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Religion (2)

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

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RELIGION.—The Lat. word religio did not come into Christian usage until in the 4th cent. Lactantins (Instit. iv. 28) wrote, ‘Religion is the link which unites man to God.’ The reason was that the implications of the word were altogether external, and, in accordance with the Roman genius, almost administrative. But the Greeks were equally unable to supply a word which would correspond with the Christian faith and its fruits. θρησκεία, translation ‘religion’ in Acts 26:5 and James 1:26 f., was also spiritually threadbare, and suggested nothing more than the ceremonial side of public worship. With this history behind the word, religion has come to be a complex conception; but for the present purpose it may perhaps be defined as the soul’s response to the spiritual revelation by which it is illumined, kindled, and moved. With some the revelation does not pass beyond the mind, with others it calls for little more than an indulgence of feeling, with others, again, it brings out only a discipline of obedience. But in true religion all three elements are present. ‘It includes the whole energy of man as reasonable spirit’ (Fairbairn, Phil. [Note: Philistine.] of Religion, p. 201). The key-words of religion then are: (1) revelation, (2) response.

1. Religion as revelation.—The quality of the response depends on the character of the revelation. Religion must always mean something different from what it was before the revelation of grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ. Of what that consisted will appear later. Meantime it might be noted that the factor of revelation has been minimized in the workings of thought during the last two centuries, in reaction, no doubt, from the emphasis on external authority, not only in the Catholic Church, but in older theology generally. On the one hand, in the 18th cent. there was, if one may say so, an artificial construction of ‘natural’ religion, in which Christ was put out of court. On the other hand, in the 19th cent. the rise of psychological and humanitarian interests has created a tendency to lose the revelation in the response. Thus Schleiermacher in his Reden über die Religion has nothing to say on religious authority, and in a chapter on the nature of religion practically identifies revelation with intuition and original feeling (p. 89). Ritschl, again, in his theory of value-judgments, throws the weight of authority on the soul’s response; while Sabatier, in his beautiful study of the genesis of religion, speaks of the spirit attaching itself to its principle, and seems also liable to the dangers of subjectivity (Outlines of Phil. [Note: Philistine.] of Rel. p. 28). The alteration of standpoint is thus expressed by F. D. Maurice (Life, i. p. 340):

The difficulty in our day is to believe in a revelation as our fathers did.… Our mind’s bear a stronger witness than the minds of our forefathers did to the idea of a revelation: so strong a witness, that we think it must have originated in them. We cannot think it possible that God has actually manifested Himself to us, because the sense of a manifestation is so near to us that we think it is only our sense, and has no reality corresponding to it.’

But no good end is served by minimizing that side of religion that is ‘not ourselves.’ For although, as Oman so well shows (Vision and Authority, p. 81), ‘the supreme religious fact is the individual whose capacity of vision is the channel of authority,’ yet if truth is ultimately one, it must proceed by way of revelation from some objective source. ‘Faith,’ says Dorner (Syst. of Chr. Doctrine, i. p. 133), ‘does not wish to become a mere relation to itself, or to its representation and thought. That would be simply a monologue: faith desires a dialogue.’ See, further, art. Fact and Theory.

Now, revelation finds its way to the soul both mediately and immediately. And it is essential to give due consideration to both these channels of religious authority. Jesus Christ, who is the norm of religion as well as the focus of revelation, made use of both. It must not be overlooked that He took over without hesitation the general conception of God’s nature, kingdom, and law which He inherited from the teaching of home (Luke 2:51), synagogue (Luke 4:16), and Scriptures. The OT provided Him not only with illustrations of His own original thought (Matthew 12:39-42, Luke 4:25-27), but with canons of judgment and standards of authority (Matthew 5:18), and even with personal assurance in the time of moral temptation (Matthew 4:4; Matthew 4:7; Matthew 4:10) and of mortal weakness (Matthew 27:46, Luke 23:46). But this attitude of our Lord must not be misunderstood. In leaning on the Word of God in the Scriptures of His people, He was not compromising the Church on critical questions. Moreover, it cannot be affirmed that He gave any guarantee of an infallible book. On the contrary, He handled it with perfect freedom, treating it as a guide but not as a goal (Matthew 5:21 ff.). Its validity for Him, as for us, lay in its being the chosen testimony of those who gave the best response that was in them to the revelation they received, and so became witnesses of the truth.* [Note: The communication of religion, says Schleiermacher (op. cit. p. 150), is not to be sought in books. In this medium, too, much of the pure impression of the original production is lost.]

