Page:Literature and Dogma (1883).djvu/39

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them and the aristocracy, the leaders of the religious world fill a prominent place in the public eye even now, and one cannot help noticing what their opinions and likings are. And it is curious how the feeling of the chief people in the religious world, too, seems to be just now against letters, which they slight as the vague and inexact instrument of shallow essayists and magazine-writers; and in favour of dogma, of a scientific and exact presentment of religious things, instead of a literary presentment of them. 'Dogmatic theology,' says the Guardian, speaking of our existing dogmatic theology,—'Dogmatic theology, that is, precision and definiteness of religious thought.' 'Maudlin sentimentalism,' says the Dean of Norwich, 'with its miserable disparagements of any definite doctrine; a nerveless religion, without the sinew and bone of doctrine.' The distinguished Chancellor of the University of Oxford thought it needful to tell us on a public occasion lately, that 'religion is no more to be severed from dogma than light from the sun.' Everyone, again, remembers the Bishops of Winchester[1] and Gloucester making in Convocation their remarkable effort 'to do something,' as they said, 'for the honour of Our Lord's Godhead,' and to mark their sense of 'that infinite separation for time and for eternity which is involved in rejecting the Godhead of the Eternal Son.' In the same way: 'To no teaching,' says one champion of dogma, 'can the appellation of Christian be truly given which does not involve the idea of a Personal God.' Another lays like stress on correct ideas about the Personality of the Holy Ghost. 'Our Lord unquestionably,' says a third, 'annexes eternal life to a right knowledge of the Godhead,'—that is, to a right speculative, dogmatic knowledge of it. A fourth appeals to history and human nature for proof that 'an undogmatic Church can no more satisfy the hunger of the soul, than a

  1. The late Bishop Wilberforce.