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Revelation has always been communicated in poetry and symbol and never in scientific or philosophical terms. It is far more like a man trying to tell us that he is in love than a man trying to explain the physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of falling in love. It is an expression of a lived experience, not an analysis of a reported one. And though theologians rightly explore by reason the meaning of revelation, they can never get away from the symbols in which the revelation is enshrined. If anyone thinks that all this throws doubt upon the value and veracity of revelation, 1 would suggest that he study the place of symbol in all our knowledge. He will be surprised to find how little, if any, is not symbolical.



St Paul was well aware of the approximate character of the doctrines that he firmly believed. "Here we see in a mirror, in a riddle", he says, though he looks forward to the life of the world to come when he will see "face to face" and "know as he is known". It would be well if all theologians had remembered this. He is also well aware of another important truth about doctrines - that so long as they remain simply propositions to which we assent they are a dead letter; they became true for us when they mould our inner experience. Thus the "process of the Christ", His birth, death and resurrection, is the pattern of the life of the believer. The old self is to die and be buried with Him so that the new man in Christ may be born, or that we may be risen with Him. Thomas Carlyle, in one of his earlier essays, remarks that much which has been taken as external fact must be recognized as inner reality. Profoundly true, but St Paul had said it already.


Anyone who professes the Christian faith as his philosophy of life is at a disadvantage compared with those who have some other, merely secular, system of beliefs and values. They can point to themselves and invite us to notice how happy and admirable arc their lives. A Christian can never do that, for he cannot forget the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican and he knows that he must cry, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner". It is a part of his philosophy of life that any good that he does or achieves comes from the grace of God. That need not prevent him, however, from trying to state what elements in his creed have been most effective in his experience and most real to him in times of stress.


  [the Publican“?收税人”:译者对圣经并不熟稔,他只知道publican有一个较早的意义是“收税人”,采用这意义也许跟法利赛人容易搭上关系,而构成这里所含示的故事。

To me St Paul seems to have the answer that I need. There are many things in his teaching that are obscure and, perhaps, so coloured by outworn modes of thought that they mean little to us, but the profound spiritual experience which inspires him is, I believe, true and valid. To live by faith is the centre of his message. Sola fide is a theological slogan with which I could not agree without careful qualifications. I should, for example, strenuously oppose any suggestion that reason has no place in religion. But sola fide is a good maxim for the conduct of life. Faith is not simple belief. It is a state of mind in which the will plays a dominant part. When I make an act of faith, I resolve to "adhere to God" as revealed in Christ; I turn the whole of my self towards Him and I determine that I will remember this turning of my self, so far as I can, throughout the days of my life, whatever the distractions and temptations to forget. No doubt, faith involves accepting certain belief which I cannot demonstrate; it is an act of choice; but it is also a self commitment to the God in whom I believe.

  对于我,圣保罗似乎提供了我需要的答案。在他的教言之中,有多处是意义不明的,也许是历经 过时的思想模式所左右,他的话语对我们寓意不多,但是他那种对人们有所启发的深湛的精神经历,我相信是真实而有效的。“凭信仰而活”是他的信息的中心。“唯有信仰”是神学上的一句口头禅,我必须做过仔细的分辨之后才可以同意。例如,任何人要是说理性在宗教之中没有地位,我是会坚决反对的。但是,“唯有信仰”也是一句适用于人生行为的好格言。信仰不是简单的信念。它是由意志扮演主要角色的一种心理状态。当我按信仰有所作为,我决心要紧随基督所显现的上主;我把整个自己向他交出,我决心在我一生全部的日子里全力记住这样的交出,不管要舍弃多少引诱和诱惑。无疑的,信仰涉及我无法证明的若干信念;这是一种选择;但这也是对于我信仰的上主的一个自我承诺。

[历经 过时:在这两个词之间,译者特别让“经过”之间稍空,以帮助读者阅读时轻松些。《语文建设通讯》曾就这问题提出来讨论过,有的朋友们觉得在这种情形下,无妨在两个词语之间加一个小圆点,作为特别标记,译者觉得后一办法更具明确性。]

Profoundly true, too, is the insight, of St Paul concerning the Christ within. To die with Christ and rise again with Him is not a mere metaphor, and the Apostle's mystical words about being identified with Christ have been tested and found valid in the experience of many believers. To me, at least, they ring true, and I will only say that, if I had kept them more steadily before me, I should have many fewer things in my life to regret and repent than I have.

  同样十分正确的是,圣保罗有关基督在我们内心的高见。与基督同死、与基督一起复活,并不仅仅是比喻的说法,他所说与基督同在的神秘话语,经过许多信徒的实证并发现有效。对于我,他的那些话极为中肯,我现在要说的只是,如果我更为坚定地信守那些话,我这一生需要惋惜和悔恨的事情,会少得多。 (十之八完)

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