'TIS Sixty Years Since is the second title of Scott's first novel which gave its name to the famous series which it inaugurated, and the fact encourages us to think that the lapse of sixty years may suffice to invest events with the halo of romance. The same interval as separated the publication of Waverley from the Jacobite rising of 1745 separates us to-day from the appearance of Essays and Reviews, an event doubtless less rich than the adventure of Prince Charlie in romantic possibilities, but one of no little moment in the history of Anglican theology; and one which marked rather the early and tentative stage of a movement whose importance has been growing from that day to this than (like the failure of the young Chevalier to make any considerable impression on the people whose rightful sovereign he claimed to be) the last conspicuous sign of life in a movement doomed, after calling forth a wonderful response of devotion and self-sacrifice, to disappear in the course of a century altogether from the world, remaining only in memory 'to point a moral and adorn a tale.'
Perhaps the most interesting of all the Essays and Reviews, in the famous volume so called, to a reader sixty years afterwards, is that on The Tendencies of Religious Thought in England from 1688 to 1730 by the famous scholar Mark Pattison, afterwards Rector of Lincoln College in this University. I am not now, however, concerned with the actual contents of the essay so much as with the spirit of dispassionate historical inquiry which Pattison intended to illustrate by his treatment of his chosen subject. He was conscious that this spirit was one which would excite surprise and in some quarters disapproval when exhibited by an ecclesiastical historian. 'We have not yet learnt,' he says, 'in this country, to write our ecclesiastical history on any better footing than that of praising up the party, in or out of the Church, to which we happen to belong. Still further,' he continues, 'are we from any attempt to apply the laws of thought and of the succession of opinion to the course of English theology.' The reception of the essay did not disappoint his expectation in this regard. 'This attempt to present the English public with a philosophical monograph on one special phase of religious thought was,' he tells us in his Memoirs, 'singularly unsuccessful. To judge from the reviews it never occurred to any of our public instructors that such a conception was possible. Clerical or Anti-clerical, from the Westminster Review to the Guardian, they were all busily occupied in finding or making contradictions between the writer's words and the thirty-nine articles.' 'The English public could not recognize such a thing as a neutral and philosophical enquiry into the causes of the form of thought existing at any period. Our clergy know only of pamphlets which must be either for or against one of the parties in the Church.' He mentions, however, two eminent men, neither of them, it is true, an Anglican, who had a juster conception of his purpose. One was the distinguished Lutheran divine, Dorner, the author of the well-known History of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ. He, says Pattison, 'accepted the essay for what it was intended to be, a history and not a manifesto, in his history of Protestant theology and made much use and ample acknowledgment of it.' 'Another exception,' I quote the Memoirs again, 'to the chorus of blatant and ignorant howling with which my poor writing was received, I will record. Soon after the publication of Essays and Reviews, happening to come down from Town in the train with Father--since Cardinal--Newman, whom I had not seen for a long time, I was in terror as to how he would regard me in consequence of what I had written. My fears were quickly relieved. He blamed severely the throwing of such speculations broadcast upon the general public. It was, he said, unsettling their faith without giving them anything else to rest upon. But he had no word of censure for the latitude of theological speculation assumed by the essay, provided it had been addressed ad clerum, or put out, not as a public appeal, but as a scholastic dissertation addressed to learned theologians. He assured me that'this could be done in the Roman communion and that much greater latitude of speculation on theological topics was allowed in this form in the Catholic Church than in Protestant communities.'
Pattison was never a sympathetic critic of his neighbours; of those among them who were out of tune with himself and his aims he was apt to take a jaundiced view. But those of us who were bred in clerical households, the heads of which were his contemporaries, can recognize in his strictures a considerable measure of truth. They will recall how even large-minded clergymen of the Church of England would still be apt to speak in tones of apology when commending a Nonconformist, and would regard it as something exciting and venturesome to be engaged in co-operation about some matter of public morals with a Roman Catholic priest or a Presbyterian minister. If here in Oxford, at any rate to-day, the frame of mind thus evinced seems to us something remote and unfamiliar, it is to a great degree due to the special advantage which, during the last quarter of a century, we have enjoyed through the intellectual and religious intercourse between men of divers communions which the establishment among us of Mansfield and Manchester Colleges and of the hostels of the Roman Catholic Religious Orders has brought about. I do not suppose, however, that it is a frame of mind so utterly extinct everywhere, but that an attempt such as I am making in these lectures to connect events in the history of modern Anglican theology with the great movements of thought which affect the whole of our civilization may have to some of my hearers some of the interest of novelty and contrast; though I shall in no way claim to have done more than touch very lightly the surface of a subject which would repay a much more thorough examination than I can pretend to have made of it. I shall for my part be quite content if what I say be found suggestive of further thought and inquiry.
We may, I think, begin our study of Anglican theology during the last hundred years by noting two characteristics of Anglican theology as a whole, which have belonged to it during the greater part of the history of the English Church since its separation from the Roman obedience: its isolation and its Platonism. I will first say something about its isolation. This was in the main due to the via media, the middle course, which the English Church took at the Reformation, between the course followed by that part of Western Christendom which adhered to the Roman See and the more innovating course followed by the majority of those who rebelled against its authority. But it was intensified after the Civil War. This struggle had put an enmity between the Anglicanism which triumphed at the Restoration of Charles II. and the Puritanism over which it triumphed.
The attention of Anglicans, particularly after the Revolution of 1688, came to be concentrated upon controversies purely national, respecting the claims of rival dynasties to the allegiance of Churchmen. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were closed to all but signatories of the Thirty-nine Articles, and lost altogether the international character which had belonged to them in the Middle Ages and had not quite disappeared in the interval between the Reformation and the Restoration. Though the bulk of the English clergy and laity unquestionably continued to regard themselves as on the Protestant side in the great controversy of Western Christendom, the fact that it was the Puritans who had been ejected, rather than the Conformists who remained within the national Church, that were nearest in their forms of worship and piety to the Protestants of the Continent, probably tended on the whole to emphasize the distinction between these latter and the Anglicans. When, in the nineteenth century, the Tractarian Movement spread far and wide among both the clergy and laity, a new consciousness of unity in the tradition of Catholic order with the Church of this country before the Reformation and also with the communions which, whether in East or West, had preserved the apostolical succession of the ministry and in consequence (according to the Tractarian view) a genuinely valid Eucharist, this new consciousness, while not in reality bringing the Church of England much closer to the Roman Church, which could not be persuaded to acknowledge the validity of Anglican orders or the Anglican Eucharist and would hear of nothing but submission to the authority of the Pope, undoubtedly removed that large section of the Church which adopted to a greater or less extent the Tractarian opinions further than ever from the Protestant Churches at home or abroad, which repudiated the necessity, whether to the commission of their ministers or to the reality of the grace conveyed in their ordinances, of a connexion through a continuous episcopal succession with the ministry of the ancient undivided Church. Thus in fact the Tractarian Movement, while widening in certain ways the outlook of Anglican theology, in some important respects even increased the isolation which, owing to its history, had long been characteristic of it. It is, I think, to a considerable extent, still characteristic of it; but there are now certain influences adverse to this isolation acting upon it. After the Civil War, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, at that time the only schools of higher learning in England, were closed to all but signatories of the Thirty-nine Articles. This was at once a sign and a part cause of the isolation of Anglican theology during the succeeding period. The opening of the ancient Universities in the nineteenth century to the whole nation irrespective of religious belief, and the establishment of new Universities, in which the limitation of membership to Anglicans was from the first unknown, has been a potent influence in diminishing that isolation. Even when I was an undergraduate in Oxford, between thirty and forty years ago, though the old tests had been for some years abolished, yet this abolition had by no means taken complete effect. The number of Nonconformist students was still small; while Cardinal Manning lived, the residence of Roman Catholics in the University was discouraged and consequently rare. Even when I began to lecture, the great majority of one's audience might be assumed, at any rate in many colleges, to be English born, and bred in the Church of England. But now Oxford (and no doubt Cambridge also) is almost as cosmopolitan as in the Middle Ages, and the nations which are represented in our lecture rooms are far more numerous and represent the inhabitants of a far larger part of the earth's surface than in the Middle Ages. It is nothing uncommon for a lecturer to have a Buddhist or a Hindoo or a Moslem among his audience, not to speak of members of almost any of the great communions into which Christendom is divided. And not only may the Anglican student of theology thus be brought into association as an individual with men belonging to other Churches and creeds and trained in different traditions, but in the great theological colleges of Mansfield and Manchester and in the hostels of the Roman Catholic Religious Orders the Anglican teachers of theology have colleagues who are not Anglican co-operating with them, and that for the most part in an entirely cordial and sympathetic fashion. The Faculty of Theology itself is now a faculty not only of Anglican theology, but of Christian theology in the widest sense, opening its degrees to all who are qualified by their competent knowledge of Christian theology to receive them; and in the Society of Historical Theology the seniors--in such societies as the Nicene, the Origen, and I dare say several others, the juniors--of the Anglican community discuss theological questions freely and frankly with men who are not of their communion, but are also in many cases candidates for the ministry of some Christian Church, and are, at any rate, earnestly interested in the search for religious truth. I have spoken of Oxford, which I know; but at Cambridge, in the other great school of Anglican theology, there are of course analogous conditions, tending to a similar breaking down of the isolation characteristic of that theology; not to mention the newer Universities, two at least of which, London and Manchester, possess active Faculties of Theology, in which Anglican theologians co-operate with those of other religious bodies in the service of sacred learning and thought.
I have said enough for the present of the first of the two notes which I mentioned as characteristic of Anglican theology as a whole--its isolation. I pass on to the other--its Platonism.
