8. Revelation and Religious Experience

8. Revelation and Religious Experience

If Christianity were at one with itself, and there were no other religions, the recognition of its truth would be easier. But it is endlessly divided and torn to pieces. The one church, which was the centre of village and city in the Middle Ages, is completely demolished; on every side a number of sects arise around her, each laying claim to be the purest expression of Christian truth, and continually subdividing and multiplying. Beyond that, the religions of the various nations are latterly becoming much better known to us than in former centuries, and the relation which Christianity bears to other religions has become a serious problem. Among those religions there are some which number millions of adherents, and numerically considered may, therefore, put in a more telling claim to the name of world-religions than Christianity. They provide examples of strong conviction of faith, earnest piety, and self-denying devotion which bear comparison with those of Christian confessions. All the elements of religion—doctrine and ethics, consciousness of sin and forgiveness, comfort and hope, contempt of death and certainty of salvation, prayer and praise, assemblies and public-service—appear in all. The claim to divine revelation is common to all religions.287

This extension of the religious horizon would not have proved so undermining to faith in Christian truth had it not been accompanied by a keen criticism of the power and value of human reason. In accordance with Scripture, Christian theology has always taught that sin involves also error, and thus has not only corrupted the heart and will, but also blinded the understanding. This doctrine of Scripture was especially reasserted in the Reformation, in opposition to the Roman view that the natural gifts have remained to men and only the supernatural lost. Luther, above all, was not on friendly terms with reason; though the substance of this doctrine is merely that intelligence has been blinded by sin, but not extinguished, and by its nature remains able to understand unseen and divine things. The newer philosophy, however, emancipated itself entirely from this Christian conviction and placed its trust exclusively in the power of reason, and was soon called upon to pass through an unpleasant experience. Both Descartes and Bacon established a separation between faith and reason, leaving the domain of faith to theology and satisfying themselves with a position external to it. For a while they lived in the illusion that they could very well dispense with revelation and faith, and could throw sufficient light upon all that man needs for his religious and moral life by reason. When this new philosophy, however, had reached the highest point of its development, it was wrecked by its own continued inquiry. In criticising revelation it had forgotten one thing,—criticism of itself. Reason in this newer philosophy took its starting-point in childish naiveté from its own integrity and trustworthiness. But when it had completed its work of demolishing revelation and now came to itself and examined its own nature and content, it found itself quite dissatisfied with itself. Reason found in reason its keenest inquisitor, and received its sharpest criticism from itself. All that had appeared to stand firm began to waver and to fall. The secondary attributes, the law of causality, the objective world of sense, the ideas of substance, personality, and self-consciousness, the world of supernatural and divine things— all appeared untenable and unknowable. Kant struck the balance of this critical process thus: the intelligence of man is confined to the world of phenomena, and does not know anything of what lies behind it. Reason is not merely blinded or weakened by sin; it is in its very nature blind and deaf and dumb in the presence of the spiritual world.

Whatever value we may attach to this critical philosophy, there can be no doubt that it has roughly shaken confidence in human reason, and has given a deep wound to the faith and conviction, to the spiritual security and moral will-power of the modern man. As on the one side it has declared man autonomous, and set him free from all objective forms and external authority, on the other side it has opened the door for a wild anarchy of thought. If the knowledge of God and of spiritual things is excluded from the domain of science, then not only is science bereft of moral character and made atheistic, but religion and morality also are left to individual caprice. Both become matters of private judgment and individual taste; each one can do what he will. That is an incalculable injury, not only for the schools, but still more for life; agnosticism produces ethical and practical indifference.

But naturally one cannot live on criticism and agnosticism. Although the agnostic view, that “scientific superstition,” as Mr F. W. H. Myers calls it, is embraced to-day by many learned men, it has never been the creed, nor is it now the creed, of the human race.288 Questions continually arise in the mind for which every one necessarily seeks an answer. There are some beliefs for which man cannot afford to wait. What must I do to be saved? is a question of an urgency of a totally different kind from the cause of the tides or the meaning of the marks on the moon. Men must settle roughly somehow or other what they have reason to hope or to fear from the unseen world.289 Auguste Comte’s positive philosophy grew into a sociolatry and a positive religion which made humanity and its heroes objects of worship. The whole of the nineteenth century is full of endeavors to recover the loss that had been suffered, to heal the gaping wound. Kant himself began it. In order to find a place for faith he confined science to the knowledge of sensible phenomena; what he demolished by theoretical reason, he tried to build up by practical reason. After him first one and then another arose, to make a similar effort to find a way to the unknown land. Speculative reason and intellectual contemplation, mysticism of feeling and the moral power of the will, the faith of the church and the religions of the nations, were all summoned in turn to aid in penetrating into the supernatural world, and building up the knowledge of God on a new scientific, unassailable foundation. However these efforts may differ, they all have in common that they no longer subject themselves to any so-called external authority, but try to find out God through man. Theology has, since Kant’s time, become theology of consciousness and experience, and thus loses itself practically in religious anthropology.

In this transformation of theology into the science of religion the new conception of science comes to light. Kant had already limited the power of the intelligence, because he was under the influence of the one-sided Newtonian explanation of nature and could recognize as scientific only a conception of the world which bore a strictly mechanical character.290 This mechanism is in wide circles no longer looked upon as a sufficient explanation of the world, so that philosophy has acquired a new value; but nevertheless, the idea still exists that there is only one science, or at most two sciences, namely, the sciences of nature and of history, and that accordingly there are, only two scientific methods, the empirical and the historical.291 Thus, if theology is to be a science, and the knowledge of unseen and divine things trustworthy, the same method must be applied in its domain as in those of nature and history. Theology must become an empirical science.292

But in this way the word “experience” is made to play an ambiguous ro1e. When used in religion and theology, it has a wholly different significance from that which it bears in empirical science. In the latter what is meant is, that, by consistent application of the empirical method, personal interest in the inquiry is to be excluded as much as possible, and that the phenomena are observed and explained in their purity and impartially; empiricism even calls to its help the experimental proof. But when men speak of experience in religion, they mean it to be understood, on the other hand, that religion is, or at any rate must become, a personal matter through and through. Religion is, according to this interpretation, no doctrine, no precept, no history, no worship, in a word, not a belief on authority, nor a consent to truth, but arises from within, when the heart is touched and a personal fellowship established between God and our soul. Now there is certainly such a religious experience; the devotional writings of all religions bear witness to it, and serve in their turn to feed and strengthen that religious life even more than Bible and catechism.293 But the mistake is when men fancy they in this way make theology a science as exact as that of nature, and thus arrive at a scientific knowledge of unseen and eternal things.294

For whatever meaning religious experience may have, it is not and cannot be an heuristic principle. Experience comes into being only when, first, there exists something to experience, and afterwards this something is really experienced ; it cannot otherwise exist. Religion is without doubt a matter of the heart; but it cannot be separated from all objective knowledge of God through his revelation in nature and history, in Scripture and conscience. A subjective religion is always preceded by an objective religion, whatever this may be. Just as language presupposes the capacity for speech in the child, but yet is learned from the mother, so also religious experience arises out of preceding revelation. Every child grows up in the religion of its parents, and thereby develops its own religious life; the pious teaching and example of the mother awaken piety in the heart of the child. No less than in sensation, science, and art, does this take place also in religion. Man is never self-sufficient and independent of the outside world; he needs the earth to feed and clothe him, light to see, sound to hear, the phenomena of nature or the facts of history to observe and to know, and in the same way revelation to awaken and strengthen his religious life. The heart cannot be separated from the head, nor faith as trust from faith as knowledge. Even those who look upon dogmatics as an exposition of pious feelings recognize that these feelings nevertheless are due to external influences, as, for example, from the person of Christ.295 Experience does not come first, after which interpretation follows, but revelation precedes, and is experienced in faith.296

