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Christian Theists who desired a refined worship not freshly invented but traditional, and to be free from ceremonies or obligations in any way oppressive. To take this position, however, the Anglican Church would need to dispense its ministers not only from subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, but also from express acceptance of the Creeds, and to content itself with a willingness on their part to perform the services contained in the beautiful Book of Common Prayer. But this does not appear to be the direction in which the Church of England is now moving. The Broad Church,' I am told, is more and more giving way to the High Church,' while, in the most elevated regions of the latter, imitations of Rome are carried to a degree which shocks some Catholics who are really friendly to and sympathetic with the Ritualist clergy, for whom, ethically, they feel a high esteem. But, in spite of the undeniably increased life and vigour of the Church of England, and the apparent certainty that it will continue to increase in vigour for a considerable time, yet I have sufficient faith in the ultimate force of logic to feel confident that the development of sacerdotalism within it, and the assumption of a tone of dogmatism and authority, can only end in one way. The attempt at the same time to dethrone authority at Rome and to enthrone it at Canterbury is an attempt which-unless I am greatly mistaken-pitiless logic inexorably foredooms to failure.

But the object I have at present in view concerns not the Church of England, but the Church of Rome, and especially the complete and entire scientific freedom of its members. This freedom I have, I venture to believe, demonstrated in a most practical manner. That some things I thought necessary to write could not but give pain and offence to most estimable people I only too well knew, and I deeply regretted it. The pain, however, I was convinced would be but of very short duration, while the beneficial effects I was advised would be great and lasting. It is my hope-my conviction—that they will be so, and that such a happy result will ensue from that special manifestation of the Church's essential spirit in which I have been encouraged to co-operate. For my own part, I feel greatly consoled by the course which events have so far taken, and am more impressed now than I have been at any time since I first began to write on the subject with the profound concord and harmony which exists, and I am persuaded will continue to exist, between the authority of Rome and the authority of the human intellect, and with the essential unity which underlies the superficial diversities between the illuminating action of those two lights set before us by God in the intellectual firmament-Catholicity and Reason.



THE October number of this Review contains an article by Mr. Justice Stephen entitled Mr. Mivart's Modern Catholicism.' So far as the article is concerned with endeavouring to bring home to Mr. Mivart the difficulties in which, as a Roman Catholic, he has involved himself, it has probably no great interest for persons who do not own the Roman allegiance, and who, therefore, are not bound to vindicate the Roman position; except so far as it emphasises the fact that there are men, even within the Roman pale, who are prepared to follow the leadings of reason and to accept the results of scientific demonstration, and who, at the same time, are not willing to abandon their position as believers.

But there is much of the article which goes beyond the question of what a Roman Catholic may hold, or what he may do, with reference to reason and to scientific conclusions. There is much that affects believers of all kinds. Some of the blows aimed at Mr. Mivart strike at every person who repeats the Apostles' Creed. Many of the criticisms, as might be expected, have no special bearing upon 'Mr. Mivart's Modern Catholicism,' but assail every school of Christian thought, and affect all Christians alike. The result to myself in reading the article has, in fact, been, that I have almost forgotten Mr. Mivart in consideration of the broad issues raised, and that I have been led to put together some thoughts concerning Christian belief, which I venture to submit as worthy of general attention.

I begin with a general complaint concerning the manner in which Sir James Stephen has treated his subject. He seems to me virtually to have confounded believing with knowing. Thus he writes:

What you call belief I call doubt, if not disbelief. The meaning of doubt, to me, is the state of mind to which I am reduced by what on full consideration appears to me to be conflicting evidence. The meaning of disbelief is the state of mind to which I am reduced by a great preponderance of evidence against a given conclusion. If you use the word 'believe' in a sense which is consistent with doubt or disbelief, I have no more to say.

I certainly could not argue that belief was consistent with disbelief: each of these conditions of mind seems by the very force of

the term to be antagonistic to the other. I would, however, submit not only that belief is consistent with doubt, but that the presence of the element of doubt is almost if not quite necessary, in order to render possible belief properly so called. If demonstration be possible, you may have sure and certain knowledge, but belief is out of place. There was undeniably doubt in the mind of the man who said with tears, Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief!' And belief may have degrees; our Lord speaks of faith as a grain of mustard seed; and the very existence of degrees in faith or belief implies the possible co-existence of doubt; what else but doubt can fill the void space which is left by the insufficiency of faith to occupy the whole mind?

Let me illustrate what seems to me to be the true idea of belief, and exhibit the possibility of co-existent doubt, by reference to the case of an ordinary trial by judge and jury.

The judge at the close of a trial will explain to the jury any point of law which may be involved; and here there is no room for doubt or question: the judge is, so far as the jury and the case before them are concerned, absolutely infallible: what he tells them they do not doubt or merely believe, they know it beyond all doubt. But with regard to the evidence laid before them there is usually room for some amount of reasonable doubt: and the judge helps the jury to weigh the evidence. The witness A said this or that. This evidence was to a certain extent corroborated by B. An attempt had been made to shake the evidence of B by such or such allegations. But then it must be remembered that the witness C had given important evidence which tended to corroborate B; and so on. Every one who has been in a court of justice knows how the whole evidence is sifted and arranged by a skilful judge. No one would do it better than Mr. Justice Stephen. And then the verdict expresses the belief to which the jury have come. Of course there may be cases in which the evidence may be said to amount to demonstration: credible witnesses may have seen the crime committed, or in other ways there may be proof positive: but in most cases there can in the nature of things be no real demonstration, and in such cases there can only be belief: and if only belief, there will be doubt: sometimes a doubt may, according to a maxim upon which the clemency of English courts lays much stress, save a prisoner, when every juryman believes that he is in fact guilty.