Not long ago a very intelligent young divine from the Swiss University of Geneva came with an introduction to visit me. He was passing through Oxford in the course of his travels and was anxious to form a just impression of the existing condition of English theology, its characteristics, and its tendencies. In conversation with me upon this subject, he observed that it seemed to him that in the utterances of Anglican theologians (and I think he had most prominently in his mind an address he had heard from the present Bishop of Manchester, Dr. William Temple) there was manifest in a marked degree the influence of the philosophy of Plato; and he made the remark, which seemed to me both just and acute, that to this was probably due to a considerable degree the fact which had struck him that English divines (and I do not think he meant here Anglican divines only, but it would be especially true of them) found what he called Nicene language, the language of the Catholic Creeds, more congenial, and used it more familiarly and readily, than was the case with the theologians of the Protestant Churches abroad. As I talked with him, it seemed to me that my Swiss visitor had here hit upon a really important truth about the theology of the Church of England; and I recalled how faithful Anglicanism has been throughout its history to that Platonic philosophy which has been called the 'old loving nurse' of Christian theology, and under the guidance of which the terminology was formed wher,ein the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Christian Church endeavoured to give an intellectual account of their religious experience. I remembered the great school of the Cambridge Platonists in the seventeenth century who rose above the fierce controversies of the time into a clearer atmosphere of rational piety. I remembered how, in the eighteenth century, when Priestley, the celebrated chemist and the pioneer student (though ill-equipped by his scholarship for the task) of the study of the history of dogma, put forward his Unitarianism as a doctrine free from the difficulties of the orthodox confession of the Trinity in Unity, the reply of his Anglican critic, Bishop Horsley, was: 'I beseech you, read the Parmenides'--that dialogue in which Plato shows us how difficult it is, when one thinks it out, to conceive of unity: how full this conception, with which we certainly cannot dispense, and which is treated sometimes, as by Priestley, as though it were simple and intelligible, is of paradoxes and puzzles. I recalled how the study of Plato's Republic in this University, which was to be so characteristic of Oxford philosophical teaching during the last seventy years, is said to have received a new impulse from the lectures upon it of Sewell, the founder of Radley College, who was attracted by the analogy of the Ideal State depicted by Plato with the ideal of the Christian Church as it presented itself to the imagination of the men of the Tractarian Movement. I thought again how deeply dyed in Platonism was the thought of such men as the poet Coleridge, Frederick Denison Maurice, and Bishop Westcott, who did so much to mould the thought of those Anglicans who stood more or less apart from the Tractarian Movement, while at the same time their teaching has been a hardly less powerful leaven (as I remember Bishop Gore pointing out to me years ago) in the later developments of the school--call it Anglo-Catholic or what you will--which looks back to the Oxford Movement as its parent, than the teaching of the Tractarians themselves. I reflected lastly how, if one were to ask oneself who were the ablest Anglican theologians of to-day, no names would come more readily to mind than those of the present Bishop of Manchester and the present Dean of St. Paul's, both men who would be the first to confess that they were Platonists and that for them Plato--or, in Dr. Inge's case, a disciple of Plato, Plotinus--stood beside the New Testament itself as the inspiration f of their thinking on the things of God and of the soul.
Certainly my Swiss friend was right. Platonism is a characteristic of Anglican theology, and to the constant influence of Platonism upon it has largely been due its greater faithfulness to the Catholic tradition of theology as compared with the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of the continent of Europe. It would perhaps even be true to say that its isolation, the other note of it to which I have called your attention, was itself not altogether independent of its Platonism; for this reason, that it tended to render it less sympathetic on the one hand with the Aristotelianism which has dominated the scholastic tradition canonized in the schools of the Roman Catholic Church, and on the other with certain tendencies which deeply affected the general trend of Protestant theology--with the tendency in earlier days to a certain hostility to reason and philosophy as dangerous rivals of grace and revelation, and in modern times with the doubts (associated with the name of Kant) as to the possibility of a genuine knowledge of God, of a 'rational theology.'
The Ritschlian school which has been so prominent in German theology and in Protestant theology generally during the last half-century has carried on this latter tradition. Ritschl, the founder of the school, will not allow theology to have anything to do with metaphysics. Professor Herrmann, of Marburg (whose work on Communion of the Christian with God has been translated into English, and is deservedly esteemed by many), will not admit that there is anything really in common between the revelation of God in the historical Christ which the Christian enjoys and any revelation, if such there be, which is or has been made outside the Christian covenant. From all such extravagances, which tend to cut the Christian religion adrift both from natural religion and from the historical process in which the Law was ordained to lead the Jew and Philosophy the Greek to the school of Christ, Anglican theology has been preserved by its Platonism. A result of the isolation of Anglican theology, to which, as I said, this Platonism has itself ministered, has been that the great movements of European thought, while they have undoubtedly affected Anglican theology and been echoed in its history--it could not be so isolated as not to be affected by them and to respond to them--have nevertheless been to a great extent unconsciously echoed here. It is the purpose of the following papers to show in more detail how this has, in certain conspicuous instances, been the course of events.
THESE papers are specially concerned with the last hundred years: but in dealing with the thought of any period, it is always necessary to cast one's eye upon that of the preceding period also; and I will accordingly ask your attention to a few remarks about some general tendencies of European thought during the age embracing the later eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries, the age which was signalized by the Declaration of American Independence, the French Revolution, and the career of the great Napoleon.
An English scholar of the seventeenth century, William Cave, writing a History of Ecclesiastical Literature, gave to the successive ages with which he was called upon to deal, names indicative of what is most memorable in each: thus he calls the first century of our era the Saeculum Apostolicum, the fourth the Saeculum Arianum, the thirteenth the Saeculum Scholasticum, the sixteenth (the last with which he deals) the Saeculum Reformatum, and so with the rest. An author whom I quoted in my last lecture, Mark Pattison, has suggested that on the same principle the eighteenth century might well be called the Saeculum Rationalisticum. My first task will be to call your attention to the tendency to what is called Rationalism, here noted as characteristic of that century, as a preface to an account of a reaction against it which, felt all over Europe in one shape or another, is represented in Anglican theology by the Evangelical movement, a movement which at the date from which my survey is supposed to start--a hundred years ago--had indeed to some extent spent its first force, but was still probably the most vital spiritual power in the religious life of the Church of England.
In every age in which the passion for knowledge is alive, we may expect to find some one science or group of sciences dominant, by which the best intellect of the time is attracted and by which the view of the world taken by cultivated men is coloured. The dominant intellectual interest of the seventeenth and earlier eithteenth centuries may, I think, be said to have been the interest of mathematical science. This was the age of Galileo, of Descartes, of Pascal, of Newton, of Leibnitz, all of them men of great mathematical genius. Now it was natural that this dominant intellectual interest of the time should show itself in a widespread passion for that clearness and distinction which belong especially to mathematical ideas; and in a tendency to leave out of account whatever in experience may seem to be incapable of being set out in the clear, consecutive and convincing form which is proper to mathematical proof. Accordingly we find the chief philosophers of the period, from Bacon to Leibnitz, dreaming of a presentation of moral and metaphysical truth after a mathematical fashion which, by the use of precise definitions and the observation of such an ordered system of thinking as we find in Euclid, should lead to ethical and metaphysical conclusions as certain and as capable of winning universal assent as the conclusions of arithmetic and geometry. Those elements of reality, and especially those elements of human life, which do not readily emerge into
the full light of consciousness, are in such a period in danger of being neglected. The State, for example, is thought of as deliberately made by a social contract, rather than, after a fashion more familiar to us, as like an organism 'growing secretly.' It is attempted to make religion reasonable by the omission or, at least, relegation to the background of what is paradoxical and remote from ordinary ways of thinking--such as, for example, the doctrines of the Trinity in the Godhead, or of salvation by the blood of Christ's atoning sacrifice. Morality is, indeed, brought into prominence relatively to religion because, in contrast with the mystery of religious dogmas and their failure to win acknowledgement outside a restricted circle, the intuitions of conscience are comparatively clear, and the main principles of distinction between right and wrong are generally accepted. There is everywhere a tendency to attend to what is done openly in the full light of consciousness, and a corresponding tendency to disregard in comparison with this those dark roots of experience in the subconscious and unconscious regions of spiritual life, which we are in our days rather in danger of over-emphasizing than of forgetting. It must not, of course, be overlooked that during all the period, throughout which a certain neglect of these dark roots of spiritual experience was dominant, there were witnesses to the importance of the consideration of them. At the very beginning of it, in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, there were great mystics with a profound sense of these: the greatest names among them are those of a Roman Catholic, the Spanish Carmelite, St. John of the Cross, and a Lutheran, the Silesian shoemaker, Jakob Boehme. A century after the latter's death, a great Anglican, William Law, the author of what is, perhaps, among devotional books written by members of the Church of England, the one which can most plausibly be described as a work of genius, I mean The Serious Call, a saint and a thinker and one of the best prose writers of his day, introduced into this country the doctrines of Boehme, or, as he was generally called in England, Behmen. Somewhat later, a very different man, also a great Anglican, Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, insisted in his famous Analogy on the point that what is generally called Deism--the belief, widely held in his day, that a thoughtful survey of Nature might lead to a belief in a wise and good God, unembarrassed by the difficulties which beset the doctrines of historical Christianity--would after all not fulfil its promises just because it ignored the difficulties--for example, the waste of life involved in the course of what men had not then learnt to call the 'struggle for existence'--which would perplex any thorough-going seeker for God in the facts of nature, no less than the mysteries of revelation perplexed the enquirer into the doctrines of Christianity. Even among the great mathematical thinkers themselves there were not lacking signs of protests against the rationalism which concentration on mathematical and physical studies had fostered. Thus we have Pascal's saying that the heart has its reasons which the reason does not know. And if rationalism, fostered by mathematical and physical studies, led, as it doubtless did, to neglect of the region of spiritual life which lies below the threshold of consciousness, one of the greatest mathematicians and philosophers of the age, Leibnitz, was led by his interest as a mathematician in the thought of continuity to insist upon the existence of such a subconscious region, continuous with our conscious life; and so to point the way in which, in latter days, so many psychologists have followed him in the exploration of this obscure background from which our conscious life seems to emerge, as the islands in the sea are in truth peaks of submarine mountain ranges overtopping the level below which the greater part of the chain is permanently sunk.
