The Development of Religious Error
[The Contemporary Review, October 1885]

{457} IT would be easy to expose the errors about me, both in fact and in logic, for which Principal Fairbairn has made himself responsible in his May article in THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW, but that would not answer the purpose which leads me to write. Such an outlay of time and trouble is not what those who take an interest in me would thank me for. They would rather wish me to say what I myself think upon the subject he has opened, and whether there are any points for explanation lying about in the vehement rhetoric he has directed against me. Certainly they will not think there is any call for my assuring them that I am not a hidden sceptic; and I can meet them with the thankful recognition that for a long seventy years, amid mental trials sharp and heavy, I can, in my place and in my measure, adopt the words of St. Polycarp before his martyrdom: "For fourscore years and six I have served my Lord, and He never did me harm, but much good; and can I leave Him now?" But this immunity neither has, nor ought to have, hindered me from entering with sympathy into the anxieties of those who are in this respect less happy than myself; and be it a crime or not, I confess to have tried to aid them according to my ability. Not that I can pretend to be well read in mental science, but I have used such arguments and views as are congenial to my own mind, and I have not been unsuccessful in my use of them.

As I have said in print, "A man's experiences are enough for himself, but he cannot speak for others … He brings together his reasons and relies on them, because they are his own, and this is his primary evidence; and he has a second ground of evidence in the testimony of those who agree with him. But his best evidence is the former, which is derived from his own thoughts … {458} He states what are personally his own grounds in natural and revealed religion, holding them to be so sufficient that he thinks that others also do hold them implicitly or in substance, or would hold them, if they inquired fairly, or will hold if they listen to him, or do not hold from impediments, invincible or not as it may be, into which he has no call to inquire." ("Gram. of Assent," pp. 385-6.)


Enough of introduction. I begin with what is of prime importance in Dr. Fairbairn's charges against me—the sense in which I use the word "Reason," against which Reason I have made so many and such strong protests. It is a misleading word, as having various meanings. It is sometimes used to signify the gift which distinguishes man from brute: I have not so used it. In this sense it is mainly a popular word, not a scientific. When so taken it is not a faculty of the mind, rather it is the mind itself; or it is a generalization, or it stands for the seat of all the mental powers together. For myself, I have taken it to mean the faculty of Reasoning in a large sense, nor do I know what other English word, to express that faculty, can be used instead of it. Besides, "Reason" is of a family of words all expressive of Reasoning. I may add that it is the meaning which Dr. Johnson puts upon the word, and the meaning which he traces through all its derivative senses, corroborating his account of it by passages from English authors. "Reason," he says, is "the power by which man deduces one proposition from another, or proceeds from premisses to consequences; the rational faculty; discursive power." Also it is the sense, I suppose, which Principal Fairbairn himself gives to the word, for he speaks of "the region of reason and reasoning" (p. 667).


This being the recognised sense of the word, it is quite as important for my present purpose to show it to be the sense in which I have myself used "Reason" in what I have written at various times; though Dr. Fairbairn, as having "studied all in books" (p. 663), must be well aware of it already. For instance:

First, I discard the vague popular sense of it as the distinguishing gift of man in contrast to the brute creation. "Sometimes," I say, "it stands for all in which man differs from the brutes; and so it includes in its signification the faculty of distinguishing between right and wrong and the directing principle of conduct. In this sense certainly I do not here use it." ("Univ. Serm." p. 58.)

This is but a negative account of it, but in another sermon I speak more distinctly: "By the exercise of reason is properly meant any process or act of the mind, by which, from knowing one thing it advances on to know another." (Ibid. p. 223.) {459}

Again: "It is obvious that even our senses convey us but a little way out of ourselves, and introduce us to the external world only under circumstances, under conditions of time and place, and of certain media through which they act. We must be near things to touch them; we must be interrupted by no simultaneous sounds in order to hear them; we must have light to see them; we can neither see, hear, nor touch things past or future. Now, Reason is that faculty of the mind by which this deficiency is supplied; by which knowledge of things external to us—of beings, facts, and events—is attained beyond the range of sense; ... it brings us knowledge—whether clear or uncertain, still knowledge, in whatever degree of perfection, from every side; but, at the same time, with this characteristic, that it obtains it indirectly, not directly, … on the hypothesis of something else being assumed to be true." (Ibid. p. 206.)