Perhaps it would be more correct to say that where there is belief there must be the possibility of doubt, than that there must be doubt itself: the feeling of doubt on the part of any particular mind is, to a great extent, subjective; with the same evidence before them two persons will be very differently affected—one will feel no doubt whatever, the other will experience as many doubts as Lord Eldon there are some who never, even in religious matters, were

conscious of a doubt, there are others who are tortured by a chronic condition of involuntary scepticism. But the possibility of doubt is independent of idiosyncrasies; and where doubt may possibly exist, there, and there only, is to be found a dwelling-place for belief, properly so called.

It is in this way, I suppose, that Tertullian's paradoxical epigram, Credo quia impossibile, is to be understood. By the impossible he cannot well mean that which the word ordinarily implies; he does not mean to outrage common sense by saying that he is prepared to accept as true that which can be demonstrated to be false; but he means (so at least I understand him) that when you reach the region which transcends experience and proof, then you arrive at the higher region of faith: you cannot prove a thing to be true, but you are told, on authority which you cannot put on one side, that it is so; therefore you believe, and that is all that you can do. Faith is the evidence of things not seen,' writes the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 'Believing where we cannot prove,' writes Lord Tennyson.

As the words 'I believe' stand at the head of the Creed of Christendom, and are to every Christian the foundation of his spiritual life, it may be well for a moment to turn to Bishop Pearson and note what he says about them.

That is properly credible (writes Bishop Pearson) which is not apparent of itself, nor certainly to be collected, either antecedently by its cause, or reversely by its effect, and yet, though by none of these ways, hath the attestation of a truth. For those things which are apparent of themselves, are either so in respect of our sense, as that snow is white, and fire is hot; or in respect of our understanding, as that the whole of anything is greater than any one part of the whole, that everything imaginable either is, or is not. The first kind of which being propounded to our senses, one to the sight, the other to the touch, appear of themselves immediately true, and therefore are not termed credible, but evident to sense; as the latter kind, propounded to the understanding, are immediately embraced and acknowledged as truths apparent in themselves, and therefore are not called credible, but evident to the understanding. And so these things which are apparent, are not said properly to be believed, but to be known.

Again, other things, though not immediately apparent in themselves, may yet appear most certain and evidently true, by an immediate and necessary connection with something formerly known. For, since every natural cause actually applied doth necessarily produce its own natural effect, and every natural effect wholly dependeth upon, and absolutely presupposeth its own proper cause; therefore there must be an immediate connection between a cause and its effect. From whence it follows, that, if the connection be once clearly perceived, the effect will be known in the cause, and the cause by the effect. And by these ways, proceeding from principles evidently known by consequences certainly concluding, we come to the knowledge of propositions in mathematics, and conclusions in other sciences: which propositions and conclusions are not said to be credible, but scientifical; and the comprehension of them is not Faith but Science.

Besides, some things there are, which, though not evident of themselves, nor seen by any necessary connection to their causes or effects, notwithstanding appear to most as true by some external relations to other truths but yet so as the VOL. XXII.-No. 130. 3 N

appearing truth still leaves a possibility of falsehood with it, and therefore doth but incline to an assent. In which case, whatsoever is thus apprehended, if it depend upon real arguments, is not yet called credible, but probable; and an assent to such a truth is not properly Faith, but Opinion.

But when anything propounded to us is neither apparent to our senses, nor evident to our understanding, in and of itself, neither certainly to be collected from any clear and necessary connection with the cause from which it proceedeth, or the effects which it naturally produceth, nor is taken up upon any real arguments, or reference to other acknowledged truths, and yet notwithstanding appeareth to us true, not by a manifestation, but attestation of the truth, and so moveth us to assent, not of itself, but by virtue of the testimony given to it; this is said properly to be credible, and an assent unto, upon such credibility, is, in the proper notion, Faith or Belief.1

I could not very well shorten this extract without spoiling it. In its completeness it strikes me as a very clear and dignified statement of what should be meant by anyone who repeats the Creed, and of what should be attributed by others to those who thus make profession of their faith. According to Bishop Pearson, believers do not mean to say that the propositions of the Creed are evidently true, or that they are capable of such demonstration as that of which mathematical and scientific truths admit, or that certain arguments can be adduced such as to make their truth probable; but they mean to say that the articles of the Creed rest upon such testimony as justifies those who hold it in believing them on the strength of the said testimony.

It may be well to add to this general conception of belief as applicable to the Christian Creed, that it must not be taken to exclude other grounds for belief in certain particulars. Belief in God, for example, rests upon a very general widespreading deeplyset foundation which can scarcely be described as testimony. On the other hand, the historical truth that our Lord was crucified under Pontius Pilate may be spoken of as scarcely an article of belief at all, as it is one of those uncontradicted facts, like the death of Julius Cæsar, or the battle of Cannæ, or the siege of Jerusalem, which no one doubts. With this qualification I accept Bishop Pearson's definition; and I cannot but regard it as being well worthy of attention, because it tends to get rid of some confusion of thought which not unfrequently comes to the surface; especially it emphasises the consideration that belief is not knowledge, is not mathematical certainty, and that therefore the assertion of an act of faith postulates the possibility of reasonable doubts.

I now pass on to offer a few remarks upon the Christian Creed, in connection with certain criticisms made by Sir James Stephen. 1. The Christian says, 'I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.'

Upon this Sir James Stephen writes:

1 Exposition of the Creed, vol. i. p. 4 (Oxford, 1833).

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