There were, however, more or less isolated exceptions to the general rule that, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was what was clear and distinct and orderly and able to give a good account of itself before the tribunal of good sense and calm judgment that appealed to the general temper of the time. What is mysterious, strange, weird, inexpressible in language, has little attraction for those imbued with the rationalistic temper; at the best it might amuse an idle hour. 'Enthusiasm' is with them a term of reproach, suggesting only extravagance and a want of self-control. But no one familiar with the history of ideas will be surprised to find that as the Saeculum Rationalisticum (to use Pattison's name for the period) went on, there began to reveal itself, side by side with this exclusive delight in what can be clearly and distinctly conceived, with this tendency to limit the sphere of Reason to what, being highly abstract, most easily permits itself to be thus clearly and distinctly conceived (for example, the quantities and magnitudes studied by mathematicians)--with this comparative neglect of the obscure and the subconscious as being irrational rather than as being provocative of more hardy attempts of Reason to master the less amenable material which they offered to its consideration--an exactly opposite tendency. This was a tendency to insist on the supreme value of feeling or sentiment, and brought about at last a real danger that all care for what is rational or sensible should be submerged by a flood of emotion. This tendency manifested itself first in a succession of religious movements with a strongly-marked emotional side--in the Protestant world in Pietism, Moravianism, Methodism, and in the Roman Catholic Church in the rise of the devotion of the Sacred Heart, originating in the visions of a French nun of the late seventeenth century, the Blessed Marie-Marguerite Alacoque, the imagery connected with which devotion reminds us so closely of that to be found in the hymns produced by the more or less contemporary movements in the Protestant Churches.
At last this tendency, which I may call for short 'sentimental,' without implying by that word any criticism of it, but only that it lays its principal stress upon feeling as contrasted with reason--this 'sentimental 'tendency revealed itself as a great intellectual force in Jean Jacques Rousseau. There is to be found in Lord Morley's book upon Rousseau a very interesting account of his far-reaching influence upon every department of the spiritual life of Europe. I will here confine myself to the theological aspects of this influence, before coming to exhibit the Evangelical movement in the Church of England as the Anglican representative of the tendency for which Rousseau stands in the general history of European thought. And I will also add to what I have to say about Rousseau himself something about certain developments of his principles which we may associate respectively with the French Revolution, for which Rousseau did so much to pave the way; with the moral philosophy of Kant, upon which Rousseau exercised, as Kant tells us, in a certain way a decisive influence; and with the work of the poet Goethe in the next generation. To both these developments something corresponding may be observed in the Evangelicalism which in Anglican theology reflects the whole movement whereof Rousseau is in general literature the central figure.
The contrast between the civilized state and a state of nature which might be supposed to lie behind it was a very old one; but it had not always been understood in the same way. The English philosopher Hobbes in the seventeenth century had described the state of nature as 'poor, nasty, solitary, brutish, short'; in other words, as a mere animal existence. Rousseau and his followers were, on the other hand, disposed to regard it as better than civilization had come to be. Hence the new movement ran counter to the preference which, in the preceding age, the Age of Rationalism, as I called it, men generally felt for what is cultivated and civilized over what is undomesticated and wild; and we may note that this might seem to bring it into line with the theological tradition which had regarded the history of civilization as beginning in a fall from innocence, and had refused to allow that human nature could expect to attain perfection by making the best of its own resources, and asserted its absolute need of a supply from without of supernatural grace. This tradition, although out of sympathy with the prevailing tone of the age of Rationalism with its confidence in Reason, its satisfaction with the gifts of civilization, was by no means dead. It had indeed during that period been especially emphasized by the Calvinists in the Protestant Churches and by the Jansenists in the Roman Catholic Church in opposition to what seemed to them the acquiescence of Arminians and of Jesuits in the prevailing tendency to exalt unduly the native powers of humanity and the value of what was achieved by these alone. But this theological tradition was in opposition to this prevailing tendency, and the comparative depreciation of the results of civilization by Rousseau might, as I said, seem to reinforce it in so far as this also saw in the actual history of civilization the story of a corruption rather than of an improvement. But it could not be said that its emphasis on the need of divine grace or its requirement of the conviction of sin, as the first step to be taken in the spiritual life, was reinforced by the new philosophy. Rather that philosophy was marked by reliance upon and a trust in the native instincts of that human heart which the sterner schools of theology had regarded as 'desperately wicked.' Despite this great difference, however, between the tradition of Christian theology and the teaching associated with the name of Rousseau, it is here (as Lord Morley points out in the book to which I have already referred) that he was a pioneer of religious revival. Voltaire and the deists of the generation before Rousseau had believed in a God (you may still see at Ferney the church which, as the inscription on its portico proclaims, Deo Erexit Voltaire) whom it was indeed reasonable and right to honour, but with whom no intimate communion was to be enjoyed. Rousseau's conception of God may indeed liave been no less vague: but God was for him an object of ecstatic emotion. He could lie murmuring O Grande Être, Grand Être, rapt in feelings of adoration which would have been foolishness to Voltaire. Appearing when and where it did, this new kind of piety showed that one must either pass beyond the cold deism of Voltaire to the open atheism of some of the Encyclopaedists, or with Rousseau to a more intimate realization in feeling of a Divinity which, as a mere inference from the order of nature, was rapidly fading from men's view. Rousseau stands for the sentiment of God, as he does also for the sentiment of Nature, but rather for sentiment in both cases than for the effort to know either. Thus the two great contemporaries, born in the same year, 1770, the German philosopher Hegel and the English poet Wordsworth, alike pre-suppose Rousseau, but pass beyond him in an effort to know what Rousseau did but feel.
The great French Revolution (which was not only a French Revolution) may be from one point of view regarded as the explosion of the combined forces of Rationalism and its opposite and successor, Senti-mentalism--forces typified respectively by two great writers, Voltaire and Rousseau. Rationalism, with its emphasis on clear and distinct understanding, its neglect of obscure processes of growth and development, its corresponding indifference to tradition, had undermined genuine belief in the political and religious traditions which were embodied in the structure of Church and State. But by itself Rationalism was too careless of sentiment in general to afford a substitute for the sentiments which the traditional order of society had created. It was, on the whole, aristocratic, for clear and distinct understanding is plainly for the few and not for the common mass of men; it did not therefore aim at disturbing the ideas of the people at large, who were perhaps only to be kept in order by the help of superstitious beliefs in rewards and penalties supposed to be entailed by obedience or disobedience to laws whose true ground they could not be expected to appreciate. The Rationalist's very lack of sympathy with the dogmas of the established religion made him powerless, and not very desirous, to disturb their hold over those who were not guided by reason.
The Sentimentalism of Rousseau, though in a way the very opposite of this Rationalism, came in to complete what it had left incomplete. Just as the sentiment of Nature, of man's natural equality, was able to take the heart out of an interested belief in aristocratic superiority which Rationalism had already deprived of any convincing sanctions, so too the sentiment of undogmatic religion was able to touch with a certain enthusiasm the alienation of men from an established system in the truth of the principles underlying which they themselves, and not only they but even many of the official representatives of the established system itself, had ceased to have any convinced belief. An order of society, then, in Church and State alike, which neither in belief nor yet in feeling had a serious faith in itself, was bound to go down before the rationalistic belief in an abstract theory to which the traditional institutions by no means corresponded, as soon as this belief in the abstract theory was reinforced by the sentiment for human equality and the common nature of man, in which high and low were alike. We must think, then, of Rousseau's teaching for our present purpose together with the revolutionary consequences of that teaching, consequences which were dependent upon an abstract theory of human equality, a sentiment for the common nature of man, which led to impatience with the historical institutions which had produced distinctions, whether social, national or racial, among those who shared in that nature, and which it was thought must be swept away, or, at any rate, allowed to decay and left to die, if that common nature was to attain to its full natural expression.
I said that there were other developments of Rousseau's teaching on which I wished to say a word before proceeding to show how the Evangelical movement in Anglican theology reflected this Sentimentalist movement--developments which I associated with the names of Kant and Goethe respectively.
Kant tells us himself that he was by natural bent a scientific enquirer or researcher, and began by despising the common folk who had no part in the pursuit of learning and knowledge to which his own life was devoted; but that he was led by the study of Rousseau to abandon this overwhelming estimate of the dignity of his own special vocation, and to learn reverence for the common humanity which binds us to all, whether high or low, who possess the simple consciousness of duty, as distinct from and, it may be, opposed to inclination. It is, however, to be noted that this sense of a common humanity takes in Kant, in accordance with the peculiarity of his personal character, the form of an austere respect for duty rather than the form of benevolent sentiment; yet we have his own word for it that the great master of sentiment, Rousseau, was his master here; and it is not without significance that, as the movement which culminated in Rousseau had, before Rousseau's day, taken a religious form in the Pietism of Germany (of which our English Methodism and, through Methodism, our English Evangelicalism were direct descendants), it was in a Pietistic household that Kant had been brought up, and that an eminent Pietistic clergyman had been the first person of superior position to interest himself in the saddler's boy who was to become the most illustrious thinker of modern times. And though there remained very little of the Pietist in the mature Kant, either as regards opinion or as regards sentiment, yet the depth and strength of his moral experience, the witness of which no difficulty in reconciling the freedom which it required with the determinism no less decidedly postulated by our scientific investigations could avail to make him doubt for a moment, may well have owed something to what his schoolfellow, the classical scholar Ruhnken, writing to Kant after both had become famous, calls 'that harsh, yet useful and by no means to be regretted discipline which we underwent from the fanatics.'