If we reject the empirical order and proceed in an oppositive direction, we reach the so-called psychology of religion which has latterly aroused so much attention. There is no doubt that this young science, for which Pietism and Methodism prepared the way, and which is a direct fruit of the empirical psychology and theology, has a right to exist, and may be expected to yield important aid for the knowledge and guidance of religious life. It may be hoped also that the method which has been applied in this science by James, Starbuck, Coe, and others, will gradually meet the objections which to-day are properly urged against it. Finally, we may acknowledge that dogmatics, especially in the doctrine of the ordo salutis, must become more psychological, and must reckon more fully with religious experience.297 But this does not alter the fact that the psychology of religion only inquires into the experiences of the soul and cannot form a judgment upon their right and value. It observes and describes the phenomena of religious consciousness, but it cannot pronounce upon their truth and purity. It regards religion, no doubt, as one of “the most important biological functions of mankind,”298 but it can never come to the question of its truth, it cannot elevate itself to a logos of religion, and therefore can never replace metaphysics or dogmaties.299

We may reasonably question even the anticipation of Coe, that this psychology of religion will be able to regain many who in our days have turned away from all religion.300 For without underestimating the new conclusions which present themselves, and the important suggestions which have been derived from this new study of religious life, the results to which it has led do not support the expectations which Coe formed for them. This is very clearly manifested in the fact of conversion, to which the greatest attention has been devoted. The psychology of religion not merely conceives conversion as a “natural and necessary process,”301 forming a part of man’s biological development and connected intimately with puberty,302 but its investigation gradually loses sight of what must be understood by conversion. In itself it has no standard by which to form a judgment of what conversion consists in; it inquires into and describes conversion only as a psychological phenomenon. But regarded from this point of view the treason of Judas is as important as the penitence of Peter, and conversion is nothing other than one of the many transformations of consciousness, or alterations of personality, which take place so frequently in human life.303 If all these religious phenomena are studied only from a psychological standpoint, the result is that they lose their character and their content is sacrificed to their form. Conversion thus loses its special meaning; on the ground of certain analogies with other psychological phenomena it is confused and identified with them in the same manner as in the religio-historical method. All religions are first compared one with another, and then, on the ground of some points of agreement, are identified with one another. What conversion is and ought to be no psychology of religion can teach us; the Scriptures alone can tell us that; and if they do not tell it to us, nobody knows.

This remark applies not to conversion only, but also to all special religious experiences, such as consciousness of sin, repentance, faith, hope, sense of forgiveness, prayer, fellowship with God; and it applies as well to religion in general. Religious psychology occupies a neutral standpoint outside and above all religions, and studies and compares the religious experiences of Romanist and Protestant, Christian, heathen, Jew and Mohammedan, and feels itself naturally attracted by those persons and groups whose religious life bears a more or less eccentric character; mystics, fanatics, enthusiasts of all sects and confessions, form for it interesting cases which it eagerly inquires into.304 But again the qualitative discrimination disappears from view; or rather the psychology of religion does not perceive it, and attends only to the psychological form of these phenomena; it does not penetrate to their core and essence. So it treats them all alike. Religion is everywhere the same as to contents,—only the form differs,—and every religion, wherever it appears, is therefore true and good. Thus James, for example, says that religion is quite “private” and “individualistic”;305 all do not need to have the same religion; each one has his own God. So long as a man has use for his God, he cares little about who he is; “God is not known; he is used.” In the house of the Father are many mansions; “all ideals are matters of relation.”306 The question even arises whether polytheism does not better correspond to the variety of religious experience than monotheism, for what is required is not an absolute power, but only one higher than that of nature.307

That this peculiar idea is not a private opinion of Professor James, but a necessary and general conclusion from the premises, is demonstrated by the fact that other men, though widely separated from one another, announce the same opinion. Some years ago, even, Schian declared that there is no such thing as an ideal type of faith and piety, but that each dogmatist presents his own type. If there is no infallible Scripture, “there can exist only a subjective and purely individual notion of what belongs to Christian faith.” All ways are good, if they but lead to faith: not to what is contained in faith, for this differs endlessly, but to faith as trust in God as revealed in Christ.308 Schian has received much support from others in this idea,309 and Professor Herrmann too has given his adherence to it during the last few years. The strict Ritschlian distinction between religion and metaphysics, between judgments of value and judgments of being, has led him to supplant faith almost wholly by trust. Revelation, he says, is not an external thing, but “man receives the revelation, which is the ground of his religion, because the depths of his own being are opened to him.” Religion is a new life, and rests upon an experience of the power of moral good, as Jesus has shown us. To trust in that power is to believe, to live, to be saved. And because religion is thus “the complete quickening of a man, there is no general religion, the same for every one, but there are only individuals in religion.”310 So we see that from the standpoint of religious psychology there is no longer a place for metaphysics, theology, or dogmatics, nor even for an “ethics of the religious personality.” For every standard fails here; there is no single law or rule; the individual man is the measure of all things, also of religion; God does not say how he will be served, but man decides how he will serve him.

Naturally such a consistent indifferentism does not please all, and in the long run cannot satisfy any one. Most of those who have followed Kant and Schleiermacher in taking their standpoint in the religious subject, try nevertheless to build up on that subject one or another view of the world. In truth, Kant himself set limits to knowledge in order to make a place for faith, and to find room, by reasoning on the nature and content of practical reason, for the reality of a moral government of the world. And Schleiermacher, though striving after the liberation of theology from philosophy, could act in this way according to his conviction only because he believed he possessed in the religious feeling of absolute dependence an immediate revelation of the Infinite.311 The peculiarity of the whole mediating theology which spread over the world in the nineteenth century, and remains still to-day dominant in many circles, is its effort to attain a transcendent reality —which was only more or less a reflection of the old dogmatics—by means of speculative reasoning on the immanent requirements, needs, or experiences of the religious and ethical man. Ritschl, it is true, set himself in opposition to this, and brought about a separation between religion and metaphysics which Herrmann especially has carried forward. But a powerful reaction theologically and philosophically has arisen against this separation, even among Ritschl’s own followers. We are witnesses in these days of a rebirth of philosophy, a fresh acknowledgment of the right of metaphysics; and in connection therewith of a fuller recognition of the spiritual life, of its norms and values of its religious and ethical nature.312

This new philosophy, however, appears in many respects different from that of former times. The old problems always remain the same, but they return in quite another form. Whilst formerly the procedure was often aprioristic, and the world was constructed out of the idea, now the opposite direction is taken and an effort is made to raise the real world of sensation and experience to its idea. The natural and mental sciences have brought much that is new into the field. What has been said as to the source of mathematical axioms, the ideas of number, time, and space, matter and force, movement and law, the development of the whole organic life, in plants, animals, and humanity, the interpretation of history, of the origin and progress of state and society, presents so much that is important that nobody, and certainly no philosopher, can neglect it without great loss.313 This applies also to psychology. Here above all continued study has shown that the so-called empirical psychology cannot suffice for the right understanding of the psychical life.

Researches into uncommon phenomena, such as telepathy and teloesthesy, hypnotism and spiritualism, faith- and prayer-healing, the intuition of genius and prophetic or poetic inspiration have demonstrated one fact beyond all doubt,—that the psychical life of man is much richer than his conscious intelligence and action. One may disagree over the names; but whether we speak of waking and dreaming, clay and night, supraliminal and subliminal, intuitive and reflexive, consciousness, in any case there is a great difference between what happens beneath and what above the threshold of consciousness. It certainly does not commend itself when Max Dessoir speaks of two personalities in one man;314 for there always remains a weaker or stronger consciousness that both dwell in one and the same breast, and belong to one person.315 But still a man may be so divided against himself, and so many alterations may take place in his consciousness, that he leads as it were a double life. Sometimes he seems to live in two worlds, which have nothing to do with each other. In many pathological cases, and especially in the so-called demoniacal possession, the apparatus of consciousness appears to become an instrument of a foreign, mysterious power. Apart altogether from these extremes, however, in every man there is present a difference between his subliminal and supraliminal consciousness.

