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Preface, ••••»* xiii-xx 


Three Views of Religion as (I) Part of Philosophy ; (2) In 

depen dently Revealed by Faith ; (II) Psychological Error 1 


Religious Faith not the same as Acceptance of Axioms of 

Science ....... 2 

Or of Moral Principles 3 


Religious Faith grows out of Primitive Feelings more akin to 
First Impressions of Sense than nationalised Ex¬ 
perience of a CoBinos ..... 4 

Primitive Religious Feeling Implies a Supersensuous World 0 


Inward Experience which is also Implied by Science, Art, 

and Morality 6 


On the Existence of God. 


What do Proofs of God’s Existence really Prove . # A 


Ontological Proof. God is Perfect, Perfection Involves Ex¬ 
istence, therefore God Exists .... 9 

Kant’s Criticism^ f this Proof . . . . .10 

Anselm’s Form of this Proof : God is Real, because He is 

14 id quo majuB, Couitari nequit ” . .11 

Anselm's Form merely Expresses our Natural Impulse to¬ 
wards the Supersensuous . , .11 





The Cosmological Proof. A World which is Conditioned Im¬ 
plies an Unconditioned, viz. God . . .12 

But Absence of Conditions not Necessary, but only Matter- 

of-Fact ....... 13 

Therefore by this Proof God is not Necessary, though our 

Belief in Him may be so . , . .14 


Is the Worhl so Accidental as to Require an Absolute Ground T 14 
Right Meaning of Accident ..... 14 


If Unconditioned means Matter-of-Faot . . .16 

Then the Cosmological Proof Leads to Pluralistic View of 

Natural Science .... . . 17 

Religious Motive of this Proof is to Represent God as Ade 

quate to Produce the World . . . .18 

section x. 

Teleological Proof. World Kxhibits Design, therefore, there 

was an All-wise Designer, viz. God . . .19 

Objection : the World Kxhibits Adaptation, but not Ne¬ 
cessarily Design . . . . . .19 


Design Implies Choice, and was there Choice ? . . 21 

The Argument from Design is a Circular One ; . . 22 

And Rests on the Absurd Belief that the Real is more likely 

to be Irrational than not . . . . C2 


Does the World Argue Supreme Wisdom on Part of its 

Creator? ...... 23 

Neither Modern Belief in Immanent Design nor Old Belief in 

Externally Impressed Design Prove such Wisdom . 24 

The World rather Resembles the Work of many Conflicting 

and Unwise Principles . . . . . 25 


Moral Form of Cosmological Proof Argues from Badness of 

World to a Good God . . . .26 


A Proof of God Must Start, not from the Fact of Purposive 
Action in Things, which is Doubtfui, but u f Bare 
Action, which is not . . . . . *7 

section xv. 

It Must Start from Four Fundamental Assumptions of Natural 

Science ...... 28 



Interaction According to Law all over the World Argues some 
Identity or Community of Every Part with Every 
Other ?..... 2s 


A Law of Nature is no Outside Power Controlling Reality, 
but either a Mere Bye-law of the Intelligence, or an 
Expression of the Intrinsic Activity of a Tiling . SI 


Immanent Operation in Things an Ultimate Fact . . 32 


Action of One Thing on Another Inexplicable as the Transition 

of a State or Mood from the One to the Other . . 34 


Nor can any Law as Such Compel One Element to Change Con¬ 
ditionally on Another Element Changing . . 36 

section xx. 

We Must Retain the Idea of Effect, but Give Up the Puralistic 

View ....... 38 

For Change either Within the Same Thing or of One Thing in 
Response to Another Presupposes a Self-maintaining 

Unity of all Things ..... 39 


We cannot Know or Explain how this Absolute Uuity is also 

Many ....... 40 


6 On the Nature of the Highest Principle. 


Can this Absolute One be Identified with the God of Religion ? 43 


Materialism Identifies It with Matter .... 44 


Yet Ascribes to Matter the Task of Remaining One and the 

Same Throughout Change and Difference . . 46 

And this Task can only be Accomplished by a Conscious 

Spirit ....... 47 

section xxv. 

Even if an Unconscious Being could be a Many-in-one, yet how 

could it Generate Consciousness ? .48 




Thus We Are Driven Back on Idealism, which 'fakes Up 
Matter into Mind . 

The Properties of Matter no Obstacle to this View 





1, Space a Purely Mental Appearance, Engendered in Us 

Agencies which arc not Special . . . .51 

Space Really in Us, not We in Space . . . 63 


2. Material Forces Express an Inner Nature of Things, whioh 

may well be Spiritual . .... 64 


Is the Ultimate Real an Unconscious Spirit ? . . .55 

This View iH a Wrong Inference from Unconscious States 

within Human Mind . . ... 65 

section xxx. 

Is the Absolute Personal as well as Spiritual T . 57 

Contrast of Ego to Non Ego ..... 57 

Is Essential to Personality . . . , 59 


But the Non-Ego Here Consists of the Spirit’s Own Inner 

States and Idea, not of an Outside Reality . . 61 

Therefore God may be Personal, yet not Finite . .62 


In Us the Stimulus of a Reality not in Us leads to Our 
Recognition of Our Personality .... 
An Infinite Spirit Needs no such Stimulus . . 

God is au Eternally Active Thought .... 

section xxxin. 

Meaning of I . . , , . 

“ 1 am Subject and Object of my Thinking” . . 

What, then, is Mine ? 

The Idea of Mine Given Through Pleasure or Pain 
SECTION xxxiv. 

Pleasure and Pain in Us is First Excited by stimuli ab extra 
For au Infinite Spirit these Stimuli would be Creations of 
His own Mind . . . . ‘ . 

section xxxv. 













On the Notion of Creation. 



God djft not Create the World and then Leave It Alone . . 73 


Nor did He Create It Out of Something . . .74 

Creation in what Sense a Development of the Divine 

Nature? ..... .74 

Certainly not as Implying a Law Above God, According to 

which He Develops . . . . .76 

SECTION xxxix. 

For an Activity Founds the Law, not the Law the Activity . 76 

But there is no Activity Behind and Above God . . 77 


Nor is God the Exemplification of a Pre-existing Concep¬ 
tion ....... 77 


Yet God is no Empty Abstraction, . . ,79 

But the All-in-All of Qualities and Attributes . . 80 


Can God do what is Impossible, or only what is Possible ? . 80 


Relation of Eternal Truths to God . , ,82 


They are not so much Recognised by Him as Part of Him 

from the First . . . . 83 


Theoretical Truths Cannot be Connected with Moral Truths, 

Even in God ...... 86 


Why has just This and no Other World Come to be Real ? . 86 

Is the Wojrld a Necessary Emanation from God, or an Act 

of His V^ill ? . r ' .87 


The Theory of Emanation Implies a Distinction of Reality 

a9 Inside from Reality as Outside the Mind . 88 

A Distinction Applicable to Us, but not to God . 89 




r > - section xivrn. 

What, then, Does a World Gain by being Created ? 90 

Creation is of Spirits and of Spirits Alone . ,91 


For Nothing oan Exist for Itself and Otherwise than as the 

Thought of Another Spirit, except a Spirit Itself . • 92 

Spirits Alone can be Called Substances . . .93 

Things a re‘Mere Appearances in the Minds of Spirits, and, 

not Real or Created in Themselves . . .94 


This World of Things need not be the Only World , ,96 

Higher Worlds may with this One Co-exist in God , . 96 


The Creation of Spirits an Act of God’s Will, and not an 

Emanation . . . . , .97 


God did not Labour in Creating Us . . .98 

His Motive was to Multiply His Own Holiness in Us .99 


Folly of Cosmogonies ...... 100 


Upon the Maintenance of the World. 


Two Views i—1. God Maintains the World after Creating It 109 


2. God having Created, Leaves It Alone ... 104 


But Creation Implies Continuance .... 105 

Bearing of This on Miracles .... 106 


Miracle the Suspension of One Law, not of Many . , 107 


Experience Testifies to Continuity of Nature and Atsence of 

Miracles ....... 109 


Prayer in what Sense Efficacious without Miracle . . Ill 




The Divine Government of the World. 


Providence Implies Free Beginnings in the World 


Can the World Have a History ? . . 

As May Have a Finite Being . . . 

The Absolute or God Cannot Have a History , 


Relation of Time to God a Mystery 


. 113 

. 114 

. 114 

. ns 
. 116 


God Eternal not as Out-lasting Time . , .118 

But as Founding Time . . . . . .118 

How Reconcile Divine Omniscience with Free Beginnings ? . 119 

Knowledge, yet not Fore-knowledge, of Free Beginnings 

is Conceivable , . . . . . 120 


In what Sense God Governs the World . . . 120 

The End Willed by God for the World Must Be Something 

Spiritual x. . . »* ■ , . - ■ . . . 121 


And It Must Have Moral Worth or Value, . ■. . 122 


And not Lie in the Realising of any Speculative Idea , 123 

It ilannot be, e.g., a Dialectical Process of Thought . . 123 


Vet this End of the World Cannot be Abstract or General 

Pleasure or Bliss ...... 124 


Connection of Good with Pleasure . . . .126 

To God the Good is Nothing Obligatory as it is to Man . 127 


The Divine Holiness , . , , .128 


Three Principles in the World : 1, Necessaiy Truths ; 2, The 

Real World ; 3, Final Cause .... 129 

Doctrine of the Trinity . . , 130 



On the Actual Oourec of the World. 


How Far Experience Confirms our Idea of God as a Moral 1 
Being ....... 

Experience Limited ...... 

section i.xxn. 

Physical Speculations on the Beginning and End of the World 
have no Religious Bearing .... 


Upon Evolution....... 

It is not Progress, ...... 

And must Aim at the Realisation of as much Good as is Pos¬ 
sible in Individuals ..... 


The Origin of Man , . . 

Absurdity of View that Development is Through a Series of 
Accidents . . . . . . 


The Problem of Evil in the World .... 
The Evil is Real . . .... 

ft Not a Relative or Disguised Good .... 
Cruelty in the Animal Creation ' i . •• ' .' ' . 


*. Belief in a Devil Natural, but no Solution ; . . , 

For it Involves a Dualism which is Unthinkable . . 


<• The Source of the Evil in God Himself. . . . 

Leibnitz on Origin of Evil ,v sir- , . 


' Is Freedom of Will Origin of Evil? ... 


Does God Sanction Evil as a Discipline ?- ■ . . _ . - 

* Existence of Evil Inexplicable on any Theory of ^Divine 
Goodness ••• £& . . . . , 



Idea of a History of Man Agrees Little with Divine Goodness 




So, also, the View that History is Education of Mankind 146 


Man's Progress Exoept in Scienoe Questionable 147 


Pessimism as a Theory Equally Tenable with Optimism 149 

Religious Belief must Rest on Moral Attitude 160 


Religion and Morality. 


How Ear Can the Moral Conscience Serve as Basis of Reli¬ 
gion ? . . . . . .161 


How We Can Come by General Moral Principles . . 162 


Prudential View of Morality ..... 163 

Rightly Refers 0s to Human Intercourse for Knowledge of 

what is Right and Wrong in Action . . 164 


Real Basis of Morality is Self-denying Benevolence . . 164 


Stoical View Unsatisfactory ..... 166 

Bt.muse It Makes Mere Fulfilment of Law, as Law. the End 

rather than Satisfaction of a Living Self . . 167 


Theological Implications of Common Morality / , 169 


Relation of Divine Will to Moral Law Examined . . 160 

No Derogation of Moral Laws to Regard Them as Divine 



Man is Child, of God ...... 162 

1. As a Finite Being . . . . . ,162 

2. As a Being who is not Merely a Natural Product . . 163 


Real World is the Kingdom of God .... 163 




Dogmas and Confessions. 


Religious Tenets Belong to Private Mysticism. . . 

section xoiv. 

Still Religious Communion is Essential. . , . 

section xcv. 

The Use of Religious Dogmas ..... 
Dogmas must not be made Tests .... 

section xcvi. 

May We Honestly Toin a Communion whose Tenets in Order 
to do so We Must Interpret in Our Own Way f 
Historical Dogmas Need Recasting in Some Points . . 


Recapitulation of Results ..... 


In what Sense can We Admit that Christ was Son of God . 
section xeix. 

Or that He Redeemed the World ? ... 

•section o. 

What Eschatology is Allowable. .... 












Visible and Invisible Churoh. 



I have completed and venture to publish the following 
translation of Herman Lotze’s “Lectures upon the 
Philosophy of Religion ” in the same hope in which it 
was undertaken by my late wife, that it may be of 
use to some who cannot read the German original, and 
yet desire a concise statement of the form in which 
one of the clearest-minded of our later thinkers put 
to himself those great questions—as to the origin and 
destiny of the spirit of man, as to life in general and 
the meaning of the material universe—which occupy us 
all at some time or another, many of us as soon as 
we have won food and shelter for our bodies. 

The date, October, 1882, at which I find my wife 
began this task, soon pushed aside to make way for 
her translation of Scherer’s “ History of German 
Literature,” resumed after a while, but at the last loft 
unfinished, recalls the movement in favour of church 
reform which was then astir in Oxford, and in which 
she felt a keen interest. Of that movement during 
its brief continuance Arnold Toynbee was the life and 
soul, and he it was who by his earnestness and en¬ 
thusiasm kindled in others sympathy with a scheme 
which, in its leading particulars, alas! had but little 
chance of success. Toynbee wished that the English 
Church might become in fact, what it is in theory, 
the very nation itself in a religious aspect. He saw 
and valued the actual comprehensiveness of the Church, 



which more than any professed sect permits in its 
clergy a variety of belief and ritual practice; but he 
dreamed of its becoming still more comprehensive, and 
aimed at such a reform as would make simple piety 
and missionary zeal, rather than willingness to sub¬ 
scribe the thirty-nine articles, the condition of serving 
in its ministry. 

Jt may be that Toynbee’s enthusiasm and entire 
devotion to the highest that he knew hid from him 
the strength of easily aroused prejudices, and led him 
to regard his ideal as easier of achievement than we 
know it to be. Any attempt to liberalise theological 
opinion in a hurry would, in this as in any other 
country, provoke a dangerous reaction. The change 
must come from within the Clmrch and not from 
without; and there are signs that, in the University 
of Oxford itself, iniluenees are at work which cannot 
fail in time to bring about a complete revolution in 
churchmen’s ways of looking at things. If we com¬ 
pare the latest volume of orthodox apologetic, the 
essays upon the Lux Mumli, full of fervour and 
enthusiastic welcome for the newest critical results .of 
science, of history, and of philosophy, if we compare 
this with the lifeless thaumaturgy which was Paley’s 
notion of Christianity, we may almost hope that after 
another hundred years the new flesh underneath will 
be fully formed, that the old cicatrix of miracles and 
thirty-nine articles will drop away and the standpoint 
of the average churchman become the saige as that 
which is to-day Dr. Martineau’s. Professor Goldwin 
Smith used to deplore the exclusion of all except 
ordained members of the English Church from the 


richly-endowed Oxford Chairs of Theology, of Hebrew, 
and of Ecclesiastical History; it would, however, be 
far more deplorable, if these restrictions were pre¬ 
maturely removed; for the result would be that 
future clergymen, instead of coming to Oxford to 
stud^ theology, as at present, would Hock to provincial 
seminaries, from which they would issue as ignorant 
of all critical developments in religious philosophy and 
history, as fanatically opposed to liberalising in¬ 
fluences, and as thoroughly impregnated with priestly 
nonsense of all sorts, as are young priests fresh from 
the College of Saint Sulpice. We may well be 
content with the rate at which opinion is at present 
developing Barely a generation back we were all 
for harassing Bishop Colenso because of his work on 
the Pentateuch. To-day it is only the Rev. Mr. Foulkes, 
and the venerable Archdeacon of Taunton, and other 
lovers of the past, who are so sure of their dogmatic 
position as to bring charges of heresy against devout 
and learned men more open-minded than themselves. 

It is in my heart to speak a few words about the 
beautiful and happy life of her to whom is to be 
ascribed any merit which this little work may seem 
to have; not because that life was in any way event¬ 
ful or beyond the ordinary, but simply because in the 
quiet zeal for the good of others and in the un¬ 
demonstrative pursuit of knowledge which marked 
all its phases, not girlhood only but married life as 
well, it wa§ typical of the life which happily lies 
within the reach of many English women. Her parents 
lived during her early childhood in the High Street, 
in Oxford, and even the local associations of a home 



over-shadowed by Magdalen Tower and surrounded 
by ancient colleges and libraries, within which the 
intellectual life of the past is ever being gathered up 
and ever quickens to new birth, may have helped to 
give to Emily Mary Muller the intellectual seriousness 
and love of books which she soon displayed. Not 
that she was not as merry in her play as other 
children, and a classical playground too was hers: 
in spring and autumn the old physic garden with its 
quaint, nooks, inviting games of hide and seek, and in 
winter the sunny path beneath Merton College Garden, 
where the old city wall and bulwarks drink in any 
southern warmth and fender off the north wind, and 
in summer the shady hanks and pleasances of the 
Lower Chorwell. Later on she was sent to the 
Oxford High School for girls, just started on its 
useful career under the guidance of Miss Benson, a 
teacher who had the gift of imbuing her pupils with 
her own lofty sense of duty and love of truth. Miss 
Benson had what are called high-church views, which, 
without the least propagandist efforts on her part, 
could not fail to repeat themselves in those with 
whom she was in daily contact. My wife had been 
brought up to be a member of the Church of England, 
but, apart from that, her natural seriousness, her sense 
of Miss Benson’s strength of character, and her love 
for her as for one who took a deep interest in her and 
was ever kind and anxious to teach her, all combined 
to make her for a time very religious in a Jhigh-cliurch 
fashion. But such a phase could not last long for a 
mind so active and enquiring as hers. Her dogmatic 
repose, she once told me, was broken by her reading 



her father’s Hibbert lectures on the “Origin and Growth 
of Religion,” a work full of light and suggestiveness, 
though it may well be doubted whether even in 
philosophers, much less in primitive men, religion 
arises out of the perception of a spurious philosophical 
infinity. 1 

There followed the inevitable reaction, and during 
the last three years of her all too brief life, she could 
not bring herself to go to church. She said that she 
could not herself repeat, and, such was her sincerity, 
she would not pretend before others to repeat creeds 
full of historical propositions, some of which are 
demonstratively false, while others rest on the thin¬ 
nest and poorest evidence. The creed of which she 
was most tolerant was the so-called Athanasian, 
because its clauses, for the most part, neither admit of 
nor claim historical proof, and have also an interest 
for the student of thought, as the final and subtlest 
spinning out of a cobweb of speculation, which, 
through Philo Judasus and Saint John, links the 
Timseus of Plato with later ages. 

Shortly before her marriage, which was in 1883, 
my wife had begun the rather arduous task of trans¬ 
lating, for the use of English readers, Scherer’s 
“ History of German Literature,” and she did not get 
through with it before the end of 1885. Not only 
did she manage the rendering of it with so much skill 
that reviewers paid her the compliment of saying that 
it read like aijEnglish book rather than as a translation, 

1 Compare, for example, Professor Max Muller’s first lecture 
on the “Origin and Growth of Religion" with Hegel’s “Logic.” 
Sect. 94. 

xviii PREFACE. 

but her good judgment shown in compressing the 
original, and in excising patriotic effusions, which 
were superfluous for English readers, was also very 
much praised. 

In 1882 my future wife took my place on the 
Committee of the Oxford branch of the Charity 
Organisation Society, and of this she continued to be 
an indefatigable member to the last. The work of 
visiting the poor was thoroughly congenial to her, and 
she knew how to sympathise with them in their 
wants and difficulties; how to advise and help them 
without patronising them. For the belief in the 
brotherhood and equality of men is very easy to 
entertain and air as a drawing-room conviction, but it 
is difficult to approach those of humbler station than 
oneself, so as to make them feel that one is really 
their friend and equal. Perhaps she was the more 
successful in winning the hearts and confidence of the 
poor, because, unlike some ladies who take up district 
visiting, she had no ulterior motive for her charitable 
visits, no anxiety to get her people to go to church, or 
to belong to the Primrose or to any other political 
league. In this work, as in all her relations with 
others, she was absolutely simple and true. For my 
wife had, what I may call, the true republican 
temperament, and valued people, not for their wealth 
or rank, but solely for what they were in themselves; 
and this was the principle on which she chose her 
friends and acquaintances. 

After her marriage her life flowed serenely 
and happily as before, and she declared that 
the world seemed far better arranged than as a 



girl she had thought it to be. One sorrow befel us 
shortly after our union, the death of my father; a 
loss which she felt very deeply. My eldest sister, 
whose name was also Mary, had died not long 
before, having really killed herself by overwork 
among the poor of the East End. All the tenderer* 
perh h s > 011 this account was the feeling with which 
my father welcomed my wife into his family circle. 

Notwithstanding my father’s generosity to us at 
the time of our marriage, still, after his death, in 1884, 
we naturally had more money to spend than before, 
and it was no small pleasure to be able to indulge her 
generous intentions towards others. There are many 
who still remember her kindness in these and other 
ways; and she had, too, the gift—which is far rarer 
and less of an accident than the being able to give— 
the manner, namely, in giving, which, far from 
humbling or mortifying those who receive, disarms 
them at once, because it assures them that they are 
being helped from the purest motive of sympathy. 
The reason was that she valued money simply as a 
means of doing good to others, as a trust and re¬ 
sponsibility which she was privileged to fulfil- 
Towards her relatives she was especially liberal, and 
just before her death sho was anxious—had it been 
feasible—to give away her entire patrimony in order 
to secure the future happiness of a near relative of 
her father’s. 1 

1 Her husbaiN was happy in being able, shortly after her death, 
to achieve this object, so dear to her, by resigning in favour of 
Prof. Max Muller the claims which, by his marriage settlements, 
he possessed upon the latter’s estate. 


Id all things, and especially in the management 
of her household, she was very painstaking and 
methodic, and so it was that, after her marriage, she 
found time to make herself proficient in Greek, and 
she threw herself at once into the study of Plato, with 
an almost childish freshness of delight 
But this life of quiet well-doing, of p&tient 
self-culture, and serene affection, was not to last 
for long; and in the summer of 1886 , after a few 
days of suffering, which it is very painful to look 
back upon, she died at the seaside at Southwold. 
Almost her last gaze was upon the sunlit sea, studded 
with white sails. But her dear body, the vehicle of 
so gentle and sincere a soul, they brought reverently 
back to the Oxford home, and laid it to rest in that 
happy cemetery of Holiwell, which looks towards the 
Cherwell and the riverside meadows, which she loved 
so much. 

"eir e v\api<rria rov eipqvomou Seov." 





Could religious truth be fully apprehended by 
the human reason, philosophy Tim* „f n„. 
would be the only means of estab- pSlmy 7 ' 

by Faith, Cl) I’svcho- 

lislung and expounding it. On logical umm 
the other hand, even though it could not be 
found out by reason, but required an external 
or internal revelation, it would still lie with 
philosophy to show how the truth so revealed 
was connected with our conception of the world, 
as we know it apart from revelation, and also 
with our needs and duties. One other view 
must be considered, namely the sceptical one, 
according to which religion is no more than a 
subjective error on our part, which can be ex- 



'plained by reference to the natural history of 
the soul. This latter view can hardly be in¬ 
telligibly stated, until we have learned from 
philosophy what is true about the supersensuous 
world., Until then we cannot possibly hope to 
show how the soul’s processes and modes of 
operation must inevitably miss the truth or dis¬ 
tort it. And even then the history of how an 
idea or conviction grows up within us can never 
by itself be an adequate criterion of its truth or 

This then is the task which awaits us. First of 
all we must find out how much the unaided 
reason can tell us about the supersensuous 
world ; and then we must in the second place 
set ourselves to discover how far the matter 
and contents of a religious revelation agree with 
these fundamental principles, and, lastly, we must 
add a critical account of the errors which may 
arise in connection with each point. 


