divine theism nature religion idea history larceny absolute doctrine reason
THEFT is, in modern legal systems, universally treated or a wreck, or of prevention of search. No doubt the as a crime, but the conception of theft as a crime is not object of this large penalty was to induce injured persons one belonging to the earliest stage of law. To its latest to refrain from taking the law into their own hands. The period Roman law regarded theft (furtum) as a delict Twelve Tables mulcted the non-manifest thief in double prima facie pursued by a civil remedy, - the actio furti the value of the thing stolen. The actions for penalties for a penalty, the vindicatio or condictio for the stolen were in addition to the action for the stolen goods thems property itself or its value. In later times, no doubt, a selves or their value. The quadruple and double penalties criminal remedy to meet the graver crimes gradually grew still remain in the legislation of Justinian. The search up by the side of the civil, and in the time of Justinian the for stolen goods, as it existed in the time of Gains, was a criminal remedy, where it existed, took precedence of the survival of a period when the injured person was, as in the civil (Cod., iii. 8, 4). But to the last criminal proceedings case of summons (in jus vocatio), his own executive officer. could only be taken in serious cases, e.g., against stealers Such a search, by the Twelve Tables, might be conducted of cattle (abigei) or the clothes of bathers (balnearii). The in the house of the supposed thief by the owner in person, punishment was death, banishment, or labour in the mines naked except for a cincture, and carrying a platter in his or on public works. In the main the Roman law of theft hand, safeguards apparently against a violation of decency coincides with the English law. The definition as given and against any possibility of his making a false charge by in the Institutes (iv. 1, 1) is "furtum est contrectatio rei depositing some of his own property on his neighbour's fraudulosa, vel ipsius rei, vel etiam ejususus possessionisve," premises. This mode of search became obsolete before the to which the Digest (xlvii. 2, 1, 3) adds "lucri faciendi time of Justinian. Robbery (bona vi rapta) was violence gratia." The earliest English definition, that of Bracton added to furtum. By the actio vi bonorum raptorum (150b), runs thus: "furtum est secundum leges contrec- quadruple the value could be recovered if the action were tatio rei alienae fraudulenta cum animo furandi invito illo brought within a year, only the value if brought after domino cujus res illa fuerit." Bracton omits the " lucri the expiration of a year. The quadruple value, it is to be faciendi gratia" of the Roman definition, because in English noted, included the stolen thing itself, so that the penalty law the motive is immaterial,' and the " usus ejus posses- was in effect only a triple one. It was inclusive, and not sionisve," because the definition includes an intent to de- cumulative, as in furtum.
prive the owner of his property permanently. The "animo In England theft appears to have been very early furandi" and " invito domino" of Bracton's definition regarded by legislators as a matter calling for special are expansions for the sake of greater clearness. They attention. The pre-Conquest compilations of laws are seem to have been implied in Roman law. Furtum is on full of provisions on the subject. It is noticeable that the the whole a more comprehensive term than theft. This earlier ones appear to regard theft as a delict which may be difference no doubt arises from the tendency to extend the compounded for by payment. Considerable distinctions bounds of a delict and to limit the bounds of a crime. of person are made, both in regard to the owner and the Thus it was furtum (but it would not be theft at English thief. Thus, by the laws of Ethelbert, if a freeman stole common law) to use a deposit of pledge contrary to the from the king he was to restore ninefold, if from a freeman wishes of the owner, to retain goods found, or to steal a or from a dwelling threefold. If a theow stole, he had human being, such as a slave or filiu,s familias (a special only to make a twofold reparation. In the laws of Alfred ordinary theft was still only civil, but he who stole in a ing inquiries into her character, makes the servant guilty of larceny in church was punished by the loss of his hand. The laws English law, of Ina named as the penalty death or redemption according to the wer-gild of the thief. By the same laws the thief might be slain if he fled or resisted. Gradually the severity of the punishment increased. By the laws of Athelstan death in a very cruel form was inflicted. At a later date the Leges Henrici Primi placed a thief in the king's mercy, and his lands were forfeited. Putting out the eyes and other kinds of mutilation were sometimes the punishment. The principle of severity continued down to the present century, and until 1827 theft of certain kinds remained capital. Both before and after the Conquest local jurisdiction over thieves was a common franchise of lords of manors, attended with some of the advantages of modern summary jurisdiction. It might be exercised either over thieves who committed a theft or were apprehended within the lordship (infangthef), or over those inhabitants of the lordship who were apprehended elsewhere (outfangthef). Either or both franchises might be enjoyed by grant or prescription. As lately as 1 Ph. and M. c. 15 infangthef and outfangthef were confirmed to the lords marchers of Wales. An analogous franchise was theam, or the right of calling upon the holder of stolen goods to vouch to warranty, i.e., to name from whom he received them. In the old law of theft there were to be found two interesting survivals of the primitive legal notions which were found in Roman law. Up to a comparatively recent date a distinction analogous to that between furtum manifestum and nee manifestum was of importance in English criminal practice. The thief "taken with the manner" was by the Statute of Westminster the First not to be admitted to bail (see Letters of Junius, lxviii.). In modern procedure the probable guilt or innocence of the accused is not so much to be considered in a question of bail as the probability of his appearance at the trial. The other matter worthy of notice is the old pursuit (secta) by hue and cry. In the pre-Conquest codes the owner was generally allowed to take the law into his own hand, as in early Roman law, and get back his goods by force if he could, no doubt with the assistance of his neighbours where possible. From this arose the later development of the hue and cry, as the recognized means of pursuing a thief. The Statutes of Westminster the First and of De officio coronatoris enacted that all men should be ready to pursue and arrest felons, and ten years later the Statute of Winchester (1285) enforced upon all the duty of keeping arms for the purpose of following the hue and cry. It also made the hundred liable for thefts with violence committed in it, an adoption no doubt in feudal law of the old pre-Conquest liability of the frithborg. As justice became more settled, the hue and cry was regulated more and more by law, and lost much of its old natural simplicity. This led to its gradually becoming obsolete, though the Statutes of Westminster the First and De officio coronatoris are still nominally law as far as they relate to the hue and cry. The Statute of Winchester as to the liability of the hundred was repealed in 1827.
The term theft in modern English law is sometimes used as a synonym of larceny, sometimes in a more comprehensive sense. In the latter sense it is used by Mr Justice Stephen, who defines it as " the act of dealing from any motive whatever, unlawfully and without claim of right, with anything capable of being stolen, in any of the ways in which theft can be committed" (for which see § 296-300), " with the intention of permanently converting • that thing to the use of any person other than the general or special owner thereof " (Digest of the Criminal Law, § 295). In this broader sense the term applies to all cases of depriving another of his property, whether by removing or withholding it. It thus includes larceny, robbery, cheating, embezzlement, and breach of trust. Embezzlement is a statutory crime created as a separate form of ulent breach of trust was not made a specific offence until 1857 (see TRUST).
Larceny (a corruption of latrocinium), or theft proper, was felony at common law. The common law of larceny has been affected by numerous statutes, the main object of legislation being to bring within the law of larceny offences which were not larcenies at common law, either because they were thefts of things of which there could be no larceny at common law, e.g., beasts fens naturse, title deeds, or choses in action, or because the common law regarded them merely as delicts for which the remedy was by civil action, e.g., fraudulent breaches of trust. The earliest Act in the statutes of the realm dealing with larceny appears to be the Carta Forest of 1225, by which fine or imprisonment was inflicted for stealing the king's deer. The next Act appears to be the Statute of Westminster the First (1275), dealing again with stealing deer. From this it seems as though the beginning of legislation on the subject was for the purpose of protecting the chases and parks of the king and the nobility. An immense mass of the old Acts will be found named in the repealing Act of 1827, 7 and 8 Geo. IV. c. 27. An Act of the same date, 7 and 8 Geo. IV. c. 29, removed the old distinction between grand and petit larceny.' The former was theft of goods above the value of twelve pence, in the house of the owner, not from the person, or by night, and was a capital crime. It was petit larceny where the value was twelve pence or under, the punishment being imprisonment or whipping. The gradual depreciation in the value of money afforded good ground for Sir Henry Spelman's sarcasm that, while everything else became dearer, the life of man became continually cheaper. The distinction between grand and petit larceny first appears in statute law in the Statute of Westminster the First, c. 15, but-it was not created for the first time by that statute. It is found in some of the pre-Conquest codes, as that of Athelstan, and it is recognized in the Leges Henrici Primi. A distinction between simple and compound larceny is still found in the books. The latter is larceny accompanied by circumstances of aggravation, as that it is in a dwelling-house or from the person. The law of larceny is now contained chiefly in the Larceny Act, 1861, 24 and 25 Vict. c. 96 (which extends to England and Ireland), a comprehensive enactment including larceny, embezzlement, fraud by bailees, agents, bankers, factors, and trustees, sacrilege, burglary, housebreaking, robbery, obtaining money by threats or by false pretences, and receiving stolen goods, and prescribing procedure, both civil and criminal. There are still, however, some earlier Acts in force dealing with special cases of larceny, such as 33 Hen. VIII. c. 12, as to stealing the goods of the king, and the Game, Post-Office, and Merchant Shipping Acts. Later Acts provide for larceny by a partner of partnership property (31 and 32 Vict. c. 116), and by a husband or wife of the property of the other (45 and 46 Vict. c. 75). Proceedings against persons subject to naval or military law depend upon the Naval Discipline Act, 1866, and the Army Act, 1881. There are several Acts, both before and after 1861, directing how the property is to be laid in indictments for stealing the goods of counties, friendly societies, trades unions, &c. The principal conditions which must exist in order to constitute larceny are these: - (1) there must be an actual taking into the possession of the thief, though the smallest removal is sufficient; (2) there must be an intent to deprive the owner of his property for an indefinite period, and to assume the entire dominion over it, an intent often described in Bracton's words as animus furandi ; (3) this intent must exist at the time of taking; (4) the thing taken must be one capable of larceny either at common law or by statute. One or two cases falling under the law of larceny are of special interest. It was held more than once that a servant taking corn for the purpose of feeding his master's horses, but without any intention of applying it for his own benefit, was guilty of larceny. To remedy this hardship, 26 and 27 Vict. c. 103 was passed to declare such an act not to be felony. The case of appropriation of goods which have been found has led to some difficulty. It now seems to be the law that in order to constitute a larceny of lost goods there must be a felonious intent at the time of finding, that is, an intent to deprive the owner of them, coupled with reasonable means at the same time of knowing the owner. The mere retention of the goods when the owner has become known to the finder does not make the retention criminal. Larceny of money may be committed when the money is paid by mistake, if the prisoner took it animo furancli. In two recent cases the question was argued before a very full Court for Crown Cases Reserved, and in each case there was a striking difference of opinion. In Reg. v. Middleton, Law Rep., 2 Crown I This provision was most unnecessarily repeated in the Larceny Act of 1861.
Cases Reserved, 38, the prisoner, a depositor in a post-office savings bank, received by the mistake of the clerk a larger sum than he was entitled to. The jury found that he had the animus furandi at the time of taking the money, and that he knew it to be the money of the postmaster-general. The majority of the court held it to be larceny. In a case in 1885 (Reg. v. Ashwell, Law Rep., 16 Queen's Bench Division, 190), where the prosecutor gave the prisoner a sovereign believing it to be a shilling, and the prisoner took it under that belief, but afterwards discovered its value and retained it, the court was equally divided as to whether the prisoner was guilty of larceny at common law, but held that he was not guilty of larceny as a bailee. The procedure in prosecutions for larceny has been considerably affected by recent legislation. The inconveniences of the common-law rules of interpretation of indictments led to certain amendments of the law, now contained in the Larceny Act, for the purpose of avoiding the frequent failures of justice owing to the strictness with which indictments were construed. Three larcenies of property of the same person within six months may now be charged in one indictment. On an indictment for larceny the prisoner may be found guilty of embezzlement, and vice versa ; and if the prisoner be indicted for obtaining goods by false pretences, and the offence turn out to be larceny, he is not entitled to be acquitted of the misdemeanour. A count for receiving may be joined with the count for stealing. In many cases it is unnecessary to allege or prove ownership of the property the subject of the indictment. The Act also contains numerous provisions as to venue and the apprehension of offenders. In another direction the powers of courts of SUMMARY JURISDICTION (q.v.) have been extended, in the case of charges of larceny, embezzlement, and receiving stolen goods, against children and young persons and against adults pleading guilty or waiving their right to trial by jury. The maximum punishment for larceny is fourteen years' penal servitude, but this can only be inflicted in certain exceptional cases, such as horse or cattle stealing and larceny by a servant or a person in the service of the crown or the police. The extreme punishment for simple larceny after a previous conviction for felony is ten years' penal servitude. Whipping may be part of the sentence on boys under sixteen.
Robbery is larceny accompanied by violence or threatened violence. Whether obtaining money by threats to accuse of crime was robbery at common law was open to some doubt. It is now a specific offence under the Larceny Act, punishable by penal servitude for life. Whipping may be added as part of the sentence for robbery by 26 and 27 Vict. c. 44.
Cheating is either a common-law or statutory offence. An indictment for cheating at common law is now of comparatively rare occurrence. The statutory crime of obtaining money by false pretences is the form in which the offence generally presents itself. Like embezzlement, this offence dates as a statutory crime from the last century. It now depends upon the Larceny Act. A false pretence is defined by Mr Justice Stephen as "a false representation made either by words, by writing, or by conduct that some fact or facts existed" (Digest of the Criminal Law, § 330). The principal points to notice are that the false pretence must be of an existing fact (e.g., it was held not to be a false pretence to promise to pay for goods on delivery), and that property must have been actually obtained by the false pretence. The broad distinction between this offence and larceny is that in the former the owner intends to part with his property, in the latter he does not. By 22 and 23 Vict. c. 17, no indictment for obtaining money by false pretences is to be presented or found by the grand jury unless the defendant has been committed for trial or the indictment is authorized in one of the ways mentioned in the Act. The maximum punishment for the common-law offence is fine or imprisonment at discretion, for the statutory five years' penal servitude.
