'God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past to the Fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken to us by His Son.' Hebrews i. 1.
The doctrine of Evolution has been applied not only to the formation of all created things, but to the development of human knowledge; and this with perfect justice, though with some risk of misunderstanding. It is certain, and, indeed, it is obvious, that knowledge grows. The ordinary experience of mankind becomes larger and clearer in the course of time, and the systematised experience which we call Science makes the same progress in still greater measure and with more assurance.
Our Science has been built on the labours of scientific men in past ages. New generalisations imagined by one thinker, new crucial experiments devised by another, new instruments of observation invented by another,--these have been the steps by which Science has grown and established its authority and enlarged its dominion. When or by whom the first steps were made we have no record. No mathematician that ever lived showed greater natural power of intellect than he, whoever he was, who first saw that the singular contained the universal; but we know neither his name nor his age, nor his birthplace nor his race. But after those first steps had been taken, we know who have been the leaders in scientific advance. And we know what they have done, and what they are doing; and we can conjecture the direction in which further advances will be made. And so we can trace the development of this kind of knowledge, and in a certain and very real sense this development may be called an evolution.
But there is this difference between the evolution of nature and the evolution of the science of nature. The evolution of nature results in the existence of forms which did not exist before; the evolution of knowledge results in the perception of laws which were already in existence.
The knowledge grows, but the things known remain. The knowledge is not treated as if independent of the things known or believed to be known, as a phenomenon belonging merely to the human mind, with beginnings and laws and consequences and history of its own. And, consequently, its having a regular growth is not used as an argument against its substantial truth.
The Science of Mathematics, for instance, has a history; but no mathematician will admit that the fact that it has a history affects its claims to acceptance as truth. We may ask, how men have been brought to believe the deductions of the higher mathematics, and we may answer our own question by tracing the steps; but our conviction is not shaken that these deductions are true.
And so, too, we can trace the steps by which the great generalisations of Science have been reached, and we may show that Kepler grew out of Copernicus, and Newton out of Kepler; but the proof that the knowledge of one truth has been evolved out of the knowledge of another, and that out of the knowledge of another, is not used to show that all this Science has nothing to do with truth at all, but is only a natural growth of human thought. Science has grown through all manner of mistakes--mistakes made by the greatest thinkers and observers, mistakes which men ignorantly laugh at now, as their own mistakes will be no doubt laughed at in turn hereafter. But we do not, therefore, treat scientific thought as nothing more than one of the phenomena of humanity; ways of thinking which necessarily grew out of the conditions in which men have existed, but sufficiently accounted for by their origin and mode of growth having been shown, and having no solidity of their own.
What has been said of Science may be said also of Religion. Religion also has had its development, and in some respects a development parallel to that of Science.
It is possible to trace the steps by which men have obtained an ever larger and fuller knowledge of the Supreme Law of Right, a clearer perception of its application, of its logical results, of its relation to life, to conduct, to belief. It has grown through mistakes as Science has. There has been false Religion, as there has been false Science. Unsound principles of conduct have been inculcated in Religion as unsound generalisations have been set up in Science. There have been improper objects of reverence in Religion, as there have been impossible aims proposed for scientific investigation. Ezekiel rises above the doctrine that the children are punished for the sins of their parents, just as Galileo rises above the doctrine that nature abhors a vacuum. The parallel is all the more complete in that in many cases false religions have been also false sciences. The prayer to the fetish for rain is as contrary to true religion as it is contrary to true science. Many false religions are most easily overthrown by scientific instruction. Many false sciences begin to totter when the believers in them are taught true religion. The ordinary superstitions which have so strong a hold on weak characters and uninstructed minds, are as inconsistent with true faith in God as with reasonable knowledge of nature. Science grows, but the facts, whether laws or instances of the operations of those laws, are not affected by that growth. And Religion grows, but the facts of which it takes cognisance are not affected by that growth. Neither in the one case nor in the other is the fact that there has been a development any argument to show that the belief thus developed has no real foundation. The pure subjectivity of Religion, to use technical language, is no more proved by this argument than the pure subjectivity of Science.
