The dominion of the good principle begins, and a sign that "the 
kingdom of God is at hand"1 appears, as soon as the basic principles of its 
constitution first become public; for (in the realm of the understanding) that 
is already here whose causes, which alone can bring it to pass, have 
generally taken root, even though the complete development of its 
appearance in the sensuous world is still immeasurably distant. We have 
seen that it is a duty of a peculiar kind (officium sui generis) to unite oneself 
with an ethical commonwealth, and that, if everyone alike heeded his own 
private duty, we could indeed infer therefrom an accidental agreement of all 
in a common good, even without the necessity of a special organization; yet, 
[we must admit] that such a general agreement cannot be hoped for unless a 
special business be made of their union with one another for the self-same 
end, and of the establishment of a COMMONWEALTH under moral laws, 
as a federated and therefore stronger power to withstand the assaults of the 
evil principle (for otherwise men are tempted, even by one another, to serve 
this principle as its tools). We have also seen that such a commonwealth, 
being a KINGDOM OF GOD, can be undertaken by men only through 
religion, and, finally, in order that this religion be public (and this is 
requisite to a commonwealth), that it must be represented in the visible form 
of a church; hence the establishment of a church devolves upon men as a 
task which is committed to them and can be required of them.
	To found a church as a commonwealth under religious laws seems, 
however, to call for more wisdom (both of insight and of good disposition) 
than can well be expected of men, especially since it seems necessary to 
presuppose the presence in them, for this purpose, of the moral goodness 
which the establishment of such a church has in view. Actually it is 
nonsensical to say that men ought to found a kingdom of God (one might as 
well say 
of them that they could set up the kingdom of a human monarch); God 
himself must be the founder of His kingdom. Yet, since we do not know 
what God may do directly to translate into actuality the idea of His 
kingdom--and we find within ourselves the moral destiny to become citizens 
and subjects in this kingdom--and since we do know how we must act to fit 
ourselves to become members thereof, this idea, whether it was discovered 
and made public to the human race by reason or by Scripture, will yet 
obligate us to the establishment of a church of whose constitution, in the last 
analysis, God Himself, as Founder of the kingdom, is the Author, while 
men, as members and free citizens of this kingdom, are in all cases the 
creators of the organization Then those among them who, in accordance 
with this organization, manage its public business, compose its 
administration, as servants of the church, while the rest constitute a co-
partnership, the congregation, subject to their laws.
	Now since a pure religion of reason, as public religious faith, 
permits only the bare idea of a church (that is, an invisible church), and 
since only the visible church, which is grounded upon dogmas, needs and 
is susceptible of organization by men, it follows that service under the 
sovereignty of the good principle cannot, in the invisible church, be 
regarded as ecclesiastical service, and that this religion has no legal 
servants, acting as officials of an ethical commonwealth; every member of 
this commonwealth receives his orders directly from the supreme legislator. 
But since, with respect to all our duties (which, collectively, we must at the 
same time look upon as divine commands); we also stand at all times in the 
service of God, the pure religion of reason will have, as its servants (yet 
without their being officials) all right-thinking men; except that, so far, they 
cannot be called servants of a church (that is, of a visible church, which 
alone is here under discussion). Meanwhile, because every church erected 
upon statutory laws can be the true church only so far as it contains within 
itself a principle of steadily approximating to pure rational faith (which, 
when it is practical, really constitutes the religion in every faith) and of 
becoming able, in time, to dispense with the churchly faith (that in it which 
is historical), we shall be able to regard these laws, and the officials of the 
church established upon them, as constituting a [true] service of the church 
(cultus) so far as these officials steadily direct their teachings and 
regulations toward that final end (a
public religious faith). On the other hand, the servants of a church who do 
not at all have this in view, who rather interpret the maxim of continual 
approximation thereto as damnable, and allegiance to the historical and 
statutory element of ecclesiastical faith as alone bringing salvation, can 
rightly be blamed for the pseudo- service of the church or of what is 
represented through this church, namely, the ethical commonwealth under 
the dominion of the good principle. By a pseudo-service (cultus spurius) is 
meant the persuasion that some one can be served by deeds which in fact 
frustrate the very ends of him who is being served. This occurs in a 
commonwealth when that which is of value only indirectly, as a means of 
complying with the will of a superior, is proclaimed to be, and is substituted 
for, what would make us directly well-pleasing to him. Hereby his ends are 



	Religion is (subjectively regarded) the recognition of all duties as 
divine commands.* That religion in which I must know in advance that 
something is a divine command in order to recognize
it as my duty, is the revealed religion (or the one standing in need of a 
revelation); in contrast, that religion in which I must first know that 
something is my duty before I can accept it as a divine injunction is the 
natural religion. He who interprets the natural religion alone as morally 
necessary, i.e., as duty, can be called the rationalist (in matters of belief; if 
he denies the reality of all supernatural divine revelation he is called a 
naturalist; if he recognizes revelation, but asserts that to know and accept it 
as real is not a necessary requisite to religion, he could be named a pure 
rationalist; but if he holds that belief in it is necessary to universal religion, 
he could be named the pure supernaturalist in matters of faith.
	The rationalist, by virtue of his very title, must of his own accord 
restrict himself within the limits of human insight. Hence he will never, as a 
naturalist, dogmatize, and will never contest either the inner possibility of 
revelation in general or the necessity of a revelation as a divine means for 
the introduction of true religion; for these matters no man can determine 
through reason. Hence the question at issue can concern only the reciprocal 
claims of the pure rationalist and the supernaturalist in matters of faith, 
namely, what the one or the other holds as necessary and sufficient, or as 
merely incidental, to the unique true religion.
	When religion is classified not with reference to its first origin and 
its inner possibility (here it is divided into natural and revealed religion) but 
with respect to its characteristics which make it capable of being shared 
widely with others, it can be of two kinds: either the natural religion, of 
which (once it has arisen) everyone can be convinced through his own 
reason, or a learned religion, of which one can convince others only 
through the agency of learning (in and through which they must be guided). 
This distinction is very important: for no inference regarding a religion's 
qualification or disqualification to be the universal religion of mankind can 
be drawn merely from its origin, whereas such an inference is possible from 
its capacity or incapacity for general dissemination, and it is this capacity 
which constitutes the essential character of that religion which ought to be 
binding upon every man.
	Such a religion, accordingly, can be natural, and at the same time 
revealed, when it is so constituted that men could and ought to have 
discovered it of themselves merely through the use of their reason, although 
they would not have come upon it so early, or
over so wide an area, as is required! Hence a revelation thereof at a given 
time and in a given place might well be wise and very advantageous to the 
human race, in that, when once the religion thus introduced is here, and has 
been made known publicly, everyone can henceforth by himself and with 
his own reason convince himself of its truth. In this event the religion is 
objectively a natural religion, though subjectively one that has been 
revealed; hence it is really entitled to the former name. For, indeed, the 
occurrence of such a supernatural revelation might subsequently be entirely 
forgotten without the slightest loss to that religion either of 
comprehensibility, or of certainty, or of power over human hearts. It is 
different with that religion which, on account of its inner nature, can be 
regarded only as revealed. Were it not preserved in a completely secure 
tradition or in holy books, as records, it would disappear from the world, 
and there must needs transpire a supernatural revelation, either publicly 
repeated from time to time or else enduring continuously within each 
individual, for without it the spread and propagation of such a faith would 
be impossible.
	Yet in part at least every religion, even if revealed, must contain 
certain principles of the natural religion. For only through reason can 
thought add revelation to the concept of a religion, since this very concept, 
as though deduced from an obligation to the will of a moral legislator, is a 
pure concept of reason. Therefore we shall be able to look upon even a 
revealed religion on the one hand as a natural, on the other as a learned 
religion, and thus to test it and decide what and how much has come to it 
from one or the other source. 
	If we intend to talk about a revealed religion (at least one so 
regarded) we cannot do so without selecting some specimen or other from 
history, for we must devise instances as examples in order to be intelligible, 
and unless we take these from history their possibility might be disputed. 
We cannot do better than to adopt, as the medium for the elucidation of our 
idea of revealed religion in general, some book or other which contains such 
examples, especially one which is closely interwoven with doctrines that are 
ethical and consequently related to reason. We can then examine it, as one 
of a variety of books which deal with religion and virtue on the credit of a 
revelation, thus exemplifying the procedure, useful in itself, of searching 
out whatever in it may be for us a
pure and therefore a universal religion of reason. Yet we do not wish 
thereby to encroach upon the business of those to whom is entrusted the 
exegesis of this book, regarded as the summary of positive doctrines of 
revelation, or to contest their interpretation based upon scholarship. Rather 
is it advantageous to scholarship, since scholars and philosophers aim at 
one and the same goal, to wit, the morally good, to bring scholarship, 
through its own rational principles, to the very point which it already 
expects to reach by another road. Here the New Testament, considered as 
the source of the Christian doctrine, can be the book chosen. In accordance 
with our intention we shall now offer our demonstration in two sections, 
first, the Christian religion as a natural religion, and, second, as a learned 
religion, with reference to its content and to the principles which are found 
in it.



	Natural religion, as morality (in its relation to the freedom of the 
agent) united with the concept of that which can make actual its final end 
(with the concept of God as moral Creator of theca world), and referred to a 
continuance of man which is suited to this end in its completeness (to 
immortality), is a pure practical idea of reason which, despite its 
inexhaustible fruitfulness, presupposes so very little capacity for theoretical 
reason that one can convince every man of it sufficiently for practical 
purposes and can at least require of all men as a duty that which is its effect. 
This religion possesses the prime essential of the true church, namely, the 
qualification for universality, so far as one understands by that a validity for 
everyone (universitas vel omnitudo distributiva), i.e., universal unanimity. 
To spread it, in this sense, as a world religion, and to maintain it, there is 
needed, no doubt, a body of servants (ministerium) of the invisible church, 
but not officials (officiales), in other words, teachers but not dignitaries, 
because in the rational religion of every individual there does not yet exist a 
church as a universal union (omnitudo collectiva), nor is this really 
contemplated in the above idea.
	Yet such unanimity could not be maintained of itself and hence could 
not, unless it became a visible church, be propagated in its universality; 
rather is this possible only when a collective unanimity, in other words a 
union of believers in a (visible) church 
under the principles of a pure religion of reason, is added; though this 
church does not automatically arise out of that unanimity nor, indeed, were 
it already established, would it be brought by its free adherents (as was 
shown above) to a permanent status as a community of the faithful (because 
in such a religion none of those who has seen the light believes himself to 
require, for his religious sentiments, fellowship with others). Therefore it 
follows that unless there are added to the natural laws, apprehensible 
through unassisted reason, certain statutory ordinances attended by 
legislative prestige (authority), that will still be lacking which constitutes a 
special duty of men, and a means to their highest end, namely, their 
enduring union into a universal visible church; and the authority mentioned 
above, in order to be a founder of such a church, presupposes a realm of 
fact1 and not merely the pure concepts of reason.
	Let us suppose there was a teacher of whom an historical record (or, 
at least, a widespread belief which is not basically disputable) reports that he 
was the first to expound publicly a pure and searching religion, 
comprehensible to the whole world (and thus natural). His teachings, as 
preserved to us, we can in this case test for ourselves. Suppose that all he 
did was done even in the face of a dominant ecclesiastical faith which was 
onerous and not conducive to moral ends (a faith whose perfunctory 
worship can serve as a type of all the other faiths, at bottom merely 
statutory, which were current in the world at the time). Suppose, further, 
we find that he had made this universal religion of reason the highest and 
indispensable condition of every religious faith whatsoever, and then had 
added to it certain statutes which provided forms and observances designed 
to serve as means of bringing into existence a church founded upon those 
principles. Now, in spite of the adventitiousness of his ordinances directed 
to this end, and the elements of arbitrariness2 in them, and though we can 
deny the name of true universal church to these, we cannot deny to him 
himself the prestige due the one who called men to union in this church; and 
this without further adding to this faith burdensome new ordinances or 
wishing to transform acts which he had initiated into peculiar holy practices, 
required in themselves as being constituent elements of religion.
	After this description one will not fail to recognize the person
who can be reverenced, not indeed as the founder of the religion which, free 
from every dogma, is engraved in all men's hearts (for it does not have its 
origin in an arbitrary will),1 but as the founder of the first true church. For 
attestation of his dignity as of divine mission we shall adduce several of his 
teachings as indubitable evidence of religion in general, let historical records 
be what they may (since in the idea itself is present adequate ground for its 
acceptance); these teachings, to be sure, can be no other than those of pure 
reason, for such alone carry their own proof, and hence upon them must 
chiefly depend the attestation of the others.