And again: "Reason, according to the simplest view of it, is the faculty of gaining knowledge without direct perception, or of ascertaining one thing by means of another. In this way it is able, from small beginnings, to create to itself a world of ideas, which do or do not correspond to the things themselves for which they stand, or are true or not, according as it is exercised soundly or otherwise." (Ibid. p. 256.)


These passages are on subjects of their own; but they will serve the purpose of making clear the account which in times past, as now, I give of the reasoning faculty; and, in doing so, I have implied how great a faculty it is. In its versatility, its illimitable range, its subtlety, its power of concentrating many ideas on one point, it is for the acquisition of knowledge all-important or rather necessary, with this drawback, however, in its ordinary use, that in every exercise of it, it depends for success upon the assumption of prior acts similar to that which it has itself involved, and therefore is reliable only conditionally. Its process is a passing from an antecedent to a consequent, and according as the start so is the issue. In the province of religion, if it be under the happy guidance of the moral sense [Note 1], and with teachings which are not only assumptions in form, but certainties, it will arrive at indisputable truth, and then the house is at peace; but if it be in the hands of enemies, who are under the delusion that their arbitrary assumptions are self-evident axioms, the reasoning will start from false premisses, and the mind will be in a state of melancholy disorder. But in no case need the reasoning faculty itself be to blame or responsible, except if viewed {460} as identical with the assumptions of which it is the instrument. I repeat, it is but an instrument; as such I have viewed it, and no one but Dr. Fairbairn would say as he does—that the bad employment of a faculty was a "division," a "contradiction," and "a radical antagonism of nature," and "the death of the natural proof" of a God. The eyes, and the hands, and the tongue, are instruments in their very nature. We may speak of a wanton eye, and a murderous hand, and a blaspheming tongue, without denying that they can be used for good purposes as well as for bad.


It must not be supposed then that I think a natural faculty of man to have been revolutionized because an enemy of truth has availed itself of it for evil purposes. This is what Dr. Fairbairn imputes to me, for I hold, it seems, that "in spite of the conscience there is" not a little "latent atheism in the nature, and especially in the reason, of man" (p. 665). Here he has been misled by the epithets which I attached in the "Apologia" to the Reason, as viewed in its continuous strenuous action against religious truth, both in and outside the Catholic body. I will explain why I did so. I had been referring to the fall of man, and our Catechisms tell us that the Fall opened upon him three great spiritual enemies, which need to be resisted by means natural and supernatural. I was led by my general subject to select one of the three for my remarks, and to ask how did it act, and by what instruments? The instruments of the Evil One are best known to himself; the Flesh needs no instruments; the reasoning Faculty is the instrument of the World. The World is that vast community impregnated by religious error which mocks and rivals the Church by claiming to be its own witness, and to be infallible. Such is the World, the false Prophet (as I called it fifty years ago), and Reasoning is its voice. I had in my mind such Apostolic sayings as "Love not the world, neither the things of the world," and "A friend of the world is the enemy of God;" but I was very loth, as indeed I am on the present occasion, to preach. Instead then of saying "the World's Reason," I said "Reason actually and historically," "Reason in fact and concretely in fallen man," "Reason in the educated intellect of England, France, and Germany," Reason in "every Government and every civilization through the world which is under the influence of the European mind," Reason in the "wild living intellect of man," which needs its "stiff neck bent," that ultra "freedom of thought which is in itself one of the greatest of our natural gifts," "that deep plausible scepticism" which is "the development of human reason as practically exercised by the natural man." That is, Reason as wielded by the living World against the teaching of the Infallible Church. {461}

And I was sanctioned in thus speaking by St. Paul's parallel use of the word "Wisdom," which is one of the highest gifts given to man, and which, nevertheless, he condemns considered as the World's Wisdom, pronouncing that "the World by Wisdom knew not God."


In thus shifting the blame of hostility to religion from man reasoning to man collective, I may seem to be imputing to a divine ordinance (for such human society is) what I have disclaimed to be imputing to man's gift of reason; but this is to mistake my meaning. The World is a collection of individual men, and any one of them may hold and take on himself to profess unchristian doctrine, and do his best to propagate it; but few have the power for such a work, or the opportunity. It is by their union into one body, by the intercourse of man with man, and the consequent sympathy thence arising, that error spreads and becomes an authority. Its separate units which make up the body rely upon each other, and upon the whole, for the truth of their assertions; and thus assumptions and false reasonings are received without question as certain truths, on the credit of alternate appeals and mutual cheers and imprimaturs.

