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THE life of Saint Anselm is well known. It belongs to the history of England. By nature a recluse and a thinker, he was called upon to play an active part in political life under circumstances of great difficulty. In the midst of these he bore himself with a conscientious up rightness, a quiet dignity and a persistency in the refusal to sacrifice principle to expediency which justified those who called him against his will to the throne of Canterbury: but his heart was elsewhere, in that passionate search for the innermost meaning of his religious belief, of which the history of the Church affords no more striking example than his. The quarrels about investitures, about the relations of Church and State, of Pope and King, which distracted his outward life in his later years, have left no trace in his writings.11 His letters, of course, excepted. In a selection from these, intended to form part of a Library of Devotion, we need not dwell long upon them.
The only one of the works here translated, viii the date of whose composition is known to us, was written before Anselm was archbishop, while he was still living in the seclusion of his abbey at Bec in Normandy. Even of this earlier part of his life information is so ready to hand that I do not propose to give here more than a very brief account of it. The following outline will be sufficient to inform the reader what manner of man the author was, whose devotions are put before him.
Anselm was born in 1033 at Aosta in Piedmont, a Burgundian city of Roman origin, governed by its own prince-bishops, and lying at the Italian end of the road over the pass of the Great St Bernard. Both his parents were of noble rank, and his mother, Ermenburga, was a kinswoman of the counts of Maurienne, from whom the house of Savoy, who now sit on the throne of Italy, are descended. A pious and studious boyhood, during which he twice begged for admission to the monastic life from an abbot of his acquaintance, who twice refused him for fear of offending his father, was succeeded by a time in which indulgence in the pleasures of youth diverted him from more serious courses and called down upon him, after the restraining influence of his mother had been withdrawn by her death, the undiscriminating indignation of ixhis father. Finding that nothing he could do availed to win back his father’s favour, he at last turned his back upon home and kindred and, with one attendant, set out across the Mont Cenis, to seek a new career beyond the Alps; and so came at last to Bec, drawn by the fame of his countryman, the Lombard scholar Lanfranc of Pavia, then a monk at Bec, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury and chief counsellor of William the Conqueror. He was himself professed in the same monastery, being now twenty-seven years of age; and soon, in 1063, succeeded Lanfranc, who was then promoted to be Abbot of Duke William’s newly founded Abbey of St Stephen at Caen, in the office of Prior; in which capacity he was, owing to the great age of the founder-abbot Herlwin, the principal governor of the society.
In 1078 Herlwin died, and Anselm was elected his successor. The conquest of England by the Norman Duke William in 1066 had brought with it an accession to the abbey of property in that country, which it became the duty of Anselm occasionally to visit. On one of these visits it was that he persuaded his old master Lanfranc, who in 1070 had been raised to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, of the propriety, concerning which Lanfranc had doubted, of xrecognizing as a martyr his predecessor Alphege, who had been put to death by the heathen Danes, not expressly for refusing to deny the faith of Christ, but because he would not suffer his flock to be impoverished by providing a ransom for him. Anselm, we are told, defended the right of Alphege to the glorious title of martyr as one who had died for righteousness, as the Baptist for truth, and therefore both alike for Christ, who is very truth and very righteousness.
The visits of Anselm to England led to his being held in great reverence there, and at last to his name being pressed upon the Conqueror’s son and successor William Rufus, when terrified by a sickness thought to be mortal into a resolution of filling the vacant primacy, which since Lanfranc’s death in 1089 he had kept vacant in order to enjoy its revenues. This was in the spring of 1093, and in December of that year Anselm, who much against his will had accepted the king’s nomination, was consecrated to the see of St Augustine. From this time onwards his life was one long struggle in defence of ecclesiastical rights and liberties against the masterful sons of the Conqueror. A very few words on the controversy respecting investitures must suffice in this place: but a few are needful, xibecause Anselm’s part therein may sometimes alienate from him the sympathy of those in our days who do not comprehend what was thought to be at stake.
