Literature and Dogma:
An Essay Towards a Better Apprehension of the Bible
Smith, Elder, and Company
PREFACE to this edition
v- Literature and Dogma was written as a plea for treating popular religion with gentleness and indulgence.
Vi – It insists on the natural truth of Christianity.
Viii – by the sanction of miracles, Christianity can no longer stand.
Ix – at present reformers in religion are far too negative.
X – Jesus is the perfection of an ideal.
Xii – Not only is Christianity necessary, but so is the Church.
PREFACE TO THE ORIGINAL 1873 VERSION
Xiv – He would not present such an argument if he thought it would harm Christianity. But, as so many are lamenting over the spread of skepticism, now is a good time to present this argument.
Xvi – the bible means no more to others than to him. If he doesn’t refer to its all importance, it is only because he takes an uncommonly large view of human perfection, which includes art and science.
Xvii – But to restore it on old grounds is as impossible as returning to the Feudal system. It must now be based on verification.
Xviii – If this is done, the new religion will be a national one.
Xix – And, to do this we must bring in culture – the best that has been known and said in the world and thus with the history of humans spirit. Culture must be admitted and used.
Xx – Religion’s basing itself, now, on its insane licence of affirmation about a future state is due to the poverty of our minds. It is because we cannot trace God in history.
“To understand that the language of the Bible is fluid, passing, and literary, not rigid, fixed, and scientific, is the first step towards a right understanding of the Bible.
Xxi – for this we need “some flexibility of spirit . . . and this is culture.”
The ‘experimental sciences’” lead people to ask for the “ground and authority” for this ‘future expected state.”
Xxii – Astute readers of the bible know which passages to read more carefully. This requires sensitivity. This is hard as we’ve not been trained to regard the bible as literature, in which some passages are more important than others. We should not treat the “Bible as Mohametans treat the Koran, as if it were a talisman all of one piece, and with all its sentences equipollent.”
Xxii – “The very expressions, canon of Scripture, Canonical Books, (xxiii) recalls a time when degrees of value were still felt, and all parts of the Bible did not stand on equal footing.” Some books were allowed in and some were expelled. The Aporypha speaks to this.
Xxiv – Luther and Calvin insisted on a criterion of internal evidence: the witness of the spirit.’
Taunted, however by Rome with their divisions, their want of a fixed authority like the Church, Protestants were driven to make the Bible this fixed authority; and so the bible came to be regarded as a thing of all a piece.”
Xxv – But neither the church nor the Bible is a talisman, to be taken literally.
Xxvi – We need interpretation and only culture can give us this interpretation. As there is no system to sus out the best that has been thought and said, we must make one ourselves. “Still, culture is indispensably necessary, and culture is reading; but reading with a purpose to guide it, and with system. He does a good work who does anything to help this; indeed, it is the one essential service now to be rendered to education. And the plea, that this or that man has no time for culture, will vanish as soon as we desire culture so much that we begin to examine seriously our present use of time.”
Xxvii – “For some of us waste all of it, most of us waste much, but all of us waste some.”
1 – In Greece, reading was universally diffused. The Greeks were distinguished from barbarians in having an idea of culture that comprehended the body and soul in equal measure. He calls the aristocracy barbarians as they only care about looking fine.
2 – The middle class philistines are at least into science. But, this has made their revolt against letters notorious.
3 – And people in the church also seem to be against letters, just now.
4 – The relation of letters to religion is to be the subject of literature and dogma.
It is clear that dogmatists love religion; for else why do they occupy themselves with it so much?
5 – So it must be distressing to them to think that getting to heaven requires exact right understanding when there is so much disagreement.
6 – Letters, and the best that has been thought and said, naturally replace lower stuff, sans quarrel. “We are not beaten from our old opinion by logic, we are not driven off our ground ; - our ground itself changes with us. Far more of our mistakes come from want of fresh knowledge than from want of corrective reasoning; therefore, letters meet a greater want in us than does logic.”
But, people start with ideas, like a perfect triangle and then deduce from it. This is the wrong way.
7 – We need to see how ideas and terms arose. And this is history, not logic.
8 - It is terrible and damaging that we misunderstand St, .Paul’s terms like ‘grace,’ new birth’ and ‘justification’. Which he used in a fluid and passing way, as men use terms in common discourse or in eloquence and poetry.” Not as if referring to a ‘line’ or angle’. “Terms, in short, which with St. Paul are literary terms, theologians have employed as if they were scientific terms.” (italics in original).
But, ultimately, to go upon this tact, we must address the very term ‘God.”
9 – We separate what morality wants and what god wants. Morality is, though, a term of conduct regulated in a certain manner. And, we understand perfection. We get both from experience. And, as such, God is morality and perfection and both are understood from experience.
But usually, we throw the word around without much thought, as a literary term. How they use them and the substratum assumed are both important questions.
10 – Originally, the word ‘God’ is like its kindred Aryan words “theos’ deus and deva’ merely meaning shinning or brilliant. But, it also has come to mean good – ie; Luther said, the best that man knows or can know.”
Some see it as the trinity, he is calling this the scientific view, in that they take it literally, with real details following.
11 – We find ourselves at home, without much logical strain, with religion. “For the object of religion is conduct; and conduct is really, however men may overlay it with philosophical disquisitions, the simplest thing in the world. That is to say, it is the simplest thing in the world as far as understanding is concerned; as regards doing, it is the hardest thing in the world.”