The poet Goethe indeed considered it Kant's great service, by his insistence on duty rather than on feeling, to have lifted his cultivated countrymen from the slough of sentimentality into which, to a great extent under the influence of Rousseau's writings, they had been sinking. This sentimentality had taken in the second generation a profoundly pessimistic form. In English literature we may take the poet Byron as the type of this development; and Goethe, who had known by experience the sense of dissatisfaction and despair which it engendered, had purged himself of it by writing the Sorrows of Werther, a story of love and suicide, suggested by the actual life and death of a young contemporary of his own under the influence of an indulged melancholy of this kind, induced in his case by a hopeless passion for another man's wife. We must remember, then, that we must associate with the general tendency of thought and feeling to which I have attached the name of Rousseau, and which, as I propose to show, was echoed in Anglican theology by the Evangelical movement, not only the sentiment of Rousseau himself for Nature and for a God immanent in Nature, but also the indifference to history which was so markedly manifested both in the political ideals of the revolutionary period and in the moral philosophy of Kant. For Kant dwells upon our common nature as rational beings, and the duty which belongs to us as such, and takes little account of the different standards characteristic of different stages of historical nationalities; or of the historical process through which men have been brought to a realization of their common humanity and the conscience matured to the point at which it would respond to Kant's teaching about the 'categorical imperative' or unconditional command of duty. And besides this again we have to remember, as a feature of the general tendency which the Evangelical movement represents in Anglican theology, that vivid realization of the disappointment and vanity of life which is so often caused by reaction from highly-strung sentiment, and which, as we saw, obtained literary embodiment in Goethe's Sorrows of Werther as well as in much of the poetry of Byron.
Let us now turn at last to the Evangelical movement in the Church of England, and see how the various features of the great spiritual movement of the age are there represented.
It is obvious, in the first place, that this Evangelicalism reacts against the Rationalism of the period in which it arose by its emphasis on feeling, on the heart. 'Lord,' says the poet of the movement,' it is my chief complaint, that my love is weak and faint.' A new stress is laid on conversion, less as a changed course of conduct than as a conscious difference of attitude towards God; sacramental incorporation into the Church and intellectual conviction of the truth of Christianity are secondary to the first-hand experience which is attested by the crushing sense of sin, the personal response to the offer of salvation, the inward assurance of pardon, which marked the stages of the spiritual drama of the individual sinner's reconciliation to God in Christ. It would, of course, be absurd to suppose that these things were unknown before the end of the eighteenth century, or are only found in those whom one would call Evangelicals in theology. But unquestionably these things stand out for Evangelicalism, as they do not for other forms of Christian piety, as the distinctive features of the religious life; unquestionably there was, at the period of which I am speaking, a rediscovery of their importance in which we cannot but recognize the form taken by the sentimental revolt against Rationalism in the minds of those children of the age for whom religion, rather than science or art or politics, was the principal interest of life.
I have already quoted some lines of Cowper, the sweetest singer of English Evangelicalism. Do we not see in his sad despair, to which he gave such memorable and terrible expression in his poem of The Castaway, something akin to the ungluckliche Bewusstsein, 'the unhappy consciousness,' as the philosopher Hegel was afterwards to call such states of mind, which brought into fashion such suicide as that of Jerusalem, the original of Goethe's Werther and which breathes in the pages of Senancour's Obermann (the deep impression made by which upon himself Matthew Arnold has commemorated in two well-known poems, In memory of the author of Obermann and Obermann Once More), or again in those of the René of the great French prose poet Chateaubriand? There is indeed a true kinship between the gentle recluse of Olney and these sad spirits, but yet, even though the disordered intellect of Cowper, fastening on the fearful dogma which he had learned from his Calvinistic teachers, made him in theory the most hopeless of them all, his sincere piety in fact touches his melancholy with a sort of gentle radiance which that of his less religious fellows lacks:
'Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian when he sings:
It is the Lord who rises
With healing in his wings.'
To the Evangelical, in the famous phrase of Newman, who in his Apologia fully acknowledges his debt to the Evangelical teaching under which he received his earliest religious impressions, the 'two, and two only, supreme and luminous self-evident beings 'were himself and his Creator. A certain individualism of outlook arising from preoccupation with the inner drama of one's own spiritual life is another feature in which Evangelicalism reflects the character of the great movement of which Rousseau is the literary protagonist; and with this individualism of outlook goes a lack of interest in the individual's historical setting and antecedents, and a consequent general lack of historical perspective which, as we have already seen, characterized the political ideals of the Revolution and the moral philosophy of Kant, and which is no less evident in some conspicuous features of Evangelical theology; for instance, in its tendency to isolate the Scriptures, to disparage the authority of ecclesiastical tradition, and to belittle the mediation of the Church.
Such individualism of outlook must not, however, be regarded as implying egoism or selfishness. No doubt selfishness may have sometimes clothed itself in the forms of Evangelical piety, as in other disguises which lay ready to its hand, but the natural result of Evangelical individualism was not selfishness but rather a passionate love of individual souls. The great outburst of mis-sinary zeal which marked the beginning of the nineteenth century, the abolition of the slave-tade, the Factory Acts, associated respectively with the names of Carey and Martyn, of Wilberforce and of Shaftesbury, are a sufficient proof of this. No movement has been richer in works of practical philanthropy than Evangelicalism. And here too once more it is true to the general character of the wider movement with which it is historically connected, while touching it with a religious fervour which it has elsewhere sometimes lacked. We have seen how the study of Rousseau converted Kant to a respect for all men, simple as well as learned, which found expression in his ethical doctrine that we are 'to treat humanity in our own person, or in that of another, always as an end and never merely as a means'; and we have seen, too, how the same Rousseau's teaching fired the zeal of the French revolutionaries for the rights of man. The politics of English Evangelicalism were marked by a characteristically English sobriety and conservatism which had little in common with the violence and radicalism of continental republicanism; but the two were less apart in their ultimate inspiration than their respective followers would have readily allowed. And indeed it is not at all my intention to suggest in this account of the relation of Evangelicalism to the European movement with which I have brought it into connexion, that its kinship with that movement was something of which Evangelicals or their leaders were for the most part aware. The names of Rousseau and of Kant would to the majority of them have been the names of dangerous enemies of the truth they prized; the former would have been familiar, but execrated; the latter unfamiliar but, so far as known, thought of as belonging to a world outside the circle of those who shared an experience which was to them the one pearl of great price, and which they were too apt to think inseparable from certain ways of thinking and speaking which they had come to regard as its necessary tokens and evidences.
But I have already pointed out in my first lecture that the isolation characteristic of Anglican theology often comes out in the fact that it echoes world movements without intending to do so or being aware that it does so. We shall see this illustrated again in the history of the next great movement, that which has often been named the Oxford Movement, because it is at Oxford that it first found an articulate voice in The Christian Year and the Tracts for the Times.
JUST as the Rationalism of the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth centuries had awakened a reaction in which a one-sided stress was laid upon sentiment, so the Revolutionary movement of the end of the eighteenth century, which tried as it were, to cut off the entail and interrupt the continuity of the political and social tradition of Europe, called forth an enthusiasm for that tradition which had been dormant in the preceding period. The outrage done by the Revolution to historical sentiment evoked a revival of that sentiment, which was to become a marked characteristic of the mind of the nineteenth century and to form one of the chief points of distinction detween it and the mind of preceding periods. This evoking of the historical sentiment by a revulsion from the deliberate breach with the past which the French Revolution, carrying into practice the rationalistic ideas and individualistic sentiments of the age which was drawing to its close, had endeavoured to effect, is very well illustrated in the magnificent eloquence of Burke's anti-revolutionary writings, with their reassertion of that ancient view of society as an organism with a life of its own which the individualism natural to a rationalistic age had tended to obscure. In Burke we hear the new note of enthusiasm for the past, an enthusiasm not such as was common enough among the Revolutionary party for a remote past which, because it was fancied as discontinuous with the present, could be idealized as a primitive age of simple happiness and unsophisticated virtue; nor even for classical antiquity imagined, as it was by the Revolutionary students of Plutarch's Lives, as a vanished world of heroic republican patriotism; but for the past with whose institutions those under which the enthusiast himself had been bred were in direct continuity--that is, in the actual case, for the past of mediaeval Europe. This enthusiasm shaped the so-called Romantic movement in literature, by which the generation after the Revolution was carried away, and whose most typical representative was, on the whole, Sir Walter Scott. But this Romantic literature was only one side of a vaster movement. This vaster movement was characterized throughout by a new recognition of the value of elements in life which Rationalism had tended to overlook and which the Revolution had threatened to destroy. The forces of mere reaction which existed and which, after the fall of Napoleon, attained great power in the political and social world, sometimes formed alliances-with the higher ideals of the time; and the career of Napoleon himself influenced in more than one way the current of feeling. For as in Napoleon the spirit of Revolutionary France had shown itself aggressive and tyrannical beyond any other, the Pove of liberty, at any rate outside of France, came to ally itself with loyalty to national institutions which the Napoleonic order had imperilled; while, on the other hand, the solid merits of the highly civilized system of government which Napoleon had substituted in many places for worn out and corrupt ones raised the standard for those among whom he introduced them and inspired new ideals for the future. The incarnation on the continent of Europe of the spirit of this age, which we may call, with the editors of the Cambridge Modern History, the Age of Restoration, was the great poet Goethe. He had, as I said before, thrown off the sentimentalism of his youth, a sentimentalism ultimately inspired by Rousseau, in writing the Sorrows of Werther. He had been among the initiators of the Romantic literary movement; his story of Götz von Berlichingen, which served Walter Scott for a model, his Faust and his Wilhelm Meister are the mature achievement of this whole period. He ended his long life, not yet ninety years ago, as the minister of the small German state of Saxe-Weimar, of which his friend the Duke Karl August was sovereign. And in this, too, he was typical; in his attempt to start anew with the old tradition instead of, as the Revolutionary generation had proposed, without it. There is a famous passage of his Faust in which he speaks of those who distinguish and divide and analyse, while 'the spiritual bond,' which holds together the whole that they thus dissect, escapes them. This was perhaps aimed at Kant, who in part of his work was the philosophical representative of the Revolutionary spirit, rationalistic, analytical, destructive. But there were constructive elements in Kant as well. The stern manliness of his ethics was in strong contrast with the sentimental laxity which was coming into fashion when they appeared; and the emphasis in the third of his three great treatises, called Critiques, upon the living organism certainly cannot be understood if 'the spiritual bond' is ignored. These constructive elements in Kant, and especially the latter, the emphasis on the organism, Goethe fully appreciated as helping on the work of building up, of reconstruction, which was laid on his generation, whose lot had fallen in the years which followed the great pulling down. It was all of a piece with this that the same Goethe, when sitting in the botanic gardens at Padua under the palm tree which they still show you there, should have struck upon the principle of metamorphosis--that the flowers of plants are but transformed leaves--and so become one of the pioneers of the evolutionary idea, which was to have so great a history in the nineteenth century Readers of Carlyle know how highly Carlyle rated Goethe's victorious achievement, 'In his inspired melody,' he says in Sartor Resartus, 'even in these rag-gathering and rag-burning days, man's life again begins, were it but afar off, to be divine.'
