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before God as an isolated individual, but that by the God, who is on his side, all are willed as in process of becoming partakers in the knowledge, freedom, and blessedness of God, not merely is personal self-consciousness satisfied, but also the larger consciousness, or that of the whole human race. In the contemplation and enjoyment of God, as well as in the loving companionship of God's Church—as the family of the great Father, endued with capacity to know Him as they are known of Him—the spirit keeps a Sabbath as buoyant with life as it is calm and blessed.
Faith, considered as a matter of the heart, is the fundamental
activity of religion, uniting in itself activity and receptivity. Both are manifested in the essential function of faithprayer. But during this temporal life faith is in process
of development, i.e. in a state of progressive increase. 1. On the basis of the 0. T., Christianity has in the word faith, notis, a sacred term for the normal attitude of man in religion. It aptly describes that attitude of the heart to God, through which by divine condescension religion becomes a reality ; for in ziotis, according to its Biblical meaning, living receptiveness and spontaneous action are indissolubly united. No doubt the first element in religion is the experience of God's quickening and determining influence. But the result is no mere passive state. God wills no mere passivity; His action is stimulative of action. Supposing the will to spontaneously follow the drawing to God,' self-determination and determination from without are blended in willingness to be determined by God. And now that it is determined by and filled with God's power, the will has what it longed after; it is raised above the visible and above itself by attachment to the invisible, which is just as easy of demonstration as it is of access.—But no less does notis involve the element of religious knowledge. Often indeed the word faith is used in the sense of opinion, of a formally imperfect, i.e. indefinite, 1 υπακοή πίστεως, Rom. 1. 5.
? Heb. xi. 1.
uncertain knowledge, scarcely amounting to a state of conviction. And as to substantive import, by faith is often meant an incomplete knowledge, confined to generalities or having mere historical details for its matter. But instead of this, religious faith rather implies firm certainty, nay, the supreme certainty of that in which alone everything else finds its demonstration ; for by faith the spirit apprehends the presence of God, and that as the basis of communion between God and man. As to substantive import, therefore, faith implies already an initial or seminal knowledge of a totality, a whole, linked as it is with a present God. There is in it a delight, as in all God's communications, so in the knowledge of God; and whatever of such fundamental knowledge it possesses subjectively, this the thinking faculty can and ought objectively to elaborate and exhibit in the life.”—Finally, to faith personal participation of the heart is essential. But seeing that in this way on the subjective side, through knowledge, through exercise of will and trust, and through personal participation, faith is the link of connection binding the entire man in heart to God, it is out of the question to say that that which constitutes its essence can ever cease. which seems to imply the contrary refers only to the cessation of the form of knowledge distinguishing faith from sight, into which in this respect as into something higher it is raised. The essential point in faith is the attitude of the heart, the soul being recalled from all one-sided exercise of its faculties to a state of equipoise, in order with the whole heart, the whole soul, and the whole strength to be united to God.
2. PRAYER is religion's most distinctive mode of expression, nay, we may say of existence ; for it is the direct visible embodiment of the life actuating the soul. Directly the chords of the soul tremble under the divine touch, the existence of the inner emotion makes itself known inwardly in prayer, outwardly in bearing, tone, and word. Prayer is the soul's vital breath. The soul that no longer prays has ceased to collect itself for life's highest function. What of life is lived without prayer is a burdened existence, dissipated in petty
1 1 John ii. 27, 20: “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things ;” Col. ü. 3.
? $ 46, p. 113. 3 Rom. Χ. 10: καρδία γαρ πιστεύεται.
* 1 Cor. xiii. 12, 13.
temporalities and a multifarious crowd of acts and feelings, without any consciousness of the Whence and Whither worthy
The relation prayer sustains to faith is that it is its direct practical exercise, whether in petition or in thanksgiving and praise. Prayer is faith conversing with God. But as in faith we found two seemingly opposite aspects, so, as one or the other preponderates, the prayer-life has two corresponding functions. As the physical life is sustained in existence by the interchange of the inspiration and expiration of the vital air, the influx and efflux of the blood in the heart, so the spiritual life preserves its existence by the mutual play of believing, asking, or receiving, by which man becomes endued with divine powers of life, and, on the other hand, of adoring worship that surrenders itself in self-sacrifice to God in devotion, or in thanksgiving that finds its blissful repose in God's high praise. But as, further, in the physical. life the process is not. suspended when outbreathing succeeds to inbreathing, but this very act becomes in turn the occasion of the opposite function, so in the spiritual region there is the play of ceaseless transition from asking to having, from having to giving and sacrificing, from giving back to asking and obtaining, and in this interchange of receiving and presenting, of asking and sacrificing, the progress of the creaturely life of religion goes on.
