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are now acknowledged as affecting our bodily lives, and yet until recently were neither named nor recognised. Whatever is the proper word to use, there is no denying the existence of the thing itself. I have tried to find an accepted word that is better than the one which I have adopted; and, while I have found none that seems to me so good, I am ready to receive thankfully any better that may be suggested. “Literalism' has this advantage, that it implies no want of loyalty, on the part of those who use it, towards the Bible, or even, in proper degree, towards the historical creeds, but only deprecates a particular thought as to the way in which these possess their sacred element.
A question of inestimable gravity confronts every thoughtful person in the present day, namely, whether Literalism is indeed the infallible guide to sacred knowledge ; in other words, whether it has indeed the right to humiliate faith and hope, stretch and grow as they may. That question is noticed in the following pages, in subordination to the main questions of the book, namely, What is the Gospel ? and, How is it assured to us
The justification for the public appearance of this little work is that those who have learned of a great deliverance are bound to spread the knowledge of it. The writer is as keenly alive as any critic is likely to be, to the sublimity of the subject and to suggestions of presumption in attempts to deal with it; but in the setting forth of the truths with which these pages are concerned, an author is himself of no more account than is the clinging figure that calls out to others eagerly and joyously in discovery of a firm rock of safety.
The word “ PERCEPTION" is used in the following pages as meaning :
The act of knowing through a sense, involving a contribution of individual thought; admitting of inaccuracy in consequence of the immaturity of all individual thought, but trustworthy when the result of one perceiving act is sufficiently compared with that of another.
OLD AND NEW CERTAINTY
OF THE GOSPEL.
SACRED REALITY AND THE LIGHT THAT
SHINES ON IT.
THE metaphor of Light has been applied by general consent to the knowledge of sacred things. As applied with propriety, it indicates a defining agency for our inborn perception of the Divine Life. Revelation'
that perception; 'light' maintains it.
The Divine Presence, eternal and unchanging, is the source of both revelation and light. But the exigencies of our present condition cause us to require specialised agencies to help our perception. These are available for us. They are found in ideas and representations which, in their best parts, are traceable to the Divine Presence. The metaphor may be carried out to the extent of regarding them as artificial lights. The Supreme Presence is thus the light of day, to which, ever and again, one returns. It remains a reserve power, or centre of appeal.
To understand the state of matters that exists, one must notice that in each of us there is a sense, running through the whole being, which is capable of being the instrument of our perceiving God, not indeed in fulness, but in appearances. In order to act, , that sense requires first to be aroused, then to be maintained. In relation to that sense, called simply the religious sense, the defining agencies are needed.
By means of the religious sense, helped by defining agencies, we perceive God in three regions : first, in Morality; second, in Nature; and, third, in a region transcending both.
Morality,' in the meaning understood here, is a term deserving careful consideration. It denotes one of the most important facts of the universe, after God Himself. Morality is in truth an immense region, in which the soul may dwell. It is the region which stands ever in an opposition to the life, or system, which is determined by the impulses of finite things. The life determined by finite impulse is ordinarily called Nature. The soul knows a region
i Ps. lxii. 9, Rom. viii. 7-8, 1 Cor. ii. 14, Jn. iii. 3.