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creaturely effort as by the outflow and free appropriation of divine life.
It may be here remarked that, in the sphere of Christian Ethics, which is but this holiness applied to practical life, the better presentation of the aspects of ethical teaching that are distinctively Christian has, in the modern development, been an indubitable result, as the names of Schleiermacher, Harless, Rothe, Wuttke, Schmid, Gass, Hofmann, Martensen, Kähler, Dorner, Luthardt, and many others, that will suggest themselves to ethical students, sufficiently prove, though the justice of Professor Flint's complaint l as to the smallness of Britain's contribution to the advance must certainly be admitted, even if we be not unthankful for the writings of Wace, Davison, Leathes, and other recent writers who might be mentioned in this connection. Modern ethical elevation has undoubtedly been chief among the regenerative forces and corrective influences of progressive Christian theology.
The old doctrine of the Final Perseverance of the saints, the belief that once in grace always in grace, our modern theology still affirms, only
1 Encyclopædia Britannica, ninth edition, art. “ Theology."
seeing in it more a fact of spiritual life and growth and expansion than a dogma as of mechanical necessity. For perseverance is not now regarded as a mere natural consequence of repentance and faith, so much as that which is still most surely guaranteed by the faithful, just, and almighty God, to the humbleness of life that hears and heeds His “Vigilate et Orate." Not guaranteed in a merely authoritative and external way, but pledged in spiritual experience by Him Who has persuaded us that He will supply all our need, will keep us from falling, and Who grants us ever, amid our failures and defects, those “fresh beginnings which are the life of perseverance." In this way the perseverance, or preservation, of the saints has in recent treatment been kept in better connection, as was most needful, with such subjects as sanctification and assurance of salvation.
In connection with the last-named subject, we may here appropriately observe that the sense of personal assurance of faith has, in the Ritschlian theology, especially developed by Herrmann, had its importance emphasised, though it cannot be said that discriminating Christian thought has been able to regard with anything like satisfaction the path by which the certainty, wherein Jesus Himself becomes “an undeniable element of our own reality,” is, by the Ritschlian school, reached. As we believe there has been recent advance in the grace of sanctification, so we believe “the testimony of the Spirit of adoption " has been more satisfactorily presented, both implicitly and explicitly, in modern Christian teaching, even if there be large scope for improvement in this line of enforcement of Christian duty and privilege.
We close this chapter by noticing the fact that recent Christian thought has not failed to display the deepest interest in the question of the origin of evil—the time-worn inquiry, IIbdev tò kakov; Whence comes evil ?-into the discussion of which new factors may be said to have in recent times entered, through our augmented knowledge of the relations subsisting between the natures of man, physical and mental and spiritual. We believe we are warranted in saying that all theoretic attempts to explain the metaphysical beginning of moral evil have been more clearly perceived to clash with that Christian conception of sin as false love of the creature or lawless self-deter
mination (åvoula) which we have already noticed, and to fail of accounting for the part played by the intruder we call evil in relation to the ideal human life and the mediatorial work of Jesus Christ. Christian theology has rested not in the real though refined dualism of Rothe and others, in which, while it is sought to account for the origin of evil, the unity of God becomes actually surrendered, but has more prominently brought forward the truth that not only has evil not been beyond the scope either of the knowledge or the permissive agency of God, Whose making man with the ennobling prerogative of freedom has been more fully justified, but it has not escaped His interference even, if haply it might be done away, in virtue of the solidarity of mankind in Christ.
Dorner, seeking to recognise the unity of evil underlying the stress of Rothe on the one hand on sensuousness as the fundamental sin, and that of Julius Müller on the other on selfishness, has emphasised this false creature - love, with its deification of self and the world, as that which constitutes the nature of evil. It is surely something that at least the conditions of the problem
of the primal beginning of abnormity, insoluble as the metaphysical origin may itself remain to human understanding, have been more fully grasped and presented, and so much may be safely predicated of modern Christian thought, sensible as it may be of how much here lies beyond the bounds of its horizon, within which it bravely strives to bring the last truth in the problem of being.