mithra. -- Long before Christ was born, the weekly Sunday was celebrated by thousands of pagans, and it was celebrated by their children, converted or unconverted, throughout the first four centuries of Christendom. This statement is not one of those rash generalizations which have so often been made by the enemies of Christianity, who write reckless books about the “sixteen crucified saviours," etc. It rests on the recent thorough and accurate investigations of Franz Cumont, the distinguished Belgian scholar, whose monumental labors have now been critically inspected by the world's archaeologists for twelve years. The statement with which this section begins will hardly be disputed by any eminent critic of Cumont.
Asia Minor was the chief seat of that ancient Persian religion, Mithraism, in the two centuries just before Christ. Mithra-Anahita, sun-god and fertility-goddess, were worshiped in those regions where Christianity spread most rapidly in the first century. "Here paganism was absorbed," says Harnack; "there were no fierce struggles. Paganism simply disappeared to emerge again in the Christian Church." While Syria was holding out against the new religion, and Christians were forced to build outside the Syrian city of the Sun, Emesa, Christianity of a certain sort spread in Pontus like the explosion of gunpowder. And why not? Peter and Paul and Silas had not been able to penetrate into those regions, to warn the people against mistaking the Sun of Righteousness for the sun of victory and fertility. Even in those regions to which missionaries penetrated, "Should we be astonished," says Cumont, "if the multitudes of devotees failed always to observe the subtle distinctions of the doctors, and rendered to the radiant star of day the homage which orthodoxy reserved for God? In the fifth century, not only heretics but even faithful followers were still wont to bow their heads towards its dazzling disc as it rose above the horizon, and to murmur the prayer, 'Have mercy upon us.' " If that was true in the fifth century in Rome, what must have been true of the first century in Pontus?
There were two types of Mithraism, one more faithful to its ancient Persian origin, one more corrupted by sex-worship. We do not know which type was introduced to Rome by the captured Cilician pirates whom Pompey brought with him seventy years before Christ. But it was the Persian type which captured Roman soldiers stationed in the East, and which flashed throughout the Empire in the first century, from the Black Sea to Scotland, and left its memorials in Geneva (later the city of Calvin) and in London (later the city, of Henry VIII). This Persian type was the religion of military unrest; the Baal type was the religion of a worse unrest. Sunday was common to both types. It was Mithraism that gave to Rome the astronomical week, which Mithraism had derived from the Babylonian astrologers, and which displaced the ancient Roman system of kalends, nones, and ides, not merely in the city, but in those northern military provinces from which we derive our own Teutonic ancestry.
There were two reasons why Mithraism conquered Rome, being established by Trajan in 100, and by the brutal Commodus (an initiate) about 190. One was that the worship of the earth-mother, Cybele, had been established in Rome two centuries before Christ, and Mithraism completed that cult. The other was that it flattered the Emperors, and fooled them to the top of their bent. It gave them to believe that the planets rule men's destinies, that the chief planet, the sun, rules the destiny of the Emperor, and that due veneration paid to the sun would insure good fortune, stability, and victory to Caesar. In Egypt and in Asia the Roman Emperor was quite willing to be worshiped as the sun-god, and was so worshiped. The Latin mind was less compliant, but the Caesars would set no obstacle in the way of a cult which made for the greatness of Caesar.
There were two reasons why Mithraism perished in Rome. First, it came to emphasize the military virtues exclusively; it admitted no woman to a share in the religious secrets of her husband. A woman must go to the temple of Cybele, while her husband prayed in the underground chapel of the Unconquered God for the virtues of courage and sternness. Secondly, it had no Incarnate God. It lacked the essential historical element. It had no continuity with the one truly spiritual religion of antiquity. It was in time destroyed by its rival, Christianity, and its priests were massacred by Christian hands. But for a time its fate seemed to hang in the balance. It seemed doubtful whether Aurelian would not actually make the world Mithraic. The deadly struggle between Mithra and Christ was inevitable. As Cumont says: "The worship of the Sun was the logical upshot of Paganism." As Renan says: "Before religion reached the point where it proclaimed that God should be sought in the Absolute and the Ideal, that is to say, outside the world, only one cult was reasonable and scientific, and that was the cult of the Sun." The cults of the two religions had so much in common that the good Justin thought Mithraism a Satanic invention, quite as the Jesuits thought the Aztec "eucharist" such. Both had a Mediator, a Redeemer, a Trinity, an Adoration of Shepherds, a Baptism, a Sacred Meal of Bread and Wine, an Ascension, a Resurrection of the Body, a last judgment, a Heaven and Hell, and a Sunday. And yet Mithraism was by many centuries the older religion.
In Mithraism the complicated and fantastic mythology ran as follows: Zervan, Infinite Time, is the First Cause. From him, the inscrutable, came forth many pairs of gods, each generating another pair. The Sun is one of these, and Mithra is the light of the sun. From that solid rock, the firmament, Mithra emerged without father or mother, and heavenly shepherds came and adored the beautiful youth with the Phrygian cap. The Sun laid upon him the task of slaying the Bull of Darkness and Evil. This Mithra did, though the labor was hard and sad. That was the beginning of creation. The brave and unconquered youth became the creator of all that is good, for from the body of the Bull came the wheat and the grape and the race of men. The myth clearly denotes the passage of the sun in springtime into the constellation of the Bull, an event which brings new life to plants and to men. When his labors are ended, Mithra eats with Helios a last supper of bread, water, and wine, and ascends to heaven in the chariot of Helios. But he does not desert men. Daily his light slays the darkness. Daily he helps the Emperor. Daily he is the Comrade of the devout soldier. He is the Unconquered. When the end of the world draws near, Satan (Ahriman) will send another Bull, Mithra will descend and slay it, the dead shall come forth, the bodies of the faithful shall be raised, and they shall ascend to heaven with Mithra. Then eternal fire shall devour evil men and their master Ahriman, and there shall be no more earth and no more evil.
Such in its mixed outlines was the religion which in the third century probably numbered as many followers as Christianity. Before taking leave of it we may note one or two phases of it which helped, to produce Gnosticism.
Zervan, Infinite Time, has already been mentioned in §5 -- Images symbolizing this all-devouring First Cause have been found in many mithraeums in Europe. They represent a lion-headed man with open mouth and visible teeth. Around him is coiled the serpent of the sun, representing the tortuous passage of the sun through the ecliptic, and the generative power of the sun. Four wings show the rapidity of his flight through the seasons. On his breast is Jove's thunderbolt. Beside him are the hammer and tongs of fiery Vulcan, and the serpent wand of Mercury, shepherd of dead souls. At his feet are the pine-cone and the cock of Aesculapius and Apollo, or of the Sun and Attis. He is the inscrutable and pitiless source and master of all gods.
From Time, who is the great Aeon, or Eternal, emanate all the gods by pairs, each having the power of generating a lower pair.
The altar-pieces always show the beautiful youth Mithra slaying the Bull. Beside him stand two other figures of himself, one with the sun's torch lifted, the other with it inverted. Christian art, noting the beauty of the Pergamon statues of Mithra (c. 200 B.C.) adapted them to the theme of Samson slaying the lion. Mithraic sculptures which represent Mithra striking the firmamental rock with his beams, to draw water for a thirsty generation, become figures of Moses smiting the rock.
§18. Mythology re-enters as Gnosticism. -- By mythology we have all along meant creation-myths, since these constitute the bulk of all myths. There was a new passion for mythology in the first three centuries of Christianity. It was not the primitive, naive myth-making which expressed a rooted instinct for personalism. It was the myth-making of men who had tasted metaphysics, but who had not the ability to follow the close reasoning of an Aristotle. This artificial and metaphysical mythology goes by the name of Gnosticism. It was the religion of intellectual unrest.
It was recruited from various sources, especially Mithraism and Neoplatonism. It rested on the propositions that man needs salvation from evil, and that this salvation can come only through knowledge. But it did not mean by knowledge the slow, patient study of facts which made Aristotle the master of those who know. It meant metaphysical knowledge and occult science. A knowledge of how the world was made, and how the evil in it happened, could give man the secret path to salvation. It could even furnish magic formula for charms and amulets and mighty spells.
When it came in contact with Judaism and Christianity, it found the Jewish kabbalists able to offer contributions of knowledge, and in Christianity it found a marvelously apt field for its expansion. A large portion of the Gnostics became Christians, being convinced that Jesus was the supreme master of occult knowledge. And it is now acknowledged by all scholars that the Gnostics laid the foundations upon which the Fathers built a large part of their biblical exegesis and their theology. The Gnostics were, to use Harnack's phrase, "the theologians of the first century," and they were largely responsible for what the same writer calls "the acute secularizing of Christianity."
All the systems of Gnosticism agreed on certain things. One was that darkness and matter are the source of evil, and could not have been created by a perfect God. This proposition in itself reduced Jehovah to an inferior position, for by matter the Gnostics meant the visible world. Another was that between man and the Unknown First Cause (or else the Perfect God) there must be a series of beings in whose nature evil was attenuated step by step. These beings were either emanations of the supreme being, or they were successive generations of emanations.
Mithraism furnished the Inscrutable First Cause, which we have seen deified as Infinite Time. It furnished the successive generations, the "endless genealogies." With Platonism it furnished a world of light above the world of darkness. Out of the Abyss of Being came the Pleroma, or world of light, and in this Pleroma dwelt the great spiritual beings, the Aeons. Each pair of these -- for usually they were regarded as male and female -- generates a lower pair, until finally the imperfect Demiurge is generated, and he creates the imperfect world. Jehovah is a name often given to the Demiurge.
The notion of the Demiurge came both from Mithraism and from Platonism. Plato, who was not only the supreme idealist among philosophers, but the supreme artist, believed in free play of mind, even when it ended in mere play. He knew very well that the human intellect can not solve the problem of how the One becomes the Many, and in the Timaeus he deliberately amuses his auditors by inventing the Demiurge as creator of the world. So far from the Demiurge's having created Plato or any other man, he was the playful invention of Plato. But the poor Gnostics took the great thinker's innocent myth for gospel; took his counterfeit tender for true pay. Literalism in metaphysics! it is always a dupe.
The first forms of Gnosticism were painfully materialistic. Simon Magus went about posing as “some great one," and we know from other sources than the Book of Acts what this "great one" was. Simon pretended to be no other than the Demiurge himself, the true creator of the earth. With him traveled the abandoned woman Helena, a fact which he boasted of as having superhuman significance, and which indeed does recall the mating of Adonis with Venus. For Simon belongs with Alexander of Abonoteictios as a solar-magician, hailing from the seats of Asian sex-worship. In one account this Helena is called Luna, the moon-goddess. Simon allowed to Jesus a certain divinity, lower than his own.
Before the apostle John died, the Gnostic Cerinthus was preaching that the divinity of Jesus was "docetic," mere seeming. The Logos had descended on Jesus at the baptism, and had left him at the cross. He who died was merely a man. The Logos came by water, of the baptism, but not by blood. And to all the Gnostics there was more or less unreality in Jesus; either his divinity or his humanity was unreal; either he was a man on whom an aeon had descended in his childhood or his manhood, or he was a spirit whose footsteps fell lightly upon the earth, and whose hands received the piercing nails without pain.
The greatest of the Gnostics was Valentinus, who lived at Rome in the day of Antoninus Pius, and who may even have disputed with Justin Martyr in those days. He was however far more influential for Christian thought than Justin. Harnack says of him: "Valentinus was the most important Christian theologian before Origen. Clement and Origen were both his pupils." They were a trifle later, but they were greatly impressed by his systematic effort to give Christianity a philosophical statement.
In the creation-system of this first "scientific" Christologist, God is regarded as the perfect ground of all existence, but as absolute and inscrutable. We can know him only through his modes, his motions, his effects. The carnal man knows him not at all; the moral (or "psychic") man knows a little of the lowest elements of his goodness; only the “spiritual” man, the Gnostic, can know the full reality of that goodness.
The fullness of reality, goodness, and light is called the Pleroma. In this spiritual world we may detect certain modes of God, whom we will call Aeons, or eternal realities. These are spiritual archetypes or thoughts of the divine mind. They are thirty in number, as are the days of the moon. They may be grouped in pairs, such as Depth and Silence, Mind and Truth, the Word and the Life, the Ideal Man and the Ideal Church. These are far above all created things. It was by some disturbance among these eternal realities that an imperfect world was produced. Valentinus teaches that the actual process was as follows: Depth and Silence generated the next lower aeons, Mind and Truth; these the next lower, the Word and the Life; these the next lower, Ideal Man and the Ideal Church. Afterwards Mind and Truth begot ten aeons, a perfect number, as an offering to God. The Word and the Life begot twelve aeons, an imperfect number, including Faith, Hope, Love and Wisdom. But Wisdom (Achamoth, Sophia, Lower Wisdom) aspired to produce by herself, and brought forth the Demiurge. Thus pride of mind produced the Creator of the world of evil unreality which we know.