Stolen Goods. - The owner of the goods stolen has an action against the thief for the goods or their value. How far he is entitled to pursue his civil right to the exclusion of criminal prosecution does not seem very clear upon the authorities. One of the latest statements of the law was that of Mr Justice Watkin Williams : - " It has been said that the true principle of the common law is that there is neither a merger of the civil right, nor is it a strict condition precedent to such right that there shall have been a prosecution of the felon, but that there is a duty imposed upon the injured person not to resort to the prosecution of his private suit to the neglect and exclusion of the vindication of the public law ; in my opinion this view is the correct one" (Midland Insurance Company v. Smith, Law Rep., 6 Queen's Bench Division, 568). Dealing with stolen goods by persons other than the thief may affect the rights of such persons either criminally or civilly. Two varieties of crime arise from such dealings. (1) Receiving stolen goods knowing them to have been stolen, a misdemeanour at common law, is by the Larceny Act a felony punishable by penal servitude for fourteen years where the theft amounts to felony, a misdemeanour punishable by penal servitude for seven years where the theft is a misdemeanour, as in obtaining goods by false pretences. Recent possession of stolen property may, according to circumstances, support the presumption that the prisoner is a thief or that he is a receiver. The Prevention of Crime Act, 1871, made important changes in the law of evidence in charges of receiving. It allows, under proper safeguards, evidence to be given in the course of the trial of the finding of other stolen property in the possession of the accused, and of a previous conviction for any offence involving fraud and dishonesty. (2) Compounding theft, or theftbote, that is, taking back stolen goods or receiving compensation on condition of not prosecuting, is a misdemeanour at common law. It need not necessarily be committed by the owner of the goods. Under the Larceny Act it is a felony punishable by seven years' penal servitude to corruptly take money or reward for helping to recover stolen goods without using all due diligence to bring the offender to trial. By the same Act, to advertise or print or publish any advertisement offering a reward for the return of stolen goods, and using any words purporting that no questions will be asked, &c., renders the offender liable to a penalty of £50. This penalty must, by 33 and 34 Viet c. 65, be sued for within six months, and the assent of the attorney-general is necessary. Various Acts provide for the liabilities of pawnbrokers, publicans, marine-store dealers, and others into whose possession stolen goods come. Search for stolen goods can only be undertaken by a police officer under the protection of a search warrant. The law as to stolen goods, as far as it affects the civil rights and liabilities of the owner and third parties, is shortly as follows. As a general rule a purchaser takes goods subject to any infirmities of title. The property in money, bank-notes, and negotiable instruments passes by delivery, and a person taking any of these bona fide and for value is entitled to retain it as against a former owner from whom it may have been stolen. In the case of other goods, a bona fide purchaser of stolen goods in market overt (see SALE) obtains a good title (except as against the crown), provided that the thief has not been convicted. After conviction of the thief the property revests in the owner, and the court before which the thief was convicted may order restitution, except in the cases specially mentioned in the Larceny Act, i.e., the bona fide discharge or transfer of a security for value without notice and the fraudulent dealing by a trustee, banker, &c., with goods and documents of title to goods entrusted to him. After conviction of the thief the goods must be recovered from the person in whose hands they are at the time of the conviction, for any sales and resales, if the first sale was in market overt, are good until conviction of the thief. If the goods were obtained by false pretences and not by larceny, the question then is whether the property in the goods has passed or not, and the answer to this question depends upon the nature of the false pretences employed. If the vendee obtains possession of goods with the intention by the vendor to transfer both the property and the possession, the property vests in the vendee until the vendor has done some act to disaffirm the transaction. But if there was never any such intention, - if, for instance, the vendor delivers the goods to A. B. under the belief that he is C. D., - the property does not vest in the transferee, and the owner may recover the goods even from a bona fide purchaser.' Scotland. - There is a vast quantity of Acts of the Scottish parliament dealing with theft. The general policy of the Acts was to make thefts what were not thefts at common law, e.g., stealing fruit, dogs, hawks, or deer, and to extend the remedies, e.g., by giving the justiciar authority throughout the kingdom, by making the master in the case of theft by the servant liable to give the latter up to justice, or by allowing the use of firearms against thieves. The general result of legislation in England and Scotland has been to assimilate the law of theft in both kingdoms. As a rule, what would be theft in one would be theft in the other. There can be theft of children in Scots as in Roman law, under the name of plagium. The crime of stouthrief is robbery accompanied by exceptional violence. The English receiving stolen goods and obtaining money under false pretences are represented by the reset and fraud of Scots law. Theftbote or redemptio furti appears in legislation as early as the assizes of King William, c. 2. The offender was there subjected to the ordeal of water if convicted on the oath of three witnesses, to be immediately hanged if the oath of three senores were added. The offence was made punishable by 1436, c. 1, 1515, c. 2, and appears still to be a crime. Blackmailing, under that name, was forbidden by 1567, c. 27. There is no consolidation Act for Scotland like the Larceny Act for England and Ireland, but various Acts are in force dealing with specific offences or with procedure. Thus 7 Anne c. 21, § 7, makes theft by landed men no longer treason, as it had previously been. 4 Geo. II. c. 32 deals with theft of lead, &c., fixed to houses, 21 Geo. II. c. 34 with the admissibility of an accomplice as witness in a charge of cattle stealing, 51 Geo. III. c. 41 with theft of linen, &e. The most important Act relating to procedure is 31 and 32 Vict. c. 95, § 12, by which a previous conviction for theft may be libelled and proved as aggravation of robbery, and a I For the Roman and English law, see, beside, the authorities cited, Hunter, Roman Law; Muirhead, Roman Law ; 4 Stephen, Commentaries, pt. vi. chap. v.; 3 Stephen, Hist. of the Criminal Law, chap. xxviii.
previous conviction for robbery as aggravation of theft. Stolen goods are always taken subject to the inherent vitium reale of their acquisition, and the true owner may recover them from any one in whose possession they are. The protection given by market overt is unknown in Scotland. See Macdonald, Criminal Law, p. 18.
United States. - The law depends almost entirely upon State legislation, and is in general accordance with that of England. The only Acts of Congress bearing on the subject deal with theft in the army and navy, and with theft and receiving on the high seas or in any place under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States. The doctrine of market overt is not acknowledged by any State. W1-.) Meanings THE term theism has three significations. In its of the 1 widest acceptation its object is the Divine, -whether word regarded as personal or impersonal, as one being or as a number of beings. In this sense theism is coextengeneric sive with religion and worship, includes all forms of sense, polytheism and of pantheism, as well as all varieties of monotheism, and so may be said to denote the genus of which polytheism, pantheism, and monotheism are species. The conception of the Divine, in its utmost abstractness and generality, is, however, so vague that it may reasonably be doubted if the forms of theism, thus understood, can be distributed into strictly logical and natural species, with definitions at once perfectly distinct in themselves and exactly accordant with phenomena. It may seem as if polytheism and monotheism must, by arithmetical necessity, be exclusive of each other and exhaustive of theism ; but this is not so. Pantheism may clearly partake of the nature of both, and has been sometimes extravagantly polytheistic, sometimes only doubtfully distinguishable from fully developed monotheism. Probably few, if any, polytheistic religions are purely polytheistic, or, in other words, do not imply in some mode and measure the unity as well as the plurality of the Divine. Christian monotheism answers to a formal definition of monotheism only inasmuch as it holds to the unity of the Godhead, but contravenes it inasmuch as it holds that in the one Godhead there are three Divine persons, each God.
Its The complete negation of theism in its generie sense is negatives. atheism - the denial of the existence or of the knowability of the Divine. It is only in modern times that the word atheism has acquired this meaning, only in recent times that it has come to be exclusively employed with this meaning. The Greeks meant by it simply disbelief in the Greek gods. The early Christians were called atheists because they refused to acknowledge the pagan deities. Protestants have been charged by Roman Catholics and Roman Catholics by Protestants with atheism. Throughout even the 18th century the word was used in an extremely loose manner, and often affixed to systems by which the existence and agency of God were unequivocally recognized. Atheism, in the sense now generally admitted to be alone appropriate, may be of three species, - namely, denial of the existence of the Divine, denial that the Divine has been shown to exist, and denial that it can be known that the Divine exists. The first species has been called dogmatic atheism, the second critical atheism ; and the third has been designated, and may conveniently be designated, religious agnosticism. Agnosticism per se should not be identified with atheism or with any of its forms. The term antitheism has been used by some theologians, e.g., Chalmers and Foster, as equivalent to dogmatic atheism ; but it may with much more practical advantage be employed to denote all systems of belief opposed to theism, either in the generic sense already indicated, or in the specific sense of monotheism. Understood in this latter mode, it is much more comprehensive than the term atheism. Polytheism and pantheism are alike antitheistic theories, although on different grounds ; while only those theories which deny that there is evidence for belief even in the existence of any god, any divine being, are atheistic.
e ln. t to means as a separate word what it means in the compounds vgolue atheism, polytheism, pantheism, and monotheism. Ordin- mono_ arily it is identified with monotheism, and consequently theism. opposed to polytheism and to pantheism, as well as to atheism. Whereas polytheism acknowledges a plurality of finite gods, theism as monotheism acknowledges only one absolute infinite God. Whereas pantheism regards all finite things as merely aspects, modifications, or parts of one eternal self-existent being - all material objects and all particular minds as necessarily derived from a single infinite substance, - and thus combines, in its conception of the Divine, monism and determinism, theism as monotheism, while accepting monism, rejects determinism, and attributes to the Divine alI that is essentially implied in free personal existence and agency. Pantheism is, however, wonderfully protean, and rarely conforms to its ideal ; hence- the systems called pantheistic are seldom purely pantheistic, and are often more monotheistic than pantheistic.
Sometimes the term theism is employed in a still more Theism special sense, namely, to denote one of two kinds of and monotheism, the other kind being deism. Although dens deism' and theos are equivalent, deism has come to be distinguished from theism. The former word first appeared in the 16th century, when it was used to designate antitrinitarian opinions. In the 17th century it came to be applied to the view that the light of nature is the only light in which man can know God, no special revelation having been given to the human race. Dr Samuel Clarke, in the Boyle Lectures preached in 1705, distributed deists into four classes. The first class " pretend to believe the existence of an eternal, infinite, independent, intelligent being, and, to avoid the name of Epicurean atheists, teach also that this supreme being made the world ; though at the same time they agree with the Epicureans in this, that they fancy God does not at all concern Himself in the government of the world, nor has any regard to, or care of, what is done therein." The second class acknowledge not only that God made all things, but that He sustains and governs them, yet deny that He has any regard in His government to moral distinctions, these being merely the products of human will and law. The third class believe in the being, natural attributes, providence, and to some extent in the moral attributes and government of God, but deny the immortality of the soul and a future state of rewards and punishments. The fourth class acknowledge the being, natural and moral perfections, and providence of God, as also the immortality of the soul and a future state of rewards and punishments, yet profess to believe only what is discoverable by the light of nature, without believing any divine revelation (Clarke, On the Attributes, pp. 140-153, ed. 1823). This division is not an exact classification, nor does it rest on any precise definition of deism, but it, with substantial accuracy, discriminates and grades the varieties of English deism. Clarke did not contrast deism with theism, or even employ the latter word. His contemporary, Lord Shaftesbury, on the other hand, generally used the term theism, yet only as synonymous with deism, and with a protest against either being opposed to revelation (Characteristics, vol. ii. p. 209, ed. 1727). Kant, in his Kritik der reinen, Yernunft, explicitly distinguished and opposed deism and theism, but in a very peculiar manner. " The person who believes in a transcendental theology alone is termed a deist ; he who acknowledges the possibility of a natural theology also, a theist. The former admits that we can cognize by pure reason alone the existence of a supreme being, but at the same time maintains that our conception of this being is purely transcendental, and that all that we can say of it is that it possesses all reality, without being able to define it more closely. The second asserts that reason is capable of presenting us, from the analogy of nature, with a more definite conception of this being, and that its operations, as the cause of all things, are the results of intelligence and _free will. The former regards the supreme being as the cause of the world - whether by the necessity of his nature, or as a free agent, is left undetermined ; the latter considers this being as the author of the world" (Werke, ii. 491, edited by Rosenkranz, Meiklejohn's tr., 387-8). The account here given of deism seems neither self-consistent nor intelligible, and applies, equally well or equally ill, to every system - atheistic, agnostic, pantheistic, idealistic, or materialistic - which admits the existence but not the intelligence or personality of an Urwesen, eternal being, or first cause ; and the account of theism excludes all reference to revelation, and applies to every form of what has been regarded as deism. In recent theology deism has generally come to be regarded as, in common with theism, holding in opposition to atheism that there is a God, and in opposition to pantheism that God is distinct from the world, but as differing from theism in maintaining that God is separate from the world, having endowed it with self-sustaining and self-acting powers, and then abandoned it to itself. This distinction is real, and perhaps the best attainable. At the same time many called deists must be admitted not to have taught deism thus understood ; for example, most of the " English deists " did not deny that God was present and active in the laws of nature, but merely denied that He worked otherwise than through natural laws. If by deism be meant belief in a personal God who acts only through natural laws, and by theism belief in a personal God who acts both through natural laws and by special interventions, this distinction also is real, and may be useful. The chief objection to it is that deism when so contrasted with theism does not denote, or even include, what theologians have generally agreed to call by the name.
The present article will treat specially of theism in the sense of monotheism, but not to the exclusion of the relations between theism thus understood and theism in other acceptations.
holding any view regarding the nature of primeval religion as established. The data which carry us farthest in our search for the historical origin of religion are undoubtedly the names expressive of the Divine which have been preserved in the most ancient languages. They show us how men conceived of the Divinity long before the erection of the oldest monuments or the inscription of the oldest records. Language is much older than any of the statements in language. But language by no means carries us Evidence back to primitive man, or even to the historical origin of of Ian-the idea of deity. The Egyptian word nutar and the Et'nagnealnel e names of the Egyptian gods found in the oldest Egyptian qt inscriptions prove that at a date long before the Egyptians wrote history, or are known to have worshipped animals or ancestors, they conceived of Divinity as power, and their deities as great cosmic forces ; but, as that word and these names cannot be shown to have belonged to man's primitive speech, they cannot show what was man's primitive religious belief, and do not disprove that the forefathers of the people who first used them may have had some lower and ruder conception of the Divine than that which they convey. There are, according to Dr Legge, no words in the Chinese language known to be older than ti, Cien, Shang-ti, and these words are good historical evidence that the Chinese conceived of the Divine, thousands of years before the Christian era, as a universal ruling power, comprehending the visible heavens, and an invisible, infinite, omnipresent force, manifested in the azure of the firmament, possessed so far of intellectual and moral qualities, and working towards ethical ends. There is no evidence that when the Chinese first used these words they worshipped fetiches, but neither is there evidence to the contrary, and even if there were it would not disprove that the ancestors of the Chinese had passed through an era of fetichism. All members of the Semitic family of languages have the word El, or some modification of it, to denote deity, and hence we may conclude that the Semites had the word in this sense before they separated and became distinct peoples, but not that the idea of God originated when the word was first thus employed. All members of the Teutonic group of languages have the word God, or some slightly modified form thereof, and all members of the Slavic group of languages have the word Bog, or some modification thereof, to express the same conception : it does not follow that either Teutons or Slays had no idea of deity until the former so applied the word God, and the latter so applied the word Bog. Both Teutons and Slays are Aryans, and there is an older Aryan term for deity than either God or Bog. The Sanscrit deva, the Latin dens, and the northern ti, tivar, are forms of a word which must have been used by the Aryans to express their idea of the Divine when, in a prehistoric age, they lived together in their original home ; but we are not entitled to infer that even that prehistoric Aryan term is the oldest word for deity. It may not be older than the primitive Semitic word or the primitive Turanian word, or the nutar of the Egyptians, or the Cien of the Chinese, or the earliest designations for the Divine in the earliest African and American languages. And there may have been Divine names older than any of these. The science of language has been able to reconstruct in part a prehistoric Aryan language, and may similarly be able to reconstruct a prehistoric Semitic language, a prehistoric Turanian, and perhaps a prehistoric Hamitic language. Should it proceed thus far it will probably perceive that all these prehistoric languages arose out of a still earlier prehistoric language in which also were words expressing ideas of the Divine. There may be many strata of language buried too deep for human excavation in the abysses of unrecorded time. By no pos23( THEISM sibility, therefore, can the analysis of existing languages disclose to us the oldest name for deity or the historical origin of the idea of deity. Geology shows the vast antiquity of man, and nothing proves that he may not have been awed or comforted by thoughts of the Divine ages before the invention of the oldest Aryan or Semitic words. It is merest conjecture to assign the formation of the conception of deity to the dawn of historic time. Between primitive speech, primitive religion, the primitive condition of man, and the little streak of light called human history there stretches an immeasurable expanse of darkness.
