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in such directions as, interpreting the doctrine of creation, of which we shall have more to say in a subsequent chapter ; proclaiming Agnosticism possible, but Atheism henceforth and for ever unscientific; deepening belief in a reign of law, in forms most real and rational, though still constructive and flexible — in the spiritual, not less truly than that which obtains in the natural world ;1 heightening our ideas of the unity of God by its growing discovery of order in nature; drawing thought from the vast unity and unbroken continuity in nature, and, we may surely add, from the unity of life, towards a large and inspiring theism as the legitimate and necessary culmination of scientific thought, as, in fact, ultimate truth and truest science; emphasising the ultimate mystery of life until, deepened by the presence of moral elements, it has taken precedence of mysteries that were exclusively theological ; exalting our idea of God by enlarging and perfecting our conception of the universe, which has been shown to be really progressive, and giving by its use of the theory of evolution
1 The identity of the laws in the two spheres, of course, not assumed in this reference to the universality of law.
that possibly all-inclusive law of the universelarger faith to theology and loftier form to its teleology of the Cosmos. With Whitman the progressive theologian says: “ To me the crown of scientism will be to open the way for a more splendid theology, for ampler and diviner songs,” for he sees his science share with all the sciences in the amplitude of their modern growth, and blend into one harmonious whole their broken and separate issues. While the fuller acknowledgment of how greatly science has helped theology, has tended to improve their relations, juster perceptions and better knowledge of the great, in some respects startling, indebtedness of modern science to the faith - inspiring, reasonfortifying power of Christian theology with its monotheistic trend, have also contributed towards this result, though there is still room for clearer knowledge on the scientific, as there may also be on the theological side, and scope still for diminished jealousy on the part of both.
Philosophy, freed since the Reformation of the
1 Du Bois - Reymond, La Revue Scientifique, Janvier 1878 : “ Bien que cela sonne comme un paradoxe, la science moderne doit son origine au Christianisme.”
“bonds of theology," has not shrunk to set truth discovered by independent investigation in her own domain, over against truth which had received theological sanction, yet theology has been too percipient of the greatness and the geniality of the services philosophy is capable of rendering her not to salute her as non ancilla sed potius soror. What dominant philosophic forces in theology Kantianism, Hegelianism, and Positivism have successively been, every one knows who has followed the course of the history of the relations which theology and philosophy have in modern times sustained to each other. During our century a truce has been called to the warfare excited by the philosophic revolt headed by English Deism, German rationalism and pantheism, and French atheism and naturalism, and, while the Positivism of Comte has sought to undermine the grounds of Theism, the theistic position has been strengthened by Ulrici, Trendelenburg, Lotze, Harris, Martineau, and others, but there is felt, in respect of the separateness of theological and philosophical development carried, as it has been, to an unwonted limit, to be great scope for harmonisation and adjustment. Now, as never before, Christian theology feels that though each has been treading her own way, their interests sundered and their lives independent, she has yet been so indebted to the philosophical spirit and its principles as to be unable to regard philosophy save with love and reverence. Theology has, of necessity, been dependent on modern philosophy for those modifying influences that have come to it through philosophy from the sphere of progressive scientific psychology, and have been specially felt in that realm of theological inquiry known as the Philosophy of Religion, where philosophy sits as judex veritatis. Recent times have even witnessed tendencies in philosophy to dominate theology, or bring it at undue sacrifice into harmony with itself, of which examples may be seen in the uses to which have been put the positions of Kant, of Hegel, and of Hartmann. It were the acme of folly for theology to yield to this tendency, as though unable to find for itself any more stable basis, or footing more in accord with the essential nature of Christianity itself. It has been represented that the recent Ritschlian attempt to exclude metaphysics from
theology—though Ritschl professedly disavowed elimination from theology of all metaphysicshas been of service to Christian theology in freeing it from philosophical bondage, and setting it on more independent foundation,-a position so demonstrably false that precisely the reverse is the logical result, and the ultimate discredit of theology the practical issue. It is not too much to say that the growing consciousness of itself which these endeavours have fostered in Christian theology must prove to it solid gain, and the clearer formulation of its position which they have called forth must serve to strengthen theological science. The good offices of philosophy may be seen, as illustrated in the criticism it has directed against such points as the Ontological proof, under some modes of its presentation at least, and the à priori determination of the impossibility of miracles.
Theological thought, which, at the beginning of this century, took its character of fondness for external evidences under the influence of the empirical philosophy of Locke, has, during the century, evidenced an extraordinary progress, under the idealistic philosophy of Germany,