The Demiurge -- whom nearly all the Gnostics regarded as identical with Jehovah ‑- produced that seeming which we call matter, and that seeming which we call man. To Jehovah is due the mixture of light and darkness, good and bad, in man. Dismayed by man's misery, Wisdom and the other aeons obtained permission from God to project Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is the task of these twain to rescue man from darkness and evil by acquainting him with the true origin of it, and giving him mysteries and spells by which, after much fasting, he may rise to the vision of God.
Valentinus's system, as he himself conceived it, was little more than a Platonic speculation. But his division of ideas into pairs opened the road to mythology, and his school hypostasized with a vengeance. It was thus that the Egyptians had explained creation; they too removed the responsibility for evil as far as possible from God by endless generations of subordinate male and female creators. Thus too had Mithraism placed generations between Zervan and Mithra. For primitive men there was an excuse; but it is strange that so clever a thinker as Valentinus should not have seen whither the system led. Mythology always leads away from morality. It places knowledge of origins above the ordinary man, and renders the initiate, who thinks magically, superior to common law and order. And as a matter of fact, many Gnostics felt themselves so freed from Jehovah’s "imperfect" laws that they plunged into carnal license.
Only one Gnostic gospel has come down to us intact. This is the Faith-Wisdom (Pistis Sophia) so named from that one of the aeons, already spoken of who regretted the results of her ambitious parthenogenesis. This gospel -- which escaped in a Coptic version -- represents Jesus as remaining eleven years on earth after his resurrection, to instruct his disciples in the mysteries of the Pleroma. It makes him call upon Jehovah with magic and meaningless words -- for the less meaning a word has, the more powerful is the spell it casts.
The Christian Gnostic Basilides is said to have invented the magic or mystic word "Abraxas." It is capable of many permutations, and may be built into puzzling figures. This name we find on most of the Gnostic amulets, charms, and gems, which King has studied so carefully. And with this "Christian" name we find the serpent of the sun, or the jackal-head of Anubis, or the lotus, symbol of the fertility of Isis. On one gem is Abraxas, with head of bird and legs of serpents, driving the chariot of Apollo. On another we find Christ the Good Shepherd, carrying on his shoulders a sheep with bushy tail. But the head of the "sheep" is sharp pointed and springs from the man's shoulders; and from beneath the shepherd's tunic extends the jackal tail of Anubis. The sun-god Anubis is one of the oldest of Egyptian divinities. He is the embalmer of the dead, and the shepherd of dead souls.
Such was Gnostic syncretism. It was a restless mythology, not a restful Christianity. It interpreted the Bible as it pleased. "To the Gnostics," says Uhlhorn, "the gospels were myths." And if this was true of the gospels, what was true of the Old Testament, the work of the Demiurge ? Valentinus, it is true, was a student of the Old Testament, and attempted to discriminate between the spiritual, the moral, and the carnal elements in it. The program was admirable, and so perhaps were some of the results. But Valentinus had a different standard of "spirituality" from that of Jesus, the supreme biblical critic, and it is entirely safe to say that our Lord would rarely have agreed with him in his revisions of Moses, that mouthpiece of the Demiurge. As for the great mass of the Gnostics, and for the thousands whom they influenced, their theory was deadly to Jehovah's law. It was the more so because professing to "reconcile" all things.
§19. Jehovah rejected as the Demiurge. -- In some sense the greater Gnostics did not "reject" Jehovah; they merely found a subordinate place for him in their system of magical knowledge. But Marcion hated Jehovah. And “Marcion's influence on the Christian world," says Hatch, "is far larger than is commonly supposed." The Marcionite churches were numerous, and between 150 and 250 they were, says Harnack, "really dangerous to the great church."
Marcion found in the gospels a God of love and justice. In the Old Testament he found, as he thought, a God of hatred and injustice. He declared that Paul alone had seen this; that Paul had seen the gulf between law and grace, but that even Paul had failed to see what the gulf logically implied -- not an Absolute giving birth to "endless genealogies" between heaven and earth -- but two distinct Gods. Why be patient with Jehovah any longer?
There were, then, a God of Imperfection and Law, and a God of Perfection and Love. The good God had sent his son to earth. Clothed not in flesh but in the spiritual likeness of the flesh, the Son had revealed to men the God of Perfection and Love. But Jehovah, the Demiurge, the creator of evil had he not said, in Isaiah, "I create evil" -- ? -- had failed to recognize the Son of the true God, and had caused him to be nailed to the cross. The son came to destroy the law of Jehovah, and Jehovah slew him.
Hence Christians must renounce Jehovah, and every phase of his law. They must renounce the special sign of Jehovah, the Sabbath. They must even renounce marriage, for this too was the work of Jehovah, creator of the flesh.
Such was Marcionism, a religion of impatience and destruction.
§20. Justin, Tertullian, the Didache. -- It is impossible to dogmatize concerning the complicated mixture of motives and processes which, in the first century, brought Sunday into repute. Biblical reasons were not among them, for (as is now admitted by eminent critics and as our notes will show) the New Testament nowhere asserts that Sunday was a day of public worship or that it was the day of the resurrection. Jewish Christians continued to observe the Sabbath. In the Book of Acts there is a clear record for several years of Sabbath observance by the apostolic missionaries. But it is equally sure that a variety of motives impelled many Christians toward the Sunday observance which was undoubtedly common by the middle of the second century. There was the instinct for a weekly Sabbath. There was the tremendous influence of the Mithraic Sunday in Asia Minor, which unquestionably is to be assigned to that absorption of paganism spoken of in §18. There was hatred for everything Jewish. There was more or less early belief that Sunday was the resurrection day, though we can neither say how much there was, nor what were its sources. "The greatest gap in our knowledge," says Harnack, "consists in the fact that we know so little about the course of things from about the year 61 to the beginning of the reign of Trajan." We can only speculate as to why the records of that forty years are so scanty. But it is no wild speculation to surmise that the Church sedulously destroyed a great deal of compromising literature. The many Gnostic gospels, for instance, were burned as unscrupulously as they had been invented. The Pistis Sophia escaped, in its Coptic dress. Only the other day the so-called Gospel of Peter (second century) was recovered from a grave, and reveals the Gnostical change of Christ’s dying words to, "My power, my power, why hast thou forsaken me?"
There is no unquestioned reference to Sunday as a day of Christian worship until about 150, when we have certain words of Justin the Philosopher. "Sunday," he says, "is the day on which we hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day arose from the dead." There is here no reference to the observance of Sunday as a day of rest, and other records go to show that it was not so observed till much later.
Domville remarks that Justin's first reason sounds like an afterthought. Assuredly it does. The good Justin is first trying to explain an institution of whose complex history he knew very little -- especially of its history in Asia Minor.
But Justin was a philosopher; his very clothes showed it; he preached in the old philosophic gown which he wore in the days of his paganism. This restless inquirer had in turn been a Stoic, a Pythagorean, and a Platonist, and had finally adopted Christianity as "the only true and useful philosophy." And the task now set for him was to recommend Christianity to the mercy of the Stoic Emperor, Antoninus Pius; for it is in Justin’s First Apology that the reference to Sunday occurs. There was need of such an appeal; for, though Antoninus was as good a ruler as Rome ever had, his goodness had a dangerous edge to it. His still greater successor, Marcus Aurelius, sent to the block not only Justin himself, but many another Christian.
Justin’s apology is a manly document, and as ingenious an appeal as so superficial a thinker could produce. He wrote as one philosopher to another, as a converted Stoic to an unconverted Stoic. He says that good Stoics were really Christians, even though charged with atheism; for the Stoics, believed in the Reason (logos) which informs nature and directs the good man; and since Jesus is that Reason incarnate, those who lived according to Reason before him were really his followers. But Justin was well aware that the Stoics, being essentially materialists, had ceased to be interested in creation; they recognized God in the world, in so far as there is Reason in things. Justin, however, had graduated from Stoicism to Platonism, which insists on the importance of creation, sets God outside the world, and lays tremendous stress on God's having made a change "in the darkness and matter." Plato, he insists, had unconsciously copied Moses in this. Moses was the original Platonist, so to speak. But Justin has nothing to say of the Mosaic conception of the Sabbath. He lets that severely alone, and offers for his Sunday-keeping the importance of the first day of creation. So, after all, Justin props up Sunday with Plato. Nothing would more have astonished that eminent thinker than to be set above Moses for the purpose of persuading a Stoic to protect Christians in violating a Mosaic ordinance.
It was a pallid argument, and yet it is significant that Justin advances it first. It would really have been more effective to resist the rhetorician's desire to convert a stern materialist to the unsubstantial pageant of Plato's dream. To have resisted that desire would have left him free to pursue an argument which, elsewhere in his apology, he had almost entered upon. He had referred kindly to Heraclitus, from whom the Stoics derived so much, and had allowed him a share in Christ. Now Heraclitus believed that the world began and will end in fire. Here was a real chance that Justin might have seized. He might have maintained that not only do Christians believe in a final conflagration, but that they are essentially Stoics, because they identify Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, with that divine fiery spark of reason which is in all men, and has for its symbol the sun. This, with a proper apology for scorning the Jews -- Justin was born in Samaria -- might have penetrated into the philosophical attention of the Emperor. It would have been no less fanciful than Justin's Platonism, and it would have been far more acceptable at court. We can not think that Justin would have shrunk from such an argument. He was not a person to stick at trifles. He did not hesitate to refer to the true philosopher in genuine Stoic language, as "lord," as "messenger," as "bishop", (episkopos) even as a god (theos).
As to the Sabbath, we elsewhere find Justin the Philosopher making precisely such comments on it as we should expect. In his Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, he says: "The new law requires you to keep perpetual sabbath. If there is a perjurer or a thief among you, let him cease to be so; if any adulterer, let him repent; then he has kept the sweet and pure sabbath of God." This sounds like pansabbathism, but it is quite clearly no-sabbathism. However important it may be for adulterers to repent, repentance from adultery is not observing a sabbatic rest. Justin's advice is pure allegory, precisely as it is pure allegory when he declares that the crucifixion fulfills the prophecy that "the government shall be upon his shoulder."
Justin's no-sabbathism, then, like Gnosticism and Marcionism, is an expression of impatience with the past. It is the natural conclusion of the restless inquiry which had marked Justin from the day when he began to change his philosophies. He belongs to the type of thinkers who live on novelties, and must receive a new revelation, logical or illogical, every few years.
Half a century later we find Tertullian, that powerful Carthaginian rhetorician, "whose multifarious knowledge," says Neander, "lay confusedly heaped up in his mind," laying down the no-sabbath law with his accustomed vigor. "Christians ought to observe a sabbath from servile work always." Tertullian himself was anything but an idler, yet this doctrine comes perilously near that spirit of aloofness from business which Paul had castigated. Paul maintained that if a Christian would not work, he should not be allowed to eat. He said this knowing perfectly the temptation to idle away the hours till the parousia. If a Christian went into business or took public office he was expected to make oaths in the name of pagan gods; for a time it puzzled Christians to make a living.
As for the Sunday, Tertullian found himself obliged to defend Christians from the charge of being sun-worshipers. "Others . . . suppose that the sun is the god of the Christians, because it is a well known fact that we pray toward the East, or because we make Sunday a festival. . . . Granted that we give the day of the sun to rejoicing, we do so for a far different reason than for the religion of the sun." The good bishop unquestionably spoke with sincerity for himself and for thousands. But he could not speak for the Gnostic Christians, or for thousands of earlier and less enlightened converts.
But our critics will call us away from these famous allegorizers of the second century. They will remind us of the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles which contains a reference to the Lord's Day. The Didache was discovered in 1887 by Bryennios. He at once expressed the belief that the first six chapters record a very early Palestinian tradition, and that the rest are later. The judgment of Bryennios has substantially been accepted. But as to the actual date of the complete document, judgment has differed widely. Paul Sabatier puts it as early as the middle of the first century, Bigg as late as the fourth century.
In the original document of the Two Ways "the way of life and the way of death" -- which occupies the first six chapters, the great commandment of love is emphasized at length. It sums up the ten words. Of these words, several are referred to. The fourth is not mentioned, nor is the fifth. Any argument that may be based on silence concerning the Sabbath-law will hold good of the silence concerning the honoring of parents.
In the fourteenth chapter there is this brief direction: "But on the Lord's day do ye assemble and break bread and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions, in order that your sacrifice may be pure." As to the exact date of this direction, we do not here speculate. It is probably later than Justin, perhaps much later. But a careful study of the "transformations" to which the Didache was subjected in the second, third, and fourth centuries certainly suggests anything but an apostolic origin for this direction. In Hastings (Extra Volume, 447-449) these corruptions and additions may be studied. But the itch for authority is very strong in us all, and if this passing reference in the fourteenth chapter of the Didache appeals to any of our readers, we will venture to oppose to it a saying which was attributed to Jesus himself at a date almost certainly earlier. In the Oxyrhyncus sayings, or logoi, the second reads thus: "Jesus said, except ye fast to the world, ye shall in no wise find the kingdom of God; and except ye make the Sabbath a real Sabbath, ye shall not see the Father."
§21. Sunday legislation begins. -- With the fourth century began an alliance of the Sunday with the civil power, an alliance which has continued for fifteen hundred years in one form or another.