Evidence The belief in primitive monotheism is generally rested Evidence It is impossible to prove historically that monotheism of his- was the primitive religion. Were, then, the oldest known Early reli- historical forms of religion monotheistic 4 Many maintain gions not they were, but adequate evidence has never been adduced mono- for the opinion. The oldest known religion is probably theistic. the Egyptian, and for at least three thousand years its history can be traced by the aid of authentic records con- Egyptian temporary with the facts to which they relate. Its religion. origin, however, is not disclosed by Egyptian history, and was unknown to the Egyptians themselves. When it first appears in the light of history it has already a definite form, a character not rude and simple, but of considerable elevation and subtility, and is complex in contents, having certain great gods, but not so many as in later times, ancestor-worship, but not so developed as in later times, and animal worship, but very little of it as compared with later times. For the opinion that its lower elements were older than the higher there is not a particle of properly historical evidence, - not a trace in the inscriptions of mere propitiation of ancestors, or of belief in the absolute divinity of kings or animals ; on the contrary, ancestors are always found propitiated through prayer to some of the great gods, kings worshipped as emanations and images of the sun-god, and the divine animals adored as divine symbols and incarnations. The greater gods mentioned on the oldest tombs and in the oldest writings are comparatively few, and their mere names - Osiris, Horns, Thoth, Seb, Nut, Anubis, Apheru, Ra, Isis, Neith, Apis - conclusively prove that they were not ancient kings or deceased ancestors, but chiefly powers of nature, and especially, although not exclusively, of the heavens ; yet from the earliest historical time they were regarded as not merely elemental, but as also ethical powers, working indeed visibly and physically in the aspects and agents of nature, yet in conformity to law and with intelligence and moral purpose. Wherever the powers of nature are thus worshipped as gods, the feeling that the separate powers are not all power, that the particular deities are not the whole of divinity, must be entertained and will find expression. The Egyptians had undoubtedly such a sense of the unity of the Divine from the dawn of their history, and they expressed it so strongly in various ways from a very early period that they have been pronounced monotheists not merely by theologians attached to a traditional dogma but by most eminent Egyptologists - De Rouge, Mariette, Brugsch, and Renouf. As these scholars, however, truthfully present the facts, they satisfactorily refute themselves. A religion with about a dozen great gods - distinct as regards their names, characteristics, histories, relationships, symbols, and worship - is not monotheism in the ordinary or proper sense of the term. A religion in which the Divine is viewed as merely immanent in nature, and the deities deemed physical as well as moral, elemental as well as ethical powers, is rather pantheistic than monotheistic. Further, all assertions to the effect that the unity of the Divine is most emphatically expressed in the earliest historical stages of the religion are contrary to the evidence adduced even by those who make them. To quote Patah-Hotep as a proof of the monotheism of the Egyptian religion in its oldest historical phase is as uncritical as it would be to draw Homeric theology from the dialogues of Plato. The Egyptian religion was a polytheism which implied monism ; it was not monotheism, which is exclusive of polytheism. Hence, notwithstanding frequent approximations to monotheism, the general result of the development of its monistic principles was pantheism, not monotheism. As to the ancient Chinese Chinese religion, Dr Legge easily shows that Prof. Tidies religion. description of it as "a purified and organized worship of spirits, with a predominant fetichist tendency," has no historical warrant, but he fails completely to substantiate his own view, namely, that it was a strict and proper monotheism. The names T'ien and Ti afford no evidence that the early Chinese fathers regarded deity as truly and properly spiritual and personal. It is not in the most ancient Chinese writings that spirituality and personality ' The view opposed in the above paragraph is that maintained in the following works (as well as those mentioned in the previous note), - De Rouge, Etudes sur le Rawl Funeraire, 1860; Renouf, Hibbert Lectures, 1879 ; Brugsch, Religion u. Mythologic d. alten Aegypter, 1884 ; Legge, Religion of the Chinese, 1880 ; Renan, Hist. des Langues Semitigues, also Considerations sur le Caractere Gen. des Peuples Semitigues, and Nouvelles Considerations ; Pesch, Der Gottesbegriff in den heidnischen Religionen des Alterthums, 1886. Among the many replies to Renan, Max M'iller's ("Semitic Monotheism," in Chips, vol. i.) and Steinthal's (in Z. V.S. IV., i.) specially merit to be mentioned.
idea of the Divine and the imperfect individualization of their deities. In the highest forms of nature-worship, e.g., the Vedic, Egyptian, and Babylonian-Assyrian, the same trait is perceptible. This implicit monism of nature-worship may, through the action of various causes, come to explicit utterance in diverse modes, and has in fact done so, with the result that even in the oldest known polytheisms are to be found remarkable approximations to monotheism. One form of approximation was henotheism. When worship is ardent and earnest the particular god worshipped is apt to have ascribed to him the attributes, as it were, of all the gods - an almost absolute and exclusive godhead. Max Miller has shown how prominent a phenomenon henotheism is in the Vedas. Page Renouf has shown that it is very conspicuous also in the ancient inscriptions and hymns of Egypt. Horns, Ra, Osiris, Amun, Knum, were severally spoken of as if each were absolute God, invested not only with distinctive divine attributes but with all divine attributes. In the religious records of Babylon and Assyria monotheistic approximations of the same kind are likewise common. Now, in themselves such monotheistic modes of expression may truly be held to be the products of passing moods of mind, not reflexions of permanent conviction. But every mood of mind tends to perpetuate itself, and the enthusiasm of piety which utters itself in henotheistic praises and prayers may take abiding possession of the soul of a powerful ruler or even of the hearts of a whole class of society or of a whole people, and may seem to them to find the strongest possible confirmation in experience. We may illustrate from Assyrian religious history. Tiglath-Pileser showed a marked preference for the worship of Asshur, to him "king of all the gods," "he who rules supreme over the gods." Nebuchadnezzar, again, showed a great partiality for the god Merodach, and applied exclusively to him such magnificent titles as " the lord of all beings," " the lord of the house of the gods," " the lord of lords," " the lord of the gods," " the king of heaven and earth." Nabonidus, on the other hand, specially revered Sin, the moon-god, and represented him as " the great divinity," " the king of gods upon gods," " the chief and king of the gods of heaven and earth." A preference of this kind might arise from some merely accidental or personal cause, and be confirmed by experiences mainly individual, and yet have a vast historical influence. The devotional choice of a people must tend, however, still more than that of any monarch to the elevation of one god towards absolute godhead. It was accordingly what raised Asshur, the special national god of the Assyrians, to the head of the Babylonian-Assyrian pantheon during the Assyrian period. In a struggle of deities for supremacy the national god has an immense advantage in that he has both the piety and the patriotism of the people on his side. His rule is identified with providence ; he is credited with all the victories and successes of the nation ; and his power and godhead seem certified by fact and experience. The logic of events in every advancing nation combines with the essential tendencies of piety and with the growth of conscience and reason to promote belief in the unity and perfection of the Divine. The general course of providence is no more polytheistic than it is atheistic. The best exemplification of the operation of the piety of an influential class in transcending polytheism is Brahmanism. But for the impulse given by Brahmanical piety Brahmanical speculation would never have reduced the Vedic gods to manifestations of Brahma. Henotheistic forms of approximation to monotheism are not, however, the only ones. Particular gods - all of them - may be dropped out of view, and the generic thought of God alone retained. The mind and Semitic impersonal character of T'ien. The arguments which religions. have been adduced in support of the hypothesis of a primitive Semitic monotheism are also insufficient. M. Renan's belief in a monotheistic instinct peculiar to the Semitic race has been so often and so convincingly shown to be contradicted both by history and psychology that another refutation of it might well be regarded as a mere slaying of the slain. Divine names like El, Baal, Adon, and Melech, being the oldest terms in the Semitic languages expressive of the Divinity, and having been retained through all the changes and perversions of Semitic religion, have often been maintained to imply that primitive Semitic belief was monotheistic. But in reality Baal, Melech, and Adon were not names originally, or indeed at any time, given to the one Supreme God, or exclusively to any particular god ; on the contrary, they were titles Aryan applicable to many different gods. The oldest historical religions, form of Aryan religion - the form in which the Vedas present it - is designated by Max Muller henotheism, in opposition to the organized anthropomorphic polytheism to which he restricts the term polytheism, but henotheism thus understood includes polytheism in its wider and more ordinary acceptation, while it excludes monotheism properly so called. The oldest known form of Aryan religion was indubitably polytheistic in the sense of being the worship of various nature-deities ; and everything approximating to monotheism in India, Persia, Greece, and other Aryan-peopled lands was the product of later and more advanced thought. The assertion that history everywhere or even anywhere shows religious belief to have commenced with monotheism is not only unsupported by evidence, but contrary to evidence.' Early While the oldest known religions of the world were thus theisms. and tendencies. The Chinese religion, indeed, can hardly be said to have been at any period a polytheism, the Chinese people no more regarding spirits and deceased ancestors as gods than Roman Catholics so regard angels and saints. They have throughout their whole known history explicitly and clearly acknowledged the unity of the Divine - the uniqueness of T'ien (Ti, Shang-Ti). Had they in like manner acknowledged the spirituality, personality, transcendence of the Divine, their monotheism would have been indubitable. Then, even in those ancient religions, where a plurality of deities is apparent, a sense of the unity of the Divine is notwithstanding implied, and in the course of their development comes to expression in various ways. It could not be otherwise, for in these religions the divine powers (deities) are also powers of nature, and hence sprung from and participant in a mysterious common nature, an ultimate and universal agency which is at once the source of physical and divine existences and forces. Neither nature-deities nor powers of nature are ever conceived of, or indeed can be conceived of, as entirely distinct and independent. The lowest forms of polytheism, such as fetichism and animism, have no more marked characteristic than the indefiniteness of their heart of the devout may be directed exclusively to the power of the powers, the God in the gods, God simply, the Divinity. The formation of names expressing Divinity in the abstract is an evidence of the existence of such a process, and names of the kind are to be found even among very rude peoples. But there are more obvious and conclusive indications. In one of the most ancient of books, for example, and probably the oldest manuscript in the world, the maxims of Patah-Hotep, a wise Egyptian prince of the fifth dynasty, God simply (nutar) is often spoken of without a name or any mythological characteristic, and in a way which is in itself quite monotheistic. " If any one beareth himself proudly he will be humbled by God, who maketh his strength." " If thou art a wise man, bring up thy son in the love of God." " God loveth the obedient, and hateth the disobedient." Sentences like these standing alone would be pronounced by every one monotheistic ; and even when standing alongside of references to " gods" and " powers " they show that said gods and powers were not deemed by the Egyptian sage inconsistent with oneness of power and godhead or exhaustive of their fulness. In Babylonian-Assyrian religious history there are also distinct traces of the rise of the spirits of worshippers above particular deities, simply to deity. Sometimes they appear with special clearness in connexions which tell of awakened and afflicted conscience, of the pressure of a sense of sin and guilt forcing on the heart, as it were, a conviction of One with whom it has to deal, of its need of the forgiveness and favour, not of this god or of that, but of God. The following passage may be cited as an instance. " 0 my Lord, my sins are many, my trespasses are great, and the wrath of the gods has plagued me with disease, and with sickness and sorrow. I fainted, but no one stretched forth his hand ! I groaned, but no one heard ! 0 Lord, do not abandon Thy servant ; in the waters of the great stream do Thou take his hand ; the sins which he has committed do Thou turn to righteousness." Many parallel passages might be drawn from Hindu, Greek, and other sources. Clearness of moral perception is decidedly favourable to monotheistic belief. The practical reason contributei as well as the speculative reason, and precisely in the measure of its healthiness and vigour, to the formation of a true idea of the Divine. It was due more to their moral earnestness and insight than to their intellectual superiority that the Persians came nearer to monotheism than any other people of heathen antiquity. Ahriman was entirely evil, and therefore only to be hated and combated ; while Ahuramazd was absolutely divine, perfectly good, and therefore to be supremely worshipped and obeyed. This moral dualism approached more closely to true monotheism than the later speculative monism, which placed above both Ahuramazd and Ahriman Zervanakarene, boundless time, indeterminate being, an ethically indifferent destiny. Finally, reason in striving to understand and explain the world tends towards monotheism. The mind cannot be expected to recognize the unity of God until it recognizes the unity of nature; when it sees nature to be a whole, a universe or cosmos, it cannot but form a conception of it which will be pantheistic, if the unity of substance, law, and evolution be alone acknowledged, and monotheistic if a unity of causality, rational plan, and ethical purpose be also apprehended. In the measure in which reason advances either on the path of scientific investigation or of philosophical speculation, polytheism must retreat and disappear ; in the measure in which it discerns unity, order, system, moral government, indications of spiritual character and design in the world, monotheism must rise and spread. Now, in the chief progressive heathen nations reason, it can be proved, has gradually gained on imagination. Hence the The best literature relating to the subject of the preceding paragraph is indicated in the lists of books given in connexion with the relevant sections in Tiele's Outlines of the History of Religion, and particularly in the French translation by M. Vernes. Hegel's Philosophy of Religion, Bunsen's God in History, Freeman Clarke's Ten Great Religions, the St Giles Lectures on the Faiths of the World, still more the series of Sacred Books of the Bast, and of ancient texts published under the title of Records of the Past, and the volumes of the Rev. de rills& des Religions, will be found useful to those wishing to make a survey of heathen thought regarding God so far as it approximated to the theistic idea. For the conceptions of the Divine entertained by non-civilized peoples, see especially Waltz's Anthropologie, and Riville's Religions des Non-Civilises, who both give extensive lists of literature.