The claims of philosophy to determine what 
Religious Faith not ,i s true and what is false in religion 

the name as Accept- * O 

Science. oi are usually met with an appeal to 
faith as the peculiar organ of religious truth. 



And the objection is even pressed home, until it 
takes the’form of claiming that the whole mass 
of demonstrative processes, science itself not ex¬ 
cepted, rests upon faith, because it presupposes 
the acceptance of certain first principles,, which 
neither are capable of nor need further proof. 

But the immediate acceptance of its axioms 
by science is something quite different from 
what religion means by faith ; and the differ¬ 
ence lies in the nature of the contents held to be 
true in the two cases. The axioms of science 
are general judgments, and are hypothetical. 
They do not narrate or assert that anything is or 
has happened, but only assert that if something 
were to happen it must necessarily correspond' 
with certain conditions. But the first principles 
of religion, and those which constitute its essence, 
from which we must of course exclude moral 
principles, are assertorial judgments, 0r o( Moril Prln . 
dogmatic statements which assert 011>les ' 
the reality of particular single facts, such as the 
existence of God, the creation of the world, etc., 
—1’acts which, in spite of their wide scope, are 
yet particular 

Now, these universal laws just express the 
essence of reason, its own true nature and the 



reaction which it perpetually exerts on the im¬ 
pressions which reach it. This reaction is at 
first unconscious, but later on, when reason 
comes to refiect upon its activities, it brings 
them before consciousness in the form of prin¬ 
ciples. Naturally, then, it cannot get rid of 
these—for they are the very ways in which from 
its nature it must operate—but regards them as 
the ultimate truth. But it is different with re¬ 
ligious assent, for this refers to and has to do 
with particular facts which have nothing to do 
with the intrinsic nature of the individual spirit. 
And, therefore, religious assent must justify it¬ 
self upon other grounds, and it is not enough to 
compare it with the certainty which on evidence 
we repose in the first principles of science. The 
two things are not alike. 


Another comparison would be nearer the 
cro»' l uur<.f F i"rimi- mark. Knowledge arises not from 
akin to first impres- tile general laws alone, but also 
“tmoofa e c<i8moi. ri ' from the immediate perception 
which first, puts before us instances of the work¬ 
ing of these laws. Now, a perception of sense, 



say of light, can neither be called in question 
nor confirmed. For us such a perception ranks 
as an immediate and convincing reality. But 
besides the sensuous affections, which arise in 
us frqjn outside incentives, we can imagine the 
existence of impressions directly wrought in 
upon our souls, perhaps by divine power; and 
of these perceptions, as of sensuous ones, the 
direct purport must be recognised as the full 

We can quite admit that religious knowledge 
thus originated; only we must carry the com¬ 
parison a step further. Sensuous perceptions 
are by themselves nothing more than subjective 
emotions of our own selves or conditions of 
feeling. They only become statements about an 
outward reality and about the properties and 
relations of things, when they have been com- 


bined and compared by our reason, and on the 
basis of these general laws have been expounded 
as signs or symbols of a cosmic order. The 
same remark applies to those impressions of a 
divine order; they would at first be only 
emotions of* the mind, attitudes of longing, of 
devotion, or enthusiasm, the reality of which 
cannot of course be doubted, although by them- 



selves they represent no truth whatever of faith, 
or only do so when our reason has connected 
them with our theory of the universe from 
^r'!r^ufr: °^ ier points of view, and has 
8u, w$r“ proved that these inward emotions 
can only be comprehended on the assumption of 
certain facts, which form a desirable and proper 
filling in of gaps and flaws in our knowledge, 
a supplement not accessible, however, to reason 
alone, but which reason must admit into its 
theory of the universe. 


This inward experience may be termed the 
Which iR also im- faith with which we believe and 

piie.i liv Science. Art, 

and Morality. through which we believe, the Jides 
qua vre.di.tur , by which I mean that upon nothing 
short of these spiritual emotions can we base our 
confidence in the significance and truth of that 
supersensuous agency which we presupposed. 
But the matter and content of such faith as this 
cannot assume the definite form of articles of 
religion communicable by one person to another, 
until reason has set to work upon it, and has 
investigated the problem: how the causes and 



import of these inward emotions of the soul 
cohere •flnth the rest of experience. This is none 
the less necessary, because articles of faith 
already formulated by tradition or scholastic 
revelation are offered to us for acceptance. For 
the conviction of their truth in turn can only be 
called forth in us by proof of their rational con¬ 
nection with our other intellectual postulates. 
Hence, our first task must be to show that our 
intelligence is driven by its theoretical, esthetic, 
and moral demands to furnish a certain supple¬ 
ment to its view of the world of experience in 
the shape of an assumption of a supersensuous 
world. The human mind has endeavoured to 
supply such supplementary hypotheses one after 
another in a certain order, and to them will 
correspond the successive chapters of the Philo¬ 
sophy of Religion. We will take them in order 
ancf begin with that in which all else centres, 
namely, the existence of God. 






Enquihies about the existence of God have 
wi,at Proofs of i m ni's generally taken the form of proofs 

Kiiutence roally v . 

,,ruv<! - that He exists. Blit m this case 
we cannot say that there is any established 
nominal definition of God to form the basis of 
these proofs. Rather, owing to the various points 
of view from which the question is looked at, 
the very nature of God is determined by those 
same proofs which are only intended to establish 
the fact of His existence. We must, therefore, 
regard all these proofs as so many attempts to 
explain the underlying ground connecting ante¬ 
cedent and consequent in certain formula to 
; which we must resort when we would interpret 
in words the obscure impulse which drives us to 
'pass in our thought—as we cannot help passing 
? —from the world given in sense to a world not 



given in sense, but above and behind sense. Tt ! 
is this Tmderlying ground which justifies our 
saying, for example, that, if there be a many, 
there must also be a one; if a transitory, then 
also an eternal being; if a conditioned, tljen also 
an unconditioned. More than this, it is self- 
evident and follows from what we have said, 
that one cannot prove the existence of God from 
premises, as if it were a necessary consequence of 
them. For no premises could be allowed to be 
true anterior to this highest of all premises which 
gives to all realities their title to exist. There¬ 
fore, all proofs that God exists are pleas put 
forward in justification of our faith and of the 
particular way in which we feel that we must 
apprehend this highest principle. 


The ontological proof of the existence of God 
runs in its scholastic form as fol- ontological proof, 
lows. Other things than God need faction invoices 
not exist, simply because they are GodElUt *- 
thought of,.but they are first thought of, and 
then their existence is supplied to them from 
without. But this is not the case with an all- 



perfect being; for such a being includes, among 
his other perfections, the predicate of reality, 
and would contradict himself, if he did not. Of 
the positions here laid down, the latter is true, 
and the former false ; for the idea or notion of 
any finite being involves the predicate of reality 
and of existence as much or as little as the 
notion of an infinite being involves it. The idea 
of an animal, for instance, would contradict it¬ 
self, if, at the same time that we combine in it 
the other marks of its class, we leave out the 
thought of a subject really existing and support¬ 
ing it, a subject of which alone it can in its 
entirety be enunciated. But, supposing we do 
comprise in our notion of an animal the notion 
of its existing, what do we gain? Surely no 
more than a notion which is free indeed from 
self-contradiction, but as to which it can still be 
asked, whether the reality which can be«attri- 
buted to it must necessarily be attributed to it. 
Kant's criticism 0 i Such was the reasoning by which 
jusvrooi. j£ an t shewed this so-called proof 

to be unsound. If you would prove this ad¬ 
ditional reality of your conception, you must 
give up talking about any inner contradiction 
arising in the notion of the highest being, in case 



you omit it; what you must attend to is the out¬ 
ward contradiction with other admitted facts, 
which the assumption that this highest being 
does not really exist would involve. 

Ajid this is the meaning which we attach to 
the older form of the proof as we mrlwfw 

# Real, because He is 

find it in Anselm. If on the one “Wquomaju^cogi- 
hand we think of that than which a greater can¬ 
not be conceived —id quo majus Cogitari nequit —, 
yet on the other hand think of it as unreal, then 
this thought of as real will still be something 
greater than it is when we think of it as not real. 
This was Anselm's proof, and it is worth as 
little as the other. Still without meaning to do 
so, it very nearly embodies a truth of a kind. 
For it says nothing expressly about God, but 
only about that which need not be a being at 
all, but may equally well be an event, a world- 
order, or what not. Moreover, the predicate 
majus which we have translated greater, indicates 
in a vague manner the totality of all attributes 
expressive of excellence, the totality, for example, 
of what is beautiful, good, exalted, and holy. 
Now, Anielm found it to be a contradiction 
in terms that this content, whether ! 

, r* i 1 , Natural Impulse to- 

being or events, tor he does not w&ru B tb« 

° 7 »en8uuus. 



determine the mode of its existence, should 
have no existence or real validity .at 'all. To 
>him the assumption that it does not exist seemed 
to conflict with that immediate conviction of its 
reality,. which all our theoretic, aesthetic^ and 
moral activities constrain our souls to entertain. 
As a proof, therefore, of the existence of God, his 
argument was weak enough; and yet it ex¬ 
presses what is an immediate fact about our 
minds, namely that impulse which we experience 
towards the supersensuous, and that faith in its 
truth which is the starting-point of all religion. 
A proof of God’s existence it is not, and on two 
grounds: firstly, it has not the force of a con¬ 
clusion based on premises : and secondly, that of 
which it would prove the existence need not 
necessarily take the form of a being at all, still 
less the form of a personal being. 


It is difficult to formulate in a proper manner 
Theocmoior'cnj t p e cosmological proof, which 

which is Conditioned , 

implies &u uncomii- argues from the fact, .that there 
exists in the world conditioned beings and 
events, which have not in themselves the ground 

rill! OSOl HV OF KEl.lOh'X. 


and basis of their reality, to an unconditioned 
and nect?ssa.ry first principle. This principle, it 
is supposed, must be the most real of all beings, 
and must have in itself the ground and basis of 
its existence. 

One must, before doing anything else, define 
the particular ideas used in this proof. By the 
term necessary, then, we mean generally no more 
than this : that something has its truth or exist¬ 
ence based on the truth or existence of some¬ 
thing else in accordance with a general law. 
Some propositions we call necessary to thought, 
meaning that we cannot think them otherwise ; 
and these must admit of ultimate reference to 
the most general truths, which are necessary be¬ 
cause they depend on nothing higher and more 
general than themselves. These highest truths 
we are accustomed to call unconditionally neces¬ 
sary* as if necessity and absence of conditions 
were one and the same thing. nS": 

But it is a mistake to speak in this Mat " 

way, and we ought rather to say of these highest 
truths that they are merely unconditionally valid. 
For the fagt of the matter is that our spiritual 
or intellectual nature, as now constituted, forces 
us in thinking to admit these truths. Our re- 



cognition of these truths is therefore necessary 
as a result of our intellectual nature, ‘but this 
nature itself is a simple matter of fact for which 
no reason can be given. 

Or if we feel obliged to regard it too as a 
necessary result of something else, this something 
else, or, anyhow, the ultimate principle account¬ 
able for things, will no doubt be unconditioned, 
but not in itself necessary. It is only our 
admission of it which will be necessary, and 
Therefore by th« that because it conditions our very 
celery, though our selves. In a word then, 11 there 

Belief in Him m»y 

beso - be a conditioned, that is to say, a 
necessary existence, there must also be an un¬ 
conditioned existence, and the latter will not 
be necessary, but simply actual, and its admission 
or recognition will be a necessity for us, just 
because it is actual. 


Nor is it convenient to mix up with this proof 
la the World ao Aeci- the idea of what is accidental. 

dental as to Require 

mi Absolute Groumi? An accident is the opposite of 
what is purposive. When we are realising an 

Right Meaning of aim or P ur P ,,se hy the use of means, 
we find that our means never ex- 



actly suit our end, and no more, but that they 
have other .properties as well which make no 
difference so far as our end goes, but which be¬ 
ing there cannot be prevented from taking such 
effect as they are capable of. Such a side- 
result or effect is what we mean by an accident. 
And it is the same with regard to a general 
law; there are particular features in the effect 
which follows the law, which, though not op¬ 
posed to the law, are yet not results of it, 
but are produced by, and are simply due to, 
the peculiar nature of the object or condition 
of things to which the law is applied. Such 
features in the effect as these are accidental. 
And, therefore, we ought to give on the whole 
this sense to the word accidental. The acci¬ 
dental is as such a not-necessary factor in the 
fulfilment of an aim or in the consequences 
whiclf follow from a law, or in the development 
of the nature of a being. An accident comes 
to pass in the connected course of events, but 
is due to some circumstances which have 
nothing to do either with the purpose or law 
or nature in .question. 

One cannot therefore speak of an accident 
except with reference to a systematic train of 



events, with the main drift of which the accident 
in question, though it emerges among them, has 
yet nothing to do. Apart from this drift its 
reality is necessary; it must be, because like 
everything else it has causes and conditions on 
which it depends. 

If, however, we assume an ultimate event which 
has no ulterior conditions at the back of itself, 
it will be real simply as a matter of fact, and far 
from being itself necessary, only its admission or> 
recognition by us will be so necessary. 


But such a qualification of the proof as this 
wi'iwonditiuned deprives it of all the cogency which 

means. Matter of . 

,,vt it yeomen to possess. So Jong as 
one thinks that one can start from a conditioned 
and arrive at, an unconditioned being, which is 
also necessary, one seems to have in the latter 
predicate arrived at a condition which must be 
fulfilled by anything occupying the lofty post 
of supreme principle. And thus people came 
to tliink that the final term of thjs progress, 
which starts from the conditioned world below, 
must be a being more real than anything else, 



and somehow or other uniting in itself all kinds 
of perfection* But so soon as we see that a 
thing is not necessary, because it is uncondi¬ 
tioned, but is a mere matter of fact, we at once 
lose sight of the clue which guided our thought. 

Everything, big or little, humble or exalted, 
may be an absolute matter of fact, so long as 
it does not contradict itself. On the other 
hand, we cannot help recognising as actual fact 
whatever is evident to us in a direct and un¬ 
deniable perception, or whatever follows from 
such a perception as the necessary explanation 
of it. 

If we turn it in this way, the cosmological 
proof leads to quite another result 

1 A Then Cosmological 

than the intended ; it leads straight oi n»' 

, , n , tural Science. 

to the pluralistic view ol natural 
science. By this is meant that science assumes, 
as facts absolutely given and underlying nature, 
a plurality of fixed and unchangeable and at 
the same time ultimate subjects, whether ele¬ 
ments, atoms, or beings, and assumes along 
with them a movement and interaction among 
them which‘never had a beginning. Any of 
these assumptions we can make without contra¬ 
dicting ourselves. 



The many beings in the world may just as 
well have always existed as exist now. They 
could not now exist and move if in doing so 
they in any way contradicted or came into con¬ 
flict with reality. And more than this, we must, 
to begin with at least, postulate both plurality 
and movement of the elements of the world; 
for one cannot see how a plurality ever arose 
out of a single principle, no matter what it be, 
unless various conditions influencing it from 
without constrained it to produce here a and 
there b or c. Equally little can we conceive 
that the movements of the several elements ever 
began; for in that case we must postulate a 
previous cause to explain why those movements 
began at one time rather than another. 

Thus far we have not come in sight of what 
iwfciou. Mo«v e or is the real motive which prompts a 

this Proof is to liepre- ,. i • * 

8eut t iocl as Adequate religious mind to follow this train 

to Produce the 

worm. c f thought. It is this, that granted 
a highest principle must not only not contradict 
itself, but be also necessary to our understand¬ 
ing things, we must still add to these demands 
of theory one other demand, namely, that of all 
t:ie con-civable principles which satisfy these 
formal postulates, that one alone ought to be 



recognised as the really highest principle, which 
by the sweep and grandeur of its scope proves 
its title to occupy this supreme position. 


The third or teleological proof is to the 
following effect: experience pre- ™ e ou>gi«i Pm„r 

, . .. World exhibits I>e- 

sents the world to us as a svstem >>isn. therefore, ui«n> 

*' was an All-wise De- 

of means adapted to ends. Such Ciod 

adaptation is a proof of the wisdom of a per¬ 
sonal supreme being who sustains the world. 
The first objection we can raise to this argument 
is the general one, that systematic adaptation in 
the sense implied cannot be detected by experi¬ 
ence. All we can really observe is the fact 
that the material objects, and their movements 
as presented to us, so agree among themselves, 
that supposing we choose to term what results 
from them their end, then this so-called end 
finds in these material objects and movements 
means exactly sufficient to have „ 

- Objection : the 

.brought it into existence. But what not 

ground have«we to call this result C88 “ rily De * ign 
an end to be attained ? Why not regard it as 
merely the necessary outcome of the conditions v 



Have we any right to regard it as an end, un¬ 
less we can prove that the combination of cir¬ 
cumstances before us is quite unintelligible 
as a mere result of previous and aimless con¬ 
ditions? And this can never be prqved in 
regard to any event in the world in a logically 
satisfactory manner. For even where we pre¬ 
suppose ends or purposes to exist, we never 
dream of supposing that these realise themselves 
unaided. On the contrary they presuppose in 
order to their realisation such a system of in¬ 
dependently existing means as must, although 
ope rating without purpose and in accordance 
with general laws, perforce issue in that which 
as ciid was intended to be. We cannot there¬ 
fore ever thoroughly confute one who declares 
that the whole course of the world is a blind 
and inevitable result of a given necessary com¬ 
bination of circumstances and things, and who, 
therefore, denies that we have any right to 
believe in the presence therein of design, un¬ 
less we have direct evidence of it through our 
senses. In any case, such adaptation and de» 
sign can never be proved by thte analysis of 
any combination whatever of actual facts. 



33 . 

It will be answered, no doubt, that our at¬ 
tempt ,to explain the facts as a case of adapta¬ 
tion of means to end was not arbitrary at all. 
Nature, it will be argued, at large, and also 
various of her particular creatures are so 
stamped with the characteristics of design as 
to leave us no choice. The very adjustment 
of creatures to one another and the wonderful 
harmony of their internal structure compel us 
to see in them the work of design. 

We may admit that there is such a harmony, 
and yet we must at the same time Design implies 

J __ Choice, ami w as there 

agree that it only renders the l ' hoiceV 
argument to design on the part of the creator 
probable, but not necessary. In the case of an 
organism which fulfils an end we can always 
make the contrary assumption, at any rate in 
theory. We can never be certain that it was 
not by a series of undesigned events that the 
elements composing such an organised structure 
chanced together into that form. We can 
never be quite sure that there was any choice 
about it, or that they were not impelled by 



necessity to produce the structure in question. 
Nor is this all: the very probability of design 
n.e Argument from to which we would fain cling in 

Design is a Circular ° 

°“- such cases rests on a bit of circular 
reasoning. If we begin by presupposing, design 
as the regular cause of a certain class of effects, 
any examples in which such effects are reached 
without the usual design being at work will 
strike us as exceptions to a rule and as im¬ 
probable. But let us avoid making any such 
assumption, let us be careful not to regard 
the world as dependent on a purpose, and we 
at once cut away under our feet the grounds 
we had for thinking it improbable that means 
should conform to ends in the world without 
the presence of design. The argument from 
design really rests on the strange and un- 
And Renta on the Ab- accountable belief, that what is 

aurd Belief that the .j . 

Real is more likely without purpose, perverse and lr- 

to be Irrational than r r r 

rational, has a better title in itself 
to exist, or is more likely, as such, to be real 
than what is not so. If we are possessed by 
such a belief we must needs suppose a particular 
and peculiar purpose to have been at work in 
order that anything which is rational and thus 
fulfils an end should be real. There is, how- 



ever, nothing to prevent our making just the 
opposite* assumption. For we must in any 
case recognise in reality something which is 
final and absolute, and cannot be derived from 
anything else; and since we must recognise and 
admit such an ultimate reality, why not suppose 
that in its original character it is entitled to 
these predicates of harmony, inner agreement, 
and adjustment of means to end ? 


We began by taking for granted that the 

world is an harmonious whole. 
But now we have to remember in 

Does the World 
Argue Supreme Wis¬ 
dom on Part of itl 

the first place, that there is nothing to justify us in 
using superlatives; as we do, when we speak of 
the supreme adaptation of means to end re¬ 
vealed in Nature, and argue from that to a 
supreme wisdom on the part of a creator. We 
only # know the world which is, but not those 
worlds which might have been; any one of 
which, so far as we know, might have been very 
much fairer than our own. But, apart from 
that, we cannot approve of the modern way of 
thinking which pooh-poohs that outward ad- 



justment of things to one another upon which 
popular theology chiefly relies in proof l of divine 
wisdom, and vet, at the same time that it does 
Nether Modem Be* so, attaches great value to another 
Kxte?n°iiy'impre»- kind of adaptation, namely to an 

edl>cpign Trove bdcIi . . ,, c 

wudurn. immanent conlonmty oi means to 
end, and believes that living beings in par¬ 
ticular, instead of being mere functions of their 
environment, are self-ends which maintain 
and realise themselves by means of their own 
intrinsic powers. This latter kind of conformity 
to ends or of adaptation is most easily affiliated 
to the common doctrine that the world is a 
purposeless mechanism. As a matter of fact, 
the modern view may be correct, that in the 
course of Nature, and without the working of 
any design, a great number of forms were pro¬ 
duced which were ill-adjusted, either as regards 
their inner forces or their outward conditions ; 
and that those which had the luck to be well 
adjusted have alone survived, and so appear to 
us to have been chosen designedly out of a 
number of possible ones. But we cannot be 
sure of this doctrine, unless we are sure that 
what is inharmonious and perverse has been 
excluded from reality ; whereas the many evils 



and forms of sickness and decay, which beset the 
regular *de\4clopment of any organism, show 
only too plainly that Nature impartially pro¬ 
duces what is full of flaws no less than what is 
suited to the end, and only does not preserve 
her imperfect productions because they con¬ 
tradict themselves. A structure may, therefore, 
betray an indwelling adaptation of means to 
end, and yet this decides nothing about the 
causes which produced the structure. On the 
other hand, the doctrine that there is a process 
of outside adaptation, by which various parts 
which seem independent were adjusted to one 
another in the course of their formation and 
development, at least allows us to infer that the 
principle, which generated them all, is one and 
the same; for it renders it very improbable 
that several independent principles The WorW ratll , !r 

, ^ 1 riii Ifosemblcs the Work 

shourcl have co-operated. lliat of many conflicting 
inference could never be rigidly 
drawn, however, and remains a mere proba¬ 
bility until we can show that such external 
adaptation pervades the entire world ; and we 
can show nothing of the kind, for not only is 
our knowledge limited, but what we actually do 
know, namely the numerous cases in which 



things destroy each other, militates against any 
such view. The conclusion is that th£ facts on 
which the teleological proof is usually based 
prove nothing of the kind. They prove either 
no more than that given elements, forces, and 
laws are unconditionally real and actual, which 
is the ordinary view of science—or, if' they 
prove more than that, they point to a poly¬ 
theistic view, according to which there exist 
several purposes and ends to which things are 
adapted, which purposes taken collectively are 
compatible with one another, though in their 
various domains they do not prevent one thing 
from attacking and destroying another. 