I should like, if I could, to give a specimen of these assumptions, and the reasonings founded on them, which in my "Apologia" I considered to be "corrosive" of all religion; but before doing so, I must guard against misconstruction of what I am proposing. First, I am not proposing to carry on an argument against Dr. Fairbairn, whose own opinions, to tell the truth, I have not a dream of; but I would gladly explain, or rather complete on particular points, the statements I have before now made in several works about Faith and Reason. Next, I can truly say that, neither in those former writings nor now, have I particular authors in mind who are, or are said to be, prominent teachers in what I should call the school of the world. Such an undertaking would require a volume, instead of half a dozen pages such as these, and the study too of many hard questions; and I repeat here, I am attempting little more than to fill up a few of the lacunę to be found in a chapter of the "Apologia," which, like the rest of the book, had to be written extempore; certainly I have no intention here of entering into controversy. And further, I wish to call attention to a passage in one of my St. Mary's Sermons, headed, "The World our Enemy," which is not directly on the subject of religious error, but still is applicable when I would fain clear myself in what I am saying of falling unintentionally into any harsh and extreme judgments. A few sentences will be enough to show the drift with which I quote it. {462}

"There is a question," I say, "which it will be well to consider—viz., how far the world is a separate body from the Church of God. The two are certainly contrasted in Scripture, but the Church, so far from being literally and in fact separate from the world, is within it. The Church is a body, gathered together indeed in the world, and in a process of separation from it. The world's power is over the Church, because the Church has gone forth into the world to save the world. All Christians are in the world, and of the world, so far as Evil still has dominion over them, and not even the best of us is clean every whit from sin. Though then, in our idea of the one and the other, and in their principles and in their future prospects, the Church is one thing and the world is another, yet in present matter of fact the Church is of the world, not separate from it; for the grace of God has but partial possession even of religious men, and the best that can be said of us is, that we have two sides, a light side and a dark, and that the dark happens to be the outermost. Thus we form part of the world to each other, though we be not of the world. Even supposing there were a society of men influenced individually by Christian motives, still, this society, viewed as a whole, would be a worldly one; I mean a society holding and maintaining many errors, and countenancing many bad practices. Evil ever floats on the top." ("Sermons," vol. vii. pp. 35-6.)

In accordance with these cautions I will here avow that good men may imbibe to their great disadvantage the spirit of the world; and, on the contrary, inferior men may keep themselves comparatively clear of it.


These explanations being made, I take up the serious protest which I began in the "Apologia." I say then, that if, as I believe, the world, which the Apostles speak of so severely as a False Prophet [Note 2], is identical with what we call human society now, then there never was a time since Christianity was, when, together with the superabundant temporal advantages which by it have come to us, it had the opportunity of being a worse enemy to religion and religious truth than it is likely to be in the years now opening upon us. I say so, because in its width and breadth it is so much better educated and informed than it ever was before, and, because of its extent, so multiform and almost ubiquitous. Its conquests in the field of physical science, and its intercommunion of place with place, are a source to it both of pride and of enthusiasm. It has triumphed over time and space; knowledge it has proved to be emphatically power; no problems of the universe—material, moral, or religious—are too great for its ambitious essay and its high will to master. There is one obstacle in its path: I mean the province of religion. But can religion hope to be successful? It is thought to be already giving way before the presence of what the world considers a new era in the history of man. {463}


With these thoughts in my mind, I understand how it has come to pass, what has struck me as remarkable, that the partisans and spokesmen of Society, when they come to the question of religion, seem to care so little about proving what they maintain, and, on the warrant of their philosophy, are content silently and serenely to take by implication their first principles for granted, as if, like the teachers of Christianity, they were inspired and infallible. To the World, indeed, its own principles are infallible, and need no proof. Now, if its representatives would but be candid, and say that their assumptions, as ours, are infallible, we should know where they stand; there would be an end to controversy. As I have said before now, "Half the controversies in the world, could they be brought to a plain issue, would be brought to a prompt termination. Parties engaged in them would then perceive ... that in substance ... their difference was of first principles ... When men understand what each other means, they see for the most part that controversy is either superfluous or hopeless." ("Univ. Serm." p. 200-1.) The World, then, has its first principles of religion, and so have we. If this were understood, I should not have my present cause of protest against its Reason as corrosive of our faith. I do not grudge the World its gods, its principles, and its worship; but I protest against its sending them into Christian lecture-rooms, libraries, societies, and companies, as if they were Christian—criticizing, modelling, measuring, altering, improving, as it thinks, our doctrines, principles, and methods of thought, which we refer to divine informants. One of my "University Sermons," in 1831, is on this subject; it is called "The Usurpations of Reason," and I have nothing to change in it. I was very jealous of the "British Association" at its commencement; not as if science were not a divine gift, but because its first members seemed to begin with a profession of Theism, when I said their business was to keep to their own range of subjects. I argued that if they began with Theism, they would end with Atheism. At the end of half a century I have still more reason to be suspicious of the upshot of secular schools. Not, of course, that I suppose that the flood of unbelief will pour over us in its fulness at once. A large inundation requires a sufficient time, and there are always in the worst times witnesses for the Truth to stay the plague [Note 3]. Above all things, there is the Infallible Church, of which I spoke so much in the "Apologia." With this remark I proceed. {464}