But there is one most important particular in which the development of Religion entirely differs from the development of Science. The leaders of scientific thought, from the time that Science has been conscious of itself, have never claimed direct divine instruction. For a long time, indeed, scientific thought rested largely on tradition, and that tradition was handed on from generation to generation without any examination into its foundations. The stores of past observations seemed so very much larger in quantity than any that men could add in their own day, that it was natural to give more weight to what was received than to what was newly observed. The experience of each generation in succession seemed nothing in comparison with the accumulated experience of all preceding generations. And in many cases old traditions stopped the growth of Science by preventing the acceptance of observations inconsistent with them. But such old traditions never claimed to rest on a revelation from God; or, if such a claim was made here and there, it never had strength enough to root itself in Science and form part of the recognised authority on which Science stood.
Science, from the time when it recognised itself as Science, has owed its development to observation of nature, and long before it shook off the fetters of unexamined tradition it had disclaimed, even for that tradition, any other basis than this. But not so Religion. Many religions, and among them the purer and higher religions, in proportion to their nearer approach to perfection, have claimed to rest on a Divine Revelation, and to be something more than either speculations of philosophic observers of nature, or deductions from innate principles of reason or conscience. Not thinkers, but prophets, or men claiming to be prophets, have given the purest religions to their disciples among mankind. It has always been possible to bring all religious teaching to the bar of conscience; it has been possible to put all religious teaching to logical examination; to systematise its precepts, whether of faith or conduct; to inquire into its fundamental principles, and to ask for the authority on which the whole teaching rests. But these applications of our intellectual faculties to Religion have always been admitted as coming after, not as preceding, the teaching to which they are made. The prophet does sometimes reason when he is deducing from principles already accepted, new precepts, or new prohibitions; but he does not confine himself to such reasoning in the fulfilment of his mission. He professes to have a message to give. He will accredit it by such means as He supplies Who has sent him with this message. He will, in order to open the consciences of his hearers, appeal to past revelations which they have already received, and with which his new message is in thorough harmony; but he often appeals also to his power over nature to bear witness that the Lord of nature has sent him. The Hebrew prophet will appeal to the teaching of the Law, will repeat the old revelation with its old unshaken and unshakeable precepts, but he will not stop there: he will also give signs from the Lord to prove that he has a right to the title of prophet which he claims. Armed with this title, he will go on to predict the coming of the Great Restorer, the Messiah; he will insist on the judgment of all things, sure to be passed in its appointed day; he will hint at the immortality of the soul, and the execution of the Almighty justice on every man that lives.
It is probable enough that many of the inferior religions have grown up with no such claim at all. The worship of ancestors, where it has prevailed, has very likely, as has been suggested, grown out of dreams, in which loving memory has brought back in sleep vivid images of the dead who were reverenced while they lived, and cannot be readily forgotten after death. Such worship barely attains to what may be called in strictness a religion. Its connexion with the spiritual faculty, the true seat of religion, is weak and vague. It is like the honour paid to a sovereign residing in a distant capital, with only the difference that those who receive this worship are supposed to reside not in a distant capital, but in another world. So, too, the worship of fetishes, of trees, of serpents, of the heavenly bodies, while they have some of the inferior elements of religion in them, yet hardly deserve to be called religions. There is in them the sentiment of fear, the acknowledgment of persons or some resemblance of persons imperceptible by the senses; the acknowledgment of powers possessed by these persons. But the central idea of a rule of holiness is either altogether wanting, or so very feeble and indistinct as to contain no promise of developing into ultimate supremacy. These religions do not often lay claim to a revelation from a supreme authority. And they have withered away with the growth of knowledge and with clearer perceptions of what Religion must be if it is to exist at all.
All the higher religions have claimed to rest on a divine revelation, and the Christian Religion on a series of such revelations. The Christian Religion does not profess (as does for instance the Mahommedan) to be wrapped up in one divine communication made to one man and admitting thereafter of no modifications. Though resting on divine revelation it is professedly a development, and is thus in harmony with the Creator's operations in nature. Whether we consider what is taught concerning the heavenly Moral Law, or concerning human nature and its moral and spiritual needs, or concerning Almighty God and His dealings with us His creatures, it is undeniable that the teaching of the Bible is quite different at the end from what it is at the beginning.
The New Testament considered by itself as a body of teaching is such an advance on all that preceded it as to be quite unique in the history of the world. The ideas conveyed in the Old Testament are absorbed, transformed, completed, so as to make them as a whole entirely new; and to these are added entirely new ideas sufficient by themselves to form a whole system of doctrine. And because of this it is difficult to speak of the new teaching as having grown out of the old.