There is another way of putting the cosmo- 
Mor&i Form of logical proof, which infers from 
Argues from Badness the character oi the world as given 
God - in experience. This other way we 
shall presently consider. Meanwhile we, may 
dismiss the moral proof with a few words. This 
proof argues that, as in this world there is such 
a lack of true proportion of reward to merit, 
there must be a supreme ethical principle which 
is willing and able to bring about such a pro- 



portion. This proof has its force for the heart 
of man* but for his intellect it is a bit of circular 
reasoning. If we are already persuaded as a 
matter • of fact that God exists, we can fairly 
regard the course of the world, so far as it 
answers not to the goodness and justice which 
we attribute to Him, as incomplete, and can 
supplement experience by belief in a system of 
compensation which will bring it into harmony 
with God. But supposing there be no God, 
then we may have reason indeed for making the 
world were otherwise than on earth it is, but 
we cannot think it theoretically necessary that 
it should be otherwise. It may be as revolting 
as it likes, and yet not cease to be real on that 


The teleological proof failed because the prin¬ 
ciple chosen as its starting-point— a !*«*,» ofoodM™t 

, , . . . | -j Start not from the 

though an empirical one—could of purposive 

A Action in Things 

not be shown to be actually true Bare ‘Action 

_ . . . r , which ia Not. 

over a sufficiently wide area. I er- 
haps we may succeed better if we choose 
another simpler starting-point which permits of 
no such uncertainty. Instead of starting from 


2 % 

purposin’ action, let us start from the bare fact 
of action on the part of things. We think it 
can not be disputed that the world’s course 
cannot be conceived of without assuming that 
things M upon one another. In other words 
the changes, to which some of these things are 
liable, are conditions which bring about in 
others of then) certain changes. In short, one 
thing regulates its action by another. Let us 
then ask : What are the conditions under which 
this can take place? And in answering this 
question we shall not so much be discovering a 
procedure (in the sense in which the Holy Ghost 
proceeds from the other two persons) with which 
to supplement the idea of action in order to 
render it intelligible, as be merely analysing our 
notion of action, and bringing out clearly pre¬ 
suppositions all along involved therein, though 
we were not sufficiently conscious of them* and 
of their importance. 


Natural Science in its view of the world starts 
a M«,t start fro,.. f rom certain fundamental assump- 

Four lumlamentul t 

turn! .Science. jNa ' tions, which are these : 

1. There is some one or other matter-of-fact, 

nm.osorHV op keug/ox. 


which, we must admit, is eternal, and which is 
ultimately veal without deriving from anything 

2. This reality must be regarded according 
as experience teaches us that we must regard it, 
if we would give any explanation of it at all. 

3. Experience teaches us that there is a, for 
us, undelinable number of real elements equally 
independent on, and irreducible to, one another. 
Nor are these at rest, but we must assume that 
they have always been in motion—a motion no 
less real than themselves. 

4. There are universal laws of nature which de¬ 
termine what results shall flow from the relations 
into which these elements from time to time 
enter into with one another, and these laws weld 
the several elements together into one coherent 

system or world. 

In’ view of the unquestioning acceptance of 
these principles by natural philoso- , , 

* J 1 Interaction Accord- 

pliers, we must ask upon what the l lu: World Arguns 

- . sonic Identity or 

authority of these laws and the,- ..r i;»„ t y 
allegiance paid to them by things Whw - 
depends. Evidently, every law will be in form 
a hypothetical judgment of the following 
shape: if the two elements, A and 11, meet in a 

3 <> 


relation, C, then a change must take place in 
both, according to which A .becomes a, B be¬ 
comes b, and lastly, C c. Before such a law 
can apply, the elements, and their mutual rela¬ 
tion to*whic,h it is to apply, must be capable of 
being regarded as kinds of A, B, and C, and of 
being ranked under them as such. There must, 
therefore, be some point of si milar ity between 
all the elements which make up a coherent 
world outside of which no part falls, and on 
which no part is entirely without effect. These 
elements cannot, therefore, exist each of them 
without any reference to the rest, but their 
natures must have so much in common, or be so 
far adjusted to one another, that they can figure 
as terms of a series, or, anyhow, of a system of 
series, in such wise that we can pass from the 
nature of any one to the nature of any other 
through a certain number of steps all taken within 
the system. In no other way is it possible that 
in every case in which two elements meet-in a 
definite relation, a perfectly definite result should 
follow to the exclusion of any other, and this 
possibility every scientific view of the world pre¬ 
supposes. If the opposite were the case, if two 
elements were wholly dissimilar, one conse- 


3 » 

quence might attach to thorn as much or as little 
as another, and a uniform connection of events 
would be impossible. 

This is the first limitation on which we must 
insist. of the pluralism to which, when we 
assumed an indefinite number of elements, there 
seemed no limit. It does not follow from this 
that all things had their origin in a common 
source. For the constitution of the elements of 
the world, as we have just defined it, can be re¬ 
cognised as an unconditioned primary fact just as 
well as any other. 


In the foregoing has been exhibited the con¬ 
dition which things must fulfil in order to be 
able to follow any law at all; but we have, not ex¬ 
plained how they actually come to obey laws. It 
is usual to speak of the supremacy A ljw Nlltilire 
which laws exercise over things, <'ontroiim K Reality, 

J but either a Mere 

but, in so speaking, we explain 

neither the obedience or the latter Activity of»Thing 

,to laws, nor the powerwith which laws can compel. 

First and foremost, we must convince our¬ 
selves that laws are not properly real beings 
which can exist alongside of, between, or above 



things. Rather, they can only exist in two 
forms. In the first place, namely, .the^ can be 
the thoughts of a thinking subject, which brings 
to consciousness in them the rules which govern 
the inner operations of its thought, by following 
which it is able to start from a given point of 
reality or experience, and, subsequently, cor¬ 
rectly reach and coincide with another point of 
reality at the further end of its train of thought. 
Such a rule as this may be merely a finger-post 
of' the mind, a direction given to us to find the 
truth by such and such a by-path, which happens 
to suit our intelligence. If it is more than that 
—if it is a law binding our intelligences to travel 
along the same road in connecting conditions as 
things themselves take in their development— 
then we should see in these laws no more than 
the intrinsic nature of things,'and it is a mere 
usage of speech to regard them as if they existed 
by themselves, and as if things submitted to 


So long as we have only to do with an 
imminent open, ideal content as in mathematics, 

tion in Things an 

ultimate Fact, ft ft readily conceivable that the 

philosophy or keligion. 


so-called laws are eternally valid as expressing 
a nature, of the things which never changes. 
When we come to reality it is different. Here, 
too, laws are eternally valid as far as their 
content goes, and yet there is a contrast between 
cases fn which they really apply and cases in 
which they do not. That which the law pre¬ 
scribes sometimes happens, and sometimes not, 
according as the conditions are or are not 
realised which were laid down in its antecedent 
and on which the result prescribed in the 
consequent depends. 

So far now as such a law relates to a single 
being and simply enacts that upon one state p 
of that being another state q must follow, so 
far there is no difficulty. Immediately the state 
p is present in that being, there is realised the 
condition which distinguishes the case in which 
the lajv applies from cases in which it does 
not. Then in accordance with the law, in 
other words, agreeably to its own nature, the 
being in question causes the state q to follow 
on the state p. One might desire to know 
still further how it is that the being or its 
state p contrives to bring the state q to 
_ reality ; but this can never be known; for any 



answer one could give to the question must 
exhibit some process or other of mediation be¬ 
tween p and q 1 and this Would itself consist 
of a chain of states of which one is the effect 
of or produced by another. Such a process 
of production by a p of a q is exactly what 
we set out to explain. We must, therefore, be 
content to forego an explanation of this im¬ 
manent operation by which one state of a being 
entails after itself another state of the same 
being. We must accept it simply as a given 
fact and as one which involves no inner con¬ 


It is quite different with the cases in which 
Action of one Thin* one element a takes effect and acts 

on Another Inox- 

upon another b: So long as we 
to the other. regard a and b as independent 
elements which have originally nothing to do 
with one another, no reason can be given why 
a state of the one should adjust itself to the 
state of the other; this is a transient effect 
which passes from one to the other and re¬ 
quires a process of mediation to carry it across. 
By way of arriving at this result we are ac- * 



customed to say that an influence or a state 
or a poMfer qr an effect passes over from a to b. 
The very variety of phrases thus employed is 
enough to show that we have not clearly thought 
out the subject to which this transition*is as¬ 
cribed. It is an old principle of metaphysics 
that a state cannot be separated from that of 
which it is a state. How then can a state 
be hovering even for one moment between a 
and b, being itself meanwhile a state of nothing, 
until it settles down as a state in b ? Nor is 
it any clearer how, after the transition is com¬ 
pleted, what was lately a state of nothing can be¬ 
come a state of b; although the common way 
of speaking assumes, without misgiving, that this 
part of the process needs no explanation at 
all. Can anything pass over from a to b, unless 
it exist by itself and be a real element, a 
thing *or matter or force, supposing we regard 
this last as something which can exist by itself? 
In anv examples, moreover, in which we can 
point to such a transition, the transition is not 
the true effect which we are anxious to grasp, 
but only leads up to it. When whatever is to 
pass across has passed, then there results in 
some manner—which it is futile to explain as 



a fresh transition—that change in the properties 
of the second element which is the true effect. 


It seems, therefore, as if we could not explain 
the action of one element upon another by 
supposing that there is a transition of anything 
from one to the other. 


We might try t,o evade this useless process of 
Nor can any Law a« mediation by supposing that the 

Such Compel One J 11 ° 

ci«ditinnIiUyon*An B universal law has a direct control 
(’hanging. and asserts its power immediately 
without requiring any transitional terms. Thus, 
if once the law g be true, that, whenever in 
the element a the state a arises, the correspond¬ 
ing state fi must arise in the element b, this 
result will always occur when - the condition ex¬ 
pressed in the antecedent is fulfilled ; and there 
will, therefore, be no necessity for a to do 
something further in order that b should t change 
itself agreeably to the law. But in this pro¬ 
position it is overlooked that these very changes 
of things, of a into a and of b into fi, sometimes 
occur and sometimes not. We who are ob¬ 
servers of the whole course of the world and 



think of ourselves as such, we, of course, know 
that in a ^particular second a finds itself in the 
state a, and that, th’erefore, we have before us a 
case in which that law applies according to 
which b should at once change itself into f3. If, 
however, b is to adjust its behaviour to this fact, 
it must itself be informed of it. And the con¬ 
clusion is that, whenever a law of Nature is to be 
applied, the different elements, which in accord¬ 
ance with it have mutually to adjust themselves, 
must be in a different condition, if a case of appli¬ 
cation of this law has arisen, to what they are in, 
when that case has not arisen. Such a warning of 
one element by another can only take place in 
the way of effects which they experience one 
from the other; for the universal law itself is no 
person which can stand outside and control 
things and challenge them to obey it. It 
follows then that we cannot in the least explain 
the action of things upon one another by sup¬ 
posing, that a law merely governs them; on the 
contrary we must presuppose that things already 
.act upon one another, before we can conceive 
that their ulterior behaviour should obey any 
such law. 




We cannot then dispense with the idea of 
..... .v effect nor regard the question how 
Give Upt^nura'ile- an effect really takes place as 
satisfactorily answered. Yet al¬ 
though we give up the idea of describing the 
thing in positive terms, we must nevertheless 
clear the conception of it from any contradiction 
which would make its possibility altogether un¬ 
thinkable. The pluralism of the view of the 
world taken by natural science involves such a 
contradiction, because it puts side by side two 
incompatible propositions: the one of which is 
that there is a multitude of equally original 
things which have nothing to do with one 
another, while the other is that these things have 
such a concern in one another that one of them 
adjusts itself to the rest. How can we justify 
this sympathy between things which, as we have 
shown, cannot be explained as a passage of any¬ 
thing between them nor yet by the supremacy of 
a law over them ? We can only do so by giving 
up our preconceived idea that they are originally 
many and self-existent, and in the place thereof 



. adopting the view that there is a single truly 
existent being m; this m is the ground and 
basis of all the individual beings a, b, c, ...; 
apart from m these individuals are not con¬ 
ditioned at all and have nothing upon which can 
rest either their qualitative nature, or, indeed, the 
laws according to which their states modify one 
another. If we adopt this view we may look 
at the whole problem as follows : 

It is true that m, so far as its concrete nature 
goes, is entirely unknown; yet we For ch»n g « either 

° J Within the Same 

think it may be taken for granted « K °^ 
that we ought to attribute to it 

, tabling Unity of all 

along with its unity a tendency to T1,iu K 8 * 
maintain itself, of such a kind that a change a 
cannot anywhere occur, for example in the in¬ 
dividual being a, without occasioning the en¬ 
tire being m to produce a second compensating 
even} which, taken together with a, constitutes 
the complete expression of the identical nature 
of m. 

There is no reason why this compensating 
event should not arise in the being a ; and if it 
does we have an instance of immanent working 
in which a state of a being produces a sequent 
state of the same being. But it may equally 



well arise in another individual being 6, and 
then there has taken place what we call a tran¬ 
sient effect of one thing on‘another, but what 
is in reality only an immanent action of the one 
real being m within and on itself. For the 
state a, which we at first regarded merely as a 
state of a, is from the outset a state of m also 
and needs no mediation in order to become so; 
and this m, inasmuch as it is at the same time 
b, does not need to go out of itself in order to 
bring about the state /3 after b ; on the contrary, 
this fi, which arises out of the drift or import 
of in in its effort to maintain itself, is from the 
outset nothing else than a state of m the general 
import and drift of which entails it. 


There are many questions which may be 
asked about how we should con- 

We ('Hiinot Know or 

Absolute ceive of this absolute existence 

also Many. l • i it O 

which we svmbolise as m. borne 
of them we can never hope to answer; others 
we must temporarily set aside. We must ever 
set aside any attempt to describe in positive 
terms, or to construct in thought, the process by 


which this absolute being came to be not only 
one, and* that unconditionally, but at the same 
time a many of thihgs which condition one an¬ 
other reciprocally. No more can we hope to 
understand the process of modification, ojf self- 
division, of self-differentiation or emanation, by 
which figurative expressions we try to express 
in language the subordination of the individual 
to the absolute. It can never be possible, and 
it only leads to reasoning in a circle, if we try to 
picture the ultimate facts of reality—which our 
reason can only recognise as given—by the help 
of processes which are themselves later conse¬ 
quences of this first reality which we would 
explain. We must, therefore, regard this notion 
of the absolute as a limiting conception, which 
postulates an ultimate fact in order to under¬ 
stand the world, -but which, we need not say, 
cannot possibly be deduced from or explained 
by its own consequences. And, therefore, these 
expressions which we used indicate no more 
than the eternal relation of dependence and 
subordination in which the individuals stand 
to the absolute; but they pronounce nothing as 
to the manner and the way in which they came 
into this relation. 

4 * 


LaRtly, the other question: What is this abso¬ 
lute ? cannot be answered for the present. The 
starting-point which we have‘chosen only allows 
us to infer that it is necessarily one, and affords a 
basis for our certitude that that rich and con¬ 
crete principle which religion sets at the apex of 
reality must before all things satisfy this require¬ 
ment of absolute unity. 






We can only hope to answer the question just 
raised, as to what that is which is j;" 1 ,,, ^ J 
to take the place of a supreme prin- wlth th n g io?/ of Ke ' 
ciple, by considering that of which it is to be the 
principle; by a glance, that is, at the experience 
which we already have of the contents, the 
build and the plan of the real world. This 
would be too vast a task if we had to begin 
at the beginning; but in the religious and 
philosophical spheres of thought the human race 
has already in history gone through with it, and 
we can therefore content ourselves with testing 
the general points of view regarded as essential 
for the explanation of the course of the world; 
and so we can see whether the religious ideas, } 
worked out long ago, of the nature of God, are 
compatible with what we find true in this con- 


text, in such a way that we should identify just 
the conception of God which they involve with 
that which we have already discovered of a 
single principle of the world. 


Let us then enumerate the several views 
which have been advanced in this connection. 


First we come upon the out-and-out materialism 
which allows matter and nothing else to be real, 
and would therefore concede to it alone the 
place of a highest principle. 

This view proximately rests on the ground 

Materialism that, when we talk of a super- 
Matter. sensuous reality, we only put to¬ 
gether words which contradict one another, and 
that only the sensuous reality, which we can per¬ 
ceive, is real and actual. But for thisa very 
reason materialism contradicts itself. Matter is 
never in itself the object of a sensuous intuition; 
it is on the contrary conceived by our reason 
alone and added in thought, as a supplement, to 
the manifold variety of sensuous appearances, a 
supplement without which these appearances 
would not have the order and connection which 



reason demands of them, if they are to be recog¬ 
nised as true reality, or as an appearance of the 
same. Materialisnf really admits this; for all 
the properties by which it characterises matter,, 
for example the occupying of space, resistance, 
and all sorts of forces, indicate merely how the 
matter in question conducts itself in relation to' 
something else which is like it, but they never in¬ 
dicate what it is in itself. 

We can, therefore, simply say as follows: 
materialism, in so far as it puts forward matter 
as the principle of everything, goes beyond the 
limits of sense and affirms just that supersensuous 
nature of reality, which at the outset it would 
fain deny. And the true meaning of the view 
can only be this: that we must not assume a 
reality beyond sense without good reason; we 
must only assume it, if our sensuous experiences 
directly or indirectly compel us to assume it and 
at the same time define the nature of that which 
is to be assumed. 


All this may be allowed, and yet it may be 
said that this idea of matter is the only plain 
possible and necessary supplement which our re- 



flection can read into sensible experience in 
order to make it intelligible. • 

We answer that so far as Regards plainness or 
vet A.crn. 0 . to clearness we find on the contrary 
thXmeThXimut no idea so obscure as this of 

Change and Pilfer- J -. 1T • , 

ence. matter. We are accustomed to 
say of it that it occupies space, that it has form 
and movement, that, unconsciously, it exerts 
various forces, and yet all this at the bottom 
only tells us how this reality conducts itself, but 
not what it is. Because these modes of conduct 
on the part of matter are exhibited before our 
eyes in space, an extensive and accurate science 
of their forms and laws is possible. And this 
. many-sided knowledge of what attaches to 
.matter gives us a knowledge about the thing 
which we confuse with the knowledge of the 
thing. The latter we are utterly without; we 
cannot in the least say what a being truly js, or 
what it is like on the inside and within itself, 
when all we know of it is that it is wholly un¬ 
changeable and without any inner life, yet at the 
same time a point of departure for all kinds 
of effects. 

Besides being obscure, such a conception of 
the real involves metaphysical difficulties. We 



may point out, briefly to begin with, that a real 
element • could not fulfil that function, which 
natural science requires it to, of being something 
in which effects centre, unless it can also suffer, 
that is to say, can also undergo a change, of its 
inner states. For every change of these states 
is equivalent to a change of the being itself; 
and, consequently, any truly real element must 
fulfil the requirement of remaining itself at the 
same time that its states and conditions alter. 
Metaphysics teaches us that we cannot solve this 
problem by any artificial combination of ideas, 
rather we require an immediate experience 
to actually put before us an example of its 
solution and thereby convince us that it can be 
solved. Such an example is afforded us by 
spirit alone, for it alone is a unity, 

•' And this Talk can 

for this reason, -that it feels and a^** gggjl* : 
asserts itself to be such. It alone has 
changing states, which yet do not remove its 
identity, for the simple reason that, at the same 
time tfiat it feels them, it only allows them to 
rank as states of itself and refers them to its 
Identical core of being. 

4 » 



This is but one example in which we have 
Even if an uncon- found those metaphysical demands 

Wii answered, and we cannot, there- 
ness? lore, dismiss oil-hand the objection 
that there may quite well be other examples 
which answer to them ; in other words, that there 
may be a real being which has not the nature of 

Still the task would await us of deriving from 
this being, if it is to be the principle of the world, 
the spiritual world also. Now, we must point 
out briefly that this can never be, so long as we 
invest that being with the mere properties by 
which we are accustomed to characterise matter. 
That is to say, it requires no experiments to con¬ 
vince us, but is evident from the first, thjit the 
moment can never arise when we can say: now 
it is clear of itself that the present movements 
and unconscious states of this blind reality can 
no longer remain what they are; henceforth 
they must evoke something unlike themselves, 
must transform themselves into feelings, ideas, 
and into consciousness generally. 



We can therefore say that a materialism of 
this kind *is really no more than a matter of 
words. The true meaning which underlies it is 
this: the matter which we only know under the 
aspect of a blind activity is something better.than 
it seems, and it, or, in fact, all existence, unites in 
itself for ever two fundamental qualities, of which 
one under certain circumstances produces spiritual 
life, whilst the other produces the relation and 
conditions of materiality. 

We answer that, as these two fundamental 
qualities are disparate and as little to be com¬ 
pared one with the other after their union as 
before it, therefore their union in the existent 
must be regarded only as a necessary assumption, 
not, however, as a fact which we can compre¬ 
hend. And there still remain questions to be 
asked about this unity from which these two 
moments can follow and flow. The assumption 
of monistic systems, that spirit and matter have 
one root, which is neither one nor the other, 
but is ground and source of both, is thoroughly 
unsatisfactory. For it is quite impossible to 
have a real idea of, and to bring before the mind, 
a higher principle, which embraces both what 
is unconscious and conscious, but of which, 



\ nevertheless, the content is to be subsumed 
’neither under the conscious nor yet under the 
unconscious. This latter path we found led to 
nothing; let us now try the former. 


The idealist philosophy is right in calling at¬ 
tention to the fact that our whole 

Thus We are Driven 

wwch 0,, Tiik'^ ali »p belief in the presence of an ex- 

Matter into Mint!, , i t 

ternal world of matter reposes 
merely upon our feelings, intuitions, and ideas. 
{ It is right in holding that this outside material 
■world is no more than a belief with which we 
try to supplement our experiences in order to 
understand their cohesion among themselves. It 
may be asked, therefore, whether in this infer¬ 
ence, which we anyhow drew unconsciously, 
there is not something hasty, something which 
we must take back ? 

Now we must allow off-hand that there is 
i Th , properties of nothing in us which can cause our 
to u.i» view. experiences to form a succession 

and to combine with one another as they do; 
all th it takes place independently of ourselves. 
But for all that the ground and basis of the 


succession and order of our experiences need not 
have the’forqj which it seems to wear to us in 
our intuitions, or, which we give it in our 
thought, as a direct consequence of those 
intuitions. The essential properties by which 
this real outer world—which is apparently quite 
alien to the spirit—distinguishes itself, are 
chiefly spacial extension and form, and also the 
forces with which things assert or change their 
positions and forms. Now, there is nothing in 
any of these properties to compel us to assume, 
as the subject of which they are predicated, a 
something which stands originally in opposition 
to what is real as spirit. 


And firstly as regards space. Our intuition 
presei/s this—and we find it hard Sp#ce a 
not to believe that it is so—as Kngemtumi u. by 

Agencies which are 

somethipg outside ourselves, while 1,01 
we are to be found in it. But this intuition 
cannot prove that space extends itself just the 
same, if we think away this intuition, for which 
and before which it extends itself. In order 
to judge whether that which appears to us 


would in our absence be just the same as it 
appears, we must carefully examine and see 
if that which we say about the object, so far as 
it appears to us, will have any sense left at all, 
supposing we make abstraction of this relation 
to ourselves; and we must consider whether 
it will then agree with our idea of an inde¬ 
pendent existence. 