Man tries to give direction to his life by his consciousness, but that life itself has its origin in the depth of his personality. It must not be forgotten, Coe says truly, that though reason is necessary to guide the ship of life, feeling is the stream that propels it.316 Beneath consciousness there is a world of instincts and habits, notions and inclinations, abilities and capacities, which continually sets on fire the course of nature. Beneath the head lies the heart, out of which are the issues of life.

For this reason empirical psychology will never be able fully to explain the psychical life. It may with the utmost closeness examine the phenomena of consciousness, the sensations, the feelings, the passions, and it may try to conceive their working mechanically ; it may even endeavor to explain the ego or the self-consciousness by association of ideas ; but naturally it cannot penetrate to what lies behind and beneath consciousness, and can kindle no light in the secret places of the heart. Herein the declaration may find its application that God alone proves the hearts and reins of man. Empirical psychology can inquire into the conditions of consciousness, can even investigate the self-consciousness which slowly arises in man and is subject to all kinds of changes. But the question whether a hidden ego or an independent soul lies behind it is beyond its reach. So soon as it occupies itself with this question it passes beyond itself into metaphysies.317 Let us put it more strongly still,—in inquiring into the phenomena of consciousness, empirical psychology always takes its start from an abstraction; it separates man from his social environment, the psychical processes from their contact with life, and in those psychical processes it again isolates definite phenomena, such as sensations of time, space, color, wholly from the psychical life. No doubt there are gains to be registered by this method; but we must abandon the illusion that human psychical life can ever find its explanation in this manner. For if science cherishes this illusion it degenerates into psychologism, historism, and relativism, and the fulness and richness of life are curtailed. In reality all these phenomena of consciousness, so far from being isolated, exist only in intimate mutual relations, and ever spring out of the depths of personality. The whole cannot be explained in an atomistic manner by a combination of its parts; but on the contrary the parts must be conceived in an organic way by unfolding the totality. Behind the particular lies the general, and the whole precedes the parts. if, for example, we had to learn to see, we should be dead before the task was accomplished.318 But just as the bird knows how to build its nest, so we bring with us from our birth all kinds of abilities and capacities. It is the instinctive, organic life which in sensations, in thoughts and actions, gives an impulse to us and shows us the way. Instinct and capacity, norm and law, precede the life of reflection. Man is not sent into the world unarmed, but is equipped in body and soul with rich gifts and powers; he receives the talents which he has only to invest and augment them in the acts of his earthly life. Empirical psychology may thus possess an important pedagogical significance, but it takes its origin from, and also leads back to, metaphysical psychology. And thus it becomes manifest that empirical life is rooted in an aprioristic datum, which does not come slowly into existence by mechanical development, but is a gift of God’s grace, and a fruit and result of his revelations.319

If psychology leads by serious reflection to a metaphysical reality, and this again to the idea of revelation, we are not far removed from the conviction that man, in the hidden places of his soul, yet belongs to another and a higher world than that of this earthly existence. Plato asserted that the human soul existed before its indwelling in the body, lived in the world of ideas, and preserved the memory of it in its earthly exile.320 Others cherish the idea that man in the hidden side of his nature holds communion with the unseen world and can receive from it all kinds of manifestations and revelations. The Society for Psychical Research, established in 1882, aimed at inquiring into all the phenomena which belong to the domain of spiritualism,321 and one of its members, namely, F. W. H. Myers, who died in 1901, arrived with others at the conclusion that man in his subliminal life possesses faculties and powers whereby, without the help of the body, he can hold communication with souls and spirits.322

Now there has always existed very great difference of opinion as to the nature and origin of hypnotic and spiritualistic phenomena, notwithstanding the exact research which has been devoted to them. On the one side an attempt is made to explain all these phenomena in a natural way, especially by suggestion, and this attempt is even extended to the miracles of Scripture; and on the other side, men feel forced by the facts to assume in some or in maiiy cases a supernatural interposition. It is unnecessary to examine here the correctness of these opinions; for it is not impossible, apriori, that such an intercourse with souls and spirits, without the help of the body, may exist. If the human soul indeed exists from the beginning as a whole, and is not slowly produced by steps and stages in the way of mechanical evolution, then it is in itself super-empirical, and has part in another world besides this visible one. It is then spiritual in its essence, and it is possible for it to hold communication with spirits or souls without the body. The body evidently is the organ of the soul; it is not the body, but the soul, which sees and hears, thinks and acts, through the body. Thus there is nothing absurd in the idea that the soul can exercise those activities in special cases without the organ of the body. It is also remarkable that humanity, every- where and in all ages, has acknowledged this possibility, that Scripture often presupposes it, and that it is included in the idea of revelation. For revelation always supposes that man is able to receive impressions or thoughts or inclinations from another than this phenomenal world, and in a way other than that usually employed.

But when science undertakes to inquire into the phenomena which belong to such a spiritual intercourse, it exposes itself to serious dangers. For naturally those who devote their time and strength to this study will not be contented with the phenomena as such, but in order to obtain completely trustworthy material for their work will adopt the experimental method, and will endeavor to produce such experiences in themselves or in others by artificial means. The seriousness of scientific study compels them to seek such intercourse with the world of spirits themselves. Such an intercourse is not within the circle of their common experience; if it is possible, it can only be reached in artificial ways, that is, by the help of means, all of which, however diverse, have the tendency to throw into the background the conscious supraliminal life and to set the subliminal consciousness to work. If we do not lay stress on the injury which these artificially induced trance conditions may work to the bodily health, yet we must at least observe that it is silently supposed that subliminal life is the chief domain of the spirit. Just as the philosophy of the unconscious so spiritism and hypnotism inculcate the idea that consciousness is only a temporary and defective form of knowledge, and that true being lies in the unconscious; and the best way to come into contact with this being, and to obtain knowledge about it, is in the dream, the ecstasy, the trance. Nevertheless, whosoever intentionally robs himself of self-consciousness, reason, and will, extinguishes the light which God has given to man, annihilates his human freedom and independence, and degrades himself to an instrument for an alien and unknown power.323

For—and this is a second danger which threatens—nobody knows to what influences he abandons himself in such states of trance. It is easy to say, on the one side, that all is suggestion or hallucination, or, on the other side, that a real intercourse with spirits takes place; but nothing is really certain. By intentionally suppressing reason and will, and by going back from this world of revelation to a land of darkness, we lose all guidance and make all control impossible. The reality of the phenomena and revelations which take place in the ecstatic state remains uncertain; uncertain it remains also whether the spirits who appear are really what they represent themselves to be; and, again, whether the revelations which they give contain truth or lies, must be followed or rejected.324 Let it be supposed that real intercourse is held with the spirits, still the alternative is ever before us whether we shall give ourselves unconditionally up to the phenomena and revelations thus received, in which case, just as in common human intercourse, we should become dupes of misleading and seduction ; or whether we shall later on control the revelations received by the standards which conscience has given to us, in which case we should interpret them according to the view of the world and life, which is ours in conscious existence.

