Phases of Faith eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 325 pages of information about Phases of Faith.

[Footnote 5:  [Greek:  Dikaiosune] (righteousness), [Greek:  Diatheke] (covenant, testament), [Greek:  Charis] (grace), are all terms pregnant with fallacy.]

[Footnote 6:  Horace and Cicero speak the mind of their educated contemporaries in saying that “we ought to pray to God only for external blessings, but trust to our own efforts for a pure and tranquil soul,”—­a singular reversing of spiritual religion]



This small treatise was reviewed, unfavourably of course, in most of the religious periodicals, and among them in the “Prospective Review,” by my friend James Martineau.  I had been about the same time attacked in a book called the “Eclipse of Faith,” written (chiefly against my treatise on the Soul) in the form of a Platonic Dialogue; in which a sceptic, a certain Harrington, is made to indulge in a great deal of loose and bantering argumentation, with the view of ridiculing my religion, and doing so by ways of which some specimen will be given.

I made an indignant protest in a new edition of this book, and added also various matter in reply to Mr. Martineau, which will still be found here.  He in consequence in a second article[1] of the “Prospective” reviewed me afresh; but, in the opening, he first pronounced his sentence in words of deep disapproval against the “Eclipse of Faith.”

“The method of the work,” says he, “its plan of appealing from what seems shocking in the Bible to something more shocking in the world, simply doubles every difficulty without relieving any; and tends to enthrone a devil everywhere, and leave a God nowhere....  The whole force of the writer’s thought,—­his power of exposition, of argument, of sarcasm, is thrown, in spite of himself, into the irreligious scale....  If the work be really written[2] in good faith, and be not rather a covert attack on all religion, it curiously shows how the temple of the author’s worship stands on the same foundation with the officina of Atheism, and in such close vicinity that the passer-by cannot tell from which of the two the voices stray into the street.”

The author of the “Eclipse,” buoyed up by a large sale of his work to a credulous public, put forth a “Defence,” in which he naturally declined to submit to the judgment of this reviewer.  But my readers will remark, that Mr. Martineau, writing against me, and seeking to rebut my replies to him—­(nay, I fear I must say my attack on him; for I have confessed, almost with compunction, that it was I who first stirred the controversy)—­was very favourably situated for maintaining a calmly judicial impartiality.  He thought us both wrong, and he administered to us each the medicine which seemed to him needed.  He passed his strictures on what he judged to be my errors, and he rebuked my assailant for profane recklessness.

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Phases of Faith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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