Metaphysic has reasons which we cannot 
here analyse for denying to space any such 
objective reality. Its pronouncement.—which 
we must at present be content to regard as 
mere hypothesis—is to the following effect: 
outside ourselves there exist an indefinite 
number of real beings capable of acting, and 
of being acted upon, and differing from one 
another in many ways in their qualitative 
natures. These beings, however, are not spaci- 
ally beside one another, but they are separated 
from one another merely by the differences of 
their natures, just as they are only related to 
one another so far as their natures are akin ; 
they are more or less to be compared to the 
notes of a harmony which, like them, are to¬ 
gether, yet not together in space, which like 
them differ from one another, and yet are not 



separated by distance in space, and which, 
lastly, st£tnd to one another in all kinds of 
harmonic relationships in accordance with 
which they act upon one another, or, at least, 
in our mind seem to do so. Now, if different 
real beings thus act upon our soul, and, as we 
might expect, exert various influences thereon 
corresponding to the various intelligible re¬ 
lations between them, it is only the peculiar 
way in which the soul itself acts which trans¬ 
lates these impressions, that have come piece¬ 
meal to it, into the language of spacial intuition, 
so producing for itself the picture of an ex¬ 
tended outside world, in which the images of 
particular things take up over against one 
another such positions as express in a sym¬ 
bolic way the greater or lessor closeness from 
moment to moment of their intelligible re¬ 
lations, We then ascribe to our- S|mcti Keally in Us> 
selves, or rather to our bodies, a nut w " in Hpace ’ 
definite jalace in the space thus intuited ; but 
as a matter of fact it is not we who are in 
space, but it is space which is in us. 




Let us next consider the various modes in 
12. Material Force, which the material reality conducts 
Nature<.f TirinK., ltscli i tor example, the resistance 

which may well be 17 .. 

spiritual. which it exerts against forces 
which would penetrate it, as well as the other 
forces of attraction or repulsion which it exerts 
in regard to what is like itself. Now there is 
nothing in these forces and in this resistance 
which should make us suppose that the subject 
to which they are attributed is something en¬ 
tirely sui generis and not to be compared at 
all with spiritual nature. On the contrary they 
express nothing else than affinities and anti¬ 
theses, mutual exclusions and implications, which 
can just as well exist between elements ultimate¬ 
ly spiritual in their nature, but wither this 
general character differing from one another, 
as they can exist between elements of any other 
kind, which differ from one another within the 
limits of their general character. And it is 
only for that spirit which looks at these pro¬ 
cesses of other spiritual elements from outside, 
and interprets them symbolically in the language 



of its own epacial intuition,—it is only for such 
a spirit that these physical activities appear to 
be something apart from, and strange to, the 
spiritual life, something which is bound up 
with a blind substrate of its own; they are 
really only consequences of inner states of 
things winch may be fully akin to our own 
spiritual states. 


Some would admit that in view of these con¬ 
siderations it is possible to suppose Is the Ultimate lieal 

x 4 1 an Unconscious 

that everything which really exists, s,,iril '' 
and therefore before all else the infinite reality 
which embraces all things, may be of a spiritual 
nature. But they are generally inclined to in¬ 
terpret this somewhat vague way of speaking in 
the sense that it -is only an unconscious spirit 
which can constitute this highest being. We 
cannot, however, for a moment admit that this 
conception of an unconscious spirit has in this 
sense any real meaning whatever. We can¬ 
not, indeed, deny that there are within our 
spiritual life unconscious states 
and processes; but it, does not within Human Mind, 
follow that these, as unconscious, and as at 


the same time states of a spirit, even occur except 
in those beings which arc by nature 'conscious 
spirits. We must, only look *upon them as cases 
in which a conscious, spiritual life is arrested or 
limited; we must not suppose that apart from 
the presupposition of a conscious, spiritual life, 
they may form a peculiar class of existence, which 
is unconscious, yet not thoroughly identical with 
an unspiritual and blind activity. For as a matter 
of fact we cannot say how the spirituality of a 
life which was spiritual, and yet by nature un¬ 
conscious, could ever reveal itself. On the 
other hand, we can form some idea of the 
source whence these unconscious states of con¬ 
scious spiritual life arise. For every finite 
spirit, and with such alone our observations 
have to do, the infinite reality, which works in 
it and determines both its nature and the laws 
of its faculties, is something foreign, in so far as 
it is far greater than and transcends the indi¬ 
vidual creature which has a nature defined by 
differences which sever it from others like it. 
We can easily suppose, therefore, that to the 
consciousness of this finite spirit that and that 
alone is accessible which consists of remote con¬ 
sequences of this its nature, whereas that is 



entirely hid from it which forms the condition¬ 
ing grouftd of its existence, and secures to its 
faculties the possibility of exercise. And thus' 
may it appear as if the finite spirit to its 
entire spiritual existence were itself in. turn 
attached to and bound up with a hidden core 
not spiritual in its nature, but just an unin¬ 
telligible substance. 


There is a further question whether we ought 
to attach to the spiritual nature Jg the Ab , olute ,. 6 r- 
of the highest being the further ““si.wtiua 1 ' “ 
predicate of personality; and this question is 
generally answered in the negative, because it is 
supposed that personality involves an opposition 
between the personal being and other beings 
equally real with itself; and, therefore, to ascribe 
personality to the highest being would be in 
effect to set limits to it, whereas it must ever 
remain unlimited. 

In the first place we must point out that the 
position that / can only be real in 

r J Contrast of Ffo to 

opposition to a not -1 is altogether Non Ego. 
vague and unsound. It is a common error to 



suppose that two things, because their concep¬ 
tions are correlative, and form the tertns of an 
opposition or of a relation, have therefore arisen 
in and through this relation itself. Let us take 
the case of tw o lines going different ways, right 
and left; these lines have nevertheless con¬ 
sidered in themselves some direction or other; 
and it is true to say that each one of theip 
remains what it is, no matter whether or not we 
compare the other with it; and what is more, it 
it is just this which it is, this nature of its own, 
which constitutes the ground on account of 
which, if the comparison be instituted, it can 
only be interpreted as going t the right in¬ 
stead of to the left. It is just the same with the 
distinction between 1 and not-1. These terms do 
not arise merely in and through their contrast; 
but each of them was, whatever it is, before 
ever that contrast was made, and was so, in 
spite of the circumstance, that in this case the 
one of these conceptions is only indicated^ by the 
verbal negation of the other. Indeed, that 
which constitutes the essence of the /, previous 
to the contrast, is itself the ground on account 
of whicli in the contrast it presents itself only as 
the 7, and not as the not-I, 



And yet this general, logical consideration 
does not* settle the problem which Es>elltjlll t0 Per . 
presented itself. lor, granted that ‘ on * uty ' 
a spirit has a being of its own quite apart from 
its opposition to and contrast with another, yet 
one cannot but insist on the fact that it only 
becomes a personal spirit by entering into this 
Opposition and contrast; and this not in the- 
sense that we distinguish it from the other term 
of the opposition, but in the sense that it of 
itself makes this distinction, and distinguishes 
itself as I from its not-I. And thus it would 
appear that after all the true recognition of one- 
self as an /—and it is just in this that person¬ 
ality consists—depends on the presence of a 
second point of reference to which the / can 
oppose itself. 


The objection might be raised that personality 
is not/he same thing with the real putting forth 
and assertion of this contrast of the I with the 
not-I , but is already given through the nature of 
that being which can create this contrast. We 
have never any doubt of our own identical 
personality, although we are conscious of not al- 



ways fulfilling this r61e of contrast with and 
opposition to a not-I or external world.* 

But we should be inclined to say that this 
occasional renunciation belongs rather to the 
imperfections owing to which our human 
personality falls short of its true idea. Of the 
( highest being we shall be inclined to assume 
that its personality only attaches to it, if it un¬ 
ceasingly fulfils that condition which we regard 
as the ground and basis of personality. 

On the other hand we are perhaps somewhat 
confused about the content and meaning of this 
condition. We speak of the I and of the not-I 
being opposed to one another, and this usage of 
speech may easily lead us to regard the not-I 
as something no less evidently real and self- 
subsistent than the /. And we are the more 
easily led astray, because we do, as a matter-of- 
fact, find before us other spirits and things by 
which we are limited and which we not unnatur¬ 
ally oppose to ourselves, and find ourselves able 
to grasp under the conception of the not-1. But 

it was not such contents as these which we 


necessarily intended to ascribe to the not-I, when 
we discovered in the not-I and in our contrast 
therewith the condition of our personality. It 



was quite enough then, and for that purpose, if 
the not-I" just indicated all that is not-I. But 
under this head would come the inner states of 
the I quite as much as all the things assumed to 
be external. And therefore a spirit has per¬ 
sonality, or rather is a person, S <) But the Non-Ego 

•f 7 1 More < a onniRtH of the 

soon as ever it knows itself as ^*J.dTd«i"SS 

" * t • , • •, • . * of mi < >utai<le Real- 

unitary subject m opposition to its ny. 
own states and to its own ideas; these states 
and ideas it recognises itself as uniting in itself, 
as the subject of them, while they are only de¬ 
pendent states in it. 

And it may incidentally be remarked that the 
human consciousness anyhow has nothing else 
immediately given to it than this inner world of 
its ideas and presentations ; and that the thought 
of an outside world, which contains in itself the 
basis of the contents and order of this inner 
world, is itself no more than a product of our 
reason, which thereby tries to make that order 
intelligible to itself. And we can therefore 
truly say of man also, that if it is a contrast with 
a not-I that makes him a person, yet this con¬ 
trast is not between him and a reality outside 
him, but is only a contrast between him and his 
own ideas and presentations, and in particular 



between himself and his idea of such an indepen¬ 
dent reality as he has made for himself by dint 
of his reason and to satisfy ils claims. 

Now, if we would apply these considerations 
Therefore ;;«.i may to God, we must affirm this as pre- 
liminary, that the thought of His 
personality does not require us to assume a real¬ 
ity outside Him and limiting Him, but only the 
production in Him of a world of ideas, to which 
He finds Himself iu contrast as to His own states. 


But even if it is admitted that in the case of 
the infinite spirit its own inner world of ideas 
can serve as the other term, in opposition to 
which it conceives of itself a3 /, there still re¬ 
mains the question : What was the origin of this 
world of ideas ? 

Using the analogy of the human spirit we 
might say, that it is only bv opposition to and 
in U8 the stimulus interaction with the real outside 

of a Reality not in 1 , ■, . <•. 

u* leads to «ur Uu- world that we can gain the rudi- 

cognition of our Per- , G 

•omatty. men is of that whole of ideal con¬ 
tents, which later on and up to a certain 


degree serves to develope in us by way of anti¬ 
thesis a feeling of our own personality. 

But, apart Trom ‘religious considerations tell¬ 
ing against it, we cannot apply this analogy to 
the spirit which we would regard as the ground 
of everything. Throughout the system of the 
world, manifold and variously articulated as it 
is, every individual being is what it is not owing 
to itself, but by commission from that highest 
principle. The import or drift of the whole, 
however, gives to the finite spirit a right to 
exist only in a particular part and point of this 
system ; or, to use the ordinary view and expres¬ 
sion, in a particular time and at a particular 
place. Nor is this finite spirit what the rest of 
the world is; so that it is only by An mnnite 

... Needs no Such Stim- 

means 01 a continuous interaction ulu *- 
with an outside world, which is alien to it, and 
not in the way of immediate knowledge, that it 
can attain ideas of this world, and of its own 
changing relation thereto. The infinite spirit, 
on the other hand, is not limited to a particular 
position in the order which it has itself grounded, 
nor yet to a particular moment of time, and it 
will, therefore, possess from tie very beginning 
this immediate knowledge of the whole world, 



and will not need to have a history in the course 
of which its ideal world may, for a first time, 
arise for it out of, and in the way r of, interaction 
with something else. 

Now, we shall see later on that it is not 
enough to suppose that the contents of this ideal 
world are perfectly unchanging, that they form 
a self-articulating and eternal idea. Rather we 

God is &n Eternally deem essential to the notion o'f 
Active Thought, personality that there should go on 

in the person a flow or movement of thought 
and ideas: in which something is experienced. 
This being so, we must regard this movement as 
an eternal fact which had no beginning, and 
instead of defining the highest principle by 
ascribing to it a group of stationary properties, 
we can only define it as a constant activity. 
This view, no doubt, puts a strain upon our 
imagination. Nevertheless, it is idle to try to 
trace the commencement of this inner movement 
in God to any impact from without. There 
could not be such an impact nor sucti a be¬ 
ginning ; for it would mean that the relation 
between God and that outside reality was quite 
different at the/ r moment of impact to what 
it was previously, before He had allowed this 


impact to be made on Himself; and, therefore, 

even if God had been at rest, we should still 

% • 

have to assume a movement in this outer world 
which led up to this change ; and this movement 
we should have to follow up in eternal regres¬ 
sion, because movement could never be derived 
from a state of equilibrium and repose, that 
from the beginning of the world had every¬ 
where prevailed. 


Till now, we have gone too far in following 
the traditional custom of identify- Meaning ot 1 . 

ing what we mean by personality with the 
special notion of self-consciousness. We have 
merely tried, however, to remove the difficulties 
with which the opposition, supposed to be neces¬ 
sary, between the /*and the not-1 perplexed our 
conception of a divine personality. But now 
that we have, as we believe, removed these diffi¬ 
culties, there arises afresh the question which 
before we merely hinted at: for what does the 
/ .really take itself, when it has succeeded in 
forming a notion of itself by jA'^aus of this op¬ 
position? We pointed out at an Jearlier stage of 
the argument that the I must already have some 



contents of its own, or else, when the opposition 
is established, it could not be sure of a fixed 
and unexchangeable place therein. In what, 
then, consists that which the spirit affirms of 
itself, when it regards itself as an If 

The answer generally made, is that the I is 

••/am subject the identity of the thinking subject 
object "in.; i hink w j|^ t ^ e thought object. But this 

definition really fixes no more than the general 
conception of 1-liood. It only determines the 
form of existence in which not only i, but also 
thou and he have their places assigned to them. 
Personality on this view would simply consist 
in the 1 being distinguished from the thou and he. 
What then am 1 ? Suppose one answered thus: / 
am subject and object of my thoughts, this 
would, at least, require that we should under¬ 
stand what is meant by the possessive pronoun, 
mine. For only then can we point to the sub¬ 
ject of my thoughts as the 11 

It is, however, clear that put together ideas 
, , , as we will, we cannot define the 

Whilt Then la 7 

Miucv meaning of this word mine. We 
cannot say: it is that which belongs to the i, for 
if we do, the <f Id difficulty at once recoils upon 
us, and we are explaining the meaning of the / 


6 1 } 

by the reference to the mine. There is, there¬ 
fore, nothiifg left for it, but to have given us an 
immediate experience through which, and not 
before which, the distinction between what we 
call mine and what is not mine, and with it -the 
distinction between 1 and thou is felt and re¬ 
vealed. It may be observed that it is only in 
spoken language that the personal pronouns / 
and thou appear to be the first conceptions to 
have a fixity of their own, and the possessive pro¬ 
nouns mine and thine, to win their meaning after 
them as if they were secondary conceptions. 
It is not so in our immediate and inward ex¬ 
perience out of which both contrasts spring; in 
that experience we do not find this subordina¬ 
tion ; on the contrary the notion of mine and 
thine is in it first and not second. 

This experience w5 get in the form of a feel¬ 
ing of interest, of pleasure, and the The lrtaa Miue 
reverse. lhat which pleases or sun* or iw 
hurts myself is utterly distinct from everything 
which I regard and imagine either as indifferent 
or even as painful or pleasurable in the ab¬ 
stract, that is to say, apart from my feeling of it. 
The former belongs to me and is jny state ; the 
latter does not belong to me as a state, but 



belongs to another subject. And, again, we 
would observe that, in saying this, tfe would not 
imply that we have already a notion of the I 
and of its contrasts thou, he, etc., nor that we use 
these feelings or the want of them merely as 
badges or labels to mark off one set of states as 
belonging to the I and another set of states as 
belonging to the thou and he. What we do 
mean is this, that in this inward there 
is revealed to us, for the first time, the absolute 
distinction which there is between what awakes 
this feeling and what does not awake it; and 
through this feeling, and through it alone, is 
revealed to us the equally wide contrast of the 
subjects I, thou, and he, to* which we in reflective 
thought refer the states we have experienced. 


Against this view a similar objection may be 

Pleasurr and Pain in raised tO that which .WaS raised 

hysiw„ii,ai,,xtr„. against sell-consciousness. If the 
spirit cannot be personal in the full sense, with¬ 
out having the faculty of feeling pleasure and 
pain, and of Contrasting itself with what it is not 
by means of that interest in itself which is 



pleasure or pain, it looks as if the old difficulty 
had arisen, £nd as if the spirit found itself once 
more in actual Opposition to a real outside 
world. For it is indisputable that, according to 
the analogy of our human states, pleasure aud 
pain can only be derived from the impressions 
which enter our soul from without, and corre¬ 
spond or conflict with the conditions of our 

In this way, therefore, it would seem as if the 
divine spirit must have something outside itself 
which can either favour or prejudice it; the 
particular way, however, in which our feelings 
arise cannot be decisive here. The question 
was merely whether we can think of them at all 
as pertaining to an infinite spirit. For it may 
be only for us finite spirits that they must arise, 
if at all, through external impressions to which 
our spirit, not being creative, owes the earliest 
stimulus of its inner movement. When they 
have once arisen in us, it may quite well be the 
case that they remain for us, and persist without 
any.opposition whatever to an outside reality; 
and this is particularly the case with all our 
aesthetic and moral feelings : these ^are hardly so 
much expressions of what conduces to our 



subjective or individual good or harm, as re¬ 
cognitions of the inner worth or worthlessness 
attaching to a content dr ail action brought 
before the mind. For the infinite spirit all 

For ah Infinite Spirit 
these Stimuli would 
be Creations of His 
Own Mind. 

these contents, which in our own 
case, though primarily due to 
stimuli coming from without, yet 

come to be matter of aesthetic and moral 

judgments, would probably be inner pro¬ 
ductions of his own creative fantasy, and his 
personality would consist in being the subject 
which feels in the presence of this worth or 
worthlessness of what is so produced. His 
personality would lie in the judgments made 
in the way of pleasure or pain, satisfaction or 
dissatisfaction, approval or disapproval. 


These considerations must not be taken to 
mean that we are in possession of general prin¬ 
ciples according to which we can determine 
whether we should or should not award person¬ 
ality to a God who is to be in the future. There 
can naturally jiiot be a circle of laws thus ante¬ 
cedent to God and regulative of the form of His 



existence. All we ca n doistft .Analyse 
and just ify oar omnotion of God, and, in par¬ 
ticular, to show*that, the singleness, infinity, and 
freedom from limitation by others, which are 
essential features in our notion, are not logically 
incompatible with the ascription of personality 
to Him. Were they so, our whole notion of 
Him would become an idle cobweb of the 

But, furthermore, we may say that this very 
notion of a perfected personality, far from being 
destroyed by those predicates, is only for the 
first time realised in them. The finite sp irit, 
which has a w orld outside itself and can only 
become acquainted with it gradually through a 
series of interactions with it, requires a psychical 
mechanism to this end, namely, the flow and 
course of its ideas. . And this mechanism renders 
it inevitable that only a p ortion, and never more, 
gf its entire knowledge, feeling, and effort, 
should be operative in it at one time. This 
mechanism, moreover, makes it inevitable that, 

M. ^„deX§lopffi.epf.goes forward, its entire 

spiritual conditions should alter by the accretion 
of what , js new And forgetting of what is old; so 
that the whole is not ever truly* together in any 

7 * 


one moment. And lastly, this mechanism entails 
this: that the forces and laws which govern our 
inward life must always seem something alien to 
ourselves—some nature lent to us—a hidden core 
of our true being. And, therefore, complete 
personality can only be in God, while to man 
oan belong but a weak and faint copy thereof. 


The divine attributes are best to be recognised 
by a consideration of the relations in which God 
stands to the world ; those considerations 
naturally fall under another chapter and may 
be classed under the threefold title of crea¬ 
tion, maintenance, and governance of the world. 






When we speak of creation, this question at once 
presents itself. To say that the God dW not 0reate 

,, . • ~r\ \ • t the World and Then 

world is a creation by God implies it Ai UBe . 
that He has some continuing authority over it: 
what is this constant and eternal authority thus 
implied ? 

If the_creation ^pere an act once for all per¬ 
formed,_ and_ of jvhich the significance did not 
survive itself, we should not have any religious 
interest in a history which was thus past and done 
with. We might have a scientific curiosity in 
discovering how its particular phases succeeded 
one another, but we could not even then gain 
any fresh experience of it. For a history of the 
exact manner in which the creation or any part 
of it came about would be self-contradictory, 
because it would presuppose an earlier world, 
whose forces, means, and laws* were employed 



by God in order to make real the world now 
before us; and this w orld would in suQh a case 
not be the whole reality , but would fall within a 
larger reality, as a later addition thereto newly 
constituted by its forces. 


The first clear thought involved in the notion 
of creation is this: that it did not 
out of Something. cons i s t i n a mere transformation of 
an already existing reality. This is what we 
would express in the time-honoured phrase that 
the world was created out of nothing. We 
should rather say that God did not create the 
world out of sppifithing; the old form of expres¬ 
sion implies that nothing was a kind of substrate 
used up in the world as building material. This 
first thought, then, involves, the other: that 
the fact of the creation, as well as the contents 
of the world created, has its foundations in 
God Himself alone. 

This thought might lead us to suppose that 
the creation was in a way a de- 

Creation In What J . 

me" of*the*tHrSna velopment of the nature of God! 

And it is easy to see what people 
wish to avoid or exclude when they resort to 



this idea of development; they wish to avoid 
the idea that there is no better reason why the 
creation should ft ally have happened than why 
it should not have, and that there is no better 
reason to be given for the world being, as it is 
than for its being any other, which it might have 
been, though it is not. We would avoid suppos¬ 
ing that the existence and inner structure of the 
world are alike entirely baseless and groundless 
realities. In pressing for this we may prelimin¬ 
arily give our assent to the view that the creation 
was a development of the Divine nature; ‘but 
this view does not satisfy the claims of religion. 
For development implies that outside the _being 
which develops there is a universal order or 
circle of supreme laws, which determine in a 
general way the secondary state of this being, 
which is to arise and issue out of a first and 
earlier state. Apart from the jurisdiction of 
such univex’sal laws, we cannot give , 

any reason why out of a particular 

, . , i Which He Develop#, i 

state a another particular state o 
should issue, rather than any other state you like, 
which we may call x. It is only in reference to 
such supreme laws that we can regard the 
sequence a . . b as a development of the being, 



whereas the sequence a .. x would be an 
irregular change. Now, if we apply thesfe con¬ 
siderations to God, it would appeal- that there 
is some fate governing Him which His nature 
must obey, and which on the one hand compels 
Him in the first instance to give reality to a 
world, and on the other hand to create just this 
world and no other. 


To such objections we may reply that we 
For on Activity must give up the customary view, 

Founds the haw, not t . o 

t ue l»w the Activity, according to which the laws of 
reality are regarded as a self-subsistent power 
controlling the real and actual.* They are no¬ 
thing more than general forms of thought in 
which a spirit, contemplating the course of the 
world and comparing its different moments, 
might sum up the whole system of it in one 
brief expression. What is thus briefly ex¬ 
pressed is the thing realised, realised by, and 
through the own nature of things themselves, 
which are what they are and act as they act of 
themselves, so making it possible for us to com¬ 
prehend their behaviour as a case of this or that 
law. Now, for finite things there is a sense in 



which they are under these laws; they are so, 
because each of them is accompanied by others 
which exhibit a like behaviour and so render the 
law a universal one. On this account the law 
or the order of the world seems by reference to 
each individual being to be an embracing and 
uniting power, because it nev er is really opera¬ 
tive except in the form of a concurrent action of 
many beings. When, however, we speak of the 
highest principle, we cannot sup- nutth^ Actw 

i i Ity Behind and Above 

pose that there is over or beyond «od. 
him such an order as he could in common with 
others obey. Rather it is the case that every- , 
thing which we regard as a law or ordering of 
the world is ju$t the world’s own nature, and it 
is only our incorrect, though hardly avoidable, 
way of looking at things which represents it as a 
rule separable therefrom and having already an 
authority from some other source to which this 
nature must submit. 