This is the 3/4rs, at the very lowest computation, of human life.
13 – Here he will quote “M. Littre,” to make peace with the Comtists. He says there is the instinct of reproduction and self-preservation. And, e says all other instincts can be derived from these. Yet, all of these are a matter of conduct. It includes every impulse relating to temper and sensuality. And we all know how much that is!
How we deal with these impulses is a matter of conduct. Whether is right or not about our impulses, conduct is controlling them. And we need admonition, now only to form conduct, but that will make us do it.
People do ask themselves if what they’re about to do is good or bad, before they do it.
14 – And, religious folk ask WWJD. So, religion deals with conduct: 3/4ths of life.
The word ‘righteousness’ is the master word of the Old Testament. The New Testament is also about righteousness, but as reached via Jesus Christ.
15 – Religion means a binding to righteousness, or a serious attending to it and dwelling upon it
The antithesis between ethical and religious is false. Ethical means practical, it relates to conduct passing into habit or disposition.
Religion is ethics is heightened, enkindled, lit up by feeling. (16) The true definition then of religion is “morality touched by emotion.”
16 - Some people call all high thought and feeling ‘religion’. Goethe said, “He who has art and science, has also religion.” But, we should use words as the rest of mankind generally use them.
M. Littre traces all our private affections, including the perfection of ourselves by the study of what is beautiful in art, and our social affections up into a system of perfecting ourselves via political science.
When most think of religion, they think of the ¾ of life that is conduct.
17 – Religion is must more poetic than morality.
18 – Herein he contrasts beautiful, powerful ethical assertions from the Bible with factual statements of morality from elsewhere.
It is made emotional by getting it to dwell perpetually in our minds. “The words mind, memory, remain, come, probably, from the same root, from the notion of attending. Posibly even the word man comes from the same; so entirely does the idea of humanity, of intelligence of looking before and after, of raising oneself out of the flux of things, rest upon the idea of steadying oneself, concentrating oneself, making order in the chaos of one’s impressions, by attending to one impression rather than the other.”
19 – “Because by attending to his life, man found it had a scope beyond the ways of the present moment. Suppose it was so; then the first man who, as ‘a being,’ comparatively, ‘of a large discourse, looking before and after,’ controlled the instantaneous, mechanical impulses of the instinct of self preservation, controlled the native, instantaneous, mechanical impulses of the reproductive instinct, had morality revealed to him.”
And the more they attended to the ¼ not to do with conduct, the more they would have distractions to take off their thoughts from moral conclusions all men share and become “religious.”
With only one people, the Jews” did the distractions not happen so much. The Bible is filled with thoughts of righteousness.
20 – No people ever felt, as strongly as the Jews, that conduct is 3/4ths of life.
They made talismen of rules of conduct, bound on their neck and on their heart.
21 – As such they gave attention to the ‘not ourselves’. The ¾ inherited from after instinct.
My commentary: This is profoundly biological! The distraction is our frontal cortex. But, we are fundamentally the instincts to reproduction and survival. The Bible takes us away from culture and reminds us of our biology. As such, the bible is pre-cultural.
MA writes, “In the first place, we did not make ourselves and our nature, or conduct as the object of 3/4s of that nature; we did not provide the happiness should follow conduct, as it undeniably does; that the sense of succeeding, going right, hitting the mark, in conduct should give satisfaction, just as really as the sense of doing well in his work gives pleasure to a poet or painter, or accomplishing what he tries gives pleasure to a man who is learning to ride or shoot; or as satisfying his hunger, also gives pleasure to a man who is hungry. All this wee did not make.”
And, mood and other factors influence our ability to steer our conduct. Health and freedom from pain give energy from conduct. It does not depend on ourselves, but we can understand neuralgia (nerve pain) impairing our spirits, regardless of our wants.
22 – Much in conduct does not belong to us. “and the more we attend to conduct, and the more we value it, the more we shall feel this.”
23 – In order to get aid in conduct, Jews named it ‘the Eternal.” “Long before the oldest word of Bible literature, these ideas must have been at work. We know it by the result, although they have for a long while been but rudimentary.”
24 – By this they meant “The Eternal righteous who loveth righteousness. They had dwelt upon the thought of conduct, and of right and wrong, until the not ourselves, which is in us and all around us, became to them adorable eminently and altogether as a power which makes for righteousness.”
“There is not a particle of metaphysic in their use of this
name, any more than in their conception of the ‘not ourselves’ to which they
attached it. Both came to them not
from abstruse reasoning but from experience, and fro experience in the plain
region of conduct.”
25 – Goethe said, “Man never knows how anthropomorphic he is”
Israel used lots of names for God and his personality. There is grandeur in it. But, metaphysical questions don’t get
26 – So too is it with intense fear of idolatry. Why? It is inward motion and a rule. “The monotheistic rule of Israel is simply seriousness.”
28 – This deity is male. And, Israel, unlike with Venus and indo-European Gods, does not glorify man’s natural bent. Israel and its seriousness keep debauchery at bay in the West. Holy righteousness.
