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may quarrel with the theological representations of it, they certainly have cast off as well all logical reckoning, having given up that which is not only the Highest, but the basis of all,
"Path, Motive, Guide, Original, and End.”
Religion may be defined, in its strictest philosophical sense, as the human consciousness of relationship to this Power and the effort to practical harmony therewith; and religious institutions, including the so-called services of worship, are an organized expression of this relation and effort. Their function is to deepen and strengthen the consciousness of the relation and to keep actively alive the sense of human obligation to Divine Law. And, by the new interpretations of Divine Power which science is giving us, I believe that the obligations of mankind thereto are strengthened rather than weakened. On this point I am compelled to take issue with the current teaching of some of my radical friends and colaborers in the work of religious reform. One of these in a recent address said: "Duties to man and duties to God is the common classification. But there are no duties to God, in that sense, . . . and the only duty there is to God is a duty to man." And another said on the same occasion: "God needs none of our devotion: he has all the honor and glory that he wants; but man needs to be uplifted. It has heretofore been, Everything for God, and nothing for man'; and now we wish to change that and say,
‘All for man, and God will take care of himself."" I have great respect for the mental ability of both of these friends, and their earnest moral characters I reverence. I have entire sympathy, too, with the motive underlying these utterances, and understand their point of view. Their moral indignation is excited, and justly, against the formalistic worship, the merely ceremonial acts of piety, which have prevailed and still prevail so largely in the Church, while the pious devotees and the churches in which they dominate utterly forget the weightier matters of justice and mercy to man. In denouncing religion and worship of this sort, I go with these critics to the full. And there is ample Bible authority, if that be needed, for such denunciation in the scathing words with which Jesus and Isaiah rebuked these hypocritical worshippers of their respective times, who made many prayers, but forgot the moral law. Such denunciation comes, indeed, from the deepest places of religion.
Nevertheless, I believe that that old phrase, "duties to God," as something more than though always implying "duties to man," has still a distinct and valid meaning. At least, to my mind, to deny the truth of the phrase leads to a greater untruth than to affirm it. With all respect to these objectors, it seems to me that in these utterances their thought is still entangled in the meshes of the theological creeds which they have discarded, and hence their logic in this particular halts; and their radicalism, after all, though so sweeping,
does not go down to the root of things. Both of them are sons of orthodox clergymen, and their early training was under the old creeds of Orthodoxy. It is difficult for those who up to mature life have been indoctrinated in that faith, and then change their belief for liberal views, not to continue to associate religion and religious institutions with the false conceptions which they have abjured. When I speak of religious services as a special expression of human obligations to Deity, and as still having in that sense a true and very vital meaning, I am not thinking, as these critics appear to be, of that theological image of a majestic being seated with sovereign power in the skies, whose ear is pleased with praises, and who hears and answers petitions, like a human monarch. Not at all. Nothing whatever of that Calvinistic Jehovah-conception of Deity is in my mind.] [I am thinking of the Infinite Energy which is, at every moment, the law and life of the universe, and of which on this planet man himself, with his moral sense, capacity, and aspirings, is the highest manifestation. I am thinking of a Power as Source and Sustainer of this universe, entirely compatible with the scientific doctrine of evolution.] Take even Herbert Spencer's latest statement of his unknowable principle that is at the root of all the world-forces, transformations, and phenomena, "the Infinite and Eternal Energy whence all things proceed,"- take even that for a definition of Deity, there would be very ample and solid
ground for the idea of obligation to this Power. Man is indebted to it for all that he is, and for all that he is capable of knowing and] doing and enjoying. From it come his very ideas of justice and kindness and of all other duties to his fellowThat which so nobly serves him he is bound in turn to serve. He is not only gifted to see the ideal right which is the aim of the universe, but he is equipped with faculties to help the aim onward to realization. It is evident, therefore, that our free-thought friend must have been thinking of his father's idea of God when he said that God needs no devotion and help from us, but will take care of himself. The Calvinistic God did, indeed, take care of his own interests, and elected man to grace or doomed him to reprobation solely by his own almighty decree, let man do or pray as he would. [But the God of the evolution philosophy, the Deity of reason and science, does need man's thought, man's devotion and help, in carrying forward the plan of the universe; for man has been admitted as a co-worker with the Eternal Power toward the realizations of the highest beneficence and happiness, and is under obligations, which he cannot ignore, to render his best service. It is, thus, from our duty to serve the highest Law and Life of the universe that our duties to man are derived. And one of the friends to whom I have referred recognizes this thought in the same address. He says: "It is at no man's option whether justice and honor bind him. Man no
more creates the moral world of obligation than he does the physical one of fact: he has only to fit himself into it, and let its sublimity make him sublime. Man is not the summit of things. As the heavens bend over his body and the stars unalterably shine, so the moral law arches over the soul of man; and he is greatest as he bends in lowly worship to it."
Now, I do not say that this Spencerian conception of the Ultimate Power contains all that can be rationally included in the idea of God. I have quoted this because it is pretty generally accepted by rationalistic and radical thinkers to-day. But, even if this were all that can be affirmed, it leaves ample room not only for a religious philosophy but for religious institutions. It declares man to be every moment in the presence of an Infinite and Eternal Power which has given him creation, sustenance, life, and not only physical life, but mental and moral life; and in his mental and moral life has given also the law and the possible selfdirection by which his life may ascend to larger capacities and richer realizations.
What a realm of high themes is open for human thought by such a relationship as this! What heroisms of endeavor does it make possible! This Infinite Energy is a living power: it is the inspiration of the life of the universe and of the soul of man. More literally from such a philosophy than from the old theology even may man exclaim, "My heart and my flesh cry out for the