This thought can be made clearer by the 
old positions of religious philo- „ 

r c 1 Nor la 1 *0,1 ttio Kj- 

sophy in which it is # laid down pT.^ l x5i l ^ n conU* 

that God is on e and single, all 

separate properties being denied to Him. We 



ascribe mere unity to everything which we call 
a being at all. Such unity is evidently 1 true of 
God. We would also require* Him to be 
numerically one; but just in this idea there 
may lyrk an error; for according to it God 
is only the unique exemplification as a matter 
of fact of a general conception of the Deity; 
and this conception, before ever God and the, 
whole world were, had its fixed place in a 
realm of ideas, which existed like an eternal 
fate or destiny. This conception, moreover, 
had, on this view, a meaning of its own to which 
the nature of any real Deity must correspond. 
As against such a view, it is right to insist, 
that only after God and after the world are 
in existence and we ourselves in it, in fine, only 
after our own spiritual nature is as it is in the 
system of this world, only then are we able 
and obliged to frame our universal conceptions 
of the world and to subsume the real under 
'them. But this way of thinking cannot be 
applied in the one case of a supreme being, 
without its formal application conflicting with 

the actual content of the thought. God is not 


single, as the one actual example, in opposition to 
the many merely thinkable examples, of a general 



notion of God; but He is single, because there 
is absolutely no general notion at all under 
which His nature can be subsumed. 

The second of the views adduced is wrong, 
if it implies that the being of God yeUio , li8noKlI , 1)ty 
is empty and without contents. 

But it rightly abstains from attributing to God 
predicates in the same sense in which we ascribe 
them to finite things. For whenever we say 
that a thing is green or sweet or salt, we at 
once range this thing under a conception of 
quality which hasr validity beyond the limits of 
this thing, which is met with in other things, 
and which, even if it did not occur in any real 
at all, would yet‘always have a definite signifi¬ 
cance and be distinct from other conceptions 
which along with it form the all-embracing 
notion, and the system of all that is thinkable, 
which we mean by the kingdom of ideas. We 
rf»nnot so speak of God. There cannot before Himl 
or above Him be a storq of predicates, possible 
or significant in themselves, §mong which He 
has to choose those which serve to constitute! 



I His own being. Rather this whole realm of 
ideas and the possibility of individual things 
deriving their predicates th£refi?>m is itself the 
consequence or the creation or the own true 
nature of the Divine being. We are therefore 
quite right in not attributing to God any single 
property in the sense that He participates in it 
as in something more universal than Himself; 
on the contrary His very being consists in this, 
that He is the ground of the whole system of 
But u... All-in- aii of qualities and properties which may 

^Qualities and Attri- 1 1 1 J 

bates. belong to things in the world. 
Nevertheless there is no harm in following 
the usual way of speaking and in calling God 
unchangeable, eternal, and just; only we must 
take care not to mean by these expressions that 
God falls under a universal conception, which 
would retain its significance’ and continue to 
be, even if God were not. 


The same thoughts are suggested by the quef- 
Can (.od do wiut i. tiou which may be raised as to the 
wh*t is lwbicv onmipoteacfc.Gi.iju^ the question, 
namely, whether God can only do .jyhat is 



possible, or whether He can also do what is 

Of course we at once answer the first question j 
in the affirmative; and yet we feel at once that ' 
the answer is a crooked one; for it clearly "pre¬ 
supposes something of this kind: that before 
there was any idea of God’s being and acting, 
there was some mechanism or other, before the 
world and above conditions, which determined 
in any case and in any world which might 
eventually come to be, whether created by God 
or the devil, what should be possible and 
what impossible. To the fiat of this destiny 
the omnipotence of God is subject, if we regard 
Him as only being able to do what is possible; 
that is to say, He becomes the greatest of all 
the forces of nature, but clearly does not answer 
to what we mean*by omnipotent. But the 
other position that God can do what is impos¬ 
sible may be dismissed at once because it has no 
meaning.* For how could we tell in what way 
the impossible differs from the possible, if there 
were any power, even a Divine power, which 
could bring about and realise the impossible? 
We may therefore settle this question also by 
saying that there exists not for God a contrast 



beUj^kg». a con¬ 
trast which would be earlier than Himself and 
valid apart from what He does,’ 


The same doubt besets one with special refer¬ 
ence to the origin of the eternal 

Kelation of Eternal ... . ■■ mw mmn msk** 

Truths to God. 

truths, and is brought to a point in 

the question, whether God created the eternal 
truths as well as everything else, or whethe r 
they are for Him also self-evident and merely 
recognised by Him as trye anil. Valid. 

If these questions are to have any sense at 
all, we must define the subject which is indi¬ 
cated Jhere under the ordinary title of God. If 
we assume that there is not yet a realm of self- 
evident truth, surely the God who first creates 
this realm of truth must be, until He does so, a 
thoroughly empty power, characterised neither 
by theoretical nor by moral content. . For any 
such content can itself only be, if we presuppose 
the truths according to which He is like Himself 
and different from others. We can have no 
religious interest in affirming that truth was 
created by such a being as this, who has as yet 


8 3 

nothing in common with our idea of God. On 
the other hand, to say that there was such a 
creation of truths, is to say nothing new. For 
since this principle, from which they are to go 
forth, is itself, until they do so, entirely without 
content, the assertion that it created the truths 
means no more than that they received an 
unconditional affirmation. And that means no 
more than this, that the eternal validity which 
we ascribe to these truths was founded some¬ 
how, though we cannot name the founder there¬ 
of, nor distinguish him from what he founded. 
And this is just what we would express, wheD 
we say that the truths are eternal. 


The other assumption, that God only recog¬ 
nised the eternal truths as true, 

'1 ht*y are not bo 

leads to the same conclusion. We 

. . . . from the First. 

can only recognise a proposition as 
being true, as a mere matter of fact is true, when 
it*is forced upon us by an alien power ; as really 
true we only recognise that which is identical 
with the nature and fundamental procedure 
and mode of our thought. Now a finite being 



is under the necessity of having its consciousness 
of its own nature borne in upon it from without. 
And on that account the recognition and attain¬ 
ment of the consciousness of necessary truth is for 
us a piecemeal process of which we can give 
a history. But in the case of God such a his¬ 
torical process is inconceivable, and His recog¬ 
nition of eternal truth would only be a cognition 
of His own nature, which is eternal and without 
in beginning. If this, His nature is not identical 
with the content, of this truth, we can find no 
sense in saying that it is recognised by him; it 
would only be another way of saying that the 
truth in question is valid absolutely and un¬ 


One sense remains in which we can speak of 
truth being derived or deduced. We can do 
so, if to suit our human comprehension we 
analyse the being of God into a severalty of 
properties, but, instead of leaving these witheut 
any connection one. with the other, find our¬ 
selves obliged, to regard them as a system 
ordered and arranged by a single principle. 



Now, religious thought has before all things 
an interest-in ascribing to God the 

0 Theoretical Truths 

ethical qualities* of *goodness and wuh no Mor»?7r«ti!» d . 
holiness. But it is impossible to E ' enlnGod 
derive the notion of these properties, or, indeed, 
of anything else which has any worth at all 
from these eternal, logical, and mathematical 
truths, which are morally indifferent. On the 
contrary, these ethical notions involve the idea 
of and pre-suppose certain forms of relation.- 
between manifold related terms, and these forms 

we must assume and cannot dispense with, be¬ 
cause without them what is good or holy could 
never be realised at all. 

One might, therefore, conceive that these eter¬ 
nal theoretical truths also are merely formal ex¬ 
pressions of that moral content and nature of God, 
in spite of their appearing, as they do to us, to be 
^self-evident first principles dependent for their 
validity upon nothing. Upon this view, to ex¬ 
press it clearly, th ese theo r e ti cal t ruths, which we 
regard as the most primitive, would have no 
reasonijfor being true in a world which was not 
destined to realise the idea of good, and would 
have no necessity or intellectual cogency for 
those beings who found themselves in such a- 



world. But we do not think we need follow 
out this thought any more, because it ‘only leads 
to playing with language. 


This would settle the point that the eternal 
truths are neither creations of a God who was 
already God before they were valid, nor alien 
powers only recognised by God to be valid. 
Bather, their content constitutes for us part of 
jour definition of God, and the idea of an 
bmnipotence which could change these truths is 
hot only an idea of no religious service, but is 
the mere abstraction of a power which has 
neither characteristic content nor aim, and to 
which, therefore, we can as little attribute a 
reality as we can to a movement which has 
^neither velocity nor direction. 

But the world does not consist of these eter- 
Why ha* ju«t ms nal truths, but of the changeable 
com* to bo Keai ? things and events winch obey them, 
and occur according to them. Two questions, 
therefore, arise: firmly, why.js,ll^ reaLffifldd 
just this opeimd not iuwthiir pf all those which 
were also possible on the basis of these same 



truths? And secondly, why has thvj world 

It is only tl\e letter of these two questions 
which now concerns us. The usual opinio n is 
thus expressed: the divine intelligence pointed 
out to God the general modes of procedure 
which are God’s own nature, and must, there¬ 
fore, be followed in any world which issues 
from God. In His Divine fantasy, He beheld, 
and beholding, created the countless particular 
constructions which were possible on the basis 
of those general modes, but of these many worlds 
which thus existed in the thought of God, only 
one is present in reality. How came it to be 
so? Is this transition to reality an emanation 
by natural necessity from God’s , 
being? or is it the act of a will 
which gave reality to that which °' Ui “ wm ‘ 

understanding and imagination could only repre¬ 
sent as possible—a reality which of itself this 
could not take on ? 


There is one point in* particular which these 
opposed, theories have in cmftmon, but which 


they leave obscure. According to both theories, 
it is clear that this emanation or cr e ation brings 
something to pass, which, vvithput it, was not. 
What is it, then, which the world, which is 
maintained in God or thought by Him, gains by 
emanating or issuing from Him, or by being pro¬ 
jected out of His mere thought into reality? 

The world could not emi r ate from God if it 
rhc Theory of Kmv were not in Him beforehand. Now 

tuition Implies aids- 

m i™13* ?r'om S in what consists, so to speak, the 

ity as Outside the . - _ 

Mind. practical advantage or disadvan¬ 
tage which the world reaps thereby, what is 
the new position towards God which it obtains 
by performing the act which we call emanation ? 
For this expression cannot be taken in its 
literal sense. When we speak of this process, 
we would really imply some change in the meta¬ 
physical relation between Gqd and the world, 
and this change we subsequently, after we have 
defined this meaning, sum up in a figurative 
way aB a proc e ss ,» _„space- This definition 
people generally slur over, and content them¬ 
selves with the mere words; immanence, trans- 
cendence, and emana tion, words which only 
make clear one thing, hamely, that we are under 
the necessity of Attributing to the w.9tld. a CfiTr 



its own, but do 

The o ther view represents the world as al¬ 
ready existing in God as thought, before ever 
it is real, and as being subsequently realised. 
But it does not tell us what of good or of 
bad, or of novelty at all, the world would gain 
by making this transition into reality. In other 
words, we do not learn from this view in what 
the reality really consists which is given to the 
world by God. For us, who are finite beings, 
what we merely think is easily distinguished 
from what is real. For we are A „ lsttm . tlon Ap . 

, iTT/' plicable to I's, but 

already environed by a world dil- «ot to nod. 
ferent from ourselves: and that is real which 
within this outer world asserts itself as a con¬ 
dition of any result whatever, whereas what 
we merely think.has only such a condition¬ 
ing force upon our own world of thought, 
and is far from causing any direct change in 
the context of the outer world. Consequently 
for us men the question, how reality is distinct 
from unreality, is very easily answered. But 
let us once transport ourselves in the course 
of our religious reflections* into the inner nature 
of God, and we find that we c&n no more avail 

tain relative indep endence of 
not know exac tly Koijojlefiae 



ourselves of this distinction. For in regard to 
God there is not this already existing outer 
world, in which He can arrange His thoughts 
and so give to some of them a reality which He 
withholds from others. Each of His thoughts, 
so far as He thinks it and it is thought by Him, 
is equally real with every other. And, there¬ 
fore, the question once more recoils upon us: 
wherein consists that which is added to one of 
His thoughts, if it is to be exclusively real and 
so contrast with others? 


The number of expressions of which we avail 
what Thou Poes a ourselves to answer this question 

World Uain by Ho- . , , n t n 

ing created y is inexhaustible. borne would say 
hat reality is just that which God gives to the 
world, which He thinks, by realising it But 
hat does not tell us what are properly the 
narks and nature of this reality. 

Even if we remain contented with the idea 
>f a blind and unintelligent material world, we 
yet find in this only such effects as flow in each 
moment and according to universal laws from 
existing circumstances and conditions; conse- 



quently there happens in this world nothing 
new, and its whole course of events might be 
fully determined beforehand; and in so far as 
God has thought this world, it would have just 
the same inner order and coherency in His 
thought, as it. manifests in its realisation of 
itself to us. Nor can the novelty of being 
.made real simply consist in this, that the 
world-plan, which already existed as a system 
of simultaneous thoughts in God, now unfolds; 
itself in time. For, on the one hand, we cannot; 
conceive an empty time already existing out¬ 
side God, into which He projects His thoughts; 
and, on the other hand, once the world is con¬ 
ceived of as in tiine and as filling time, G< >d and 
His thoughts cannot be excluded from this time, 
but must be equally present with the world in 
every one of its moments ; in fine, the complete 
th o u ght , of. this world must already, have had 
in God this temporal order and arrangement 
whic h rp frh fiatinn is alone, supposed to give to it. 

There is only one way out of these per¬ 
plexities. We must, in fact, re- (:reatl , )nk0(9 
gard the reality as we did above, 
when we said that that is real which is given to 
a finite spirit as a perception independent on 



itself. If therefore the divine thought of the 
world is to have a realisation other than that 
which it already has in the® divine mind, this 
can only be by God’s creating individual finite 
spirits, and by His causing to arise in them the 
cosmic thoughts in question as external per¬ 
ceptions, or, as we may now put it, as His 
thoughts. And at this rate creation may be 
defined as follows: God permitted the thought 
which at first was only His own to become the 
thought of other spirits; or He caused this world 
of spirits to arise in which His continual in¬ 
fluence and operation causes His own cosmic 
thoughts to arise, and figure as the appearance 
pf an outer world surrounding them and cap¬ 
able of being perceived by them. 


We may add here that the words immanence 
K,>r nuu.ii.r can el and transcendence denote na more 

1st for Itself and c*.#«**.*. - • ' 

l!!« rimui ! i 1 t t ’o"A" than a thoroughly fruitless play of 
. olh sp?rit l iurfr l ’ u thought. We are apt to speak as 
if these two expressions denoted processes which 
need no explanation, processes by which, when 
they occur, things are either given or deprived of 



independent existence. As a matter of fact these 
words are only sym bolic expressions borrowed 
from space, and have no intelligible meaning in 
themselves. We cannot logically distinguish 
frpm Gpd the humblest thing, for independent 
upon God there is nothing. A thing has a real, 
albeit relative, independence, only when and in 
so far as it asserts the same. Only a spirit can so 
assert its independence. It alone feels and re¬ 
presents itself as the common centre of its own 
states, and so brings itself into that opposition to 
God, who created it, which can only be conceived 
of as existing between creator and created. On 
the other hand, a thing which was not conscious 
of itself, and which, did not feel, or in some fashion 
or other enjoy what we may call being-for- 
itself, would never be anything more than a self¬ 
less state of the creator, and there would be 
nothing by which its assumed transcendent 
reality could be distinguished from the reality 
which it already .has as a thought of God. 

It deserves to be remarked that it is a mistake 
fco understand these propositions in B Alone ^ „ 
the sense that God has given in- llwl hub! ‘ Un<:<1 *- 
dependent reality as substances only to spirits and 
not to things - r and that in consequence spirits 



are able to assert their relative independence as 
against the Divine being. By substantiality is 
not meant a transparently plain manner of exist¬ 
ence involving such independence; it is only a 
title.which belongs to anything, which owing to 
its nature asserts such independence; and as such 
is true of what we mean by spirituality. Or to 
put it shortly, spirits are substances; and, unlike 
all else, are substances because, by their very 
nature, they possess this faculty of being-for- 
themsejyes,. because they think themselves, and 
are not merely thoughts in the mind of another. 
But tilings cannot be substances, because they 
have. not^p lJbjs .faculty of bdn^ : for : th^§elyps 
which alone gives you the right to be called a 

Thus the view which the philosophy of religion 
mrc must take of creation coincides with 

Aj*i»enrum:eR in the , „ , . 

Miii'is of Spirits, the idealistic view of speculation, 

stul not Ural or ('re- 1 1 

ated in Themselves. adjudges real being in the 

true sense to spirits alone, but does not allow 
that the things^ whi.Qh__.eiist. iietw«ea. the ,iSpkitg 
are equally real; declaring them rather to bq 


by the constant influence and QpfJ^iQ^p.f^Ood, 
and appea rances. ittar80?eft..yK,hich properly arise 



in ourselves alone. The idea of creation itself 
has a meaning only in relation to this world of 
spirits; because»it is*for spirits alone that the will 
of God produces^ a reality distinct from the mere 
being thought by Him, a reality which through 
the operation of God constitutes them not merely 
thoughts in His mind, but true and independent 
subjects of thought on their own account. 


Now, ite^egard a. wor.ld. oLtbi ..only a 
s ystem of appeara nces which God reveals to a 
kingdom of spirit^way. of stimulating them 
to act, an d as objects of their perception, if we 
take this view,' then the idea that the world 
which can be observed by us is the whole 
creation of God loses much of the nis WorJd of 
cogency which it had so long as the o u i y w.,ri<i. 
we regarded that world as truly existing. We 
are able now to suppose rather that God causes 
a pl urality of ordered worlds to appear before 
p aany spi rit-worlds, and of these many worlds 
one need not be discoverable by observation 
within the limits of another. 

Religious faith sets such a higher world-order 



■ over against this .eaj&bjy jyyQrJA JWhich. ^ per- 
fccive under the name of the kingdom of heaven. 
The facile prejudice that ‘just* this creation 
which we perceive, and no more, forms the whole 
runs counter to this faith. If we ^regard this 
world as a whole, we cannot, indeed, so far as 
our knowledge of Nature has as yet progressed, 
find any territory in it which is not subj ect tg> 
its mechanical law, or which separates itself 
from this world as a higher sphere, or as heaven. 
■But this objection is now got rid of by the sup¬ 
position that the worlds which God has made are 
.many. On the one hand we need no longer 
Higher World. m.y try to find the higher world-order 

with this One Co- ... —“■ ' *’*;•* ", 

Exist in God. directly in the prolongation of this 
lower order; for it may exist now and here as 
an order of quite another kind, without intrud¬ 
ing itself, or being noticeable in the course of 
the events of this world. On the other hand, 
we have no reason to regard these several world- 
orders as falling entirely outside one atother; 
on the contrary, we must regard them as bound 
up together in the unity of God as parts of a 
[higher plan. And although, therefore, we do 
not know in wljat way a finite sp irit can pass 
from IhU oid-er. of . earthly.. fife into one of those 



hjyW gphp.refl r vet we 8ee that such a transition 
is possible, and the religious views and aspira¬ 
tions which bind up this earthly life with that 
higher perfection of the kingdom of heaven, 
though they admit not of being proved for 
certain by any. philosophy, yet do not conflict, 
but rather entirely agree with those philosophical 
^conceptions which this analysis of the idea of 
creation has led us to form. 


We cannot hope to know the modus procedendi 
by which the Divine being assured 
to spirits this independence. We oSd',“wH" »nS‘no{ 

, . i t /* . au Emanation. 

cannot wish to define the exact 


way in which creation issued forth from the 
Creator, but only the import of the creative act; 
and the import is this: that in order to the 
existence of the spirit-world, which of itself is 
no natural consequence flowing from the being 
of God, a Divine will was necessary, and a 
determination of it which might not have been., 
And this is how the notion of creation differs 
from that of an emanation or development of 
the world. We cannot think of this divine 



will, as if it wore a n histo rical act, which arose 
for the first time in God at a particular, though 
unassignable, moment, an<f hr.d behind it a 
spiritual predilection on the part of God, whence 
.its origin can be derived. All these attempts to 
write a history of the life which God led before 
creation, or to set forth the inner development 
by which He came to be a Creator are errors, 
and mix up the orderly connection and sys¬ 
tem of thoughts, by which little by little we 
seek to picture to ourselves the Divine being, 
with the genuine development of that being 
itself, and so co nfus e thy history of our. ideas 
< if the thing with the history of the thing 


As a rule theologians are not contented with 
an act of the Divine will by which 

God did not Uihour J 

in creating fa. creation arose all at once^ but re¬ 

present that God worked or laboured at the 
creation pf the world. Thus Tertullian writes, 
Major est dei gloria, si laboravit. 

This requirement is an impossible one; for 
labo ur QXLtoil .presuppose as their essential con- 



dition obstacles which are to be overcome. 
Such an obstacle the Divine being could not 
meet with outside Himself, unless there already 
existed a world independent on Him ; and here 
we are speaking of a first creation of all outward 
reality. And it would be a fantastic and 
gratuitous blunder on our part to suppose that 
there were within God Himself, and in His own 
nature, inner obstacles which He had to over¬ 
come before He could resolve or carry out His 
resolution to create the world. On the other 
hand, religious feeling has ever regarded as 
God’s motive in creating the world the expansive 
love which urges Him to commuui- „„ M„ tivi! ™ 
cate His holiness to other beings, u 3 wn 

and this thought entirely satisfies the yearning 
which led us to suppose that God laboured in 
creating the world ; for according to it the 
‘creation arose not without His sympathy and 
enduring interest. It was not a matter-of-fact 
result flawing from the Divine will, nor was that 
will indifferent: rather it is true that God is 
hpund up with creation by a perpetual sym¬ 
pathy, that He feels and liyes in it 




Lastly, it results from the above consideration 

foi., ccmo. that % c - alle 4.c osmogaaifig-arfiJfl- 
gonie«. admissible, and satisfy no religious 
end. For there cannot be any theory of the 
process which went on in creation, and there¬ 
fore all distinctions are idle which we may try 
to make between a first creation, which gave 
rise to the formless matter of the world, and a 
second creation which called forth the forms of 

creatures. No less idle are the speculations of 
some philosophers who try to deduce creation 
from the Divine nature, showing how the phases 
of the latter opened out and revealed themselves 
in necessary sequence. The true motive of such 
speculations is not what their authors suppose, 
and they are really interested, not so much in 
the conditions and means through which the 
creative act was performed, as in the inner order, 
which prevails in this world, which has been 
^willed by God. Thus, for example, the world is 
so ordered that we are not only able, but 
obliged, to distinguish in everything that really 
is between the matter and the form. But,these 



are logical abstractions* which are not , so far as 
they mean anything, so related to one another 
as to imply that t hfe formless, real matteiL. was 
n ecessarily first,, whereas . the form was. .„Qtily 
added to it later , so as tc render it something 
definite. This is as impossible as that there 
should be a movement which lacked a direction 
at. first, and only acquired it later We may 
just as wel l s e para te, in our thought of that 
movement, velocity and direction from one 
another, as separate form and matter in things. 

These considerations do not, of course, affect 
those cosmogonies which are not meant to be 
descriptions of the first act of creation, but 
assume that a world has been made, and show 
how the earth developed therein into the 
dwelling-place of the human race; but of this 
more anon. 