30 – Satan is a later invention. Israel starts with experience. Gratitude for the ‘not ourselves’
31 – This is not scientific language, it is language thrown out at an object of consciousness, not fully grasped, which inspired emotion. We have looked at the emotional nature of the language. But, here is a MA phrase, “for science, God is simply the stream of tendency by which all things seek to fulfill the law of their being.”
32 – There by to follow God’s will means to follow a law of things which is found in conscience, irrespective of our arbitrary wish and fancy, of what we ought to do.
Prayer is an energy of aspiration towards the eternal not ourselves that makes for righteousness, and aspiration towards it and co-operation with it. Nothing therefore can be more efficacious, more right, and more real.
33 – TO feel that one is fulfilling, in any way the law of one’s being, that one is succeeding and hitting the mark, brings, as we know, happiness; happiness in proportionate to the greatness of what we’ve done.
34 – Goethe says “Nothing, after health and virtue can give so much satisfaction as learning and knowing. “ Bishop Wilson said, “Were not for the practical difficulties attending it, virtue would hardly be distinguishable from a kind of sensuality.”
35 – It is the joy to the just to do judgment. V. “it is a good thing to give thanks unto the Eternal; it is a good thing to sing praises unto our God.” The 2nd is more powerful. But, it is just as solid as the first.
36 - Take thought for your permanent, not your momentary well-being became Honor the Eternal, not doing thiine own ways, nor finding thine own please, nor speaking thine own words.” With Israel, religion replaced morality.
37 – He who was controlled by the blind momentary impulses of self-preservation and sexual reproduction had morality revealed to them. And, when they had control over this, they had religion revealed to them.
38 - This is revealed religion, but revealed via experience, as a natural truth that’righteousness tendeth to life.”
All nations recognize the importance of conduct and attribute it to natural obligation. But, they looked at conduct as not something full of happiness and joy, but something one could not do without. But Judah was GLAD at it.
Israel alone said ‘righteousness belongs to happiness.”
40 – There is a sense that if they follow conduct, their enemy will be put to confusion and they will triumph. But how, out of this, did the desire for goodness come?
It was not automatic, that’s why they always repeat, “teach me thy ways’ etc. It was not servile terror, but deep attachment.
41 – They had the strongest impulses to violence and terror, and enjoyed it. But, also a sense of connection between conduct and happiness.
42 – And, if they did not live up to the righteousness and fell, well, do we not prize the ancient work of Greece, though gone? We must still get inspiration from both.
Imagine a man with a sense of poetry not cultivating it via Homer and Shakespeare and imagine a man with a sense of conduct not cultivating it by the help of the Bible.
43 - They were not metaphysical, so lets keep it as they’d have it and call God, the Eternal, “the enduring power, not ourselves, which makes for righteousness.”
And, their feeling can grow on us too.
44 - As for metaphysics, ‘if it is more high than heaven or deeper than hell, what canst we know of it?
Theologians build up a wall and then run their heads against it. This is what comes of too much talent for abstract reasoning.
48 – The more a man walks in the way of righteousness, the more he feels himself not moved by a power of his own.
49 – Over and over the bible says “Righteousness tendeth to life.” But early on the rewards are recompensed on earth.
51 – We see with Abraham, “righteousness shall inherit a blessing, and that ‘in they seeds all nations of the earth shall be blessed.’ But a few hundred years later, after Israel’s fall, “where is thy promise”? We find Job being good but with zero recompense.
52 – He finds “The ungodly prosper in the world”
The book of Eccleesiastes is dire as it is the 4th century prior to Christ and in the worst days under Persian power.
53 - With doubt about rewards, people were righteous mechanically.
54 – Then we see righteousness for its own sake.
55 – Elijah said we needed change of the inner man, repentance.
56 – This was for the actual restoration of Jerusalem, mostly.
57 – Herein we see nothing of the immortality of the
soul, but people had heard of it as it was post Plato.
The idea might have been crushed by falsification, (righteousness leads towards
Note herein that MA is doing a historical version of biblical truths, not a metaphysical one. And, truths need a grounding. And that the spirit of man should entertain hopes beyond what it actually knows and can verify is natural .
Israel wanted to stand before the judgment of the Son of
Man, but this is a fairy tale. It
is Aberglaube, “extra-belief’ beyond what is certain
and verifyiable. It is not bad, aberglaube, it is the poetry of life. But it is not science, even when it imagines itself to
59 - Messianic ideas, were the poetry to the Israelis in the age when JC came.
CHAPTER THREE :
RELIGION NEW GIVEN
60 – Jesus Christ was undoubtedly the very last sort of Messiah that the Jews expected.
61 – Humilty, Obscureness, and depression were attributed to the prophets by someone and we attribute them to Jesus.
62 – He was not the messiah Jews looked for, but we made him one because he fulfilled the promise of bringing everlasting justice. Let’s see how:
1st, The Old Testament is a matter of national
and social conduct, mainly. It
consists in devotion to Israel’s God, and he separation from other
2nd, It consists in doing justice. And the Jews polity was adapted to religion so conceived.
Via the Eternal that Makes for Righteousness, the Jews found revelation that attached emotion to this.
62 – But they found communicating this to the mass of
their country men, very difficult. This is because national and
social duties are peculiarly capable of a mechanical exterior performance, in
which the heart has no share.
You can do a, b, and c, but inside still be bad, callous and disordered. They failed to put emotion to them.