So far our Lord behaved Himself as the ‘root and offspring of David.’ But He was also ‘the bright and morning star.’ And religion was His by a revelation that was immediate, as well as by that which was mediated. Into the secrets of His sublime self-consciousness as the beloved Son of God and one with the Father we cannot penetrate. But His words are before us, with all their august claim: ‘It was said by them of old, … but I say unto you’ (Matthew 5:21 f. etc.); ‘Ye search the Scriptures, … but ye will not come to me,’ etc. (John 5:39 f). The immediacy of revelation to Him is fully declared in Matthew 11:27 ‘All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no one knoweth the Son save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him.’ None has ever challenged that solitary claim. Yet it is notable that our Lord did not shut up His followers to a revelation that is mediated even through His own blessed words.

‘Christ found men everywhere ready to receive Him as a Rabbi. On the authority of other people they would accept anything. But He insisted on basing what He taught on the authority of their own hearts and consciences. To this end He spoke in parables that they might not understand on any other conditions’ (Oman, Vision and Authority, p. 104).

And it is for us to remember that Christ has not left us His revelation, as it were, on deposit. The partial records of His life, first in the flesh and then in the spirit, which are ours through the NT, are certainly means whereby the Divine grace and truth are mediated to us, providing, indeed, our canon of spiritual judgment. But we are to trust also to the immediacy of Divine access to our minds, knowing that there is a Spirit to lead us into all the truth, enabling us to judge all things and approve those that are excellent (John 16:13, 1 Corinthians 2:15, Philippians 1:10).* [Note: ‘Not every person has religion who believes in a sacred writing, but only the man who has a lively and immdiate understanding of it, and who therefore, so far as he himself is concerned, could most easily do without it’ (Schleiermacher, op. cit. p. 91).] Thus Christianity is like an ever new commandment, being true in Him and in us (1 John 2:8). See, further, art. Revelation.

2. Religion as response.—The primary response to the revelation of God may be said to run on three lines, the sense of (a) dependence, (b) estrangement, (c) obligation.

(a) The soul’s response in a sense of dependence. The soul, when it comes to itself, finds itself solitary and orphaned. The issues of life run up into eternity, and the soul first proves it is awakened by crying out for the living God. The fact that man is a spiritual being soon asserts itself in the life that is not wholly preoccupied with things temporal. In the words of St. Augustine (Confess.), ‘Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it find its rest in Thee.’ Thus begins a ‘commerce, a conscious and willed relation, into which the soul in distress enters with the mysterious power on which it feels that it and its destiny depend’ (Sabatier, Outlines, p. 27). This need of security and rest is perfectly met by Christ. He satisfies the soul’s sense of dependence by drawing it to Himself. In His Divine Personality men find their long-sought God. To the soul once awakened there is no resting-place except in the eternal Christ, ‘the same yesterday and to-day and for ever.’

‘Holding His hand, my steadied feet

May walk the air, the seas;

On life and death His smile falls sweet,

Lights up all mysteries.

Stranger nor exile can I be

In new worlds where He leadeth me.’

(b) A second primary response of the soul in religion is a sense of sin, or separation. Religion has found expression in sacrifices on account of the well-nigh universal instinct that something must be offered in order to avert the wrath or unkindness of the Deity, or at least to restore happy relations between the worshipper and the world that is beyond his control. Whether they were originally offered in fear of malevolent deities, or in commemoration of the ghosts of the departed, or to renew the covenant of a tribe with its proper deity, does not greatly matter. Suffice it that the sacrifice is intended to restore communion with God in such a way that in the place of guilt and fear there may come a sense of favour through prosperity and peace.

This strong sense of a separateness that may be bridged is more or less efficient in all human response to the Unseen, and is the basis on which the higher religions rest. The danger is that the interest may run out towards the material sacrifice and its attendant rites in such a way that the end is forgotten in the means. But here Christ meets the supreme need of reconciliation in the only worthy way conceivable. On the cross the soul’s reliance can be securely planted. It so suffices that all other sacrifices can only be put aside as mistaken, superfluous, and vain (Hebrews 13:15), unless they are the sacrifices of empty hands and a full heart.