The history of occultism, whether in earlier or later times, demonstrates this. The complaint is common that the revelations which spiritualism and hypnotism impart to us are characterized by banality and are not worth the attention which is bestowed upon them; also that they contain nothing more than fragments of the world-view which the receiver already adheres to. Myers, for example, is of opinion that “psychical research” indicates the reality of the spiritual world, the immortality of the soul, and endless “spiritual evolution,” and that it has established these beyond all doubt. In consequence of this he expects that religion in the future will no longer rest on authority and belief, but on observation and experiment, and in that way will in the long run bring about a “synthesis of religious belief.”325 But these ideas are so well known that there is really no need of revelation to make them known to us; they have been proclaimed at all times by pantheistic philosophy, and have only in later days received another, and, for our generation, more attractive form, through a peculiar combination of Darwinism and Buddhism, evolution and theosophy, Western intelligence and Eastern wisdom. It is so incredible that this pantheistic-theosophical world-view should be produced by the revelation of spirits that it could, on the contrary, be with more justice contended that the newer philosophy has in a high degree furthered occultism, and has strengthened the belief therein. And as to the expectation that religion will rest in the future on the results of psychical research, the remark may suffice that the religion which seeks its foundation in intercourse with and in the revelation of spirits denies the name and the essence of pure religion, and instead of this introduces pagan superstition. Belief in spirits leads among all peoples and at all times to spirit-worship. For if the spirits of demons or the deceased can be called up, hold communication with us, and reveal to us secret things, then naturally arises the notion that they are more, or less partakers of the divine attributes of omniscience and omnipresence, and can help or injure us, at least in a certain degree. This belief leads unintentionally and of itself to the practice of adoration and homage. Occultism issues on the one side in unbelief and indifference with regard to existing religions, and on the other in the most abounding superstition, spirit- worship, and magic.326

There is only one religion which in principle condemns and prohibits all this superstition and magic, and that is Christianity. The Old Testament already contained the revelation that the Lord alone is Israel’s God, and therefore he only must be worshipped and served; soothsaying and magic,, inquiry of spirits and demons, are throughout forbidden. In the New Testament this worship of the one only true God is emancipated from all national limits, and is thus raised to its true condition as a worship in spirit and in truth. True there are prophets and apostles who act as organs of revelation, but they are still men, and enjoy no other honor than that which belongs to their office and vocation; even Mary, the blessed among women, is an ordinary member of the church. There is also, according to the Scripture, a realm of spirits; but the angels, notwithstanding the great power which is given to them, and the important task which is intrusted to them, are never objects of religious worship; while the attitude which is required to be taken toward the devils is so far from one of abject slavery that the only duty which we are commanded to fulfil toward them is to hate and resist them.

Christianity is the absolutely spiritual religion, because it is the only religion which sets religion in relation to God alone; therefore it is nothing else but religion; the idea of religion is completely fulfilled in it. For if religion is a reality, then necessarily it must consist in this,—that man, avoiding all idolatry, shall rightly acknowledge the one true God, trust only in him, subject himself to him alone in all humility and patience, expect all good things from him, love, fear, and honor him with the whole heart, so that he would rather renounce every created thing than do anything in the least against the will of God. Now, this is completely fulfilled in Christianity. It is purely a service of God alone, with exclusion of all creatures. God is the content and the subject, the beginning and the ending, the alpha and the omega, of religion, and nothing of the creature enters into it. On the other side the whole man is taken into fellowship with that one true God; not only his feelings, but also his mind and will, his heart and all his affections, his soul and his body. Christianity is religion alone, and therefore the pure religion, the full and complete, indissoluble and eternal, fellowship of God and man.

Christian theology, which investigates this religion, is on this account alone an independent and genuine science. As soon as the Christian religion is no longer acknowledged to be the pure, complete religion, but is thrown into a heap with all religions, theology ceases to be an independent science. There may still remain the study of the religious man (religious anthropology), and also psychological and historical inquiry into the religions of different peoples, perhaps also an endeavor to frame a philosophy of religion and a metaphysics, but there is no longer a theology, no longer an inquiry into the knowledge of God, and thus no standard for the judgment of religious phenomena. There only remains positivism, psychologism, relativism. Revelation, religion, and theology stand or fall together.

But if theology possesses a reason for and a right to existence, it brings with it, as an independent science, its own method also. At the present time most people hold another opinion. Because they have abandoned the self-sufficiency of the Christian religion, they cannot hold to a theology with a method of its own. They suppose that there are only one or two scientific methods, namely. the physical and the historical. And thus, if theology is to maintain itself as a science in the university, it must accept one of these two methods, and apply it logically to the whole domain of inquiry; in other words, it must become natural or historical science. In this way it would lose its right to form an independent faculty in the circle of science, and would require, therefore, to be brought into the domain of the philosophical faculty.327

Whether one accepts this consequence or not, the principle on which the standpoint is founded violates science, and denies its richness and diversity. True, if monism were the right world-view, and if all phenomena were purely modifications of one, substance, then there would be only one science and also only one method. It would be to deny its principle, to give an independent place to historical science by the side of natural science, and to defend the right of the historical method. But the world is richer than materialistic or pantheistic evolution wishes it to appear. A single factor never suffices for the explanation of phenomena in any domain. Everywhere there is a richness of life and a fulness of being. There are different kinds of creatures and phenomena, each of which requires a special method according to its nature, that we may know and understand it. Religion and virtue, art and science, beauty and justice, cannot be handled and measured like bodies; yet they exist, and occupy a dominating place in existence. Reality does not arrange itself to fit our system, but our system must form itself in accordance with reality.

Life itself receives much greater injury from monistic doctrinairism than science. If the empirical and historical methods are the only paths to knowledge, then that wisdom which by nature is proper to every man, and is augmented and extended in the practice of life, loses all its value, and there arises between the schools and society a continually greater divergence and ever increasing opposition. For however science, with her inquiries and results, may serve, lead, and promote life, this life always and everywhere precedes science; it did not originate in science, and cannot wait for it. Family and society, work and vocation, agriculture and cattle-rearing, trade and industry, morality, justice, and art, have all an independent source and sustain their own character. The whole complete life, which reveals itself in all these domains and activities, can gratefully make use of the light which science kindles, but it flows from its own proper source and streams onward in its own channel. For both life and science it is, therefore, of the highest importance that the empirical knowledge, which is obtained in life, and the scientific knowledge, which is striven after in the schools, should support and strengthen one another; the wisdom of life is the starting-point and the foundation of all science, and the researches of the learned should not aim at extinguishing this knowledge of practical experience, but at purifying and augmenting it.328

This applies especially to religion. If theology acknowledges no other method than that which is usually taken in the sciences of nature and history, the religious man is not only totally dependent on the clericalism of science, but religion itself is robbed of its independence and freedom. This is recognized by all, so far as under the influence of Schleiermacher they strive to set religion free from all knowledge and assent, and conceive it as only trust in the heart. But this endeavor is a fruitless one. For religion does not spring up in every individual spontaneously, without outside influence, but always comes to development by connecting itself with the religious representations which are, recognized in a definite circle as truth. The word “faith,” which in Christendom expresses subjective religiousness, includes, along with the original religious habit which dwells in the heart of man, also the adjustment to representations which exist in this religion about God, world, man, etc.; it is at the same time knowledge and trust, and expresses the peculiarity of the Christian religion so well because this religion desires a knowledge of God which is at the same time trust, love, piety. Just because religion always includes knowledge, it comes into collision with science, and vice versa. This collision has existed through all ages and in all religions; the cause does not lie in arbitrary or occasional abuses of power, as would be the case if faith were nothing more than a matter of feeling; but the cause is that both, according to their several natures, move in the same domain and pronounce themselves on the same objects and phenomena.329 And knowledge belongs so intimately to the essence of religion that religion, if freed from all religious representations and limited purely to feeling, would immediately lose its own character. For feeling has in itself no content and no quality; religious, ethical, and aesthetic feelings do not exist independently of each other, but are distinguished by the various representations by which feeling is awakened. Monism, therefore, always promotes the confusion of religious and wsthetic feeling, and thereby weakens religion; to limit religion to feelings does not maintain its independence, but undermines its existence.