63 - What was wanted was more inwardness, more feeling, by adding mercy and humbleness to judgment. Being a personal religion is what the Jews needed, it is the essence of Christianity. Its there only weakly in the Old Testament.
64 – What was wanted was a fuller description of righteousness. But both do righteousness.
65 – They restored the sanction of happiness to righteousness, made it a personal matter.
66 – Jesus’ way of putting things was his secret to his success. This is seen in his ‘epiekeia’ or sweet reasonableness.
He allowed people to separate between what was only ceremony and what was conduct.
67 – And the hardest rule of conduct came to appear infinitely reasonable and natural.
It gave people the power of returning upon themselves and seeing by a flash the truth and reason of things, without, perhaps, any conscious process of being inculcated.
Two lessons in particular: 1) whoever will come after me , let him renounce himself and take up the cross daily and follow me, he that will save his life shall lose it. 2) Learn of me that I am mild and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest in your soul is the other.
They had to look within and see they had a best and real self, as opposed to their ordinary and apparent one. And, to find his own soul.
His searching question was “How is a man advantaged if he
gain the whole world and forfeit himself?
68 - The Old Testament says Attend to conduct! The New says: attend to the feelings and dispositions which conduct proceeds.
69 – He took, the prophet’s ‘servant of God’ and elevated it as the Messiah ideal.
70 – As they had too much stressed the national, and not personal, his was the Messiah they needed.
71 – The president said, The people must men and the nation must do so and so, and Israel must follow such and such ways. Jesus took the individual and said, “If every one would men one, we should have a new world.”
73 – Being into the national, the Jewish rulers could see no blessings in a revolution that annulled it.
The Puritans are like the Jews of the Old Testament.
74 – What confimed Christ’s religion? Happiness. “I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly.”
75 – Those who have inwardness, mildness, and self-renouncement ‘shall never see death’. Ye shall know by experience whther it be of God.”
76 – Thus was the great doctrine of the Old Testament, “To righteousness belongs happiness” was made true and potent again.
But, it was mixed with Aberglaube, or extra-belief.
77 – So many see the reward in the future, but this lacks ‘scientific value, a certitude arising from proof and experience.”
78 – Rather than a nation, he saved his disciples, he
fixed their thoughts upon himself and upon the ideas of inwardness, mildness,
and self-renouncement, instead of a phantasmagory of
outward grandeur and self-assertion.”
But the whole aberglaube, which had attached itself to Israel’s old creed: the Righteous is an everlasting foundation!” transferred itself to the creed brought by Jesus.
We got the resurrection. Which is aberglaube placed out of reach of all practical test. A
79, and sadly more and more came to be thought of the miraculous and future, not its internal evidence, but prophecy and miracles.
THE PROOF FROM PROPHESY
80 - ‘Aberglaube is the poetry of life.’
Fairy tales are natural and mot blameworthy.
But there is a drawback, when you use a fairy tale as a ground of conduct. When you find out it is a fairy tale you lose faith.
81 – This is the evidence of using miracles and predictions to bolster Christianity.
For us, religion is the solidest of realities and Christianity the greatest stroke ever yet made for human perfection. And it long aided in conduct support.
82 – We get prophesy from bad readings of the Old Testament. We miss the point of righteousness.
84 - But, it is prophecy that comes from error and mistranslation. When we find out it undercuts us.
85 – We come to see prophecy as a cheat and an imposture. And, the Enlightenment zeitgeist’s spread will increase this sentiment.
THE PROOF FROM MIRACLES
87 – One writer said if the British Isles had no religion at all it would not enter into his mind to introduce it via the Bible.
Another calls it a defacer of moral treasures.
This threatens to push Bible-religion from our affections.
90 – Israel did not found its religion on metaphysics. But the God of the bible does not start from metaphysics, from cause, existence, identity or the like.
92 – But morals exist ; and man never knows, again, how anthropomorphic he is. God is our morals.
After some time, however, God seemed to be on the side of the big battalions, regardless of morals.
93 – Again, a resulting Aberglaube
grew around God.
What is the meaning of Jesus calling himself the Messiah? Is it scientific or literary? Popular religion takes this in a scientific sense.
94 – And Bishops’ holding to this is causing people to leave Christianity. But, to restore the Bible’s use, we must show that the Bible language is not scientific, but the language of common people or of poetry.
95 - He did this for the Old Testament and now he’ll do it for the New.
96 – It is almost impossible to exaggerate the proness of the human mind to take miracles as evidence and to seek for miracles as evidence. Such belief is more powerful than the belief in prophecy. “To pick miracles to pieces is an odious and repulsive task; it is also unprofitable.”
But the Zeit-Geist is doing it.
98 – The miracles are recorded in documents of an eminently historical mode of birth and publication.
100 – One of the very best helps to prepare the way for the valuing of the Bible and believing in Jesus Christ is to convince oneself of the liability to mistake in Bible writers.
101 – They we can throw ourselves on the Bible critically, looking for the pearls of great price it holds.
103 – They not only commit errors in fact, but in argument.
104 – Paul misreads the Old Testament.
106 – But the Bible writers had good faith.
Medical science has never gauged, - never, perhaps, enough set itself to gauge, - the intimate connection between moral fault and disease.
