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England. The higher enthusiasm, however, which breathed in Cromwell and Vane, was not puritanic or English merely. It belonged to the universal spiritual force which as ecstasy, mysticism, quietism, philosophy, is in permanent collision with the carnal interests of the world, and which, if it conquers them for a moment, yet again sinks under them, that it may transmute them more thoroughly to its service. “Death," said Vane on the scaffold, " is a little word, but it is a great work to die." So his own enthusiasm died that it might rise again. It was sown in the weakness of feeling, that it might be raised in the intellectual comprehension which is power. “The people of England,” he said again, “ have been long asleep. I doubt they will be hungry when they awake.” They have slept, we may say, another two hundred years. If they should yet wake and be hungry, they will find their food in the ideas which, with much blindness and weakness, he vainly offered them, cleared and ripened by a philosophy of which he did not dream." p. 364.
The fact should not be overlooked that these lectures were delivered in 1867, before the writer had as yet fought his way into a position in which he could be fearless of consequences and command respect for his opinions however unpopular they might be.
Mr. Green's interest in education, both in the school and university, was eminently characteristic. He was sensitively alive to the fact that a large portion of the population of England who by reason of their wealth might naturally ask for the higher education and use it most advantageously for themselves and their fellows, were practically shut out from the charmed walks upon which they might gaze, but within which they could not enter. The son of a university man, educated at Rugby and at Oxford, crowned with University honors and sharing in University emoluments, he had the rare insight and the still rarer sympathetic generosity which are thus described by his biographer :
“ Middle-class education " has come to be understood as the kind of education which, being divorced from the universities, having no stimulus from government inspection, and being generally conducted merely with a view to commercial profit by the principals, is seldom either of a thorough or of an elevating kind. On the other side the term education of a gentleman,” like the term “gentleman" itself, has acquired a meaning unknown in any other countries. The term would be intelligible if it retained the meaning of a man of a certain lineage, or of a man holding a landed estate according to a certain tenure. It would be intelligible again if it meant a man habitually
honorable in feeling, conduct, and speech. But with us nowadays it means neither of these things. It seems chiefly to indicate a kind of manner and tone of feeling acquired by those educated at the miscalled “public schools,” and borrowed fro them with more or less perfectness of imitation by others. I do not depreciate the value of this manner and tone of feeling, but I regret that it should be a mark of social distinction. Whatever is really of value in it should be characteristic of all men of liberal education. A properly organized system of schools would level up without levelling down. It would not make the gentleman any the less of a gentleman in the higher sense of the term, but it would cure him of his unconscious social insolence just as it would cure others of social jealousy. To promote such a system by the establishment of a high school in his own town was his last public act, and almost his last public utterance was the expression of a hope that the time will come “when the phrase "education of a gentleman' will have lost its meaning, because the sort of education which alone makes the gentleman in any true sense will be within the reach of all. As it was the aspiration of Moses that all the Lord's people should be prophets, so with all seriousness and reverence we may hope and pray for a condition of English society in which all honest citizens will recognize themselves and be recognized by each other as gentlemen.” - Memoir, pp. lvii-lviii.
To overcome these evils, he labored faithfully and persistently during the last and the best years of his life. He fought these social difficulties manfully and sturdily where they were most deeply rooted and had become entwined with all that was sacred in religion, venerable in learning, and honored in tradition, that is, in Oxford itself, and this not by declamation or discussion merely but by patient experiment, in the High and Middle Class Schools of the city. Whether or not the ideal at which he aspired is attainable in any country may be open to question, but whether it is or is not, the spirit in which he labored was eminently humane and Christian. Had Mr. Matthew Arnold been animated more warmly by a similar spirit, had he made less fun of the Philistines whose defects he satirized so amusingly, and sought to treat their defects in a temper somewhat more practical, by means of systematic and radical reforms in the public education of Great Britain, he would have added a somewhat more brilliant luster to his deservedly brilliant fame.
We find ourselves insensibly yet necessarily brought to the most difficult yet the most interesting portion of our task, the delineation of Professor Green's theory of religion and the
Christian Revelation. We do not wonder that his biographer has found it difficult to reduce this theory to a few comprehensive statements, or to reproduce it in the ordinary terminology of creeds and confessions, of dogmas and systems. One thing is certain, that the opinions which constitute its underlying philosophy were held in all seriousness and were applied to all the problems of thinking and living. Whatever we may think of the religious philosophy of Professor Green we cannot doubt that it pervaded and controlled all his thinking and that it was to him a faith by which he would live and die.