It is customary to say that God, after creating 
T »oviews: i. (;o<i the world, went on to perform a 
after creating it. second action, namely, that lie 
made Himself responsible for its maintenance. 
This view has its difficulty, yind indeed two views 
are here , co mbating, one another. One of them 
is that God in maintaining the world continually 
re-creates it. This view, no doubt, is correct,* 
in so far as it brings out the utter dependence 
of the world on God ; but it does not make 
clear the alternative, the disaster which it fears 
would take place without this continually fresh 
creative activity. If what has once been cre¬ 
ated, cannot continue to exist, "without being 
perpetually kept going, it is not easy to see 



wherein consists the effect iveiiga?,. of the. created 
act; but if we once concede that what has 
been created does ijot immediately vanish away 
when the creative act ceases, but endures some¬ 
time longer, and only gradually decays, we 
give up in principle the view that the world 
maintains itself, and we have then to show from 
what source the dangers arise, which imperil the 
world, supposing it is not maintained by God, 
Now, such dangers cannot come from outside 
the wor ld; and therefore they must be inherent 
in itself, which is tantamount to saying, that God 
must have created the world in such a way that 
its own intrinsic imperfection would bring it to 
nothing. Perhaps this thought may be of ser¬ 
vice in religion, but, if we allow it, we must 
remember that it does not agree with the other 
assumption that God maintains the world. On 
the contrary it is really the expression of quite 
another v iew, which is this ; that the fate of 
what has once been created depends upon its 
own natu r e, so t hat it endures or passes away, 
according as it has or has not inner causes of 
decay; and in no case is there a renovating 
activity tcf make stood it» deficiencies. 



The other view admits that the world was 
created by God, but supposes that 

God Having Created, * ** 

uave. it Alone. jj e then straightway withdrew 
from it and left it alone; but this view does 
not explain how we are to regard this indepen¬ 
dence in which the world was left by itself. 
We can understand in regard, to a finite ipirit, 
that it should separate Jrom.jjs,wprk ; 
when it does so, it bequeathes the task of main¬ 
taining the work to the universal order of the 
world, which is already there, and within which, 
and subject to whose laws, it fashioned and 
created its masterpiece. But such reasoning 
cannot be applied to God. And one must there¬ 
fore regard the order of the world as the self- 
maintaining creation of God. But this would 
only be thinkable, if the order underwent no 
change, but for ever remained the same Now, 
as a matter of fact the order of the world is a 
system or context of events and occurrences of 
such a kind that innumerable different things act' 
differently upon one another at every 1 moment; 
as we said before, it is such that we must sup- 


pose there is a substantial unity of the several 
elements; and therefore, the mere existence of 
a so-called order, ea/en if we understood how it 
could exist anA maintain itself unaided, would 
not be adequate to explain the constant conjunc¬ 
tion of changing events in nature. In con- , 
nection with this we saw that if an element a is to 
produce the effect w upon another element b, this 
one substance must be present in a as well as in all 
other elements, and must intimate to a, which is 
as much acted on by as acting on b, that a case 
has arisen where the effect w must ensue. 


Our general conclusion from the above is that 
the conception of the creation will 
not be complete, unless we com- 
prise in it the ideij that the created thing con¬ 
tinues, just as we comprise the idea of persist¬ 
ency in the notion of movement. On the other 
hand, we must not forget that the continued ex¬ 
istence of the thing created is inexplicable unless 
we suppose that the same will continues to act, 
which created these real elements, and is the basis 
and ground of their action upon one another] 
It would not matter, therefore, how we ex- 



pressed ourselves, only that t here lies hidden 
in the favourite view that the world 

Bearing of This on -— , - v, „ 


maintai ns itself,^ distinct tendency to 
deny as far as possible the dependency of nature 
upon God; if it has to be conceded that the 
world was created, yet it is pleasant to deny 
that the Divine being ever interferes in the sub¬ 
sequent course of phenomena. We do not think 
this is the right way to justify our objection tb 
the belief in miracles. We must, on the con¬ 
trary, assert that every process, however humble, 
which takes place in nature between one thing 
and another does so through the constant co¬ 
operation of the one true reality and through 
that alone. This reality we in religion term God ; 
and therefore upon this theory and on these 
grounds it yanppt be. shp wfi that _ C|o4 dpp s jipt 

continually, influence t he cour se of nature, nor 
t hat the existing order of nature is inviolably. , 
The decision of this question, however, lies in 
quite another field of investigation. It depends 
upon whether we are able to combine fhe ex¬ 
ercise of miraculous power with the other at¬ 
tributes by which we define God in such a wa^ 
that the exercise of that power would* appear to 
be an alteration *>f the universal laws of nature. 




The usual refutations of miracles are mostly 
inconsistent with the meaning one really attache^ 
to the word. 

It is not true that a miracle involves a sus¬ 
pension of the laws of nature. On Mirado th( . s , 

•, sdon of one Law.notj 

the contrary it i mplie s that these of Many. I 
l aws c ontinue to govern all the rest of the world 
and only seem not to do so as regards a par- 
tic ular eve nt, which for that reason and no 
other contrasts with the rest of the course of 
nature. But even in reference to this particular 
event it is not true to say that it is a suspension 
of the laws of nature (in the plural). We can¬ 
not describe or define at all what really happens 
when a miracle occurs, unless we classify it and 
bring it under our general conceptions or cate¬ 
gories of events, and this we cannot do without 
bringing the miraculous occurrence under cer¬ 
tain laws of nature. Its peculiarity will then 
only consist in this: that it fulfils these laws with 
masses and measures and size-values (which 
belong to the elements* other than those which 
co-operate to produce the mifacle) in virtue of 


their previous nature and of the conditions to 
which in the earlier and preceding course of 
events they were subject. 


Consequently, when a miracle occurs, the 
Divine intervention has not for its real object 
to change the universal laws of nature. On the 
contrary, we must assume that these laws con¬ 
tinue inviolable throughout the course of a world 
which has once been created. But the course 
of the world in its reality consists of something 
more than universal laws, which—we may add 
—have no existence of their own apart from the 
world. What we really have in the course of 
the world consists in the play of innumerable 
elements endowed with various forces, and, as 
these elements obey these laws,—to use the 
common phrase,—their resp'ective forces act in 
various manners and on variqus scales. What 
these elements are, or what they are going 
to be, depends not on these necessary laws, 
but on the particular plan of the world, 
which God has chosen to make real among 
the many worlds which, without violation of 
those laws, were equally posable. Conse¬ 
quently, if this plan Involves a change in 
•the nature of thfe elements, there is no ordin- 



ance of any kind to stand in the way of such 
a change. 

In a miracle^, therefore, God directly influences 
the inner nature of things, so that they undergo 
a change and—still obeying the same universal 
laws of nature—produce the miraculous effect, 
which without His influence they would not in 
mere obedience to those laws product. 


This exposition was theoretically needful, but 
its result is not very cheering. Ex- 

J G Experience Testifies 

perience teaches us that there is a 

,. . ,, c of Mir&olet. 

continuity m the .course 01 nature 
which is never violated, and so long as we have 
faith in that continuity we have a fixed and un¬ 
erring canon to regulate our investigations of 
and judgments about what happens in the 
course of the world. On the other hand we 
open the door to the most arbitrary superstitions, 
so soon as we try to rest miracles directly on a 
change in the laws or indirectly on a change in 
the things to which these laws apply 

We must therefore draw a firm distinction 
between the abstract and general possibility of 



miracles ami our disposition to believe that 
they really occur. If we examine into the why 
•and the wherefore of this be‘iief,,it is clear that, 
if the world were mere nature , we could have 
no reason for assuming in it changes not already 
calculated upon in its source and principle. 
One could always insist that after being once 
created the elements do not bring about of 
their own capacity and according to an universal 
law the whole further development of nature; 
rather, one might insist that whatever new arises 
out of its condition in any particular moment 
is due to the constant co-operation of God from 
point to point. But this very co-operation one 
may regard as so perfectly steady and unbroken 
that it may be looked upon, as an universal law, 
and held together with the ordinary mechanical 
view of nature without even making explicit 
mention of God. In regard to the evolution 
of organisms, natural philosophers actually assert 
the reality of some such co-operation, although 
their view is strenuously combated by those 
opposed to them. 

We must accordingly entertain the. idea of a 
sudden and instantaneous intrusion of Divine 


Influence, only if the created world contains 



seeds of internal decay, threatening a departure 
from the cosmic plan, and requiring to be 
counteracted. .Nofhing but the freedom which 
we ascribe to spiritual beings, and the ability 
which it implies to begin new series of events 
not conditioned by what precedes them, can 
supply this motive of compensating for inner 
decay by a sudden display of miracle. 


But neither does this take us very far. What 
shall be our scale of value in judging and de¬ 
ciding what inner spiritual events have so im¬ 
portant a bearing on the plan of the world 
as to provoke tl>e Divine intervention? We 
may be inclined to believe that fervent prayer 
has such a value, or we may think that such an 
enhancement of the interrelations r raye r. 
between God and the world would naturally 
manifest itself at the birth of a new religion. 
Y et, who knows ? 

In the absence, then, of grounds upon which 
Jo form a decision, we must allow full weight to 
experience,, and t he ans wer of e3ggn£££e. m 
emphatically^against miracles. Experience testi¬ 
fies that a sudden interruption of the course of 



nature, involving a change in the modes in 
which physical elements act, never occurs. All 
that it would permit us <to believe is that 
Jn what fw. Em within our s ouls the immediate in- 

cacious without Mir- n ' /» n i -1 

acie. 11 uence oi jljqa nmy cause changes, 

partly in the form of inspiration extending our 
knowledge or insight, partly in the form of a 
vision, in which we think we see objects not 
present to us, partly i n the form of a strength- 
ening of the will for self-sacrifice. By visions in 
the above sense we do not mean deceptions 
of sense simply due to the nature of the indi¬ 
vidual soul, but intuitions which are based 
on a present and real interaction of the soul 
with God, and bring visibly before the imagina¬ 
tion the ideal content of that interaction; and 
these intuitions can neither arise within us un¬ 
aided nor be an object of perception to other 






One who regards the world as a system of 
causes and effects, in which there prance in. P ii« 
are no free beginnings, has no the world, 
right to speak of it as being governed at all. 
One again who conce des such free begin ning * 
would not have anything left for a power ruling 
t he world to do, except to compensate the de¬ 
partures from a. preconceived end which they 
involve. For what we can regard as the history 
of the world can only be the unfolding of definite 
germs already contained in the creation. The 
question therefore raised as to the government 
of the world does not so much concern a new 
modus agendi on the part* of God, as the filling 
in of the order of development already fixed in 
and at the creation. 



The very idea, however, of a history of 
the world, has difficulties for us. 

Can the World Have 

» HistoryWidespread philosophies and re¬ 
ligions have not known this idea, and instead of 
regarding llie change of the world as a progress 
whose end is distinguished from its beginning 
by its higher value, have seen in that world an 
endless and unceasing process of transformation 
of a supreme principle, in the course of which 
all that arises passes away again. It is chiefly 
through the influence of Christianity that this 
idea has grown up of a wolld-history develop¬ 
ing towards a fixed end .between the limits of 
creation and day of judgment. 

The latter view most commends itself to 
religious feeling. In the. case of a finite being 
it is clear enough what is meant by a successive 

A« May n&ye n Fin. realisation of# aims nud tndsUbr 
m-itong. u j' j ts una i ( | e d will it can realise 

nothing, but has to employ the forces of an 
already existing outside world, and, what is 
mure, every finite being emerges in a definite part 
of the system of the world, is conditioned by 



what goes before it in that system and helps 
to condition what follows it. But these con¬ 
siderations apply dot to God, whose will, once 
declared unto Himself, needs not to be realised 
piecemeal and in succession, as it does for us, 
who must submit our activity to the existing 
conditions of a time that passes by and to a 
world which exists therein. Whatever resolu¬ 
tions, therefore, the Divine will contains, are 
thereby already real with all the reality of 
which we can think, and are in no wise beholden 
to the future. It is not then consistent with 
a right notion of God, or of a The Ata oiuta or cm 

. -» . 11 -i . Cannot Have a llig* 

supreme principle at all, that we tory. 
should attribute to Him in His own self a 
history in time, or think that for Him there 
are ends not yet real, but waiting to lie made 
real through a succession of events. For until 
such a Divine end be fulfilled we must, suppos¬ 
ing that for the Divine being it contains some¬ 
thing which definitely ought to be, suppose 
in Him a want, and after it was fulfilled there 
would, so far as we can see, be nothing left to 
the arbitrament of God„whom we yet think of . 
as a living being. 




Apart from religious needs it is difficult to 
understand how time stands and 
in what relation to the highest 
principle of the world, be this what it may. 

It strains the imagination and yet it is possible 

Relation of Time to 
God a Mystery. 

to apprehend the entire world, so far as it appears 
to us in space, as .dttft.tQpurely. .inteUigjble* but 
not sensible, differences and distinctions of reality 
within those parts thereof which we call spirits. 
We cannot conceive of how this presumably 
timeless content dilates itself into the succession 
as which it manifests itself to' us, without at any 
rate adding in our minds Jthe thought of a suc¬ 
cession of our ideas and representations of it. 
Here then within our souls •tore must regard the 
course of time as really occurring, although we’ 
think it away from the outer world which is 
object of our perception. 

Nevertheless, we are ever driven back on some 
such attempt. We cannot understand what w« 
call past and future in reference to particular 
states or events, except by representing infinite 
,ime itself as a, first reality, through whose 


different sections the procession of events moves 
on, in such wise that the past is ever more than 
something which has simply not happened, is 
something which continues to belong to the 
universal reality, as part however of a, past 
which we think of as real, though no longer 
present. Now we deem it altogether impossible 
to retain the idea of an independent time existing 
in its own right; we can picture it, but no t 
think it. ; 

for we cannot believe, that in the whole of the 
world the past has no place, and that the future 
has none either. If it were so the entire reality 
would be in perpetual change and flux—a per¬ 
petual here and new, and no more. 

This need of one .real place where the past 
stores itself up, and of another where the future 
awaits to manifest itself, has in all ages led 
nhilosoohers to raise the truly existent above 
the course of time, at the same time that they 
have thought that a time-progression takes place 
within its being a nd es sence . We cannot hope 
Jo understand how this demand of metaphysic 
can be fulfilled; when, therefore, the same 
demand crops up again in the philosophy of 
religion as well, we cannot wonder at its here 



also transcending the scope of human knowledge 
and taking its place as a mystery of the Divine 


These reflections su gge st the joint attributes 
„ , of God—eternity of being and 

God htornal not as ... •*„,-- 

Out-luting Time, 0 m i hscie.ll C e . 

The former of these must not be taken merely 
in the sense of duration in time, for none but a 
finite being would lie eternal in the sense of 
lasting for ever in time. We saw that by the 
singleness of God is not meant a numerical unity, 
that the latter is, in fact, Subordinate to a 
universal notion of God. .In the same way His 
eternity does not signify a victorious struggle 
with claims set up by time to exist before Him and 
apart. It really expresses a being, not in time ' 
t but u Founding at all, a being which, because it is 
^ 1 " ut ' just what it is, is the ground and 

origin of time-succession, just as it is of the dis¬ 
tinction between possible and impossible. We caw 


form no idea of how tliig, can happen, nor can we 
bring it before the imagination in any wav, and 
are therefore o blige d to be content to append to 


this mere POStnk te..oLfitenutv. ihe further at, : 
tributejDf unchsuge^hleuess, by way of bringing 
out that the passage of time, even if it does be¬ 
long to God,* yet in no way determines His 

The other attribute of omniscience is easy to 
understand, but is not worth as- I!ow Reconcile niv' 

’x • o • t i ineOmniHciuncewith 

cnbing to God, if it only means Free Beginnings? 
the knowledge of universal laws according to 
which the world must take its course. If, how¬ 
ever, wg assume that there are in the world free 
beginnings, such as those made by man, the 
question arises, “ How can a future be known, of 
which it is not certain that it will ever come to 
pass ? ” 

The answer which has been attempted, that' 
“ God foresees future free actions as future and 
free,” is not permissible, so long as we liken the 
Divine intelligence to the human. 

Nor can we evade the problem by saying that 
the very distinction between Divine knowledge 
and our own consists in this, that it can compass 
what we can not. We are at once thrown back 
on the position that this knowledge does not 
itself share in that chamcteristic of being in time 
which it perceives in its objects. 



Let us conceive that the entire reality, which 
„ , J t for us unfolds itself as a succession, 
FrM ^BegiiHiing. u is present all %t once to the eye 
“ of God. Then what is not really 
future, but only seems future in the object, will 
be 'perceived by God not as an uncertainty, but 
as something real, nor will its character as free 
be impaired thereby. In brief, a knowledge of 
what is free is possible, but a fore-knowledge' 
of it is inconceivable. Further than this we 
cannot go, for we cannot construe to ourselves 
better than this that timeless imagination which 
is God’s; and so we must reckon in omniscience 
with those postulates as to which we know not 
how they can be fulfilled. 


The conclusion to be drawn from the above is 
„ „ _ that we cannot speak of God’s 

Govern, tb. world, governing the world in the # sense 

that there is a series of actions performed by 
God one after another and constituting His life 
one of succession. Rather, what we can indicate 
as the aim of the worldand gQflsl at 


stantly fulfilling itself. End or aim we cannot 
ascribe to Him in the ordinary sense of something 
which once was qot and has to be realised; 
though we msty ascribe it in the other sense in 
which it is distin ct from a mere result ,is some- 
t hing will ed by God. 

If we take it in the latter and legitimate sense, 
the question at once arises: “ What 

* The End Willed by 

f s ” SS,Xj&S, 

and to this question we can return 
but a general and formal answer. We saw that, 
if by creation was meant the production of a 
kind of reality—which is what we mean by a 
real created world as distinct from one which 
only exists in the Divine thought—then there 
was no creation save of a world of spirits. We 
must, therefore, look for the end of the world! 
i n som ething whiph cau be and take place inj 
or thrqugh, Q^fen.8pirits. 


This closes the merely theor eti cal deductions 
which we can make f rom the n otion of a highes t 
p rincip le, be this what* it' may. Any further 
development of our notion must have other roots 



than more theory. Henceforth, we call.. OljJy 
determine h priori and without going to ex- 
perience, what concrete qualities belong to the 
s upr eme principle, by consulting ‘the needs and 
claims of the . aflcQtions and of . the heart. 

Ami it m udt nave tjiyse may. be summed up by say- 
value, mg ..that the highest ..principle 
cannot be otherwise designated, than as that 
which has absolute value and worth; and n<3 
other aim than the realising of the highesTworth 
can be ascribed to God as the motive of His 
creation, and the principle of order in what He 


The only way in which theory can determine 
this highest worth or value js to analyse the 
notion itself. 

Theory assures us that there can be no talk 
of worth, either in a world which contained no 
spirits to recognise it, or in a world of spirits 
('quipped only with theoretical knowledge of 
actual circumstances and relations, but incapable 
of taking an interest-in 4 what they knew in the 
form of pleasure "and pain. 



Our view may be summed up, then, in the 
following words- the generation An( , Xot Ur th( , 
of a matter-of-fac| to be known, ,? “»ciifnvB f ide« ny 
of a definite relation between various elements, 
of a serial order of events—all this has in itself 
no true value and cannot be regarded as an end, 
which, if appointed for the world, would satisfy 
our souls. What we mean by value in the 
world lies wholly in the feeling of satisfirtion or 
of pleasure which we experience from it. As to 
all these formal facts one can ask, why exactly 
they, and not others instead of them, exist in the 
world? But such a question is absurd in regard 
to pleasure or blessedness. We cannot ask why 
just these and not rather their equivalents should 
form the ultimate end of the world. 

Entertaining these* convictions, we would re¬ 
ject as untrue all jhose views which conflict with 
them. Thus, the highest and secret import 
and ai m of the world .cam;lot, lie tP. reajjse a 
m ode of dialectical development, n ( . snnot , 

* , .1 ,, • r , ' T , Dialectical 1 'roceaa 

cannot be the “ passing of the idea oiThought, 
from being-in-itself tlirough being-for-another 
unto being-for-itself ”; nor can the primal ground 
of creation and its onfering principle be found 
in the mere Droduction of self-consciousness, or 



iu the perpetual struggle of the real, not only to 
be, hut to possess itself. We must rathe r adopt 
the old religious view which e finds in t he loving 
wiIL-Of God both ^Jim-^gmund and reason of a 
.creation of a wprJd._oC jpilits within whom the 
true glory of God can be an infinitely diversified 
enjoyment, andjaLiiJUi^^ 
ing as means to bring this about. 


But this notion of pleasure or blessedness in 
general is still an empty abstraction 

Yet tills End of the ° 1 J 

Ahstrict^'or'^eneraj acquired by us through reflection 

Pleasure or Bliss. , ... . . . . , 

on the particular objects which, m 
our experience, have realised it. We must not 
suppose that it lies in this abstract form in the 
mind of God as an end forethought to be made 
real in the world. 

Besides which, we know that in our own Hyes 

, at¬ 
taching as a state discernible apart to an external 
stimulus, and not in its own nature and in essen-. 
tial ways determined by that stimulus. Every 
real pleasure is different from every other, just 
as one colour is from another. And even as the 


latter are not modifications of an imaginary uni¬ 
versal colour, nay, even as this universal colour 
itself is but a secondary abstraction of what is 
common to the various colours, and having no 
reality apart from them ; so, whenever we really 
feel pleasure, we but recognise and enjoy a pe¬ 
culiar specific value, attaching to its stimulus and; 
tp no other. Pleasure in general, on the other 1 
hand, answers to the colour which never exists 
as such. 

We must not then assum e that in God there 
first exists an idea of pleasure as yet general and 
formless^ and that He subsequently looks lor forms 
through which to realise it. Without separation 
or loss of unity the Divine activity issues in an! 
inexhaustible wealth of forms, which to us, when 
in our reflection we compare them, appear to 
have been calculated for this presupposed end of 
universal pleasure, whereas in fact each of them 
directly and of itself represents a special value, 
which is for God Himself an object of peculiar 
and definite pleasurableness, and affects ourselves 
avith a feeling which is a more or less remote; 
copy of His. 

In this way our notion of God ceases to be 
that of an empty supreme principle, and receives 



a living content, to express which we may use 
the phrases—however inadequate—of creative 
phantasy (indicating that H e'generates forms) or 
of Divine soul, indicating that the yvo rth of th e 
forms, generated. i$ an -object, qf., self satisfac- 
tion to G od. And here at last we see the mean - 
ing of the predicate blessed which we give to 
God. In heathen religions this predicate meant 

—*—y .... 

the e njoym ent which God or the gods have 
their own beauty. In the Christian religion it is 
limited to refer to ethical qualities which we 
must mention later on. 

Tt, may seem as if our notion of God was still in¬ 
complete, because we have not comprised therein 
the ethical qualities, which arfe so all-important 
for our comprehension of human life. 


This is a point on which we have more to say 
later on. Now we merely remark 

Connection of Good " 

*“ h , ' iuaRure - that thejaotion r of good SQgBS&JP* 
separ atetl irqm.. that .of -pleasure. It is true, of 
course, that desire for one’s own pleasure should 
not be one’s motive. But in the world, as a 
whole, one cannot regard things as obeying cer- 



tain universal laws of conduct without reference 
to an ultimate end of independent value. There 
cannot be a law compelling one set of conditions, 
«, indifferent for all the world, to generate 
through conduct another set, b, equally indiffer¬ 
ent ; nor compelling the preference of one form of 
action, a, bringing enjoyment to none, to another, 
b, which would distress nobody. Somewhere or 
other, then, the entire fabric of the world must 
conduce to blissfulness as its goal. 

For us men the idea of the good is a definite 
one, because it denotes a feeling of To „ <mI the „ 

, t . , , 1 • . Nothing obligatory 

obligation attaching m our con- »» a i» u> m™. 
sciences to certain modes of conduct. For God, 
however, the good which we regard as one of 
His essential attributes cannot lie in an obligation, 
but must directly constitute Ilis nature. And we 
shall be sure of a reason for honouring and rev- 
* erencing His nature, if it is such as to directly 
evidence its worth, namely, if it is conduct and 
activity, motived by love and goodness, and re¬ 
warded by enjoyment of the good things and of 
J;he blessedness produced. 