The work of another great German, the philosopher Hegel, is to be brought into connexion with the movement of which Goethe is on the whole the most imposing figure. Kant had spoken as if Reason makes demands which can never be satisfied, creates ideas which can never be verified in an actual experience, gives laws which ought always to be obeyed, but perhaps never are. Hegel, on the other hand, endeavoured to find in studying the world, which he took to be the work of Reason, as it stands before us in religious and political institutions, in the Church, in the State, in the history alike of social life and of philosophic theory, that which Kant could only find in an unrealized ideal in the critic's mind, to which the facts failed to correspond. Thus Hegel helped to turn the current of men's thoughts into two at least of the channels in which they have since been running. By giving history a standing, so to speak, in philosophy, through his doctrine that the true significance of things and of reality as a whole could not be understood apart from the way in which they had come to be, in which we should try to discover not a mere series of accidents, but the necessary and inevitable unfolding of the nature of whatever we are dealing with, he gave a new dignity to historical study, much as Bacon in his day had given a new dignity to the study of nature; and he also made the notion of development central, in doing which he showed the way which the biological sciences were, especially after Darwin, to follow. Moreover, by seeing in the real world around us--natural, social, intellectual,--the work of a larger Reason than yours or mine, in which your reason and mine are rooted, and a work which we must endeavour therefore to understand before we set about trying to improve it, he helped to reverse the old rationalistic prejudice in favour of considering as rational only that which could be devised by the individual starting afresh, as it were, for himself, as though his mind had no roots in a larger Reason manifested already in the actual structure of Reality.
Besides Goethe and Hegel, I will mention one other great man of this period; a poet of our own, William Wordsworth. That sense of the eternal freshness of nature and of the fundamental realities of human life which in his Revolutionary youth made him welcome the dawn of freedom in France:
'Joy was it in that Dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven':
did not die within him after the later course of the Revolution, with its excesses of cruelty and bloodshed, and Napoleon's struggle with England had alienated his sympathy. It lived on, but in union with an ever-deepening sense of the sanctity and permanence of the habitual and the traditional, of those things whereof we can say, as he says himself of Burns:
'Deep in the general heart of man
Their power abides.'
He was thus a true representative of the period of which I have chosen him as a typical figure; and not less so in his profound consciousness of a 'life which rolls through all things'--a consciousness which sets him far apart from the Rationalism whose God, where it acknowledged one, was thought of as outside the world which he had made and then left, as it were, to itself, except it were perhaps for occasional miraculous interferences; and it brings him near to such a thought of the whole of Nature, inanimate as well as animate, explicable throughout on the principles of organic, growth, as found just after his time a grandiose if, in detail, an unsatisfactory expression in the so-called Synthetic Philosophy of Herbert Spencer; or as, with more eloquence and sympathy, if not with equal vastness of design, and with a more penetrating understanding of the problems involved, has been suggested in our own days, under the name of Creative Evolution, by M. Bergson.
Of the three figures which I have taken as representative of the movement, the chief motif oi which the Oxford Movement echoes, so to say, in Anglican theology, the third and last has of course a historical connexion with the High Church movement in the Church of England through his personal interest in it in its earlier, his later, days, and through the part played in it, with his approval and sympathy, by his distinguished nephew Christopher, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln. My own father, who, as an undergraduate at Cambridge, was secretary and a moving spirit of the Cambridge Camden Society, which sought to give practical effect to the interest excited by the Tractarians in the outward form and setting of worship, remembered how the great poet, when on a visit to his brother the Master of Trinity, allowed the young enthusiasts to show him the Round Church restored under their auspices to what they at any rate supposed to be a condition more in keeping with its original purpose and with the spirit of its founders.
The High Church movement reflected in several ways the greater movement of European thought of which I took Goethe, Hegel, Wordsworth as typical figures. It reflected it in its interest in the historical continuity of the present with the past, which the Revolution had sought to interrupt; in its idealization, both in Church and State, of the principle of authority, which the Revolution had defied, and (in its later rather than in its earlier stages) in its stress on the conception of organic growth or development. This last feature was, as I said, later than the others in making its appearance. If one had to suggest the most obvious difference between the theology of the earlier Tractarians and that of the contributors to Lux Mundi and their followers, one would, I think, find it in the contrast between the tendency of the former to regard the Church of the present as the legal legatee of the authority of Christ and his apostles, and that of the latter to present it rather as the form which, by a regular process of development, the organism into which the divine life had by the Incarnation been infused has now come to wear. No doubt the contributors to Lux Mundi belonged to a generation which had been profoundly affected by the impulse given to an evolutionary view of things by the discoveries and hypotheses of Darwin. But, as has often been observed, the idea of development had, before the appearance of the Origin of Species, and apparently without any influence exerted by German philosophy, which had already (as I mentioned when speaking of Hegel) begun to lay stress upon it, been introduced into Anglican theology by the famous Essay on Development, the appearance of which marked the passage of Newman from the Anglican to the Roman communion. It is not the only, though it is the most conspicuous, instance in which in the course of his life the original genius of the great Tractarian anticipated in forms--sometimes strange forms--adapted to the circumstances of his own inner life at the time, thoughts which, when suggested in connexions of more general interest, were to become current in much wider circles.
In respect of the idea of Development, there cannot, I think, be any doubt that Newman's use of it in his Essay assisted in facilitating the introduction of it into the theology both of the Anglican Church and of the Church his submission to which he had defended by his view of its variations from primitive Christianity as legitimate developments of what must have been externally so different. But the introduction of the conception of Development into theology must in any case have taken place, when it had once become the ruling idea of the age in all departments of thought.
When speaking of Evangelicalism, I called attention to the value which it attached to feeling, as evidence that we were dealing with a personal experience at first hand and not with something merely inferential or traditional; and to its individualism, which was yet no selfish egoism, but rather the inspiration of a love of individual souls, and hence the source of more than one great movement of practical philanthropy. This individualism, however, unquestionably tended, as we saw, to an unhistorical outlook, and to the limiting of religious sympathy to a set distinguished by the use of certain phrases and modes of piety rather than to the widening of it by the recognition that, through participation in the same historic process and in a common life transcending the individual and nourished by social sacraments, it was possible to enjoy a genuine union with ages and communities using different phrases and modes of piety from our own.
We may now ask how the Tractarian or High Church school in the Church of England stood with respect to these features of the movement against which it represents a reaction. Nothing is more distinctive of it than its dislike, even its horror, of emotionalism. The American essayist Oliver Wendell Holmes has justly pointed, as typical of its whole attitude, to some of the most haunting verses in The Christian Year:
'God only and good angels look
Behind the blissful screen,
As when triumphant o'er his foes
The Son of God at midnight rose
By all but heaven unseen.'
An austere reticence about oneself, a distrust of sentiment, a delicate reverence in speaking or even in thinking of holy things, are pre-eminently characteristic of Tractarian piety. And with this goes a revulsion from preoccupation with one's own feelings, even one's own experience, from what the philosophers call subjectivity to a reliance upon what is regarded as objective, as independent of our moods and views and theories, upon historical facts, upon an authoritative ministry, upon sacraments instituted to convey by outward and visible signs a grace which is not communicated to the signs by our faith, though it may be hindered in its operation upon us by our want of it. Many of the older generation of High Churchmen shrank from the use of the word 'conversion' to describe an episode in the life of a baptized person who had never fallen away into a course of evil living and neglect of religion. When so used it was associated in their minds with what seemed to them a disparagement of baptism and confirmation, and an elevation of a merely emotional crisis to the place in the Christian life which properly belonged to a divinely instituted ordinance. The High Churchmen of to-day are not afraid to recognise facts and to use language of which their predecessors fought shy; and the experience which the Evangelicals called 'conversion' is now studied by psychologists whose interest in it is not religious at aft. But some of us can remember Tractarian households in which it could not be mentioned without explanation, and without apology for the supposed implications of the phrase.