After the criticism of “the pure reason,” which Kant has worked out from the standpoint of a mathematical-mechanic science, and after the criticism of “the historical reason,” which has recently been developed by men like Dilthey, Windelband, Rickert, over against the one-sidedness of the science of nature, a “criticism of the religious reason” is still necessary. Theology is occupying itself with this task in all lands; the formal part of dogmatics is drawing thought to itself much more than the material part. Yet it cannot proceed here by mere speculation. Each science must borrow its form from the object which it investigates, for method is determined by the object. Now, if the object of theology is no other than the true and pure religion, which appears to us in Christianity as the fruit of revelation, then the inquiry after method results in this one and very important question: How does the Christian religion itself represent that a man comes to her, acknowledges her truth, and by her becomes a true religious man,— that is, a Christian, a child of God? Theology may afterwards reflect upon the answer which the Christian religion gives, as she does also upon other elements of truth; she has even the right, the duty, and the vocation to do this. But she can never produce any other method than that which is given by her own object. The plan of salvation in the Christian religion determines the method of Christian theology.

If we institute an inquiry into that plan of salvation, we are met by the fact that the Christian religion does not bring us merely into relation with persons and events of the past, but by means of revelations in history seeks to bring us into fellowship with that God who manifests his truth in that he is always the same, in the past and in the present. The Christian religion is an historical, but also a present, religion.330 Whoever seeks fellowship with God, excluding all history, and revelation in nature and history,—that is to say, without Christ,—experiences a religious feeling which misses the objective reality, which feeds only on itself, and therefore also digests itself. He who frees himself from all connection with what is before and around him ruins himself by his autonomy. On the other hand, whosoever considers the Christian religion simply and alone as historical religion, and does not make it a religion of the present, wipes out in principle the distinction between Christianity and the other religions, and reduces it to a phenomenon which belongs only to the past, and loses its significance for to-day and the future.

The peculiarity of the Christian religion, then, as has been so often shown, and acknowledged even by opponents,331 lies in the person of Christ. All other religions are independent, to a certain degree, of their founders, because those founders were nothing more than their fust confessors. But Jesus was not the first Christian; he was and is the Christ. He is not the subject, but the object, of religion. Christianity is not the religion of Jesus, still less Jesus-worship,332 but Christ-religion. Christianity is now as dependent on him, from moment to moment, as when he trod this earth. For he is not a person who lived and worked only in the past, but he lives and works still, is still Prophet, Priest, and King, and himself upholds the church, which he established, from age to age, and assures to her the victory. Christianity, according to its own confession, does not exist through the strength and fidelity of its confessors, but through the life and will of its Mediator. The stages of the application of salvation are as much, and in the same sense, his interest as the impetration of salvation. His will and his work is to make men truly religious, to bring them into fellowship with God, and that is also the will and the work of God himself. For the will of God to save the world was not only an annunciation of God’s inclination in the past, but is an action, a deed, a work of God, which goes on from day to day. God is love; but that love is no quiescent attribute, but an eternal, omnipresent energy which realizes itself in the hearts of men. God is Father; but that Fatherhood is no mere title of honor, but an almighty, energetic power which regenerates men as his children and heirs.333 Christianity is no mere revelation of God in the past, but it is, in connection with the past, a work in the midst of this and every time. The Father of Jesus works always hitherto, and he himself works also. All other religions try to obtain salvation by the works of men, but Christianity makes a strong protest against this; it is not autosoteric but heterosoteric; it does not preach self-redemption, but glories in redemption by Christ alone. Man does not save himself, and does not save God, but God alone saves man, the whole man, man for eternity. It is a religion, not of works, but of faith; not of merits, but of grace. Christianity proves itself in the plan of salvation to be the absolutely spiritual and pure religion. Man can add nothing to it,—salvation is God’s work alone; of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.

But this almighty and always active will of God is not realized without man, as antinomians of all kinds imagine, but in man, and through man. It is realized, according to the witness of the whole Scripture, in regeneration and faith, in conversion and forgiveness of sin, in sanctification and perseverance. In other words, if we, ask of the prophets, of Christ and his apostles, how man comes to a knowledge of the truth, and to a new life in God’s fellowship, then they give the answer unanimously,—not by knowledge or action, nor yet by science or art, nor yet again by good works or civilization, but by faith and conversion. Scripture has a richness of names for this plan of salvation; it never gives a dry, dogmatic description, nor an abstract scheme of conceptions, but shows it to us in life, and gives us thereby a psychology of religion such as no scientific investigation, and no questionaire method can bring to light. For all the steps in the way of salvation are God’s work, the effect and fulffiment of his will; but because they take place in man, and are realized in his consciousness and will, they may all be considered and described also from an anthropological point of view. The distinct individuality and experience of the prophets and apostles themselves appear in the different names by which the process of salvation is indicated. But from whatever point of view this plan of salvation is considered, this is always the result, —that man, in order to become a child of God, does not need to be a cultured being or a citizen of standing, a man of science or of art, a civilized or a developed man. These are all good, but not one indicates the way to divine fellowship. In order person must be converted. Conversion is the sole and the absolutely peculiar way to heaven.

In speaking in this way the Christian religion gains at once the consciences of all men. For there can be no doubt that, if there is really a redemption, this must consist before all things in redemption from sin. All men have a notion of good and evil, a conscience which accuses or excuses thein, a consciousness of guilt and impurity, a fear of punishment, and a desire for redemption. But they often err as deeply about the character of sin as about the way of redemption. On the one side, sin is minified to an accidental and arbitrary act, from which man can eventually deliver himself by knowledge or act; on the other side, sin is considered as such an ineradicable evil that it is identified with being and nature itself. Confucius holds here the opposite view from Buddha, Mohammed from Mani, Socrates from Plato. And within the Christian church the same ideas and contrasts appear now and then. In our days some preach the doctrine that one must not take sin too seriously, because it is no habit, no condition, no bad inclination of the heart, but exclusively an arbitrary act of the will, which very easily arises from the conflict between the individual and society, between nature and culture, but for that reason also can easily be given up and conquered.334 On the other hand, sin is represented as a mass of egoistic instincts and passions, which have been carried over by man from his former animal condition, which still hold supremacy over the altruistic inclinations in the savage and in the child, and anachronistically and atavistically exercise their influence in the criminal type.335 The two views approach one another in this way, that the innate egoistic inclinations, namely, the animality and sensuality, are of themselves no sin, that they also in later life, if they are yielded to in conflict with the interests of society, cause no guilt and no stain, but only betray a weakness and disease, which need cure. What the wound is to the body, that is the criminal in society.336 In so-called “Christian Science” sin consequently is put into the same category as illness, and both are represented as an illusion, as an error in thought, which can only be cured by thought.337 The fundamental error of heathenism thus returns, because the holiness of God is lost, and the gods are identified with the powers of nature; and therefore the distinction between sin and misery, and accordingly between redemption from sin and relief from misery, is lost. Modern superstition and the increasing quackery rest upon each other. If the power on which man depends loses the character of personal holiness, man feels himself no longer a guilty sinner, but a powerless, helpless, miserable creature, and desires not an ethical redemption, but physical cure and bodily welfare. And if one cannot find these among the physicians, they are sought for amongst the charlatans and quacksalvers through superstitious and magic means.

