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Conscience and Christ

Conscience and Christ

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Published by glennpease
SIX LECTURES ON CHRISTIAN ETHICS

BY HASTINGS RASHDALL
SIX LECTURES ON CHRISTIAN ETHICS

BY HASTINGS RASHDALL

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 18, 2013
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09/19/2013

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COSCIECE AD CHRISTSIX LECTURES O CHRISTIA ETHICSBY HASTIGS RASHDALLD.LiTT., LL.b., D.C.L.FELLOW AD LECTURER OF EW COLLEGE, OXFORDFELLOW OF THE BRITISH ACADEMYCAO RSSIDBTIARY OF HEREFORDEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBER'S SOS1916PREFACETHE present lectures were delivered as theHaskell Lectures in the Theological Seminary of Oberlin College, Ohio, U.S.A., during the autumn of 1913. They would have been pubUshed earlier but forthe war. They were delivered very much as they stand,with a few omissions. I have thought it best to addconsiderable notes and appendices rather than to enlargethe lectures to an extent which would in several caseshave involved complete re-writing.It may be desirable briefly to explain the design of this little work. For more than thirty years thepresent writer has been a University teacher of Philosophy, devoting himself especially to Moral
 
Philosophy. He has also been to some extent astudent of Theology. He has been struck by thedifferent tone in which moral questions are dealt withby Philosophers on the one hand, and by Theologiansand preachers on the other. The Moral Philosopher,if he is not one of those who explain away Moralityaltogether, usually holds that Morality means thefollowing of Conscience. In theological books andsermons it is as commonly assumed that the supremeviii Prefacerule for a Christian should be to follow Christ. Thewriter beheves that there is truth in both principles,but it is obvious that this position involves a problemas to the relation between the two authorities — and aproblem not very often expUcitly dealt with. That isthe problem with which these lectures are mainlyoccupied.There seems to be an especial call for some attemptat a systematic enquiry into the subject at the presentmoment, for a disposition has recently been mani-fested in more than one quarter to disparage the moralteaching of Jesus Christ. The supposed discoverythat the teaching of Jesus consisted mainly in" Eschatology " has led to the adoption of an almostcontemptuous attitude towards His ethical teachingon the part of writers who describe that teaching asa mere " Interimsethik " of Uttle present value orsignificance ; while (strange to say) the tendency hasbeen to some extent welcomed on the part of certainTheologians of quite a different school because theydiscern in it a confirmation of the position that thereis nothing particularly characteristic in this part of our Lord's teaching, and that it is only in the dogmaticteaching (to be fomid chiefly in the Epistles and in thelater Creeds) that the true essence of the Christian
 
Religion is to be discovered. They hope thereforethat they have discovered in this *' eschatological "tendency of modem Criticism a new weapon againstthe old-fashioned " Liberal Protestantism " which isPreface ixaccused of making too much of the actual teaching of Christ and too httle of the doctrine about His Personand work. The present writer is not one of those (if indeed there are such persons) who beheve that Chris-tianity consists solely in the ethical teaching of itsFounder, but he does believe that any true repre-sentation of Christianity must treat it as a Rehgionrooted and grounded in Ethics. He does strongly holdthat any doctrine of our Lord's Person which does notbase itself primarily upon the appeal which the teach-ing of Jesus makes to the conscience of mankind restsupon an extremely precarious foundation.There are two or three points which I would especi-ally invite the reader of these pages to bear in mind :I. The lectures are confined to the ethical side of Christ's teaching. I have imposed these Umitationsupon myself partly because in so short a course itwas impossible to deal with the whole of our Lord'steaching, and partly because it was only by isolatingthe ethical side of that teaching that it seemed possibleto discuss with thoroughness and definiteness thequestion whether or not the ethical ideal of our Lordcan still be accepted by the modern world as the expres-sion of its highest Morality, and to ask in what relationthis ideal stands to that continuous teaching of Con-science in which, as I believe, there is no less certainlycontained a revelation — a progressive and evolvingrevelation — of God. That there may seem to be some-thing a little artificial and unnatural in so isolating the

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