I will take an illustration of the prospect before us in the instance of a doctrine which is more than most the subject of dispute just now. Lest I should be mistaken, I avow myself to hold it, not because of the disintegrating consequences of letting it go, but on the simple word of the Divine Informant; yet I want to show the prospective development of error. A century ago the God of Christianity was called a God of mere benevolence. That could not long be maintained, first, because He was the God of the Old Testament as well as of the New, and next and specially because the New Testament opened upon us the Woe thrice uttered by the Judge himself, the Woe unquenchable denounced upon transgressors. But the instinct of modern civilization denies the very idea of such a doom in the face of a progressive future. Yet consider—is there not now, as an undeniable fact, a vast aggregate of intense weary pain, bodily and mental, which has existed through an untold length of centuries, all round the earth. Consider only the long pain and anguish which are the ordinary accompaniments of death. Supposing mankind has lasted many thousand years, the suffering has lasted just as long; there has been no interval of rest. But you will say it has an end, and is comparatively brief, to each mortal; then you mean to say that your objection to future suffering would cease were it only for a thousand years and not for ever? Considering what is told us of the punishment of Dives, would that alleviation really content you? I do not believe it; you would not be satisfied with the curtailment of such punishment even to a hundred years; nay, not to twenty, not to a dozen. In spite of the word of Scripture, your imagination would carry you away; you would shrink from the idea of a course of suffering altogether; death indeed you could not deny, but "after death the judgment" and a trial before it, would cease to be a reality to you. It is a subject beyond you; it is not duration which you revolt from, but rather the pain. Indeed, are we sure that long duration intensifies pain? We have no positive notion of suffering in relation to duration. Punishment is not therefore infinite, because it has no end. What alone we know about eternity is negatively, that there is no future when it will be otherwise. All that is necessary for us to be told is that the state of good and evil is irreversible.


But again, what do we know of the obstacles to a reconciliation between God and man? Suppose the punishment is self-inflicted; suppose it is the will, the proud determination of the lost to breathe defiance to his Maker, or the utter loathing of His Presence or His Court, which makes a reconciliation with Him impossible. To change such a one may be to change his identity. Moreover, what do we {465} know of the rules necessary for the moral government of the universe? What acts of judgment are or are not compatible or accordant with the bearing of a Just Judge? and by what self-evident process do we ascertain this? What of His knowledge who is able to "search the heart?" We are told He is one who "overcomes when He is judged;" ought we not to have the whole case spread out for us, as it will be at the Last Day, before we venture to pronounce upon its details? They are parts of a whole. Go to what is the root of the mystery, and tell us what is the Origin of Evil. Solve this, and you may see your way to other difficulties. Does not this greatest of mysteries, the "Origin of Evil," fall as heavily upon Natural Religion as future punishment upon Revelation? After all, the Theist needs Faith as well as the Christian. All religion has its mysteries, and all mysteries are correlative with faith; and, where Faith is absent, the action of "corrosive reason," under the assumptions of educated society, passes on (as I have given offence by asserting) from Catholicity to Theism, and from Theism to a materialistic cause of all things. Dr. Fairbairn calls it sceptical to preach Faith, and to practise it.