polytheisms which they built up in their youth have been undermined and broken down by them in their maturity.' A monotheistic movement can be clearly traced in Mono- ancient Greece. The popular religion of Greece, as it theistic appeared in the Homeric poems, was as distinctly poly- no Gvemreece.
theistic and as little monotheistic as any known religion. Its gods were all finite, begotten, and thoroughly individualized beings. The need of unity was responded to only by the supremacy of Zeus, and Zeus was subject to destiny, surrounded by an aristocracy far from orderly or obedient, and participant in weakness, folly, and vice. To its eternal honour the Greek spirit, however, was not content with so inadequate a conception of the Divine, but laboured to amend, enlarge, and elevate it. The poets and dramatists of Greece purified and ennobled the popular myths, and, in particular, so idealized the character and agency of Zeus as to render them accordant with a true conception of the Godhead. The Zeus of .Eschylus and of Sophocles was not only not the Zeus of Homer, but was a god belief in whom was inconsistent with belief in any of the Homeric gods. The dramatists of Greece did not assail the popular conception of Divinity, but they substituted for it one which implied that it was without warrant or excuse. They developed the germs of monotheism in the Greek religion, while leaving untouched its polytheistic assumptions and affirmations. Those, however, were not only persistently undermined, but often directly attacked by the philosophers, some of whom eventually reached a reasoned knowledge of the one absolute Mind. Xenophanes, Empedocles, and Anaxagoras were among the pre-Socratic philosophers who, on grounds of reason, rejected the polytheism and anthropomorphism of the current mythology, and advocated belief in one all-perfect divine nature. Socrates, although avoiding all attacks on the popular religion calculated to weaken the popular reverence for divine things, had real faith only in the one supreme Reason, the source and end of all things ; and the best representatives of later Greek philosophy were in this respect his followers. Plato attained by his dialectic a conception of God which will always deeply interest thoughtful men. God he deemed the highest object of knowledge and love, the source of all being, cognoscibility, truth, excellence, and beauty, - the One, the Good. The controversy as to whether his conception may be more correctly designated theistic or pantheistic will, perhaps, never be brought to a decisive conclusion, but in its general truth and grandeur it must be admitted far to transcend either the monotheism of the vulgar or any popular form of pantheism. Aristotle's characteristic cautiousness of judgment showed itself in the very meagreness of his theology. The representation which he gives of God hardly meets at all the demands of affection and of practical life, yet so far as it goes will be generally regarded as thoroughly reasonable. It is more unequivocally theistic than that of Plato. It sets forth God as without plurality and without parts ; free from matter, contingency, change, and development ; the eternal unmoved mover, whose essence is pure energy ; absolute spirit, self-thinking reason, the vorjo-ts vorjo-Enn ; the one Him no other attributes than had already been assigned to perfect being, whose life is completely blessed, and whose Him. Like Moses and the prophets also they made no likeness is the goal towards which the whole universe attempt formally to prove the existence or logically to tends. Stoicism was originally and predominantly a define the nature of God, but spoke of Him either as from materialistic or hylozoic form of pantheism ; but some of vision or inspiration. And yet their doctrine of God has its greatest representatives conceived of God in a decid- original and peculiar features. Thus, first, the fatherhood edly theistic manner as the supreme moral reason. The of God was taught with incomparable distinctness and beautiful hymn of Cleanthes to Zeus is full of the purest fulness by Jesus Christ, - a fatherhood not merely of devotional feeling, springing from a clear sense of personal natural creation or national election, but of spiritual relationship to the one all-ruling personal Spirit. Greek relationship of love, sympathy, mercy, and grace for philosophy proceeded throughout its whole course in entire individual souls. Such fatherhood, if acknowledged at independence of the popular polytheism, and was a con- all, was only very rarely and vaguely acknowledged in tinuous demonstration of its futility ; and it largely con- heathendom, and, although not wholly absent from the tributed to that reasoned natural knowledge of God which Old Testament, is far from clearly and prominently there, must underlie all rational belief in revelation. It discerned and, indeed, is present chiefly by implication in passages in some measure all the chief arguments which have since which refer directly only to God's connexion with the been employed as theistic proofs. It failed, however, to people of Israel, as an elect and covenant people ; it is conceive of God as truly creative, or of the universe as in conspicuous and central, however, in the conception of its very substance the result of divine action ; it failed also God introduced by Christianity. Secondly, Divine father-to make evident, even to cultured minds, the superiority hood had its correlate in Divine sonship. God is repreof monotheism to pantheism and scepticism ; and it failed sented in the New Testament as revealing His fatherhood especially to convert the common people to faith in one through His Son, Jesus Christ. In Old Testament represole Deity.' sentations of Israel, the Messiah, and Wisdom, and in the Mono- Israel presents us with the first example of a mono- Logos doctrine of Judwo-Alexandrian philosophy, some theism in theistic nation. The controversies as to how Israel ac- approximations to this conception of the Divine may be Israel. quired this pre-eminence can only be decided by critical traced, but they fell far short of it. According to the and historical investigations into which we cannot here New Testament, God is not merely infinitely exalted enter (see IsRAEL). above the world and definitely distinguished therefrom, nor Old Testa- The science of Old Testament theology, giving due heed merely immanent and everywhere operative in nature, but ment to the results of critical, historical, and exegetical research also incarnate in Christ ; and Christ is not merely " the theology, regarding the documents with which it deals, has to trace Son of man," essentially sharing in humanity and truly by what means and through what stages Hebrew mono- representing it before God, but also " the Son of God," theism was developed and established ; and to the treatises essentially sharing in Divinity, and giving the fullest on this science our readers must be referred. The mono- disclosure of it to man. The foundation of the Christian theistic movement in Israel was one of continuous progress faith as laid down in the New Testament is that Christ through incessant conflict until a result was reached of through His unique relation as Son to the Father perfectly incalculable value to humanity. That result was a faith declared and expressed the nature and will of God in in God singularly comprehensive, sublime, and practical, - relation to human salvation. Thirdly, God is exhibited a faith which rested, not on speculation and reasoning, but in the New Testament as the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, who on a conviction of God having directly revealed Himself dwells in the spirits of men, to work in them the will of to the spirits of men, and which, while ignoring meta- the Father, and to conform them to the image of the Son. physical theorizing, ascribed to God all metaphysical as Only when thus exhibited can the revelation of the Divine well as moral perfections ; a faith which, in spite of its name be regarded from the New Testament point of view simplicity, so apprehended the relationship of God to nature as other than manifestly incomplete. Even the manifestoes neither to confound them like pantheism nor to separate tion of God in Christ, being objective and single, must be them like deism, but to assert both the immanence and the supplemented by a manifestation which is subjective and transcendence of the divine ; a faith in a living and per- multiple, before the one God, the one Christ, can find a sonal God, the almighty and sole creator, preserver, and place in the manifoldness of souls, the multitude of sepruler of the world ; a faith, especially, in a God holy in all arate hearts and lives. The manifestation of the Spirit His ways and righteous in all His works, who was directing is such a manifestation, and completes in principle the and guiding human affairs to a destination worthy of revelation of the Christian idea of God, the revelation of His own character ; and, therefore, an essentially ethical, His threefold nature and name. This revelation completed elevating, and hopeful faith. The existence of utterances God can be thought of as absolute spirit, absolute love, in the Hebrew Scriptures which show that Hebrew faith absolute good, and was, to some extent explicitly, and was not always thus enlightened, and sometimes conceived throughout implicitly, so represented in the New Testaof God as partial and cruel, is no reason for not acknow- ment. It is precisely in virtue of the threefold represenledging the general justice and grandeur of its representa- tation of God characteristic of the New Testament that tion of the Supreme.' Christianity is still held by so many of the world's proNew The God of the Old Testament is also the God of the foundest thinkers as the absolute and perfect religion, the Testa- New. Christ and the apostles accepted what Moses and crown and consummation of religion, - speculatively conme❑t the prophets had taught concerning God ; they assigned to sidered, an absolute revelation of God, and practically theology.
considered, a perfect salvation, - within which there may I See Zeller, Die Entwickelung des Manotheismus bei den Griechen be infinite evolution and progress, but beyond which there (in Vortrage, vol. i.); and Cocker, Christianity and Greek Philosophy, 1875; also, Meiners, Historia Doctrines de Vero Deo, 1780. can be no true light or real growth .3 kc.; Ewald, Lehre der Bibel von Gott; Bandissen, Stud. z. Semit. went was an entirely religious and practical representa- of the Religionsgeschichte ; Kuenen, Hibbert Lecture ; Duhm, Theologie d. tion, inseparably connected with the historical facts of Trinity. Propheten ; W. Robertson Smith, Prophets of Israel, &c. As to the name " Jahveh," an instructive summary and examination of views is 3 The New Testament representation of God is treated of in the New given by Prof. Driver in his article "Recent Theories on the Origin Testament Theologies of Schmid, Reuss, Oosterzee, and Weiss ; also in and Nature of the Tetragrammaton," in Studia Biblica, Oxford, 1885. Wittichen, Die Idee Gotten, 1865.
Christ's life and the spiritual experiences of the early Christians. It was not an ontological or even theological doctrine, and will be identified by no competent exegete with the dogma of the Divine Trinity set forth in the oecumenical creeds. The propositions constitutive of the dogma of the Trinity - the propositions in the symbols of Nice, Constantinople, and Toledo relative to the immanent distinctions and relations in the Godhead - were not drawn directly from the New Testament, and could not be expressed in New Testament terms. They were the products of reason speculating on a revelation to faith - the New Testament representation of God as a father, a redeemer, and a sanctifier - with a view to conserve and vindicate, explain and comprehend it. They were only formed through centuries of effort, only elaborated by the aid of the conceptions and formulated in the terms of Greek and Roman metaphysics. The evolution of the doctrine of the Trinity was far the most important fact in the doctrinal history of the church during the first five centuries of its post-apostolic existence. To trace and describe it fully would be almost to exhibit the history of Christian thought during these centuries. It had necessarily an immense influence on the development of theism. The acceptance of the catholic doctrine of the Trinity implied the rejection of pantheism, of abstract monotheism, of all forms of monarchianism or unitarianism. It decided that theistic development was not to be on these lines or in these directions. At the same time the dogma itself was a seed for new growths of theistic thought, and demanded a development consistent with its own nature. It is a doctrine, not as to the manifestations and revelations of Godhead, but as to their ground and explanation, the constitution of Godhead, a doctrine as to a trinity of essence, which accounts for the Trinity of the gospel dispensation. It affirms the unity of God, but requires us to conceive of His unity, not as an abstract or indeterminate self-identity, not as "sterile, monotonous simplicity," but as a unity rich in distinctions and perfections, - the unity of an infinite fulness of life and love, the unity of a Godhead in which there are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a trinity of persons, a diversity of properties, a variety of offices, a multiplicity of operations, yet sameness of nature, equality of power and glory, oneness in purpose and affection, harmony of will and work. It finds its dogmatic expression as to what is ultimate in it in the formula - One substance in three persons, of which the first eternally generates the second, and the third eternally proceeds from the first and second. Now, manifestly, however much such a doctrine as this may have satisfied thought on a revelation as to the Godhead, it cannot have exhausted or completed it. If it answered certain questions it raised others, and these more speculative and profound than those which had been answered. What is meant by affirming God to be " substance " or " in three persons "I What is meant by divine " generation " or " procession "7 How are the substance and persons related ? How are the persons distinguished and interrelated ? These and many kindred and connected questions reason became bound to discuss by its adoption of the doctrine of the Trinity. This obligation could only be temporarily and partially evaded or concealed by representing the doctrine as "a mystery " to be accepted simply on authority or with blind faith. Data of the doctrine may have been given to faith, but the doctrine itself was the work of reason, and on no ground not plainly absurd could that work be held to have terminated in 589 A.D. As soon as an inspired record is left at all, as soon as any speculation is allowed on its contents, as soon as the process of forming doctrine is permitted to begin, all conceivable right to stop the movement anywhere is lost. By the blending, however, of trinitarianism with theism the whole character of the latter was, of necessity, profoundly changed. A trinitarian theism must be vastly different from a unitarian as regards practice. It must be equally so as regards theory. It must be far more speculative. By its very nature it is bound to undertake speculative labours in which a simply unitarian theism will feel no call to engage.' It was the general conviction of the early Christian Theism in writers that formal proofs of the Divine existence were Patristic neither necessary nor useful. In their view the idea of writers. God was native to the soul, the knowledge of God intuitive, the mind of man a mirror in which, if not rusted by sin, God could not fail to be reflected. The design argument, however, came early into use and was frequently employed. More speculative modes of reasoning were resorted to by Dionysius of Tarsus, Augustine, and Boetius. The unity of God had to be incessantly affirmed against polytheists, Gnostics, and Manichieans. The incomprehensibility of God and His cognoscibility were both maintained, although each was sometimes so emphasized as to seem to obscure the other. That the knowledge of God may be reached by the three ways of causality, negation, and eminence was implied by the pseudo-Dionysius, although only explicitly announced by Scotus. Neither any systematic treatment of the Divine attributes nor any elaborate discussion of single attributes was attempted. The hypothesis of eternal creation found a vigorous defender in Origen, but met with the same fate as the dualist hypothesis of uncreated matter and the pantheistic hypothesis of emanation. Of all the patristic theologians Augustine was undoubtedly the most philosophical apologist and exponent of theism. He alone attempted to refute agnosticism, and to find a basis for the knowledge of God in a doctrine of cognition in general. On the large, difficult, and as yet far from adequately investigated subject, the influence of Platonic and Aristotelian, Stoic and Academic, Neopythagorean and Neoplatonic speculation on the formation of the Christian doctrina de Deo, it is, of course, impossible here to enter.2 Mohammed (570-632) founded a monotheistic religion Mohamwhich spread with amazing rapidity through Arabia, Syria, mecl- Persia, North Africa, and Spain, and gave, almost wherever mils" it spread, a mighty impulse to the minds and wills of men. It was received as the gift of special inspiration and revelation, although its creed contained little of moment on which reason would seem to be incompetent to decide. It had obvious merits, and must be admitted to have rendered real and important services to culture, religion, and humanity, but had also conspicuous faults, which have done much injury to individual, domestic, and national life. If the latest were always the best, it would be the most perfect of the three great theistic religions of the world; but it is, in fact, the least developed and most defective. Instead of evolving and extending, it marred and mutilated the theistic idea which it borrowed. Instead of representing God as possessed of all spiritual fulness and perfections, it exhibited Him as devoid of the divinest spiritual attributes. It recognized His transcendent exaltation above His creatures, but not His sympathetic presence with His creatures ; apprehended vividly His almighty power, His eternity, His omnipresence and omniscience, but only vaguely and dimly His moral glory, His love and goodness, His righteousness I See MOHAMMEDAN ISM, and authorities there mentioned ; also Kuenen, Hibbert Lectures, lect. 1, with authors and works there indicated.
