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garden of Eden, he believed, had been lost, and all after woes had fallen on mankind. But still Jehovah was regarded as no implacable ruler. Let the people only return to his commandments and keep them, and he would abundantly pardon. With long life would he satisfy them and show them his salvation. He would deliver them from all their distresses, and cause them to bless his name forever. It was not, therefore, because the Hebrew was blind to the evils of the world, and did not suffer his full share of earthly troubles, that he still thought this earth a goodly world. In fact, he was always under the harrow of some trouble. Yet despite all the evil he could sing, “Oh, that men would praise Jehovah for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
It is quite certain, too, that, when the Hebrew spoke of the "house of the Lord," he was not thinking of a "mansion in the skies." The house of the Lord for him meant the holy temple of worship. This reference to the house of the Lord is one of the evidences which modern criticism has pointed out for proof that the Twenty-third Psalm was not written by King David, and could not have been written by any one until after David's son, King Solomon, had built the great temple. Before that event the ark of the sacred covenant had been sheltered and protected in a tent (or tabernacle), which was transported from place to place. But when Solomon built the costly temple, that
became by pre-eminence in Israel's view Jehovah's house. The sacred covenant was deposited there, in a place of safety, as it was believed, for all time. There was the innermost Holy of holies of the Hebrew faith. To the devout believer the solidity and magnificence of the temple became symbolic of national stability and prosperity. The patriotic sentiments of security and dominion mingled with and enhanced the joys of worship for those who entered there for that sacred service. To the faithful ones of Israel the act of worship in this great temple was the transcendent act of human life. There as nowhere else they came into the immediate presence of Jehovah,- or so they believed and felt. There they acknowledged his power and received assurances of his aid and blessing. Felicitous, indeed, they thought, must be the lot of those who dwelt there as chosen servants of Jehovah for performing the manifold offices of the sacred place. Some such picture as this of the grandeur of the outward temple and of its holy service doubtless presented itself to the Psalmist's poetic vision. Yet, doubtless, also, it symbolized to him, as it would to the most spiritually intelligent among his contemporaries, not, indeed, all that finer culmination of the worshipful attitude which is "in spirit and in truth, without reference to any technicalities of place and time, but at least an idea of a constant nearness to Jehovah's presence through acts of righteousness, and of that service of him which is rendered by the clean heart
and the just deed. For, however magnificent in its surroundings and formalities was the outward worship of the Hebrews, they had prophets who denounced the oblations and prayers and praises, even of this sacred temple, as an abomination and mockery, unless the worshippers brought justice and mercy and a contrite heart among their offerings. And no religion, more clearly and strongly than the Hebrew, has ever set forth obedience to the law of righteousness as a requisite condition, individually and nationally, of acceptance with Deity and of achieving all the most desirable objects of human existence. In righteousness, and in righteousness only, was the way of salvation, of individual and national health, of prosperity and confidence, of strength and peace: yes, righteousness was the very law and condition of life itself and of all life's noblest felicities. This is the constant injunction of Hebrew Proverb and Prophet and Psalm. And the connection of righteousness (or right conduct) with the forces of life is one of the prominent points in modern science and scientific ethics, as was specially shown in the third lecture.
These two great thoughts of the Hebrew faith unite, then, to make the final climax of this Twenty-third Psalm: first, Jehovah, the eternal power, is a good power to be depended upon perpetually; second, in that Goodness is full assurance of a good destiny for man through a life allied with the very life and power of Jehovah.
Now, in this statement of these two rootthoughts I believe I have put nothing which the Hebrew singer would not himself have accepted. Into what details of theological or mythological belief and expression, fitting the intelligence of the time, he might have carried these thoughts, or how he might have dressed them in the fashion of his age and race, is another question, and one which we have no occasion now to consider. Our question is whether these root-thoughts themselves can be justified in the light of modern intelligence. What has the scientific,philosophy which is in vogue in this closing decade of the nineteenth century to say with regard to the validity of these two ideas? That is the question with which we are most concerned.
And, first, it is remarkable how little change is needed in the statement of these ideas, as just made, to make the statement itself seem modern. In the place of the Hebrew appellation "Jehovah," let us (as I have before asked you in these lectures) put the English phrase which is its nearest equivalent, "The Eternal," and we have a statement which might be taken from a religious treatise written from the standpoint of the most advanced scientific philosophy. Put still more succinctly, our statement might then stand thus: "The Eternal is to be depended upon as a power for goodness, and in that goodness man has assurance of a good destiny."
And, in the next place, you will not fail to note
that here are precisely the two great modern problems of religion,- the problem of God and the problem of immortality. For it is no secret to the reading and thinking portion of mankind that these fundamental problems of religion and philosophy have been opened afresh to-day as the result of advancing science in every direction, and it is not rationally probable that questions thus opened will ever be settled again in precisely the old way.
Not in the old way; and yet I maintain that these questions will be rationally settled in a way that will vindicate and confirm these two great and essential points of religious faith, the Goodness of the Eternal, and for man a good and worthy destiny. And these are the two important points now to be considered.
As to the first, I frankly admit and affirm that, unless it can be legitimately maintained that the Eternal Energy of the universe, which science recognizes as the Source of all phenomena, is purposive in its action and toward results intelligible and beneficent, we shall have no Deity left worthy of human adoration or capable of imposing or being the source of any law, intellectual or moral, which man could or should obey. If the Infinite and Eternal Energy from which all things proceed, and in whose presence we ever are, is merely power, power working blindly, wildly, recklessly, at mere chance and hazard, unconditioned by anything corresponding to intelligence and benevolence, then it is not a Power which man's intel