	First, he claims that not the observance of outer civil or statutory 
churchly duties but the pure moral disposition of the heart alone can make 
man well-pleasing to God (Matthew V, 20-48); that sins in thought are 
regarded, in the eyes of God, as tantamount to action (V, 28) and that, in 
general, holiness is the goal toward which man should strive (V, 48); that, 
for example, to hate in one's heart is equivalent to killing (V, 22); that injury 
done one's neighbor can be repaired only through satisfaction rendered to 
the neighbor himself, not through acts of divine worship (V, 24), and that, 
on the point of truthfulness, the civil device for extorting it, by oath,* does 
violence to respect for truth itself (V, 34-37); that the natural but evil 
propensity of the human heart
is to be completely reversed, that the sweet sense of revenge must be 
transformed into tolerance (V, 39, 40) and the hatred of one's enemies into 
charity (V, 44). Thus, he says, does he intend to do full justice to the 
Jewish law (V, 17); whence it is obvious that not scriptural scholarship but 
the pure religion of reason must be the law's interpreter, for taken according 
to the letter, it allowed the very opposite of all this. Furthermore, he does 
not leave unnoticed, in his designations of the strait gate and the narrow 
way, the misconstruction of the law which men allow themselves in order to 
evade their truce moral duty and, holding themselves immune through 
having fulfilled their churchly duty (VII, 13).* He further requires of these 
pure dispositions that they manifest themselves also in works (VII, 16) and, 
on the other hand, denies the insidious hope of those who imagine that, 
through invocation and praise of the Supreme Lawgiver in the person of His 
envoy, they will make up for their lack of good works and ingratiate 
themselves into favor (VII, 21). Regarding these works he declares that 
they ought to be performed publicly, as an example for imitation (V, 16), 
and in a cheerful mood, not as actions extorted from slaves (VI, 16); and 
that thus, from a small beginning in the sharing and spreading of such 
dispositions, religion, like a grain of seed in good soil, or a ferment of 
goodness, would gradually, through its inner power, grow into a kingdom 
of God (XIII, 31-33). Finally, he combines all duties (1) in one universal 
rule (which includes within itself both the inner and the outer moral relations 
of men), namely: Perform your duty for no motive1 other than 
unconditioned esteem for duty itself, i.e., love God (the Legislator of all 
duties) above all else; and (2) in a particular rule, that, namely, which 
concerns man's external relation to other men as universal duty: Love every 
one as yourself, i.e., further his welfare from good-will that is immediate 
and not derived from motives of self-advantage. These commands are not 
mere laws of virtue but precepts of holiness which we ought to pursue, and 
the very pursuit of them is called virtue.
	Accordingly he destroys the hope of all who intend to wait upon this 
moral goodness quite passively, with their hands in their laps, as though it 
were a heavenly gift which descends from on high. He who leaves unused 
the natural predisposition to goodness which lies in human nature (like a 
talent entrusted to him) in lazy confidence that a higher moral influence will 
no doubt supply the moral character and completeness which he lacks, is 
confronted with the threat that even the good which, by virtue of his natural 
predisposition, he may have done, will not be allowed to stand him in stead 
because of this neglect (XXV, 29).
	As regards men's very natural expectation of an allotment of 
happiness proportional to a man's moral conduct, especially in view of the 
many sacrifices of the former which must be undergone for the sake of the 
latter, he promises (V,11, 12) a reward for these sacrifices in a future 
world, but one in accordance with the differences of disposition in this 
conduct between those who did their duty for the sake of the reward (or for 
release from deserved punishment) and the better men who performed it 
merely for its own sake; the latter will be dealt with in a different manner. 
When the man governed by self-interest, the god of this world, does not 
renounce it but merely refines it by the use of reason and extends it beyond 
the constricting boundary of the present, he is represented (Luke XVI, 3-9) 
as one who, in his very person [as servant], defrauds his master [self-
interest] and wins from him sacrifices in behalf of "duty." For when he 
comes to realize that sometime, perhaps soon, the world must be forsaken, 
and that he can take along into the other world nothing of what he here 
possessed, he may well resolve to strike off from the account what he or his 
master, self-interest, has a legal right to exact from the indigent, and, as it 
were, thereby to acquire for himself bills of exchange, payable in another 
world. Herein he acts, no doubt, cleverly rather than morally, as regards the 
motives of such charitable actions, and yet in conformity with the moral 
law, at least according to the letter of that law; and he can hope that for this 
too he may not stand unrequited in the future.* Compare with
this what is said of charity toward the needy from sheer motives of duty 
(Matthew XXV, 35-40), where those, who gave succor to the needy 
without the idea even entering their minds that such action was worthy of a 
reward or that they thereby obligated heaven, as it were, to recompense 
them, are, for this very reason, because they acted thus without attention to 
reward, declared by the Judge of the world to be those really chosen for His 
kingdom, and it becomes evident that when the Teacher of the Gospel spoke 
of rewards in the world to come he wished to make them thereby not an 
incentive to action but merely (as a soul-elevating representation of the 
consummation of the divine benevolence and wisdom in the guidance of the 
human race) an object of the purest respect and of the greatest moral 
approval when reason reviews human destiny in its entirety.
	Here then is a complete religion, which can be presented to all men 
comprehensibly and convincingly through their own reason; while the 
possibility and even the necessity of its being an archetype for us to imitate 
(so far as men are capable of that imitation) have, be it noted, been made 
evident by means of an example without either the truth of those teachings 
nor the authority and the worth of the Teacher requiring any external 
certification (for which scholarship or miracles, which are not matters for 
everyone, would be required). When appeals are here made to older 
(Mosaic) legislation and prefiguration, as though these were to serve the 
Teacher as means of confirmation, they are presented not in support of the 
truth of his teachings but merely for the introduction of these among people 
who clung wholly, and blindly, to the old. This introduction, among men 
whose heads, filled with statutory dogmas, have been almost entirely 
unfitted for the religion of reason, must always be more difficult than when 
this religion is to be brought to the reason of people uninstructed but also 
unspoiled. For this reason no one should be astonished to find an 
exposition, that adapted itself to the prejudices of those times, now puzzling 
and in need of pains-taking exegesis; though indeed
it everywhere permits a religious doctrine to shine forth and, in addition, 
frequently points explicitly to that which must be comprehensible and, 
without any expenditure of learning, convincing to all men.



	To the extent to which a religion propounds, as necessary, dogmas 
which cannot be known to be so through reason, but which are none the 
less to be imparted uncorrupted (as regards essential content) to all men in 
all future ages, it must be viewed (if we do not wish to assume a continuous 
miracle of revelation) as a sacred charge entrusted to the guardianship of the 
learned. For even though at first, accompanied by miracles and deeds, this 
religion, even in that which finds no confirmation in reason, could obtain 
entry everywhere, yet the very report of these miracles, together with the 
doctrines which stand in need of confirmation through this report, requires 
with the passage of time the written, authoritative, and unchanging 
instruction of posterity.
	The acceptance of the fundamental principles of a religion is faith par 
excellence (fides sacra). We shall therefore have to examine the Christian 
faith on the one hand as a pure rational faith, on the other, as a revealed faith 
(fides statutaria). The first may be regarded as a faith freely assented to by 
everyone (fides elicita), the second, as a faith which is commanded (fides 
imperata). Everyone can convince himself, through his own reason, of the 
evil which lies in human hearts and from which no one is free; of the 
impossibility of ever holding himself to be justified before God through his 
own life-conduct, and, at the same time, of the necessity for such a 
justification valid in His eyes; of the futility of substituting churchly 
observances and pious compulsory services for the righteousness which is 
lacking, and, over and against this, of the inescapable obligation to become 
a new man: and to become convinced of all this is part of religion.
	But from the point where the Christian teaching is built not upon 
bare concepts of reason but upon facts, it is no longer called merely the 
Christian religion, but the Christian faith, which has been made the basis of 
a church. The service of a church consecrated to such a faith is therefore 
twofold: what, on the one hand, must be rendered the church according to 
the historical faith, and,
on the other, what is due it in accordance with the practical and moral faith 
of reason. In the Christian church neither of these can be separated from the 
other as adequate in itself; the second is indispensable to the first because 
the Christian faith is a religious faith, and the first is indispensable to the 
second because it is a learned faith.
	The Christian faith, as a learned faith, relies upon history and, so far 
as erudition (objectively) constitutes its foundation, it is not in itself a free 
faith (fides elicita) or one which is deduced from insight into adequate 
theoretical proofs. Were it a pure rational faith it would have to be thought 
of as a free faith even though the moral laws upon which it, as a belief in a 
divine Legislator, is based, command unconditionally--and it was thus 
presented in Section One. Indeed, if only this believing were not made a 
duty, it could be a free theoretical faith even when taken as an historical 
faith, provided all men were learned. But if it is to be a valid for all men, 
including the unlearned, it is not only a faith which is commanded but also 
one which obeys the command blindly (fides servilis), i.e., without 
investigation as to whether it really is a divine command.
	In the revealed doctrines of Christianity, however, one cannot by 
any means start with unconditional belief in revealed propositions (in 
themselves hidden from reason) and then let the knowledge of erudition 
follow after, merely as a defense, as it were, against an enemy attacking it 
from the rear; for if this were done the Christian faith would be not merely a 
fides imperata, but actually servilis. It must therefore always be taught as at 
least a fides historice elicita; that is learning should certainly constitute in it, 
regarded as a revealed credal doctrine, not the rearguard but the vanguard, 
and then the small body of textual scholars (the clerics), who, incidentally, 
could not at all dispense with secular learning, would drag along behind 
itself the long train of the unlearned (the laity) who, of themselves, are 
ignorant of the Scripture (and to whose number belong even the rulers of 
world-states). But if this, in turn, is to be prevented from happening, 
recognition and respect must be accorded, in Christian dogmatic, to 
universal human reason as the supremely commanding principle in a natural 
religion, and the revealed doctrine, upon which a church is founded and 
which stands in need of the learned as interpreters and conservers, must be 
cherished and cultivated as merely a means, but a most 
precious means, of making this doctrine comprehensible, even to the 
ignorant, as well as widely diffused and permanent.
	This is the true service of the church under the dominion of the good 
principle; whereas that in which revealed faith is to precede religion is 
pseudo-service. In it the moral order is wholly reversed and what is merely 
means is commanded unconditionally (as an end).! Belief in propositions of 
which the unlearned can assure themselves neither through reason nor 
through Scripture (inasmuch as the latter would first have to be 
authenticated) would here be made an absolute duty (fides imperata) and, 
along with other related observances, it would be elevated, as a compulsory 
service, to the rank of a saving faith even though this faith lacked moral 
determining grounds of action. A church founded upon this latter principle 
does not really have servants (ministri), like those of the other organization, 
but commanding high officials (officiales). Even when (as in a Protestant 
church) these officials do not appear in hierarchical splendor as spiritual 
officers clothed with external power--even when, indeed, they protest 
verbally against all this--they yet actually wish to feel themselves regarded 
as the only chosen interpreters of a Holy Scripture, having robbed pure 
rational religion of its merited office (that of being at all times Scripture's 
highest interpreter) and having commanded that Scriptural learning be used 
solely in the interest of the churchly faith. They transform, in this way, the 
service of the church (ministerium) into a domination of its members 
(imperium) although, in order to conceal this usurpation, they make use of 
the modest title of the former. But this domination, which would have been 
easy for reason, costs the church dearly, namely, in the expenditure of great 
learning. For, "blind with respect to nature, it brings down upon its head 
the whole of antiquity and buries itself beneath it."1 
	The course of affairs, once brought to this pass, is as follows. First, 
that procedure, wisely adopted by the first propagators of the teaching of 
Christ in order to achieve its introduction among the people, is taken as a 
part of religion itself, valid for all times and peoples, with the result that one 
is obliged to believe that every Christian must be a Jew whose Messiah has 
come. Yet this does not harmonize with the fact that a Christian is really 
bound by no law of Judaism (as statutory), though the entire Holy Book of 
this people is none the less supposed to be accepted faithfully
as a divine revelation given to all men.  Yet the authenticity of this Book 
involves great difficulty (an authenticity which is certainly not proved 
merely by the fact that passages in it, and indeed the entire sacred history 
appearing in the books of the Christians, are used for the sake of this 
proof). Prior to the beginning of Christianity, and even prior to its 
considerable progress, Judaism had not gained a foothold among the 
learned public, that is, was not yet known to its learned contemporaries 
among other peoples; its historical recording was therefore not yet subjected 
to control and so its sacred Book had not, on account of its antiquity, been 
brought into historical credibility. Meanwhile, apart from this, it is not 
enough to know it in translations and to pass it on to posterity in this form; 
rather, the certainty of churchly faith based thereon requires that in all future 
times and among all peoples
there be scholars who are familiar--with the Hebrew language (so far as 
knowledge is possible of a language in which we have only a single book). 
And it must be regarded as not merely a concern of historical scholarship in 
general but one upon which hangs the salvation of mankind, that there 
should be men sufficiently familiar with Hebrew to assure the true religion 
for the world.
	The Christian religion has had a similar fate, in that, even though its 
sacred events occurred openly under the very eyes of a learned people, its 
historical recording was delayed for more than a generation before this 
religion gained a foothold among this people's learned public; hence the 
authentication of the record must dispense with the corroboration of 
contemporaries. Yet Christianity possesses the great advantage over 
Judaism of being represented as coming from the mouth of the first Teacher 
not as a statutory but as a moral religion, and as thus entering into the 
closest relation with reason so that, through reason, it was able of itself, 
without historical learning, to be spread at all times and among all peoples 
with the greatest trustworthiness. But the first founders of the Christian 
communities1 did find it necessary to entwine the history of Judaism with it; 
this was managed wisely in view of the situation at the time, and perhaps 
with reference to that situation alone; thus this history too has come down to 
us in the sacred legacy of Christianity. But the founders of the church 
incorporated these episodical means of recommendation among the essential 
articles of faith and multiplied them either with tradition, or with 
interpretations, which acquired legal force from the Councils or were 
authenticated by means of scholarship. As for this scholarship, or its 
extreme opposite, the inner light to which every layman can pretend, it is 
impossible to know how many changes the faith will still have to undergo 
through these agencies; but this cannot be avoided so long as we seek 
religion without and not within us.