the so-called attributes of God are only descriptive of the effects of His operations as they appear to the human mind, or even are merely symbols or metaphors, was maintained by many of the scholastic doctors. Aquinas, for example, with all his confidence as a dogmatic system-builder, so denied the cognoscibility of God. That the human mind may have a true, although it cannot have a perfect knowledge of God, - an apprehensive but not a comprehensive knowledge of Him, - was, however, in the Middle Age, as it has been ever since, the position most commonly taken up. The scholastic divines discussed a multitude of foolish questions regarding God, but that was not due to extravagant faith in the power of the human mind to know or comprehend God. Prof. Sheldon very justly says, "on the whole, the scholastic theology, notwithstanding some strong negative statements, assumes in reality a minimum of acquaintanceship with the essential nature of God." The negative statements are, for the most part, those of the mystics with respect to the beatific vision. Medimval discussions as to the nature of God turned chiefly on two points, - the relation of the Divine essence to the Divine attributes and of the one Divine substance to the three Divine persons. The conclusion come to by the vast majority of scholastic theologians on the first point was that the attributes were not really or objectively in God, but merely human representations reflected, as it were, on the idea of God, because the mental constitution of man is what it is, and because God wished to be thought of in certain divers manners. To hold them objectively real in God, and therefore intrinsically distinct either from the essence of God or from one another, was considered to be incompatible both with the incomprehensibility and with the absolute simplicity of the Divine nature. Duns Scotus, in maintaining that the attributes were formalitates realiter distinctie, took up an exceptional position. On the other point the conclusion as generally reached was one seemingly quite inconsistent with the foregoing, namely, that the persons were objectively and eternally real and distinct. The discrepancy is especially apparent in those theologians (e.g., Anselm, Abelard, Hugo and Richard of St Victor, Alexander of Hales, and Aquinas) who represented the persons of the Trinity as corresponding to distinctions among the very attributes which they in another reference denied to be distinct. The mediaeval schoolmen, with very few and doubtful exceptions, conjoined with their theism the doctrine of the Trinity as defined by the ancient church. Roscelin of Compiegne and Gilbert de la Porree laid themselves open to the charge of tritheism ; and obviously nominalism, by allowing nothing but a nominal existence to the essence or general nature of which the individual is a specimen, tended towards tritheism, - towards resolving the Trinity into a triad of Divine individuals or self-subsistent beings, connected only by a common specific character. While the schoolmen accepted the doctrine of the Trinity on authority, they did not conceive themselves precluded from endeavouring to illustrate it and to make it appear as consonant to reason as possible. They sought to show its consistency with the unity of God, and its general reasonableness by various speculative considerations, but especially by the aid of analogies drawn from the constitution of the mind and even from particular physical phenomena. They did not suppose that they were thereby demonstrating the doctrine of the Trinity : they fully recognized that doctrine to be the indication of a mystery, " dark with excess of light," and the truth of which could only be directly apprehended in the beatific vision conferred by the highest and most special grace ; but they proceeded on the belief that, inasmuch as it was a central truth of revelation, the whole creation, and.
and holiness. The Allah of Mohammed was essentially despotic will, and so fell far below the Jahveh of Moses, essentially righteousness, and the Heavenly Father of Christ, essentially holy love. Mohammedanism is almost as contrary to Christianity as one form of theism can be to another. It is as unitarian as Christianity is trinitarian. Its cardinal tenet is as distinctly anti•trinitarian as anti-polytheistic. It has often been represented as having had the providential task assigned it of preparing the way for Christianity by destroying polytheism ; in reality, it has hitherto offered a far more stubborn resistance to Christianity than any polytheistic religion has done.1 Mediaeval The mediaeval world was so complex, so full of contrasts theology. and contradictions, that it cannot be "summed up in a formula." Most general statements current regarding it will be found on examination only partially true. It is often described as the age in which external religious authority ruled, and all religious thought ran in narrow, strictly prescribed paths, whereas, in fact, the mediaeval theologians were far freer to speculate on almost all points of religious doctrine than Protestant divines have been. Because traditionalism abounded, it is forgotten that rationalism also abounded ; because scholasticism flourished, that mysticism was prevalent ; because theism was common, that pantheism, speculative and practical, was not uncommon. The Middle Age was, however, par excellence, the age of theology. Theology never before or since so interested and dominated the human intellect. Nearly every eminent mediaeval thinker was a theologian. The chief streams of theistic belief and speculation which traversed the Middle Age were three, - the Christian, Jewish, and Mohammedan. The first was much the broadest and fullest. Few points of theistic doctrine were left unhandled by the Christian divines of the Middle Age. The conclusions came to on the chief points were various and divergent. As to the manner in which God is known, for instance, some laid stress on faith or authoritative revelation ; others on immediate consciousness, the direct vision of the pure in heart, the illumination of the Spirit of God in the minds and hearts of the true children of God ; others on reason and proof ; and some attempted mediation and synthesis. Anselm gave logical form to an a priori argument for the Divine existence based on the idea of God as a being than whom a greater cannot be conceived. His most ingenious attempt to demonstrate the absurdity of supposing the perfect, the infinite, to be a mere subjective fiction prepared the way for the multitude of attempts, identical or similar in aim, which have since been made. Thomas Aquinas was the best representative of those who held that the invisible God was only to be known through His visible works. He argued from motion to a mover, from effect to cause, from the contingent to the necessary, from lower kinds of good to a supreme good, and from order and purpose in the world to a governing intelligence. Raymond of Sebonde added to the ontological and physico-teleological arguments a moral argument. William of Occam criticized keenly and unfavohrably both the a priori and a posteriori proofs, and held that the existence of God was not a known truth but merely an article of faith. There was not less diversity of view as to how far God may be known. Erigena held that even God Himself could not comprehend His own nature, and Eckhart that the nature of God is necessarily unknowable, as being a nature without nature, without predicates, without opposites, pure oneness. That man cannot know God's real nature, cannot know Him per essentiam, cannot have a quidditiva cognitio Dei, and that For the history of mediaeval theism may be consulted the histories of philosophy by Tennemann, Ritter, Erdmann, &c.; the special histories of mediaeval philosophy by StiickI and Haureau, and of later scholasticism by K. Werner; the histories of the Trinity and of Christian doctrine already mentioned ; and a multitude of monographs, e.g., those of Christlieb, Huber, and Stockl on Erigena; of Hasse, Remusat, Bouchitte on Anselm or his ontological argument; Delitzsch's Kritische Darstellung der Gotteslehre des Thomas Aquinas ; Ritschl's " Gesch. Studien z. ch. Lehre von Gott," in Jahresb. f deutsche Theol., x., referring chiefly to Aquinas and Scotus, &c. Medimval mysticism has found iu Schmidt, Lasson, Preger, Jundt, admirable historians. On Eckhart there are good works by Martensen, Lasson, and others ; see also a paper by Prof. Pearson in Mind, No. xli. On mediaeval predestinarianism consult chapter in Mozley's Treatise on the Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination. The keenest hostile criticism of medimval theism is that of Pasquale D'Ercole, 11 Teismo Filosofico Christian, 1884.
things to have been produced from God was by a series of emanations originating in Divine intelligence, not in Divine will. Their proofs of the Divine existence were, for the most part, founded on the principle of causality. The philosophers did not openly oppose the theism of the Koran, but they ignored it or set it aside, and represented it as only a useful popular faith, not a response to the demands of cultured reason. The " theologians," on the other hand, took their stand upon the Koran, sought to defend and develop into doctrine its representations of God, and to show the inconclusiveness and inconsistencies of the teaching of the philosophers regarding God. Even those of them, however, who exalted faith and revelation most - the orthodox Motakallemin or Asharites - by no means dispensed with philosophy and reason. It was chiefly on the metaphysical hypothesis of the atomic constitution of matter that they rested their proofs of the Divine existence. It was by subtle reasonings that they sought to establish the non-eternity of matter and the unity and immateriality of God. It was on speculative grounds that they contended God had eternally possessed all the attributes ascribed to Him in the Koran. Their predestinationism was as logically elaborated as that of the Augustinian scholastics. There flourished for a short period a school of liberal Mohammedan theologians, the Motazilites, who, while accepting the two fundamental doctrines of Islam - the unity of God and the divine mission of Mohammed, - refused to regard the Koran as an absolute religious authority, and sought to transform Mohammedanism into a reasonable and ethical monotheism. They insisted on the rightful conformity of faith to reason, on human freedom, and on the righteousness as well as the unity of God. They endeavoured, in fact, to substitute for a God whose essence was absolute or arbitrary will a God whose essence was justice. This meant, however, not to develop or even reform, but to subvert and displace the Mohammedan idea of God, and the wonder is, not that they failed in so arduous a task, but that they had the courage to undertake it. Mohammedan mysticism (Sufism) was a reaction, chiefly of the Persian mind, against the narrowness and harshness of the monotheism of the Arabian prophet. Unlike philosophy, it was not a mere exotic, but an indigenous growth within the Mohammedan area, and hence orthodoxy has never been able to eradicate it. It has been the chief support of spiritual feeling and the chief source of poetry in Mohammedan lands. It still flourishes, has branches innumerable, and through its poets has shed seed widely even over Christendom. The mystics refuse to think of God as an arbitrary unlimited Will, separate and apart from everything ; as one who reveals Himself clearly only through the words of a prophet ; as a being before whom man is mere dust and ashes, and who demands no higher service than fear, unquestioning faith, and outward obedience. In their view God is immanent in all things, expresses Himself through all things, and is the essence of every human soul. There is not only no God but God, but no being, life, or spirit except the being, life, and spirit of God ; and every man may be God's prophet, and more even than His prophet. For a man to know God is to see that God is immanent in himself, and that he is one with God, the universal life which breathes through all things. Such knowledge or vision must glorify all nature, and must dilate and rejoice the heart of him who possesses it. Joy and ecstacy must characterize the worship of the Sufi. A religious scepticism based on philosophical scepticism - disbelief in the existence of God grounded on disbelief in any truth not guaranteed by sense or mathematical demonstration - was not unknown among the Saracens, although no work in defence of it has come down to us, and perhaps none may have been written.
above all, the nature and essence of man's spirit, must bear witness to it. At least one good result followed. Those who exercised their minds on the doctrine of the Trinity were necessarily led in some measure to form another idea of God than that of either an indeterminate unity or a confused synthesis of attributes, - to think of Him, with some clearness and steadiness, in an organic and harmonious manner, as absolute being, absolute life, absolute spirit, absolute intelligence, absolute love. Such thought as this distinctly appeared in Anselm, the St Victors, Aquinas, Bonaventura, Dante, &c. Me omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience of God, and, generally, what are called His metaphysical and intellectual attributes, were discussed with excessive elaborateness and subtlety, while His moral attributes were left in the background, or considered without sufficient earnestness or insight. The problems regarding the relationship of the Divine attributes to human agency, and, in particular, as to the compatibility of Divine prescience and predestination with human freedom and responsibility, were even too laboriously and minutely debated between the mediaeval Augustinians and their opponents. What the disputants on both sides lacked was intellectual humility. They strode along " dim and perilous ways " as if they were in plain and safe paths, or as if their own faculties were superhuman. As to the general relation of God to the universe, few, if any, of the schoolmen can be charged with deism. While assigning to God a being and life transcending the universe, they also affirmed that He was everywhere in the universe, everywhere wholly present, everywhere essentially and actively present. Pantheism was prevalent all through the Middle Ages, but only two of its representatives, perhaps - Erigena and Eckhart, - showed much speculative capacity.1 Moliam- Mohammedan theism drew chiefly from faith and fanamedan ticism the force which carried it onwards with such rapidtheism. ity in its early career of conquest. At the same time it powerfully stimulated reason, as soon appeared in remarkable intellectual achievements. Of course, reason could not fail to reflect on the contents of the faith by which it had been awakened. The result was the formation of many schools of religious opinion. So far as our subject is concerned, however, all medieval Mohammedan thinkers may be ranked as philosophers, theologians, or mystics. The philosophers derived little of their doctrine from Mohammed. Even in what they taught regarding God they followed mainly Aristotle, and in some measure the Neoplatonists. They maintained the unity of God, but conceived of it in a way unknown to Mohammed, namely, as a unity allowing of the reality of no distinctions, qualities, or attributes in God. Then, although they affirmed the unity of God in the strictest abstract manner, they were not monists but dualists, inasmuch as they denied creation ex nihilo, and asserted the eternity of matter. The mode in which they supposed the multiplicity of finite In Algazel philosophical scepticism was combined with religious dogmatism and mysticism. He subjected the doctrines of the philosophers to a keen and hostile criticism, and maintained that reason was incompetent to reach the knowledge of God, yet cherished an ardent and exalted faith in God, based partly on the Koran and partly on mystic contemplation and devout experience.' Theism Jewish and Mohammedan religious thought were intiSchahrastani's Geschichte der religibsen u. philosophischen &den bei den Arabern, Germ. trans. by Haarbriicker, 1850-51; Wiistenfeld, Die Akademie der Araber u. ihre Lehrer, 1837 ; Schmblders, Essat cur lee Ecoles Philosophiques chez lee Arabes, 1842; Munk, Mélanges de Philosophie Juice et Arabe, 1859; Steiner, Die Mutaziliten oder Freidenker in Islam, 1865; Renan, Averroes et L'Acerrolsrue, 1852, &c. On Eastern mysticism, see Tholuck, Sufismus s. Theosophies Persarum Pantheistica, 1821, and Bliithensammlung aus der morgenlandischen Mystik, 1825; Cowell, "Persian Literature," in Oxford Essays for 1855 ; Palmer, Oriental Mysticism, 1867; Redhouse, The Mesnevi of Jelalu-d-Din, 1881 sq.; Vaughan, in Hours with the Mystics, treats of the Oriental as well as Christian mystics. For Persian mysticism in its latest forms, see De Gobineau, Religions et Philosophie dans l' Asie Centrale, 1866. On Algazel, see Gosche, " Ueber Ghazzttlis Leben u. Werke," in Abhand. (phalli. se. hist.) d. k. Akad. d. FViss. z. Berlin, 1858.