The Christian religion alone maintains, in opposition to all these tendencies, the purely ethical character of sin. It does this by distinguishing between creation and fall. In all systems which identify sin with the substance of things, creation is changed into a fall, and the fall which Scripture relates is represented as the symbol of a remarkable progress in the life of humanity, as the rise from animal innocence into the state of human consciousness.338 In reality, the whole order of things is thereby reversed; God becomes the author of sin, and the serpent the author of human progress. The Ophites acted, therefore, logically when they represented God as an unhappy demiurge, and the serpent as a blessed deity. In truth, in the voluntaristic-pantheistic philosophy of recent times it is uot God who saves man, but man who saves God. Scripture restores the original order by distinguishing and separating creation and fall, but maintains thereby also the possibility of redemption. For if sin is identified with animality and sensuality, and has its origin in the descent and nature of man, then there is no redemption possible except by annihilation. Heaven is then no uppermost expansion of true life, but the extinction of all consciousness, will, and personality, the abyss of nothing, the sinking into everlasting death. On the contrary, if sin bears an ethical character, then redemption is possible, and conversion is in principle the conquest of sin, the death of the old and the resurrection of the new man.339

But in that case conversion is a necessary and moral duty for every man. If the Christian religion maintains the absolute necessity of conversion, it. joins to itself again the witness of all consciences, the doctrine and life of the whole of humanity. Every man has the deep and ineradicable conviction that he is not what he ought to be; there is a schism between his duty and his inclination which he cannot deny and cannot do away with. Man is broken; his unity, his harmony has gone. And the strangest thing in this strange phenomenon is that he is not two men who struggle with one another, but he is in both cases the same man. It is our conceptions, ideas, inclinations and desires which are striving together and seeking to obtain the mastery; it is the same subject which excuses and accuses itself, which gives way willingly to sinful desire, and is afterwards torn by repentance and grief, which alternately springs up in joy and languishes in sorrow.340 From the whole history of man resounds a heartbreaking complaint over the disruption of life; it finds its finest expression in the songs of the poets, but each man knows it by experience; all religion is animated by it, every eflort toward reform proceeds from it, all ethics assume the imperative tone after the descriptive one, and every philosophy strives to set the heart at ease as well as to satisfy the intelligence. Men may differ as to the nature and the reach of conversion, but its necessity is established beyond all doubt; the whole of humanity proclaims the truth of the fall.

There is no doubt much diversity in the manner in which conversion takes place. Scripture makes it clear that by conversion is meant a religious and moral change in man, by which he deserts his sinful ways and learns to know, love, and serve with his whole heart the true God, who has revealed himself in Christ; but it at the same time allows a wide application of this idea, and discriminates the process itself from the manner in which it is brought about. It speaks of the conversion of Israel and of the heathen, of individuals and of towns and of peoples, and it exhibits ir. the examples of Nathanael and Nicodemus, Zaccheus and Mary Magdalene, Paul and Timothy, different modes in which conversion may be realized.341 In early times, when Christianity was conquering a place for itself in the world through the preaching of the apostles, conversion coalesced with the resolution to abandon idolatry and to serve the only living God. The New Testament describes to us the transition of Christianity from Judaism to the Greco-Roman world, and is, in the first place, the book of the mission which was fulfilled by the work of the apostles.342

When later the church obtained a firm foothold in the world, and grew not so much through missions among the heathen as by means of catechizing her own children, conversion assumed another form, while remaining the same in essence. In infant baptism it was confessed that conversion and regeneration differ, and conversion is ordinarily a coming to consciousness of that new life which has long before been planted in the heart. An illustration of this is supplied also by revivals, which do not occur among heathen, but only within the limits of the Christian church. The psychology of religion also suggests that the sudden conversions which occur in revival-meetings need not be so sudden as they appear, but may he a revivification of impressions and emotions received sometimes years previously, and have sunk into the heart beneath the threshold of consciousness, and by the force of peculiar circumstances spring again into new life.343 It is a good work to awaken the sleeping churches, and to stir up the unconscious life into conscious action, but it is a fault if the organic existence of the church is insufficiently recognized, involving as this does a misunderstanding of the covenant of grace and too close an identification of conversion with one definite form of conversion, which is therefore prescribed as necessary to all and produced artificially. As soon as this happens, human agency is confused with the work of the Spirit, the essence is sacrificed to the form, and sometimes even to very strange forms, and the earnestness and richness of Scripture is lost.

It may be remarked throughout Scripture that the essence and the seriousness of conversion are never obseured, and yet the rich variety of its manifestation is continually exhibited. Mary and Martha were very different in religious disposition, but Jesus loved them both. The apostles differed in endowments and character, but they were all disciples of the Lord. In the Christian church, Augustine and Francis of Assisi, Luther and Calvin, Wesley and Zinzendorf, walked in various pathways, but still they were all children of the same Father’s house, with its many mansions. So far as it is intended merely to give expression to the rich diversity of spiritual life, the distinction between “healthy-minded” and “morbid-minded souls” need not be condemned.344 All have not the same experience of guilt and grace; the deeper knowledge of sin, and the richer comfort of forgiveness, are not the root, but the fruit of Christian faith.345 The Gospel is so rich, and the salvation purchased by Christ contains so many and diverse benefits, that the most varied needs of men are satisfied by it, and the richest powers of human nature are ‘brought to development. There are times in which the Gospel especially attracts, because it promises forgiveness of all guilt of sin; and there are other times in which it charms most, because it stills the thirst for a new, holy life.346 The Gospel of the Synoptics, of John, and Paul, and Peter, and James, have awakened various sympathies in the different churches and among different peoples in different times and places. In every nation is accepted with God he who fears him and works righteousness.

Nevertheless conversion must remain conversion. What it is no science or philosophy can tell us, but we learn from Holy Scripture alone. If this does not tell us, or is not to be trusted in what it tells us, we are in despair as to the redemption of the world and the salvation of mankind. Philosophy may teach us through the lips of Kant and Schopenhauer—though even this always under the influence of Christianity—that if sin is to be really eliminated from human nature, a sort of regeneration is necessary. But it can never proclaim the glad tidings that such a conversion exists, nor can it show the way to obtain it. The psychology of religion may bring into view the phenomena which are connected with conversion from the anthropological side, and illustrate thein by analogies from other regions, but it does not penetrate, as it itself acknowledges,347 to the core and the cause of these phenomena. It even incurs the danger—if it abandons the guidance of Scripture and presents these phenomena exclusively from an anthropological standpoint—of sacrificing the essence to the form and the kernel to the husk. Viewed psychologically, all alterations of personality are alike: the fall is as much a transformation of consciousness as redemption and regeneration; the change of a virtuous man into a drunkard or a voluptuary, a thief or a murderer, is as much a “conversion” as the coming to himself of the prodigal son and his return to his father’s house.348 If certain phenomena which are often connected with conversion are wanting, some rashly conclude that conversion itself has not really taken place, or was not wholly necessary. By the side of the “twice-born” is ranged, then, the category of the “once-born men,” or righteous men who have no need of conversion.349 The diversity of religious phenomena leads men rashly to the conclusion that conversion has no reality, that all “conversions” are in themselves equally real, and that each man can be saved in his own way.350 Thus under the psychological treatment the essence of conversion is lost, just as life perishes vivisection. Pragmatism, which only takes into account empirical phenomena, is nominalistic in principle, and becomes relativistic in result.

Scripture and experience are both in opposition to this levelling of all essential distinctions; for both testify that conversion is not one of those many transformations of consciousness which often take place in human life, but that it bears a specific character. Conversion can be said to be genuine only when a man is changed in his entire being in such a way that he experiences a hearty repentance and an inner horror of sin, succeeded by a lively joy in God and a sincere desire for the fulfilment of his will. True conversion consists only in the dying of the old sinful man, and in the resurrection of the new, holy man.351 “All holy persons are twice-born persons,”352 for by nature man does not possess that holiness and that deep and hearty love to God and desire for the fulfilment of his commandments. When Kant and Schopenhauer, and many others speak so much of the radical evil in human nature, they thereby bear witness to the truth. Stanley Hall rightly asks, “Who that is honest and has true self-knowledge will not confess to recognizing in his own soul the germs and possibilities of about every crime, vice, insanity, superstition, and folly in conduct he ever heard of?353 And James acknowledges in the same way that “healthy-mindedness is inadequate as a philosophical doctrine because the evil facts which it refuses positively to account for are a genuine portion of reality.”354

Now there may be differences of opinion as to the possibility and reality of a conversion such as Scripture and the Christian religion teach. But if it exists, there can be no doubt that it has another source and another cause than the purely psychological operation of human representations and powers. The psychology of religion rightly says that it neither will nor can pronounce a decision.355 James goes even further, and says that reality itself is revealed in the unconscious, that hidden powers and ideas work there, and that God’s mercy is working through the “subliminal door”; and so he calls himself a supernaturalist, though in a modified form.356 It causes no wonder that this supernaturalism is acknowledged in religious experience, for, if revelation in history, especially in the person and work of Christ, is denied, the truth and the right of religion can only be maintained by accepting a revelation in the religious subject. If religion is, really communion with God, it includes his indwelling and inworking in the human soul. Scripture and theology, therefore, have always taught and maintained such a fellowship of God and man in their doctrine of the mystical union. But if this revelation in the subject is isolated from all objective revelation in nature and Scripture, in history and the church, it opens the door for all kinds of error. Finally, such a subjective revelation results in nothing beyond a “more,” which works in the “subliminal consciousness” of man, and is interpreted by each one according to his nature and environment.357 Pragmatism leads here also to indifferentism regarding all religions.