	The one true religion comprises nothing but laws, that is, those 
practical principles of whose unconditioned necessity we can become 
aware, and which we therefore recognize as revealed through pure reason 
(not empirically). Only for the sake of a church, of which there can be 
different forms, all equally good, can there be statutes, i.e., ordinances held 
to be divine, which are arbitrary and contingent as viewed by our pure 
moral judgment. To deem this statutory faith (which in any case is restricted 
to one people and cannot comprise the universal world-religion) as essential 
to the service of God generally, and to make it the highest condition of the 
divine approval of man, is religious illusion* whose consequence is 
pseudo-service, that is, pretended honoring of God through which we work 
directly counter to the service demanded by God Himself.

	1. Concerning the Universal Subjective Ground of the Religious 
	Anthropomorphism, scarcely to be avoided by men in the theoretical 
representation of God and His being, but yet harmless enough (so long as it 
does not influence concepts of duty), is highly dangerous in connection 
with our practical relation to His will, and
even for our morality; for here we create a God for ourselves,  and we 
create Him in the form in which we believe we shall be able most easily to 
win Him over to our advantage and ourselves escape from the wearisome 
uninterrupted effort of working upon the innermost part of our moral 
disposition. The basic principle which man usually formulates for himself in 
this connection is that everything which we do solely in order to be well-
pleasing to the Godhead (provided it does not actually run counter to 
morality, though it may not contribute to it in the very least) manifests to 
God our willingness to serve Him as obedient servants, well-pleasing to 
Him through this very obedience; and that thus we also serve God (in 
potentia). Not only through sacrifices, man believes, can he render this 
service to God; festivals and even public games, as among the Greeks and 
Romans, have often had to perform this function, and still suffice, 
according to men's illusion, to make the Godhead propitious to a people or 
even to a single individual. Yet the former (penances, castigations, 
pilgrimages, and the like) were always held to be more powerful, more 
efficacious upon the the favor of heaven, and more apt to purify of sin, 
because they serve to testify more forcefully to unbounded (though not 
moral subjection to His will. The more useless such self-castigations are 
and the less they are designed for the general moral improvement of the 
man, the holier they seem to be; just because they are of no use whatsoever 
in the world and yet cost painful effort they seem to be directly solely to the 
attestation of devotion to God. Even though God has not in any respect 
been served by by the act, men say, He yet sees herein the good will, the 
heart, which is indeed too weak to obey His moral commands but which, 
through its attested willingness on this score, makes good that deficiency. 
Now here is apparent the propensity to a procedure
which has no moral value in itself, except perhaps as a means of elevating 
the powers of sense-imagery to comport with intellectual ideas of the end, 
or of suppressing them* when they might work counter to these ideas. For 
in our thinking we attribute to this procedure the worth of the end itself, or 
what amounts to the same thing, we ascribe to the frame of mind (called 
devotion) attuned to acquiring dispositions dedicated to God the worth 
belonging to those dispositions themselves. Such a procedure, therefore, is 
merely a religious illusion which can assume various forms, in some of 
which it appears more moral than in others; but in all forms it is not merely 
an inadvertent deception but is rather a maxim of attributing to a means an 
intrinsic value instead of the value deriving from the end. Hence the 
illusion, because of this maxim, is equally absurd in all these forms and, as 
a hidden bias toward deception, it is reprehensible.

	2. The Moral Principle of Religion Opposed to the Religious Illusion
	To begin with, I take the following proposition to be a principle 
requiring no proof :Whatever, over and above good life-conduct, man 
fancies that he can do to become well-pleasing to God is mere religious 
illusion and pseudo-service of God. I say, what man believes that he can 
do; for here it is not denied that beyond all that we can do there may be 
something in the mysteries of the highest wisdom that God alone can do to 
transform us into men well-pleasing to
Him. Yet even should the church proclaim such a mystery as revealed, the 
notion that belief in such a revelation, as the sacred history recounts it to us, 
and acknowledgment of it (whether inwardly or outwardly) are in 
themselves means whereby we render ourselves well-pleasing to God, 
would be a dangerous religious illusion. For this belief, as an inner 
confession of his steadfast conviction, is so genuinely an action which is 
compelled by fear that an upright man might agree to any other condition 
sooner than to this; for in the case of all other compulsory services he would 
at most be doing something merely superfluous, whereas here, in a 
declaration, of whose truth he is not convinced, he would be doing violence 
to his conscience. The confession, then, regarding which man persuades 
himself that in and of itself (as acceptance of a good proffered him) it can 
make him well-pleasing to God, is something which he fancies he can 
render over and above good life-conduct in obedience to moral laws which 
are to be put into practice on earth, on the ground that in this service [of 
confession] he turns directly to God.
	In the first place, reason does not leave us wholly without 
consolation with respect to our lack of righteousness valid before God. It 
says that whoever, with a disposition genuinely devoted to duty, does as 
much as lies in his power to satisfy his obligation (at least in a continual 
approximation to complete harmony with the law), may hope that what is 
not in his power will be supplied by the supreme Wisdom in some way or 
other (which can make permanent the disposition to this unceasing 
approximation). Reason says this, however, without presuming to 
determine the manner in which this aid will be given or to know wherein it 
will consist; it may be so mysterious that God can reveal it to us at best in a 
symbolic representation in which only what is practical is comprehensible to 
us, and that we, meanwhile, can not at all grasp theoretically what this 
relation of God to man might be, or apply concepts to it, even did He desire 
to reveal such a mystery to us. Suppose, now, that a particular church were 
to assert that it knows with certainty the manner in which God supplies that 
moral lack in the human race, and were also to consign to eternal damnation 
all men who are not acquainted with that means of justification which is 
unknown to reason in a natural way, and who, on this account, do not 
accept and confess it as a religious principle: who, indeed, is now the 
unbeliever? Is it he who trusts,
without knowing how that for which he hopes will come to pass; or he who 
absolutely insists on knowing the way in which man is released from evil 
and, if he cannot know this, gives up all hope of this release? 
Fundamentally the latter is not really so much concerned to know this 
mystery (for his own reason already teaches him that it is of no use to him 
to know that regarding which he can do nothing); he merely wishes to know 
it so that he can make for himself (even if it be but inwardly) a divine 
service out of the belief, acceptance, confession, and cherishing of all that 
has been revealed--a service which could earn him the favor of heaven prior 
to all expenditure of his own powers toward a good life conduct, in a word, 
quite gratuitously; a service which could produce such conduct, mayhap, in 
supernatural fashion, or, where he may have acted in opposition, could at 
least make amends for his transgression.
	Second: if man departs in the very least from the above maxim, the 
pseudo-service of God (superstition) has no other limits, for once beyond 
this maxim everything (except what directly contradicts morality) is 
arbitrary. He proffers everything to God, from lip-offerings? which cost 
him the least, to the donation of earthly goods, which might better be used 
for the advantage of mankind, yea, even to the immolation of his own 
person, becoming lost to the world (as a hermit, fakir, or monk)--
everything except his moral disposition; and when he says that he also gives 
his heart to God he means by this not the disposition to a course of life well-
pleasing to Him but the heart-felt wish that those sacrifices may be accepted 
in lieu of that disposition. (Natio gratis adhelans, multa agendo nihil agens. 
	Finally, when once a man has gone over to the maxim of a service 
presumed to be in itself well-pleasing to God, and even, if need be, 
propitiating Him, yet not purely moral, there is no essential difference 
among the ways of serving Him, as it were, mechanically, which would 
give one way a priority over another. They are all alike in worth (or rather 
worthlessness), and it is mere affectation to regard oneself as more 
excellent, because of a subtler
deviation from the one and only intellectual principle of genuine respect for 
God, than those who allow themselves to become guilty of an assumedly 
coarser degradation to sensuality. Whether the devotee betakes himself to 
church according to rule or whether he undertakes a pilgrimage to the 
sanctuaries in Loretto or in Palestine; whether he brings his formulas of 
prayer to the court of heaven with his lips, or by means of a prayer-wheel, 
like the Tibetan (who believes that his wishes will reach their goal just as 
well if they are set down in writing, provided only they be moved by 
something or other, by the wind, for example, if they are written on flags, 
or by the hand, if they are enclosed in a sort of revolving cylinder)--
whatever be substituted for the moral service of God, it is all one and all 
equal in value. What matters here is not a difference in the external form; 
everything depends upon the adoption or rejection of the unique principle of 
becoming well-pleasing to God--upon whether we rely on the moral 
disposition alone, so far as this disposition exhibits its vitality in actions 
which are its appearances, or on pious playthings and on inaction.* But is 
there not also perhaps a dizzying illusion of virtue, soaring above the 
bounds of human capacity, which might be reckoned, along with the 
cringing religious illusion, in the general class of self-deceptions? No! The 
disposition of virtue occupies itself with something real which of itself is 
well-pleasing to God and which harmonizes with the world's highest 
good.1 True, an illusion of self-sufficiency may attach itself thereto, an 
illusion of regarding oneself as measuring up to the idea of one's holy duty; 
but this is merely contingent. To ascribe the highest worth to that 
disposition is not an illusion, like faith in the devotional exercises of the 
church, but is a direct contribution which promotes the highest good of the 
	Furthermore, it is customary (at least in the church) to give
the name of nature to that which men can do by dint of the principle of 
virtue, and the name of grace to that which alone serves to supplement the 
deficiency of all our moral powers and yet, because sufficiency of these 
powers is also our duty, can only be wished for, or hoped for, and 
solicited; to regard both together as active causes of a disposition adequate 
for a course of life well-pleasing to God; and not only to distinguish them 
from one another but even to set them over against one another.
	The persuasion that we can distinguish the effects of grace from 
those of nature (virtue) or can actually produce the former within ourselves, 
is fanaticism; for we cannot, by any token, recognize a supersensible object 
in experience, still less can we exert an influence upon it to draw it down to 
us; though, to be sure, at times there do arise stirrings of the heart making 
for morality, movements which we cannot explain and regarding which we 
must confess our ignorance: "The wind bloweth where it listeth ... but thou 
canst not tell whence it cometh, etc."1 To wish to observe such heavenly 
influences in ourselves is a kind of madness, in which, no doubt, there can 
be method (since those supposed inner revelations must always be attached 
to moral, and hence to rational, ideas), but which none the less remains a 
self-deception prejudicial to religion. To believe that there may be works of 
grace and that perhaps these may even be necessary to supplement the 
incompleteness of our struggle toward virtue--that is all we can say on this 
subject; beyond this we are incapable of determining anything concerning 
their distinctive marks and still less are we able to do anything to produce 
	The illusion of being able to accomplish anything in the way of 
justifying ourselves before God through religious acts of worship is 
religious superstition, just as the illusion of wishing to accomplish this by 
striving for what is supposed to be communion with God is religious 
fanaticism. It is a superstitious illusion to wish to become well-pleasing to 
God through actions which anyone can perform without even needing to be 
a good man (for example, through profession of statutory articles of faith, 
through conformity to churchly observance and discipline, etc.). And it is 
called superstitious because it selects merely natural (not moral) means 
which in themselves can have absolutely no effect upon what is not nature 
(i.e., on the morally good). But an illusion is called
fanatical when the very means it contemplates, as supersensible, are not 
within man's power, leaving out of account the inaccessibility of the 
supersensible end aimed at by these means; for this feeling of the immediate 
presence of the Supreme Being and the distinguishing of this from every 
other, even from the moral feeling, would constitute a receptivity for an 
intuition for which there is no sensory provision in man's nature. Because 
the superstitious illusion contains the means, available to many an 
individual, enabling him at least to work against the obstacles in the way of 
a disposition well-pleasing to God, it is indeed thus far allied to reason, and 
is only contingently objectionable in transforming what is no more than a 
means into an object immediately well-pleasing to God. The fanatical 
religious illusion, in contrast, is the moral death of reason; for without 
reason, after all, no religion is possible, since, like all morality in general, it 
must be established upon basic principles.
	So the basic principle of an ecclesiastical faith, a principle that 
remedies or prevents all religious illusion, is this, that such a faith must 
contain within itself, along with the statutory articles with which it cannot as 
yet wholly dispense, still another principle, of setting up the religion of 
good life-conduct as the real end, in order, at some future time, to be able 
entirely to dispense with the statutory articles.

	3. Concerning Clericalism  as a Government in the Pseudo-Service 
of the Good Principle
	The veneration of mighty invisible beings, which was extorted from 
helpless man through natural fear rooted in the sense of his
impotence, did not begin with a religion but rather with a slavish worship of 
a god (or of idols). When this worship had achieved a certain publicly 
legalized form it was a temple service,1 and it became a church worship1 
only after the moral culture of men was gradually united with its laws. An 
historical faith constituted the basis of both of these, until man finally came 
to regard such a faith as merely provisional, and to see in it the symbolic 
presentation, and the means of promotion, of a pure religious faith.
	We can indeed recognize a tremendous difference in manner, but not 
in principle, between a shaman of the Tunguses and a European prelate 
ruling over church and state alike, or (if we wish to consider not the heads 
and leaders but merely the adherents of the faith, according to their own 
mode of representation) between the wholly sensuous Wogulite who in the 
morning places the paw of a bearskin upon his head with the short prayer, 
"Strike me not dead!" and the sublimated Puritan and Independent in 
Connecticut: for, as regards principle, they both belong to one and the same 
class, namely, the class of those who let their worship of God consist in 
what in itself can never make man better (in faith in certain statutory dogmas 
or celebration of certain arbitrary observances). Only those who mean to 
find the service of God solely in the disposition to good life-conduct 
distinguish themselves from those others, by virtue of having passed over 
to a wholly different principle and one which is far nobler than the other, the 
principle, namely, whereby they confess themselves members of an 
(invisible) church which includes within itself all right-thinking people and, 
by its essential nature, can alone be the true church universal.