As with many of the important struggles of history, an external consideration of this controversy suggests that it was trivial and vexatious; and it is necessary to enter into the point of view of an age very different from our own, to understand its true inner nature. No doubt the conferring of certain ornamental symbols of ecclesiastical dignity is a matter which by itself seems hardly worth the public distress which ensued from the quarrel concerning it; no doubt the predecessor of Anselm had accepted investiture from the predecessor of William Rufus, and the Conqueror had exercised with the consent of Lanfranc, and without the active interference even of so energetic a pope as Gregory VII. himself, the famous Hildebrand, privileges the right to which Anselm would not recognise in the Conqueror’s successors; no doubt, as has been pointed out,22 See for example Rémusat, Anselme de Canterbury, p. 366. the Roman See ultimately conceded all over Europe to Christian princes, in substance if not in form, what was refused to them by the popes during xiithe quarrel of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Did then Anselm waste his life on an unimportant contest? I think not. If some of the most enlightened minds of those times took uncompromisingly the Roman side in the quarrel, undeterred very often by a clear perception that the actual policy of the Roman See was often inconsistent and even venal, it was that they saw in the independence of the ecclesiastical order under its Roman chief the security and the one security for the maintenance of the Christian moral code in a half-barbarous age of violence and sensuality. The feudal customs of the European nations, however deeply modified by Christian influence, rested on no intelligible Christian or even rational principle; and so not only the canon law but the Roman civil law also, with its claims to rationality and universality, might well seem sacred and divine in contrast to the chaotic “common law” of the nations. Thus in the next century after Anselm’s the great scholar John of Salisbury could compare the sin of King Stephen in suppressing Vacarius’ lectures on the Roman law in England and in confiscating Archbishop Theobald’s copy of Justinian with the impieties of Uzziah and Antiochus Epiphanes. There was no guarantee that a king would uphold xiiithe moral law of Christendom; or William the Conqueror, who for all his masterfulness cared above all things for the authority and effectiveness of the church in his dominions, might be succeeded by a reckless and godless son like William Rufus: whereas, though the series of popes would no less display inequalities of moral excellence, the whole raison d’être, as we say, of a pope’s position, whatever his personal character, was that of the upholder of the Christian law; it rested ultimately not, like a king’s, on force, but on general veneration for Christianity, however imperfectly understood. The example of the subjection of the Church at Constantinople to the civil power was a warning not to be forgotten against a like submissiveness in the west.33 Rémusat, Anselme de Canterbury, p. 348. We must not forget moreover that the people often recognized the cause of the clergy and the Church as their own, as that of the oppressed against the oppressor; this was probably the secret of Becket’s popularity, which had nothing to do, as the French historian Augustin Thierry supposed, with a Saxon origin which was not his; and the like popularity attended Anselm, who was not even born in the country; thus on occasion of a demonstration of popular sympathy with xivhim Eadmer his biographer observes, “We rejoiced therefore and took heart, trusting that, as the Scripture saith, The voice of the people is the voice of God.”44 Historia Novorum, i. (Migne, Patrologia Latina, clix. col. 385 B.
Thus much I have said about the controversy concerning investitures, because the quarrel about the rights of King and Pope occupied so important a place in Anselm’s life that some understanding of that quarrel is indispensable to a sympathetic appreciation of the man.
In 1097 Anselm, against the will of the king, but, as he conceived, in accordance with his duty, left England to visit the Pope, Urban II., who received him with great honour, and carried him with him the following year to the council of Bari, where Anselm disputed against the representatives of the Greek Church on the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Ghost, as to which, in consequence of his work, addressed to Pope Urban, On the Trinity and the Incarnation of the Word he was already reckoned a high authority, and on which he afterwards composed an important treatise, which we still possess. In 1099 he was present at another council at Rome, where severe censures were pronounced against those who, being laymen, xvgave or who received from laymen investiture with ecclesiastical office. Anselm, with his already high notions of papal authority, was by his assent to the decrees of this council plunged deeper than before into the controversy of which I spoke above. He had quarrelled with William Rufus, mainly because he held that it was his right and duty to recognize the authority of him whom he judged the lawful pope in England, apart from any royal recognition, while the king, taking advantage of the circumstance that there were two claimants of the Roman See, maintained that the recognition in his dominions of any particular person as pope belonged to the royal prerogative. He had not hitherto objected to all investiture with ecclesiastical office by lay men, and had himself done homage to William Rufus for the archbishopric of Canterbury as Lanfranc had done to the Conqueror. But now, when recalled by Henry I. on William’s death in the year after the council of Rome—1100,—he refused this homage, and in 1103 left England again to take counsel of Urban’s successor, Paschal II. He was reconciled with Henry,—who was not, like his brother, a hater and wilful oppressor of the Church,—in 1106, partly through the mediation of Adela, Countess of Blois, the king’s sister and mother of his xvisuccessor Stephen, one of many devout women of rank, among whom Henry’s own queen, Maud, must be reckoned, who were profoundly attached to Anselm as a spiritual guide. He returned to England in 1107, died on April 21, 1109, at Canterbury, and was buried in his cathedral church next to the tomb of his master, friend, and predecessor, Lanfranc.