(c) There is a third primary strand of religion in the sense of obligation, by which the soul is brought under a supreme law and purpose. There is a constraining influence in all religion, in addition to the feeling of dependence and the sense of estrangement. Religion really begins for us, says Lotze, ‘with a feeling of duty’ (Phil. [Note: Philistine.] of Religion, p. 150). It involves a committal of the life, the framing of its career on lines that often lie athwart the obvious advantages of life. The Indian fakir or Buddhist monk is moved strongly by this sense of obligation, and observes conditions of consecration even to the crippling of his life. But here, again, the faith of Jesus Christ fulfils this need of the soul in a way that liberates and enlarges it. He made that absolute claim on the soul’s affection and the life’s service to which so many have thankfully responded. He knew human nature too well to ask for a partial surrender, and an obedience in outward things which is hard and toilsome. But His yoke is easy, because it brings the whole life, love, and strength under contribution to a reasonable service; so that ‘I ought’ is transmuted into ‘I must,’ and the struggling life of division becomes the soaring life of dedication. And as prayer is the expression of the sense of dependence, and sacrifice of the consciousness of estrangement, so the sacrament is the symbol of the sense of obligation.

3. True religion embodied in Jesus Christ.—It is evident from this brief analysis of religion on its responsive side, that Christ has the key to all its intimacies, because the meanings of religion are consummated in Himself. The religion which we believe to be universal and everlasting in its character is just the fuller knowledge and obedience of Christ. He is His own religion, and therefore He not only harmonizes the various feelings of religion, as we have just seen, by satisfying the desire for security, for reconciliation, and for authority, but He also brings into unity its various forms. There are three chief forms which religion has taken, corresponding to the emotional, intellectual, and volitional elements in human nature: (a) the ritual side of religion, presided over by the priests, (b) the speculative side, represented by the theologians and philosophers, and (c) the legal or customary side, typified by the office of the scribes. All these departments are resolved in the NT into the headship and hegemony of Christ. He did not incorporate His religion in a hierarchic order (as with the Buddhists), or in philosophical books (as with the Brahmans), or in codes and customs (as with the Confucians and Muhammadans). He is Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) for all humanity.

(a) Christ is the perfect expression of the Temple symbolism (Hebrews 9:11 f.). His name is the shrine (Matthew 18:20, cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17); His will is the altar (Matthew 25:40, cf. 2 Corinthians 8:5). In His self-surrender He is the sacrifice (Matthew 26:36 ff., cf. Hebrews 10:10); in His self-manifestation He is the priest (Matthew 11:27, John 14:6). ‘Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession … let us draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace’ (Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 4:16). (b) Christ is also the final secret of revelation. The Spirit’s work was to be focussed on Himself (John 16:14 f.), for to know Him is to know the Father (John 14:9), and that is life eternal (John 17:3). This is a wisdom that the rulers of this world never knew (1 Corinthians 2:6 ff.), though prophets and kings have desired to look into it (Luke 10:24). For the mystery of God is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). (c) Christ is, moreover, ‘the end of the law unto righteousness to everyone that believeth’ (Romans 10:4). His spirit of love is a law of liberty to His disciples (John 13:17; John 15:14, cf. James 1:23). Keeping the commandments is consummated in following Him (Mark 10:21), i.e. walking in love (Ephesians 5:1 f.); for love is the fulfilling of law (Romans 13:10) and solves the complicated problems of social life (Romans 14:18).

The three provinces of religious manifestation correspond with the three primary sensibilities of the religious life. The religious philosopher seeks to rationalize the consciousness of dependence on some theistic basis. The priest comes into being through the urgent need of reconciliation. The scribe meets the desire for some authority amid the tangled questions of practical life. Thus Christianity, which is essentially a life hid with Christ in God, is always in danger of being drawn down to the level of those who would reduce religion to a ritual of worship, a system of thought, or a fashion of life. But the fact that Jesus Christ is His own religion is the one guarantee of religion arriving at perfection. For it may truly be said that religion is in its essence the consciousness of personal being under the eye of the eternal Personality. It is surely too vague to define it, with Max Müller, as a ‘perception of the infinite,’ or, with Schleiermacher, as the ‘immediate consciousness of the eternal in the temporal.’ Lotze gives the following propositions as the characteristic convictions of the religious mind: (1) Moral laws embody the will of God; (2) individual finite spirits are not products of nature, but are children of God; (3) reality is more and other than the mere course of nature, it is a Kingdom of God. In each of these propositions the note of personality is sounded, both subjectively and objectively. And Ritschl states one side of this truth strongly when he explains religion out of ‘the necessity which man feels of maintaining his personality and spiritual independence against the limitations of Nature.’ But surely the religious man is at equal pains to assure himself of an all-embracing Personality at the heart of things, to which his own soul can return and be at rest (Psalms 116:7). That being so, we can see that only through Christ, the God-man, can this twofold consciousness be securely maintained, and the balance kept true between the objective and subjective elements in religion.