We have already referred to his doctrine of the natural and necessary recognition of God as a self-conscious spirit, enforcing obligation in the several relations of human life, and capable of being intensified till He should be a controlling and ever present force. Of the incarnation he held that “ Jesus of Nazareth was God and man, not because his physical birth and death took place under conditions impossible to the normal human organization but on the contrary because, having the normal human organization in its entirety, he realized in and through it his absolute union with God and became in actual fact what all men have in them potentially to become. This divinization' of humanity, this incarnation' took place in Him at a certain time and place, under special historical conditions, which the gospel narrative enables us partially but only partially to reconstruct.” Thus writes Mr. Green's biographer in a condensed summary of his theory of the Incarnation. From Professor Green's Essay on Christian Dogma, we gather much more, which bears directly upon the sources of our knowledge of the Christ of the first century and the impression which he made upon his generation when living and upon Paul after the termination of his earthly life. That in this theory there are lacunæ valde deflendæ can hardly escape the notice of any thoughtful reader, who is only moderately gifted with “ the historic sense.” That Professor Green should attach little or no importance to the impression which the actual personality of Jesus, as well as his claims for himself, must have made upon every receptive mind—and indeed in the way of reaction upon the unreceptive—is to us incomprehensible. We are sim
ply astonished at the slight historical value which he attaches to the records of his sayings or doings, indeed, to any reproductions of his human life, especially of the definite claims or assertions which Christ makes for himself. He also overlooks the enormous probability that all Palestine was full of verbal reports of the sayings and doings of this wonderful personage which must have been everywhere current till the siege and overthrow of the Jewish capitol. Next he dares to assert from Paul's own testimony, that his own conversion occurred “ in spite of ignorance (this is the necessary inference from his own language) of the facts of our Lord's life prior to his death as detailed in the synoptical gospels, etc.”
Christ, according to his own language, was made known to him by revelation, but by such a revelation, judging by his own description of its effects in the epistle to the Galatians, as might be vouchsafed, without a voice from heaven, or a light above the brightness of the sun, to any like spirit brooding on the bare facts of the death and resurrection of the Divine Son of man.”
We do not need to cite the fervent and eloquent language with which Professor Green repeats the same thoughts, to enforce the inquiry whether inferences like these can be justified by any rational psychological theory or any accredited history of human experience. That man has a spiritual and moral nature we do not for a moment question; that he has an intuitive consciousness of God and is more or less actually alive to his needs as related to God we will neither question nor deny—but that the imagination of man could evolve from its own spiritual consciousness such an object of wonder and worship, or invest with the dignity of manifested truth, such paradoxical claims for himself as are reported to have fallen from the lips of Jesus, is of itself so clearly impossible as at once to be regarded as simply incredible. The convictions of the human intellect upon this single point seem to us to be practically unanimous, and practically incapable of change. To the radical and incautious theory of Professor Green we can only find a parallel in the products of those seething brains which were so active in the days of the Great Rebellion, when the lips of many a gallant colonel and doughty sergeant claimed
to be inspired in the eminent sense of this much abused term. We doubt not that many as eloquent an utterance of theosophic speculation fell from the lips of some of Cromwell's officers when exalted to the prophetic mood, as ever dropped from the pen of Professor Green in his loftiest visions. It were perhaps more exact to find a striking likeness to them in the discourses of some of the so-called Cambridge men of the same period who sought to Christianize the speculations and language of the Platonic school, and to harmonzie the philosophy of the times with a comprehensive Catholic theology. But whatever we may think of the permanent value of Professor Green's contribution to Christian thought and however severely we may judge his theological speculations, we cannot but recognize the value of his services to Christian truth in the inroads which he made upon the “unspiritual ecclesiasticism” which has long held sway in Oxford and through Oxford over much of the Protestant world.
We confess that theories like those of Professor Green, sound strangely enough as coming from Oxford, and yet there is perhaps no center of speculation where they might render a more efficient and useful service. So far as the discussion of them shall awaken the attention of its students to the uses and abuses of dogmatic theology and of scholastic creeds, to the relation of Biblical conceptions and philosophical truths to the dogmas of parties and of sects, such an agitation cannot but be most salutary. So far as such discussions hold the attention to the far reaching fundamental principle that the creeds of the church are of necessity the products of the schools, and therefore are to be distinguished from the faith of the church, which concerns itself mainly with relations of fact and of duty, so far they cannot but strengthen the faith and enlarge the charity of its gifted and cultured scholars. So far, also, as they direct the attention to the difference between a living faith in a person and a history, and the intellectual appreciation of logical distinctions, so far will they provide for the freedom of scientific discussion and the exactness of scientific thought on the one hand and the fervor of personal faith and of devoted service on the other. The memoir and works of Professor Green are fitted to inculcate both these lessons. They