I have confined myself to the Divine Judgment; but this is only one of the doctrines which the abolition of the Woe to come is made to compromise. Here again modern philosophy acts to the injury of revelation. Those solemn warnings of Scripture against disobedience to the law of right and wrong are but the fellow of the upbraidings and menaces of the human Conscience. The belief in future punishment will not pass away without grave prejudice to that high Monitor. Are you, in losing its warning voice, to lose an ever-present reminder of an Unseen God? It is a bad time to lose this voice when efforts so serious have so long been making to resolve it into some intellectual theory or secular motive. But there is another doctrine, too, that suffers when future punishment is tampered with—namely, what is commonly called the "Atonement." The Divine Victim took the place of man: how will this doctrine stand if the final doom of the wicked is denied? Every one who escapes the penalty of pain, escapes it by virtue of the Atonement made for it; but so great a price as was paid for the remission supposes an unimaginable debt. If the need was not immense, would such a Sacrifice have been called for? Does not that Sacrifice throw a fearful light upon the need? And if the need be denied, will not the Sacrifice be unintelligible? The early martyrs give us their sense of it; they considered their torments as a deliverance from their full deserts, and felt that, had they recanted, it would have been at the risk of their eternal welfare. The Great Apostle is in his writings full of gratitude to the Power who has "delivered us {466} from the wrath to come." It is a foundation of the whole spiritual fabric on which his life is built. What remains of his Christianity if he is no longer to be penetrated by the thought of that "so great death" from which he had been now "delivered?" Can the religion with which Society at present threatens us be the same as the Apostle's, if this solemn doctrine is in this Religion and not in that?


Shall I be answered that it is only dogma which is left out in modern Christianity? I understand; dogma is unnecessary for faith, because faith is but a sentiment; vicarious suffering is an injustice; spiritual benefits cannot be wrought by material instruments; sin is but a weakness or an ignorance; this life has nearer claims on us than the next; the nature of man is sufficient for itself; the rule of law admits no miracles; and so on. There is any number of these assumptions ready for the nonce, and there is Micio's axiom in the play, soon perhaps to come upon us, "Non est flagitium, mihi crede, adolescentulum scortari."

When Reason starts from assumptions such as these, its corrosive quality ought to be sufficient to satisfy Dr. Fairbairn.

P.S.—This is all I think it necessary to set down in explanation of passages in my "Apologia." As to my other writings, I can safely leave them to take care of themselves. Any one that looks into them will see how strangely Principal Fairbairn has misrepresented them. But perhaps, for the sake of those who do not know them, it is my duty to denounce in a few words the monstrous words which he has used about me.

His organon of criticism is the old "Fallacy of the Leading Idea," viz., that of imagining to himself an hypothesis, by which he may proceed to interpret such phenomena of intellect as it pleases him to ascribe to me, and thereby to save himself the task of quotations, or any pains to which a conscientious critic would feel himself bound. In fact, though he professes to have read, or rather to have "studied," all my "works, tracts, essays, lectures, histories, and treatises," after all he has selected for adverse notice (over and above the "Apologia ") only some clauses in an Oratorian and two sentences in an Oxford Sermon.

As to what he considers my "Leading Idea," it is in truth an imputation as offensive to the feelings of a Catholic as it is preposterous in itself; it is that I have been and am thinking, living, professing, acting upon a wide-stretching, all-reaching platform of religious scepticism. This scepticism is the real key to my thoughts, my arguments, and my conclusions, to what I have said in the pulpit and {467} what I have written in my study. I may not realize it, but I am "a poet," and "it is the unconscious and undesigned" revelations of self "that testify more truly of a man" (p. 663). This, he tells us, is his deliberate view, gained with pains and care, and on my part admits of no escape.

"It will be necessary," he says, when starting on his search for it, "to discover, if possible, Dr. Newman's ultimate ideas, or the regulative principles of his thought" (p. 663). Next, "It is difficult, almost a cruel thing," still a necessity, "to attempt to reach the ultimate principles that govern his thought" (p. 664). "Unless his governing ideas are reached, neither his mind nor his method can be understood" (ibid.). Once more: only by holding certain points distinct "can we get at those ultimate principles or ideas we are here in search of" (p. 665).

At last he has found the object of his careful searching: he quotes some half-sentences from my "Apologia," which he does not understand, accuses me of denouncing the faculty of Reason (supr., p. 460), asks how I come to do so, and then announces his discovery: "The reason must be sought in Dr. Newman's underlying philosophy," which is "empirical and sceptical" (p. 667). From "leading ideas" and "fundamental principles" I have all through my life shrunk as sophistical and misleading, but I do not wonder that Dr. Fairbairn should like them, for they are to him, as I have intimated, of the greatest service. His "underlying philosophy," gained so carefully, enables him to dispense in his criticisms on me with quotations, references, evidences, altogether.