Constantine the Great (274-337) shrewdly seized upon Christianity as the most vigorous element in the decaying empire. "He was no doubt a monotheist even as early as 312," says Uhlhorn, "but the one God whom he worshiped was rather the sun god, the 'Unconquered Sun,' than the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." In 313 he issued an edict which was extremely favorable to the Christians, and in a partial sense Christianity became the State religion. Milman says that there can be little doubt "that in the capitol sacrifices were offered in the name of the senate and the people of Rome till a much later period." Constantine's Christianity, what there was of it, began with a superstition. He reasoned, says Eusebius, that his father had prospered under Christianity, and that the pagan emperors had not. "With his every victory over his rivals," says Schaff, "his confidence in the magic power of the sign of the cross increased; yet he did not formally renounce heathenism, and did not receive baptism until, in 337, he was laid on his bed of death. . . . With the remark, 'Now let us cast away all duplicity,' he honestly admitted the conflict of two antagonistic principles which swayed his private character and public life."
It was this famous compromiser, whose life is stained with gross crimes and gross duplicity, who introduced Sunday legislation. There was no reference to Christian motives in the edict, which was issued March 7, 321. All judges, all city people, and all tradesmen are to rest on "the venerable day of the sun." Farmers are exempted. Such was the first Sunday decree, and its expressed motive was frankly pagan. Throughout the Empire that phrase, "the venerable day of the sun," would be welcomed by all the followers of Elgabal, Mithra, Apollo, and Aesculapius. The following day, March 8, 321, a second edict commanded that in case of a public building's being struck by lightning, the ceremonies for propitiating the gods should be performed, and the secret meaning of the calamity sought from the haruspices. The two commands are on an astrological par. The sun, the Emperor's star, is to be propitiated by a festival, and the lightning is to be understood by observing the movement of a slain beast's entrails. The holiday and the magic go together.
It was not for nothing that Constantine stamped his coins, as may still be seen, with the name of Christ and the image of Apollo. Much has been made of his belief in the magic of the cross. But his peculiarly shaped cross was the Egyptian labarum, a phallic emblem of the sun, used in magic long before the cross was planted on Golgotha. And in works on magic from that day to this, the labarum is referred to as "Constantine's cross." As for the quality and quantity of the Sunday "rest" which he enjoined, we may judge from the fact that it was Constantine who directed the markets to be held on Sunday. For a thousand years that direction was observed throughout Europe. He was a strangely divided man, this Constantine. He would have been more logical if, like Alexander Severus, he had placed together in his chapel the busts of Christ, Apollonius of Tyana, and the Emperors.
Christians received the Sunday law with what mixture of feelings we do not know. But to the more devout, the new civil rest day must have been a day of unrest. Christ had solemnly denied that his kingdom was of this world.
§22. Roman Catholic. -- I use the term sabbatarianism to describe Christian efforts to give Judaistic severity to any so-called holy day. In Catholicism such efforts were indirectly due to the multiplication of festivals and fasts; it was found that familiarity bred contempt, and so legislation was constantly resorted to to compel sabbatic quality. In fact, as we shall see, forged scripture was finally resorted to.
The growth of the Christian cult was rapid. If we compare the simple worship described by Justin, in his First Apology, with the liturgy of two centuries later, as it appears in the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions, we see that pagan pomp has marched in. The keynote of the new worship, like that of ancient mythology, is multiplicity. How could it be otherwise? The church was compromising with paganism at every step. It was superimposing a saint on every heathen deity, a church festival on every heathen festival. The church calendar became crowded with feasts and fasts. The cultus may be described as Allen describes it, -- "one vast effort to put a stamp upon both time and space".
There was really nothing new about the process. Every mythology, as we have seen (§3) rests upon an earlier mythology. Every Zeus rests on an earlier Zeus, every Apollo on an earlier Apollo, every Baal on an earlier Baal. So strong is habit, so powerful is human instinct for continuity, that it is always easier to baptize a paganism than to reform it. Did not Israel herself try the experiment in a thorough manner? Was there not at one shrine a "Baal of the Covenant"? And was not the work of the prophets precisely the work of showing the difference between syncretism and reform? But the church had made it impossible for herself to profit by the Old Testament as a historical record. She had either rejected that record as “Jewish”, or had allegorized it into thin air.
The best that she could do for the Sabbath, therefore, was to keep it on for a while, side by side with the venerable day of the Sun, re-baptized as the Lord's Day. From the latter part of the fourth century we have the Apostolic Constitutions, in which the Syrian Sabbath-keepers seem to receive something of their rights, along with the rest of the world. "Thou shalt observe the Sabbath, on account of him who ceased from his work of creation, but ceased not from his work of providence; it is a rest for meditation of the law, not for idleness of the hands." It is happily put -- unless possibly there is some lurking antinomianism in the last phrase. In a later chapter the observance of both the seventh and the first days is enjoined. Certain Psalms are especially recommended for morning and evening service on week days, "but principally on the Sabbath Day." "And on the day of our Lord's resurrection, which is the Lord's Day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God who made the universe by Jesus.” The Sabbath is not to be observed as a fast, except the one Sabbath of the Lord's burial.
But Sunday had originally been, as Tertullian says, "a day of indulgence for the flesh," and two weekly festivals with no intermission were soon found to be too many "moral holidays" -- as William James would say. At an early date the fast of Friday was extended to Saturday. The Catholic historian Alzog freely admits that this was "for the purpose of abolishing the Jewish Sabbath." But the change of course contributed to a partial reinstatement of the sabbatic character of the Sabbath. Indeed, we may say that the fasts of Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday were such checks upon Sunday as the religious consciousness is always imposing upon festivals. The hunger of men for God cannot be appeased by festivals merely. One extreme will always produce another.
And blood will tell. The Sunday had pagan blood in its veins. The sun means something different from the sun of righteousness. It means festival joy, and festival license. It was found impossible to make the day in any sense sabbatic without stringent law, and so in time the laws came. The Pharisaic Sabbath, the Pharisaic taboo, returned for a time in the very heart of Catholicism.
We find the Third Council of Orleans in 538 forbidding what Constantine permitted, namely, plowing and planting and reaping. The Second Council of Macon, 585, remarks that people are treating Sunday with great contempt, and it proceeds to forbid the yoking of oxen, even "under plea of necessity." The Lord's Day is "the day of perpetual rest. This is shadowed to us in the seventh day of the law and the prophets." Under Charlemagne the Council of Mayence (813) forbade all servile work, and all judicial trials except concerning capital crimes. In the same year a council at Rheims declared that no court should be convened. In 853 the Second Council of Soissons, under Charles the Bold, forbade the trial of causes not merely on Sunday but on various other feasts. Five years later, however, the pope (Nicholas 1) gave somewhat gentler directions to the Burgundians, then recent converts. He told them that "our hopes do not depend upon the observance of days, but upon the true and living end." But he strongly advised the keeping not only of Sunday, but of all the great festivals. The pope, however, was not the Emperor, and the Emperors enforced Sunday laws with severity.
Similar legislation appears in England as early as Ina, 692. In 853 Leo IV, having called a synod, increased the vigor of the laws and made them applicable throughout Christendom. Under Alfred (876) theft on Sundays was punished by the loss of both hands. In Norway King Olaus (1028) having absentmindedly whittled a stick on Sunday, gathered the chips and burnt them in his hand by way of penance.
And the Phariseeism of Christianity did not stop short of forgery. Abbot Eustace of Flay, in Normandy, finding plenty of Sunday desecration in England in 1200, returned in 1201 armed with a remarkable document. He said that it had descended from heaven upon the altar of Saint Simeon, in Golgotha. It began, "I am the Lord, who commanded you to observe the holy day of the Lord, and ye have not kept it." The text goes on to declare that Sunday-breaking is the cause of the bloody pagan invasions of Christianity. Work is forbidden from the ninth hour on Saturday until sunrise on Monday. If this command is not obeyed, the following disasters will result: stones, wood, and hot water will fall by night; beasts with the heads of lions and the tails of camels shall devour your flesh; the sun shall be darkened; you shall perish as Sodom; the Pagans will slay you.
A reign of terror set in. Sunday became taboo, automatically punishing the offender against its magic sanctity. A carpenter of Beverly tried to make a wooden wedge, and was felled by paralysis. A webster met the same fate. A man baked a loaf late on Saturday, and on Sunday it gave forth blood. At Wakefield a miller began his grinding late on Saturday, and the mill gushed gore instead of flour. A good woman who decided not to bake the dough she had prepared, found it on Monday baked miraculously. A woman who washed clothes late Saturday afternoon was miraculously warned by a heavenly visitant; but she persisted, and was attacked by a swine-like beast, which sucked her blood.
In such manner did primitive belief of the most ghastly sort reassert itself. The appeal was instinctively to the Old Testament, and yet the isolated case of primitive punishment in Numbers was infinitely less revolting than the barbarity of this medieval sabbatarianism. The only valuable lesson to be had from this pathetic period is that nothing like earnest sabbatic observance of Sunday has appeared in Christian history without some form of appeal to the Old Testament and the seventh day of the week. Note that the disasters above mentioned were thought to follow the violation of the last hours of Saturday.
As a matter of fact, there have always been Christian Sabbath-keepers. The Abyssinian church has kept both Sabbath and Sunday to this day. The Sabbath long kept its hold in Scotland, and it was not until Margaret of Hungary became queen, having survived her husband, Malcolm Canmore (d. 1069) that rest from labor ceased to be the rule.
If we are to look for the spirit of Spiritual Sabbathism in the Roman Church, we must not look to the history of Sunday. That is only a part of the whole offence of Rome. Against the festival spirit, in its proper and narrow limits, we have nothing to say; but after all, the law of God is that man shall labor hard for six days in the week. There have been times in the history of Rome when as many as a hundred days of the year were regarded as sacred festivals. Such a state of things recalls the Egyptian polytheism of times, and is utterly at variance with the Hebraic notion of steady, serious, practical effort.
The sabbatic idea, if found at all in the history of Rome, must be found in the philosophy of such men as Aquinas, and in the poetry of Dante's Paradiso. There is some sense of the religion of eternity, the vision of God. Such men are a good tonic for materialistic minds in any age. But how far Aquinas and Dante are from a solution of the problem appears in their meditations as to whether “action" or "contemplation" is the chief end of life.
When half the world is in the cloister and the other half is pretty ardently devoted to the flesh -- then such questions can arise. They can not arise in the soul of a man who is living a natural life, sharing the common joys and sorrows of humanity, consecrating the week to work and the Sabbath to rest.
§23. Rejected by the Reformers. -- The Reformation began when the burden of church authority and the abuses of church privilege had become intolerable. Men longed to go directly to God for rest and salvation. The sale of indulgences, recalling Egyptian magic and depravity, was the lowest point reached by the papal apostasy. Luther made his attack at this point. Salvation through faith, not through the church, became the central thought of the German reformation. Almost every other issue was forgotten. The fact that the church was inextricably entangled with the civil power made even political issues more prominent than some religious questions of grave importance.
Among these neglected questions was that of the deeper meaning of sabbathism. The reformers were profoundly irritated by the Judaistic features of Catholic sabbatarianism, and they rejected sabbatarianism completely and emphatically. They reverted to the no-sabbathism of Justin -- except that of course they had no metaphysical speculations to prop and no emperor to conciliate. The continental Sunday is the direct product of no-sabbath theories taught by the continental reformers.
Luther explains his position in words so vigorous that they have a curiously modern sound. It is the hard-headed practical man speaking. "We celebrate festivals," he says, "not for the sake of intelligent and instructed Christians (for these have no need of them), but first even for the sake of the body. Nature herself teaches that the working classes, servants and maids, are to be considered. . . . The second reason is that in such a day of rest, leisure may be obtained for divine worship. . . . No day is better or more excellent than another. These duties ought to be performed every day. But the majority of mankind are so cumbered with business that they could not be present at such assemblies. Some one day, therefore at least, must be selected in each week for attention to these matters. And seeing that those who preceded us chose the Sunday -- dies dominica -- for them, this harmless and admitted custom must not be readily changed." This has, we repeat, a curiously modern sound, and it has also a slight suggestion of the very unimaginative Luther who kept quoting, "This is my body."
"As for Sabbath or Sunday," he elsewhere maintains, "there is no necessity for its observance; and if we observe it, the reason ought to be, not because Moses commanded it, but because nature teaches us to give ourselves, from time to time, a day's rest, in order that man and beast may recruit their strength, and that we may go and hear the Word of God preached." Again: "Keep the Sabbath holy, for its use both to body and soul; but if anywhere the day is made holy for the day's sake; if anywhere any one sets up its observance upon a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to do anything that shall remove this encroachment on Christian liberty."
The Augsburg Confession, which was drawn up by Melancthon, and is still the standard of faith in the Lutheran Church, is equally plain in its unqualified no-sabbathism. Sunday-keeping is made a matter of mere convenience. It is in no way connected with the creation concept or that of redemption. Calvin's expressions are more moderate than Luther's, and are worked out with greater dialectical skill. But there is no essential difference of opinion between the two men. "Some unquiet spirits," says Calvin, "have been raising noisy contentions concerning the Lord's day. They complain that Christians are tinctured with Judaism, because they retain any observance of days. But I reply that the Lord's day is not observed by us upon the principles of Judaism. . . . For we celebrate it not with great rigor, as a ceremony which we conceive to be a figure of some spiritual mystery, but only use it as a remedy necessary to the preservation of order in the church." He very properly criticizes the one day-in-seven theory. "This is only changing the day in contempt of the Jews, while they retain the same opinion of the holiness of a day."
