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perfect and ideal. And the third stage of truth is that corresponding to this goal of plan-evincing tendency. It is the truth which corresponds to that which everything would be if perfect of its kind. And moreover, since nothing exists of and in itself, but completes its existence in its relations to all else, so this highest stage of truth must, when fully generalized, correspond to the correlated perfecting of all the manifold of life. Truth of the second stage is the truth of actuality, the truth of the progress hitherto. The third stage of truth, from a theistic point of view, and much more definitely from the standpoint of the Christian theism of love, is correspondence to God's purpose, the truth of that towards which each creature after its kind is straining, the truth of the manifestation of the sons of God.
This final stage of truth is but another form of beauty, which is perfection, perfect correspondence to God's plan, regarded from the point of view of its being perfect, while truth is this perfection regarded rather from the point of view of intellectual apprehension and formulation. Ideal beauty exists in hope; it is the truth of things hoped for. Moreover, this God-accordant truth and beauty are aspects of goodness, which may consistently be regarded as the creation's energy of correspondence with the power and will of God which make for life. And when in the creation this goodness making for life, making towards the accomplishment of the plan of God, is the free will of an intelligent creature, then will answers will, and love meets love. Thus qualities of creature and creator meet, become united, "in each other," to use a Fourth Gospel expression.
Clearly, this human goodness, which is love of God, is based on thought of God, is based on faith.' Christ's first demand on his disciples was that they should believe him. But his word was the word of God, the expression of the Father's will; it was knowledge of God imparted to man,
As to faith, see ante, p. 246.
a knowledge of God's beneficence and love. To understand and believe Christ was to love him, and God in and through him; was to have such knowledge of the infinite and creative love that the believer could not but render love in return: "We love him because he first loved us." Really to know God is to love and obey. And when the disciple knows and loves the Father, and obeys his will, he conforms to that will and command which is eternal life. He is within the power and truth and promise of the eternal life-giving, life-sustaining will of God. Hence knowledge of God gives eternal life, and is eternal life to
These thoughts are not unthinkable. between mind and body, which seems to make a personality out of a living in the flesh, this is the mystery, and not that spirit may still be itself when freed from what cannot be conceived as one with it. God is spirit, and divine creation can be thought of only as an act of will. We are the product of his thought. The spiritual personality of man, man's true personality, may be conceived as absolute growth through the ceaseless, immanent creativeness of God. As it is the nature of matter, or material force, that it should remain constant in quantity, so may it be the nature of spirit-i. e., of spiritual personalities, for only as personality is spirit conceivable-that it should increase. Mechanically, nothing can be added to a thing, and not taken from something else; and material force imparted means so far exhaustion in the source. It is observably otherwise with mind and spirit. You impart knowledge to me. My mind, my self, has increased; yours has not diminished, probably it has also gained, through exercise, through the giving of itself. Thus may be conceived spiritual growth through knowledge or truth imparted from another, yet with nothing taken from the giver. And God may be conceived as absolute infinite spirit, ever giving and creating spirit in men without himself diminishing.
Conversely, no system of ethics but assumes that the lives of men may be affected, injured or perfected, in spiritual modes, even such as are set forth in John's Gospel. By gain in knowledge and belief in good, does not a man's character develop? Does not the spirit's strength and life increase by sorrow endured, temptation resisted, labor undergone? What is such progress but the life which, as Christ teaches, comes to man and is in man through love and faith and knowing God?
And again, the life eternal, taught by Christ, corresponds to the highest imaginings of man which, to be sure, he cannot combine into a consistent whole. It corresponds with his thoughts of the possibility of existence, with his supreme conceptions of love's communion, unhindered by separation in space, unimpeded by conditions of bodily personality, as well as purified from all fleshly incitement.
"Sanctify" (ayiaσov, consecrate, render holy and devoted)" them in the truth: Thy word is truth."" these words Christ sums up the prayers he has been uttering for the disciples.' Thy word is truth, the word which is the life of Christ and the Truth. which the Father has been revealing through
him, the commandment which is one with the will of God and is eternal life. Sanctify them in the truth, in thy word, that they may know thee; consecrate them, make them holy, render perfect their apprehension of thy word that they may fulfil it, realizing in themselves the perfect giving of self, which is the will of God, which is eternal life; sanctify them, keep them from evil, bring their whole lives within the moulding of thy will, that they, in giving all to thee, may bring each element of their personalities into the way of life, and so develop their entire nature in thy service, doing thy will, which is self-sacrifice unto self-attainment, a hating of life unto the keeping of it forever.
1 1 John xvii, 17.
• Ib. xvii, 9–16.
"As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world," revealing unto them the mission which was thy truth, thy will, for them. "And for their sakes I sanctify myself," consecrate myself to the visible doing of thy will on earth, devoting all myself unto thy service, and giving thee my life upon the cross, thus revealing that God is sacrifice and giving; "that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth," knowing thee and thy will for them, devoting themselves to the doing of thy will, which is eternal life.
and Thou in Me."
"Neither for them only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one, that there may be one fold and one "I in Them shepherd"; that all believers in the present or the time to come may bring their lives to unison in the will and way of God, which is eternal life; within which will and life there is no severance, but communion absolute; "even as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that thou didst send me." A looked-for end, that the community of believers may include mankind.
"And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them," the glory which is the self-evincing nature of God, in the disciples manifesting itself in acts of life, acts of self-sacrifice, which is a giving and an attainment. That they may be one, even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me." The thought of bringing every act of life under the dominance of one motive, of bringing the individual's life to oneness with itself, which can be only in the will of God,' is expressed in these verses in terms of absolute life. It is so expressed as to show that this bringing of a man's life to oneness with itself within the will of God is for that man the attainment of life eternal. This is attainment of the
1 See ante, p. 245.
fulness of all desire, the completion of every ideal, absolute fulfilment of self. It is the development of the whole man within the compass of that will which is all life; the development of the whole man in the service of God, unto absolute life. There is no limitation, no condition, save that of continuing relationship to God. Severance has ceased; no bound to living and communing in love. In God and Christ, God and Christ in them, the disciples are perfected into one in life and love. Each life has attained the absolute and infinite.
This is progressive self-fulfilment to the utter bounds of life. It is no loss of individuality; all is gained, nothing is lost. There is no merger, no losing of self in God. Whatsoever ye will-your true individualities—are fulfilled unto you, are kept and perfected. In Christianity every sacrifice brings back its sheaves of blessing; in Christianity the individual, without loss of self, reaches the absolute life of God: "Father, that which thou hast given me, I will that where I am, they also may be with me; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me. For thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." "That which thou hast given me" shows the workings of the Father; it is one of the phrases which keep the disciples from thinking of the Father as apart from Christ, from thinking of the absolute mode of the Godhead as different from the energy of God. “I will” -here Christ utters his will as identical in action with the Father's" giving unto him,"-"I will that they also may be with me," they, the disciples and all believers who do the will of God. There is explicit here the opposite of loss of individualities in the eternal life. "That they may behold my glory which thou hast given me." Christ's glory was the glory of the Father, -as he had said of those whom the Father had given him, "for they are thine, and all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them (the disciples).' 1 John xvii, 10.