In Christ is perfected both the revelation and the response. He is the focus of revelation and the norm of religion. In fact, ‘He reveals most because He awakens most’ (Matheson, Growth of Spirit of Christianity, p. 8). He enables us to see in God our Father, because He quickens in us a filial consciousness and behaviour. As for His revelation of Godhead, men have seen in Him that interwoven authority of love and law, of truth and grace, which gives fulness of meaning to the conceptions of a Father in heaven, free will and human immortality. As for the response which He has awakened in men, they have been won to His ideal through His fulfilment of filial and fraternal obligations in His sacrificial life. The authority and the obedience were alike pre-eminent in the Cross. Thence came the kindling spark which made the Person of Christ a vital religious fact for humanity. Man had thought of himself as being in some sense on a cross because of the presence of suffering, sin, and death; and, so far as he was religious, tried by ritual to propitiate the Almighty, by philosophy to vindicate His ways, by methods of conduct to reduce the mischief of evil. But in Christ crucified man has found God Himself on the cross; and with Him there, there can be no injustice in suffering, no victory for sin, no sting in death.

4. Characteristics of Christ’s religion.—Having set this corner-stone, it only remains to mention seven characteristics of the religion which is derived from Jesus Christ and lives upon Him still.

(1) Christ has made religion personal in its authority. He is the only and absolute Lord. His spirit has broken and broken again the bands of ecclesiastical systems which multiply the scruples of conscience. The authority which is not as that of the scribes has been in more or less effectual operation through all the history of Christendom. Unlearned men, the weak and foolish of this world, have more than held their own in the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 4, cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26 ff.). His people have gone forth, indifferent to praise or blame, favour or persecution, and even suspending their judgment of one another on the ground that to their own Master they stand or fall, before whose judgment-seat all must appear (Romans 14:4; Romans 14:10 f.). Heroic exploits have been undertaken and meanest duties performed by those whose one desire is to be well-pleasing unto Him (Hebrews 13:21) whom not having seen they love (1 Peter 1:8). Christianity loses its secret when it forgets the glorious egotism of the Master, who not only made Himself a law to the disciples who accompanied His ministry (Matthew 23:10), but gave Himself back to them as more than ever theirs after death (Matthew 28:20, John 20, 21). Christian mysticism is not only in place, it is imperative for the believer. Though he may not rise to the full height of St. Paul’s ‘Not I, but Christ’ (Galatians 2:20), he must be in conscious touch with his Lord.

(2) Christ made religion human in its sympathy. It was stamped upon the remembrance of His disciples that He went about doing good. Jesus presented to a world much given to religiosity the problem of One who reserved His devotions for the solitude of night, and filled His days, including the Sabbaths, with helping the needy and the outcast. True, He went up to the national Feasts (John 2:13 etc.), but He was most Himself when He provided a miraculous meal of His own (Mark 6:35 ff. ||). True, He revered the Temple; but the occasions of His triumphs, and the moment of His transfiguration, were in secular places (Matthew 17:1 ff. ||). True, He was subject unto the Law; but He made its requirements a secondary consideration when the cause of humanity was at stake (Mark 2:23 ff; Mark 3:1 ff.). These incidents are typical of the attitude of Jesus towards religious duty. He denounced the advocates of ‘Corban,’ and those who ‘devoured widows’ houses and for a pretence made long prayers’; demanded ‘mercy instead of sacrifice, and reconciliation rather than ritual’ (Matthew 9:13; Matthew 5:23 f.); and declared that the service of the ‘little ones,’ the least of His brethren, was the true way of honouring the Father in heaven (Matthew 10:40; Matthew 25:40, John 13:14). Slowly the disciples were weaned from their contempt for the multitude, their disparagement of women and children (Mark 10:13 ff.), their vexation with men like Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus who interfered with their religious plans (Mark 10:48, Luke 19:7). At last they deserved the name of ‘League of Pity.’ Their first social experiment was to have all things in common (Acts 4:34). Their first economic problem was how to distribute alms most wisely to the widows (Acts 6:1). They invented a new virtue called ‘brotherly love,’ in which all shared who were of the faith, whatever their status or nationality. The revolution which Christ effected in humanizing the conception of religion may be clearly seen in a study of words. There were three Greek words for service: διακονία, which was used for service from man to man, chiefly reserved for slaves; λειτουργία, which was used for the service of a man to the commonwealth; and λατρεία, for the service rendered to the gods.