But the Old Testament covers many centuries, and within its range we can trace a steady growth, and that growth always of the same character, and always pointing towards what the Gospel finally revealed. The strength of the moral sentiment in the earlier books is always assigned to the belief in, and reverence for, Almighty God. It is evidently held to be more important to believe in God and to fear Him than to see the perfection of His holiness. If we distinguish between Religion and Morality, Religion is made the more important of the two. It is more important to recognise that the holy God exists and reigns than to see clearly in what His holiness, and indeed all holiness, consists. The sentiment of reverence is more important than the perception of that universality which we now know to be the essential characteristic of the Moral Law. In analysing the origin and nature of Religion in the second of these Lectures, it was necessary to follow the order of thought, and beginning with Duty to end with God. But the order of fact is not the same. In actual fact man began with God and ends with a clearer perception of Duty. Hence in all the earlier stages the morality is imperfect. The profaneness of Esau is a serious offence. The ungenerous temper, the unfairness and duplicity of Jacob are light in comparison. Truth is not an essential. Blood-shedding and impurity when in horrible excess are treated as most grievous sins; but restrained within limits are easily condoned. Women are placed below their true and natural place; polygamy if not distinctly allowed is certainly condoned; divorce is permitted on one side, not on the other. Slavery is allowed though put under regulation. But the unity and spirituality of God are guarded with the strongest sanctions, and nothing could be said against idolatry and polytheism now, in sterner and clearer language than was used then. The reverence for God required then was as great as the reverence required now. But the conception of the holiness which is the main object of that reverence has changed; has in fact been purified and cleared. And the change is traceable in the Old Testament. The prophets teach a higher morality than is found in the earlier books. Cruelty is condemned as it had not been before. The heathen are not regarded as outside God's love, and the future embraces them in His mercy even if the present does not. Conscience begins to be recognised and appealed to. Idolatry is not merely forbidden, its folly is exposed; it is treated not only with condemnation, but with scorn. Individual responsibility is insisted on. Children are not held responsible for their fathers, though the inheritance of moral evil and of the consequences of moral evil is never denied. And even trust in God rises to a higher level in Habakkuk's declaration that that trust shall never be shaken by any calamity that may befall him, than in the earlier belief that calamities would never befall those who held fast that trust.
If we review this progress in moral teaching we recognise that it corresponds to the natural and for the most part unconscious working of that instinctive test which, as was pointed out before, we apply to all moral questions, the test of universality. The pivots of all the prophetical teaching are the incessant inculcation of justice and mercy; justice which requires us to recognise the rights of others side by side with our own; mercy which demands our sympathy with the feelings of other creatures that can feel.
We are bound to recognise the claims of others to equal treatment with ourselves, and any refusal or apparent refusal to do so must be justified by a universal rule applicable to all alike. The perpetual attempt to justify exceptions in this way is sure to end in diminishing the number of those exceptions. If we are compelled to think much of the position of woman in marriage, we are sure at last to come to Malachi's declaration that God hateth putting away. If we are compelled to think of the position of slaves, we cannot continue for ever to believe that there are some beings with consciences and free wills, who nevertheless, because of the accidents of their lives, have no rights at all; and we acknowledge the righteousness of Jeremiah's denunciation of the breach of covenant when the nobles of Judah re-enslaved those whom they had solemnly emancipated. If we think of the nature of responsibility and the justification of punishment, we find it impossible to believe that an innocent man shall be rightly punished for the wrong-doing of another, even if that other be his father or his mother; and we are convinced that Ezekiel is speaking God's words when he proclaims on God's behalf that 'the soul that sinneth it shall die; the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son.' And once more, whatever divine purpose gave the chosen people a priority among all peoples in knowledge of divine will and possession of divine favour, it is impossible to find any rule by which this priority shall for ever exclude all other peoples from being within the range of God's manifested love; and conscience cannot but accept as a divine message that the Gentiles also shall come to the Heavenly 'Light, and their kings to the brightness of His rising.' So again, to turn from justice to mercy, we recognise that we are bound to spare pain to all creatures that can feel, and this duty can only be set aside by some higher duty which makes that pain the means to a higher moral end. And if we are set by our consciences to seek for some rule of universal application for this purpose, it becomes perpetually clearer that nothing can excuse cruel punishments inflicted on criminals or enemies, or hard-hearted indifference to the poor and the weak. Our own nature cries out for kindness in our pain, and that very cry from within compels our consciences to listen to the cry from without. And the denunciations of cruelty and oppression we recognise as we hear them to be the voice of God.