Such a religious indifferentism is, however, in conflict with all experience, and is in the strongest way contradicted by the Christian religion. For the conversion which brings us into fellowship with God never happens unmediatedly, but is always connected with representations and impressions which we have received at some time, shorter or longer, previously.358 It always takes place in connection with historical Christianity, which in one or another form exists before and without us, and now enters into harmony with our own soul. It does not arise spontaneously out of and by ourselves, but causes us to live with fuller conviction in the religious circle wherein we were born and brought up, or into which in later life we have been introduced. The religious representations are thus no subjective interpretations of our personal emotions; we formulate them as little as the child, who, though it brings with it the faculty of speech, does not produce speech itself, but receives the whole treasure of words from the lips of its mother. Man does not produce truth by thought in any domain, and certainly not in religion, but by inquiry and study he learns to know the truth, which exists independently of and before him. Therefore religious experience is neither the source nor the foundation of religious truth;359 it only brings us into union with the existing truth, and makes us recognize as truth what formerly was for us only an empty sound, or even was denied and opposed by us. Conversion is not the source of truth, but the source of certainty as to the truth. It bears witness in our heart as to the religious representations which existed outside of and before us.

So we have on the one side to maintain the dependence of religious experience on historical Christianity, and on the other side equally to recognize its independence and liberty. Many know no other dilemma than either external authority, blind belief, intellectual consent to alien and hard dogma, or else free piety and individual formulation of religious life.360 But reality teaches us quite differently. Just as we with open eyes do not create the reality of the world, but only recognize it,—just as we by thought do not produce the truth, but seek and find it,—so also the religious man receives the reality of spiritual things which are presented to him by God perfectly freely and spontaneously. He now sees them, where he was formerly blind; he understands now what he earlier as a natural man could not conceive; by re-birth he enters into the kingdom of heaven; by loving the will of God he knows that Jesus speaks, not of himself, but of the Father; he hears and understands Jesus’ voice now because he can endure his word. So one can understand that conversion produces and generates an unwavering certainty as to the things which the Christian religion teaches us. If it were nothing more than a matter of feeling or sentiment, and were confined entirely to the mysticism of the heart, it would not be able to awaken such a personal interest in the objective words and events of Christianity. But experience teaches otherwise. Conversion takes place in connection with the Christian religion; faith, which forms its positive side, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, because it is at the same time cognitio and fiducia, a trustful knowledge and a knowing trust. It is accompanied from its first existence by a group of representations, is born in our heart in connection with them, and binds us to them irrevocably. Conversion, which is equally repentance and faith, sorrow and joy, death and resurrection, changes the whole man in principle as to his being and consciousness, incorporates him into another world of representations than that in which he formerly lived. Those representations also depend mutually on each other. Both psychologically and logically the representations which we receive in our conversion associate themselves with those which Christianity includes within the circle to which we belonged from birth or were later adopted into. It is not the least merit of Christianity that it includes such an harmonious whole of representations, which reconcile subject and object, man and world, nature and revelation.361

This whole process of conversion, which begins with the awakening of the consciousness of guilt and misery and develops itself into a hearty joy in God through Christ, is from the beginning to the end psychologically mediated. We do not here see God face to face, even if we descend into the depths of our own soul. Unconsciousness, ecstasy, hallucination, dreaming, and contemplation do not bring us nearer to him than the conscious life, as the mysticism of all centuries has fancied, for we walk by faith and not by sight. And not only so, but there arise in our own heart, in the world around us, and in the revelation of Scripture itself, all kinds of difficulties which we cannot resolve. But if we are convinced in our deepest soul that God will save us personally, and in its beginnings has saved us, then it is an unavoidable postulate of faith that this will also reveals itself outside of us in history, and that the world and humanity will not be led to an eternal death and a dark night and an unfathomable abyss, but to a never-ending day of light and glory. Above the power of nature and above the power of sin raises and maintains itself the almighty will of the Heavenly Father, who subdues wind and sea and all things.

Conversion and faith in our own heart are the operation and fruit of that will. Though they occur thus in a psychological way, which takes into account each man’s character and environment, yet they are a revelation of that will which works in us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure. In and by our own testimony we bear the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which, in its turn is added to the witness of Holy Scripture and of the church of all centuries. In this witness the souls of all God’s children are secure; through the breakers of doubt it brings them into the haven of God’s love.