The drama of the inner life on which the attention of the Evangelicals was concentrated was described by them in language which, so far as it was Scriptural, was derived from St. Paul's Epistles; and it was what they understood (rightly or no) St. Paul to have meant by 'his Gospel' that was to them the good news of salvation, from their insistence on which their party-designation was derived. By reaction from this, the Tractarians, as Dean Church in his book on The Oxford Movement pointed out, laid a special emphasis upon the Gospels and the record therein contained of the Saviour's earthly life, which they thought the Evangelicals had allowed themselves to subordinate unduly in their teaching and their devotion to the theological exposition in the Epistles of the scheme of salvation through his death. This special emphasis on the Gospels was in keeping with a general emphasis on the historical rather than on the emotional element in Christian doctrine, which betrays the kinship of Tractarianism with which I have called (following the editors of the Cambridge Modern History) the Restoration period of European history.
The stress laid by the Tractarians on the idea of the Church was of course very closely connected with this emphasis on the historical element in Christianity by which they were at once distinguished from the Evangelicals and linked with the contemporary movement of European thought. It is to be remembered that most, if not all, of the other ecclesiastical movements which originated about the same time as the Oxford movement shared with it this feature of emphasis on the idea of the Church, no mere department of the State, but an independent spiritual society, the appointed channel of divine grace to the individual Christian. This is true of Irvingism, which is a little older than the Oxford movement, of the movement which led to the Disruption of the Scottish Church a little later, and also of the almost exactly contemporary movement in the Danish Church associated with the name of Grundtvig. Even in the Church of England Tractarianism did not stand alone in its stress upon Churchmanship. Newman himself in the Apologia admits that he learned his belief in the substantive existence of the Church as an independent corporation and his anti-Erastianism from Whately, who certainly had no other point of agreement with Tractarianism. Whately was a luminary of what has been called the old Oriel school, as distinguished from the new, which was Tractarian. This older school was called Noetic, as though one should say Intellectualist, and its affinities were much more with the later Broad or Liberal party in the Church of England than with that which is designated by the epithet 'High.'
A greater man than any of those lately mentioned, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was also much concerned with the conception of the Church. Carlyle, in his Life of Sterling, indeed fathers upon him what he calls the 'spectral Puseyisms, monstrous illusory Hybrids and ecclesiastical Chimeras which now roam the earth in a very lamentable manner.' But perhaps Coleridge was rather the godfather than the begetter of the High Church school; indeed he died before the Oxford movement had well begun. No doubt, like his friend Wordsworth, he would have been in sympathy with it so far as it was expressive of the Platonism which had drawn him from his early Unitarianism into deliberate adhesion to the Church of England; and so far as it coincided with the general bent of his mind, typical therein of the temper of this period of reconstruction and restoration after the great Revolution, towards veneration for traditional sanctities. It is to be observed that he, like Wordsworth, had a nephew in the movement, the friend and biographer of John Keble. But his influence was probably more direct upon the parallel movement represented by Frederick Denison Maurice, who, under the influence of Coleridge, passed--like Coleridge himself--from the Unitarianism in which he had been brought up to historical Christianity as taught in the Church of England, and by the romantic novelist and Christian Socialist Charles Kingsley. With these may here perhaps be named a man of different antecedents, and not intimately connected with them by close personal or party ties, a man of perhaps more original religious genius than any of those that I have already mentioned except Newman: I mean the great preacher Frederick Robertson. Beginning as an Evangelical, he came to stand apart from both the Evangelical and Tractarian schools. Though these three men did not in any strict sense belong to one school, and were united, Maurice and Kingsley by common political sympathies, and all three by a certain liberality of mind and temper which made it hard for them to breathe freely either in the Evangelical or in the Tractarian atmosphere, rather than by any particular doctrinal programme of their own; yet the theology of them all, while neither Evangelical nor Tractarian, was, no less than were the theologies so described, the expression of a deep personal religious experience, which inclined them far more to the assertion of the substantial truth of historical Christianity than to negative criticism of its formularies.
I shall come later to speak of the Broad Church school more at length; but at present I only wish to point out that the general tendencies of European thought which were echoed in Anglican theology by the Oxford movement are also represented in this sphere by a parallel movement, which could trace its descent to Coleridge, who was the principal channel through which the influence of the great philosophical development in Germany that began with Kant affected the higher thought of England during the first years of the nineteenth century. This movement, though never organized as a party, and so remaining without such a dramatic history as the Oxford movement can boast, has profoundly affected later developments of thought in the Church of England, even within the High Church and Evangelical schools themselves. For in the former the Christian Socialism which was inaugurated by Maurice and Kingsley has found a congenial home, while a theologian who was more truly the successor of Maurice than of any other divine of the preceding generation, Bishop Westcott, has exercised an influence upon both schools which did not leave either of them where it was before.
There are, however, two other features of the Oxford movement upon which I would say a few words before I go on to speak of the Liberal or Broad Church movement in Anglican theology; both of which illustrate its character as echoing the general tendencies of the period which I have called that of the Restoration. Those are its relation to the Roman Catholic Church, and its encouragement of learning and thought. There is a close connexion between the two. The enemies of the Oxford movement have often seen in it little or nothing but an approximation to Roman Catholicism, into which, when honest and consistent, it was bound to be absorbed; and the submission to the Roman See of the greatest of its leaders, as well as of many others of lesser note, seemed to give colour to this estimate of its character. It would, however, be a juster account of the matter to see in it, as I 'have already suggested that we may, the representative of the interest, characteristic of the period during which it arose, in historical continuity, whether in Christianity or elsewhere. This was bound to place it in regard to the communion which represents the main stock of Western Christianity in an attitude of respect and sympathy very different to that of the Evangelicals, who had tended to think of the history of the Church as the record of a corruption of its New Testament purity, from which the Reformation marked a partial recovery; and of the Roman See as the centre of a grand apostacy, prefigured by the description of the harlot in the Apocalypse and by the Pauline prophecies of the 'man of sin.' But when, in opposition to Evangelicalism, it 'disinterred' (to quote Mark Pattison again)' the remains of Christian antiquity,' it encouraged a serious study of these which was bound to show that neither the conventional Roman nor the conventional Protestant picture of the course of ecclesiastical history was a true representation of the facts, and to reinforce the traditional position of the Church of England as taking a middle course between the two, wherein it could go forward without either discarding its Catholic heritage, or, by submission to the claims of Rome to be the sole depository of the infallible guidance promised to the Church, endorsing all additions to and subtractions from that heritage which have from time to time been made by Papal authority. The Tractarian movement, representing as it did the reaction against the sentimentalism represented in Anglican theology by the Evangelicals, stood from the first on the side of learning, and for the full use of art and knowledge in the service of faith. It has often been observed that, of the great Christian dogmas, Evangelicalism laid stress especially on the Atonement, Tractarianism on the Incarnation. It is easy to see that it is the latter emphasis rather than the former that tends to the encouragement of all the higher human activities as capable of sanctification through the taking of our manhood into God.
BUT, while it would be to miss a veryimportant feature of Tractarian theology to ignore its encouragement of learning, and the value which it set upon things of the mind, it is the third of the schools into which the Anglican Church of to-day is generally thought of as divided, the Liberal or Broad Church school, that has laid most stress not upon the emotional, or upon the institutional, but upon the intellectual side of religious life. It will be observed that I have not mentioned here the practical side. I do not think that any of the three schools can be regarded as failing to emphasise this, and thus stress upon its importance cannot be regarded as specially distinctive of any one of them, although no doubt there might be some differences in the direction of the practical activities encouraged by each which would to some extent reflect the differences in their outlook.
The subject of this last section of these lectures, which will attempt to deal with recent Anglican theology, presents certain difficulties of its own to the lecturer. Up to this point it has been possible to point to a general tendency characteristic of the whole thought of a period, and also to a school of Anglican theology originating in that period and reflecting the tone and temper which were found to be distinctive of it. Thus the Evangelical school reflected the tone and temper of the sentimental movement, of which Rousseau was the chief literary representative, and associated with the French Revolution; the Tractarian school reflected the tone and temper of the Romantic movement associated with the period of the Restoration which followed the fall of Napoleon. But we are too near to the last half-century to see it in the proper perspective and identify its characteristics as we have done with its predecessors, and the theology of the Liberal--or, to use a more recent designation, Modernist--school, which has arisen in the Church of England in the course of it, has not the same well-marked character as that of the Evangelical or that of the Tractarian school. This is indeed what is to be expected in a school whose leading principle is not so much the enforcement of a particular aspect of religious experience as the demand that every new suggestion should be given a fair hearing, and that the hospitality of the Church to opinions and pious practices be as wide and comprehensive as is possible consistently with the maintenance of her spiritual identity. Moreover, whereas, as I pointed out, the Evangelicals and Tractarians reflected the great movements of the periods in which they originated without intending to do so, and often without being aware that they were doing so, the Liberal or Modernist school finds its special vocation in the conscious appropriation of whatever in knowledge or practice or aspiration can be found in the world around fit for employment by the Church in its task of reconciling men to God. This conscious dependence upon the general state of thought and feeling makes it harder and not easier to exhibit the School which is thus dependent upon it as reflecting that general state of thought and feeling. Its correspondences with it are less likely to be undesigned, and more likely to be artificial and uninstructive. It will not therefore, I ask you to believe, be merely due to my own incompetence if my treatment of this last part of our subject has, to a greater extent than my treatment of the earlier periods, a somewhat casual and disconnected character.