But however true it be that this progress corresponds exactly throughout with the necessary working of the great moral principles implanted in the spiritual faculty, it nevertheless remains true also that all this teaching in its successive stages is given by men who did not profess to be working out a philosophical system, but who claimed to bring a message from God, to speak by His authority, and in many cases to be trusted with special powers in proof of possessing that authority. Looking back over it afterwards we can see that the teaching in its successive stages was a development, but it always took the form of a revelation. And its life was due to that fact. As far as it is possible to judge, that union between Morality and Religion, between duty and faith, without which both religion and morality soon wither out of human consciences, can only be secured--has only been secured--by presenting spiritual truth in this form of a Revelation.
When we pass to the New Testament, all that has previously been taught in the Old, in so far as it is related to the new teaching at all, is related as the bud to the flower. The development, if it be indeed a development, is so great, so sudden, so strange, that it seems difficult to recognise that it is a development at all.
First, the morality is in form, if not in substance, absolutely new. The duty of justice and mercy is pushed at once to its extreme limits, even to the length of entire self-surrender. The disciple has his own rights no doubt, as every other man has his; but he is required to leave his rights in God's hands and to think of the rights of others only. The highest place is assigned to meekness in conduct and humility in spirit. The humility of the Sermon on the Mount may possibly by careful analysis be shown to be identical at bottom with the magnanimity of Aristotle's Ethics. But the presentation of the two is so utterly opposed that in the effect on life the identity is altogether lost. And as justice and mercy, so too self-discipline is pushed as far as it can go. Instead of the enjoyment of life being an integral part of the aim set before the will, hunger and thirst for righteousness, and penitence for failure in keeping to it, are to fill up the believer's hopes for himself. Of inward satisfaction and peace he is often assured; but these, and these only, are the means to that peace. The disciple's life is to consist in bearing the cross, and bearing it cheerfully; in returning good for evil, and love for indifference and even for hatred; in detaching his affections from all the pleasures to be obtained from external things; in fixing his trust and his love on his Eternal Father. Taken as a whole, this is quite unlike all moral teaching that preceded it, and there is no indication that any philosophy could ever have evolved it. It has fastened on the human conscience from the day that it was uttered; and whatever moral teaching since has not been inspired from this source has soon passed out of power and been forgotten. We find when we examine that it exactly agrees with the fundamental teaching of the spiritual faculty when that teaching is applied to such creatures as we are, and to such a God as the New Testament sets before us. But we find it impossible to assert that by any working of human thought this morality could have been obtained by the spiritual faculty unaided. On the contrary, it seems more near the truth to say that we could never have obtained so clear a conception of the great Moral Law, if the teaching of the New Testament had not enlightened and purified the spiritual faculty itself. And to this is to be added that the moral teaching of the New Testament recognises what we may now almost consider a proved necessity of our nature, or at least a sure characteristic of the government of the world, that perpetual progress without which nothing human seems to keep sweet and wholesome. Perfect as the New Testament morality is in spirit, it is nevertheless imperfect in actual precepts. It leaves questions to be solved some of which have not been solved yet. It left slavery untouched, though assuredly doomed. It said nothing of patriotism. It gave no clear command concerning the right use of wealth. It laid down no principles for the government of states, though such principles must have a moral basis. There has been a perpetual growth in the understanding and in the application of this perfect teaching, and there will yet be a growth. Of no philosophical system of morals is it possible to say the same.
But in the second place, the New Testament contains not only a new morality, it contains also a new account of human nature. The mystery of that discord which makes the noblest and best of human souls a scene of perpetual internal conflict is acknowledged and its counterpart in God's dealings with mankind is set forth. The struggle between the spiritual faculty asserting its due supremacy, and the lower passions and appetites, impulses and inclinations, is so described by Saint Paul that none have ever since questioned his description with any effect. And our Lord's teaching of our absolute dependence on God and helplessness without Him; and Saint John's teaching that the whole world, outside Christ, 'lieth in the wicked one,' lay down the same truth. And as the mystery of moral evil in mankind is thus set forth, so too the mystery of the remedy for that evil. In the love of God shown in the Cross of Christ, in our union with God through that same Death upon the Cross is the power which conquers evil in the soul and carries a man ever upward to spiritual heights. And as all profounder thinkers have confessed the truth of the account thus given of the internal contradiction of man's moral nature, so have all believers borne witness (and only they could bear witness) to the account thus given of the solution of that contradiction and the renovation of that nature. Millions have lived and died in the Christian faith since the teaching recorded in the New Testament was given, and among them have been the purest, the justest, the most self-sacrificing, the most heavenly-minded of mankind. And they all concur in saying that the one stay of all their spiritual lives has been communion with God through Christ.