107 – So Jesus’ moral revitalizations could cure.
108 - Is this non-natural or supernatural?
109 – And the looser things get after Jesus’ death, the “more does the very air and aspect of things seem to tell us we are in wonderland.” Jesus is not known by Mary Magdalene after his death. She things it may be her gardener appearing in another form. He is in another form to two disciples. In this we see a legend growing before our eyes.
THE NEW TESTAMENT RECORD
111 – The more we critically read interpret the bible, the more we can see Jesus independent of the mistakes they made. Here we have plain proof that he was a great spirit. The Greater he was, the more likely were his disciples to misunderstand him. The depth of their misunderstanding is a testament to his superiority.
Jesus himself, remember, is not a New Testament writer.
112 – It is not Jesus himself who relates his own miracles to us. He said to do do Thaumaturgy; be a magician or saint who works miracles.
It was of their zeit- geist to import such miracles to great men.
113 – The New Testament bends towards its audience’s expectations.
114 – In short, he seems to be as much over the head of his crowd then as he is over the mass of Christians today. And his followers had the moral weaknesses of their time too.
115 – Jesus told them, “Except ye see signs and wonders; he will not believe.
Jesus groaned, why doth this generation ask for a sign. For his objection to miracles to have cut into the text, they must have been profound. For them to note it a few times, he must have repeated it many times.
116 – He said, the kingdom of God is within you. This idea is foreign to the disciples’ thought.
117 - They are the servants of the scripture letter and he is their master.
118 – He says “Everyone who learneth and from the Father cometh unto me.” This is an appeal to inwardness. He told his disciples, “thou hast the words of eternal life” Jesus insists on inner evidence, no matter how much they relied on miracles.
120 – TO extract him from the texts is the highest form of criticism.
121 – The doctrine of Christ is simple. And, what is not simple is not the
But the criticism is difficult: “It calls into play the highest requisites for the study of letters; great and wide acquaintance with the history of the human mind, knowledge of the manner in which men have thought, of their way of using words and of what they mean by them, delicacy of perception and quick tact, and besides all these, a favorourable moment and the ‘Zeit-Geist.”
122 – “Now, we all know what the literary criticism of the mass of mankind is. To be worth anything, literary and scientific criticism require, both of them, the finest heads and the most sure tact.”
Herein he starts repeating “letters and science” as a mantra.
123 – It is as if we were trying to get a hidden saving doctrine from Hamlet or Newton’s principia. And, second rate critics are all who attempt it.
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS TO HIMSELF
124 - What Jesus did attest was a restoration of intuition.
He found Israel all astray with talk of God, law, the kingdom and everlasting life.
Israel had then as little peace as it had joy. As they had said, “Great peace have they who love thy law.”
126 – To restore intuition he brought a method and a secret: these are seen in his words ‘repentance’ and ‘peace’.
He said, Leaving the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men.” He also said, “The things that come from within a man’s heart , they it is which defile him.”
127 – Conduct is 3/4s of life.
“Philosophers are for referring all conduct to one or other of man’s two elementary instincts – the instinct of self-preservation and the reproductive instinct. It is the suggestions of one or other of these instincts, philosophers say, which call forth all cases in which there is scope for exercising morality, or conduct. And this does, we saw, cover the facts well enough. For we can run up nearly all faults of conduct into two classes, - faults of temper and faults of sensuality.”
Temper is survival and sensuality, reproduction.
Jesus not only says that things from within (instincts) defile him, he lists them:
“Evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, stealing, greed’s, visciousnesses, fraud, dissoluteness, envy, evil-speaking, pride, folly.” (Mark, vii, 21 – 22) These fall into two groups, one, of faults of self-assertion, graspingness and violence, all of which may be called faults of temper, and the other of faults of sensuality. And the two groups, between them, do for practical purposes cover all the range of faults proceeding from these two sources, and therefore, all the range of conduct.”
128 – ‘But Jesus made this not just about behavior, but the attitude towards it. And, herein we get “He that will save his own life will lose it.” This is what St. Paul called the ‘necroris’ they ‘dying’ as Jesus did.
This represents a “method of conscience” in all the four Gospels.
129 – This dying is his secret and his method was to
send the disciple’s eye inward.
And, to note that he had “two selves pulling him different ways.“
The mind of the ‘flesh’ and the ‘spiritual’ man.
But, Jesus changed this from a negative realization to one that was “positive and attractive, lighted it up, made religion, by the idea of two lives. One of them ‘life’ properly so called, full of light, endurance, felicity, in connection with the higher permanent self; and the other of them (130) life improperly so called, in connexion with the lower and transient self.”
We must renounce “wishes of the flesh and of the current
thoughts” to get conformity to conscience.
131 – Thus we get ‘A life – giving change of the inner man, - the promise: peace though Jesus Christ!” Peace through this secret of his.
And, to resonate this had to be true, as we learn from “our
scientific friends, who have a systematic philosophy and a nomenclature to
match, and who talk of Egoism and Altruism, would call, perhaps,
“That an opposition there is, in all matter of what we call conduct, between a man’s first impulses and what he ultimately finds to be the real law of his being.”
(This might be the limbic versus the neo-cortex)
He finds this in ‘that great naturalist, Aristotle. Who
132 “there is a ruler and a ruled; throughout nature this is so . . . The living being is composed of soul and body, whereof the one is naturally ruler and the other ruled.” And people are grievous to themselves and others if they let the body rule the soul.