Such is the bare outline of this great man’s life. Of the beauties of his character, his self-devotion, his gentleness, his equanimity, his kindliness and tolerance, I have said nothing; they will be found set forth in the contemporary Latin life by Eadmer, with the charm that only an admiring friend can give to the story of one he has known and almost worshipped. For modern biographies of Anselm I would refer to the French scholar Charles de Rémusat’s lucid and thoughtful monograph Anselme de Canterbury, to the full and learned, if somewhat diffuse and fanciful work of Mr Martin Rule, Life and Times of St Anselm, to Dean Church’s well-known sketch, to the careful article by Dean Stephens in the Dictionary of National Biography, and the charmingly-written chapter by Mr J. R. Green in his Short History of the English People.
The first treatise of Anselm’s which I have xviichosen to translate is the greatest of all his works, the Proslogion, as he called it, or Address to God, in which he sought to show how by one irrefragable argument the being of God could be demonstrated against all who should say with the fool in the Psalms,55 Ps. xiv. 1.There is no God. It was not without much hesitation that I included the Proslogion in this selection. For it deals with an abstruse subject-matter, and though it deals with it in a style singularly simple, and almost wholly free from technical expressions, it is beyond doubt difficult to understand without a considerable effort of attention and thought. But it seemed to me that no selection from Anselm’s devotional works could be considered representative, which did not include this very remarkable writing. For the justification of including Anselm among the masters of devotional literature lies in this, that no one has ever more strikingly shown how the disinterested search for metaphysical truth can be offered as a service of passionate devotion to God. The saying of Hegel, Das Denken ist auch Gottesdienst, might be the motto of the most part of Anselm’s writings. The more richly endowed and many-sided intelligence of Augustine, in virtue of the xviiivery variety and breadth of its interests, illustrates less remarkably than that of Anselm “the saint as philosopher.” The story of Anselm’s death bed tells its own tale of the dominance of speculative interest in his spiritual life. “Palm Sunday had dawned,” so Eadmer reports it, “and we were sitting round him according to our custom; one of us therefore said to him, ‘Lord and Father, we understand that you are leaving the world and going to your Lord’s Easter court.’ He answered, ‘If indeed this is His will, I will gladly obey His will. But if He should rather please that I should still remain among you at least long enough to be able to finish the working-out of a problem, which I am revolving in my mind, concerning the origin of the soul, I could gratefully accept it, in that I know not whether any will finish it, when I am gone.’”66 Eadmer, Vita Anselmi, ii. 7, § 72 (Migne, P.L., clviii. col. 115 B). The Proslogion, the principal monument of such a character, may thus be regarded as a work of high devotional as well as of high philosophical value. As a work of devotion it seemed to me not to need an elaborate philosophical commentary; I have, however, added in a supplementary Note some few observations upon the reasoning which it xixcontains. The reader who cares enough for metaphysical speculation to follow them with attention will not fail to go further. It is probably true that the “ontological argument,” as the argument of the Proslogion afterwards came to be called, is open to objection in the form which Anselm gave to it; and that, even if it does prove something, it does not prove all which Anselm intended it to prove. The contemporary criticism of the monk Gaunilo in his Apology for the Fool Anselm himself answered in a treatise which is a model at once of metaphysical acuteness and of controversial courtesy; Kant’s criticism of the same argument, as it was revived at the inauguration of modern philosophy by Descartes, is a graver matter, and, however we may think that Kant may be answered on this point or on that, no doubt he showed the bankruptcy of all merely logical arguments to prove the existence of the God of religion. But the devotional value of the Proslogion does not stand or fall with the adequacy or inadequacy of the argument it contains; a perception of the inadequacy of the argument may even lend it a greater devotional value. Devout persons will often welcome a supposed proof of the truth of what they believe, less because they need proof for themselves, than because they wish to be able xxto silence objectors; and, if only the objectors are silenced, they are often not very careful to examine too closely the means by which it is done. Thus they fall into the error of the scholasticism which roused the indignation of Bacon, the scholasticism which seeks not the truth but only the refutation of an opponent. They became impatient with the philosophical enquirer who has an eye for difficulties, and is never done grubbing up the roots of his convictions. And the philosophical enquirer is apt on his side to fall out of sympathy with the devout, and all the more so if they adorn their doctrine with the language of a philosophy which is to them no more than apologetics. In Anselm’s Proslogion, however, he will not find apologetics but genuine enquiry; yet this enquiry is conducted in