The Christian consciousness rejected the last word; but adopted and hallowed the other two, which stood for human, not Divine service. They appear in ‘deacon’ and ‘liturgy’ respectively: the third word is left embedded in idolatry.—See, further, below, § 5.

(3) Christ has made religion moral in its character, because He is pre-eminently the Saviour from sin. Religion under other auspices may mean almost anything but a moral conflict and victory. It may even, as in various Asiatic beliefs, spread its sanction over immorality. And even where there is a high ethical standard, as in Confucianism, goodness is rather a codified substitute for religion than the vital substance of it. Nowhere but in Christianity is love for God identified with a passion for real righteousness and inmost cleansing. Not that there is no teaching to this end in the OT. On the contrary, it is the main burden of the prophets. And John the Baptist stood in the true succession when he turned religion into the terms of a repentant and reconstructed life. But it too easily became a means to an end, so that personal righteousness became subsidiary to national rights. And goodness became so degenerate in the chair of the scribes that their ideal was not so much rectitude as correctitude.

But the religion of the Sermon on the Mount breathes out a holiness which consumes every lesser thing, and carries the moral imperative into the inmost recesses of the soul. It is a remarkable thing that Jesus brought so few charges of sin against the irreligious people. If one might venture on a reason, it is that sin itself, i.e. the enthronement of self against God, meant so much to Him that He let other things pass in order to strike at the Prince of this world (John 12:31; John 16:11). His life and spiritual presence have made men conscious of sin without the aid of any catalogue of transgressions. On the other hand, Christ’s conception of morality was always warm and positive, on the ground that ‘no virtue is safe that is not enthusiastic’ (Seeley, Ecce Homo, ch. i.). Every token of self-abandonment in humility, faith, and love drew forth His admiration, whether it was the quiet confidence of the centurion (Matthew 8:5 ff., Luke 17:2 ff.), the moral enthusiasm of the young ruler (Mark 10:17 ff. ||), the sacrificial giving of the poor widow (Mark 12:42 ff. ||), or the overflowing repentance of the woman who wept at His feet (Luke 7:36 ff.). Every human trait that escaped the imprisonment of self was in the eyes of Jesus the material of true religion. And it was a radiant goodness, unconscious and unlaboured, in the early Christians that chiefly arrested the attention of the world.

(4) Christ has made religion individual in its responsibility, because He is the Lord of all. Religion always tends to congeal into a system. There is, of course, a solidarity of mankind, of which religion must take note, of which indeed it is an expression. Sin is a common inheritance, and redemption, too, is a universal fact. It is on this truth that the gospel of Jesus rests. But starting from this truth the gospel lays a test and an obligation on individuals as such. There is no safeguard in being a son of Abraham or a disciple of Moses without giving personal credence, allegiance, and service, μόνον πίστευε is the keyword by which the individual escapes from ‘an evil and adulterous generation,’ and all that threatens the full exercise of personality. From the beginning Jesus kept the multitude at the distance of a strait gate and a narrow way, which can be traversed only by one at a time, by the giving of the will, and the crucifying of the self. And what is true of entrance to the Kingdom holds good of its final appointments. Punishment will be proportioned to knowledge and reward to fidelity. With all that He Himself brought, Jesus did not allow men to take anything for granted, but bade them ‘watch, as if on that alone hung the issue of the day.’

(5) Christ has made religion spiritual in its essence, because ‘the Lord is the Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 3:17) as God is Spirit (John 4:24). Religion is apt to become a mere sediment of observance, a shell from which the life has departed. It certainly was so in the days of our Lord; it threatens to be so still. The words in vogue among the Greeks were λατρεία and θρησκεία, the latter word being translated ‘religion’ in Acts 26:5 and James 1:26 f., the former ‘service’ in John 16:2, Romans 9:4; Romans 12:1, Hebrews 9:1; Hebrews 9:6. But they only connoted rites of worship and sacrifice: they were old bottles which could not be entrusted with the new spirit of Christianity. St. James uses θρησκεία almost ironically when he says that ‘pure religion and undefiled is visiting widows in their affliction and keeping one’s self uspotted from the world.’ St. Paul (Romans 12:1) takes up λατρεία and θυσία with equal scorn, qualifying the former word with λογική and the latter with ζῶσα, before allowing them to be applicable to Christianity.