	The intention of all of them is to manage to their own advantage the 
invisible Power which presides over the destiny of men; they differ merely 
in their conceptions of how to undertake this feat. If they hold that Power to 
be an intelligent Being and thus ascribe to Him a will from which they await 
their lot, their efforts can consist only in choosing the manner in which, as 
creatures subjected to His will, they can become pleasing to Him through 
what they do or refrain from doing. If they think of Him as a moral Being 
they easily convince themselves through their own reason that the condition 
of earning His favor must be their morally good life-conduct, and especially 
the pure disposition as the 
subjective principle of such conduct. But perhaps the Supreme Being may 
wish, in addition, to be served in a manner which cannot become known to 
us through unassisted reason, namely, by actions wherein, in themselves, 
we can indeed discover nothing moral, but which we freely1 undertake, 
either because He commanded them or else in order to convince Him of our 
submissiveness to Him. Under either mode of procedure, if it provides for 
us a unified whole of systematically ordered activities, our acts constitute in 
general a service of God. Now if the two are to be united, then each of them 
must be regarded as a way in which one may be well-pleasing to God 
directly, or else one of them must be regarded as but a means to the other, 
the real service of God. It is self-evident that the moral service of God 
(officium liberum) is directly well-pleasing to Him. But this service cannot 
be recognized as the highest condition of divine approval of man (this 
approval is already contained in the concept of morality) if it be possible for 
hired service officium mercenarium) to be regarded as, alone and of itself, 
well-pleasing to God; for then no one could know which service was 
worthier in a given situation, in order to decide thereby regarding his duty, 
or how they supplemented each other. Hence actions which have no moral 
value in themselves will have to be accepted as well-pleasing to Him only so 
far as they serve as means to the furtherance of what, in the way of conduct, 
is immediately good (i.e., so far as they promote morality), or in other 
words, so far as they are performed for the sake of the moral service of 
	Now the man who does make use of actions, as means, which in 
themselves contain nothing pleasing to God (i.e., nothing moral), in order 
to earn thereby immediate divine approval of himself and therewith the 
attainment of his desires, labors under the illusion that he possesses an art 
of bringing about a supernatural effect through wholly natural means. Such 
attempts we are wont to entitle sorcery. But (since this term carries with it 
the attendant concept of commerce with the evil principle, whereas the 
above-mentioned attempt can be conceived to be undertaken, through 
misunderstanding, with good moral intent) we desire to use in place of it the 
word fetishism, familiar in other connections. A supernatural effect induced 
by a man would be one whose possibility would rest, as he conceives the 
matter, upon a supposition that he works on God and uses Him as a means 
to bring about a
result in the world for which his own powers, yea, even his insight into 
whether this result may be well-pleasing to God, would, of themselves, not 
avail. But this involves an absurdity even in his own conception of it.
	But if a man, not only by means which render him immediately an 
object of divine favor (by the active disposition to good life conduct) but 
also through certain formalities, seeks to make himself worthy of the 
supplementation of his impotence through supernatural assistance, and if he 
thinks that he is merely making himself capable of receiving the object of his 
good moral desires by conforming, with this intent, to observances which 
indeed have no immediate value but yet serve as means to the furthering of 
the moral disposition--then, to be sure, he is counting on something 
supernatural to supplement his natural impotence, yet not on what is 
effected by man (through influence upon the divine will) but on what is 
received, on what he can hope for but can not bring to pass. But if it is his 
idea that actions, which in themselves, so far as we can see, contain nothing 
moral or well-pleasing to God, are to serve as a means, nay as a condition, 
whereby he can expect the satisfaction of his wishes directly from God, 
then he is a victim of illusion; viz., the illusion that, though he possesses 
neither physical control over, nor yet moral receptivity for, this supernatural 
assistance, he can yet produce it through natural acts, which in themselves 
are in no way related to morality (and the performance of which calls for no 
disposition well-pleasing to God, and which can be put into practice by the 
most wicked man quite as well as by the best)--through formulas of 
invocation, through profession of a mercenary faith, through churchly 
observances, and so on--and that he can thus, as it were, conjure up divine 
assistance by magic. For between solely physical means and a morally 
efficacious cause there is no connection whatsoever according to any law of 
which reason can conceive, in terms of which the moral cause could be 
represented as determinable to specific activities through the physical.
	Hence whoever assigns priority to obedience to statutory laws, 
requiring a revelation, as being necessary to religion, and regards this 
obedience not merely as a means to the moral disposition but as the 
objective condition of becoming immediately well-pleasing to God, and 
whoever thus places endeavor toward a good course of life below this 
historical faith (instead of requiring the latter,
which can be well-pleasing to God only conditionally, to adapt itself to the 
former, which alone is intrinsically well-pleasing to Him)--whoever does 
this transforms the service of God into a mere fetishism and practises a 
pseudo-service which is subversive to all endeavors toward true religion. 
So much depends, when we wish to unite two good things, upon the order 
in which they are united ! True enlightenment lies in this very distinction; 
therein the service of God becomes first and foremost a free and hence a 
moral service. If man departs from it there is laid upon him, in place of the 
freedom of the children of God,1 the yoke of a law (the statutory law), and 
this yoke, as an unconditional requirement of belief in what can only be 
known historically and therefore cannot be an object of conviction for 
everyone, is for a conscientious man a far heavier yoke* than all the lumber 
of piously ordained observances could ever be. For the solemnization of 
these suffices to secure a man's conformity with an established churchly 
commonwealth, and he need not either inwardly or outwardly profess the 
belief that he regards them as institutions founded by God; and it is by 
confession of the latter sort that conscience is really burdened.
	Clericalism, therefore, is the constitution of a church to the extent to 
which a fetish-worship dominates it; and this condition is always found 
wherever, instead of principles of morality, statutory
commands, rules of faith, and observances constitute the basis and the 
essence of the church. Now there are, indeed, various types of church in 
which the fetishism is so manifold and so mechanical that it appears to 
crowd out nearly all of morality, and therefore religion as well, and to seek 
to occupy their place; such fetishism borders very closely on paganism. But 
it is not a question of more or less here, where worth or worthlessness rests 
on the nature of the principle which is supremely binding. When this 
principle imposes not free homage, as that which first and foremost must be 
paid to the moral law, but submission to precepts as a compulsory service; 
then, however few the imposed observances, so long as these are laid down 
as unconditionally necessary the faith remains a fetish-faith through which 
the masses are ruled and robbed of their moral freedom by subservience to a 
church (not to religion). The structure of this hierarchy can be monarchical 
or aristocratic or democratic; this is merely a matter of organization; its 
constitution is and ever remains despotic in all these forms. Wherever credal 
statutes find a place among the laws of the constitution, a clergy rules which 
believes that it can actually dispense with reason and even, finally, with 
Scriptural learning, because it has authority, as the uniquely authorized 
guardian and interpreter of the will of the invisible Legislator, exclusively to 
administer the prescriptions of belief and so, furnished with this power, 
needs not convince but merely command. But since aside from the clergy all 
that remains is the laity (the head of the political commonwealth not 
excepted), the church in the end rules the state not exactly with force but 
through its influence upon men's hearts, and in addition through a dazzling 
promise of the advantage which the state is supposed to be able to draw 
from an unconditioned obedience to which a spiritual discipline has inured 
the very thought of the people. Thus, however, the habit of hypocrisy 
undermines, unnoticed, the integrity and loyalty of the subjects, renders 
them cunning in the simulation of service even in civil duties and, like all 
erroneously accepted principles, brings about the very opposite of what was 

* * * * * * * * * * *

	Now all this is the inevitable consequence of what at first sight 
appears to be a harmless transposition of the principles of the uniquely 
saving religious faith, since it was a question of which
one should be assigned first place as the highest condition (to which the 
other is subordinated). It is fair, it is reasonable, to assume that not only 
"wise men after the flesh,"1 the learned or sophisticated, will be called to 
this enlightenment touching their true welfare--for the entire human race is 
to be susceptible of this faith; "the foolish things of the world"2 as well, 
even those who are most ignorant and most circumscribed conceptually, 
must be able to lay claim to such instruction and inner conviction. It does 
indeed seem as though an historical faith, especially if the concepts which it 
requires for the understanding of its documents are wholly anthropological 
and markedly suited to sense-perception, satisfies this description perfectly. 
For what is easier than to take in so sensuously depicted and simple a 
narrative and to share it with others, or to repeat the words of mysteries 
when there is no necessity whatsoever to attach a meaning to them! How 
easily does such a faith gain universal entrance, especially in connection 
with great promised advantage, and how deeply rooted does belief in the 
truth of such a narrative become, when it bases itself, moreover, upon a 
report accepted as authentic for a long time past! Such a faith, therefore, is 
indeed suited even to the commonest human capacities. Now even though 
the announcement of such an historical event, as well as the faith in rules of 
conduct based upon it, cannot be said to have been vouchsafed solely or 
primarily to the learned or the wise of the world, these latter are yet not 
excluded from it; consequently there arise so many doubts, in part touching 
its truth, and in part touching the sense in which its exposition is to be 
taken, that to adopt such a belief as this, subjected as it is to so many 
controversies (however sincerely intentioned), as the supreme condition of a 
universal faith alone leading to salvation, is the most absurd course of action 
that can be conceived of.
	There exists meanwhile a practical knowledge which, while resting 
solely upon reason and requiring no historical doctrine, lies as close to 
every man, even the most simple, as though it were engraved upon his 
heart--a law, which we need but name to find ourselves at once in 
agreement with everyone else regarding its authority, and which carries with 
it in everyone's consciousness unconditioned binding force, to wit, the law 
of morality. What is
more, this knowledge either leads, alone and of itself, to belief in God, or at 
least determines the concept of Him as that of a moral Legislator; hence it 
guides us to a pure religious faith which not only can be comprehended by 
every man but also is in the highest degree worthy of respect. Yea, it leads 
thither so naturally that, if we care to try the experiment we shall find that it 
can be elicited in its completeness from anyone without his ever having been 
instructed in it. Hence to start off with this knowledge, and to let the 
historical faith which harmonizes with it follow, is not only an act of 
prudence; it is also our duty to make such knowledge the supreme condition 
under which alone we can hope to become participants in whatever salvation 
a religious faith may promise. So true is this that only as warranted by the 
interpretation which pure religious faith gives to the historical can we hold 
the latter to be universally binding or are we entitled to allow its validity (for 
it does contain universally valid teaching); meanwhile the moral believer is 
ever open to historical faith so far as he finds it furthering the vitality of his 
pure religious disposition. Only thus does historical faith possess a pure 
moral worth, because here it is free and not coerced through any threat (for 
then it can never be honest).
	Now even when the service of God in a church is directed 
preeminently to the pure moral veneration of God in accordance with the 
laws prescribed to humanity in general, we can still ask whether, in such a 
service, the doctrine of godliness alone or that of virtue as well, or 
peculiarly the one or the other, should constitute the content of religious 
teaching. The first of these appellations, that is, the doctrine of godliness, 
perhaps best expresses the meaning of the word religio (as it is understood 
today) in an objective sense.
	Godliness comprises two determinations of the moral disposition in 
relation to God: fear of God is this disposition in obedience to His 
commands from bounden duty (the duty of a subject), i.e., from respect for 
the law; love of God, on the other hand, is the disposition to obedience 
from one's own free choice and from approval of the law (the duty of a 
son). Both involve, therefore, over and above morality, the concept of a 
supersensible Being provided with the attributes which are requisite to the 
carrying out of that highest good which is aimed at by morality but which 
transcends our powers. Now if we go beyond the moral relation of the idea 
of this Being to us, to a concept of His nature, there is
always a danger that we shall think of it anthropomorphically and hence in a 
manner directly hurtful to our basic moral principles. Thus the idea of such 
a Being cannot subsist of itself in speculative; reason; even its origin, and 
still more its power, are wholly grounded in its relation to our self-
subsistent determination to duty. Which, now, is the more natural in the 
first instruction of youth and even in discourses from the pulpit: to expound 
the doctrine of virtue before the doctrine of godliness, or that of godliness 
before that of virtue (without perhaps even mentioning the doctrine of virtue 
at all)? Both obviously stand in necessary connection with one another. But, 
since they are not of a kind, this is possible only if one of them is conceived 
of and explained as end, the other merely as means. The doctrine of virtue, 
however, subsists of itself (even without the concept of God), whereas the 
doctrine of godliness involves the concept of an object which we represent 
to ourselves, in relation to our morality, as the cause supplementing our 
incapacity with respect to the final moral end. Hence the doctrine of 
godliness cannot of itself constitute the final goal of moral endeavor but can 
merely serve as a means of strengthening that which in itself goes to make a 
better man, to wit, the virtuous disposition, since it reassures and 
guarantees this endeavor (as a striving for goodness, and even for holiness) 
in its expectation of the final goal with respect to which it is impotent. The 
doctrine of virtue, in contrast, derives from the soul of man. He is already 
in full possession of it, undeveloped, no doubt, but not needing, like the 
religious concept, to be rationalized into being by means of logistics. In the 
purity of this concept of virtue, in the awakening of consciousness to a 
capacity which otherwise we would never surmise (a capacity of becoming 
able to master the greatest obstacles within ourselves), in the dignity of 
humanity which man must respect in his own person and human destiny, 
toward which he strives, if he is to attain it--in all this there is something 
which so exalts the soul, and so leads it to the very Deity, who is worthy of 
adoration only because of His holiness and as Legislator for virtue, that 
man, even when he is still far from allowing to this concept the power of 
influencing his maxims, is yet not unwillingly sustained by it because he 
feels himself to a certain extent ennobled by this idea already, even while the 
concept of a World-Ruler who transforms this duty into a command to us, 
still lies far from him. But to commence with this latter 
concept would incur the danger of dashing man's courage (which goes to 
constitute the essence of virtue) and transforming godliness into a fawning 
slavish subjection to a despotically commanding might. The courage to 
stand on one's own feet is itself strengthened by the doctrine of atonement, 
when it follows the ethical doctrine, in that this doctrine portrays as wiped 
out what cannot be altered, and opens up to man the path to a new mode of 
life; whereas, when this doctrine is made to come first, the futile endeavor 
to render undone what has been done (expiation), the fear regarding 
appropriation of this atonement, the idea of his complete incapacity for 
goodness, and the anxiety lest he slip back into evil must rob* a man of his 
courage and reduce him to a state of sighing moral passivity in which 
nothing great or good is undertaken
and everything is expected from the mere wishing for it. In that which 
concerns the moral disposition everything depends upon the highest concept 
under which one subsumes one's duties. When reverence for God is put 
first, with virtue therefore subordinated to it, this object [of reverence] 
becomes an idol, that is, He is thought of as a Being whom we may hope to 
please not through morally upright conduct on earth but through adoration 
and ingratiation; and religion is then idolatry. But godliness is not a 
surrogate for virtue, whereby we may dispense with the latter; rather is it 
virtue's consummation, enabling us to be crowned with the hope of the 
ultimate achievement of all our good ends.