a spirit of the most profound devotion. This may seem a strange claim to make for a treatise whose alternative title is Faith in search of Understanding, and which contains the famous saying, Credo ut intelligam, I believe in order that I may understand. Is not this the very opposite of free enquiry, to make faith the starting-point? I do not think so. A philosophy of religion is as little attainable without a religious experience, which the philosopher first has, and then endeavours to xxiunderstand, as a philosophy of aesthetic without an experience denied to one who is insusceptible to the beauty of nature and of art. It is this living religious experience, rather than merely the acquiescence in an authoritative dogma, that Anselm has in view when he speaks of faith. No doubt to him, living in an age when only one creed was practically presented to his mind, the distinction between these two meanings of faith was not obvious as it is to us. But I do not believe that an acquaintance with the writings of Anselm at first hand will allow a candid reader to see in him a mere apologist. He has much of the same originality and independence of mind, the same aptitude for introspection, as the reviver of his argument, Descartes; and as a philosopher of religion he has the advantage of the modern thinker in a far richer and more thorough religious experience with which to start.77 I have discussed the comparison and contrast of Anselm and Descartes in a paper on Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God, published in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 1895 (vol. iii. No. 2, pp. 25 foll.).
The story of the composition of the Proslogion is thus told by Anselm’s companion and biographer, the monk Eadmer. “After this it came into his mind to enquire whether it would xxiibe possible to demonstrate by one short argument alone what is believed and taught concerning God, namely, that He is eternal, unchangeable, almighty, everywhere wholly present, in comprehensible, righteous, gracious, merciful, true, truth, goodness, righteousness, and so forth, and how all these attributes are one in Him. And this matter, as he told us, he found one of great difficulty. For the consideration thereof not only often robbed him of appetite and of sleep but, which vexed him more, distracted the direction of his thoughts to God at matins and at other services of the Church. When therefore he perceived this, and could not fully achieve the discovery of that which he sought, he concluded that this train of thought was a temptation of the devil, and strove to dismiss it from his mind. But the more he laboured to do this, the more did the thought haunt his mind. And all at once one night during the office of nocturns88 I so translate inter nocturnas vigilias with Mr Rule. But it may mean only “during the watches of the night.” the grace of God shone into his heart, and the thing which he sought became plain to his understanding, and filled all his inward parts with an infinite joy and delight. Considering then in himself that the same reasoning xxiiiif it were known to others might be pleasing to them also, he did not grudge them this satisfaction, but wrote down his argument on tablets and delivered them to a brother of the monastery for more careful custody. When some days had passed, he asked this brother for the tablets. Search was made in the place where they had been put by, but they could not be found. The brethren were asked after them, lest one of them should have taken them, but in vain. Nor could any one be found who acknowledged that he had known anything of them. Then Anselm wrote another discourse concerning the same matter on other tablets, and delivered them to the same brother to be kept more carefully. The brother laid them up in the innermost part of his bed-chamber, and the next day, though he had no suspicion of any mischief, found them lying about on the floor in front of his bed, the wax broken into fragments and scattered on every side. The tablets were picked up, the wax collected, and brought to Anselm; he put together the wax and, though with difficulty, recovered the writing. But fearing lest it should altogether be lost through carelessness, he commanded that it should be transcribed on parchment in the name of the Lord. And so he composed a book, xxivsmall in bulk but great in the importance of the wise judgments and subtle reasonings which it contained, and this he called Proslogion or The Address. For herein he addresses either him self or God throughout. Now this work came into the hands of a certain person, who was not a little dissatisfied with some of the reasoning therein, and thinking it insufficient, desired to refute it. He composed therefore a treatise against it and wrote it at the end of Anselm’s own work. This was then sent to Anselm by a friend; and when he had considered it, he was glad, and thanking his censor, he devised an answer to the censure, and adding that to the treatise which had been sent him, he returned to the friend who had sent it the censure and the reply together, in the hope that not only this friend but others who desired to possess his book, would wish it so, that to his own work should be added the censure of his reasoning, and to the censure his own answer thereunto.”99 The whole of this last sentence is somewhat obscure; but the general meaning is plain.1010 Eadmer, Vita Anselmi, i. 3, § 26 (Migne, P.L, clviii. col. 63, 64).