A remark of Calvin, that "we do not by any means observe days as though there were any sacredness in holy days, and as though it were not lawful to labor on them" explains, perhaps, a well-established tradition concerning the reformer. At Geneva there is a tradition that when John Knox visited Calvin on a Sunday, he found him bowling on a green. At this day, it is said, a Calvinist preacher at the same place will pass from the services of Sunday to the card-table.
In England, the reformatory movement was at first less radical than in Germany. It was personal alienation between Henry VIII and the Pope which gave rise to the Church of England. The reformation progressed during the minority of Edward VI. The opinions of the English reformers Tyndale, Fryth, and Cranmer were similar to those of Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, and Beza.
Tyndale declares that "We be lords of the Sabbath, and may yet change it into the Monday, or any other day, as we see need; or may make every tenth day holy, if we see a cause why. We may make two in a week, if it were expedient, and one not enough to teach the people."
Fryth is even more emancipated. "We are in manner as superstitious in the Sunday as they [the Jews] were in the Saturday; yea, and we are much madder. For the Jews have the Word of God for their Saturday. . . . and we have not the Word of God for us, but rather against us." He says that Christian holy days "were instituted that the people should come together to hear God's Word, receive the sacraments, and give God thanks. That done, they may return unto their houses and do their business as on any other day." Fryth is very severe on clergymen who impute sin to the man who works on a holy day; it is making sin in such as God leaves free.
Cranmer distinguishes between the ceremonial and the spiritual Sabbath in a manner that recalls Justin Martyr and Jerome. "This spiritual Sabbath that is, to abstain from sin and do good -- are all men bound to keep all the days of their life." This of course is allegory pure and simple, and destroys sabbathism as effectually as Luther's literalism does.
In the sixth year of Edward's reign the general body of the English state and church legislated on the basis of the reformers' arguments, with a result about as logical as might be expected. The statute first declared that "all days and times are of like holiness" -- a remark which shows an unexpected gift for Platonism in the practical British nature. Just what it means is not clear, though it suggests the ancient proverb that all cows are of the same color in the dark. It surely was not meant to indicate that the hours spent that year at prayer in church were not better hallowed than those spent that year in what Green calls "the squabbles of a knot of nobles over the spoils of the church."
Having denied that "there is any certain time prescribed in the Holy Scriptures", the statute goes on to assert that the appointment of hallowed times for worship is left "to be determined and assigned orderly in every country by the discretion of the rulers and ministers thereof." "Be it therefore enacted that all the days hereafter mentioned shall be kept, and commanded to be kept holy days, and none other; that is to say, all Sundays in the year, the feasts of the Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Epiphany, of the Purification, with all the rest now kept, and there named particularly, and that none other day shall be kept and commanded to be kept holy, and to abstain from all bodily labor." A later clause permits works of necessity, and allows great license of construction. Harvesting, fishing, working at "any kind of work" are made technically lawful. Practically, therefore, the statute merely commands church attendance on certain days. It is a no-sabbath statute.
Edward died before coming of age, and was succeeded by the papist Mary. She checked the tide of reformation and cursed the land with her brief but bitter reign. Elizabeth tried to restore the comparatively happy status of Edward's reign. She was not of radical temperament religiously. Had Edward lived to manhood he would probably have proved a Protestant fanatic; Mary was a Catholic fanatic; Elizabeth was a great politician. Finally the Act of Conformity drove the Puritan element out of the church, thus unintentionally giving it a chance to develop, and the Established Church remained in a state of arrested development.
Elizabeth was fond of the theater, of masques and revels, of pageants and holidays. Also she loved money, and wished to see business lively. She classed Sunday with other holidays, and declared that "if for any scrupulosity or grudge of conscience some should superstitiously abstain from working on those days, they shall grievously offend." She long permitted plays and games on Sunday, though in 1580 the London Magistracy induced her to banish them from the city limits. Puritan influence carried through Parliament a law requiring stricter Sunday observance, but the queen refused to sign it. But sabbatarianism grew apace notwithstanding, and, as Neale says, "became the distinguishing mark of a Puritan."
In opposition to this strong Puritanic feeling James published his Book of Sports (1618). This condemned sabbatarianism and gave full legal sanction to the continental Sunday in England. "It was," says Heylyn, "the first blow which had been given to the new Lord's day sabbath, then so much applauded." To make a long story short, we may add that the English Sunday never recovered from that blow -- because it strongly reinforced the blow dealt by the reformers to Catholic sabbatarianism. It is true that the Puritan Sunday followed, and of that we shall presently have much to say. But the reigns of the Stuarts followed Puritanism. Out of the long struggles between Catholic and Puritan the Anglican Church emerged in much its original character, and its general position on the Sunday question is today not essentially different from what it was in the days of Edward VI. There have of course been interruptions and episodes; Methodism was a sabbatarian episode in Anglican history, and Hessey records the picture of one Grimshaw, who was used to go abroad in the fields and rebuke persons whom he found walking there on Sunday! "How different," says Doctor Hessey, "was the saying of good old Bishop Hacket, 'Serve God and be cheerful.' "
The English Church has always taught that the civil and religious authorities have power to ordain and regulate the observance of holy days. Thus it has come about that, except in the days of Puritanism, Sunday has been little more than a holiday, since the Reformation, either on the Continent or in England. There has been no effort to understand the fourth commandment in its significance among the ten eternal words.
§24. Puritan. -- The separation of the Puritans from the Anglican Church was inevitable. It was the logical result of the Lutheran movement, and British vigor was equal to producing that result. When men turned away from the Church to the Bible, the eternal verities of the Decalogue acquired meaning.
The first denominational result of Puritanism was the English Seventh-day Baptists. There had always been some Sabbath-keeping dissenters during all the centuries back to Christ, and the English Seventh-day Baptists were their spiritual heirs. Their Puritanism was logical, and they returned to the observance of the Sabbath. The discussion immediately became warm, and the Puritans were obliged either to become Sabbath-keepers, or find a compromise, or return to the Catholic position. Compromise gained the day, but not until many books were published by the Sabbath-keepers, and civil authority tried to suppress the new sect. Fines, imprisonment, proscription, and even martyrdom were the fate of the Seventh-day Baptists.
The Puritan compromise was formulated by Nicholas Bownde, whose "Doctrine of the Sabbath Plainly Laid Forth and Soundly Proven" appeared in 1595. Doctor Bownde's position was that of the Seventh-day Baptists in all points except that of the specific day. His attempt was to show that the Decalogue is eternally binding, but that the authority of the fourth commandment is transferred to the first day of the week. Here is a wholly new position in the history of the Sabbath question. The Catholics had wholly rejected the authority of the commandment, but in the dark ages had used church authority and forged scripture to enforce a sabbatarianism of the most primitive severity. The reformers had rejected the authority of the commandment, and all sabbatarianism with it. But the Puritan theory of transferred authority was novel. It has colored the whole question of Sabbath reform for three hundred years, and is still to be reckoned with. As a matter of history in America, it was extremely popular until within twenty-five years. Doctor Bownde's book was republished by Seventh-day Baptists in the eighties, and the fatal flaw in its argument was clearly seen by thousands of American clergymen.
Doctor Bownde's argument proceeded from the propositions that as the Sabbath "came in with the first man, so it must not go out save but with the last man"; that our Lord and all the apostles "established it by their patience"; that if Adam needed the Sabbath before the fall, the world lost in sin needs it much more. He denies that the church has power to hallow any day; "it belongeth only to God to sanctify the day." Up to this point the whole argument, though somewhat literal in its details, rests on a clear perception of the sabbatic idea.
But when the spokesman of the compromise tries to expound the transfer of the authority, he goes to pieces completely and obviously. Here is the crucial sentence, and a more perfect example of the power of language to conceal thought was never penned: "But now concerning this very special seventh day that we now keep in the time of the gospel, that is well known, that it is not the same it was from the beginning, which God himself did sanctify, and whereof he speaketh in this commandment, for it was the day going before ours, which in Latin retaineth its ancient name, and is called the Sabbath, which we also grant, but so that we confess it must always remain, never to be changed any more, and that all men must keep holy this seventh day, and none other, which was unto them not the seventh, but the first day of the week, and it is so called many times in the New Testament, and so it still standeth in force, though not unto that very seventh.” We protest that in quoting this sentence we are quoting as clear a statement of the change as can be found in the book. The italics are Doctor Bownde's; and with every desire to acknowledge Doctor Bownde's spiritual-mindedness, we fail to see how even the italics can bring sense into such a sentence.
About 1640 a measure was passed by the House of Commons for the stricter observance of Sunday, but it was defeated in the Lords. Then came the massacre of Protestants in Ireland, 1642, and soon the bishops were driven from the House of Lords, and the King fled to York. Parliament took possession of the government, and civil war, ensued. But Sunday observance was now enforced with a vengeance. Sheriffs patrolled the streets and compelled it. New laws were enacted in 1642, 1650, 1656. Not only was business prohibited, but church attendance was enforced. The ordinance of 1656 fixed the Sunday from midnight to midnight -- in this accepting a civil standard. The American colonies reckoned the Sunday from sunset to sunset, in Jewish fashion.
In Scotland similar severity was exercised. In 1644 the Six Sessions forbade walking in the street after the afternoon sermon. In 1645 Magistrates were directed to patrol the streets and report offenders. In 1658 English soldiers were pressed into this service, and were even directed to arrest offenders. But for pathos and irony this instance is the most remarkable: in 1658 Alexander Cairnie "was delaitit for brak of Sabbath, in bearing ane sheep from the pasture to his house." In vain did Alexander plead that the sheep would have died in the storm. He was "rebukit for the same, and admonished not to do the like." We can imagine how the Good Shepherd would have commented on this "brak of Sabbath."
A fuller test of Puritan sabbatarianism was made in the American colonies. Our Puritan ancestors modeled the New England colonies after the Hebraic theocracy. The result was a state in a church. There was vitality in the laws of the colonies, and in the execution of them. There was at first a rigid common law, founded on the Mosaic codes. Later, special Sunday statutes became necessary.
In 1658 Plymouth forbade burden bearing, etc., with a fine of twenty shillings or a four hour imprisonment in the stocks. In 1665 Plymouth attached similar penalties to sleeping in church. In 1629 Massachusetts required labor to cease on Saturday at three, in order to give time for proper preparation for Sunday. Massachusetts referred difficult questions to the Reverend Elders for advice, and in 1644 that body declared that "any sin committed with a high hand, as the gathering of sticks on the Sabbath Day, may be punished with death."
New Haven, in 1647, provided that Sabbathbreakers should be brought into court and punished in equity. But a few years later New Haven likewise decreed that persons guilty of "sinful servile work or unlawful sport" should, in case the court found the sin to have been committed "proudly, presumptuously, and with a high hand," be put to death. Connecticut (1650) had a law hardly less severe. Robbery committed on the Lord's day should be punished by several punishments, including loss of an ear; repeated, by the further loss of the second ear; twice repeated, by death.
Such was Puritan sabbatarianism in the New England colonies. This was no "moral substitute for war;" this was war. Here, within three centuries of our own day, we have a form of sabbatarianism severer than the Pharisaic. It is comparable only to that of the dark ages. No wonder that we have revolted from sabbatartanism, and that we have welcomed the later immigrants who have brought to our shores the festival spirit of modern France and Italy.
And yet there was a strong spiritual element in Puritanism. The Puritans were severe because heaven and hell were to them realities, and life was a gleam of opportunity between two eternities. They had an iron sense of duty, an iron righteousness. Their Hebraism is the root of New England honesty; it is our hope in the present perils of the republic. The attitude of Puritanism toward the Bible was an immense gain over that of Catholicism. Puritan sabbatarianism, like that of the grim passage in Numbers, is a step toward an earnest use of sacred time as included within the eternal.
The warnings that it brings are, first, the general warning that "ignorance in action" is always terrible; and secondly, the warning that civil authority can never make a Sabbath. It would seem as if this last lesson ought, by this time, to be effectively stamped by history upon the minds of Christians. But it is not. There are still multitudes of good men invoking the aid of legislation not merely to protect but to secure Sunday worship. Such men can only look upon advocates of spiritual sabbathism as friends of atheism, physicians whose method is kill or cure. But the kingdom of Christ remains what it has always been, a kingdom not of this world.
THE PRESENT SITUATION
§25. The decay of Sunday. -- History is an organic whole, and the history of the world, as Schiller said, is the judgment of the world. Men's attitude toward sacred time is quite as instructive now as it ever was. In America today there is every typical attitude ever taken toward the Sabbath and the Sunday.