	4. Concerning the Guide of Conscience in Matters of Faith
	The question here is not, how conscience ought to be guided (for 
conscience needs no guide; to have a conscience suffices), but how it itself 
can serve as a guide in the most perplexing moral decisions.
	Conscience is a state of consciousness which in itself is duty. But 
how is it possible to conceive of such a state of consciousness, since the 
consciousness of all our representations seems to be necessary only for 
logical purposes and therefore only in a conditioned manner (when we want 
to clarify our representations), and so cannot be unconditioned duty?
	It is a basic moral principle, which requires no proof, that one ought 
to hazard nothing that may be Wrong (quod dubitas, ne feceris! Pliny1). 
Hence the consciousness that an action which I intend to
perform is right, is unconditioned duty. The understanding, not conscience, 
judges whether an action is really right or wrong. Nor is it absolutely 
necessary to know, concerning all possible actions, whether they are right 
or wrong. But concerning the act which I propose to perform I must not 
only judge and form an opinion, but I must be sure that it is not wrong; and 
this requirement is a postulate of conscience, to which is opposed 
probabilism,1 i.e., the principle that the mere opinion that an action may 
well be right warrants its being performed. Hence conscience might also be 
defined as follows: it is the moral faculty of judgment, passing judgment 
upon itself; only this definition would stand in great need of a prior 
elucidation of the concepts contained in it. Conscience does not pass 
judgment upon actions as cases which fall under the law; for this is what 
reason does so far as it is subjectively practical (hence the casus conscientiae 
and casuistry, as a kind of dialectic of conscience). Rather, reason here 
judges itself, as to whether it has really undertaken that appraisal of actions 
(as to whether they are right or wrong) with all diligence, and it calls the 
man himself to witness for or against himself whether this diligent appraisal 
did or did not take place.
	Take, for instance, an inquisitor, who clings fast to the uniqueness 
of his statutory faith even to the point of [imposing] martyrdom, and who 
has to pass judgment upon a so-called heretic (otherwise a good citizen) 
charged with unbelief. Now I ask whether, if he condemns him to death, 
one might say that he has judged according to his conscience (erroneous 
though it be), or whether one might not rather accuse him of absolute lack 
of conscience, be it that he merely erred, or consciously did wrong; for we 
can tell him to his face that in such a case he could never be quite certain that 
by so acting he was not possibly doing wrong. Presumably he was firm in 
the belief that a supernaturally revealed Divine Will (perhaps in accord with 
the saying, compellite intrare1) permitted him, if it did not actually impose it 
as a duty, to extirpate 
presumptive disbelief together with the disbelievers. But was he really 
strongly enough assured of such a revealed doctrine, and of this 
interpretation of it, to venture, on this basis, to destroy a human being? That 
it is wrong to deprive a man of his life because of his religious faith is 
certain, unless (to allow for the most remote possibility) a Divine Will, 
made known in extraordinary fashion, has ordered it otherwise. But that 
God has ever uttered this terrible injunction can be asserted only on the 
basis of historical documents and is never apodictically certain. After all, the 
revelation has reached the inquisitor only through men and has been 
interpreted by men, and even did it appear to have come to him from God 
Himself (like the command delivered to Abraham to slaughter his own son 
like a sheep) it is at least possible that in this instance a mistake has 
prevailed. But if this is so, the inquisitor would risk the danger of doing 
what would be wrong in the highest degree; and in this very act he is 
behaving unconscientiously. This is the case with respect to all historical 
and visionary faith; that is, the possibility ever remains that an error may be 
discovered in it. Hence it is unconscientious to follow such a faith with the 
possibility that perhaps what it commands or permits may be wrong, i.e., 
with the danger of disobedience to a human duty which is certain in and of 
	And further: even were an act commanded by (what is held to be) 
such a positive revealed law allowable in itself, the question arises whether 
spiritual rulers or teachers, after presumably becoming convinced of it 
themselves, should impose it upon the people as an article of faith for their 
acceptance (on penalty of forfeiting their status). Since assurance on this 
score rests on no grounds of proof other than the historical, and since there 
ever will remain in the judgment of the people (if it subjects itself to the 
slightest test) the absolute possibility of an error which has crept in through 
their interpretation or through previous classical exegesis, the clergyman 
would be requiring the people at least inwardly to confess something to be 
as true as is their belief in God, i.e., to confess, as though in the presence 
of God, something which they do not know with certainty. Such, for 
instance, would be the acknowledgment, as a part of religion directly 
commanded by God, of the setting aside of a certain day for the periodic 
public cultivation of godliness; or, again, the confession of firm belief in a 
mystery which the layman does not even understand. Here the
layman's spiritual superior would himself go counter to conscience in 
forcing others to believe that of which he himself can never be wholly 
convinced; he should therefore in justice consider well what he does, for he 
must answer for all abuse arising out of such a compulsory faith. Thus there 
may, perhaps, be truth in what is believed but at the same time 
untruthfulness1 in the belief (or even in the mere inner confession thereof), 
and this is in itself damnable.
	Although, as was noted above,2 men who have made but the merest 
beginning in the freedom of thought,* because previously they were under a 
slavish yoke of belief (e.g., the Protestants), forthwith hold themselves to 
be, as it were, the more ennobled the less they need to believe (of what is 
positive and what belongs to clerical precepts); the exact contrary holds 
concerning those who have so far not been able, or have not wished, to 
make an attempt of this kind, for their principle is: It is expedient to believe 
too much rather than too little, on the ground that what we do over and 
above what we owe will at least do no harm and might even help. Upon this 
illusion, which makes dishonesty in religious confessions a basic principle 
(to which one subscribes the more easily since religion makes good every 
mistake, and hence that of dishonesty along with the rest), is based the so-
called maxim of certainty in matters of faith (argumentum a tuto): If that 
which I profess regarding God is true, I have hit the mark; if it is untrue,
and in addition not something in itself forbidden, I have merely believed it 
superfluously and have burdened myself with what was indeed not 
necessary but was after all only an inconvenience, not a transgression. The 
hypocrite regards as a mere nothing the danger arising from the dishonesty 
of his profession, the violation of conscience, involved in proclaiming even 
before God that something is certain, when he is aware that, its nature being 
what it is, it cannot be asserted with unconditional assurance. The genuine 
maxim of certainty, which alone is compatible with religion, is just the 
reverse of the former: Whatever, as the means or the condition of salvation, 
I can know not through my own reason but only through revelation, and 
can incorporate into my confession only through the agency of an historical 
faith, and which, in addition, does not contradict pure moral principles--this 
I cannot, indeed, believe and profess as certain, but I can as little reject it as 
being surely false; nevertheless, without determining anything on this score, 
I may expect that whatever therein is salutary will stand me in good stead so 
far as I do not render myself unworthy of it through defect of the moral 
disposition in good life-conduct. In this maxim there is genuine moral 
certainty, namely, certainty in the eye of conscience (and more than this 
cannot be required of a man); on the other hand, the greatest danger and 
uncertainty attend the supposedly prudential device of craftily evading the 
harmful consequences which might accrue to me from non-profession, in 
that, through seeking the favor of both parties, I am liable to incur the 
disfavor of both.
	Let the author of a creed, or the teacher of a church, yea, let every 
man, so far as he is inwardly to acknowledge a conviction regarding 
dogmas as divine revelations, ask himself: Do you really trust yourself to 
assert the truth of these dogmas in the sight of Him who knows the heart 
and at the risk of losing all that is valuable and holy to you? I must needs 
have a very disparaging conception of human nature (which is, after all, not 
wholly unsusceptible of goodness) not to anticipate that even the boldest 
of faith would have to tremble at such a question.  But if this is so, how is 
it consistent with conscientiousness to insist, none the less, upon such a 
declaration of faith as admits of no reservation, and even to proclaim that the 
very audacity of such an asseveration is in itself a duty and a service to 
God, when thereby human freedom, which is absolutely required in all 
moral matters (such as the adoption of a religion) is wholly crushed under 
foot and no place is even left for the good will, which says: "Lord, I 
believe; help thou my unbelief!"1  


	Whatever good man is able to do through his own efforts, under 
laws of freedom, in contrast to what he can do only with supernatural 
assistance, can be called nature, as distinguished from grace. Not that we 
understand by the former expression a physical property distinguished from 
freedom; we use it merely because we are at least acquainted with the laws 
of this capacity (laws of virtue), and because reason thus possesses a visible 
and comprehensible clue to it, considered as analogous to [physical] nature; 
on the other hand, we remain wholly in the dark as to when, what, or how 
much, grace will accomplish in us, and reason is left, on this score, as with 
the supernatural in general (to which morality, if regarded as holiness, 
belongs), without any knowledge of the laws according to which it might 
	The concept of a supernatural accession to our moral, though 
deficient, capacity and even to our not wholly purified and certainly weak 
disposition to perform our entire duty, is a transcendent concept, and is a 
bare idea, of whose reality no experience can assure us. Even when 
accepted as an idea in nothing but a practical context it is very hazardous, 
and hard to reconcile with reason, since that which is to be accredited to us 
as morally good conduct must take place not through foreign influence but 
solely through the best possible use of our own powers. And yet the 
impossibility thereof (i.e., of both these things occurring side by side) 
cannot really be proved, because freedom itself, though containing nothing 
supernatural in its conception, remains, as regards its possibility, just as 
incomprehensible to us as is the supernatural factor which we would like to 
regard as a supplement to the spontaneous but deficient determination of 
	Now we at least know the laws of freedom (the moral laws), 
according to which it is to be determined. But we cannot know anything at 
all about supernatural aid--whether a certain moral power, perceptible to us, 
really comes from above or, indeed, on what occasions and under what 
conditions it may be expected. Hence, apart from the general assumption 
that grace will effect in us what nature cannot, provided only we have made 
the maximum use of our own powers, we will not be able to make any 
further use of this idea, either as to how (beyond a constant striving after a
good life) we might draw down to us its cooperation, or how we might 
determine on what occasions to expect it. This idea is wholly transcendent; 
and it is even salutary to hold it, as a sacred thing, at a respectful distance, 
lest, under the illusion of performing miracles ourselves or observing 
miracles within us, we render ourselves unfit for all use of reason or allow 
ourselves to fall into the indolence of awaiting from above, in passive 
leisure, what we should seek within.
	Now means are all the intermediate causes, which man has in his 
power, whereby a certain purpose may be achieved. There is no other 
means (and there can be no other) of becoming worthy of heavenly 
assistance than earnest endeavor to better in every possible way our moral 
nature and thus render ourselves susceptible of having the fitness of this 
nature perfected for divine approval, so far as this perfecting is not in our 
power; for that divine aid, which we await, itself really aims at nothing but 
our morality. It was already to be expected a priori that the impure man 
would not seek this aid here but rather in certain sensuous contrivances 
(which he does, indeed, have in his power but which, in themselves, cannot 
make a man better, and yet herein are supposed to achieve this very result in 
supernatural fashion); and this is what actually happens. The concept of a 
so-called means of grace, although it is internally self-contradictory (in 
accordance with what has just been said), serves here none the less as a 
means of self-deception which is as common as it is detrimental to true 
	The true (moral) service of God, which the faithful must render as 
subjects belonging to His kingdom but no less as citizens thereof (under 
laws of freedom), is itself, indeed, like the kingdom, invisible, i.e., a 
service of the heart (in spirit and in truth). It can consist solely in the 
disposition of obedience to all true duties as divine commands, not in 
actions directed exclusively to God. Yet for man the invisible needs to be 
represented through the visible (the sensuous); yea, what is more, it needs 
to be accompanied by the visible in the interest of practicability and, though 
it is intellectual, must be made, as it were (according to a certain analogy), 
perceptual. This is a means of simply picturing to ourselves our duty in the 
service of God, a means which, although really indispensable, is extremely 
liable to the danger of misconstruction; for, through an illusion that steals 
over us, it is easily held to be the service of God itself, and is, indeed, 
commonly thus spoken of.