All this we learn from experience. And many western sources attest to this.
133 – “Jesus boldly called the suppression of our first impulses and current thoughts: life, real life, eternal life.”
134 – He made it attractive by saying it led to peace, joy, life. Now, even Aristotle does not “begin with a complete system of psycho-physiology,” and teach us how to conquer it. Aristotle just says study the best men.
135 – Like Aristotle, he inevitably strays from
theosophy towards experiences.
That’s how we know that Jesus could never have written the intro to the
Those who study ‘psycho-physiology’ are finding more, but it is as a matter of science, not conduct. “And, as the discipline of conduct is three – fourths of life, for our aesthetic and intellectual disciplines, real as these are, there is but one – fourth of life left; and if we let art and science divide this one – fourth fairly between them, they will have just one – eighth of life each.”
136 – Jesus exhibited nothing for the benefit of this one-eighth of us; this is what distinguishes him from al moralists and philosophers, and even from the greatest of his own disciples.”
Even love one another, “Can be drawn out as a truth of psycho-physiology.”
137 – When he says, he who drinketh of this shall never thirst again, he is not referring to water scientifically.
138 - The sermon on the mount is but an application of the secret and method of Jesus.
Additionally, to self-renouncement, mildness and sweetness. This is the death of temper. It is the medium though which the method and secret were exhibited.
139 – It is a total impression of ‘epieikeia’ or ‘sweet reasonableness.’ Grace and truth are aimed at these.
140 – Only by feeding on Jesus, could people learn to use his method and secret rightly.
FAITH IN CHRIST
142 – The Jews look for their messiah in out wardness.
143 – Jesus said, the kingdom of God is within you.
144 – The special value of the Fourth Gospel is that it doubles down on themes but also affirms his ‘sent from God’ claim, he connects it to Jew’s expectations for a Messiah. But, he does not give a scientific definition of God. He took it as Jews did and amended it.
145 – This gospel is more metaphysical than Jesus himself was. But, he calls himself ‘the son of man” he says, “god has sent me.” But, he does not positively say, “I am the Christ.”
They ask to be told plainly, but he doesn’t.
143 – He confounds theosophy, saying “I and my father are one!” in one space and “My Father is greater than I” in another.
This is as to say, “Your notions of life and death are all false, you cannot discuss theology with me; follow me!
146 – He asks that we “Believe that the Father has sent me” “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I have invented it.” John. Christ is after an attachment as a technique.
147 – This creates gratitude and awe that fills religion with emotion. Thereby, he sought to transform the immense materializing Aberglaube, into which the religion of Israel had fallen, and to spiritualize it at all points.
148 – as he said, “Yet a little while is the light with you, walk while ye have the light, lest the darkness overtake you unawares.”
As time went on, Christianity spread wider and wider among the multitudes, and with less and less of control from the personal influence of Jesus, Christianity developed more and more its side of miracle and legend.
150 – The fault lays with the Aryan genius for metaphysics, as seen in the Apostles’ Creed. And, the Nicene creed is the learned science of Christianity, as the Apostles creed is the popular science.
151 – Thus we go towards odd stuff like battles over the Trinity.
Compare this with the Old Testament,” God! Let they loving spirit lead me forth into the land of righteousness.” (PS).
152 – “That is Israel’s way of praying! That is how a poor ill – endowed Semite, belonging to the occipital races, unhelped by the Aryan genius and ignorant that religion is a metaphysical conception, talks religion!” (sarcasm).
But, finally, the Semites went back and the Aryans took over and a metaphysical conception prevailed. By the Nicene creed we see “learned science with a strong dash of violent and vindictive temper.”
153 – It is very improbable that Jesus charged his apostles to “baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost”. It is too systemic and it is “what people are fond of calling an anachronism.”
154 - Jesus’ attention was focused on individuals.
155 – As were the geography, history, physiology, cosmology of men who developed the dogma, so was their capacity for scientific criticism.” The metaphysics are on par with their natural philosophy.
157 – That is not to laugh at the whole mediaeval edifice, but the dogmatic theocracy has a patristic and medieaval source.
158 – The warring over whether or not Jesus had his clothes on when he ascended is silly and monstrous.
159 – The essence of Scripture is a simple matter: “To him that ordereth his conversation right shall be shown the salvation of God.”
160 – Minister ordination got tied to dogma. Conscience was out. Jesus was into those who receive the Kingdom of God as a little child.
161 – Thus we got Righteousness supported on ecclesiastic dogma, rather than the reverse.
162 – Protestantism was a noble attempt at reform. It had his method of inwardness and sincerity. But, the chief word with Protestantism is the method: repentance, conversion; and the Catholics do the secret,; peace, joy.
163 – Protestantism is accompanied by prosperity. And, Catholicism has the most happiness.
Puritanism is full of temper and conduct.
Both miss Jesus’ sweet reasonableness.
164 – Luther went towards individual conscience. But, he went for justification by faith and so became reliant on miracles.
165 – And so, in a sense, he doesn’t need the gospels.
166 – But, Luther and Calvin interpret the Bible wrongly.