And first let us generously and gladly acknowledge that the instinct for Spiritual Sabbathism is not dead. We have endeavored in the preceding pages to be not only impartial, but appreciative. We have granted the light which lighteth every man coming into the world, and we have searched for it in forbidding places, even perhaps in forbidden places. And we are not to close in a fanatical spirit a discussion which at the beginning we declared to concern the broadest interests of the race. Wherever men will to express their faith in the eternal by consecrating their work and rest in time, there is the prophecy of the Spiritual Sabbathism toward which men have blindly striven. That effort is not limited to the Jew or the Christian who observes the seventh day, nor is it denied to him who on Sunday sincerely strives to make the resurrection of Christ his salvation. A formal or a Pharisaic observance of the Sabbath is not a saving observance. God alone knows how much or how little there is in us of the sabbathism which saves from sin. He is the searcher and trier of hearts, and he knoweth his own.
But a man must be blindly at ease in Zion not to recognize in America today the ascendancy of secularism and holidayism, and the vain efforts of Puritan blood to compel sabbatarianism. A single instance will illuminate the situation. A few years ago a Jewish peddler, who had probably attended the synagogue on the Sabbath, was arrested on Sunday in New York for selling shoe-strings. At the same time and in the same city the saloons, the gambling dens, and the brothels were in full blast, and the last-named were probably much better attended than on any work-day of the preceding week. For sheer grim irony, this petty Puritan effort to check petty Judaistic Sunday-breaking by civil means, while permitting the worst license of nature-worship -- for sheer grim irony of history this surpasses the priests of Elgabal excluding the Jews, or Diocletian burning them. The pagan tyrant did not shelter himself behind the fourth commandment. Like the drunkard, the gambler, and the prostitute, he openly put "nature" -- Bacchus, Fortuna, Isis -- above Jehovah.
As a matter of fact the churches are not at ease in Zion over these matters, and we will summarize briefly the present attitude of Protestants and that of Catholics.
Baptists claim to be representative Protestants, reposing their faith in Scripture as against Pontiff. And Baptists are coming to feel that Baptists do not now observe the Sunday on the authority of the fourth commandment; and they recognize that Sunday is rapidly decaying. Twenty-three years ago Professor Wilkinson, in an article marked by trenchant precision and perfect lucidity, put this question: "As long as the state of the case is what we all of us perfectly well know it to be respecting Sunday observance among Christians, is it, can it be, useful for us to talk piously against the Sunday newspapers, Sunday excursions, Sunday concerts, Sunday opening of places of amusement?" These are the words of a leader who has the insight and the courage to fasten a large share of the responsibility for the decay of Sunday on Christians.
Professor Wilkinson is too accurate a scholar to have used the term "Sabbath-breaking Christians." But Methodists have not shrunk from using this term. Some of them have remained true to the spirit which sent men into the fields near London to report the movements of "Sabbath-breakers." Camp-meetings have led Methodism into an unholy alliance with railroads; it was pointed out in 1893 that the Desplaines Camp-meeting Association had been receiving "thirty per cent of all Sunday fares to and from its grounds for twenty years." The Interior pointed out the fact at first mildly and then more warmly. "It is not only a sin against God, it is a burning shame and disgrace to Methodism, and an obstruction to all churches in their efforts to hallow the Sabbath." It does seem odd to listen to the preachers of the Holiness Association as they declaim against Sunday desecration, and then pay them with money received from railroads from Sunday travel to and from the meeting.
Congregationalists, remembering their Puritan ancestry, have bitterly lamented the loss of the Scotch or Puritan Sabbath. The late Dr. Leonard Woolsey Bacon dated this loss from the Civil War -- those "five years during which Christians of various creeds intermingled as never before, and the Sunday laws were dumb, inter arma, not only in the field, but in the home churches." "Early legislation," he said, "had not steered clear of the error of attempting to enforce Sabbath-keeping as a religious duty by civil penalties. . . . The just protest against this wrong was undiscriminating, tending to defeat the righteous and salutary laws that aimed simply to secure for the citizen the privilege of a weekly day of rest."
Presbyterians, who have always combined culture, conservatism, and loyalty to creed, early detected the decay of Sunday. They have spoken sternly against the Sunday newspaper and Sunday travel. They have insisted that weak Sunday-keepers need the support of Sunday laws. In 1897 Secretary Hathaway, of the American Sabbath Union, declared that "there is a very widespread, silent -- but deep -- current of unbelief in the fourth commandment, as covering the first day of the week."
Inasmuch as the Anglican Church never adopted Puritan views of Sunday, the Protestant Episcopal Church has not been so much concerned as the abovementioned churches at the decay -- of the Puritan Sunday. Nevertheless it has perceived the danger. "What shall we say?" asks the Rev. Dr. S. D. McConnell. "What shall the Christian father say to his well-grown son when he sees him getting ready to go to the country for the Sunday on his wheel? . . . We are disputing among ourselves like a lot of Roman pedants while the barbarians are at the gates. . . . It is more important that we should have a congregation than that we should have a book of common prayer, that there should be a church than that there should be a creed."
Roman Catholicism is an important factor in the situation, and will be yet a more important factor. It was Rome who first taught that the ten commandments are not "binding" on Christians, and whoever now teaches that doctrine is, in so far, a Roman Catholic. Cardinal Gibbons' "Our Christian Heritage" puts the Sunday question logically. So do the "Letters of Senex" on the Sabbath Question. "The pages of this brochure," says the Catholic Mirror, "unfold to the reader one of the most glaringly conceivable contradictions existing between the practice and theory of the Protestant world, and unsusceptible of any rational solution on the theory claiming the Bible alone as the teacher, which unequivocally and most positively commands Saturday to be kept holy. . . . They stand before the world the representatives of a system the most indefensible, self-contradictory, and suicidal that can be imagined. . . . What Protestant can with clear conscience continue to disobey the command of God enjoining Saturday to be kept, a command which his teacher, the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation records as the will of God!"
This burst of righteous indignation against Protestant inconsistency is something too ardent; it is not of the right breed. But it betrays the writer into disclosing the genuine antinomianism which at bottom has characterized Rome ever since the Sunday festival found its way into the church. "What Protestant can continue to disobey the command of God?" asks the Mirror, the obvious implication being that only Catholics can continue to disobey the command of God. It is an unenviable privilege.
In a later article the same journal remarks: "The Catholic church, as Father Zahn remarked in his recent admirable volume, has ceased to contend with Protestants, because there is no need of it. Sagacious men in the Protestant ranks themselves admit that as a representative system it is so rapidly disintegrating that before long it must cease to exist. . . . The drift is directly away from faith in the divinity and teachings of Christ. Is it not, indeed, away from belief in God?" Perhaps the Mirror overestimates the weakness of divided Protestantism, but the vital fact remains that unless Protestantism takes a stronger grasp on an authoritative Bible as over against an authoritative church the keystone to the Protestant arch is gone.
Protestantism attempted to build on higher ground than Catholicism occupied. It openly denounced the position of absolute ecclesiastical authority. But it distinctly continued to occupy the old Catholic nosabbathism position, at the same time discarding church authority. The result is that on the whole, and in America at least, Rome holds its communicants to the church-rules about Sunday better than Protestantism holds its communicants to the sabbatic regard for Sunday. And in every attempt to secure sabbatic Sunday observance by civil legislation, Protestants have had to appeal to Catholics for help. In order to secure the (valueless) interference of Congress in the attempt to close the Columbian Exposition on Sunday, they were obliged to seek the assistance of their ancient foe. When the signature of Cardinal Gibbons had been secured, Protestants heralded that signature as representing seven millions of the friends of Sunday. They did this apparently without a sense of humiliation. Their fathers would have died sooner than ask for such an alliance or boast of it. When the Cardinal had signed, Congress acted; but its action was evaded with perfect ease. These facts show that even Catholicism is powerless in America as against the vast secular public. But, religiously, Catholicism holds the balance of power. Protestants come to her for help, and Protestantism is therefore, as Cardinal Gibbons puts it, “no longer a foe to be feared."
Catholicism is not noisy concerning its plans and its purposes. But untiring persistence, adroit management, and unlimited resources are an adequate substitute for loud talk. Its experience in suppressing heretics and in baptizing secularism is two milleniums long. Its organization is the marvel of history, and shows a power of adaptation to environment which is constantly underestimated by dissenters. It is not wanting in virility today. Its claims to the ownership of Sunday are substantiated by history, and it can not be eliminated from the future of sabbathism.
§26. How can we attain Spiritual Sabbathism? -- Some years ago the late M. Renan exclaimed, "Christianity is dead; it has lost its Sunday!" The remark had a certain significance, for it came from a distinguished historian of the People of Israel, and from the author of what once passed for a Life of Jesus. It should not, perhaps, be taken too seriously, for it is the utterance of a man who, contemplating the impurity of France, said that "perhaps the gay people are in the right after all." We know very well who the gay people were in antiquity; they were the worshipers of Baal; and it is not without significance that a historian of Israel, brought up among celibate Catholic monks, should view with equanimity both the death of Christianity and the survival of the gay people. Renan boasted that he alone in his century had understood Jesus and Francis of Assisi. Well, long before St. Francis was born, Gnostics had made the same boast about their understanding of Jesus, and on their amulets we see to this day the phallic serpent of the sun. A historian should be the last person to boast.
Christianity is not dead; it has hardly begun to live. It was a Hebraic revelation, and the experiment of meeting modern problems in the spirit of a purified Hebraism has never been tried. We have tried a Puritan version of Hebraism; and it has failed. We have tried Hellenized and Solarized versions of Hebraism, and they have failed. But the religion which brings eternity into time, which gives a holy earnestness to practical effort, which brings respect for law without idolatry of the law -- this is to be the achievement of the future. We do not pretend to be able to state it in adequate terms. We do not prophesy some sudden revolution which will overcome the distance between primitive types of men now surviving and the higher type of man toward which our Lord pointed us -- though neither in biology nor in religion are sudden revolutions and "mutations" unknown. But we prophesy that the Holy Spirit will lead men, sooner or later, into the profound meaning of what we have called Spiritual Sabbathism. The process, which must be a process of spiritual struggle, a strife between sense and spirit, will in time so enlighten the intellect that a consecrated service of the whole man will be possible.
Jesus is our guide. He gave us the assurance that the Spirit will comfort and illumine; it is to be no casual visitant or a chance acquaintance, but a constant companion and a continued spiritual creator within us. He knew the dangers of idolatry, and that it was expedient that he go away that he might come again in spirit. But, said he, "I will not leave you; I will not leave you." Thus he transmuted the authority of his bodily presence into the abiding of the spirit in the inner sanctuary of each soul. His "Farewell" was an "All hail." His eternity was not broken, and he is the spirit within us of the Sabbath of God.
By Greek philosophy (as it then was) and by compromise with nature-worship, Christian history went into the morass of metaphysical no-sabbathism, sensual festival, and spiritual poverty. Out of that morass the first step must be, not an appeal to legalism, but a restoration of faith in Christ and the mission of the Spirit.
But in avoiding legalism we must not fall into any philosophical pit. No excursion into the intellectual labyrinth of time and eternity can furnish us with a substitute for spiritual religion. Metaphysics is not religion, however superior it may be to sensuality, or however great its aid may be in formulating religious experience. This fact is what lies at the root of Hebraism, which has always stood for earnest practical effort in distinction from dreaming. It is one thing to know the best that thinkers have thought and said concerning the puzzle of time. It is quite another thing to use time practically and spiritually, in such a manner that we shall share the peace which passeth understanding.
Of that peace how great is the need today! Deep joy in service because we serve the eternal -- how sadly our joyless age needs that! For in the midst of our machine-ridden age, in the midst of our restless activity, there is less and less of deep joy. The age is unsatisfied, nervous, materialistic, seeking rest and finding none.
Men boast that ours is an energetic age. It is certain that of worldly energy there is no lack. Moreover, we are glad to applaud every sign of moral energy. We honor every determined effort to accomplish a good work; to grapple with injustice whether it appears in employer or employed; to purify politics; to make honesty honorable; to execute the civil law whenever the civil law does not meddle with spiritual things; to protect the purity of womanhood and the institution of the home; to prevent and stamp out disease; to make local pride honorable and local government dignified; to cultivate loyalty to the nation and charity to other nations. What is more important, we honor every Christian who keeps steadily in mind the fundamental duty and joy of Christians, that of bringing the world to a knowledge of the Christ. The world needs something more than culture and improved political machinery. It needs salvation; it needs redemption; it needs re-creation of the inner man. Therefore there is still, and more than ever, the task of the missionary. These are things to be done, and to be done by Christians. They are to be done constructively and not by carping criticism; by consecrated effort, and not by restless talk.
But our energy is not all energy. Some of it is mere neurotic busy-ness. In any asylum we may see people busier than even our strenuous Mr. Roosevelt. When vitality ebbs and nerves get the upper hand, mere motion begins. The dying man picks at the bedclothes because he is dying. Some of our philosophy, some of our religion, some of our reform is of this restless and aimless nature. It is ineffective.
The religious quest is always a quest for spiritual energy and calm. It is life whereof our nerves are scant. You can see this truth at every step of religion, from the sun-worshiper seeking to renew the crops by magically compelling the generative life of the sun, up to the sabbatic concept of pure Hebraism, where the infinite energy of Jehovah descends into human purposes and makes them adequate to living the eternal life in time. We seek energy, the peaceful and adequate and joyful fulfillment of function. We seek to work as God works, without fret or discouragement.