Thirdly, the New Testament affirms with a clearness previously unknown the immortality of the soul and the future gift of that spiritual body which shall in some way spring from the natural body as the plant grows from the seed. There had grown up, no doubt quite naturally, anticipations of this doctrine and ever stronger and more deeply-rooted persuasion that it must be true. But it is revealed in the New Testament as it is taught nowhere else, and it is sealed by the Resurrection of our Lord, ever since then the historical centre of the Christian Faith. How exactly it harmonises with the teaching of the spiritual faculty I have pointed out before.
And, lastly, the New Testament not only tells us what never was told before of man's nature as a spiritual being and of his destiny hereafter; it tells also what was never told elsewhere of the nature of God and of the relations between Him and His creature man. The unity and spirituality of the Godhead so strenuously insisted on in the Old Testament, is no less insisted on in the New. But the mysterious complexity embraced within that unity, though darkly hinted at in the older teaching, is nowhere clearly set forth, but in the latter. We may find anticipations of the teaching of St. Paul and St. John, and of our Lord Himself as recorded by St. John, in the Book of Proverbs, in the Prophets, in the Rabbinical writers between the Prophets and the New Testament, and we can see in Philo to what this finally came unaided by Revelation. But the Christian teaching on our Lord's nature and on the Incarnation is distinct from all this. And it is in the Christian form, and only in that form, that the doctrine has satisfied the spiritual needs of the great mass of believers.
Now there cannot be any doubt that the hold which this teaching has had upon mankind has depended entirely on the extraordinary degree in which the teaching of the Bible has satisfied the conscience. Without that no miracles however overwhelmingly attested, no external evidence of whatever kind, could have compelled intellects of the highest rank, side by side with the most uncultivated and the most barren, to accept it as divine, nor could anything else have so often rekindled its old fire at times when faith in it had apparently withered away. The teaching of the Bible has always found and must always find its main evidence within the human soul.
And the fact that the teaching of the Bible, though when examined afterwards it turns out to be development or evolution, yet was always given at the time as a revelation, so far from diminishing the force of this internal evidence adds to it still more force than it would otherwise have. For what underlies the very conception of revelation is the doctrine that all progress in higher spiritual knowledge is bound up with conscious communion with God. Now it is an experience common to all believers that in that communion is to be found not only all strength but all enlightenment also. The believer knows that he learns spiritual truth in proportion as he refers his life to God's judgment, prays to God for clearer vision of what is duty and what is right faith, and makes it his one great aim to do God's will. He uses all the faculties that God has given him to understand the great divine law; but he perpetually looks to God for instruction, and whatever else may be said of that instruction his experience tells him that his advance in spiritual knowledge is in proportion to his nearness in thought and feeling to God Himself. That the progress of the human race in spiritual knowledge, unlike progress in scientific knowledge, should be due not to thinkers intellectually gifted, but to Prophets and Apostles inspired by God, thus exactly corresponds with what the spiritually-minded man finds within his own soul. And so too does it correspond with what he sees in others. Often and often the unlearned and untrained by sheer goodness of life attain to wonderful perception of spiritual truth, and the holiness of the unlettered peasant reveals to his conscience the law of right conduct in circumstances which perplex the disciplined and well informed. As the human race has learnt the highest spiritual truth by direct communication from God, so too on communion with God far more than on intellectual power, depends the progress of spiritual knowledge in every human soul.
