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processes, the same appropriations in experience (though here more spiritual and profound), the same mental generalisations and verifications, as obtain in every other realm of truth. Theology, as much as either physiology or psychology, for example, comes under the conditions of scientific progress, and is, as much as either of them, subject to human conditions in its development,
-such conditions we mean as may, for instance, be found in contemporaneous civilisation, philosophy, and science. Thus Christian theology is an eminently human and progressive thing: the scientific product of the spiritual consciousness, it is, in respect of its laws of growth and its applications of logical method, susceptible of progress as every other department of human inquiry. “Or shall we say that, in the highest subject matter of all, the mind is forbidden to energise, or must energise with no results ? While development is the law of all God's natural dispensations, are we to predicate an exceptional stagnation of the kingdom of grace ? ”1
We look to the Christian consciousness for the development of Christian theology, since, without
i Oxenham's Catholic Doctrine of the Atonement, p. 61.
being an original, independent, and self-sufficient authority, it is basis and, in secondary but for us not unimportant sense, source of those everaugmenting enlightenments wherein faith is receptive, interpretative, and corroborative of revelation. The theological content is not purely objective as God, but objective-subjective as God-consciousness, and our God-consciousness can be thought of only as undergoing development that must give to the scientific form everrenewed and higher expression. “We learn, not from metaphysics but from history, that the action of God in the human soul, no less than His action in the material world, has been gradual and progressive. But that which, from the point of view of the historian, is the slow evolution of thought, is, from the point of view of the theologian, the gradual revelation of God. He has manifested Himself in the human soul in many portions and in many ways.” 2 The advance for theology lies through the reciprocal working of its own scientific capacities
1 Cf. Gloatz, Spekulative Theologie. Erster Band. Einleitung, Kap. 1. Gotha.
2 Dr Edwin Hatch, “From Metaphysics to History,” in Contemporary Review, June 1889.
and the objective source of theology presented in the Scriptures, which in their normative function condition the conclusions of the Christian consciousness and the individual reason, and testify to the living and incarnate Word, as the fontal source, in His glorified life, of our knowledge of things divine.
Theology, in undergoing its many processes of change, has proved, and may still more abundantly prove, itself inspired by a living fructifying principle : it has shown itself the mightiest absorbent the world has known: it lives to-day to vindicate its claim to be no obstructive defender of dead treasures of the past, standing forth, in rigid immobility,
“Tanquam dura silex, aut stet Marpesia cautes;” or sitting as
“Sedet æternumque sedebit Infelix Theseus ;”
but the inspirer of present progress, and, prospectively, a light unto the feet of the future. Wise to know that the roots of a true progressiveness lie deeply hidden in the past, she is yet keenly conscious that hers is a nobler task than merely to consecrate the past, with the accretions of age-even that of following the living truth in Christ that goes in every age before us. She is keenly conscious that no more urgent call to evince the activity of the dominant science and philosophy of the day was ever hers than in this age when the laws of evolution and correlation are with new-born energy being traced out in morals and many unexpected directions, when the resources of the worlds of knowledge and of action have grown so complicated and immense, and new conquests have crowded thick upon the irrepressible zeal of physical science, and when vast masses of intricate and perplexing phenomena are being brought within the compass of a few plain comprehensive statements, as the process of generalisation hastens on its forward course with dauntless front and startling confidence.
In such an age it is an imperative-as it is a joyous-necessity, that Christian theology should deepen, broaden, heighten, with the ever-swelling tide of thought that accompanies the process of the suns, should not only catch the inspiration of the general progress, but be itself chief inspirer and most efficient factor of that progress. Theology is but the reflex of Christian thought
and experience, and must not only welcome the modifying impact of the sciences, but, as the science of the sciences, itself lead the van of intellectual progress. Theology has not only been marvellously absorptive of the ideas achieved in the course of progress, but, as has now come to be better understood, has herself been directly creative of the thought and the theory of development, as of the idea of progress. More: she has, in ways which we hope in these pages amply to illustrate, evinced her vitality by her own undoubted progress, genuine growth, and real development. Theology, by which we do not mean to designate the desiccation of the religious spirit, but the scientific product of the spiritual consciousness under the quickening and developing influences of the Divine Revelation, is, however unvarying in inmost essence, so infinite in its contents as never to assume a final form in any of the scientific modes of its apprehension and expression. Theology is no more definable than life : called to deal, in the richness of the divine nature and revelation, with quantities that are infinite, with realities that are immeasurable, with “ truths that wake to perish