	This alleged service of God, when brought back to its spirit and its 
true meaning, namely, to a disposition dedicating itself to the kingdom of 
God within us and without us, can be divided, even by reason, into four 
observances of duty; and certain corresponding rites, which do not stand in 
a necessary relation to these observances, have yet been associated with 
them, because the rites are deemed to serve as schemata1 for the duties and 
thus, for ages past, have been regarded as useful means for sensuously 
awakening and sustaining our attention to the true service of God. They 
base themselves, one and all, upon the intention to further the morally good 
and are: (l) (private prayer)--firmly to establish this goodness in ourselves, 
and repeatedly to awaken the disposition of goodness in the heart; (2) 
(church-going)--the spreading abroad of goodness through public assembly 
on days legally dedicated thereto, in order that religious doctrines and 
wishes (together with corresponding dispositions) may be expressed there 
and thus be generally shared; (3) (in the Christian religion, baptism)--the 
propagation of goodness in posterity through the reception of newly 
entering members into the fellowship of faith, as a duty; also their 
instruction in such goodness; (4) (communion)--the maintenance of this 
fellowship through a repeated public formality which makes enduring the 
union of these members into an ethical body and this, indeed, according to 
the principle of the mutual equality of their rights and joint participation in 
all the fruits of moral goodness.
	Every initiatory step in the realm of religion, which we do not take in 
a purely moral manner but rather have recourse to as in itself a means of 
making us well-pleasing to God and thus, through Him, of satisfying all 
our wishes, is fetish-faith. This is the persuasion that what can produce no 
effect at all according either to natural laws or to moral laws of reason, will 
yet, of itself, bring about what is wished for, if only we firmly believe that 
it will do so, and if we accompany this belief with certain formalities. Even 
where the conviction has taken hold that everything in religion depends 
upon moral goodness, which can arise only from action, the sensuous man 
still searches for a secret path by which to evade that arduous condition, 
with the notion, namely, that if
only he honors the custom (the formality), God will surely accept it in lieu 
of the act itself. This would certainly have to be called an instance of 
transcendent grace on God's part, were it not rather a grace dreamed of in 
slothful trust, or even in a trust which is itself feigned. Thus in every type 
of public belief man has devised for himself certain practices, as means of 
grace, though, to be sure, in all these types the practices are not, as they are 
in the Christian, related to practical concepts of reason and to dispositions 
conformable to them. (There are, for instance, the five great commands in 
the Mohammedan type of belief: washing, praying, fasting, almsgiving, and 
pilgrimage to Mecca. Of these, almsgiving alone would deserve to be 
excepted were it to take place from a truly virtuous and at the same time 
religious disposition, as a human duty, and would thus really merit regard 
as a genuine means of grace; but the fact is, on the contrary, that it does not 
deserve to be thus distinguished from the rest because, under this faith, 
almsgiving can well go hand in hand with the extortion from others of what, 
as a sacrifice, is offered to God in the person of the poor.)
	There can, indeed, be three kinds of illusory faith that involve the 
possibility of our overstepping the bounds of our reason in the direction of 
the supernatural (which is not, according to the laws of reason, an object 
either of theoretical or practical use). First, the belief in knowing through 
experience something whose occurrence, as under objective laws of 
experience, we ourselves can recognize to be impossible (the faith in 
miracles). Second, the illusion of having to include among our rational 
concepts, as necessary to our best moral interests, that of which we 
ourselves can form, through reason, no concept (the faith in mysteries). 
Third, the illusion of being able to bring about, through the use of merely 
natural means, an effect which is, for us, a mystery, namely, the influence 
of God upon our morality (the faith in means of grace). We have dealt with 
the first two of these artificial modes of belief in the General Observations 
following the two immediately preceding Books of this work. It still 
remains, therefore, for us to treat of the means of grace (which are further 
distinguished from works of grace,  i.e., supernatural moral influences in 
relation to which we are merely passive; but the imagined experience of 
these is a fanatical illusion pertaining entirely to the emotions).
	1. Praying, thought of as an inner formal service of God and
hence as a means of grace, is a superstitious illusion (a fetish-making); for it 
is no more than a stated wish directed to a Being who needs no such 
information regarding the inner disposition of the wisher; therefore nothing 
is accomplished by it, and it discharges none of the duties to which, as 
commands of God, we are obligated; hence God is not really served. A 
heart-felt wish to be well-pleasing to God in our every act and abstention, or 
in other words, the disposition, accompanying all our actions, to perform 
these as though they were being executed in the service of God, is the spirit 
of prayer which can, and should, be present in us "without ceasing."1 But 
to clothe* this wish (even though it be but inwardly) in words
and formulas can, at best, possess only the value of a means where-
by that disposition within us may be repeatedly quickened, and can have no 
direct bearing upon the divine approval; and for this very reason it cannot be 
a duty for everyone. For a means can be prescribed only to him who needs 
it for certain ends; but certainly not all men stand in need of this means (of 
conversing within and really with oneself, but ostensibly of speaking the 
more intelligibly with God). Rather must one labor to this end through 
continued clarification and elevation of the moral disposition, in order that 
this spirit of prayer alone be sufficiently quickened within us and that the 
letter of it (at least as directed to our own advantage) finally fall away. For 
the letter, like everything which is aimed at a given end indirectly, rather 
weakens the effect of the moral idea (which, taken subjectively, is called 
devotion). Thus the contemplation of the profound wisdom of the divine 
creation in the smallest things, and of its majesty in the great--which may 
indeed have already been recognized by men in the past, but in more recent 
times has grown into the highest wonder--this contemplation is a power 
which cannot only transport the mind into that sinking mood, called 
adoration, annihilating men, as it were, in their own eyes; it is also, in 
respect of its own moral determination, so soul-elevating a power that 
words, in comparison, even were they those of the royal suppliant David 
(who knew little of all those marvels),
must needs pass away as empty sound because the emotion arising from 
such a vision of the hand of God is inexpressible. Men, are prone, 
moreover, when their hearts are disposed to religion, to transform what 
really has reference solely to their own moral improvement into a courtly 
service, wherein the humiliations and glorifications usually are the less felt 
in a moral way the more volubly they are expressed. It is therefore the more 
necessary carefully to inculcate set forms of prayer in children (who still 
stand in need of the letter), even in their earliest years, so that the language 
(even language spoken inwardly, yea, even the attempts to attune the mind 
to the comprehension of the idea of God, which is to be brought nearer to 
intuition) may possess here no value in itself but may be used merely to 
quicken the disposition to a course of life well-pleasing to God, those 
words being but an aid to the imagination. Otherwise all these devout 
attestations of awe involve the danger of producing nothing but hypocritical 
veneration of God instead of a practical service of Him--a service which 
never consists in mere feelings.
	2. Church-going, thought of as the ceremonial public service of God 
in a church, in general, is, considered as a sensuous representation of the 
community of believers, not only a means to be valued by each individual 
for his own edification* but also a duty
directly obligating them as a group, as citizens of a divine state which is to 
appear here on earth; provided, that this church contains no formalities 
which might lead to idolatry and so burden the conscience, e.g., certain 
prayers to God, with His infinite mercy personified under the name of a 
man--for such sensuous representation of God is contrary to the command 
of reason: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, etc."1 But to 
wish to use it as, in itself, a means of grace, as though thereby God were 
directly served and as though He had attached special favors to the 
celebration of this solemnity (which is merely a sensuous representation of 
the universality of religion), is an illusion which does, indeed, well comport 
with the cast of mind of a good citizen in a political commonwealth, and 
with external propriety, yet which not only contributes nothing to the 
character of such a man, as a citizen in the kingdom of God, but rather 
debases it, and serves, by means of a deceptive veneer, to conceal the bad 
moral content of his disposition from the eyes of others, and even from his 
own eyes.
	3. The ceremonial initiation, taking place but once, into the church-
community, that is, one's first acceptance as a member of a church (in the 
Christian church through baptism) is a highly significant ceremony which 
lays a grave obligation either upon the initiate, if he is in a position himself 
to confess his faith, or upon the witnesses who pledge themselves to take 
care of his education in this faith. This aims at something holy (the 
development of a man into a citizen in a divine state) but this act performed 
by others is not in itself holy or productive of holiness and receptivity for 
the divine grace in this individual; hence it is no means of grace, however 
exaggerated the esteem in which it was held in the early Greek church, 
where it was believed capable, in an instant, of washing away all sins--and 
here this illusion publicly revealed its affinity to an almost more than 
heathenish superstition.
	4. The oft-repeated ceremony (communion of a renewal, 
continuation, and propagation of this churchly community under laws of 
equality, a ceremony which indeed can be performed, after the example of 
the Founder of such a church (and, at the same time, in memory of him), 
through the formality of a common partaking at the same table, contains 
within itself something great, expanding the narrow, selfish, and unsociable 
cast of mind among men,
especially in matters of religion, toward the idea of a cosmopolitan moral 
community; and it is a good means of enlivening a community to the moral 
disposition of brotherly love which it represents. But to assert that God has 
attached special favors to the celebration of this solemnity, and to 
incorporate among the articles of faith the proposition that this ceremony, 
which is after all but a churchly act, is, in addition, a means of grace--this is 
a religious illusion which can do naught but work counter to the spirit of 
religion. Clericalism in general would therefore be the dominion of the 
clergy over men's hearts, usurped by dint of arrogating to themselves the 
prestige attached to) exclusive possession of means of grace.

* * * * * * * * * * *

	All such artificial self-deceptions in religious matters have a common 
basis. Among the three divine moral attributes, holiness, mercy, and justice, 
man habitually turns directly to the second in order thus to avoid the 
forbidding condition of conforming to the requirements of the first. It is 
tedious to be a good servant (here one is forever hearing only about one's 
duties); man would therefore rather be a favorite, where much is overlooked 
or else, when duty has been too grossly violated, everything is atoned for 
through the agency of some one or other favored in the highest degree--
man, meanwhile, remaining the servile knave he ever was. But in order to 
satisfy himself, with some color of truth, concerning the feasibility of this 
intention of his, he has the habit of transferring his concept of a man 
(including his faults) to the Godhead; and just as, even in the best ruler of 
our race, legislative rigor, beneficent grace, and scrupulous justice do not 
(as they should) operate separately, each by itself, to produce a moral effect 
upon the actions of the subject, but mingle with one another in the thinking 
of the human ruler when he is making his decisions, so that one need only 
seek to circumvent one of these attributes, the fallible wisdom of the human 
will, in order to determine the other two to compliance; even so does man 
hope to accomplish the same thing with God by applying himself solely to 
His grace. (For this reason it was important for religion that the attributes, 
or rather the relations of God to man, which were conceived of, should be 
separated through the idea of a triune personality, wherein God is to be 
thought of analogously to this idea in order that each attribute or relation be
made specifically cognizable.) To this end man busies himself with every 
conceivable formality, designed to indicate how greatly he respects the 
divine commands, in order that it may not be necessary for him to obey 
them; and, that his idle wishes may serve also to make good the 
disobedience of these commands, he cries: "Lord, Lord," so as not to have 
to "do the will of his heavenly Father."1 Thus he comes to conceive of the 
ceremonies, wherein certain means are used to quicken truly practical 
dispositions, as in themselves means of grace; he even proclaims the belief, 
that they are such, to be itself an essential part of religion (the common man 
actually regards it as the whole of religion); and he leaves it to all-gracious 
Providence to make a better man of him, while he busies himself with piety 
(a passive respect for the law of God) rather than with virtue (the application 
of one's own powers in discharging the duty which one respects)--and, 
after all, it is only the latter, combined with the former, that can give us the 
idea which one intends by the word godliness (true religious disposition).
	When the illusion of this supposed favorite of heaven mounts to the 
point where he fanatically imagines that he feels special works of grace 
within himself (or even where he actually presumes to be confident of a 
fancied occult intercourse with God), virtue comes at last actually to arouse 
his loathing, and becomes for him an object of contempt. Hence it is no 
wonder that the complaint is made publicly, that religion still contributes so 
little to men's improvement, and that the inner light ("under a bushel"2) of 
these favored ones does not shine forth outwardly in good works also, yea, 
(as, in view of their pretensions, one could rightly demand) preeminently, 
above other men of native honesty who, in brief, take religion unto 
themselves not as a substitute for, but as a furtherance of, the virtuous 
disposition which shows itself through actions, in a good course of life. Yet 
the Teacher of the Gospel has himself put into our hands these external 
evidences of outer experience as a touchstone, [by telling us that] we can 
know men by their fruits and that every man can know himself. But thus far 
we do not see that those who, in their own opinion, are extraordinarily 
favored (the chosen ones) surpass in the very least the naturally
honest man, who can be relied upon in social intercourse, in business, or in 
trouble; on the contrary, taken as a whole, the chosen ones can scarcely 
abide comparison with him, which proves that the right course is not to go 
from grace to virtue but rather progress from virtue to pardoning grace.