But though the hold of the Bible on the faith of believers unquestionably depends on its satisfying the conscience in every stage of its enlightenment, it is equally certain that those who gave the messages recorded in the Bible claimed something more as proof of their authority than the approval of the conscience of their hearers. They professed to prove their mission by the evidence of supernatural powers; and the teaching of the Bible cannot be dissociated from the miraculous element in it which is connected with that teaching. If, indeed, the Old Testament stood alone we might acknowledge that the miraculous element in it occupied comparatively so small a place, and was so separable from the rest, and the evidence for it was so rarely, if ever, contemporaneous, that it might be left out of count. But we cannot say this of the New Testament, nor in particular of the account that has reached us of the sayings and doings of our Lord. The miracles are embedded in, are indeed intertwined with, the narrative. Many of our Lord's most characteristic sayings are so associated with narratives of miracles that the two cannot be torn apart: 'I have not seen so great faith, no, not in Israel;' 'My Father worketh hitherto, and I work;' 'Son, thy sins be forgiven thee;' 'Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees;' 'It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs;' 'This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting;' 'Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine?' 'Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.' In fact, there can be no real doubt that our Lord believed that He could work miracles, and professed to work them, and that His disciples believed that He worked many, and included that fact in their meaning when they spoke of Him as going about doing good. And these disciples professed to work miracles themselves and believed that they did work them. It is of course true that they had no strictly scientific conception of a miracle, and would often have called by that name what was in reality extraordinary but not miraculous. And it is true too that, if we take each miracle by itself, there is but one miracle, namely our Lord's Resurrection, for which clear and unmistakeable and sufficient evidence is given. But while the exclusion of any one miracle as insufficiently attested is possible, the exclusion of the miraculous element altogether is not possible without a complete surrender of the position taken by the first Christian teachers. As they claimed to be inspired and to have enlightenment which was not shared by mankind at large, so did they claim, if not each for himself, yet certainly for our Lord, power not shared by ordinary men, power to step out of the ordinary course of natural events, and, whether by virtue of some higher law operative only in rare instances, or by direct interference of the Almighty, to prove a divine mission by exhibiting in fact what is an essential part of the supremacy of the Moral Law, the dominion of that Law over the physical world.
The teachers of other religions besides the Christian have claimed supernatural powers, and have professed to give a supernatural message. This is a strong evidence of the deep-seated need in the human soul for such a direct communication from God to man. Men seem to need it so much that without it they are unable to accept the truth, or to hold it long if they do accept it. All who thus claim supernatural authority must, of course, justify their claim. They must justify their message to the human conscience. What they teach must be an advance towards, and finally an expression of, the Supreme Moral Law. And if they profess to have miraculous power they must give reasonable evidence that such power is really theirs. But if they fail in this, still the fact remains that their very claim must answer to something in the spiritual nature of man, or it would not be so invariably made nor so largely successful.
It seems as if, whatever may be the ground of belief when once revelation has penetrated into the soul, the exercise of supernatural power was needed to procure that access in the first instance. We believe because we find our consciences satisfied, and we bring up our children in such discipline of conscience that they too shall have sufficient training to recognise and hold fast divine truth. And if we had lived at the time and could have had our eyes opened to see the spiritual power of the Christian Faith, we might have believed without any external evidence at all. But the first receivers of the message, to whom the revelation was new, and, as must have often happened and we actually know did happen, to whom it was hard to reconcile that revelation with previous teaching, how sure were they to need some other and outer evidence that it really came from God. The supernatural in the form of miracles can never be the highest kind of evidence, can never stand alone as evidence; but it seems to have been needed for the first reception. And there seem to be minds that need it still, and to all it is a help to find that reasonable ground can be shown for holding that such evidence was originally given.
Revelation, in short, takes a higher stand than belongs to all other teaching, and except for its having taken that higher stand it does not appear that the highest teaching would have been possible. To look back afterwards and say that we find a development or an evolution is easy. And at first sight it seems to follow that, being an evolution, it may well be no more than the outcome of the working of the natural forces. But look closer and you see the undeniable fact that all these developments by the working of natural forces have perished. Not Socrates, nor Plato, nor Aristotle, nor the Stoics, nor Philo have been able to lay hold of mankind, nor have their moral systems in any large degree satisfied our spiritual faculty. Revelation, and revelation alone, has taught us; and it is from the teaching of revelation that men have obtained the very knowledge which some now use to show that there was no need of revelation. That altruism which is now to displace the command of God is nothing but the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount robbed of its heavenly power, robbed of the great doctrine which underlies the whole sermon. For that doctrine is the Fatherhood of God which has been shown most especially in this, that from the beginning He has never forgotten His children.