Page:Literature and Dogma (1883).djvu/197

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Luther, Bossuet, Butler, but the nameless author of the Imitation, but Tauler, but St. Francis of Sales, Wilson of Sodor and Man. Yet not only these men, but the whole body of Christian churches and sects always, have all at least professed the method and secret of Jesus, and to some extent used them. And whenever these were used, they have borne their natural fruits of joy and life; and this joy and this life have been taken to flow from the ecclesiastical dogma held along with them, and to sanction and prove it. And people, eager to praise the bridge which carried them over from death to life, have taken this dogma for the bridge, or part of the bridge, that carried them over, and have eagerly praised it. Thus religion has been made to stand on its apex instead of its base. Righteousness is supported on ecclesiastical dogma, instead of ecclesiastical dogma being supported on righteousness.

But in the beginning it was not so. Because righteousness is eternal, necessary, life-giving, therefore the mighty 'not ourselves which makes for righteousness' was the Eternal, Israel's God; was all-powerful, all-merciful; sends his Messiah, elects his people, establishes his kingdom, receives into everlasting habitations. But gradually this petrifies, gradually it is more and more added to; until at last, because righteousness was originally perceived to be eternal, necessary, life-giving, we find ourselves 'worshipping One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance.' And then the original order is reversed. Because there is One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, who receives into everlasting habitations, establishes his kingdom, elects his people, sends his Messiah, is all-merciful, all-powerful, Israel's God, the Eternal,—therefore righteousness is eternal, necessary, life-giving. And shake the belief in the One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, the belief in righteous-