3. But since, finally, the stages of faith differ according to the degree of development of the separate faculties, on whose normal cultivation ($ 46, 5) the strength, perfection, and permanence of religion depend, faith also supplies the impulse to continuous effort in cultivating these separate faculties according to their respective natures. This, of course, can only be done by man exchanging the state in which these functions exist in undivided unity for one of them alone, knowing or doing or feeling. But the spirit need not on this account let itself be thrust out of the domain of religion (p. 113); but even in these separate functions the life of faith and prayer may continue, as it were an accompanying undertone, this being called in Christian phraseology the spirit of prayer. But these separate functions must ever merge again into the state of unity, into religious moments in the strict sense, when man is collected in faith and prayer before God. The two poles of receiving and giving, petition and thanksgiving, form in the normal personality of man the living and yet fixed axis, around which as around a primary point the entire life of the secondary functions revolves.
By no means can sin be primarily regarded as the reason why the life of religion or faith has to pass through a series of stages. Rather, man's ethical destination requires ethical selfdetermination on his part, and to this a law of succession, entrance upon a course of progressive development, is requisite. A spontaneous, innate feeling-implanted in consciousness by God—of absolute dependence is certainly to be postulated as the ground of possibility for religion ; but the will has itself first to will this dependence and the sense of it, and thus by affirming or reproducing to make God's act its own (§ 47). This being done, God is able to impart to the self-surrendering spirit more than the bare knowledge of His absolute causality, namely, the knowledge of His will—just and holy, wise and loving—and therewith of the world's aim, nay, to vouchsafe to it not merely the knowledge but the communication of Himself. This twofold surrender of God to man, and of man to God, is ethical in nature, and postulates therefore progressive development. But just as little as sin is the cause of that law of gradual succession, is this law of gradual succession the cause of sin. To the previous stage the one to be attained subsequently is of course wanting, and so far the former is defective. But considered in itself or absolutely, every stage may be what it ought to be. The idea or ideal of man comprises also his normal development, and therefore the stages of realization as willed of God. It would therefore be nothing else than perverse to discover an evil in this law of gradual succession. It is good, because only by its means is it possible for man in his onward progress to take part in his self-development, and be in God a free, independent personality, in the spirit of Paul Gerhard's saying: "What is slow in coming is held the faster, and what is long delayed tastes all the sweeter.” But the doctrine that the gradual nature of the realization of religion is a good thing is opposed both to the theory of a golden era of the world in the sense that man, as he came from God's hand, was absolutely perfect, his only duty being to preserve what was established (§ 42), and to the error of a Pelagianism, which in the interest of the natural goodness of man renounces the idea that progress in the communion of God with man is necessary to his gradual self-realization. That which is able to impart higher dignity to man, cannot become his without participation on his part. All spiritual blessings as real possessions are only, as the early Greek proverb says, the purchase of toil. On the other hand, one act cannot give actual perfection. Man is infinite in nature by reason of infinite receptiveness, or by reason of receptiveness for the infinite, which is communicated to him according to the degree of maturity he attains in the receptiveness which it is his to cultivate and improve. The animal has its limits which it cannot overstep. Man is endowed with capacity for infinite progress, and this law holds good within the Christian life as well. To the righteousness of faith must be added righteousness of life. Regeneration through faith does not make everything complete forthwith. Even of faith it is said : From faith to faith.
$ 49.-Communion in Religion.
In its origin, growth, and continuance, religion has in itself
an essential relation to communion. The religious community, although one in virtue of its idea, assumes a multiple form under the limits of space and time. Each one of these separate communities, so far as it is not of an evanescent, imperfect kind, points to a single historical founder, the author of the distinctive character stamped on it. But the plurality of religious communities should not interfere with their destination to merge into one community, which, if it is to be all-comprehensive, must start from one founder, who must perforce embody in
himself the absolutely universal principle. Schleiermacher, Der christl. Glaube, I. $ 6, 10, pp. 32 ff., 56 ff. 1. If anywhere, one might suppose, in the province of
"Rom. i. 17 ; Eph. i. 4, ii. 10, iv. 15.