	1 [139] [Cf. Matthew VI, 20; Luke XI, 2]
	* [142] By means of this definition many an erroneous interpretation 
of the concept of a religion in general is obviated. First, in religion, as 
regards the theoretical apprehension and avowal of belief, no assertorial 
knowledge is required (even of God's existence), since, with our lack of 
insight into supersensible objects, such avowal might well be dissembled; 
rather is it merely a problematical assumption (hypothesis) regarding the 
highest cause of things that is presupposed speculatively, yet with an eye to 
the object toward which our morally legislative reason bids us strive--an 
assertorial faith, practical and therefore free, and giving promise of the 
realization of this its ultimate aim. This faith needs merely the idea of God, 
to which all morally earnest (and therefore confident) endeavor for the good 
must inevitably lead; it need not presume that it can certify the objective 
reality of this idea through theoretical apprehension. Indeed, the minimum 
of knowledge (it is possible that there may be a God) must suffice, 
subjectively, for whatever can be made the duty of every man. Second, this 
definition of a religion in general obviates the erroneous representation of 
religion as an aggregate of special duties having reference directly to God; 
thus it prevents our taking on (as men are otherwise very much inclined to 
do) courtly obligations over and above the ethico-civil duties of humanity 
(of man to man) and our seeking, perchance, even to make good the 
deficiency of the latter by means of the former. There are no special duties 
to God in a universal religion, for God can receive nothing from us; we 
cannot act for Him, nor yet upon Him. To wish to transform a guilty awe of 
Him into a duty of the sort described is to forget that awe is not a special act 
of religion but rather the religious temper in all our actions done in 
conformity with duty. And when it is said: "We ought to obey God rather 
than men,"1 this means only that when statutory commands, regarding 
which men can be legislators and judges, come into conflict with duties 
which reason prescribes unconditionally, concerning whose observance or 
transgression God alone can be the judge, the former must yield precedence 
to the latter. But were we willing to regard the statutory commands, which 
are given out by a church as coming from God, as constituting that wherein 
God must be obeyed more than man, such a principle might easily become 
the war-cry, often heard, of hypocritical and ambitious clerics in revolt 
against their civil superiors. For that which is permissible, i.e., which the 
civil authorities command, is certainly duty; but whether something which is 
indeed permissible in itself, but cognizable by us only through divine 
revelation, is really commanded by God--that is (at least for the most part) 
highly uncertain.
	1 [Cf. Acts V, 29]
	1 [146] [ein Factum]
	2 [146] [WillkŸrlichen]
	1 [147] [Our phrase "arbitrary will" translates "willkŸrlichen 
	* [147] It is hard to understand why this clear prohibition against 
this method of forcing confession before a civil tribunal of religious 
teachers--a method based upon mere superstition, not upon 
conscientiousness--is held as so unimportant. For that it is superstition 
whose efficacy is here most relied on is evident from the fact that the man 
whom one does not trust to tell the truth in a solemn statement, on the 
truthfulness of which depends a decision concerning the rights of a human 
being (the holiest of beings in this world) is yet expected to be persuaded to 
speak truly, by the use of a formula through which, over and above that 
statement, he simply calls down upon himself divine punishments (which in 
any event, with such a lie, he cannot escape) just as though it rested with 
him whether or not to render account to this supreme tribunal. In the 
passage of Scripture cited above, the mode of confirmation by oath is 
represented as an absurd presumption, the attempt to make actual, as though 
with magical words, what is really not in our power. But it is clearly evident 
that the wise Teacher who here says that whatever goes beyond Yea, Yea, 
and Nay, Nay, in the asseveration of truth comes of evil, had in view the 
bad effect which oaths bring in their train--namely, that the greater 
importance attached to them almost sanctions the common lie.
	* [148] The strait gate and the narrow way, which leads to life, is 
that of good life-conduct; the wide gale and the broad way, found by many, 
is the church. Not that the church and its doctrines are responsible for men 
being lost, but that the entrance into it and the knowledge of its statutes or 
celebration of its rites are regarded as the manner in which God really 
wishes to be served.
	1 [148] [Triebfeder]
	* [149] We know nothing of the future, and we ought not to seek to 
know more than what is rationally bound up with the incentives of morality 
and their end. Here belongs the belief that there are no good actions which 
will not, in the next world, have their good consequences for him who 
performs them; that, therefore, however reprehensible a man may find 
himself at the end of
his life, he must not on that account refrain from doing at least one more 
good deed which is in his power, and that, in so doing, he has reason to 
hope that, in proportion as he possesses in this action a purely good intent, 
the act will be of greater worth than those actionless absolutions which are 
supposed to compensate for the deficiency of good deeds without providing 
anything for the lessening of the guilt.
	1 [153] [The source of this quotation has not been found.]
	  [154] Mendelssohn1 very ingeniously makes use of this weak spot 
in the customary presentation of Christianity wholly to reject every demand 
upon a son of Israel that he change his religion. For, he says, since the 
Jewish faith itself is, according to the avowal of Christians, the substructure 
upon which the superstructure of Christianity rests, the demand that it be 
abandoned is equivalent to expecting someone to demolish the ground floor 
of a house in order to take up his abode in the second story. His real 
intention is fairly clear. He means to say: First wholly remove Judaism itself 
out of your religion (it can always remain, as an antiquity, in the historical 
account of the faith); we can then take your proposal under advisement. 
(Actually nothing would then be left but pure moral religion unencumbered 
by statutes.) Our burden will not be lightened in the least by throwing off 
the yoke of outer observances if, in its place, another yoke, namely 
confession of faith in sacred history--a yoke which rests far more heavily 
upon the conscientious--is substituted in its place.
	In any case, the sacred books of this people will doubtless always be 
preserved and will continue to possess value for scholarship even if not for 
the benefit of religion: since the history of no other people dates back, with 
some color of credibility, so far as does this, into epochs of antiquity (even 
to the beginning of the world) in which all secular history known to us can 
be arranged; and thus the great hiatus, which must be left by the latter, is 
filled by the former.
	1 [154] [Moses Mendelssohn, 1729-1786, (father of Felix 
Mendelssohn, the composer) was a prominent Jewish philosopher and 
theologian. Kant and Mendelssohn were familiar, over a long period of 
years, with each other's writings, and in 1763 both submitted essays for a 
prize offered by the Royal Academy in Berlin; Mendelssohn won the prize, 
Kant having been given second place, and their two essays were published 
together in 1764
	Kant here refers to Mendelssohn's Jerusalem, oder Ÿber religišse 
Macht und Judenthum, ("Jerusalem, or concerning Religious Power and 
Judaism"). Cf. Kant's Streit der FacultŠten, Berlin Edition, 1907, p. 52 n.]
	1 [155] [Gemeinde, congregations]
	* [156] Illusion [Wahn] is the deception of regarding the mere 
representation of a thing as equivalent to the thing itself. Thus a rich miser is 
subject to the covetous illusion of holding the idea of being able sometime 
or other to make use of his riches, when he may wish to do so, as an 
adequate substitute for never using them. The illusion of honor ascribes to 
praise by others, which is at bottom merely the outward expression of their 
regard (perhaps inwardly not entertained by them at all) the worth which 
ought to be attached solely to the regard itself. Here too belongs the passion 
for titles and orders, since these are but outward representations of a 
superiority over others. Even madness is so named [Wahnsinn] because it 
commonly takes a mere representation (of the imagination) for the presence 
of the thing itself and values it accordingly. Now the consciousness of 
possessing a means to some end or other (before one has availed oneself of 
this means) is the possession of the end in representation only; hence to 
content oneself with the former, just as though it could take the place of the 
latter, is a practical illusion, which is all we are speaking of here.
	  [157] Though it does indeed sound dangerous, it is in no way 
reprehensible to say that every man creates a God for himself, nay, must 
make himself such a God according to moral concepts (and must add those 
infinitely great attributes which characterize a Being capable of exhibiting, in 
the world, an object commensurate with Himself), in order to honor in Him 
the 0ne who created him. For in whatever manner a being has been made 
known to him by another and described as God, yea, even if such a being 
had appeared to him (if this is possible), he must first of all compare this 
representation with his ideal in order to judge whether he is entitled to 
regard it and to honor it as a divinity. Hence there can be no religion 
springing from revelation alone, i.e., without first positing that concept, in 
its purity, as a touchstone. Without this all reverence for God would be 
	* [158] For those who believe that the critique of pure reason 
contradicts itself whenever my distinctions between the sensuous and the 
intellectual are not wholly congenial to them, I here remark that, when 
mention is made of sensuous means furthering what is intellectual (of the 
pure moral disposition), or of the former opposing the latter, the influence 
of two such heterogeneous principles must not be thought of as direct. That 
is, as sensuous beings we can work against the law, or for its behoof, only 
in the appearances of the intellectual principle, i.e., in the determination of 
our physical powers through free choicew which expresses itself in actions; 
so that cause and effect may be represented as actually homogeneous. But in 
what concerns the supersensible (the subjective principle of morality in us, 
that which lies hidden in the incomprehensible attribute of freedom), for 
example, the pure religious disposition, we have insight only into its law 
(though this, indeed. suffices) touching the relation of cause and effect in 
man; that is, we cannot explain to ourselves the possibility of actions, as 
events in the sensuous world, in terms of the moral constitution of man, as 
imputable to him, just because these are free acts and because the grounds 
of explanation of all events must be derived from the sensuous world.
	1 [160] [Fables II, 5. Kant draws upon this passage (lines 1-3):
Est ardelionum quaedam Romae natio 
Trepide concursans, occupata in otio
Gratis anhelans, multa agendo nil agens.
"There is a certain set of busybodies at Rome, hurriedly running to and fro, 
busily engaged in idleness, out of breath for no reason, doing much but 
achieving naught."]
	* [161] It is a psychological phenomenon that the adherents of a 
denomination wherein somewhat less of the statutory is offered for belief, 
feel themselves, by virtue of this fact, somewhat ennobled and more 
enlightened, even though they have still retained so much of this statutory 
belief that they are not entitled to look down with contempt (as they actually 
do), from their fancied heights of purity, upon their brothers in churchly 
illusion. The reason for this is that, because of this difference of belief, 
however slight it be, they find themselves a little nearer to pure moral 
religion, even though they remain attached to the illusion of wishing to 
supplement it by means of pious observances in which reason is only less 
	1 [161] [Weltbesten]
	1 [162] [Cf. John III, 8]
	  [163] This name (Pfaffentum), signifying merely the authority of a 
spiritual father1 (pappa), possesses a censorious meaning as well, only 
because of the attendant concept of a spiritual despotism, to be found in all 
forms of ecclesiasticism, however unpretentious and popular they may 
declare themselves. I do not by any means want to be understood as 
desiring, in my comparison of the sects, to treat with contempt one of them, 
with its practices and ordinances, as contrasted with another. All deserve the 
same respect so far as their forms are the attempts of poor mortals to render 
perceptible to the senses the kingdom of God on earth, but also the same 
blame when they take the form of the representation of this idea (in a visible 
church) to be the thing itself.
 	1 [163] [Papacy would, in this context, best translate Pfaffentum, 
but we have used clericalism here and elsewhere since Kant is referring to 
the Protestant as well as to the Roman Catholic clergy.]
	1 [164] [Tempeldienst, Kirchendienst]
	1 [165] [willkŸrlich]
	1 [167] [Cf. Romans VIII, 21]
	* [167] "That yoke is easy, and the burden is light"2 where the duty, 
which binds every man, can be regarded as imposed on him by himself and 
through his own reason; and that yoke he therefore so far takes upon 
himself freely as his own. Only the moral laws, however, taken as divine 
commands, are of this sort; of these alone the Founder of the true church 
could say, "My commandments are not grievous."3 This expression merely 
means that these commands are not burdensome because everyone of 
himself perceives the necessity of their obedience and so nothing is here 
forced upon him; whereas despotically imperative ordinances, in which we 
can see no use, though they are imposed upon us for our best interests (yet 
not through our own reason), are a kind of vexation (drudgery) to which we 
subject ourselves only under compulsion. In themselves, however, the 
actions, regarded in the purity of their source, which are commanded by 
those moral laws, are precisely those which man finds the hardest, and in 
place of which he would gladly undertake the most burdensome pious 
drudgery were it possible to offer this in payment for the other.
	2 [167] [Cf. Matthew XI, 30]
	3 [167] [Cf. I John V, 3]
	1 [169] [Cf. I Corinthians I, 26]
	2 [169] [Cf. I Corinthians I, 27]
	* [172] The various kinds of belief among peoples seem to give 
them, after a time, a character, revealing itself outwardly in civil relations, 
which is later attributed to them as though it were universally a 
temperamental trait. Thus Judaism in its original economy, under which a 
people was to separate itself from all other peoples by means of every 
conceivable, and some arduous, observances and was to refrain from all 
intermingling with them, drew down upon itself the charge of misanthropy. 
Mohammedanism is characterized by arrogant pride because it finds 
confirmation of its faith not in miracles but in victories and the subjugation 
of many peoples, and because its devotional practices are all of the spirited 
sort.  The Hindu faith gives its adherents the character of pusillanimity for 
reasons which are directly 
opposed to those productive of the temper just mentioned [the 
	Now surely it is not because of the inner nature of the Christian faith 
but because of the manner in which it is presented to the heart and mind, 
that a similar charge can be brought against it with respect to those who 
have the most heartfelt intentions toward it but who, starting with human 
corruption, and despairing of all virtue, place their religious principle solely 
in piety (whereby is meant the principle of a passive attitude toward a 
godliness which is to be awaited from a power above). Such men never 
place any reliance in themselves, but look about them, in perpetual anxiety, 
for a supernatural assistance, and in this very self-abnegation (which is not 
humility) fancy themselves to possess a means of obtaining favor. The 
outward expression of this (in pietism or in spurious devotion) signalizes a 
slavish cast of mind.
