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The At-one-ment of Knowledge and Belief
INTRODUCTORY--LIMITATIONS OF REASON AND
1. It is necessary to explain the attitude to be here taken up both towards Theology, and
towards Secular Knowledge. In these towards
pages the latter term must be taken to Science. denote, not specially the Physical Inclusiveness of Science as
Sciences, lior yet the Moral or the here under- Social Sciences, but all of them. It stood.
must, in fact, include the whole area of that knowledge which mankind has attained by his own efforts.
And we must not only take in Sciences which have by this time reached the Positive stage, as in the domains of Mathematics or Astronomy, but we must also include many that are in a position less unassailable, such as Ethnology, Anthropology, Political Economy, Social Science, Philology, and kindred areas of research.
To each and all of them must be accorded that degree of certainty as to results obtained which they seem to deserve, and an importance in proportion to that degree of certainty. Even to the science of Spiritual Existences due recognition must be extended, that is, so far as knowledge in that direction has been reduced to anything tangible and trustworthy.
2. How are we to regard this mass of human or secular knowledge, of all and every kind and Science re
degree ? The answer is that to all these garded, not as departments of human knowledge we inimical, but offer the most full and free recognitionhelpful and indispensable not grudgingly, as to enemies, but gladly, to truth.
as to friends, and as gathering together trends of thought which, when combined, can only make for good. We can, in fact, do no less than look upon Science as an ally : because it affords the sole means by which the mind of man can attain to higher conceptions of realities. That is, we consider it so with one exception—that of knowledge communicated from elsewhere.
3. Yet there is one thing which must be stoutly protested against. Science is Science so long as it
keeps inside its due boundaries; and Science trustworthy with there it is worthy of all trust and reverin limits : not
ence. But now and then it outleaps beyond limits.
them, and indulges in obiter dicta about things which lie outside of its province. It has been, so to speak, somewhat intoxicated with its own triumphs, and has been led on, in its exuberance of spirit, to risk needless and offensive intrusion into other areas. Thus while we are ready and eager to welcome positions of high probability, such as that of Evolution ; and even likely conjectures, such as, e.g., concern the ultimate constitution of matter, provided these latter are content with the rank of possibilities; we yet must firmly and positively reject the dicta of scientists, when they presume to travel into subjects which lie beyond the ken of science : as does the question, e.g., of Human Immortality.
In this and in cognate questions we reject all oppositions of a Science which, here at least, is “ Science falsely so called,” because it pretends to know what it cannot judge of.
4. But there is a much greater complexity when we proceed to describe the obverse side of the
position, and to explain the attitude here Attitude towards maintained towards Theology. Theology.
To do this in any intelligible way it will be needful to take each of its main tenets separately, to state how our belief stands as to the particular point at issue, and to give a brief account of the grounds on which that belief rests its claim to acceptance.
Creation a realised dream of
5. First, Is there a God ? To this our direct answer is an emphatic Yes. We
say so with special emphasis because the Deity here referred to is one of a much
more real and realised nature than one Deity.
Theist in twenty has any conception of. For it is to be shown that, put briefly, this existing order of creation, with all its natural laws, has come about as the realising of a dream or conception of the Divine Mind; and that,