The fluctuating character of our conception of 
Th« iMvic*Hoitnew. God’s holiness has to do with this. 

The meaning of holiness is clear enough. It 
signifies something which our conscience forbids 
us to seize or know, to employ or otherwise en- t 
tangle in our actions. But this merely indicates 
the attitude we subjectively assume towards what 
is holy, and does not define what it is in itself. 
It is not surprising, therefore, that this subjective 
sense of holiness should itself be transformed into 
one of objective import, as is done when the true 
nature of what is holy is taken to lie in a character 
of unfathomable holiness, and this in turn is made 
a predicate of some conditions in the being 
or actions of God, which we can only appre¬ 
hend in theory and in formal manner. If, how¬ 
ever, we could really see through these conditions, 
we would still have to allow, that as mere 
matters of fact, they would be quite indifferent, 
for their value would lie not in a positive con- t 
tent on their part which, claimed our reverence, 
but in the charm of mystery they possessed. 
Here, then, is a by-path leading to worship of 



the unknown. Let us avoid it, because it is uni 
known, and be content to find no other concrete 
filling for the notiqp of God’s holiness than we 
did for that of' His blessedness. Only we may 
make this formal addition, that though we can¬ 
not help attributing to God the ideas of evil and 
of unholy activities, yet there can be no motive 
even tempting Him to deviate from that which 
seems right to us men, and is the only clue we 
have to guide our conduct. 


Cast our eye over the foregoing and we can¬ 
not deny that our view of the Three PrinclplM 
world ultimately, leads back to ceasary Truths : % 

J # # The Heal World : 3, 

t hree starting-po ints, which we Fi “ l ‘ 1 c * u,e - 
must suppose areji^ 

although wttcftaaoi by any mental effort under¬ 
stand how they are one. Primarily all depends 

on the universal laws and eternal truths which 

WKiBfcHWI nrMlHW"'~ ~ •• I ‘ ****' 1 

are for __ us self-evident necessities of thought. 
But they by themselves give no reason for 

" Whlii iT i ~i-mini -1 ~ i «■ •.**■-*■* •“*■ -w - .*■ 

a wor ld. -True, the real follows these laws, but 
it cannot be deduced from them ; and its defini te 
forms must be referred to a wholly different 



of a final cause o£.ihe .worlds,,we can gather 

nothing posit ive about what it is .from the forms 

reality assumes. The same reality might be 

emploj r ed to bring about other* ends, and the 

same end may permit of being realised in other 


The religious imagination, however, is not 
usually content, to admit this problem to bo 
insoluble. It nearly always tries to exhibit, 
at any rate by means of symbols, an inner 
economy or history of the Divine being which, 
in addition to merely recognising the riddle, 
presupposes a solution of it and presents the 
imagination with a more or less formal picture 
of that solution. Not only the three starting- 
points we have mentioned, but other ruling 
views of the world, as, fer instance, that which 
sees in it a perpetual arising out of the formless 
and return thereunto, have in different religions 
and in different senses given rise to the idea 
of a trinity in unity of God. 

The Christian dogma of the Trinity w£ regard 

Doctrine of the 

as an attempt to guard against the 
extravagant and, in practice, noxi* 

ous fancies of Eastern heathen and gnostic specu¬ 

lation. By setting up a formula, which at once 

rtirr.osoruY of kfugion. 131 

recognises that there is here a riddle insoluble 
by the human understanding, and refrains as 
much as possible, from defining the unknown 
to the imagination by means of symbolic ideas, 
the Christian religion sets a limit to such fynciful 
speculation. Further attempts to win a positive 
knowledge of the meaning of this dogma have 
been made in a,H manner of ways, but they 
all belong to mere philosophy of religion and 
are not part of any revelation recognised as 
Divine. It is, therefore, permissible if we on 
our part make the dogma in question do duty 
for us and set up in connection with it a 
doctrine which—without, indeed, bringing before 
the mind any positive knowledge in our sense— 
will merely serve to remind us in a manner 
appealing to the imagination that we are here 
confronted with a« insoluble problem 


1 . 1 * 




Thus far we have tried to define the notion of 
■ jiow far Kxparlance God in a twofold way : on the one 
^0.1 a»a Moral Being, hand according to its metaphysical 
implications ; on the other hand according as it 
answers to the moral needs and demands of the 
heart, for which the religious consciousness re¬ 
quires satisfaction. The task now awaits us of 
investigating how far these, later additions made 
by religion to the notion of a supreme being, but 
not involved in it as necessities of thought, are 
borne out by reality. W^have^ao^ung,hutjlai;a 
of experience from which to answer this question, 
and we must therefore bear in mind how»limited 
are these data. They are purely those of an 
Experience Limited. eaj dhly experience , and beyond this 
we only know that gut side of and beyond 
our earth stretches an unlimited reality. It, is 
v^ste of time makin g gu esses about the drift s and. 



contents of the other sp heres which the world 
includes ; only wp must fiQlfQrMJfeltthexare 
t her e in countless multitudes, and ...that wp.J^o.w 
nojtbiftg. .About* iheju. Otherwise we are likely 
to make the mistake—so common in philosophy 
and ordinary religious views—of confusing the 
niggling economy of our earthly existence with 
the history of the entire great world, to which 
we would really direct our thoughts, although in 
fact we cannot. 

One of the first duties imposed on us by our 
modern knowledge of the cosmos is that of 
giving up our traditional ideas of a dwelling 
place of God, of. a heaven which we can fix 
geographically, of a hell and so forth; and the 
general ideas which underlie these old beliefs 
must be cleared of these encumbrances and given 
their proper expression. 


This* attitude of cautious reserve must in par¬ 
ticular be taken up with regard to Phy , ioal SpeeulsJ 
.the histones oi the world which— «ing»n«i Ki.dof the 

>> orld have no Rei 

such is th§ tendency of.modern re- llgloa * i 
search—are beginning to absorb an undue share 
of the religious interest of people. 



Of the theoretical cosmogonies of the present 
day not one really goes back to a first principle. 
The idea that the planetary system arose out of 
an incandescent gas uniformly rotating always 
leaves .the questions open as to whence came the 
state of movement of the atoms implied in their 
incandescence, and whence, furthermore, the uni¬ 
form direction of the rotation of this nebular, 
gas. Even if we extend this nebular hypothesis 
to the whole world, it does not explain the 
origin of its present construction, and jamst 
go back to a .stil.Liyure xmate, epoch..of the 
world, or to creation itself, to explain. the genesis 
of the primary data, which have evolved their 
later results in the way describetl. 

Just as little do such theories throw any light 
on the end of all things. Various views are 
broached from time to time df how the world 
will be little by little burned up, or of how it 
will sink into the torpor of eternal cold, but 
they are arithmetical calculations, and no* more, 
of what must ultimately happen, if one or 
another of the physical laws, which we know by 
experience, operates perpetually without inter¬ 
vention of a transforming cau se. - pp.p not 
s ay with our i mperfect knowledge of .nature that 



such a cause will never intervene and act, nor 
indeed that it is n ot already at vor l^nea traliaiUL 
nnd .dfiieatiflg^the* neatly. executed calculations 

Moreover, all this when thoroughly considered 
is seen to have absolutely no bearing upon re¬ 
ligion, and it is vain to try to connect or ally 
theology with any of the changing fashions of 
natural science. It cannot strengthen articles of 
religious faith to make them depend on the 
latest discoveries of physics; we must rather 
confine these articles to what is in any case uni¬ 
versally true and valid, be the particular forms 
what they may, under which they may be found 
in experience to be realised. 


Nor does the iifner constitution of the existing 
world throw any light on our pro- upou k.»«iuuoh. 
blem, however much ground it may afford us 
for admiration. To prove that there is therein 
what we choose to call a development, is not to 
gain an understanding of it which has any 
religious .value. A fyiite being which itself 
shares in such a development may conceivably 
take an interest therein. It ynjoys the transition 



from a less to a more complete condition. But 
looking to the world as a whole, it is not so 
clear who or what reaps a»y increase of joy 
from the fact that later forms and subjects are 
more perfect than earlier ones. The enthusiasts 
it ii not Progreu, who prate of a perpetual progress 
in the world hardly know what they are'talk¬ 
ing about. 

Have they ever shown that this process of 
becoming what is aimed at, of coming to be the 
end, is nobler, finer, or more estimable than a 
restitution ever beginning afresh of a state of 
perfection ? 

If we glance at living creatures, we find that 
the presumably lower grades • of life, instead 
of disappearing when the higher grades are 
(evolved, continue to exist alongside of them, 
and present us with a classified system of 
co-existent genera. That is interesting to 
zoologists. But, as the world was not made 
merely for natural philosophers, we may a^k: to 
what good can such an arrangement lead ? We 

Ami Mutt Aimuttbe can hardly think of any other than 

Kealisation of u* , . . , . * 

nmoh Good m u this : that every combination of 

Possible in ludi- « -ir i Tbttmi ir 'i r^rrfr-nrtjiiu-f; i_ , L . 

T “ 1 “ U ' c ondit ions arisin^Ju,.nature has 
a l iving species answering, to. it, and taking 



a specific delight in that combination. In other 
words, the gradations of creatures are so various, 
because there would be less good realised in the 
world bj” one and the same creature eqjpyipg.all 
conditions.alike, than , 1 # the distribution pf ,the 
enjoyment among, different creatures, of which 
e&pkVh&s, in, this.,way a separate value ibr 


Modern controversies about the origin of man 
are of equally little importance for The orifin of m«.. 
us. Once it is • established that all physical 
action, even of the humblest kind, only 
goes on under Divine assistance, the greater 
value and nearer relation to God, which we as¬ 
cribe to man, is not prejudiced by the peculiar 
mode of origin, which, upon the testimony of 
experience, we are obliged to admit for the 
whole, race* It, therefore, makes no difference 
from a religious point of view what natural 
science may find out about his origin. That 
simpler organisations develop into higher ones 
cannot be denied, and though we cannot find 
out the exact wav in which they do so, we must. 



anyhow, reject the wilfully irreligious view that 
the development is no more than a 

Absurdity of View A 

Throughseries of accidents This view is 
^ " f theoretically absurd.' For, even if 
we assume a being to be indefinitely variable, 
an external condition which is to give it a 
definite bias or direction, a, can only do l?o, if 
the organism, instead of being utterly devoid 
of definite character, has a distinct nature of 
its own, which supplies to the condition in¬ 
fluencing it the secondary premise through 
which, as in a syllogistic inference in logic, the 
bias is determined towards a, and not towards b. 
In other words, we cannot ascribe to all beings 
the same indefinite variability, but each can only 
alter within a definite number of directions 
suited to its special nature, and a variation 
which has once taken place will help to deter¬ 
mine the sort and scale of future variations; 
bo that, theoretically, so far from the assumed 
development being a mere accumulatipn of 
groundless variations, it must be accounted for 
by the latent possibilities of the being. 




More serious are the questions arising out of 
the reality of evil and badness: tor 

J ’ Tbe Problem of Evil 

the order of the world, if it is to “ tl *f urh1, 
answer to the above ideal of God, must be a 
flawless realisation of the highest good. 

. The usual answer to these questions is to write 
a theodicy , and it i s no answer a t all. Thereby 
we try and try in vain to deny that the evil is 
there, and to minimise it to a degree that is 
endurable. ItUg.J&ift tQuMjf* that tih> evu u r«i, 
evil is a mere deficienc y of good, for this de¬ 
ficiency or negation is no whit the less painful 
on that account ;* and it is in the pain and not 
in the matter-of-fact,„or want of matter-of-fact, 
out of which the pain arises, that we see the true 

It is equally useless to explain evil and bad¬ 
ness as relative, and jtp think that, 4 , , „ , „ 
though*we call it painful,,, it will, in or W! ““ ,Ure ' 1 Uood - 
th e eyes of God, be in perfect accord with the 
‘ harmonio us p lan of the world. What consola¬ 
tion is this to finite beings from whom this har¬ 
mony is hidden, while the snyirt of the found 
and felt want of harmony remains unhealed ? 



Lastly, it is in co rr ec t to regard^ physical ev il 
, . simply as something accessory and 

m«i creation. accidental. It. (Joes not come inter¬ 
mittently, but, on the contrary, the Whole animal 
creation is systematically based on the exter¬ 
mination of one creature by another, and on a 
cruelty typified in their instincts. • 


The reality of evil being recognised as ineon- 
in > nova testable, t he next effort we natur- 
tion; ally make igJo.lflgk ..tQfL its, Pligm 
iSoal. Either we regard the world as 
not His creation, or we set up a bad principl e 
wit hin the w orld and suppose that it runs coun¬ 
ter to Him. This belief in a devil is very 
natural, but from a theoretical point of view, very 
barren. It is inconceivable that there should be * 
two alien principles in the same world conflict¬ 
ing in their activities, without there being, a third 
For « involve, a and higher principle than either to 

DutiHam which ia,., i i 

unthinkable, decide what shall result as the up-* 
shot of their conflict. These two p r jnqiple a 
would be, therefore, opposed as demons, and 
would .thipoLafeh 



would be n the real G od, and we are left with the 
same conclusion as before, that even the bad is 
not outside God, but all^ have Jts 

roots in Him. ' 


The Source of the 
Evilin God Himself. 

We are thus constrained to sock the origin of 
evil in God Himself, and in such a 
way as not to conflict with 

To talk of what is i n God y et is not in Himself, 
as S chelling does in connection with evil, of a 
hidden ground and so forth, is simpl y to re-state 
our probleinand jiot-to.aokoJl. 

The thought pursued by Leibnitz is somewhat 
clearer: that before the conscious¬ 
ness gf God there hovers amulti- 
tude plans of a world. eacITof which contains 
a manifold of elements and events in an order 
admitting of no change, so as to be capable of 
becoming r eal, or not becoming real, just as it 
is or not at all. Of these worlds God ip sup- 

Leibnitz on Origin 
of Evil. 

posed to have shos exx^the. relatively best. In 
other words, the mere character of finiteness 
entails that no one of these inner orders of a 



world should be without any evil at all. This 
last position however is quite unintelligible. 
That a thing is finite may lead to a want of 
good, but cannot be a reason foe that want or 
deficiency assuming the positive character of 

C. If. Weise, in a work entitled "Philosophical 
Dogmatics ; or the Philosophy of Christendom,” 
Leipzig, 1855-1862, has given a new and acute 
expression to this view in supposing that the 
etern al t ruths, which are present to the mind of 
God, and are as necessary to His intelligence as 
to our finite spirits, set an .essential limit to His 
o mnipotence . We may take e no exception to 
this reasoning, and yet we must reject as wholly 
groundless and unsupported by experience the 
assumption that, because these eternal and uni¬ 
versal truths hold good, therefore the evil is 
unavoidable. All mathematical, mechanical and 
physical truths might remain true, and yet there 
need not be any evil in the world on that 
account. The evil is rather due to the nature, to 
the receptivity, to the inner changeability, to the 
outward relations of different Iteings, and to the 
directions and velocities toth which these forces 
meet, in other words, to things merely given 


> 4 .; 

which might be otherwise, and whose reality 
depends on the Divine activity and not on 
the limits in which that activity must have 


Another view tries to find the origin of evil 
iii the freedom to sin conceded to . „ . 

- — - . .- . - ■» .. I* Freedom of Will 

finite and created spirits. <,rigU,uf hviU 

Neither experience nor a priori theory lend 
any colour to the assumption that the sin of man 
produced physical evil in the order of nature. 
The view attracts .men on account of its mystic 
and unintelligibly character, but has no other 

On the other hand** there is no denying the 
quantity of suffering which bad actions bring 
.upon others. Even if we suppose that it was 
part of the original plan of the world that an 
evil will should be possible therein, it is still 
an insoluble mystery that that will should be 

allowed to act outside of itself, and that there 


should not be in the order of the world a con¬ 
stant agency at work to" ward off suffering from, 
the innocent. 




There remains but one view to consider: 

Door God Sanction 
Evil a* a Discipline ? 

that which consider that God al¬ 
lowed evil to exist in the world as 



This view also presupposes the freedom of the 
finite will; for otherwise tendencies and in¬ 
clinations could not have arisen in man’s soul 

alien to the Divine purpose, and therefore requir¬ 
ing His guiding and correcting hand; just as 
the passions and inclinations of youth require 
the controlling hand of the human educator, 
who takes charge of him as of a being fashioned 
by an order of things alien to and independent 
on himself. 

Even if under such a presupposition it is per¬ 
missible to think that God educates the individ¬ 

ual person, we must at least allow that the true 
goal of this education is far from clear to us. 
It can anyhow not consist in a mere resignation 
or surrender to evil, but must lie in something 
which not only compensates the pain which, 
when it has once been suffered, cannot ever be 
taken back again, but must also justify as inevit¬ 
able its having b'6en felt. 



On the other hand, we find no reasonable 
support in experience for the assumption that 
regards physical evil merely as a means of/ 
education. On the contrary, the want of pro-, 
portion between deserts and happiness • has 
always been regarded as a reason for our believ¬ 
ing in the existence of a God who is able to re¬ 
dress the balance. This view, however, like the 
rest, allows that the disproportion actually 
exists, without doing anything to reconcile its 
existence with the notion of God. 

It follows, and it is a conclusion which we 
must definitely pronounce, that „, 
there is no theory or speculation “Sf'V'nw™ 

>-.• Goodness. 

of evil ,with ajierfectly good, Qpsl- however, 

we are convinced that this problem is insoluble, 
we must take seriously the statement which we 
often hear made: that the reason for a method 
of guidance which we cannot understand lies in 
the unscxutable wisdom of God. 


Reflection upon human history gives us no 
better explanation than this. 



That there should be a history at all is a mystery 
t o us. If we say that it is the voca- 

Idea of a History of 

"“tb i A ,wim- !iia a. tion of the spirit not to be immedi¬ 
ately and at once, hut to become, 
that which it ought to be, still the advantage or 
good of becoming exists only for the consciousness 
which embraces all phases of the process' We 
might say of God that for Him history is the 
drama in which His own being unfolds itself. 
And this is how those views have been under¬ 

stood, which try to show that there is in the 
history of the world a dialectical development 
out of one another of sequent ideas. Such views 
overlook the fact that, if th« drama be visible 
to God alone, they contradict our idea of His 
goodness; for this development is not realised 
through mere puppets and shadows, but through 
living spirits who do not gi*asp the import of 
the drama, and yet feel the suffering which it> 


The same objection holds good against th# 

So also the View that 
History it Education 
of Mankind. 

view that .history is the education 
of mankind. 

Education has .no meani ng, unless there is a 



1 remains the same through- 

1 X _ _ _ /*_ _ . 

state. For certain purposes of moral theory we 
can regard mankind as something real in this 
collective sense. A true and living reality, 
however, it only has for and in the several 
human beings who come and go, generation after 
generation, and we cannot conceive of an edu¬ 
cation which constantly changes the material on 
which it works, throwing away the imperfectly 
trained, and accumulating the fruits of education, 
for future generations who have not earner 
them^while the earlier generations whicl 
helped to win .them have no participator 
in them. 


In making the above remarks we took for 
granted that a continual progress Man ., Vtvftcm Ex . 
is at least indisputable, lhis as- ti on at>i<>. 
sumption we must now take back. The only 
s ort of progres s which incontestably takes place 
is in our knowledge of nature and our command 
over it as a means to the realisation of our 
desires. Tfegrerntlrn .p^gye!% hQ^r- 



ever, to make us feel that it must have .b ee n won 
by spiritual effor t. No one has intellectual 
command of the whole of«, science, and the 
greater number of us enjoy its *fruits without 
any knowledge of who won them, and without 
thanking them. 

Lastly, it may be true that the general'con¬ 
sciousness of what is right and wrong, recognised 
morality, as we call it, has grown more perfect 
with the lapse of time; but the moral characte r 
of the livin g, has - not, ,tnade.-nn^,..4«ann- 
strable progress; nor does any unprejudiced 
person think it likely that the future wdh.bring 
about any essential change therein. 

At the same time W inereaning rorjt fQ f ft ver 
nature, and the greater security it provides 
against natural evils, leads to no end which we 
can discern. It cannot indefinitely increase the 
pro ductivit y of the ear th y and,Jherefore A our 
belief in th§ continuance .of .the. js$e_ re^te^on 
the secret assumption that the evils whjph now 
act as a check on population will also continue, 
without, however, increasing to such an extent* 
as to imperil the existence of those who 




These very -results of our consideration form 
the ground upon which in all ages pe«.imi.n»M aTh6- 
pessimistic thinkers have rested their orjr *nS u optimtam bl ' 
conclusions. They concede everything which can 
J be theoretically established as to the s ingle all- 
embracing power, which we found we had to 
presuppose in order to understand the world’s 
course, but the y deny the right to transform the 
notion of th ia p rj ver into a god by adding_thereto 
predicates o f goodness . On the contrary, they 
see in the course *of the world nothing but the 
blind development of an original ground or 
principle, which far from setting itself the task of 
realising what is joyful, is rather conscious in the 
individual spirits of its unhappiness, and leaves 
nothing for them but the wish for their own 

In such views there is a great deal of exaggera¬ 
tion, and an utter ignoring of the good things 
which, after all, reality does provide along with 
the evils.. But it mugfcbe allowed that on purely 
theoretical grounds there is as # much to be said 
for the pessimistic as for the*optimistic view, ami 



that the latter rests only on our conception of 

But from a scientific point of the view, pessim- 
'Keiigion.Beliefmu.t ism is not the most ‘profound, but 
► tmje. rather a cheap and superficial view, 
bt'cause it simply gives up that which it cannot 
prove, and denies that there is a riddle, merely 
because it cannot solve it. 

I f we, therefore, after and in view of our en¬ 
tire renunciation of theoretic proof, are still 
conv inced of the necessity Sind fjrutly,of religious 
faith, we must, consider this faith as an attitude 
iof moral character. And religion really. Vagins 
for us with this feeling theoretically unproveable, 
yet still recognised by us, a feeling of duty, or of 
being bound by this infinite whose truth we 
cannot theoretically demonstrate* 





If there is no theoretic demonstration forth¬ 
coming for r eligious conviction, yet „ owF „ 0inthoMot . 
there must be a motive ior retain- »» bmh or R»ii g i on ? 
ingfc.tjiis conviction. This is furnished by an 
appeal to direqjb a nd inner^expeneiice, which 
asserts the tru% of these religious intuitions just 
as directly and without the intervention of logic, 
as the perceptions of the senses attest the reality 
of outward objects. But as we said above in 
the introduction, there is no one inner experience, 
recognised by all, of this divine order of the 
world not perceptible by the senses; phe only 
feeUng cgmiuQfl Jo..all,,men, to which we could 
appeal as the foundation of religion, consists in 
tjie.dkUt^ .flf.,j^scj(^ce, which yet only assert 
directly'what should*be, though indirectly sanc¬ 
tioning an inference from this^bout that which is. 

> 5 * 



There are various conception^ of the office of 
Ho» w. come by con science. We must allow that 
dpi*. conscience is not a consistent revela¬ 

tion, anterior to all experience, of commands 
which our future action has to follow. It resem¬ 
bles rather our faculty of cognition. The highest 
principles to which our judgment of things leads 
us back are no original and ready-made posses¬ 
sion of our consciousness; our particular percep¬ 
tions lead us at first in the way of immg^jate 
reaction to connect them in a definite order and 
sense. Later reflection on many single cases 
shows us on what principles our previously only 
instinctive action proceeded; and then they 
become conscious principles which we hence¬ 
forth follow in our further knowledge. In 
the same way conscience is moved to single 
verdicts of approval or disapproval by the con¬ 
templation of single fixed cases. The reflec¬ 
tive comparison of these single verdicts forms 
from them those general moral prescriptions 
|which we then term the'direct voice of con- 
[ science. 