	  [172] This remarkable phenomenon (of the pride of an ignorant 
though intelligent people in its faith) may also originate from the fancy of its 
founder that he alone had once again renewed on earth the concept of God's 
unity and of His supersensible nature. He would indeed have ennobled his 
people by release from image-worship and the anarchy of polytheism could 
he with justice have credited himself with this achievement. As regards the 
characteristic of the third type of religious fellowship [the Christian], which 
is based upon a misconceived humility, the depreciation of self-conceit in 
the evaluation of one's own moral worth, through consideration of the 
holiness of the law, should bring about not contempt for oneself but rather 
the resolution, conformable to this noble predisposition in us, to approach 
ever nearer to agreement with this law. Instead of this, however, virtue, 
which really consists in the courage for this improvement, has, as a name 
already suspected of self-conceit, been exiled into paganism, and 
sycophantic courting of favor is extolled in its place.
	Devotional hypocrisy (bigotry, devotia spuria) consists in the habit 
of identifying the practice of piety not with well-pleasing actions (in the 
performance of all human duties) but with direct commerce with God 
through manifestations of awe. This practice must then be classed as 
compulsory service (opus operatum), except that it adds to this superstition 
the fanatical illusion of imagined supersensible (heavenly) feelings.
	1 [173] [Epistles, I, 18: Si tutius putas illud cautissimi cuiusque 
pr¾ceptum: quod dubites, ne feceris. "... if you consider more safe that rule 
of a certain extremely cautious man: 'What you have doubts about, do not 
do.' "]
	1 [174] ["As it was methodically developed by the Jesuits and the 
Redemptorists (Alphons Liguori). The classical formula of probabilism--
laid down as early as 1577 by the Dominican Bartholomew Medina--runs as 
follows: si est opinio probabilis, licitum est eam sequi, licet opposita est 
probabilior." (Note in Berlin Edition.) The Latin may be translated: "If an 
opinion is probable, to follow it is allowable, even granted that the opposite 
opinion is more probable."]
	1 [174] ["Compel them to come in." Cf. Luke XIV, 23: "Go out into 
the highways and hedges and compel them to come in." "This phrase (coge 
intrare) Augustine early used (Epistles 93 and 185) as evidencing the duty 
of states to support the church in coercive measures against idolaters, 
heretics, and schismatics." (Note in Berlin Edition.)]
	1 [176] [Unwahrhaftigkeit, i.e., insincerity.]
	2 [176] [See p. 161 n.]
	* [176] I grant that I cannot really reconcile myself to the following 
expressions made use of even by clever men: "A certain people (engaged in 
a struggle for civil freedom) is not yet ripe for freedom"; "The bondmen of a 
landed proprietor are not yet ready for freedom"; and hence, likewise; 
"Mankind in general is not yet ripe for freedom of belief." For according to 
such a presupposition, freedom will never arrive, since we cannot ripen to 
this freedom if we are not first of all placed therein (we must be free in order 
to be able to make purposive use of our powers in freedom). The first 
attempts will indeed be crude and usually will be attended by a more painful 
and more dangerous state than that in which we are still under the orders 
and also the care of others; yet we never ripen with respect to reason except 
through our own efforts (which we can make only when we are free). I 
raise no protest when those who hold power in their hands, being 
constrained by the circumstances of the times, postpone far, very far, into 
the future the sundering of these three3 bonds. But to proceed on the 
principle that those who are once 
subjected to these bonds are essentially unfit for freedom and that one is 
justified in continually removing them farther from it is to usurp the 
prerogatives of Divinity itself, which created men for freedom. It is certainly 
more convenient to rule in state, household, and church if one is able to 
carry out such a principle. But is it also more just?
	3 [176] [Civil, economic or domestic, and religious, corresponding 
to the quoted expressions at the opening of the note.]
	  [178] The very man who has the temerity to say: He who does not 
believe in this or that historical doctrine as a sacred truth, that man is 
damned, ought to be able to say also: If what I am now telling you is not 
true, let me be damned! Were there anyone who could make such a dreadful 
declaration, I should advise the conduct toward him suggested by the 
Persian proverb concerning a hadji: If a man has been in Mecca once (as a 
pilgrim), move out of the house in which he is living; if he has been there 
twice, leave the street on which he is to be found; but if he has been there 
three times, forsake the city, or even the land, which he inhabits!
	1 [178] [Cf. Mark IX, 24]
	   [178] O sincerity! Thou Astraea, that hast fled from earth to 
heaven, how mayst thou (the basis of conscience, and hence of all inner 
religion) be drawn down thence to us again? I can admit, though it is much 
to be deplored, that candor (in speaking the whole truth which one knows) 
is not to be found in human nature. But we must be able to demand sincerity 
(that all that one says be said with truthfulness), and indeed if there were in 
our nature no predisposition to sincerity, whose cultivation merely is 
neglected, the human race must needs be, in its own eyes, an object of the 
deepest contempt. Yet this sought for quality of mind is such that it is 
exposed to many temptations and entails many a sacrifice, and hence calls 
for moral strength, or virtue (which must be won); moreover it must be 
guarded and cultivated earlier than any other, because the opposed 
propensity is the hardest to extirpate if it has been allowed firmly to root 
itself. And if now we compare with the kind of instruction here 
recommended our usual mode of upbringing, especially in the matter of 
religion, or better, in doctrines of faith, where fidelity of memory in 
answering questions relating to these doctrines, without regard to the 
fidelity of the confession itself (which is never put to the test) is accepted as 
sufficient to make a believer of him who does not even understand what he 
declares to be holy, no longer shall we wonder at the lack of sincerity which 
produces nothing but inward hypocrites.
	1 [181] [A schema is a spatio-temporal or sensuous form of what, in 
its essence, does not possess this character. The "certain analogy," 
parenthetically referred to above, is presumably the doctrine of the schema 
in the Critique of Pure Reason (Transcendental Analytic, Book II, Chap. 
	  [182] See the General Observation at the end of Book One.
	1 [183] [Cf. I Thessalonians V, 17]
	* [183] In the heart-felt wish which is the spirit of prayer, man seeks 
but to work upon himself (for the quickening of his disposition by means of 
the idea of God); whereas, in the other, where he declares himself in words, 
and so outwardly, he tries to work upon God. In the first sense, a prayer 
can be offered with perfect sincerity even though the man praying does not 
presume to be able to affirm that the existence of God is wholly certain; in 
its second form, as an address, he supposes this Supreme Being to be 
present in person, or at least he adopts an attitude (even inwardly) as though 
he were convinced of His presence, with the idea that, even if this be not 
so, his acting thus can at least do him no harm and is more likely to get him 
favor. Hence such complete sincerity cannot be found in the latter (verbal) 
prayer as it can in the former (the pure spirit of prayer).
	Anyone will find the truth of this last remark confirmed if he 
conceives of a pious and well-meaning man, but one who is circumscribed 
in respect of these purified religious concepts, whom some one else takes 
unawares, I will not say in praying aloud, but merely in behavior indicative 
of prayer. Everyone will of himself, of course, without my saying so, 
expect a man thus surprised to fall into confusion or embarrassment, as 
though in a situation whereof he should of ashamed. But why? It is because 
a man caught talking aloud to himself is suspected for the moment of having 
a slight attack of madness; and thus do we also judge a man (and not 
altogether unjustly) when we find him, all alone, in an occupation or attitude 
which can properly belong only to one who sees some one else before him--
and in the example we have given this is not the case.
	Now the Teacher of the Gospel has expressed the spirit of prayer 
most admirably in a formula which has at once rendered dispensable not 
only all this, but also the prayer itself (as a verbal utterance). One finds in it 
nothing but the resolution to good life-conduct which, taken with the 
consciousness of our frailty, carries with it the persistent desire to be a 
worthy member in the kingdom of God. Hence it contains no actual request 
for something which God in His wisdom might well refuse us, but simply a 
wish which, if it is genuine (active), of itself achieves its object (to become 
a man well-pleasing to God). Even the wish for the means of sustaining our 
existence (for bread) for one 
day, since this wish is expressly not directed to its continuance but is the 
effect of a felt need which is merely animal, is more a confession of what 
nature in us demands than a special deliberate request for what the man [in 
us] wills. The latter's request would be for bread for another day; but this is 
here clearly enough ruled out.
	A prayer of the kind described above arises in the moral disposition 
(animated solely by the idea of God), and, as the moral spirit of prayer, 
brings about its object (being well-pleasing to God) of itself. Only such a 
prayer can be prayed with faith, and by this faith we mean the assurance that 
the prayer will be heard. But only morality in us gives rise to this assurance, 
for even were the petition to be for this day's bread alone, no one can be 
assured that it will be heard, i.e., that its granting stands in necessary 
conjunction with God's wisdom; it may perhaps comport better with this 
wisdom to let the suppliant die today for lack of bread. It is, further, not 
only a preposterous but also a presumptuous illusion to try to divine 
whether, through the persistent importunity of one's request, God cannot be 
diverted (to our present advantage) from the plan of His wisdom. Hence we 
cannot hold that any prayer which is for a non-moral object is sure to be 
heard, that is, we cannot pray for such an object in faith. Nay, more: even 
were the object indeed moral, but yet possible only through supernatural 
influence (or at least awaited by us from this source alone because we do 
not wish to trouble ourselves to bring it about--as, for example, the change 
of heart, the putting on of the new man, called rebirth) it is at least so very 
uncertain that God will find it conformable to His wisdom to supplement in 
supernatural fashion our (self-incurred) deficiency that we have reason, 
rather, to expect the opposite. Man cannot therefore pray even for this in 
	In the light of the foregoing we can explain what might be the status 
of a miracle-working faith (which would at the same time always be united 
with an inner prayer). Since God can lend man no power to bring about 
effects supernaturally (for that is a contradiction), and since man, on his 
part, cannot determine, according to the concepts which he forms for 
himself of good ends possible on earth, what the divine Wisdom judges in 
these matters, and so cannot, by means of the wish he himself nurtures 
within him, make use of the divine Power for his purposes, it follows that a 
gift of miracles, I mean, a gift wherein it rests with man himself whether he 
has it or not ("If ye had faith as a grain of mustard-seed, etc."1), is, taken 
literally, not to be thought of. Such a faith, therefore, if it is to mean 
anything at all, is simply an idea of the overwhelming importance of man's 
moral nature, were he to possess it in its entire God-pleasing completeness 
(which, indeed, he never does), greater than all other moving causes which 
God in His supreme wisdom may have [at His disposal]; it is therefore a 
basis upon which we can be confident that, were we now, or eventually, to 
become wholly what we ought to be and (in continued approximation) could 
be, nature would have to heed our wishes, which, under these 
circumstances, however, would by the same token never be unwise.
	As regards the edification sought in attendance at church, here too 
public prayer is indeed no means of grace, yet it is a moral ceremony, 
whether it consists in united singing of the hymn of faith, or in the address 
formally directed to God, through the mouth of the clergyman and in the 
name of the whole congregation, and embracing all the moral concerns of 
men. Such an address, since it presents these last as a public concern, 
wherein the wish of each individual ought to be represented as united with 
the wishes of all toward the same ends (the ushering in of the kingdom of 
God), cannot only raise the feelings to the point of moral exaltation 
(whereas private prayers, because they are uttered without this sublime idea, 
lose little by little, through habituation, their influence upon the heart); it 
also possesses in itself a more rational basis than does private prayer for 
clothing the moral wish, which constitutes the spirit of prayer, in a formal 
mode of address--and it does this without picturing the Supreme Being as 
present, or thinking of the special power of this rhetorical device as a means 
of grace. For here there is a special purpose, namely, to set in more active 
motion the moral motivating forces of each individual through a public 
ceremony, representing the union of all men in a common desire for the 
kingdom of God; and this cannot be accomplished more appropriately than 
by speaking to the Head of this kingdom just as though He were specially 
present in that very place.
	1 [184] [Cf. Matthew XVII, 20; Luke XVII, 6]
	* [186] If we seek for a meaning proper to this term, probably none 
can be ascribed to it other than that it is to be understood as the moral result 
produced upon the subject by devotion. Now this result does not consist in 
feelings (this is already comprised in the very concept of devotion), even 
though most men, presumed to be devout (and therefore called devotees), 
identify it entirely with such feelings; hence the word edification [Erbauung] 
must signify the result of devotion in the actual improvement of the man. 
But this improvement becomes actual only if man systematically sets to 
work, lays deep in his heart firm basic principles squaring with well-
understood concepts, erects thereupon dispositions measurable to the 
differing weight of the duties connected with these principles, strengthens 
and secures them against the onslaughts of the desires, and thus, as it were, 
builds up a new man as a temple of God.1 One can easily see that this 
building can progress but slowly; yet it must at least be possible to see that 
something has been accomplished. But men believe themselves to be 
mightily edified [erbaut] (through listening or reading and singing) while 
absolutely nothing has been built up [gebauet], yea, where no hand has 
been put to the work. They believe this, presumably, because they hope that 
this moral edifice will rise up of itself, like the walls of Thebes, to the music 
of sighs and yearning wishes.
	1 [186] [Cf. Ephesians II, 21-22]
	1 [187] [Cf. Exodus XX, 4]
	1 [189] [Cf. Matthew VII, 21. "Not every one that saith unto me, 
Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the 
will of my Father which is in heaven."]
	2 [189] [Cf. Matthew V, 15]