Page:Literature and Dogma (1883).djvu/82

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



When people ask for our attention because of what has passed, they say, 'in the Council of the Trinity,' and been promulgated, for our direction, by 'a Personal First Cause, the moral and intelligent Governor of the universe,' it is certainly open to any man to refuse to hear them, on the plea that the very thing they start with they have no means of proving. And we see that many do so refuse their attention; and that the breach there is, for instance, between popular religion and what is called science, comes from this cause. But it is altogether different when people ask for our attention on the strength of this other first principle: 'To righteousness belongs happiness;' or this: 'There is an enduring power, not ourselves, which makes for righteousness.' The more we meditate on this starting-ground of theirs, the more we shall find that there is solidity in it, and the more we shall be inclined to go along with them and to see what will come of it.

And herein is the advantage of giving this plain, though restricted, sense to the Bible-phrases: 'Blessed is the man that feareth the Eternal!' and: 'Whoso trusteth in the Eternal, happy is he!'[1] By tradition, emotion, imagination, the Hebrews, no doubt, came to attach more than this plain sense to these phrases, But this plain, solid, and experimental sense they attached to them at bottom; and

  1. Ps. cxii, 1; Prov., xvi, 20.