The critic whose adverse judgment of his treatise Anselm received with such pleasure (showing thereby how far more he was in love xxvwith the truth than with his own opinion) is known to have been Gaunilo, a monk of Marmoutier, whose work under the title An Apology for the Fool (that is, for the Psalmist’s fool who said, There is no God) is still found in editions of Anselm following the Proslogion, and followed in its turn by Anselm’s rejoinder.
To the Proslogion I have added renderings of certain of the Meditations, Prayers, and Letters of Anselm. My choice has been made with a view to the devotion of Anglican Christians of to-day, for whom this series is primarily intended. I have thus not chosen for translation meditations and prayers, the language of which would be entirely uncongenial to modern Anglican feeling, prayers (for example) addressed to St Mary or to other saints. But what I have chosen, I have given in full.
I take this opportunity of acknowledging with grateful thanks the help which I have received in the preparation of this book for the press from my sister, Miss Mildred Webb, and from my friend, Mr Guy Kendall, of Magdalen College, who read the whole of it in proof.
St Anselm does not appear to me to rank, except in one kind, that of which the Proslogion is an example, among the great masters of devotional literature. His meditations and prayers xxviare often indeed characteristic of their writer. The student of his theological and philosophical works will often notice in them phrases which show how deeply his thought entered into his personal religion and coloured its expression. They are in spirit exceedingly free from any taint of superstition; in many of his prayers addressed to saints there is a perfunctoriness and conventionality which show that, while he could use on occasion without misgiving the language of a view which made of God the image of an earthly king whose ear might be gained by the means of powerful favourites at court, this kind of devotion remained somewhat external to his inner life, the truer expression of which is found else where in prayers which breathe a genuinely evangelical spirit of trust in God through Christ alone.
The second Meditation (which I have included in this selection) is especially admired by Mr Rule. It is a striking example of mediæval piety in one of its most characteristic moods. In it a profound horror of sin and an intimate sense of personal sinfulness find expression under the vividly realised scriptural imagery of a great assize. Those who are acquainted with the history of Luther will remember how the great thought of justification by faith alone came to him as a deliverance from the spirit of distrustful and xxviiunloving anxiety which was a natural temptation of the monastic life. Isolated from the ordinary occupations, duties, and trials of human life, spending much time in self-examination, inspired with the ambition to exemplify as perfectly as possible in his own person a certain somewhat one-sided ideal of living, which was deliberately regarded as an ideal in itself higher than that of the secular Christian, the earnest religious had much to invite him now to a reliance on his own works, now (by reaction) to an unrelieved horror of the judgment which must be passed by a perfectly just Judge on an obedience so imperfect as self-examination showed him that his was. Thus the terror of the Lord has perhaps more than its due place in works of the class to which St Anselm’s second Meditation belongs. Nevertheless this fear and horror of judgment is a normal stage in the development of the Christian life. Even where the Christian life has advanced beyond it, the moods of the Christian, like those of other men, are not always on a level with his highest spiritual attainment. The sincere expression of an important part of spiritual experience does not quickly lose its value, even though its form have fallen out of fashion. It has often been remarked that the middle ages, in their preoccupation with the xxviiithought of Christ as Judge, sometimes forgot to think of Him as Saviour, and therefore devised other mediators to stand between the guilty sinner and His wrath; and many representations of the Last Judgment in art give support to this observation. But however this may be, in this work of St Anselm’s there is no such matter; he flies for refuge only to the Judge who is at the same time his Saviour.
The same is even more emphatically true of our third (Gerberon’s sixth) Meditation. This is written in a style more simple than Anselm’s is wont to be, but it is well attested for his, and is conceived entirely in his spirit. Through whatever changes the language of Christian devotion has passed or is yet to pass, the revelation of God in the life and death of Jesus Christ has been and is to thousands of Christians as to Anselm here, a revelation at once of sin condemned and salvation freely offered, in the light of which no thought either of the bargaining which derogates from the holiness of God, or of the merit which gives an occasion to human pride, can for a moment find a place.