167 – As for Catholics, Jesus’ mission was very anti-ecclessiastic. It was the consecration of absolute individualism, pure inwardness, pure individual responsibility.
We need to get away from Paul’s Miracle obsession.
170 – It is a fairy tale, but not a degrading superstition, as Protestants accuse Catholics of leaning on.
171 – But it is natural and beautiful to imagine miracles repeated every day.
172 – The over-story of Protestants is great too.
173 – But sooner or later comes the question, Is it sure? Can
it be verified? These are the
objections to Protestant and Catholicism, not that it is degrading. And, this questioning is
174 – But the story is beautiful as it has put people in touch with Christ.
OUR ‘MASSES’ AND THE BIBLE
175 – The Masses questions will trickle down from the most strenuous, intelligent and alive, among them. Their losing the Bible is ‘the special moral feature of our times.”
In the Renaissance, many on top lost faith, but the masses held firm.
176 – Now it is the reverse.
Some think if they study Herbert Spencer that will be enough for us, collectively, morally. But, the Bible is the great inspirer. To leave it is a very unsettled condition.
177 – The Unitarians are the great mixers of partial and local rationalizing of religion.
178 – But they are intellectually shallow. And, they throw out too much.
179 – Butler seeks to show there are just as many holes in the system of nature as the system of revelation.
180 – And it is interesting to wonder if the Catholic Church might be the way forward. But we have too much metaphysics, as in ‘the ‘Supreme Personal First Cause.”
Is a doctrine of the Atonement worthy of this moral and intelligent Ruler? And, Butlers, comparing holes does not suffice.
181 – The Jews did not believe because they found a little of it all true. They took it in rapture because they found the evidence for it irresistible. It was their guide from youth.
182 – But the Jews spoke of the Eternal thus because they had ‘plain experimental proof of him.” He was the very real ower not ourselves that makes for righteousness.
183 – And, this was seen in God’s being so anthropomorphic. Abraham sees G-d’s hind parts! The Jews avoid scrutinizing the God concept too much. They’re not metaphysical.
184 – The Jews, when asked how to verify, acted as if asked how they know fire burns. By experience!
185 – Believe and you will find the benefit of it. This is the first experience.
Again, if you want to know arts, go to the Greeks. If you want to know science, you go to the Aryan genius. You go to the Bible and Israel for righteousness.
It has incomparably more moral force than Spencer, Bentham, Horace Greeley or Franklin. Check it!
186 – The Bible is the ‘best we know’. This is not satisfactory. So we go to a magnified and non-natural man.
188 – We turn to history for grounding. Unlike other Semites, Hebrews did not put a feminine divinity alongside their masculine divinity. Why? While those around them saw many things, Hebrews saw one thing, righteous conduct. And the more we look for God’s essence in the Bible, the more we see this.
189 – Thus God has been a refuge from one generation to another. For in all the history of man we can verify it. Righteousness has been salvation; and to verify the God of Israel in man’s long history is the most animating of pure delights. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Eternal! Is a text, indeed, of which the world offers to us the most inexhaustible and the most marvelous illustration.”
190 – That the Bible itself exists shows its staying power, argue with it or not. The Bible itself is the power not ourselves that makes for righteousness. And, that Jesus is the offspring of this Power is verifiable from experience too.
191 – We can say confidently, “Attempt to reach righteousness by any way except that of Jesus and you’ll find your mistake! This is a thing that can prove itself, if it is so; and it will prove itself, because it is so.”
Thus we know neglect of the bible is punished as surely as putting your hand in fire.
This is a firm ground for the Bible. The only question is ‘is it the right construction to put the Bible on?”
192 – Now the Bible does not tell us the answer to this question. We must do so by reason and experience. But, if we peruse Israel’s use of God, righteousness phraseology matches very well.
193 – MA calls Newman an “exquisite and delicate genius”.
Homer’s poetry was the Bible of the Greeks.
194 – Jesus might have been into Aberglaube. But absolute demonstration is impossible. We must go with what experience confirms.
THE TRUE GREATNESS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
195 – Some come to miracles because they find the real world insipid. They pay for it with a disconnect.
196 – As we back off from miracles, we may see the church exert more and more authority. But the Bible is so powerful that even those who are not into it, appreciate its power .
197 – The Bible will return. Why? Because men cannot do without it. It is like giving up sleep. Sooner or later you return.
198 – We must cut the Bible some slack, even though, on miracles.
Wise men know that non-Christian religions are not just monsters. But, only Christianity has the righteousness, method and secret of Jesus.
Mahometanism has righteousness, but lacks the secret and method. There is knowledge, but hardly any sense at all.
199 – Buddhism has insufficient righteousness. It has the metaphysical bent Aryans love, but that’s not enough. It has some righteousness, and the secret. But, not enough method.
But, we owe no allegiance to Christian dogmatic pseudo-science.
200 – The Trinity is like gravel or sand in the mouth. And the orthodox cannot be placated.
202 – The metaphysicians still make him like man, but a man puzzled. MA’s formula is more straightforward and grounded.
203 – God’s proof via history, in human affairs, has more grandeur than prophecy and miracles.
And, yes, Israel is not yet sovereign in it’s land. But, the world’s career is still gong forward.
204 – Look and you’ll see one strand runs through the fate of nations: conduct. Without it, down they fall, one after another: Assyria, Babylon, Greece, Rome.