It is probable that, if asked the question what was the outstanding feature of the intellectual life of Europe during the past fifty years, most people would point to the immense progress made by the natural sciences. It is true that the phrase 'the bankruptcy of science 'has been bandied about in some quarters, and one may admit that there is less disposition than in a former generation to suppose that progress in the natural sciences is likely to do all that was once by sanguine admirers expected of it. Even if it should bring about the destruction of the religion, the morality, the philosophy that we have known, it will not be able to supply their place. We are also now, especially since the reconsideration of the doctrines of Newton rendered necessary by the investigations of Professor Einstein, less confident than we were about the frame, so to speak, within which we had taken for granted that all our descriptions of the physical universe were to be placed. But all this in no way detracts from the truth of the statement that the increase of natural knowledge during the last fifty years has been the outstanding fact of the intellectual life of Europe, that many vast regions of reality have been invaded, if not conquered, by scientific enquirers, which half a century ago lay beyond their ken. I am thinking particularly of the regions of organic and psychical life. Important, however, as this great advance in natural knowledge has been for Christian theology, I am inclined to think that a greater immediate and direct effect upon it must be attributed to another intellectual activity of the age, that of historical criticism, on account of its result in revolutionizing the traditional view of the Scriptures. I am disposed to doubt whether the completeness of this revolution is fully appreciated by those who have lived through it. It is not merely (as is sometimes thought) a question of the disappearance of the belief in verbal inspiration; it involves a totally different attitude towards the Bible from that which was common to all schools of Anglican theology in the middle of the last century; and I venture to say without hesitation that it is not conceivable that the work of this revolution can be undone, unless perhaps by a retrogression from civilization into barbarism, such as has no doubt occurred before in human history and may yet occur again.
The study of the 'higher'--that is, the historical,--as opposed to the 'lower' or textual criticism of the Bible, was slow in making way in England, and it was at first very tentatively and timidly that even the boldest spirits among those who were not definitely opponents of Christianity approached the question of its inspiration. Coleridge himself, in his Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit, while arguing that the Scriptures could not reasonably be held to be dictated throughout in every detail by infallible intelligence, says:
'In the books of Moses and once or twice in the prophecy of Jeremiah, I find it ... asserted that not only the words were given, but the recording of the same enjoined by the special command of God and doubtless executed under the special guidance of the Divine Spirit. As to all such passages therefore, there can be no dispute: and all others in which the words are by the sacred historian declared to have been the Word of the Lord supernaturally communicated, I receive with a degree of confidence proportioned to the confidence required of me by the writer himself, and to the claims he himself makes on my belief.'
What scholar now could even imagine himself making this kind of reservation of passages which happen to claim divine authority by the use of a phrase which was part of the common form of Hebrew prophecy from the critical treatment to which, had this phrase not occurred in them, they would have been exposed? But even some thirty years or so after Coleridge's death, when, as Browning puts it,
Our Essays and Reviews debate
Begins to tell on the public mind
And Colenso's words have weight,
the poet himself--certainly no mere timorous representative of conventional orthodoxy--seems, from the context in which these lines occur, to hint that he is interested in the pioneer attempts at Biblical criticism to which he refers only as tending to shake men's confidence in Christianity, a religion which, in his opinion, could afford to disregard objections based on critical difficulties in the strength of an appeal to its profound comprehension of human nature, in that, as he says, it
'taught original sin,
The corruption of man's heart.'
It is by no means my intention to attempt to trace the gradual conversion of Anglican theology to a frank acceptance of the critical attitude towards the Bible; or to describe the share taken in the work by the great Cambridge scholars, Lightfoot, Hort, Westcott, who accustomed their fellow-Churchmen to a scholarship which combined learning and thoroughness with reverence and deep religious conviction; by one happily still with us, Charles Gore, who, when Principal of the Pusey House, by his essay in Lux Mundi on The Holy Spirit and Inspiration obtained for critical views of the Old Testament admission and acceptance in quarters which up to that time would have shrunk from them as involving disloyalty to Christ--for had not Dr. Pusey made the least tenable of traditional ascriptions, that of the book of Daniel to its reputed author, an article of faith on the ground that our Lord's authority was pledged to it?--or by two great Oxford scholars, now no longer living, Samuel Rolles Driver, and another more lately lost, the beloved and lamented William Sanday. I am, however, convinced that, as I said, a revolution has taken place in our views of Scripture, the full extent of which is scarcely yet appreciated, and the effects of which are destined to be very far-reaching. Old ways of speaking and of thinking, based on an obsolete theory, may still linger among us, but they are doomed, however slowly, to disappear. Hort once with a certain impatience blamed his colleague Westcott in a letter for being 'hopelessly subjective'; and with reason, for--eminent scholar as^he was--he was capable of allowing that a passage of Scripture might be regarded as bearing two alternative meanings at once, when each alternative might teach a spiritual lesson. This would not be a possibility to be reckoned with in examining the meaning of any other book; and Westcott, by admitting it in the case of the Bible, showed that he did not yet stand where Jowett had stood years before in his essay on The Interpretation of Scripture contributed to Essays and Reviews. Lightfoot, while his massive learning set a high standard for Anglican scholarship in the study of the Bible, and his sobriety and caution made him a severe judge of the over-hasty work of men who too readily adopted theories subversive of traditional views, was, as the candid Hort admitted, 'no thinker.' For a true estimate of St. Paul one required, so Hort observed, a combination of Lightfoot's learning with Jowett's philosophical insight. The reference was to an enterprise which the famous Master of Balliol had undertaken in collaboration with Arthur Penhryn Stanley, afterwards Dean of Westminster, of editing the Epistles of St. Paul. Of this enterprise there was accomplished a commentary on Corinthians by Stanley, and one on Thessalonians, Galatians and Romans by Jowett. It was in this last that Hort recognized a philosophical value which was not possessed by the more learned and scholarly work of Lightfoot, who was engaged in collaboration with Westcott and Hort himself on a similar undertaking at Cambridge.
The names of Jowett and Stanley are perhaps the most important in the Liberal or Broad Church movement of sixty years ago. Maurice, Kingsley, Robertson were, it would hardly be too much to say, 'Broad' or 'Liberal' rather against their will than otherwise. They did not, as I said, breathe easily in the atmosphere of Evangelical or Tractarian piety; but they claimed and desired to be as orthodox as either Evangelical or Tractarian; they were ready to treat the points in which Evangelical or Tractarian differed from themselves as points in which they were less orthodox. Jowett and Stanley, on the other hand, no doubt held, like other men, that their opinions were right as against the opinions which they rejected, and no doubt 'orthodoxy' means etymologically no more than 'right opinion;' but they were, as the others were not, deliberately Liberal; though, as they were men of very different intellectual temperaments, not quite on the same grounds. Jowett very early came to recognize, if less vividly than in his later life, that what mattered to himself in religion, while it could often be expressed in the familiar language of the Scripture, of the Prayer Book, or of popular devotion, could be expressed also, and perhaps more naturally to modern ears, in quite other language. He lived in a sphere apart from the controversies, doctrinal or ritual, which agitated the ecclesiastical world of his time; he did not feel himself involved or concerned in them at all; Archbishop Tait notes somewhere in a letter with a kind of wondering amusement his indifference to all such things. An acceptance ex animo of the formularies of the Church seemed to him so utterly impossible that his conscience appears to have been untroubled by doubts as to the propriety of his own conformity and performance of clerical duties. When summoned by the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford to reiterate his assent to the 39 Articles, he made no difficulty about doing what was asked of him. He offered no explanation of his position, but, with the words 'Give me a pen,' he signed them without more ado. Such a man's theology was deliberately 'Liberal' or 'Broad 'in the sense that it acknowledged no bounds which it could not pass. But, if Jowett may seem to some to have had little of the Anglican about him, I would remind you that he was true to the Anglican type in his devotion to Plato, the translation of whom was the chief literary work of his life; as a)so in his isolation from the theological activities of continental Churches, with which Stanley, it may be observed, loved to be in touch. Stanley, though a close friend of Jowett and cooperating with him, as we saw, in his scheme for an edition of St. Paul's Epistles, was a man whose mind was cast in a very different mould. Not philosophical speculation but historical imagination played the chief part in forming his theology, and his theology was deliberately 'Liberal' or 'Broad 'not so much because his own belief was very different from that of many of his fellow Churchmen, as because he was passionately desirous to exclude from religious fellowship as few as possible of those whose various modes of religious life his historical imagination led him to delight in picturing to himself and comparing with his own and with others with which he was acquainted. Thus Jowett's indifference to confessional distinctions and Stanley's vivid interest in them led them both to a position which may be called not merely negative, because neither High nor Low, but positively and deliberately 'Broad.' They stand as representatives of a Broad Church school which is sometimes said to be dead, but of which there are among Liberal or Modernist Churchmen to-day many who may be reckoned as the spiritual descendants.
