Page:Literature and Dogma (1883).djvu/226

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
190
LITERATURE AND DOGMA

comes to be examined, have many minor difficulties, have things to baffle us, things to shock us; but still it may be what the Bible has to say. However, the masses will get rid of all minor difficulties in the simplest manner, by rejecting the Bible altogether on account of the major difficulty,—its starting with an assumption which cannot possibly be verified.

But suppose the Bible is discovered, when its expressions are rightly understood, to start with an assertion which can be verified: the assertion, namely, not of 'a Great Personal First Cause,' but of 'an enduring Power, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness.' Then by the light of this discovery we read and understand all the expressions that follow. Jesus comes forth from this enduring Power that makes for righteousness, is sent by this Power, is this Power's Son; the Holy Spirit proceeds from this same Power, and so on.

Now, from the innumerable minor difficulties which attend the story of the three supernatural men, this right construction, put on what the Bible says of Jesus, of the Father, and of the Holy Spirit, is free. But it is free from the major difficulty also; for it neither depends upon what is unverifiable, nor is it unverifiable itself. That Jesus is the Son of a Great Personal First Cause is itself unverifiable; and that there is a Great Personal First Cause is unverifiable too. But that there is an enduring Power, not ourselves, which makes for righteousness, is verifiable, as we have seen, by experience; and that Jesus is the offspring of this Power is verifiable from experience also. For God is the author of righteousness; now, Jesus is the Son of God because he gives the method and secret by which alone is righteousness possible. And that he does give this, we can verify, again, from experience. It is so! try, and you will find it to be so! Try all the ways to righteousness you can think of, and you will find that no way brings you to it except the