205 – Even Judea for a lack of righteousness. Israel brought us this truth. Nations that do not serve righteousness shall perish.
206 – Greece gave us art and science. But, it crashed for want of righteousness, which is more important. Art and science are only ¼ of life.
And Greece perished due to over-fidelity to its ideals; Israel, under-fidelity.
207 – Let us return to nature is a horrible slogan. “Let us return to art and science, which are a part of nature, yes. Let us return to a proper conception of righteousness, to a true use of the method and secret of Jesus, which have all been denaturalized, yes.” But, giving full swing to our inclinations, no.
The back to nature program means that conduct is not 3/4ths of life and that the secret of Jesus has no use.
208 - And the renaissance died of a collision with homely Righteousness, in the Catholic and Puritan reactions.
France’s sensual man model has an attraction for all of us. The ‘wishes of the flesh and of the current thoughts” But we develop him under checks and doubts, unsystematically and often grossly. Frances, on the other hand develops him confidently and harmoniously.
209 - And this has led the French to their rights of man. But, they take the ‘wishes of the flesh and of the current thoughts’ for man’s rights. And, she thinks everyone can get them equally.
210 – But these lead to disaster. The French model cannot stand. Because people become servants of their senses.
So the whole history of the world is in truth one continual establishing of the Old Testament revelation.
211 – And more proof comes from no other nation being as possessed with righteousness as Israel. They went from common prudence: honestly is the best policy; to morality; To conduct belongs happiness to Righteousness is salvation. All day long they study the law.
THE TRUE GREATNESS OF CHRISTIANITY
213 – The Jews did not reject the Trinity or anything speculative , the accepted righteousness. They rejected the method and secret only.
214 – There is a difference between the old testament and the new testament. The old testament’s end is known, but for Christianity the future is as yet almost unknown. We don’t know what it might yet become.
“Few things are more melancholy than to observe Christian apologists taunting the Jews with the failure of Hebraism.”
216 – Jews were happy with some land. We do not know what will satisfy Christians. But, now they expect satisfaction by magic, not righteousness.
217 – And, actually, the prophecy wherein chief nations recognize Zion as the city of righteousness is abundantly achieved.
218 – Much is the same as before. The Pharisees are like the Protestant dissenters of today, who know only law. And, the Sadducees are like the philosophical liberals, like Spencer, who know neither angel or spirit. Even our aristocracy is like the Roman governors of old.
219 – People want the walking dead, but that is nothing compared to what Christianity really has to offer.
220 – The promise is to bring about the kingdom of righteousness.
221 – Revelation says our world is to become the kingdom of Christ. Let’s hope so!
222 – In the Bible we read, “The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee will perish. Is.
223 – People envision heaven as an extension of middle class life.
224 – [Instead we should have a sense of truly being alive. Your posterity is real in that you help send your nation into posterity. ] This is my take. He seems to be speaking of progress generally.
225 – To make a glorious reality, we need the Bible.
227 - To avoid confusion, he has never said that culture was more than ¼ of life. But conduct has a very close relationship to culture.
“He hath set the world in their heart! – That is why art and science, and what we (228) call culture are necessary. They may be only 1/4th of man’s life, but they are there, as well as the 3/4ths that conduct occupies.”
He will explain the connection though it is so obvious.
What if the 1/4th of man’s nature concerned with “science and art” cannot be employed by men. And, even if they ignore the ¼, it is still there! People spin metaphysics into the bible, when it is not there, and so impair conduct by the want of science and culture. Because our theologians really suffer from having too little science, not too much.
229 – They think the bible is scientific! We need to be literate and cultured to understand the Bible. SO, “simple as the Bible and conduct are, still culture seems to be required for them, - required to prevent our mis-handling and sophisticating them. “
“Culture, then, and science and literature are requisite, in the interest of religion itself, even when, taking nothing but conduct into account.
230 – Because there are wants, concerned with art and science, with beauty and exact knowledge, that the righteousness concept of God does not reach.
So, for the ¼, the bible must also be ‘aesthetic and intellective. So God in this displeased by terrible doggerel hymns like “Sing of the God Triune.”
“For the clearer our conceptions in science and art become, the more will they assimilate themselves to the conceptions of duty in conduct, will become practically stringent like rules of conduct, and will invite the same sort of language in dealing with them.” The Aryean genius, as to say, that the love of art and science, and the energy and honesty in the pursuit of art and science, in the best of the Aryan races, do seem to correspond in a remarkable way to the love of conduct, and the (231) energy and honesty in the pursuit of conduct, in the best of the Semitic. To treat science and art with the same kind of seriousness as conduct, does seem, therefore, to be a not impossible thing for the Aryan genius to come to.”
“But for all this, however, man is hardly ripe.” For this to happen, we’d need
to be much stronger in culture and able to apprehend the Bible in ways we can’t
Now our best men use their genius for defending abstruse odd ideas about miracles and the triume.
And so for now we need a history of the human mind, which enables us (the ‘Zeit-Geist’ favoring) to correct, in reading the Bible, some of the mistakes into which men of more metaphysical talents than literary experience have fallen.”
232 – Alas, we’re not as ingenious as our adversaries. But, even when they prove Gods properties, it will be of no advantage to them, they will remain deluded and bemocked by their work until they die.