287Comp., e.g., Otto Pautz, Mohammeds Lehre von der Offenbarung. Leipzig, 1898.288Frederic W. H. Myers, Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. Ed. and abridged by his son, L. H. Myers, 1907, p. 2.289Ibid., p. 3.290Kant gave to his Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels, 1755, the sub-title of Versuch von der Verfassung und dem mechanischen Ursprung des ganzen Weltgebäudes nach Newtonschen Grundsätzen abgehandelt.291Troeltsch, Die Absolutheit des Christ. und die Religionsgesch., 1902. Bernoulli, Die wissenschaftliche und die kirchliche Methode in der Theologie. Freiburg, 1897. Gross, Glaube, Theologie und Kirche, Tübingen, 1902. Rade, Zeits. fur Theol. und Kirche, 1900, pp. 80 fl.; 1901, pp. 429 ff.292G. Berguer, L’Application de la Methode scientifique à la Théologie. Genève, 1908.293Ritschl, Rechtf. und Versöhnung, II, p. 12.294Bachmann, Zur Würdigung des religiö:sen Erlebens, Neue Kirchl. Zeits. Dec.; 1907, pp. 907-931.295Schleiermacher, Ritschl, Herrmann, Harnack, Schian, one and all, connect Christian experience in some way or other with the Person of Christ and the revelation given us by God in him.296Bachmann, loc. cit.297Mulert, Zeits. f. Theol. und Kirche., Jan., 1907, pp. 63, 436.298James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 506.299Troeltsch, Psychologie und Erkenntnisstheorie in der Religionswissenschaft. Tübingen, 1905. Scheel, Zeits. f. Theol. u. K., 1907, pp. 149-150, 305-307. Id., Die moderne Religionspsych., ib. 1908, pp. 1-38.300G. A. Coe, The Spiritual Life, 1903, pp. 23-27.301E. D. Starbuck, The Psychology of Religion, 1901, pp. 143-153.302Starbuck, pp. 28 ff. Coe, pp. 29, 40 ff. Stanley Hall, Adolescence, I, pp. 411 ff.; II, pp. 95 ff.; 288 ff.303James, Varieties, pp. 178 ff., 195, 196, 201 ff. Starbuck, op. cit., pp. 101-117. Alfred Binet, Les A1térations de la Personalité. Paris, 1902.304James, Varieties, pp. 3, 6, 29, 30, 486. Flournoy, Les principes de la psych. relig. 1903, pp. 16, 17. Murisier, Les maladies du sentiment religieux. Paris, 1903, préface, p. viii.305James, op. cit., pp. 135, 163, 325, 430.306James, op. cit., pp. 333, 374, 487, 506, 507.307James, op. cit., pp. 122, 131-133, 525, 526 Comp. Lecture IV, note 44.308Schian, Der Einfluss der Individiialität auf Glaubensgesinnung und Glaubensgestaltung, Zeits. Für Theol. und Kirche, 1897, pp. 513 ff. Id., Glaube und Individualität, id. 1898, pp. 170-194. Schian, Der Einfluss der Individiialität auf Glaubensgesinnung und Glaubensgestaltung, Zeits. Für Theol. und Kirche, 1897, pp. 513 ff. Id., Glaube und Individualität, id. 1898, pp. 170-194.309Pfister, Das Elend unserer wissensch. Glanbenslehre, Schweizer. theol. Zeits., 1905, pp. 209 ff. Häberlin, Ist die Theologie eine Wissenschaft? ib. 1906, pp. 17 ff. Pfister, Das Elend unserer wissensch. Glanbenslehre, Schweizer. theol. Zeits., 1905, pp. 209 ff. Häberlin, Ist die Theologie eine Wissenschaft? ib. 1906, pp. 17 ff.310Herrmann, Christ. Protest. Dogmatik, pp. 583-632 of Die Christl. Religion, in Die Kultur der Gegenwart. Id., Die Lage und Aufgabe der evang. Dogm. in der Gegenwart, Zeits. Für Theol. und Kirche, 1907, pp. 315, 351. Id., Die Altorthodoxie und unser Verständuiss der Religion, ib. Jan., 1903, pp. 74-77. Comp. C. Wistar Hodge, The Idea of Dogmatic Theology, The Princeton Theol. Review, Jan., 1908.311Comp. Walther, Eine neue Theorie über das Wesen der Religion, Religion und Geisteskultur, 1907, 3, pp. 201-217. Bruining, Over de Methode van onze Dogmatiek, Teylers Theol. Tijdschr., 1902, 2, pp. 175 ff.312By way of example we name: F. J. Schmidt, Zur Wiedergeburt des Idealismus. Leipzig, 1908. Dorner, Die Bedeutung der spekulativen Theologle für die Gegenwart, Die Studierstube, 1907, pp. 193-207. McTaggart, Some Dogmas of Religion, pp. 1-12.313C. Stumpf, Die Wiedergeburt der Philosophie. Leipzig, 1908, especially pp. 23 ff.314Max Dessoir, Das Doppel-Ich. Leipzig, 1896, p. 80.315Höffer, Grundlehren der Psychologie. Wien, 1905, p. 108.316Coe, The Spiritual Life, p. 93.317Max Dessoir, op. cit., p. 77.318Möbius; Die Hoffnungslosigkeit aller Psychologie. Halle, 1907, p. 56.319Schmidt, Zur Wiedergeburt des Idealismus, p. 96.320Comp. the pre-existenceism of McTaggart, Some Dogmas of Religion, pp. 112 ff. Myers, Human Personality, p. 26.321Bennett, La société Anglo-américaine pour les recherches psychiques. Trad. de M. Sage. Paris, 1904.322Myers, Human Personality, p. 16.323As to the dangers for body and soul comp. Zeehandelaar, Het spiritistisch Gevaar, Gids, Aug., 1907. Traub, in Kalb, Kirchen und Sekten der Gegenwart. Stuttgart, 1905, pp. 437 ff., 448, 460. Coe, The Spiritual Life, pp. 169 ff. Joseph Hamilton, The Spirit World, 1906, p. 264.324Traub in Kalb, op. cit., p. 449 ff.325Myers, Human Personality, pp. 1 ff., 8, 24, 340 ff.326Traub, loc. cit. p. 449 ff.327Harnack, Die Aufgabe der theol. Fakultäten und die allgemeine Religionsgesch., 1901.328J. Kaftan, Die Wahrheit der christl. Religion. Basel, 1888, pp. 266 ff., 318, 319.329Troeltsch, Der Begriff des Glaubens, Religion und Geisteskultur, 1907, 3, pp. 191-221.330G. Vos, Christian Faith and the Truthfulness of Bible History, The Princeton Theol. Review, July, 1906, pp. 289- 305. Troeltsch, Glaube und Geschichte, Religion und Geisteskultur, 1908, pp. 29-39. R. Eucken, Hauptprobleme der Religionsphilos. der Gegenwart. Berlin, 1907, p. 38: Religion und Geschichte.331E.g. Ed. von Hartmann, Die Krisis des Christenthums in der modernen Theologie. Berlin, 1880, pp. 1 ff.332W. von Schnehen, Der moderne Jesuskultus. Frankfort a. M., 1906. O. Pfleiderer, Der moderne Jesuskultus, Protest. Monatshefte, 1906, No. 5.333Henry W. Clark, The Philosophy of Christian Experience. Edinburgh, 1905, pp. 75 ff.334Comp. the well-known saying of Emerson: “The less we have to do with our sins the better,” and further, Ph. Vivian, The Churches and Modern Thought, 1907, pp. 208 ff. ; F. R. Tennant, The Origin and Propagation of Sin, Cambridge, 1906. W. R. Inge, Personal Idealism and Mysticism, 1907, p. 171. Lodge, The Substance of Faith, pp. 46 ff. Comp. John M. Edwards, The Vanishing Sense of Sin, Presb. and Ref. Review, Oct., 1899, pp. 606-616.335Thus Lubbock, Lombroso, Bagehot. Comp. Wynaendts Francken, Sociale Vertoogen. Haarlem, 1907, pp. 245 ff.336Corre in R. P. Mees, Wetenschappelijke Karakterkennis. ‘s Gravenh., 1907, p. 63.337In James, Varieties, p. 63.338Stanley Hall, Adol., II, p. 72.339Henry Scott Holland, Vital Values, pp. 107-110.340Höfler, Grundlehren der Psychologie. 1905, p. 108.341Joh. Herzog, Der Begriff der Bekehrung. Giessen, 1903, pp. 21 ff. Jacques de la Combe, Les nouveau nés de l’Esprit. Paris, 1905, pp. 133 ff.342John W. Diggle, Short Studies in Holiness. London, 1900, pp. 47 ff.343Starbuck, Psychol. of Religion, pp. 85,108, 158.344James, Varieties, pp. 78-126, 127-165.345Joh. Herzog, op. cit., p. 103.346Ibid., pp. 99 ff.347James, Varieties, pp. 196 ff., 242-270. Coe, The Spiritual Life, p. 144.348James, op. cit., pp. 178 ff., 201, 203.349James, op. cit., pp. 78 ff.350James, op. cit. pp. 162, 374,347, 487.351Heidelberg Catechism, questions 88-90. Comp. Gennrich, Die Lehre von der Wiedergeburt, die Christl. Zentrallehre in dogmengesch. u. religionsgeseh. Belenchtang. Leipzig, 1907.352John W. Diggle, op. cit., pp. 25 ff.353Stanley Hall, Adolescence, II, p. 86.354James, Varieties, p. 163.355See above, note 61.356James, Varieties, pp. 230 ff., 270, 501, 520 ff357James, op. cit., pp. 433, 513-525.358The operation of a supernatural factor in the subliminal consciousness is denied by Peirce, Jastrow, Stanley Hall (Adol., I, preface, II, p. 43), over against Myers and James.359Forsyth, The Distinctive Thing in Christian Experience, Hibbert Journal, April, 1908, pp. 481 ff.360Sabatier, Les Religions d’Autorité et la Religion de l’Esprit. Paris, 1904.361Seeberg, Grundwahrheiten der Chr. Religion. Leipzig, 1903, pp. 11-37.

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