Our fourth Meditation (Gerberon’s eleventh) is thoroughly characteristic of Anselm. In great part it embodies the doctrine of the Atonement which is set forth at length in his famous theological xxixwork Cur Deus Homo. That doctrine is open to the charge of conceiving the whole matter from a legal standpoint, which gives to the notions connected with the owing and paying of debts an ultimate and absolute value that they cannot possess. It holds, however, an important place in the history of theology by reason of its decided rejection of the views which some had put forward that the death of Christ was a price paid to the devil, or even a trick played upon him. The latter view Anselm sees clearly to be inconsistent with holding God to be the Truth; it is indeed a low and heathenish notion, already before the days of Christianity condemned by Plato, who made it a canon of theology to attribute no deceitfulness to God. But even the theory that a price due to the devil had to be paid was false; for it gave to the power of evil an independent place over against God which believers in One God could not consistently concede to it. These theories Anselm rightly puts aside; but his own theory also falls short of what is required in a doctrine of the Atonement. It does not turn upon the love of God, but, as was said above, upon a legal conception of His justice. Distinctions between the divine and the human nature, between the Redeemer and the redeemed, are more present to his thought xxx(though not to his feeling) than the unity in which the religious experience of reconciliation and atonement finds them overcome. Yet it must not be forgotten that the Christian sense of forgiveness differs from that which might be enjoyed by one who thought of God as a kindly being who forgets, rather than forgives, what is done amiss, just in this very point, that for the Christian full justice (as we say) is done to the forgiven sin; it is faced, known, “naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Thus forgiven, it is indeed, as sin, taken away; whereas, were it only passed over and ignored, it might be there still, poisoning the air; we should not really have done with it. A deep sense of sin and a genuine faith in its remission go together. Hence the readiness of the true penitent to bear the punishment of his sin, so he may be rid of the sin; the false penitent desires less to be rid of the sin than to escape the punishment. It is this aspect of the experience of atonement to which Anselm’s language about a debt to be paid aims at giving expression.
Into the history of these devotional writings of Anselm I have not thought it my business to enter here. It will be found perhaps most fully treated by Mr Rule; or in the “Historical Notice ” prefixed by Dr Pusey to a translation xxxiof Meditations and Prayers addressed to the Holy Trinity and our Lord Jesus Christ by S. Anselm, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury, which was published by Parker at Oxford in 1856. I have translated from Gerberon’s edition, which is reprinted in Migne’s Patrologia Latina. The translation is a new one; but it is not in all cases the first offered to English readers. In 1708 Dean Stanhope of Canterbury published a book called Pious Breathings, Being the Meditations of St Augustine, his Treatise of the Love of God, Soliloquies and Manual, to which are added Select Contemplations from St Anselm and St Bernard: and in 1856 appeared the Oxford translation mentioned above, under the auspices of Dr Pusey. To this last I have occasionally been indebted for a word or phrase.
The devotion of St Anselm is of course the devotion of his age and circumstances. He was a monk, and his Christianity has a monastic cast; those who use this series for the most part take their share in the occupations of family, social, civil life, and their Christianity is affected by their experience as Anselm’s was by his. The tone neither of his Christianity nor of theirs is exactly that of the New Testament. In one point the Christianity of the middle ages and that of our own time are alike contrasted with that of xxxiithe Apostles; both recognise, ours, however, more completely than that of the middle ages, that the scientific life and the political life are spheres in which Christians may be expected to move. In another point our Christianity is contrasted with the mediæval and the apostolic, in that there, and especially in mediæval Christianity, the imagination dealt more confidently with the hopes and fears of a future life than is easy or possible for us. But, in spite of all this, there is a fundamental likeness among all the products of the Christian spirit: in all there is a contempt of the world which is not proud or bitter, but humbled by the consciousness of sin, and sweetened by the love of Christ. We have much reason to fear the warning addressed to those who say Lord, Lord, and do not the things that He said; but even to say Lord, Lord, to Christ, is to own a standard and an ideal which are not those of this world. The discontent with what falls short of that standard and that ideal, which it is the function of devotional writing to arouse, is aroused by Anselm in tones which are, as I have already suggested, especially worthy the attention of those whose natural bent is towards philosophical reflection. Two opposite dangers beset such persons: the indulgence in contemplation, which weakens the sense of personal xxxiiisinfulness; and the fear of consequences, which refuses to follow the argument, in Plato’s words, whithersoever it leads us. The study of Anselm, a pattern of humble penitence and of indefatigable intellectual curiosity, should discourage both these perilous tendencies, and encourage at once sound thought and genuine devotion.12
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