|C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature.|
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
|From a Letter to Rev. Charles Kingsley|
|By Frederick Denison Maurice (18051872)|
MARCH 9TH, 1849. I HAVE done your bidding and read Froudes book (the Nemesis of Faith), with what depth of interest I need not tell you. It is a very awful, and I think may be a very profitable book. Yes, God would not have permitted it to go forth if he did not mean good to come out of it. For myself, I have felt more than ever since I read it how impossible it is to find any substitute for the old faith. If after all that experience, a man cannot ask the God of Truth to give him his spirit of truth, to guide him into all truth, what is left but just what he describes,doubt; not merely of existence, but of doubt itself; doubt whether every superstition may not be real, every lie a fact? It is undoubted that such a state of mind is possible,yes, is near to all of us; Froude is no false witness. But if it is possible, there must be some one to bring us out of it; clearly the deliverance is not in ourselves. And what is the Bible after all but the history of a deliverer; of God proclaiming himself as mans deliverer from the state into which he is ever ready to sink,a state of slavery to systems, superstitions, the world, himself, atheism? The book is good for this: it brings us to the root of things; and there is nothing, or there is God. It is good for this: it shows that God must come forth and do the work for us, and that all the religions we make for ourselves, whatever names we give them, are miserable mutilated attempts to fashion him after our image, with yet such fragments of truth as show that we are formed in his.