To this use he puts his "Leading Idea" in the very next sentence after he has discovered it; and by the sole virtue of it he at once utters a sweeping condemnation of my "Grammar of Assent," without any one quotation or reference to support him. Thus he writes: "The real problem of the 'Grammar of Assent' is, How, without the Consent and warrant of the reason, to justify the being of religion, and faith in that infallible church which alone realizes it. The whole book is pervaded by the intensest philosophical scepticism: this supplies its motif, determines its problem, necessitates its distinctions, rules over the succession and gradation of its arguments. His doctrine of assent, his distinction into notional and real, which itself involves a philosophy of the most empirical individualism, his criticism of Locke, his theories of inference, certitude, and the illative sense, all mean the same thing" (p. 667). Not a shred of quotation is given to support this charge—not a single reference; but at the end of it, instead of such necessary proof, a sentence is tacked on to it, which after some search I found, not in the Essay on Assent, but, in one of my Sermons, written above thirty years before, taken out of its context, and cut off from the note upon it which I {468} had added in its Catholic edition. Such is the outcome of Dr. Fairbairn's scrupulous care, that "lectures and treatises should be chronologically arranged" (p. 663). Such, above all, is the gain of a "Leading Idea," and it is irresistible in the hands of Dr. Fairbairn; it ignores or overrides facts, however luminous. The instance I have given is a strong one, but I will set down some others.

For instance: 1. When I have with warmth and strength of words denied that the alternative of atheism is my only argument for believing in the Catholic Church, and given evidence in contradiction of the charge, he answers that it is "certainly true," on the contrary, that "I believe it is the only real alternative" (p. 664).

2. When I express my recognition of the "formal proofs on which the being of God rests," and "the irrefragable demonstration thence resulting," he says that my "recognition must be criticized in the light of my own fundamental principle; it is to me entirely illegitimate" (p. 668).

3. He cannot help being obliged to quote me as saying that the "unaided reason, when correctly exercised, leads to a belief in God;" still he boldly says of me that "in my intellect, as I know it, in my reason, as I interpret it, I find no religion, no evidence for the being of a God" (p. 669).

4. When I say that I am a Catholic because I believe in God, and that Theism is attainable even under paganism ("Univ. Serm.," p. 21), "No," he answers, "you really mean that you are a Catholic in order that you may continue Theist" (p. 665).

5. And when I say that the Church's infallibility is "far from being" the only way of withstanding "the energy of human scepticism" ("Apol." p. 245), he answers that my "position will not allow me to hold, that Theism existed without and independently of Catholicism" (p. 665).

6. "Reason," I have said in my "University Sermons," "when its exercise is conducted rightly, leads to knowledge; when wrongly, to error. It is able from small beginnings to create to itself a world of ideas. It is unlimited in its range. It supplies the deficiency of the senses. It reaches to the ends of the universe, and to the throne of God beyond them. Also, it has a power of analysis and criticism in all opinion and conduct; nothing is true or right but what may be justified, and, in a certain sense, proved by it; and unless the doctrines received by faith are approvable by Reason, they have no claim to be regarded as true" (pp. 182, 206, 207, 256).

How carefully he has "studied" my writings! The account he gives of their teaching about Reason is this: "There is another and still deeper difference—the conception of the Reason … Dr. Newman's language seems to me often almost impious" (p. 673).

Such are the convenient uses to which he puts his fundamental {469} principle. No wonder he gratefully recognizes and records the service which his fundamental principle has done him in dispensing with any more of that anxious searching which he found necessary in attaining it.

"Detailed criticism," he says, "of Dr. Newman's position, with its various assumptions and complex confusion of thought, is of course here impossible" (p. 669). Of course; impossible, and therefore let alone.

Marvellous is the power of a Fundamental View. There is said to have been a man who wrote English History, and could not be persuaded that the Heptarchy was over or Queen Anne dead, I forget which; and who, when pressed with a succession of facts to the contrary, did but reply, as each came before him, "O but, excuse me, that was an exception!" Dr. Fairbairn reminds me of that man.


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1. I believe that some philosophers, as Kant, speak of the Moral Sense as a Divine Reason. Of course, I have no difficulty in accepting "Reason" in this sense; but I have not so used it myself.
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2. Vide University Sermons, "Contrast between Faith and Sight."
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3. Vide one of my University Sermons, "Personal Influence the Means of Propagating the Truth."
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