It was in this way that Christ Himself had dealt with the prayers and almsgiving of pious Jews (Matthew 6:1-8); and the whole tendency of professional separatism among the Pharisees (cf. Pro Christo et Ecclesia). His Father ‘sees in secret,’ and ‘seeks those to be his worshippers who worship in spirit and in truth’ (Matthew 6:4, John 4:24). By resting religion on spirituality, and giving free access by the Spirit to the Father (Romans 5:5, Ephesians 2:18), the whole basis of the sacrificial system was undermined and sacerdotalism became an anachronism.

‘The society as founded by Christ has in its collective being a priestly character, but is without an official priesthood. It has no temple save the living man; no sacrifices save those of the spirit and the life’ (Fairbairn, Christ in Modern Theology, p. 49).

(6) Christ made religion independent in its action, because, as He once said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36). Being the expression of His eternal Spirit, Christianity has never been stamped or cramped by the language of a given period or the fashion of a particular people. His gospel, being a secret of personal experience, has received a most varied witness even within the NT. It has continually broken through language and escaped. And while the Christian religion in its purity has always been able to shake itself free from the encumbrance of a theological system, it has been no less an independent spirit in regard to other departments of human activity. It has been free to enter and often able to renew them without being itself captured in the process. Political movements, new departures in art, and even advances in science, have as often as not received guidance and support from the Christian spirit. But to none of them has it remained captive, because it moves by right in a higher realm. Thus ‘age cannot stale its infinite variety.’ It exercises the royal prerogative of lending to all, but borrowing nothing in return, and so is free for every emergency which history unfolds in the whole compass of humanity.

(7) Christ has made religion missionary in its outlook, because He is the Saviour of the world. Christianity is not equipped like, e.g., Muhammadanism, for capturing whole tribes at once, for it is not, properly speaking, nationalist in its range. But it stands alone among all other religions in its power to emancipate individuals, and ultimately to regenerate society in every race under the sun. It takes secure root in the universal soil of human needs and possibilities, and with such a grip it is in command of the future. All it waits for is that its professors should realize that it increases in proportion as it is given away, and is truly known only by those who try to make it known.

Christ always believed in small beginnings, but His hope was ever set on great and triumphant conclusions. That He was alone, with nowhere to lay His head, did not trouble Him, for He knew that when He was lifted up from the earth He would draw all men unto Him (John 12:32). That His disciples were not wise and learned satisfied Him perfectly, because He saw them (metaphorically speaking) seated on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. That none of the rulers believed on Him did not perturb Him greatly; for He foresaw the time when they would come from the east and the west, the north and the south, to sit down in the Kingdom of God (Luke 13:29). His parables suggested His confidence in the irresistible contagion of the lives of men who had once been won for the Kingdom. He likened His word to a fire (Luke 12:49), to leaven (Matthew 13:33), to a seed (v. 19), so potent is its influence on life and on society. And because the needs of the world are so great and deep, and the fields white unto harvest, He gave Himself up wholly to the ingathering work of the Father, and, more than that, He laid it as a last charge and responsibility upon His disciples that they should go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Matthew 28:19).

Literature.—Bruce, Chief End of Rev.; Herrmann, Com. with God, and his art. ‘Religion’ in PRE [Note: RE Real-Encyklopädie fur protest. Theologic und Kirche.] 3 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] ; Illingworth, Div. Immanence, and Personality Hum. and Div.; Gore, BL [Note: L Bampton Lecture.] ; Newman Smyth, The Rel. Feeling; Coleridge, Aids to Reflection (esp. Introd. Aphor. xxiii); Menzies, Hist. of Rel.; Schleiermacher, Reden übér die Rel. [English translation by Oman]; Orr, Chr. View of God and the World; Caird, Fundamental Ideas of Christianity; Harnack, What is Christianity?; Martineau, Studies in Christianity; Seeley, Ecce Homo; Oman, Vision and Authority; Forrest, Authority of Christ.

A. N. Rowland.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Religion (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament.​dictionaries/​eng/​hdn/​r/religion-2.html. 1906-1918.