In Christian Europe the human mind took a fresh start Renaisat the epoch of the Renaissance. It revolted against the sauce authorities to which it had long been submissive, and Pe''`'d* exercised private judgment with a confidence uncorrected and unmoderated by experience. It turned with ardour to the free discussion of the greatest theme of thought, and probably at no period of history has there been more individual diversity of opinion on that theme. God and His relation to the universe were treated of from a multitude of points of view. Scepticism, naturalism, and pantheism appeared in various forms ; all ancient systems of thought as to the Supreme Being found advocates ; all modern theories as to the nature of the Divine were in some measure anticipated. Did our limits permit it would not be uninteresting to expound the speculations concerning Deity of several of the writers of the Renaissance, - and especially, perhaps, of these three - Nicolaus of Cusa, Giordano Bruno, and Thomas Campanella. The theosophic mysticism of the period was a preparation for the Reformation.3 The fusion of theology and philosophy was the distinctive feature of mediaeval Christendom ; their separation has been a marked characteristic of modern Christendom. Even when both have been occupied with religious inquiries and thoughts of God they have kept apart ; they have often co-operated, but seldom commingled. Theology has been on the whole cleric, and comparatively conservative ; philosophy has been on the whole laic, and comparatively progressive. But for theology holding fast to what had been handed down as truth regarding God there must have been little continuity or consistency in the development of religious convictions; but for philosophy restlessly seeking ever more light there would have been little growth or increase of knowledge of the Divine.
The Reformers held that there was a knowledge of God The naturally planted in the human mind, and also derivable Reformafrom observation of the constitution and government of ti" the world, but that this knowledge was so marred and corrupted by ignorance and sin as to require to be confirmed and supplemented by the fax clearer and fuller light of the special revelation in• the Scriptures. They were deeply sensible of the evils which had arisen from the over-speculation of the scholastic divines on the nature of God, and were under the 'impression that it would have been well if men had been content to accept the statements of Scripture on the subject with simple and unhesitating faith. Luther wished theology to begin at once with Jesus Christ. Melanchthon said, " There is no reason why we should devote ourselves much to these most lofty subjects, the doctrine of God, of the unity of God, of the Trinity of God"; and in the early editions of his Loci Communes he entered into no discussion of these themes. Zwingli in his De Vera et Falsa Religiose and even Calvin in his Institutio Religionis Christianw delineated the doctrina de Deo only in outline and general features. In the confessions of the churches of the Reformation nothing which the ancient church had oecumenically determined as regards that doctrine was rejected, and nothing new was added thereto. It soon became apparent, however, that the mind would by no means confine its thoughts of God within the limits which the Reformers believed to be alone legitimate and safe. The idea of God is so central in religion that it must affect and be affected by every change of thought on any religious theme. The many and violent controversies within Protestantism all reacted on the doctrine relative to Deity, causing it to be studied with intense energy, but in a manner and spirit very unfavourable, on the whole, to truth and piety. Every new dispute elicited more abstruse conclusions and more subtle definitions. In the disputations of orthodox divines of the Pith and 18th centuries as to the nature, the attributes, the decrees, and the operations of God, we see scholasticism with all its peculiarities reintroduced and often exaggerated. Yet Protestant theism was in various respects an advance on that of the doctors of mediaeval scholasticism. The protest of the Reformers against the faults of the scholastic treatment regarding God did not lose its pertinency or value because their own followers fell into these very faults. If the subsequent history plainly showed that the doctrine could not have been so fixedly and exhaustively determined by the ancient church as the Reformers supposed, it also showed that the scholastic treatment of the doctrine had been justly condemned by them, and that speculation regarding God when not rooted in spiritual experience must necessarily be unfruitful. The scholasticism of Protestantism was in essential contradiction to the genius and aim of Protestantism. Then, in the Protestant doctrine of God more prominence was given than bad previously been done to His manifestation in redemption, to the relation of His character towards sin, aud, in particular, to the attribute of justice. The strong emphasis laid on the righteousness of God marked a distinct ethical advance. At the same time the idea of God in the older Protestant theology was far from ethically complete. His fatherhood was strangely ignored or most defectively apprehended. Absolute sovereignty had assigned to it the place which should have been given to holy love, and was often conceived of in an unethical manner. Further, whereas among mediaeval theologians it was the rule and not the exception, among Protestant divines it was the rare exception and not the rule, to affirm God to be unknowable. They asserted merely His incomprehensibility and man's limited knowledge of His perfections. They did not in general, however, abandon, at least explicitly, the premiss from which mediaeval theologians inferred the Divine incognoscibility, namely, that the absolute simplicity of the Divine essence was incompatible with the existence of distinctions therein.I Anti- Difference of opinion as to the relation of reason to trini tari- Scripture was in the'Protestant world one of the chief Gass, Gesch. d. prot. Dogm.,i.; Heppe, Dogm. d. deutsch. ProlestIntismusirn16tenJahrh., i.; Frank, Gesch. d. prof. Theol., i.; Dorner, Hist. of Prot. Th., ii. ; and Muller, De Godsleer van Calviin, 1883.
a dangerous beast if it dare to question Scripture ; and Calvin, although he did not speak so harshly, demanded the unqualified submission of reason to the authority of Scripture. Antitrinitarianism has maintained its ground throughout the Protestant area, has assumed a variety of forms, and has exerted a powerful influence. It has been unable, it is often said, to do more than revive the doctrines which distracted the ancient church and were condemned by it as heresies. And this must be so far admitted. The doctrine of the Trinity comprehends only a few propositions, and every departure from it must involve a rejection of one or more of these, and must, consequently, belong to some one of a very few possible types or classes of belief. But essentially the statement is superficial and unjust. For the ways in which, and the grounds on which, both the affirmations of which the doctrine consists and the negations of these have been maintained have not been the same. Alike the defences and the attacks have in the later era implied a deeper consciousness of the nature of the problems in dispute than those of earlier times. As of history in general, so of the history of the doctrine of God, it holds good that no present has been the mere reproduction of any past. The rationalistic process Deism. was carried farther in English deism and its Continental developments. Deism sought to found religion on reason alone. It represents " nature " as the sole and sufficient revelation of God. There is no warrant for the view that the deists held nature to be independent of God, self-conservative and self-operative,--or, in other words, God to be withdrawn from nature, merely looking on and "seeing it go." They believed that God acted through natural laws, and that it was doubtful if He ever acted otherwise than through these. Whatever was taught about God in Christianity and other positive religions beyond what reason could infer from nature ought, in their opinion, to be rejected as fiction and superstition. All their zeal was negative, - against "superstition." What was positive in their own doctrine had but a feeble hold on them. God was little more to them than a logical inference from the general constitution of the world. They lacked perception of the presence of God, not only in the Bible, but in all human life and history.2 Modern philosophy, from its rise to the close of the 18th Modern century, showed a double development, the one ideal and Philo- the other empirical, the Cartesian and the Baconian. The sophy. former was the more essentially religious. Descartes endeavoured to found philosophy on an indubitable refutation of absolute scepticism. Such a refutation he believed himself to have effected when he had argued that thought, even in the form of doubt, necessarily implies the existence of him who thinks ; that the implication yields a universal criterion of certainty ; and that the presence of the idea of God in a man's mind, the consciousness of the mind's imperfection, and especially the character of the mind's concept of God as that of the most real being containing every perfection, demonstratively establish that God is and is what He is thought to be. God is and is true ; therefore man has not been made to err, and whatever he clearly and distinctly sees as true must be true. In the opinion of Descartes, the idea of God is inherent in reason, is the seal of all certainty, and the corner-stone of all true philosophy. To the whole Cartesian school theology was the foundation of all science. To Spinoza, who most fully developed some of the distinctive principles of Descartes, it was identical with all science, for to him God was the only substance, and all things else were only His attributes or modes. Besides the pantheism of Spinoza, the occasionalism of Guelinx, Malebranche's vision of things in God, Leibnitz's pre-established harmony and optimism, and Wolf's rationalism were natural, if not necessary, outgrowths from the same root, - Cartesian theism. Perhaps, of all the many services to the cause of theism with which Cartesianism must be credited the greatest was that it constantly gave prominence to the absolute perfection of God.' Baconian or empirical philosophy was content if, by the ways of causality and design, it could rise to an apprehension of a First Cause and Supreme Intelligence. It tended of itself to a phenomenalism, sensationism, associationism, unfavourable to theism. It was, however, counteracted, restrained, and modified by Cartesianism and Platonism, and it naturally allied itself with positive science. The massive defence of theism erected by the Cambridge school of philosophy against atheism, fatalism, and the denial of moral distinctions was avowedly built on a Platonic foundation. The popularity during the 18th century of the design argument, and what was called physico-theology, was largely due to the impression made on the general mind by the brilliant discoveries of the founders of modern astronomy, chemistry, and other physical sciences. Bishop Berkeley showed how an empirical philosophy might be logically evolved into a theistic immaterialism, Hume how it might be logically dissolved into an agnostic nihilism.
In the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries mysticism had cism. ' many representatives, several of whom, as, e.g., Weigel, Ottingen, Swedenborg, and especially Jacob Boehme, are entitled to a considerable place in any detailed history of theism. To the eyes of Boehme God revealed Himself from without and within in the most real and intimate manner. In the powers, antagonisms, and conjunctions of creation he saw the energies, struggles, and victories of the creative Spirit itself ; in the constitution and operations of physical and human nature, the essential constitution and necessary processes of the Divine nature. His thoughts of God were in striking contrast to those of the deists and natural theologians of the 17th and 18th centuries, and strikingly anticipated those of a Schelling, Hegel, and Baader in the 19th century. Could Swedenborg's doctrine of correspondences be verified, our means of insight into the character of God would be largely extended.
Nine- The 19th century is sufficiently far advanced to allow teenth us to see that a new epoch even in the history of theism century. began near its commencement. The revolution in philosophy initiated by Kant has profoundly affected theistic thought. It has introduced that type of agnosticism which is what is most original and distinctive in the antitheism of the present age, and at the same time stimulated reason to undertake bolder inquiries as to the Divine than those which Kant prohibited. The enlarged and deepened views of the universe attained through the discoveries of recent physical science have rendered incredible the idea of a God remote from the world, irresistible the Saisset, in the first part of his Modern Pantheism has somewhat elaborate studies on (1) the theism of Descartes, (2) God in the system of Malebranche, (3) the pantheism of Spinoza, and (4) the theism of Leibnitz. Hnber (1854) and Elvenich (1865) have written special treatises on the Cartesian proofs of the Divine existence. Among the most thorough studies of Spinoza are those of Camera; Pollock, and Martineau. Herder, Voigtlander, and others have maintained that he was a theist, not a pantheist. On the Thgodide of Leibnitz there are three excellent papers by Prof. Torrey in the Andover Rev. for October, November, and December 1885. The best general history of philosophy is Kuno Fischer's ; the best history of Cartesianism F. Bouillier's.
telligence. History - which the natural theologians of the and Herder to be generally seen in its true religious light.
requirements which have arisen.
It is now necessary briefly to indicate the present state of thought Present on the chief points and problems of theism, state of As to the origin, then, of our actual idea of God, that, it is seen, thought. can only be the whole religious history of man which precedes it, Origin of and the whole religious nature of man which underlies that history. idea of It is absurd to refer exclusively to any faculty, intuition, or feeling, God.
any revelation or instruction, any person or event, what can be traced in growth and formation through thousands of years, and can be shown by facts and documents to have been influenced by all the chief causes which have made history what it is. The history of the idea of God is the centre of all history, both explained by and explaining it ; and our nineteenth-century idea of God is the result of the entire historico-psychological process which has produced the culture and religion of the 19th century. The idea of God is what it now is because God's whole guidance of man and man's whole search for God, the whole economy and evolution of things and the whole constitution and development of thought and feeling, have been what they have been from the beginning of history to the present time. Anthropology, comparative psycho. logy, the science of language, comparative theology, Biblical theology, the history of philosophy, and the history of Christian doctrine, have all been engaged in attempting to discover the factors and stages of the vast and complex process which has resulted in the accepted idea of God ; and, by their separate and conjunct endeavours, they have succeeded in casting great light on all parts of the process.
As to the absolute historical origin of theism - as to where, when, and how the theistic conception of the Divine first obtained recognition among men - a definitive answer has not yet been reached. But the labour expended on the problem has not been wasted. It has made clearer the nature of the inquiry, rendered apparent the unsatisfactoriness of previous solutions, opened up glimpses of divers ways by which men have been led to belief in the unity of God, and accumulated means and materials for future and probably more successful work.