Not until we grasp this conception of life, which it was a part of the mission of Jesus to teach, can we hope for rest. Then, through faith in our Redeemer, we can live for the eternal; then we can conquer sense and let the prizes of the merely temporal go by us without regret. Then we can know that after all, a glad obedience is the deepest secret of life. To see things as they are, to attain knowledge of the world, to be scientific -- this is also good. But obedience is better than knowledge, and determined effort to be spiritually minded is better than wishing the world were less wicked.
Realizing that we are always in Eternity and in the presence of God promotes spiritual energy. This certainly does not mean living in the fear of death, or as if each day were to be your last. To Spiritual Sabbathism a man's last day on earth is only one day in eternal life, and death is a mere incident. But realizing that one is living in eternity does make one stop and consider whether he is living right. It compels frequent self-examination. It takes us out of the grooves of habit, and helps us to transfer our criticisms of others to ourselves. It helps us to stand on the shore of time and note the quality of our character as it flows by. It gives us higher views of our responsibilities. It demands sabbatic hours and days, times when we are much alone with God. It requires of us personal and private sabbathism with God. The facing of death sifts out true values and shows what is of eternal worth. But the calm and fearless facing of life as a whole is yet more valuable; sabbathism helps us to distinguish, amid our aims and purposes, what are golden and what are dross.
§27. Protestants must lead. -- Any essential improvement in the religious condition of America must come, first, through improvement of personal religious experience, and secondly, through religious organization. The Sabbath question is and always must be a religious question pure and simple. Sunday laws, enforced idleness -- these can not solve the problem. There can be no such thing as a "Civil Sabbath." If the history of Phariseeism, Catholicism, and Puritanism does not prove this, then Schiller was wrong, the history of the world is not the judgment of the world, and men may go on forever repeating the follies of the past. It is easy to charge Seventh-day Baptists with being "legalists," but their legalism is innocent and innocuous compared with the legalism of those alleged "Sabbath Reformers" who rely on civil law. When the real spiritual reform comes it will come first within the churches, and especially within Protestant churches.
The situation ought to be clear enough. The logic pinches. The verdict of history is emphatic. Either Protestants must lead toward Spiritual Sabbathism, or humanly speaking, it will not be attained.
Is a specific day demanded? The purpose of life is eternal life; it is the conquest of sense and the attainment of spiritual freedom for ourselves, for our children, for all men. The profound law of Jehovah suggests, as the practical means to this end, six days of consecrated labor followed by one of consecrated rest. That divine proportioning of days has proved more powerful for good than any human device for the use of time. Catholicism in the beginning saved itself partly by ignoring the absolute no-sabbathism of Tertullian. Luther's church has done the same in spite of Luther's theory. This proportioning avoids the festival idleness of paganism, with its too numerous holidays, and it avoids the deadening effects of constant labor. Unless a weekly rest is observed, "mere convenience" soon encroaches upon the principle of rest.
But is the seventh day necessarily the specific day? Is it not approaching madness to suggest a return to the Hebraic Sabbath? Could a mere change of day bring results of any importance? To advocate such a change -- is it not making a fetish of time, magnifying a trifle, returning to a superstition? Have we not reached the very threshold of a great truth -- namely that all religious ideas must be more and more spiritualized -- only to fall prostrate before entering?
We answer, first, that no one who has done us the honor to read this book can possibly convict us, of maintaining that a merely formal change from one day to another could have the slightest effect on character -- unless it be to increase the selfrighteousness of the convert. It should hardly be necessary to repeat the contents of our first chapter, or to deny that any day has a magical quality in itself. But there is a divine power in divine ideas, a creative influence that surpasses all magic. The world is ruled by ideas and ideals, for these are the method of God's revelation, and they can be used to salvation or corrupted unto death. The sabbatic idea, the idea of consecrated work and consecrated rest, is one of the most powerful forces that civilization has known. It is the historical fact that this idea came through the week and the seventh day of the Hebrews. It came as a loving command and a saving suggestion from Jehovah. It was an anticipation of man's spiritual needs and his intellectual inquiries. To the latter the Bible seems to answer, "If you would grasp the nature of time and eternity, you must do so by action, by spiritual activity. If you would solve the problem of the eternal, your wisest procedure is to imitate the creator by the consecrated labor of six days and the consecrated rest of the seventh."
The idea of sacred rest has never been long associated with any day but the seventh. Fair trials have been made again and again to enforce sabbatic rest on the Sunday. Every means of enforcement has been resorted to; allegory, papal authority, imperial authority, parliamentary authority, congressional authority, "biblical" authority so-called, and forged scripture; and to these we must add the fear of supernatural punishment here and hereafter, and the fear of death at the hands of the hangman. But these things have been tried in vain, for the Sunday had neither a divine command nor a pure history nor a sound philosophy behind it.
Blood will tell, and Sunday is reverting to its pre-Christian type. That type was at best the military unrest of Mithraism; at its worst it was the unrest of Mithra-Anahita, an unrest to which we will not apply the plain name. Mingled with these elements of unrest there were various others later on. In the first century there was the intellectual unrest of Gnosticism, and the abnormal excitement and unrest of the thousands who expected the speedy return of the Risen One. In the second century there was added that arrogant impatience with the past and that excitable hatred of Jehovah which gave us nosabbathism. To all these was added the unrest of the Christian conscience when Sunday legislation was accepted and the kingdom of Christ was compromised by the kingdom of this world. That unrest shows itself today in all efforts to compel sabbatarianism by civil law. Sunlight is God's gift, and it furnishes a noble religious symbol, and every morning should bring thoughts of divine mercy and spiritual regeneration. Jehovah saw the light that it was good; he covereth him with light as with a garment; he sendeth out his light and his truth; he maketh his sun to rise upon the evil and the good. But, after all, it is the law of Jehovah which is a light unto our feet, for to the Invisible and Eternal the physical darkness and the physical light are one. And we need a sterner interpretation of the temporal and the eternal than a mere festival of light. If we do not have it we shall not be able to meet philosophies and religions which still worship those other ideas of sunlight -- the military and the orgiastic. This is no idle fancy. Today in the universities of Germany the most popular philosopher is Friedrich Nietsche, a thinker whose philosophy is both military and orgiastic. To conquer -- like the sun; to give free rein to "nature" like the Bacchanalian -- such is the perverse but ancient essence of Nietscheism. He called his philosophy the Dionysiac philosophy, and we know who Dionysus was; a god of the grape and of the sun, the equivalent in Greece of Mithra-Anahita in Pontus. Nietsche is the philosopher of intellectual, emotional, and physical unrest; the philosopher of ruthless liberty, license, disobedience and individualism. He called Christianity the greatest curse the world has even seen. He is the philosopher of the pagan Sunday, and his vogue is immense.
Have we not yielded enough to Mithra in celebrating Christmas close upon the birthday of the Unconquered Sun? Precious that time of gift-giving is, and to childhood that much perhaps of the world's childhood may be allowed. But instead of pretending that we know the month or day of our Lord's birth, let us tell the children frankly that the day was first celebrated as following the winter solstice, and that everywhere the Pagans gave themselves up to romping, in anticipation of springtime. Later they will learn the whole truth about the "Christmas" revels; that before Christ they meant the sacrifice of the mock king of the revels, to insure the fertility of the crops; that the mock king ate and drank and was permitted the grossest license, since tomorrow he died. Possibly a knowledge of such facts may in time lessen our doctor's bills after Christmas, and diminish the amount of wine which flows at the holidays. Possibly, too, it may render our gift-giving a little less extravagant, anxious, and material. The employer who fully intends to underpay his clerk next year, but who sends him a condescending gift at Christmas, may in time learn that he is not imitating Jesus, he is imitating the mockery of those who crowned him before they slew him.
"But," says Renan, "Christianity is already dead, for she has lost her Sunday." Rather let us say, Christianity is in danger, for she has lost the Sabbath of Jesus. She has lost the restful poise, the calm aim, the steady effort, the spiritual sabbathism of the best Hebraic tradition. It is true that Puritan Protestantism made an effort to recover these values, but it failed. Does that constitute the permanent failure of Protestantism?
Twenty-five years ago Adolf Harnack said to the present writer, "Either Protestantism will become more spiritual or it will perish; and if it perishes, Roman Catholicism will take its place as a new form of Paganism." Were these the words of an alarmist ? Has Professor Harnack that reputation? Hardly. He is an eminent and moderate historian, who sees history as a whole, and is therefore granted a certain superiority to what Goethe called the "various perversities of the day." He knows that history is a long way from being finished, and that reversion to type is a danger from which no civilization is ever exempted. What will a similar historian say of this age two thousand years from now? Will it be his lot to record that the twentieth century, which opened with unparalleled brightness for science and commerce, proved to have attained more knowledge and more wealth than it could assimilate? that it was educated beyond its abilities, and rich beyond its power of moral resistance? Will he record that, as a consequence of this materialism, Christianity, the child of a sternly pure Hebraism, succumbed so completely that a new Secularism, a new Paganism, took its place?
We hope that his task will be different. We hope that the Harnack of the fortieth century will have nobler things to record. We trust that men will so cooperate with God that they may attain life with him and in him. We trust in God. But we do not trust in fortune and the sun, as the Emperors trusted and have perished. We can not lean upon the thought that chance will bring us through or that holidays can consecrate us. We can not get far upon the road to Spiritual Sabbathism by scorning the gentle but solemn command: "Thus saith Jehovah." But we can calmly wait and joyfully work in the faith that even here, on earth and in time, there remaineth a Sabbath Rest for the people of God.
*Goethe -- Elsewhere Goethe says to the youth of his time: "Take with you this holy earnestness, for earnestness alone makes time eternity." -- Boehme's motto was: "He to whom time is as eternity and eternity as time is freed froms struggle." For many similar expressions see Fichte, Reden an die deutsche Nation; Emerson: Essays.
**Heraclitus. -- Our comment is anticipated by the poet Callimachus on Heraclitus, in the Greek Anthology.
Animism. -- The word is Tylor's, and his Primitive Culture is a good introduction to the subject. There is an excellent article by d'Alviella in the first volume (just published, August, 1908) of the new Hastings Dictionary of Ethics and Religion. "Momentary gods" -- Augensblick Gotter -- is Usener's phrase, in Gotternamen: Versuch einer Lehre von der religiosen Begriffsbildung.
"Religion has had its turn at the wheel." The phrase is Professor Santayana's, and the fifth volume of his Life of Reason is but an expansion of the thought.
Reverence. -- Bosanquet: Civiliation of Christiandom, 61.
Son of Man. -- The school referred to is led by Professor Nathaniel Schmidt. See his The Prophet of Nazareth, ch. v.
Mythology. -- The literature is endless. A good introduction is Tylor's Primitive Culture. Max Muller's Science of Religion and his Science of Language are important, and so is Lang's criticism of them in the Encyclopedia Britannica article. Preller's Greek Mythology, Brinton's Myths of the New World, Curtin's American Creation Myths, Frazer's The Golden Bough -- these will constitute a beginning.
Babylonian Creation Tablets. -- The translation may be had in the Extra Volume of the Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, under Professor Jastrow’s article on Religion of Babylonia; or in Kent's Student's Old Testament, vol. i. Appendix. There are full discussions in Smith's The Chaldean Account of Genesis, and Schraeder's The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament; but the latest and best is King's The Seven Tablets of Creation.
Tel el-Armarna Tablets. -- The text may be had in English, tr. Conder. There are good selections in Harper's Assyrian and Babylonian Literature, and in Hastings there are many references (1, 179, 223, 227, 347, 661, 665; 11, 554).
The slain god, corn spirit, or wood spirit. -- Attention was first drawn to this subject by W. Robertson Smith in his Religion of the Semites. Frazer's great work, The Golden Bough, is devoted to it. Frazer's inquiry began with an effort to explain "the golden bough" mentioned in the sixth book of the Aeneid. The enterprise led him into an unexplored world. The second edition of his book in three volumes appeared in 1900. A third edition will be broken into a series of volumes, of which one, Adonis, Attis, and Osiris, has already appeared.
Huxley: Collected Essays, ii, 358.
Astrology. -- J. A. Craig: Astrological-astronomical Texts (in Delitsch and Haupt: Assyriol-Bibliotek); Maspero: Dawn of Civilization; Lang: Magic and Religion; W. Jones: Credulities Past and Present; Eliphas Levi: Dogme et rituel de la haute magie.
The original publication includes here the astrological symbol for Jupiter.
Mentras. -- See Frazer: Adonis, Attis, and Osiris, ch. ix, on the Doctrine of Lunar Sympathy.
Comte. -- See F. Harrison: Realities and Ideals, p. 181.
Delambre: Historie d'Astronomie.
Shabbatum. -- Meinhad: Sabbat und Wache im Alten Testament; Jastrow: Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, p.376ff ; Am. Jour. Theol. ii, 321ff, 332ff, 345ff ; Sayce: Early History of the Hebrews, p. 193. For criticisms of Jastrow and Sayce, see Driver's article, Sabbath, in Hastings.