Upon the j3Sy^oJ^ic,aI .eyplu tlpp. ff.fcflPJL.CQP- 
JSdenc e , which we must perforce Prudentu> VI . W * 

JLYiew Uonllx ’ 

which ,dejteo y§.,the.,binding yalpeaud the .true 

The soul approves or disapproves of an action 
in virtue of its susceptibility to an immediate feel¬ 
ing of pleasure or pain which it experiences there¬ 
from. Later on when it comes to frame general 
propositions, it only sets store by those maxims, 
by steadily follovting which it has learned from 
experience is certain on the average 
to reach the highest degree and the most endur¬ 
ing length of the pleasure or self-satisfaction which 
is all it can attain *to. All moral p recep ts are thu s 
made to appear to be maxims ot prudehceTeenerai 
formula of the best way to get on: and they 
only seem to be universal laws, because our ex¬ 
perience of the past, present, and future is too 
limited to allow of our finding rules and modes 
oi' cQ iiiduc t .specially adapted for the attainment 
in everysingle case* of the highest 




This much of truth must be conceded to this 
Rightly Refer* us to way of regarding morality: namely 

Human intercourse , 
for Knowledge of tn&t 
what is Right and 

wrong in Action. mtercouTse^ can_ ^l«ug. su ppl y a 
concrete and__d,efinitg., Idling, ip of ttoosg. .general 
precept s, in following which moral con¬ 
duct consists. It is vain to try, as the op¬ 
ponents of utilitarianism do, to derive those 
specialised precepts from the universal notions’ 
of what is good, holy, moral, or right. These 
universal notions express nothing more than the 
peculiar impression which particular kinds of 
action, when we first become aware o^j^em, 
make upon our soul; on the o^her hand they do 
not teach us to know the forms of action to 
which this impression attaches. 



The disposition to regard.mojal. rules simply 
Rd Bui. of Mona, as won by ex- 

Beuevoience. penence and to attribute all con¬ 

duct to selfish motives cannot be combat ed b y 

Wv*mi * v nmrnmm ^ 

terpretation of moral commands is arbitrary. For 
even if we do assume that these commands have 



an intrinsic value and holiness, nothing is 
changed. I mean to say that they would still 
actually he the maxims, by following which the 
greatest sum t of happiness is secured. Still, 
as before, the particular actions which tfyey en¬ 
join would have to be learned by experience, as 
was‘stated above. And for that very reason it 
_would still be always possible to represent these 
moral commands as if they were nothing more 
than empirical doctrines of what is useful. But, 
as a fact, we place in direct contrast to that 
mode of action which only follows these maxims 
^■jK^ulpnce, another mode as alone of intrinsic 
'value, that, namely, which follows the same rules, 
but in another spirit, a spirit which considers and 
desires the establishment of good in the same un¬ 
selfish manner, in which, for instance, we admire 
beauty as something objectively of worth with¬ 
out any idea of its usefulness to us, or in a spirit 
which, in so far as it strives after the production 
of happiness, finds this happiness only in acts of 
benevolence towards others and not in egotism. 
This too may be denied; but then we deny an 
inner experience on the acknowledgment of 
which every further religious aspiration is based. 
Conversely those who are, conscious of $hia 



iinner experience are no less incapable of re¬ 


But neither does the recognition of the in¬ 
trinsic worth and holiness of moral 

Stolctl View Va- 

••uafaotorr. commands lead straight to a re¬ 
ligious point of view; on the contrary, alike in 
ancient and modern times it has been bluntly 
opposed to religious ideas as to something false 
and unnecessary. Practically this stoicism or 
rationalism which despises all religious connec- 
tign may, by its mere submission to the^ge^ "al 
laws of morality and of the universe, form the 
foundation for a very worthy and elevated con¬ 
duct of life. None the 
position a peculiar theoretical contradiction, 

* 1— i i a h i ii . i — - ifnn — | — - — , - | B * i *^i rTT~~*rt rr'i"l m> tn r 

For, in the first place, it would push aside all 
speculations as to the origin, whatever it may 
be^ or the final goal of jnoral^ laws, on the 
.ground that such speculation must impair the 
conception of the intrinsic holiness and uncon¬ 
ditional obligatoriness of these laws. It is a 
lofty disposition which so utters itself, yet one 
which reposes on a theory of morals which is 
not altogether true „or useful. We can think of 



laws which are utterly unconditioned, in the 
sense that they govern all reality like laws of 
nature, and are consequently the expression of a 
must which kfiows of no exceptions. On the 
other hand we cannot intelligibly think of an 
unconditioned should be, that is to say, of a law 
to , which reality of itself in no way .corresponds. 

That w hic h should be or ought to be, must have 

a reality distinct from that which BecauiM , it m»hm 

Mere Fu!fllment 

and this distinction 

cannot merely consist in our with- liono< »« lf - 
holding one or the other of these opposed pre- 
dtetftes. , More than this, that the one should 
be and the other should not must have practical 
force and validity. In other words and simpler, 
we may put it thus: W W'ppditinned should 

- ; and only a 

conditioned should be is possible, because it 
alone holds out advantages and disadvantages 
to those who follow or disregard a precept. 
These Jesuits, however, themselves can ultim¬ 
ately only consist in pleasure or unhappiness; 
.and in this alone consists the absolute worth 
which is. possessed by the ideals pointed out 
by moral laws. A value appreciated by no one 
and consisting in pleasure and pain for no one i% 



as we saw above, something which contradicts 

The stoics put forward a$ the ideal of life 

for the wise an immobility of»character, in 
Greek phrase afar ary , which they associated 
indissolubly with the absolute and unconditional 
obligatoriness of moral precept, and which is 
supposed to be an advantage. We answer that, 


even if this be a praiseworthy type of character 
in itself, still its consequences are not at all 
praiseworthy: for it exdudes a lively cnthusi- 
asm for the go od and.beautiful, m dj>y.suppres¬ 

sing the feelings, sinfe spirit, hi to the i«^6 

manifestation of an impersonal substance. Lastly, 
so far as we reached this atar^xy by following 
the moral laws, the latter would be really 
maxims of utility, by following which an ego¬ 
istic well-being is to be attained. 

Nevertheless, not only the repose of soul, 
but. also the s elf-respect engendered by following 
out the moral laws is in a vague way preferred 
as a last aim and final good. This of itself 
almost points to conclusions which are religious. 
If we consider the single person as a mere 
natural product, appearing and vanishing, there 
seems no cause why we should insist that what 


we honour as good and holy should be realised 
in this I. Self-respect can only be understood 
as a final aim, if jt form part of what gives us j 
pleasure egoietjcally, like any satisfaction of 
the senses. It can only have another meaning, 
if we change our conception of our personality 
and its position in the world. 


The above reflections have not of course 
the force of demonstrative proofs, but can 
npvdy serve to bring home to our minds the 
connection in .which alone the particular 
thoughts sketched out become quite satisfactory. 
They point to three propositions which we 
may regard as the'*_characteristic convictions 

of_ e v ery religion s., mind, in contrast with a 
merely theoretical understanding of things.; 
These propositions are as follows: 

1. Moral laws em body the will ^ , wpta .' 

r p* j* ' tiona of Common 

0 1Jjr OCl. Morality. 

2. Individual finite spirits are not products 
of nature, but axe children of God. 

8. Reality is mo re* aud. other than the mere 
course oXfl3ltyre.itis a k i n g^om of Go<L 



We must explain these three propositions 
and examine their consequences. 


Objections have been raised to the first of 
Relation at Divm. these propositions, which admit of 
Examined. being reduced to the well-known 
scholastic alternative: is the good good, be¬ 
cause God wills it, or does He will it, because 
it is good? We had to decide similar questions 
in regard to the validity of the eternal truths 
and by the light of their analogy let us Kik 
at the question now before us. c 

If we answer the first clause of the antithesis 
with a yes, it may be asked: What is meant 
by the God who in this case is said to will ? 
Is He more than an infinite power without any 
qualities or attributes? T he assertion , more¬ 
over, that He willed the good, whether we 
mean that He resolved upon it in time pr that 
His will is eternal and without beginning, only 
a mounts to our s aying that the good should 
be once and for all, and that this should b e 

Moreover, it is 


clear that s uch an a ct is merely a display of 
pQW£r -aod. so capable -of. .investing, the moral 
Jaw_with... the. character. of. necessity, but. not 
with any moral*, worth at all. The other half 
of the anithesis is equally useless: that. God 
wills the moral law because it is good in itself. 
Not bnly is this way of speaking presumptuous, 
but it must be pointed out that a spirit does 
not recognise a precept or body of precepts 
as bein g of this binding character, unless it 
already has for Mis nature the very truth and 
worth to be accorded to it by His assent 

■m J 

' We may feel sure, therefore, that these alter¬ 
natives cut asunder thoughts which have no 
meaning apart, and embody a single truth, and 
that we must needs ?all into absurdities when 
we make one of them the condition of the other. 

We must, therefore, pronounce as follows: 
God is nothing else than that will whose pur- 
port and mode of action can be conceived of 

fya.-Ahat.^ in itself 

4 —as a will which can only be separated by 
abstraction from the living form in which it 
exists in the real God. But, in truth, it as little 
follows after, or precedes thq f)ivine nature, as 



in a movement direction can be later or earlier 
than velocity. 

It is, therefore, a mistake to object that the 
no neroj.iionof true majesty of *njoral laws is 

Moral Utw, toKog&rd . ' . „ - 

Th«muDivine\vm. i n f n nged, if they be regarded as 
the will of God. We make this reflection, not 
with the purpose of establishing the dignity of 
those laws by showing where they came from, 
for their worth is immediately realised by us, 
so that they win our homage from the first; 
we make it, rather, because this worth or dig¬ 
nity of the moral law is not to be satisfactorily 
accounted for in any theory, and so demands 
some such reflections as the above, not, indeed* 
in order to be allowed and accepted, but simply 
in order to be understood and harmonised with 
the rest of our conception *of the world. 


We must not. be rendered insensible by the 
Mm i»chad orjtai , somewhat sentimental terras in 
which the second proposition is couched to the 
importance of the truth it contains. 

Its mea ning is twofold. t In the firjt place, it 
a) *• a Finite b*ibc- is an acknowledgment of the finite 



^onaLspidt .M jhfc. pow,{ULA»iLTO4a9l. o/„Gq 4.. 
And here we see the difference between Chris¬ 
tianity and the prouder moral systems which 
pursue as their, ideal the self-sufficiency and self- 
respect of the wise man. On the other hand, 
this truth fortifies us against that depreciation 
of personality wl |ich consists in regarding it as a 
passing product .of the processes ®« s Doing who 

** _ in not merely a 

Of nature . It asserts that there is N * lur »' |,r " Ji,c * 
a relation of piety between God and man,, that 
this relation is ever a living one, and that 
through it alone the finite spirit ceases to be a 
nviiv dependent natural product. 

And, in the pl ace of mere self-satisfaction as 
the highest goo d, .ther e comes the hop§ of Jbeing 
loved by God. And this approval by the 

*mwTi--n 1 — - " — -. •• 1 x * 

supreme spirit takes the place of the pride which 
claims to find a sufficient good in self-esteem. 

XC 1 I 

As regards the third proposition, we have 
already seen that we do not know Eeal WorW 
ithe purport and plan of the Divine w 2*£X2t22F 
government of the world. As $ consequence of 
this, religion must e xclude from its province ail 

l6 4 


riatural phiLusupjiy and cmi&ideratk mL of external 
reali ty. Science must be left to itself to frame 
its own methods, and religion must not inter¬ 
fere or try to influence its decisk>fis. 

This also distinguishes Christianity from other 
religions. The heathen religions have mytho¬ 
logies which give extensive explanations and 
interpretations of reality. The Christian re¬ 
ligion has no cosmology of its own, and bases 
all its reflections on considerations of the 
spiritual world, of which we have an inner 






More than these three 1 tenets is not revealed 
by tlie Christian religion. To be , tel , fi o U! , t.«a.b. 

•, , ■, 1 | long to Private Myt 

penetrated by them, and to sub- uci»u.. 
mit willingly to the Divine will, this is religion 
as a living faith, ns a condition of the soul. 

For all that,.it is impossible to get rid ol 
attempts to transform these felt convictions into 
a succession of formulated and communicable 
tenets. Experience of life drives men to make 
such attempts, when, instead of answering the 
doubts of others by trying to bring them into 
their agm religious tone and temper, they con¬ 
front them with ready-made convictions, speci¬ 
ally dealing with the doubt in question. All 
such attempts we may term rel fg^oys mysticism . 
They are exclusively based on our own inner 
religious experience and ha,ve no force but for, 



and claim no acceptance but from, the personal 
subject alone, which seeks in the depths of its 
soul an answer to its doubts. , 


This first impulse generated a second. One 
sun Religious c«.- is invo3ved in contradictions if ont* 

munion Is Essential. tr j eg tf> g tan( J a ] one religiOUS 

convictions, in which, after all, we are bound up 
with the entire world. Religion is not only a 
union of the individual with God, but is through 
this union also a union with all other m§n. 

Th is is the one; respectable«root of reljgiQ.ui$ f , 
fanaticism . For, what we ourselves recognise 
as the highest would not be so, unless it were re¬ 
cognised as such by all. This does not really 
justify us in thrusting upon others our subjective 
beliefs, but, it does rightly engender in us all 
the need of a religious communion within which 
we may each find again, if not the fulness of 
our private beliefs and mystical knowledge, at 
least the outl ines of conv ictions, which may be 
shared by all its members in commop. And 
herein lies the necessity for dogmas and creeds 
of general recognition and force. 




Without doubj, the historical development of 
such though$s.will more fully represent the re¬ 
ligious feelings than the experience of a single 
life; although anything which we have once 
experienced is thereby borne in upon our minds 
with a greater intensity than tenets merely in¬ 
herited from the past can ever possess. 

Universally received do gmas tk«£m. 

4. J tQl l h le L ..p mpB « P - On the one ^ Vm o{ ^ 

hand, they embody solutions of Dofni “ 
dyubtawon in the couree of the*past On the 
other hand, they are clear outlines of belief . out- 
£id& of_ whicE' the , tey-oC the^diyidwal may 
not wande r without falling into error. 

Our earlier considerations showed that none 

of these dogmas must be regarded _ m<M| h 

as a theoretically or scientifically , “ <1 * T **“ 
sufficient answer to the questions before us; 
rather they are symbols acknowledging the ex¬ 
istent of a riddle and marking out in a figura¬ 
tive and unsatisfactory manner the sphere of 
thought outside of which the elements of a 
solution must not £veti be looked for. Thus to 
us it would seem erroueouf to demand agree- 



ment with the literal contents of these dogmas 
from any one who would join a religious com¬ 
munion. Even in their literal # form they cannot 
be objects of knowledge or the reverse. Before 
even a question of this can be raised they need 
some interpretation to be given of the meaning 
which in a figurative or symbolic way they* ex¬ 
press. But no interpretation can be given which 
would meet with general acceptance and appeal 
to all alike, but every individual must find it in 
the workings of his own soul. 

Of one , therefore, who would belong to a par¬ 
ticular communion, it should only be # asked: 
does he feel and acknowledge in*his innex nature 
a religious truth which can be entertained as the 
meaning of the objectively formulated dogma, 
and which deserves to be" put forward as a 
public tene$ ? 


It may be objected that there is a kind of dis- 
M»? w. nooMtiy honesty involved in so partial an 

Join t Communion * 1 jr 

'Z\« to T do'?o w* assent to the tenets of one’s eom- 
niuniou. There would be, if we 
meant that the religion and its dogmas are only 
to be regarded as binding lor the uneducated. 
But on the contrary, we contend that rtTnrious 



truth is absolutely valid for all alike, only that 
the theoretical expressions which men devise 
for it are altogether inadequate. And that is 
why it is permissible for a man to agree upon 
formulae, bearing the same theoretical sense for 
all. through which he thinks that the essential 
meaning is best grasped and comprehended. 

It is the same in other parts of our life. 
'Th ere, too, we often find ourselves obliged to 
look at the world in ways wliich we, from the 
standpoint of philosophy, know to be inade¬ 
quate. The presence of a spacial world outside 
us, material atoms and forces—these are all 
ideas, without,»using which, not only the 
common, but the philosophic understanding 
wliich denies their validity would not be able 
to rightly observe'"and handle the external 


world. In all these cases we do not get at the 
truth, but only at a picture or figurative appear¬ 
ance, by means of which we can make clear to 
ourselves the true relations of the real world, 
which in themselves cannot be expressed. 

In the same way it is of no consequence for 
religion that theoretically objectionable phrase? 
should be provided to express what is in itself 
superfluous it is important that we should have. 

i ?o 


picturesque or figurative expressions to which, 
the spirit may attach the same feelings as apper 
tain to the true content. 

Now, we must allow that we cquld only speak 
Hfttorfoti Dogma, so simply as this, if these dogmatic 

Need UenMtlng in ^ 1 J 0 

Home Point*, formula; were about to be estab¬ 
lished for t he first time. But, in fact, we have 
them as a legacy of the past, and what is more, 
have, them too often in a form which admits of 
a great deal of misunderstanding of their true 
sense. But that is no reason why we should, in 
a self-willed way, separate ourselves from the 
circles which recognise them; it only entails 
upon us that we should not er^ct these ’dogmas 
into objects of theoretical knowledge, and that 
we should, as a matter of honesty and concern 
for the spiritual well-being of others, combat the 
evil of a false interpretation of them. 


The attempts at a theory fall into three parts, 
of which the first alone— theology in the n arrower 
sense—is tin >roughly accessible tp philosophy^ 

In the foregoing we have tried to show, firstly, 
of wha t, in the wa v of a definite characterisation 
of the Divine being,philosophy admits; secondly, 


* 7 * 

what it rejects ; lastly, w hat it insi st s upo n, 
though unable to exhibit it ade- „ „ , , . 

2 jiately j jhe^ry. The general b “ olu 
results of 911 r investigations we may sum up 
thus: the belief in a personal God conflicts with 
none of the metaphysical convictions to which 
wC must hold fast. On the other hand, there is 

nothing to be said for the views of those who, 
while rejecting all religious beliefs, in a facile 
manner swallow any kind of physical theories, and 
pretend that spiritual life arose out of the forces 
of mere matter. Lastly, the reproach of anthro¬ 
pomorphism is unjust, because the distinction 
between finite ?nd infinite spirit is by no means 
overlooked. It is the height of perversity to set 
up as the principle of the world an unconscious 
and blind substrate, the i<lca of which is strictly? 
dark and impenetrable to us. 


Further speculations, for example, about the 

Trinity would have no importan ICC* Iii what Sense c*n 
, WeA'lmUUutfClirUt 

for the religious life, except lor w “ Swo,M , 
their bearing on the position which, through 
the establishment or revelation of religion, the 
human race has assumed towards God. These 



form a second and large branch of religious r 
theory. We have shown reasons for believing 
that. God is ever active in the world and upon 
individual spirits, and as we admittedly know 
nothing about the plan after which God governs 
the world, there is nothing in the way of our 
believing that at particular moments and in par¬ 
ticular persons God has stood nearer to humanity 
and revealed Himself more fully than in others. 

When, therefore, as a title of honour, the foun¬ 
der of our religion is called the Son of God, no 
serious objection can be raised ; we art' certainly 
justified in holding that the relation in which He 
stood to God was not only different in degree to 
that in which we stand, but also pnique in kind. 

But no adequate expression can be found for 
that which we mean in this case. In a literal 
sense Christ cannot possibly be the Son of God ; 
it is a figurative expression and admits of no 
literal interpretation. There is, therefore, no 
room in this case for a theoretical dogma, and 
in affirming that Christ is the Son of (jfod, we 
merely express our conviction of the unique 
importance which Christ and His relation to 
God have for mankind ; we cannot define either, 
the one or the other* 




Any one wln"hnpartially lets the teaching and 
history of Odist's life work upon 
his soul, without analysing the im- lh °, >VorW1 
pression, cannot hut feel that therein an infinitely 
valuable and unique act of healing has been 
performed for mankind. But to try to fix in 
rigid theory the exact value and import of the act 
is to take away from it rather than to add to it. 

We cannot say that the honour of God is 
wounded by man’s sin and that it is satisfied by 
the sacrifice of an individual. Apart from the 
crude conception of God involved in this view, 
it rests on the ‘impossible assumption of such a 
solidarity between .^11 men that the blame and 
punishment of all can be thrown on one person, 
who can bear it for all. 

The more human ideas of an expiation or 
redemption, the latter especially, leave it unde¬ 
cided h-om whom or what humanity is really 
free by this ransom. It can hardly be God; it 
must therefore be the order of natural law 
which has bound up with our finite nature sin, 
‘and with sin, condemnation. „ 

We know, however, that we are not freed 



either from physical evil or from the possibility 
of sin. There remains therefore as the practical 
result of our redemption no moi":' than the faith 
revealed, and that frees us from-t^e fear and 
misgiving of the creature, so far as it teaches us 
that all our ills are a Divine probation, and also 
that our entire earthly life is neither meaningless 
nor an irrevocable last, but an epoch of prepara¬ 
tion, of the sins committed during which we are 
by the Divine grace absolved in a manner which, 
asa matter of theory, we can not in the least define. 

All further speculations than this about the 
origin of sin and its consequences are fpr the 
religious life utterly useless. 


The third section of those speculations com- 

... P r « w '« w,lat is ealIed eschatology 

AUow&bie. alJ( ] a ,hnits iiot of any theoretical 

treatment. The earthly future of the human 
race, the manner of our immortality, and ^ie re¬ 
quital which the world’s assize will bring to each 
of us, these cannot be depicted in any concrete 
.fashion. And indeed the humanity of this age 
has quite outgrown .the old coarse imagery, and 
is con tent to. .retain., the ..general id^pf.».CQe,- 


'75 life, in w lrfch we shall be gradually per¬ 
fected, as well as receive some requital for the 
past. And this i^,good evidence that for a really, 
religious ILfg^tJiere is not wanted that intimate 
acquaintance with the future life to ^licli a 
perverse and blundering dogmatic system pre¬ 


\\V pointed out above <>f what importance it is 
dial in our religious convictions we vi.ihie»«,iin»i,ii.i 0 
should not stand alone. It is the 
more important, liecause the very gist, and mar¬ 
row of these convictions lies in the faith that all 
men are bound up with one another and with God 
in an eternal communion into which every one 
may enter of his own*free will. This communion 
we call the invi sible Chu rch. The visjjilyjjhiyxdi 
is only a human institution of the community 
of the faithful, partly for common worship, 
partly for the ordaining of their earthly affairs 
in accordance with the commands of their faith. 
Hence the folly of any Church which claims 
to be the only way of salvation, claims not 
qnly to teach and le&i us along it, but to open 
or close it to us of its own p<*wer. For the rest, 


the Church, like any other ^Institution, should 
not stand in opposition to the State ; though 
their proper relations to one another ate scarcely 
well described by saying that ther-Church ought 
to be /Subject to the State in everything but 
certain unessential externals. On the contrary 
it is the misfortune of the present time, and 
a mere historical accident, that the State must 
exist without any religious foundation,and thinks' 
that it does not want any. 

But perfect unity of the State in religious 
as well as in secular matters presupposes that 
two parties, now inimical, should be reconciled 
to each other. Neither theological learning 
aor irreligious natural science ^hould continue 
to assert that they both know so much that 
they do not and cannot know in the recogni¬ 
tion of Divine mysteries which are left to the 
interpretation of every single faithful soul and 
of general moral precepts—about which, indeed, 

there exists no controversy—religious life should 


develop according to this motto: in necessariit 
unitas, in dubiis libo tas, in otnnibus caritas. 

finis. < 

Natt, —The above translation is made from the First Posthu¬ 
mous Edition of Lotzu'a Lectures.