I might stop here, but I am impelled to answer one more objection. The Gospel, it is said, is a great and sublime thing, and it has certainly been a saving power in history, but it is indissolubly connected with an antiquated view of the world and history; and, therefore, although it be painful to say so, and we have nothing better to put in its place, it has lost its validity and can have n_ further significance for us. In view of this objection there are two things which I should like to say:—
Firstly, no doubt it is true that the view of the world and history with which the Gospel is connected is quite different from ours, and that view we cannot recall to life, and would not if we could; but “indissoluble” the connexion is not. I have tried to show what the essential elements in the Gospel are, and these elements are “timeless.” Not only are they so; but the man to whom the Gospel addresses itself is also “timeless,” that is to say, it is the man who, in spite of all progress and development, never changes in his inmost constitution and in his fundamental relations with the external world. Since that is so, this Gospel remains in force, then, for us too.
Secondly, the Gospel is based—and this is the all-important element in the view which it takes of the world and history— upon the antithesis between Spirit and flesh, God and the world, good and evil. Now, in spite of ardent efforts, thinkers have not yet succeeded in elaborating on a monistic basis any theory of ethics that is satisfactory and answers to the deepest needs of man. Nor will they succeed. In the end, then, it is essentially a matter of indifference what name we give to the opposition with which every man of ethical feeling is concerned: God and the world, the Here and the Beyond, the visible and the invisible, matter and spirit, the life of impulse and the life of freedom, physics and ethics. That there is a unity underlying this opposition is a conviction which can be gained by experience; the one realm can be subordinated to the other; but it is only by a struggle that this unity can be attained, and when it is attained it takes the form of a problem that is infinite and only approximately soluble. It cannot be attained by any refinement of a mechanical process. It is by self-conquest that a man is freed from the tyranny of matter—