Maspero: Dawn of Civilization, 210ff.
Time in Zoroastrianism. -- See Art. Ages of the World, Dict. Ethics and Religion; Jackson: Zoroaster; Geldner: Avesta; Hoffding: Philosophy of Religion, 52-57.
Time in Hindu Religions. -- Art. Ages of the World, supra; Deussen: Philosophy of the Upanishads; Rhys Davids: Dialogues of the Buddha; Ribot: The Creative Imagination, 207ff.
Swami Vivekananda: Karma Yoga, 89, 159.
The Zervanite heresy. -- Dict. Ethics and Religion, i, 207.
The contrast in philosophy. -- Some notion of how deceptive the antithesis is when taken literally can be had from the inconsistencies of a semi-philosophic author like Carlyle. Carlyle was deeply impressed by the antithesis, and his references to it arouse strong emotions. But whereas in one place he calls speech "as shallow as time," in another he makes time the deepest of things: "like an all embracing ocean tide" it flows onward, and we and all things swim upon it "like exhalations."
Our two groups give some strange bed-fellows. Hodgson's empiricism, Russell's realism, Santayana's platonic naturalism, Hoffding's critical monism, Ostwald's energetics, Haeckel's rhetorical or mythical monism -- have these systems really anything in common? The differences are certainly important, and the grouping holds only at a distance, in comparison with the other group. In that group also there are strange bedfellows. Aristotle is Plato's critic, and Ramanuja is Shankara's. Aquinas and Duns Scotus, like most mediaeval thinkers, project their theology against an assumed real world. Among living writers, the Eucken of twenty years ago seems to belong to our first group; it is only his latest book which shows the widening breach between him and such men as James and Schiller. Royce and Munsterberg hold very different views as to the nature of time. We admit all these contradictions. Yet we contend that if any line can throw the representative thinkers into two groups, that which we have indicated will do it.
Thales, Anaximenes, Anaximander, Heraclitus. -- See Gomperz: Greek Thinkers, vol. i. Democritus is best studied in the poem of his disciple Lucretius, On the Nature of Things. Hobbes: De Corpore, vii. That the skepticism of Hobbes does not remove him from our first group appears in the Leviathan, where he contemptuously refers to "names that signify nothing -- as Eternal Now, and the like canting of schoolmen." Ampere, see Hoffding: Hist. Mod. Philos., ii, 308. C. H. Weisse: see Hoffding: Hist. Mod. Philos., ii, 267. Kierkegaard: Entweder-Oder. This is not Kierkegaard's most important philosophical work, but it shows more clearly than any other his hatred of abstraction. Beneke: Psychologische Skizzen; Hoffding, Hist. Mod. Philos., ii, 259ff. Duhring: Wirklichkeitsphilosophie. Ostwald: Naturphilosophie; Individuality and Immortality. Haeckel: The Riddle of the Universe, ch. xii. Hoffding: The Problems of Philosophy, ch. ii, ch. iii, 5; A Philosophical Confession, Journal of Philosphy, ii, 4. Bergson: Essai sur les donnees immediates de la conscience, ch. ii; Matiere et memoire, 268ff; L'evolution creatrice, chs. iii, iv. James: The Will to Believe, 181; Introduction to Hoffding's Problems of Philosophy; Pragmatism. Dewey: Studies in Logical Theory; Does Reality Possess Practical Character (in Essays in honor of William James). B. Russell: Principles of Mathematics, vol. i, chs. lii, liii. Hodgson: Time and Space. Schiller: Riddles of the Sphinx, ch. ix; Humanism, 94-109, 189, 212, 275; Studies in Humanism, 28, 73, 422. Sturt: Idola Theatri, 34, 94, 95, 231, 237- 40, 325. To the authors above we may add Santayana, The Life of Reason, esp. vol. v, Reason in Science.
Paramenides, Zeno of Elea, Melissus. -- See Gomperz: Greek Thinkers, vol. I. Plato: Timaeus 37c-38d; Sophist, 248e; Cratylus, 389c. Aristotle: Physica, iv, Metaphysica, V, vii. Shankara and Ramanuja: see Deussen: Philosophy of the Upanishads; art. Oriental Philosophy, in (Baldwin) Dictionary of Philosphy; Sacred Books of the East, vol. 48. Aquinas: Summa Theologiae, i, 10. Duns Scotus: See Townsend: The Great Schoolmen of the Middle Ages. Eckhardt and Boehme: see Preyer: Geschichte der deutschen Mystik; Martensen: Meister Eckhart; Fechner: J. Boehme. Spinoza, Ethica V; Pollock's Spinoza; Kant: Critique of Pure Reason, Transcendental Aesthetic, sec. ii; Transcendental Dialectic, ch. ii, sec. iii. The literature concerning Kant's doctrine of time and space is too vast to make references here worth while. Fichte: Science of Knowledge. Hegel: Logic (from the Encyclopedia). Bradley: Appearance and Reality, ch. iv. Bosanquet: Logic, i, 273ff. McTaggart: Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, ch. v; The Unreality of Time, "Mind,” n.s. no. 68. Eucken: The Life of the Spirit, ch. ii; Der Kampf um einen geistigen Lebensinhalt, Der Wahrheitsinhalt der Religion, v. Munsterberg: Grundzuge der Psychologie i, 131; The Eternal Life; Science and Idealism; Philosophie der Werte, 158, 182, 434, 458, 474. Royce: The World and the Individual, esp. vol. ii, lecture 3. E. Caird: The Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers. [Professor Caird died Nov. 1, 1908, two days before the death of the author of this book. -- Editor.] J. Watson: The Philosophical Basis of Religion: 60, 79, 128, 212, 339. A. E. Taylor: Elements of Metaphysics, books iii, iv. Ormond: Concepts of Philosophy, ch. viii.
 Augustine: Confessions, xi; Civitas Dei, xi, Newton: Principia, v, I; Opticks, Query 31. Leibnitz: New Essays; Theodicy; Russell: Leibnitz. Lotze: see the note in Hoffding: Hist. Mod. Philos., ii, 592, and the references to Falconberg's articles; see also Baldwin: Fragments in Philosophy and Science, 63; and Schiller: Lotze's Monism, in "Humanisin.” On this matter of internal contradiction, note Eucken's remark on Spinoza himself: "There is no philosopher who, in the fundamental texture of his system, is so compound of contradictions as the thinker who is praised by many as the supreme example of the quest for unity" (Life of the Spirit, 313). Then note that Eucken in turn receives a similar criticism from his expositor, Boyce Gibson (Rudolf Eucken's Philosophy of Life, sec. ed., 147); the critic wishes that "Eucken's sharp contrast between Psychical existence in time and substantial spiritual being out of time" might be modified. When we read such comments as these, we can understand why Hegel's philosophy of contradiction still keeps its hold on so many thinkers.
Hoffding: The Problems of Philosophy.
Heraclittis, Plato, Aristotle -- see references above. Add Aristotle: De Caelo, i, 10, 279b, 12.
Plotinus: Enneads, iii, 7, II. Augustine: Confessions, vii. For Neoplatonism in general, see Zeller: Philosophy of the Greeks; Harnack: The First Three Centuries of Christianity; Ritschl: Theologie und Metaphysik; Bigg: The Neoplatonists of Alexandria.
 Augustine: Confessions, xi, xiv, 17.
Descartes: Principia, i, 57. See Veitch's translation of the Discourse on Method, etc.
Spinoza, Hobbes. -- See references above.
Locke: Essay concerning Human Understanding. ii, 14.
Hume: Inquiry concerning Human Understanding, sec. vii.
 Kant. -- See references above.
Agnosticism. -- Huxley: Collected Essays, v, 239.
Stephen: An Agnostic's Apology. Ward: Naturalism and Agnosticism. Spencer: First Principles. The quotation from Russell is from Principles of Mathematics, i, 144.
Fichte and Hegel. -- See references above.
Bradley: Appearances and Reality. The phrase “higher synthesis of the Devil and the Deity” is quoted in Schiller: Humanism, p. viii.
Royce: The World and the Individual. "Time-span” is Royce's phrase (i, 42I). "Specious present" is Mr. E. R. Clay's, made current by James: Psychology, i, 609.
Munsterberg. -- See references above, especially Philosophie der Werte, pub. by Barth, Liepzig, 1908. Our summary is from this book, the first quotation being from p. 300, the second from p. 304. [Since this was written an English version, "The Eternal Values," has appeared. -- Editor.]
Naturalism. -- Ostwald's Naturphilosophie may be taken as typical. The technical literature of philosophic naturalism is not large. Popular authors like Buchner (Force and Matter) have been the freest to make sweeping assertions. But the atmosphere of naturalism is everywhere today, in scientific work. Balfour's graphic picture (Foundations of Belief, 30) is rejected by some scientists as a caricature. The really damaging work of naturalism is such by its implication. The brief philosophic remarks of a Loeb (Dynamics of Living Matter, p. 225) are more weighty than many books like Buchner's. For an interesting attempt to take Loeb's "tropisms" by the horns, see Royce: Outlines of Psychology, 29, 30, 141, 322, 330, 331. An impartial view of naturalism may be found in Otto: Naturalism and Religion, and a somewhat less impartial view in Ward: Naturalism and Agnosticism.
"Gaseous vertebrate." The phrase is Haeckel's and is characteristic. The best of the many replies to Haeckel's World Riddle is Paulsen's Philosophia Militans.
Mill: Three Essays on Religion, 314.
James: Pragmatism, 290; The Will to Believe -- chapter on Reflex Action and Theism; The Varites of Religious Experience, 525.
Schiller: Studies in Humanism, 286.
Rashdall: Personality Human and Divine, in the vol. Personal Idealism, 390.
Hoffding: Problems of Philosophy, 107.
Bergson: Les donnees imediates de la conscience; Matiere et memoire; L'evolution creatrice. The quotation is from the last-named, p. 151. "En definitive, l'intelligence, envisagee dans ce qui en parait etre la demarche originelle, est la faculte de fabriquer des objets artificiels, en particulier des outils a faire des outils, et d' en varier indefinement la fabrication."
 Le Roy: Comment se pose le probleme de Dieu. -Rev. de Metaphysique et de Morale, 1907, March, April, May.
 God as "the most changeable of beings" -- see Hoffding, Philosophy of Religion, 393. "What is dead, that is what is unchangeable. The Christian's God is the most living and hence the most changeable of beings." -- From a letter to Winzeman, Jacobi’s orthodox friend, by a fellow-believer, on the possibility of receiving an answer to prayer.
Mansel: The Limits of Religious Thought. Spencer: First Principles: The Unknowable.
Benn: The History of English Rationalism in the Nineteenth Century, i, 112.
Behring and Kitasuto on their discovery of diphtheria anti-toxin: Deut. Med. Wochenschrift, 1890, 16.
Huxley: Collected Essays, v. 3I5.
Santayana: Reason in Religion, p. 117.
"Omphalos," etc. See Edmund Gosse: Father and Son, p. 115ff. Benn: History of English Rationalism in the Nineteenth Century, i, 199ff, 370ff, ii, 474ff. Chateaubriand: Genius of Christianity, Pt. i, ch. iv, sec. 5; Lyell: Antiquity of Man; Principles of Geology. Chambers: Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. Baden Powell: Unity of Worlds; Christianity without Judaism. Colenso: Critical Examination of the Pentateuch. Reville: Prolegomena to the History of Religions; Dana: Manual of Geology. Huxley: Lectures on Evolution. Gladstone, Huxley, Muller, Reville, Lynton: The Order of Creation: a controversy. Myron Adams: The Continuous Creation. Chamberlin and Salisbury: Geology. J. A. Thomson: The Bible of Nature. F. J. Hall: Evolution and Fall.
Hoffding: Philosophy of Religion, p. 66.
Goethe -- All the quotations are from the Spruche in Prosa, translated as Maxims and Aphorisms.
Plato: Sophist, 248e.
Aristotle: De Anima, ii, 5, 4I7a, 16. See Schiller's chapter on Activity and Substance, in Humanism; and Overstreet: Change and the Changeless, Philos. Rev., xviii, I. The Aristotelian phrase is Energeia Akinesias.
Schiller: Riddles of the Sphinx, 443; Humanism, 212.
Aristotle: Phys. ii, 3, 194, b. 23: hena men oun tropon aition legetai to ex ou ginetai ti henuparchontos . . . allon de to eidos kai to paradeigma . . . eti othen he arche tes metaboles he prote he tes eremeseos . . . eti hos to telos touto d’ esei to ou heneka.
The most brilliant use of this distinction is that contained in Howison's Limits of Evolution. ch. vii on the harmony between determinism and free will. But Professor Howison must be aware that it was made much of by the Antiochene Fathers. They used it in their polemics against the extreme allegorizing tendencies of the Alexandrians. That great theologian, Theodore of Mopsuestia, grappled with the relation of creation to human freedom in profoundly psychological spirit, and found the solution in the creative power of love (De Incarn., Migne, lxvi). This position leads to a full appreciation of history as a creative process, and is nobly teleological. Theodore's critics complained that it minimized the facts of sin; but creative salvation from sin is precisely the core of the sacrifice of Christ. There is a true sense in which the creation of the world itself is an act of self-sacrifice on the part of God.
