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prior and deeper problem whether there be indeed any real personal Creator at all.
I hope I may be allowed to say that no conviction has for a long series of years been more firmly rooted in my mind than that the religious thought of our time has no deeper needs than these two,—first, to have the bases of religious belief broadened, the theistic foundations deepened, extended, strengthened ; and, secondly, to have the abiding progressiveness of such belief explicitly recognised and thoroughly demonstrated. The second of these needs I took first—in my “ Progressiveness” work—as having been practically an untraversed field. I now desire to bear my part towards the accomplishment of the first in such a manner that these two efforts shall not be disconnected and unrelated. In both cases I have tried to remember that, while there is no lack of analytical power to-day, the great need—the prime want–is, as I believe, synthetic power and constructive intellect. I trust that the discussions on the Being and Attributes of God, the Causal, Ontological, and Teleological Arguments, will be found not unworthy of one who believes the post-Kantian depreciation of them a huge speculative mistake.
I have judged it desirable to treat, in the course of the present inquiry, of subjects of such deep speculative interest as Personality, Freedom, Reason, the Reign of Law in Man, the Spiritual Nature, Needs, and Goal of Man, the Philosophy of His
tory, and Immortality, the treatment of which, I venture to hope, will be found not less suggestive or new than other parts of the work. The Personality of God, indeed, I have deemed of such surpassing importance as to call for a line of treatment such as will not, so far as I am aware, be found anywhere else, even though space-limits have curtailed my treatment of this transcendent and inspiring theme to a degree that little represents my likings. Not less important, from some points of view, will be found, I believe, the treatment here given to Personality in Man.
Without entering into all the reasons which have weighed with me in this attempt, I would point out that the endeavour is one of paramount importance and urgency, so long as theistic writers of undoubted ability are to be found who certainly succeed in creating an impression so unfavourable to the Progressiveness of Theism as to be precisely the opposite of that which it is my desire to deepen and produce by trying to establish and exhibit the progressive character of recent Theistic Philosophy. For, progressive in a most real sense I maintain it is, as I hope in succeeding pages to make evidentin different from what has before been done, when we shall have viewed the new vast increase of knowledge with its wealth of scientific result for theistic thought, and surveyed the new views of the methods of development of the physical universe in their bearings upon the intellectual
exposition of the Cosmos. One may surely be excused if in this connection he confesses to a feeling of amazement and even dismay that distinguished writers on theistic themes should so often seem to think that nothing of more modern interest is needed than the belated treatment which only loves to dilate on the oft - criticised positions of Descartes, Hume, and Kant. Judging from almost anything they make appear, the thought of the world might since have relapsed into slumber, or have become shorn of progressive power and expanding content. Does it need to be said how far otherwise it has really been-how intense have grown the activities, and how immense the results, of thought, with the advance of the nineteenth century, so that the difficulties of the theistic philosopher are—even with the dearth of constructive elements—such as really spring from an embarras de richesse ? It ought not to be necessary to say that I am not here supposing anything so absurdly optimistic as that all recent movement has been towards strengthening theistic thought : the case is simply that it is with the advances of theistic philosophy I have desired to deal—that is to say, with its continuity and development through all checks and reverses.
I think enough has been said to show that, in following a critico - speculative mode, it is not my purpose merely to add another to existing exposi
tions of Theism or the Philosophy of Religion : rather, the present work presupposes them, and, taking critical account of them, proceeds to cast its own distinctive contribution on to the slowly rising pile of theistic knowledge. In addition to the considerations already mentioned, I may say that, while it has been a loud and incessant reproach against theistic works that they have quite inadequately kept — when keeping at all — befor them the bearings of evolution on the form and content of what they often presented, I have steadfastly sought, even while not unduly dealing in detail with evolutionary bearings, to write as one conscious of the evolutionary atmosphere in which the thought of our time lives.
For it might almost be now asked, Who can think at all, and not think thus to-day? How else can present and actual issues be faced, except along these evolutionary lines of treatment ? I seek to yield to science all that belongs to it: I only claim, at the same time, for God on the one hand, and for man on the other, what may be quite as rightfully claimed for them.
The task I have set myself has been not less difficult than distinctive, but I have not been unmindful of the fact that thought, too, has its risks which must be run.
Further, I think I have, with deeper consciousness of the imperfection of my work, always more fully appreciated the spirit of Goethe's saying that “the deed is everything,” for, far more than all else, its performance has become a pleasurable necessity to me; and if—as I hope —my work should bring light, inspiration, stimulus, to others, I shall therein find additional satisfaction. Theistic philosophy has — as it seems to me—one method and one hope, the same which are expressed in the poet's line
“Painstaking thought, and truth its dear reward."
The three divisions of the work—Recent Philosophy of Natural Theology, Recent Philosophy of Theism (God), and Recent Theistic Philosophy of Religion (Man)—are not meant to be taken in any other sense than as a convenient general arrangement, and are not designed to convey that what stands under any one of these divisions may never have real and intimate relations to either of the other two divisions. An imperial chord subsists through all, which is that of theistic principle.
One thing only remains for me to add. Though the number of thinkers and writers referred to is so great, yet these are but a small part of those who, abroad and at home, have claimed my interest and attention. But I have not found it practicable to make explicit reference to them all without interfering with the natural order and course of my treatment, and, while maintaining its scientific and philosophical character, I have not felt called to give