The question as to the psychological origin of theism cannot be wholly separated from that as to its historical origin. Unless theism can be shown to be the primitive form of religion, it cannot be held to have had an entirely peculiar and distinct psychological origin, but must bo viewed as simply a phase or development of religion. It cannot be said that there is as yet agreement as to the psychological origin, or as to the psychological constitution even, of religion. The hypothesis of a simple impartation of the knowledge of God and spiritual things through primitive revelation, or through instruction and tradition which go back to the first appearance of man on earth, still retains a hold on certain conservative minds, but has received no confirmation from modern science and discovery, and is plainly of its very nature inadequate. A revelation relative to God in words or signs could have no meaning to a mind devoid of thoughts of God ; spiritual instruction is only possible where there are spiritual powers to understand and profit by it ; tradition will carry nothing far to which intelligence is indifferent. There have been many attempts made during the present century to refer the origin of belief in God to some emotional source, some element or state of sensitivity. Thus Strauss has reaffirmed the hypothesis of Epicurus, Lucretius, and Hume, that fear made the gods; Fenerbach has resolved religion into desire, God being conceived to be what man would wish himself to be; religion is that of the entire human nature in a special relationship. Schleiermacher has argued that a feeling of absolute dependence, The best of the later investigations are much more thorough and of pure and complete passiveness, is our evidence for the presence comprehensive than any of earlier date.1 of an infinite energy, an infinite being; Mansel has represented The agnosticism originated by Kant has been one of the distinc- Kantian the feeling of dependence and the conviction of moral obligation as tive and prominent phenomena in the history of religion and theism agnosti. the sources of the religious consciousness; Pfleiderer represents reli- during the 19th century. It sprang out of an earlier agnosticism. cism. gion as a response to the sense of conflict and contradiction between Hume and his predecessors admitted that the conditions of thought man's feelings of dependence and of freedom; Rauwenhoff traces - otherwise, the categories of experience or ideas of reason - were its origin to respect (Aehtung), the root also of moral conduct and in appearance necessary and objectively valid, but in reality only of family life; others have referred it to specific ethical feelings; arbitrary and subjective, their seeming necessity and objectivity and many have represented it to be essentially love. The number being illusory, and consequent on mere repetitions and accidental of these attempts and the diversity of these results are explained associations of sensations and feelings. Kant showed that they by the complexity of religious feeling. In religion all the feelings were not only seemingly but really necessary to thought, and which raise man above the merely animal condition are involved. irresolvable into the particular in experience. He denied, however, Man is not religious by any one feeling or by a few feelings, but that we are entitled to consider them as of more than subjective by the whole constitution of his emotional nature. His heart, applicability, - that what we necessarily think must necessarily be, with all its wealth of feelings, has been made for .God. Hence all or be as we think it. He affirmed all knowledge to be confined the theories referred to have easily been shown to be one-sided, to experience, the phenomenal, the conditioned. It was quite in and to have exaggerated the significance and influence in religion accordance with this view of the limits of knowledge that lie should of particular emotional elements, but hence also they all contain have denied that we can know God, even while he affirmed that more or less important portions of the truth, and have all contri- we cannot but think of God. It was by no means in obvious buted towards a knowledge of the full truth. Man is not only, harmony with it that lie should have affirmed that we must, on however, disposed by all his chief sentiments for religion, but all moral grounds, retain a certain belief in God. Sir W. Hamilton these sentiments, when normally and healthfully developed, tend and Dean Manse] followed Kant in holding that we can have no towards theism. It is only in a theistic form of religion that they knowledge of God in Himself, as knowledge is only of the relative can find true rest and satisfaction. One God can alone be the and phenomenal. They strove to show that the notions of the object of the highest devotional fear, can alone be regarded as unconditioned, the infinite, the absolute, are mere negations of ideally perfect, or as a being on whom the worshipper is absolutely thought, which destroy themselves by their mutual contradictions dependent, can alone be loved with the whole heart and esteemed and by the absurdities which they involve. Yet both of these with undivided reverence, can alone be recognized as the sole author philosophers held that there is a revelation of God in Scripture of the moral law, the alone good. The theories which trace the and conscience, and that we are bound to believe it, not indeed as origin of religion to feeling have the merit of recognizing that teaching us what God really is, but what He wishes us to believe religion is not an affair of mere intellect; that the Divine could concerning Him. Herbert Spencer, adopting Kant's ,theory of not even be known by men if they had not feelings and affections the limits of knowledge, and regarding as decisive Hamilton and as well as intellectual powers; that, if God be love, for example, Mansel's polemic against the philosophies of the Absolute, has He can only be known by love ; that, if He have moral attributes, concluded that the only truth underlying professed revelations, we must have moral feelings in order to be able to recognize them. positive religions, and so-called theological sciences is the existence On the other hand, in so far as those theories represent religion as of an unknowable and unthinkable cause of all things. In the reducible to mere feeling or as independent of intellect, they have view of the Positivist the unknowable itself is a metaphysical the fault of overlooking that all the feelings included in religion fiction. The Kantian doctrine has had a still more extensive presuppose apprehensions and judgments, and are valid only in so influence in Germany than in Britain, and German philosophers far as they have the warrant of intelligence. It is as much an and theologians hare displayed great ingenuity in their endeavours error, however, to account for religion by any one intellectual to combine with it some sort of recognition of God and of religion. principle as by any one emotional element. Religion has no one Fries, De Wette, and others have relegated religion to the sphere special seat, such as "the central point of unity behind conscious- of faith, Schleiermacher and his followers to that of feeling, Ritschl ness," imagined by Schleiermacher ; no "special organ," such as and his school to that of ethical wants, F. A. Lange to that of " conscience " was supposed to be by Schenkel ; and no one special imagination, &c. Their common aim has been to find for piety principle of cognition, such as the law of causality has been repro- towards God a special place which they can fence off from the rest seated to be by several philosophers and theologians. All the of human nature, so as to be able to claim for religion independence ultimate principles of cognition are involved in religion, and all of reason, speculation, and science, a right to existence even lead, if consistently followed far enough, to theism. The whole although necessarily ignorant of the object of its faith, feeling, head as well as the whole heart has been made for religion, and for moral sense, or phantasy.2 the perfect form of religion. Max Muller, in his Hibbert Lectures, The movement indicated has led to no direct conclusion which traces the idea of God to a special faculty of religion - " a subjective has obtained, or is likely to obtain, general assent. It has had, faculty for the apprehension of the infinite," "a mental faculty, however, a very important indirect result. It has shown how which, independent of, nay, in spite of, sense and reason, enables interested in, and dependent on, a true criticism or science of man to apprehend the infinite under different names and under cognition are theism and theology. It has made increasingly varying disguises." This view will not hear, perhaps, a close manifest the immense significance to religion of the problem as to scrutiny. The infinite, as an implicit condition of thought, is not the powers and limits of thought which Kant stated and discussed snore involved in religious than in other thought. We cannot with so much vigour and originality. Hence research into what think anything as finite without implying the infinite. Space the Germans call "die erkenntnisstheoretischcn Grundsatze" - the cannot be thought of except as extensively, nor time except as pro- philosophical bases - of theism has been greatly stimulated and tensively, infinite. As a condition of thought, the infinite is in- advanced by the movement. This is an enormous gain, which volved in religious knowledge only so far as it is involved in all more than compensates for sundry incidental losses. Kant's soluknowledge. On the other hand, as an explicit object of thought, tiou of the problem which he placed in the foreground of philosophy it is not present in the lower forms of religion at all, which exist has not been found to be one in which the mind can rest. From only because the thought of infinity is not associated in the religious his agnosticism down to the very empiricism which it was his aim consciousness with that of Deity, except where reflexion is some- to refute descent is logically inevitable. The agnosticism of piety what highly developed; and, even in the highest stages of religion, has in no form been able to discover a halting place, - a spot on it is only apprehended as one aspect of Deity. Infinity is not God, but merely an attribute of the attributes of God, and not even an 1 Among recent disquisitions as to the psychological origin of the religious exclusively Divine attribute. The hypothesis that the idea of God consciousness and the conception of God may be specified - Pfielderer's in last is gained by intuition or vision is proved to be erroneous by the ed. of his Religionsphilasophie; Biedermann's In last cd. of his Dogmatik H ; W.
ermann's in his Die Religion int Verhaltnias zum Welterkennen undzur Sittlichfact that the idea of God, and the process by which it is reached, keit, 1879 ; Raft:nes in his Das Wesen der chr. Religion, 1881 ; Lipsius's in his are capable of being analysed, and therefore not simple, and like- Philosophie and Religion, 1885; and Rauwenhoff's in his "Ontstaan van den wise by the variety and discordance of the ideas of God which have Godsdienst," Theol. Tijdschr., May 1885.
n Among works in which it is denied that the real nature of God can be been actually formed. The apprehension of God seems to be only known are - Kant's Kr. d. r. V.; Fichte's Kr. alter Offenbarung ; Schlelernmelter's possible through a ?process which involves all that is essential in Reden, Dialektik, and Glaubenslehre; Trendelenburg's Log. Untersuchungen, the human constitution - will, affection, intelligence, conscience, §§ xx.-xxiv.; Hamilton's Lett. an Met., and Discussions ; Manses Bamplon'Lect., reason, - and the ideas which they supply - cause, design, goodness, and Philosophy of the Conditioned; II. Spencer's First Principles; and the writings of Lange, Ititschl, and other Neo-Raniista Among works in which the real cog&c. These are so connected that they may all be embraced noseibility of God is affirmed are - Calcicrwood's Ph. of the Infinite; C. Hodge's in a single act and coalesce in one grand issue. During the last Sy. Th.1.; 111so the Mind, Phil. Series, ac.; IL . Smith's Intr. to thirty years there has been more psychological investigation as to Chs. Th.,, and Foith and Pfhilosophy; Maurice's What RerBelation ? Young's Province of Reason ; and Harris's Phit. Bases of Theism. Sce also L. Robert, Schramm, Die Erkennbarkeit Gottes,1876; and Berthing, Die Erkennbcrrkeit Gotten, ments or principles, and to make manifest that the psychology of 1883.
which to raise theism or any solid religious construction. In no form has it been able to prove its legitimacy, to maintain its self-consistency, or to defend itself successfully against the agnosticism of unbelief. It is, therefore, not surprising that it should have been very generally regarded as dangerous to theism in reality, even when friendly to it in intention. Yet there is much in the theory of cognition on which it proceeds which the theist can utilize. Indeed, no theory of cognition can afford a satisfactory basis to theism which does not largely adopt and assimilate that of Kant. He has conclusively shown that' all our knowledge is a synthesis of contingent impressions and necessary conditions ; that without the latter there can be neither sense, understanding, nor reason; that they constitute intelligence, and aro the light of mind; that they also pervade the whole world of experience and illuminate it; that there is neither thing nor thought in the universe which does not exhibit them in some of their aspects; that apart from them there can be no reality no truth, no science. The agnostic corollaries appended to this theory by Kant and others, instead of being necessary consequences from it, are inconsistent with it. Kant and the agnostics say that we know only the conditioned; but what they prove is that we know also the conditions of thought, and that these conditions are themselves unconditioned, otherwise they would not be necessary. They affirm that we can know only the phenomenal and relative, but what they establish is that it is as impossible to know only the relative and phenomenal as to know only the absolute and noumenal, and that in so far as we know at all we know through ideas which are absolute and noumenal in the only intelligible, and in a very real and important, sense. They maintain, what is very true, if not a truism, that the categories are only valid for experience, and they imply that this is because experience limits and defines the categories, whereas, according to their own theory, it is the categories which condition experience and enter as constituents into all experience, so that to say that the categories are only valid for experiebce means very little, experience merely existing so far as the categories enable us to have it, and being valid so far as the categories are legitimately applied, although not farther, which leaves no more presumption against religious experience than against sensible experience. They have denied the objective validity of the categories or necessary conditions of thought. This denial is the distinctive feature of all modern agnosticism; and the theist who would vindicate the reality of his knowledge of God, the legitimacy of his belief in God, the worth of his religious experience, must refute the reasonings by which it has been supported; show that consciousness testifies against it, the subjectivity of any true category being unthinkable and inconceivable ; and indicate how its admission must subvert not only the foundation of theology but of all other sciences, and resolve them all into castles in the air, or into such stuff as dreams are made of. In the accomplishment of this task as much guidance and aid may be found, perhaps, in the theories of cognition of Ferrier and Rosmini as from those of ally of the Germans; but Hegel and his followers, not a few of the Herbartists, Ulrici, Harms, and many other German thinkers, have contributed to show the falsity of the critical theory at this point. Amended here, it is a theory admirably fitted to be the corner-stone of a philosophical theism.
Philo- More may be attempted to be done in the region of the necessary the foundation alike of existence and of thought, that which it is not only not impossible to know, but which it is impossible not to know, the knowledge of it being implied in all knowledge. Hegel expressed not only his own conviction, but the central and vital thought of the whole anti-agnostic movement which culminated in him when he wrote, "The object of religion is, like that of philosophy, the eternal truth itself in its objective existence : it is God, and nothing but God, and the explanation of God. Philosophy is not a wisdom of the world, but a knowledge of the unworldly ; not a knowledge 'of outward matter, of empirical being and life, but knowledge of that which is eternal, of that which is God and which flows from His nature, as that must manifest and develop itself. Hence philosophy in explaining religion explains itself, and in explaining itself explains religion. Philosophy and religion thus coincide in that they have one and the same object." The adherents of the philosophy of the Absolute must be admitted to have fallen, in their revulsion from agnosticism, into many extravagances of gnosticism ; but a theist who does not sympathize with their main aim, and even accepts most of the results as to which they are agreed, cannot be credited with having much philosophical insight into what a thorough and consistent theism implies. A God who is not the Absolute as they understood the term, not the Unconditioned revealed in all that is conditioned, and the essential content of all knowledge at its highest, cannot be the God either of a profound philosophy or a fully-developed religion. The philosophy of the Absolute was, on the whole, a great advance towards a philosophical theism.' And yet it was largely pantheistic, and tended strongly towards pantheism. This was not surprising. Any philosophy which is in thorough earnest to show that God is the ground of all existence and the condition of all knowledge must find it difficult to retain a firm grasp of the personality and transcendence of the Divine and to set them forth with due prominence. Certainly some of the most influential representatives of the philosophy of the Absolute ignored or misrepresented them. The consequence was, however, that a band of thinkers soon appeared who were animated with the most zealous desire to do justice to these aspects of the Absolute, and to make evident the one-sidedness and inadequacy of every pantheistic conception of the Divine. This was .the common aim of those who gathered around the younger Fichte, and whose literary organ was the Zeitsehrift fur Philosophic. Chalyhdus, K. Ph. Fischer, Sengler, Weiss; Wirth, and Ulrici may be named as among the ablest and most active. The Roman Catholic Gunther and his followers worked in much the same spirit. Lotze has effectively co-operated by his ingenious defence of the thesis that "perfect personality is to be found only in God, while in all finite spirits there exists only a weak imitation of personality ; the finiteness of the finite is not a productive condition of personality, but rather a limiting barrier to its perfect development." This movement also, then, has tended to develop and contributed to enrich the theory of theism. Its special mission has been to prove that theism is wider than pantheism, and can include all the truth in pantheism, while pantheism must necessarily exclude truth. in theism essential to the vitality and vigour both of religion and of morality.2 The philosophy of the Absolute, judged of from a distinctly theistic point of view, was defective on another side. It regarded too exclusively the necessary and formal in thought, trusted almost entirely to its insight into the significance of the categories and its powers of rational deduction. Hence the idea of the Divine which it attained, if vast and comprehensive, was also vague and abstract, shadowy and unimpressive. Correction was needed on this side also, and it came through Schleiermacher and that large company of theologians, among whom Lipsius and Ritschl are at present the most prominent, who have dwelt on the importance of proceeding from immediate personal experience, from the direct testimony of pious feeling, from the practical needs of the moral life, &c. From these theologians may be learned that God is to be known, not through mere intellectual cognition, but through spiritual experience, and that no dicta as to the Divine not verifiable in experience, not efficacious to sustain piety and to promote virtue, to elevate and purify the heart, to invigorate the will, to ennoble the character, to sanctify both individuals and communities, are likely to be true. Experience of the Divine can be the richest and surest experience only if it not merely implies all that is absolute and necessary in consciousness and existence, but is also confirmed and guaranteed by all that is relative and contingent therein.
Theistic What are known as "the proofs" for the Divine existence have "proofs." from the time of Kant to the present been often represented as sophistical or useless. This view is, however, less prevalent than it was. During the last twenty years the proofs have been in much greater repute, and have had far more labour expended on them, than during the previous part of the century. They have, of course, been considerably modified, in conformity with the general growth of thought and knowledge. For instance, they are no longer presented elaborately analysed into series or groups of syllogisms. It is recognized that the fetters which would assuredly arrest the progress of physical and mental science cannot be favourable to that of theology. It is recognized that the validity of the proofs must be entirely dependent on the truthfulness with which they indicate the modes in which God reveals Himself, the facts through which man apprehends the presence and attributes of God, and that, therefore, the more simply they are stated the better. Man knows God somewhat as he knows the minds of his fellow-men - namely, inferentially, - yet through an experience at once so simple and so manifold that all attempts at a syllogistic representation of the process must necessarily do it injustice. The closeness and character of the connexion of the proofs have also come to be more clearly seen. They are perceived to constitute an organic whole of argument, each of which establishes its separate element, and thus contributes to the general result - confirmatory evidence that God is, and complementary evidence as to what God is. The explanation of this doubtless is that the apprehension of God is itself an organic whole, a complex and harmonious process, involving all that is essential in the human mind, yet all the constituents of which are so connected that they may be embraced in a single act and coalesce into one grand issue.