Munsterberg: Philosophie der Werte, 414.
The tractate Shabbath occupies the first two volumes of Rodkinson's translation of the Babylonian Talmud. There are full abstracts of it in Edersheim's Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, and in my Biblical Teachings concerning Sabbath and Sunday.
The passage referred to is Matt. xxviii, 1, where an earlier visit to the tomb is indicated: "Now late on the Sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Matthew, a Jew, could not possibly have regarded the Sabbath as lasting later than sunset much less as lasting till Sunday at dawn. The passage should be read in the light of Matt. xii, 40, where the prophecy distinctly states three days and three nights, a prophecy which could not have been fulfilled if Christ was crucified on Friday.
Anahita -- See Ency. of Ethics and Religion, Vol. I.
Pontus. -- Pliny's letter to Trajan (112) reports that the native shrines are almost deserted, and that Christianity is of long standing; some converts of twenty years ago have deserted it. This clearly shows that, though Paul and Silas had been diverted from their desire to visit Asia (Acts xvi, 6) the Gospel had made its way into Eastern Pontus by the middle of the first century. The matter is well discussed in Ramsay's article on Pontus, in Hastings, iv, 1-I8.
The Sacaea. -- See Frazer: Golden Bough, sec. ed., ii, 24, 151, 157, 176, 178; iii, 150ff.
Frazer: Golden Bough, sec. ed., ii, 195-198.
Harnack: Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries, i, 127ff; History of Dogma, i, 118, 147.
See Origen: Ante-Nicene Library: Against Celsus, III, xxiv.
Appolonius of Tyana.- See art. in Ency. of Ethics and Religion; Reville: Appolonius of Tyana; Robertson: Pagan Christs; Whittaker: Appolonius of Tyana.
Alexander of Abonoteichos. -- See art. in Ency. of Ethics and Religion; Lucian: Alexander; Gregorovius: Hadrian , ii, ch. 15.
Elagabalus. -- See Gibbon's Rome, i, ch. 6.
Cumont: Textes et monuments figures relatifs aux Mysteres de Mithra, Bruxelle, 1896, i, 299, 342, etc. See also McCormack: The Mysteries of Mithra, tr. from Cumont's "Conclusions" to vol. i, especially pp. 104, 167, 191. See also Bigg: The Church's Task under the Empire, p. 47. In Cumont, ii, 425, there is an account of a flat hoop of gold on which are the names of Zeus and Mithra, a snake, and the monogram of Christ. St. Augustine once met a Mithraic priest who said to him: Et ipse Pileatus Christianus est -- "He of the Phrygian cap is also a Christian." In Ioh. evan. tract. 7, p. 1140, Migne.
Gnosticism. -- Mansel: Gnostic Heresies; Hilgenfeld: Ketzergeschichte des Urchristentums: King: The Gnostics and their Remains; Harnack: History of Dogma, vols. i and ii.
Kabbalists. -- Ginsburg: The Kabbala; Eliphas Levi: Transcendental Magic.
Simon Magus. -- See Hastings, iv, 520, 527.
Cerinthus. -- See works above quoted, and art. in Ency. Brit.
Valentinus. -- See works above quoted, and Harnack's article in Ency. Brit.
The Pistis Sophia may now be had in English, tr. Mead, published by the London Theosophical Society.
Uhlhorn: Conflict of Christianity With Heathenism, p. 346.
Marcion. -- See Harnack's art. in Ency. Brit., together with references there given. Tertullian, Against Marcion, may be found in the Ante-Nicene Library.
Sunday -- the first day of the week -- is mentioned in the New Testament eight times. Six of these times are in the Gospels, and all refer to the same day. These references are as follows (Revised Version):
"Now late on the sabbath day as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Matt. xxviii, 1.
"And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices that they might come and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they came to the tomb, when the sun was risen." Mark xvi, 1, 2.
The day is also named in Mark xvi, 9, which is an addition to the genuine Gospel. Nevertheless we count it as one of the eight times.
"And on the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. But on the first day of the week at early dawn they came unto the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared." Luke xxiv, 1.
"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb." John xx, 1.
"When therefore it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you." John xx, 19.
All these references are to one and the same day. They show that on that day the news of Christ's resurrection was brought to the disciples. They show nothing more.
They do not state that Christ rose on that day; even the added passage, Mark xvi, 9, only states that Christ, being risen, appeared on Sunday morning. On the contrary, Matthew xxviii, 1-6, states definitely that when the first visit to the sepulchre was made "late on the sabbath day," Christ had risen already. This accords with the prophetic test of his Messiahship, which Christ made in Matt. xii, 40.
The Bible never associates Christ's resurrection with the observance of any day. It says nothing about commemorating the work of redemption by observing any day. It makes no comparison between the "work of Redemption and the work of Creation," as to which is the greater or more important.
The first day of the week is mentioned once in the Book of Acts.
"And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." Acts xx, 6, 7.
The popular supposition is that this meeting was held on Sunday evening, and that the breaking of bread was a "celebration of the Lord's Supper." There are imperative reasons for rejecting both these interpretations. According to the Jewish method of reckoning time, which is everywhere used by writers of the Bible, all of whom were Jews, this meeting must have been on the evening after the Sabbath, now called "Saturday" evening, and hence Paul and his companions traveled all the next day. If, to avoid this dilemma, the Roman reckoning be supposed, then the main item of the meeting, viz., the "breaking of bread," took place after midnight, and hence on the second day of the week.
The time when this meeting was held is thus given by Conybeare and Howson: Life of St. Paul.
In all the Epistles of the New Testament there is but one mention of Sunday. "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. Upon the first day of the week, let each one of you lay by him in store as be may prosper, that no collections be made when I come." 1 Cor. xvi, 1, 2.
This is claimed by some as an order for a public collection and hence indicative of a public meeting on that day. There is abundant evidence to the contrary from scholars of repute. Meyer says, par’ heauto titheto can not refer to the laying down of money in the assembly. His translation is, "Let him lay up in store at home whatever he succeeds in," i.e., if he has success in anything, let him lay it up, i.e., "what he has gained thereby in order that gatherings be not made when I shall come." Comments on 1 Cor, xvi, 1.
No translation has been made, or can be made, which indicates this as a public collection.
And this is all the New Testament says about Sunday.
The Lord's Day in the New Testament.
In addition to the foregoing direct references to Sunday, it is claimed that Revelation i, 10. refers to Sunday as the Lord's day in the following words:
"I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet saying, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches."
If this passage be compared with similar passages, it is clear that the reference is not to any day of the week, but to the future Day of Judgment, which is the leading theme in the Book of Revelation. Ten other references to the Day of Judgment as the Day of the Lord, are found in Acts ii, 20; 1 Cor. i, 8; v. 5; 2 Cor. i, 14; Philip. i, 6, 10; 2 Pet. iii, 10, 11, 12; these references are quite unmistakable, and are disputed by no scholar whatsoever. Interpreted by such passages, Rev. i, 10, obviously becomes a record of a past spiritual vision of a final future event. In Rev. iv, 1, 2, we have the actual process of John's passing into the spirit on the Judgment Day described:
"After these things I saw, and behold, a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, a voice as of a trumpet speaking with me, one saying, Come up hither, and I will show thee the things which must come to pass hereafter. Straightway I was in the Spirit; and behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting upon the throne."
The likelihood that the Book of Revelation was written at least a quarter of a century earlier than, the Gospel of John, and that in the Gospel the first day of the week is known by its proper name, and not as the Lord's day, is another evidence that the reference in Revelation is to the Day of Judgment. It is certain that the first day of the week as a Sabbath, or a day of rest and worship, or as a day commemorating the resurrection of Christ, has no history in the New Testament.
 Harnack: Art. Marcion, Ency. Brit. Cf. History of Dogma i, chs. 4, 5.
Harnack: History of Dogma, i, 119 comments on Justin's use of the Stoic phrases.
Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Trypho, chs. 12 and 23.
Tertullian: Answer to Jews, ch. iv; Apol. ch. xvi,
Bryennios. -- See Grosvenor's article: Bryennios on the Teaching, Independent, Oct. 15, 1884, and Bryennios: Didache k. t. l. Bartlet's article in Hastings, Extra Vol., p. 450, gives the literature of the Didache.
Oxyrhynicus Papyri. -- The text has been published by the discoverers, Grenfell and Hunt, the last volume having just appeared (1908). The logoi are in the first volume (1898). [We accept logoi rather than logia, following Bacon's suggestion in Hastings: Dict. of Christ and the Apostles, art. logia.] G. and H. regard the logoi as earlier than 140, and are supported by such men as Swete, Rendel Harris, Heinrici, and Lock. Harris (in Hastings: Dict. of Bible, art. Agrapha) inclines to accept the genuineness of the saying we have quoted.
Uhlhorn: Conflict between Christianity and Heathenism, p. 427.
Milman: Historical Commentaries, b. iv, ch. iv.
Schaff: Church History, iii, 13-19.
Cod. Justin, III, Tit. 12, L. 3. "Let all judges and all city people and all tradesmen rest upon the venerable day of the sun. But let those dwelling in the country freely and with full liberty attend to the culture of their fields; since it frequently happens that no other day is so fit for the sowing of grain or the planting of vines; hence the favorable time should not be allowed to pass, lest the provisions of heaven be lost."
Constantine's labarum or cross. -- See my Paganism, Surviving in Christianity, pp. 239, 244, 245, 246. Also Eliphas Levi (A. Constant): Transcendental Magic, p. 300.
Constantine and the Sunday market. -- See Gruter's Inscriptiones, clxiv, 2, and Cox: Sabbath Literature, i, 359.
A. V. G. Allen: Christian Institutions, p. 466.
Apostolic Constitutions. -- See Ante-Nicene Library, xviii, 65, 66, 87, 88, 138, 143, 186, 196, 197, 265, 266.
Tertullian: On Idolatry, ch. iv, Ante-Nicene Library, xi, 162.
Alzog: Universal Church History, i, 307.
Binius: Councils: Orleans, xi, 496; Macon, xiii, 75; Mayence, xx, 357; Rheims, xx, 368; Soissons (and Nicholas to the Burgundians) xxii, 453, 454, 459. For the missi dominici, or Sunday police, see Neale: Feasts and Fasts, p. 98, where it is said that the yoking of oxen was punished by confiscation of one ox. The full text of the Saxon and English legislation will be found in my History of Sunday Legislation
The full text of the Eustace forgery, and the narrative of the ensuing miracles, may be found in Hovendon's Annals, ii, 188-192, 526-528.
The reforms of St. Margaret. -- See Skene: Celtic Scotland, b. ii, ch. 8.
Luther: The Larger Catechism. See also Hessey: Sunday, pp. 167, 351.
Augsburg Confession, art. 28.
Calvin: Institutes, i, b. ii, ch. 8; Commentaries (Galatians iv, 10) tr. Pringle. Sermons, tr. Golding, p. 204. For the bowling tradition, see Hopkins: History of the Puritans, iii, 586, Disraeli: Charles the First, ii, 16; Hessey: Sunday, p. 366.
The Works of Tyndale and Fryth, ii, 101. Fryth: Declaration of Baptism, p. 96.
Cranmer: Miscellaneous Writings (Cambridge, 1846) p. 60.
Injunctions of Edward VI. -- See Heylyn: History of the Sabbath, Pt. ii, ch. viii, Sec. 2.
Green: History of the English People, b. vi,ch. i.
Elizabeth. -- See Hessey: Sunday, p. 201. Hopkins: History of the Puritans, i, 176.
Neale: History of the Puritans, i, 176.
Hessey: Sunday, p.218.
Bownde. -- We know of only one copy of the first edition of Bownde's Doctrine now in this country. If is in the library of Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y.
Bownde: Doctrine, pp. 5, 6, 9, 30, 31, 33, 35.
 For the Puritan statutes see Neale: History of the Puritans.
Cairne. -- Hessey: Sunday, p. 216.
Plymouth Col. Rec. xi, 100, 214; Mass, Col. Rec. i, 395; ii, 93; v, 155, 239; New Haven Col. and Plant. Rec., pp. 358, 605; Col. Rec. of Conn., prior to 1665, p. 247.
The case of the Jewish peddler was recorded by Dr. H. L. Wayland, in the National Baptist, Jan. 25, 1894.
William Cleaver Wilkinson, D.D., in the Christian Advocate, 1885.
The Desplaines Camp Meetings. -- Interior, July 6, 1893.
Leonard Woolsey Bacon, D.D.: History of American Christianity, p. 371 ff .
Secretary Hathaway, in the Intelligencer, Dec. 8, 1897.
S. D. McConnell, D.D., in the Outlook, Jan. 15, 1898.
Catholic Mirror, Sept. 9, Sept. 30, 1893.
Catholic Mirror, Nov 3, 1895.
A large number of testimonies similar to the foregoing may be examined in my book, Swift Decadence of Sunday.
Nietsche: The Dawn of Day; The Genealogy of Morals; Beyond Good and Evil; The Antichrist.