During the earlier part of the half-century which we are now engaged in considering, the dominant philosophy in England was that of the empirical school, whether as represented by John Stuart Mill, or as modified by the introduction of the conception of evolution, by Herbert Spencer. This philosophy, speaking generally, derived all knowledge from sensation; it treated the mind upon the whole as the passive recipient of impressions from an independent material world; and it adopted the point of view of what the historians of philosophy call Nominalism. It denied the reality of 'Universals,'--the objects of thought, that is to say, to which our general names refer--and regarded them not as independent features of the real world, but as mere abstractions which we frame by including under a common designation a number of individuals, in themselves wholly distinct from one another, by a certain resemblance among which we have been struck. It would be impossible now to show in detail what is nevertheless certainly true, that religion in general and Christianity in particular could scarcely find their account in a philosophy of this type, except by supplementing it with beliefs to which it could have nothing to say, and could merely suffer them as additions made on the authority of a revelation, itself attested by the evidence of miracles; and to the admission of such evidence the influence of this philosophy itself was bound to be hostile. In consequence the theological Liberalism of this period, in its attitude of receptiveness towards the ideas moving in the world around, was inevitably led in the direction of what has been called a 'reduced Christianity.' It could find, however, a firmer philosophical footing in Ethics. Here it could take its stand upon the ultimate and self-evidencing authority of Conscience, and introduce religion, after the fashion of which Kant had set the example, as supplying conceptions which are presupposed in the life of duty. There were some philosophical theologians ready to avail themselves still further of the help of Kant. Mansel, Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, and afterwards Dean of St. Paul's, propounded a view which, starting from one side of Kant's teaching, emphasized the incapacity of our intelligence to know things as they are in themselves, and denied the possibility of the knowledge of God in order to make room for faith. This doctrine, propounded in a well-known series of Bampton Lectures, was better received by High Churchmen than by Liberals, who were more jealous of the rights of reason in the matters of religion; and these Liberals' suspicions of the line of thought were eventually justified by the fact that the arguments of Mansel were reproduced by Herbert Spencer in his First Principles as the basis of what came to be called his 'agnosticism,' in which religion was reduced to the sense of mystery inseparable from the conviction that the true essence of reality is by the very nature of our thought for ever veiled from our ken.
But a new situation was created when a serious criticism of the current empiricism was undertaken by certain thinkers, of whom the most conspicuous was Thomas Hill Green of Balliol College, afterwards Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Oxford. It was Green's main contention that the British empirical school, to which, in spite of mutual divergences, the English thinkers most influential when he began to write--Mill, Spencer, Huxley--all alike belonged, and which believed itself to be carrying on the work of the great British thinkers Locke and Hume, had in fact never learned Hume's lesson. For, had they done so, they would never have believed that a sensationalist philosophy, which Hume had shewn once for all to be destructive of the possibility of any science whatsoever, since sensation alone cannot assure us of the existence of any permanent substance at all or of the reality of any relation of cause and effect which is more than an expectation on our part of the same sequence occurring as has occurred before, could render any support to the natural sciences, whose interests these thinkers--Mill, Spencer, Huxley, and the rest--had so much at heart. A mind which is no more than a succession of mutually independent sensations, a world in which only what is given in sensation can rank as fact, are not a mind which can know as the scientific man knows, a world which can be known as the world with which the scientific man deals is known. Relations, such as I mentioned above, of cause and effect cannot be treated by natural science as something added by the mind to the facts; yet they are undoubtedly, as Hume had shown, not given as sensations. Thus Green claimed for the mind that it is more than a passive sensibility, that it involves principles of combination or synthesis, whereby it constitutes out of sensations an experience, and eventually a science, of Nature.
And not only did Green thus assert that in the consciousness of Nature, which in its full development becomes the science of Nature, there is implied what he called a 'Spiritual Principle,' which cannot be explained as a mere part of the nature of which it is conscious; he went on to contend further that, as 'relations 'are of the essence of the Nature which we know, and yet, in the language of Locke which he adopted, are 'the work of the mind,' Nature itself must depend upon a Spiritual Principle, such as we find involved in our knowledge of Nature. This Spiritual Principle, however, cannot be my mind or yours, or even the sum of individual minds such as yours and mine. You and I find Nature there before we, as individuals, come to know it. But it is, so Green holds, inexplicable except as the object of a self-distinguishing consciousness; of an eternal consciousness or divine mind, whereof individual minds, such as yours or mine, are, as he sometimes puts it, 'vehicles,' or, as he sometimes also puts it, 'reproductions,' and wherein are eternally realized all the capacities gradually realized in time by human minds--a mind which is eternally all that the human spirit is capable of becoming.
It is clear that a philosophy of this kind, whatever its difficulties, was one with which Christian theology could find points of contact in a way that it could not with the empiricism which Green criticized. The human spirit no mere product of non-human nature, but the vehicle of an eternal Spirit; and that proved by the consideration that there could be no nature apart from Spirit, so that the possible derivation of man's animal nature from lower forms of life made no difference; the work of the mind seen in our own thought, with its perception of the universal in the particular, no mere play of our thought on the outside of things, but the very activity which holds the world together: all this was welcome to men to whom it echoed old phrases about the eternal Word in whom all things consist, and about the image of God in which man was made, and seemed to make the Incarnation of God in man something of a piece with the whole process of our human life, in which our activities reproduce the eternal activities of the Spirit from which ours is derived. It is not surprising that it was to the members of that theological school whose tradition it was to lay stress on the doctrine of the Incarnation that this philosophy especially appealed--that is to members of the High Church school, the successors of the Tractarians. Accordingly we find that it was in a product of this school, the collection of essays published with the title of Lux Mundi, under the editorship of Charles Gore, a little over thirty years ago, that the influence of Green on Anglican theology was first manifest. Mark Pattison did not live to see the publication of Lux Mundi; but it had not escaped him that the rise of Green's philosophy to be the dominant factor in the philosophical teaching of Oxford instead of the philosophies of Mill and Spencer had given fresh encouragement to the theological school with which he was least in sympathy.
'For more than a, quarter of a century,' he observes in his Memoirs, 'Mill and nominalistic views reigned in the schools. But gradually the clerical party rallied their forces, and since the Franco-German War have been advancing upon us with rapid strides. This great invasion of sacerdotalism has been accompanied by a new attempt to accredit ah a priori logic.'
He calls the teaching of Green an attempt to accredit an a priori logic because it denied that reasoning could be explained, as Mill had tried to explain it, as starting from impressions on the senses, without admitting the capacity of the mind to order these impressions according to principles which it discovers in itself.
'What is curious,' Pattison goes on to say, 'is that this new a priori metaphysic, whoever gave it shape in Germany, was imported into Oxford by a staunch Liberal, the late Professor Green. This anomaly can only be accounted for by a certain puzzle-headedness on the part of the Professor, who was removed from the scene before he had time to see how eagerly the Tories began to carry off his honey to their hives.'
When Pattison speaks of Tories and Liberals, he is not thinking merely or chiefly of political parties. But he takes it for granted that political Toryism goes along with High Church views, and that views which would reflect, or, at any rate, not conflict with the empirical and nominalistic philosophy of Mill, and which would not lend themselves to theological manipulation, are to be expected of a sincere political Liberal, such as Green certainly was. Here, however, he was not a little out. The young High Church school represented by Lux Mundi was by no means Tory; and the most remarkable personality among the contributors to the volume and the one in closest touch with Green, Henry Scott Holland, was as essentially a Liberal through and through as his master Green or as any man could be. The old alliance of High Churchmanship with Toryism, which went back to the political and dynastic controversies of the seventeenth century and still subsisted at the time of the Oxford Movement, though the anti-Erastianism characteristic of the Tractarians already presaged its dissolution, was now no more. I do not wish to pursue the subject, which concerns rather the politics than the theology of the Church of England; but it is germane to the subject of the theology of the Church of England to mention that, as the distinguished editor of Lux Mundi once pointed out to me, the younger High Church school stands in the succession of the Christian Socialists, of Maurice and Kingsley and Westcott, as well as in that of the Tractarians; and also that the High Churchman's stress on the Church's independence of the State has made it easy for High Churchmen to join in the new popular tendency (more popular than ever since the Great War) to-deny that the State should be put in a class by itself, apart from all other corporations and communities, as the supreme claimant of the citizen's loyalty. The writings of the late Dr. Figgis had a considerable influence in promoting this tendency, of which the so-called Guild-Socialism of certain political theorists is an extreme expression.
But to return to Green. It is widely recognized now that the position of personality in Green's philosophy is ambiguous. While the conscious spiritual life of knowledge and will is by this philosophy raised to the supreme position in the universe, it is not so clear what place is assigned to the personal distinction between each one of us and all other vehicles of this spiritual life. What is most permanently valuable in that life--knowledge of truth, and will for the good--would seem to be just that in which all persons who know the truth and will the good are one; as though the differences of personal equation and personal interest were what, in the scientific and moral life respectively, we aimed at discounting and subordinating. Can we then regard our personal distinctness from one another as having ultimate or absolute value? And if each of our personally distinct minds is a vehicle or reproduction of the divine consciousness, can we attribute to God a personality of his own? These were questions to which it was doubtful precisely what answer Green (who was dead before his principal work was published) would have returned; and some of his ablest successors have answered both decidedly in the negative. It is not surprising then that philosophical Anglican theology has, since Green, been to a considerable extent occupied with the study of the conception of Personality and vindication of its importance. The names of Illingworth, Moberly, Richmond, Rashdall, Temple, occur to me among those of Anglican theologians who have illustrated this remark by their writings; and some or all of these have been much indebted in their discussions of this subject to one who was perhaps the last great figure in the long line of German systematic philosophers which begins with Kant, Hermann Lotze.
The isolation which was characteristic of Anglican theology is, I think, we may say, characteristic of it no more. Its response to the various influences which are moving in the world of thought around it--to Pragmatism, to the philosophies of Bergson and of Croce, to the theories implied in the methods of the psycho-analysts, to the revival of interest in mysticism--is almost too swift and self-conscious. But the other characteristic which I noted in my first lecture as belonging to it through the whole period, its Platonism, remains. It is not equally observable, of course, in all its representatives; but it is evident in many of them. It remains to be seen whether it will survive the recent retrogression of English higher education from the ideals of the Renaissance toward mediaeval Greeklessness. But those who are apprehensive on this account may perhaps take comfort from the reflection that the theology of the Middle Ages was more Platonic than it knew, despite their Greeklessness; and from the not quite unwarranted hope that, 'compulsory Greek' having ceased to serve as a cockshy for would-be reformers, Greek may come to be sought after again (like lace, to quote Dr. Johnson's famous comparison) as something rare and precious, conferring on its possessor distinction among his fellows and a key to mysteries not otherwise to be enjoyed.