The cos- The cosmological argument concludes from the existence of the mological world as temporal and contingent, conditioned and phenomehal, argu- to the existence of God as its one eternal, unconditioned, selfment. existent cause. it is an argument which has been in no respect discredited by recent research and discussion, which is in substance accepted not only by theists but by pantheists, and which forms the basis even of the philosophy of Herbert Spencer. The principle on which it proceeds - the principle of causality - has only come to be more clearly seen to be ultimate, universal, and necessary. The hypothesis of an infinite series of causes and effects has not had its burden of irrationality in the least diminished. The progress of science has not tended to show that the world itself may be reasonably regarded as eternal and self-existent ; in the view of theists it has only tended to render more probable the doctrine that all physical things must have their origin in a single non-physical cause. The necessity of determining aright the bearings of the new views reached or suggested by science as to the ultimate constitution of matter, the conservation of energy, cosmic evolution, the age and duration of the present physical system, &c., has been the chief factor in the latest developments of the argument a contingentia mundi. The teleological argument, which concludes from the regularities and adjustments, preconfonnities and harmonies, in nature that its first cause must be an intelligence, has been both corrected and extended owing to recent advances of science and especially of biological science. The theory of evolution has not shaken the principle or lessened the force of the argument, while it has widened its scope and opened up vistas of grander design, but it has so changed its mode of presentation that already the Bridgewater Treatises and similar works are to some extent antiquated. Perhaps the most promising of the later applications of the argument is that which rests on the results obtained by a philosophical study of history, and which seeks to show that the goal of the evolution of life, so far as it has yet proceeded, is the perfecting of human nature, and the eternal source of things a power which makes for truth and righteousness. The ethical argument - the proof from conscience and the moral order - held a very subordinate place in the estimation of writers op natural theologynntil Kant rested on it almost the whole weight of theism. It has ever since been prominent, and has been the argument most relied on to produce practical conviction. Much importance is now rarely attached to those forms of the metaphysical argument which are deductions from a particular conception, as, e.g., of a perfect being. Ignorance alone, however, can account for the assertion often met with that the argument is generally abandoned. It has only been transformed. It has passed from a stage in which it was presented in particular ontological forms into one in which it is set forth in a general epistemological form. As at present maintained it is to the effect that God is the idea of ideas, the ultimate in human thought, without whom all thought is confusion and self-contradiction. In this form, by what theologians and religious philosophers possessed of much speculative insight is it not held I' The changes adopted in the methods of theistic proof have all tended in one direction, namely, to remove or correct extreme and exaggerated conceptions of the Divine transcendence and to produce a true appreciation of the Divine immanence, - to set aside deism and to enrich theism with what is good in pantheism. The general movement of religious speculation within the theistic area has been towards mediation between the extremes of pantheism and of deism, towards harmonious combination of the personal self-equality and the universal agency of the Divine. Positive science has powerfully co-operated with speculation in giving support and impulse to this movement. While the modern scientific view of the world does not result in pantheism, it affords it a partial and relative justification, and requires a theism which, while maintaining the personality of God, recognizes God to be in all things and all things to be of God, through God, and to God. It may be said that theism has always thus recognized the Divine immanence. The vague recognition of it, however, which precedes scientific insight and the conquest and absorption of pantheism is not to be identified with the realizing comprehension of it which is their result.2 - As to the further treatment of the idea of God in recent or con- The idea temporary theology, the following may be mentioned as, perhaps, of God the chief distinctive features : - first, the general endeavour to in con-present the idea as a harmonious reflex of the Divine nature and tempo-life, instead of as a mere aggregate of attributes ; secondly, and rary consequently, the greater care shown in the classification and theology. correlation of the attributes, so as to refer them to their appropriate places in the one great organic thought ; and, thirdly, the more truly ethical and spiritual representation given of the Divine character. To realize the nature and import of the first of these features it is only necessary to compare the expositions given of the idea of God in the works of such theologians as Nitzsch, Thomasius, Dorner, Philippi, Kahnis, and even more in those of the representatives of German speculative theism, with such as are to be found in the treatises of Hill, Watson, Wardlaw, and Hodge, which, althoughpublished in the present century, exprees only the views of an earlier age. As to the second point, there has of late been a vast amount of thought expended in endeavouring so to classify and co-ordinate the attributes, and so to refer them to the various moments of the Divine existence and life, as that God may be able to be apprehended both in His unity and completeness, self-identity and spiritual richness, as one whole harmonious and perfect personality. Of the work attempted in this direction our limits will not allow us to treat. In regard to the third feature, any one who will peruse an essay like Weber's Vont. Zorne Gottes, or Ritschl's De Ira Dei, and compares the way in which the Biblical conception of the wrath of God is there presented with the mode of exhibiting it prevalent for so many ages, is likely to be convinced that considerable progress has been made even in recent times in the study of the moral aspects of God's character. That the Divine glory must centre in moral perfection, in holy love, is a thought which is undoubtedly being realized by all theists with ever-increasing clearness and fulness.3 It follows from the above that theistic thought has been moving Advance in a direction which could not fail to suggest to those influenced by of triniit that a rigidly unitarian conception of God must be inadequate, tartan and that the trinitarian conception might be the only one in which theism. reason can rest as self-consistent. So long as the simplicity of the Divine nature was conceived of as an abstract self-identity, intelligence could not venture to attempt to pass from the unity to the trinity of the Godhead, or hope for any glimpse of the possibility of harmoniously combining them. But, this view of the simplicity of the Divine nature having been abandoned, and an idea of God attained which assigns to Him all the distinctions compatible with, and demanded by, completeness and perfection of personality, the doctrine of the Trinity necessarily entered on a new stage of its history. The free movement of thought in this century, far from expelling it from its place in the mind of Christendom, has caused it to strike deeper root and grow with fresh vigour. Never since the Nicene age has theological speculation been so actively occupied with the constitution of the Godhead, and with the trinitarian representation thereof, as from the commencement of the present century. It is, of course, impossible here to describe any of the attempts which, during this period, have been made to show that the absolute Divine self-consciousness implies a trinitarian form of existence, and that intelligently to think the essential Trinity is to think those moments in the Divine existence without which personality and self-consciousness are unthinkable ; or that a worthy conception of Divine love demands a trinitarian mode of life ; or that a world distinct from God presupposes that God as triune is in and for Himself a perfect and infinite world, so that His attributes and activities already fully realized in the trinitarian life can proceed outwards, not of necessity but of absolute freedom ; or that the whole universe is a manifestation of His triune nature, and all finite spiritual life a reflexion of the archetypal life, self-sustained and self-fulfilled therein. All the more thoughtful trinitarian divines of the present endeavour to make it apparent that the doctrine of the Trinity is not one which has been merely imposed upon faith by external authority, but one which satisfies reason, gives expression to the self-evidencing substance of revelation, and explains and supports religious experience. If it be thought that their success has not been great, it has to be remembered that they have been labouring near the commencement of a movement, and so at a stage when all individual efforts can have only a very limited worth. To one general conclusion they all seem to have come, namely, that the idea of God as substance is not the only idea with which we can connect, or in which we may find implied, tri-personality. The category of substance is, in some respects, one very inapplicable to God, as the philosophy of Spinoza has indirectly shown. If the theologians referred to be correct, the doctrine of the Trinity is not specially dependent upon it. In their view God cannot be thought. of consistently as, e.g., Absolute Life, Absolute Intelligence, or Absolute Love, unless He be thought of in a trinitarian manner.
Position While trinitarian theism has thus during the present century of uni- shown abundant vitality and vigour, it cannot be said to have tarian gained any decided victory over unitarian theism. The latter has theism. also within the same period spread more widely and shown more practical activity, more spiritual life, than in any former age. The unitarianism represented by a Martineau is a manifest advance on that which was represented by a Priestley. Theism in its unitarian form is the creed of very many of the most cultured and most religious minds of our time, alike in Europe and America. In this form it has also signally shown its power in contemporary India. Brahmoism is, perhaps, the most remarkable example of a unitarian theism which exhibits all the characteristics of a positive faith and a churchly organization. The unitarian theism of the present age is distinguished by the great variety of its kinds or types. None of these, it must be added, are very definite or stable. Hence unitarian theism is often seen to approximate to, or become absorbed into, agnosticism or pantheism, cosmism or humanitarianism. This may be due, however, less to its own character than to the character of the age.' Man's The mind of man has clearly not yet ceased to be intensely interest interested in thoughts of God. There. are no grounds apparent for in the supposing that it will ever cease to seek after Him or to strive to idea of enlarge its knowledge of His ways. And, if the idea of God be God. what has been suggested in the foregoing pages, the search for God cannot fail to meet with an ever-growing response. If the idea of God be the most comprehensive of ideas, inc usive of all the categories of thought and implicative of their harmonious synthesis and perfect realization, all thought and experience must of its very nature tend to lead onwards to a fuller knowledge of God. For the knowledge of God, on this view, consists in no mere inference reached through a process of theological argumentation, but in an ever-growing apprehension of an ever-advancing self-revelation of God ; and all philosophy, science, experience, and history must necessarily work together to promote it.
Growth All speculative thought, whether professedly metaphysical or of the professedly theological, is conversant with ideas included in the idea in idea of God. It deals with what is necessary in and to thought ; specula- and within that sphere, notwithstanding many aberrations, it has tive made slow but sure progress. The history of philosophical specuthought. lation is not only, like the whole history of man, essentially rational, but it is, in substance, the history of reason itself in its purest form, - not the record of an accidental succession of opinions, but of the progressive apprehension by reason of God's revelation of Himself in its own constitution. "There is much in the history of speculative thought, just as in the outward life of man, that belongs to the accidental and irrational - errors, vagaries, paradoxes, whimsicalities, assuming in all ages the name and the guise of philosophy. But, just as the student of the constitutional history of England can trace, amidst all the complexity and contingency of outward and passing events, through successive times and dynasties, underneath the waywardness of individual passion and the struggle for ascendency of classes and orders, the silent, steady development of that system of ordered freedom which we name the constitution of England, so, looking back on the course which human thought has travelled, we shall be at no loss to discern beneath the surface change of opinions, unaffected by the abnormal displays of individual folly and unreason, the traces of a continuous onward movement of mind."2 And this continuous onward movement is towards the clearer and wider apprehension of the whole system of ultimate truths which is comprehended in the idea of the Absolute Truth. The thoughts of men as to God are necessarily enlarged by increase of insight into the conditions of their own thinking. The disquisitions of merely professional theologians on the nature and attributes of God have done far less to elucidate the idea of God than the philosophical views of great speculative thinkers, and would have done less than they have actually accomplished were it not for the guidance and suggestion found in these views.
The sciences co-operate with speculative philosophy and with Contribnone another in aiding thought to grow in the knowledge of God. tious of The greatness, the power, the wisdom, the goodness, of the God of science ; creation and providence must be increasingly apprehended in the measure that nature and its course, humanity and its history, are apprehended ; and that measure is given us in the stage of development attained by the sciences. "God's glory in the heavens," for example, is in some degree visible to the naked eye and uninstructed intellect, but it becomes more perceptible and more impressive with every discovery of astronomy. Not otherwise is it as regards all the sciences. Each of them has its distinctive and appropriate ' contribution to bring towards the completion of the revelation of God, and cannot withhold it.
But the idea of God is not one which can be rightly apprehended of moral merely through intellect speculatively exercised or operating on experithe findings of science. It requires to be also apprehended through ence ; moral experience and the discipline of life. Neither individuals nor communities can know more of God as a moral being than their moral condition and character permit them to know. The apprehension of God and the sense of moral distinctions and moral obligations condition each other and correspond to each other. History shows us that sincere and pious men may receive as a supernaturally revealed truth the declaration that God is love, and yet hold that His love is very limited, being real only to a favoured class, and that He has foreordained, for His mere good pleasure, millions of the human race to eternal misery. How was such inconsistency possible? Largely because these men, notwithstanding their sincerity and piety, were lacking in that love to man through experience of which alone God's love can be truly apprehended. In like manner, it is not only the science of law which cannot advance more rapidly than the sense of justice, but also theology so far as it treats of the righteousness of God. Thus the knowledge of God is conditioned and influenced by the course of man's moral experience.
The same may be said of the distinctively religious experience. In of re-it also there has been a continuous discovery and a continuous dis- ligious closure of God. It is not long since the ethnic religions were very experigenerally regarded as merely stages of human folly, so many monu- once. ments of aversion to God and of departure from the truth as to God. It was supposed that they were adequately described when they were called " idolatries " and "superstitions." This view rested on a strangely unworthy conception both of human nature and of Divine providence, and is fast passing away. In its place has come the conviction that the history of religion has been essentially a process of search for God on the part oernan, and a process of self-revelation on the part of God to man, resulting in a continuous widening and deepening of human apprehension of the Divine. All, indeed, has not been progress in the history of religion either in the ethnic or Christian period ; much has been the reverse ; but all stages of religion testify that man has been seeking and finding God, and God making Himself known unto man.
But, while knowledge of God may reasonably be expected nn- Coming ceasingly to grow, in all the ways which have been indicated, from struggles more to more, it is not to be supposed that doubt or denial of God's with agexistence must, therefore, speedily disappear. Religious agues- nosticism. ticism cannot fail to remain long prevalent. The very wealth of contents in the idea of God inevitably exposes the idea to the assaults of agnosticism. All kinds of agnosticism merge into agnosticism as to God, from the very fact that all knowledge implies and may contribute to the knowledge of God. The more comprehensive an idea is from the more points can it be assailed, and the idea of God, being comprehensive of all ultimate ideas, may be assailed through them all, as, for example, through the idea of being, or of infinity, or of causality, or of personality, or of rectitude. Then, in another way, the unique fulness of the idea of God explains the prevalence of agnosticism in regard to it. The ideas are not precisely in God what they are in man or nature. God is being as man or nature is not ; for He is independent and necessary being, and in that sense the one true Being. God is not limited by time and space as creatures are ; for, whereas duration and extension merely are predicates of creatures, the corresponding attributes of God are eternity and immensity. God as first cause is a cause in a higher and more real sense than any second cause. So as to personality, intelligence, holiness, love. Just because the idea of God is thus elevated in all respects, there are many minds which fail or refuse to rise up to it, and which because of its very truth reject it as not true at 'all. They will not hear of that Absolute Truth which is simply the idea of God; but that they reject it is their misfortune, not any argument against the truth itself. (R. F.)