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Lecture 3 Philosophy and Religious Doctrine

Lecture 3
Philosophy and Religious Doctrine
WE now reach the important question What is the relation of religion to philosophy? Or to put it more precisely what is the relation between the doctrine of faith as the summary of all religious conceptions or the theory of religious life and that science of sciences which strives to weld the results of all investigation into a harmonious whole with a view to penetrate to the root of all things to the principia rerum? It has always been felt that though often in conflict the doctrine of faith and that science of sciences are closely related. For both seek unity in multiplicity and diversity. Both “are concerned specially and primarily with that monistic side of the cosmos which underlies all the divisions which separate finite individuals from each other.”1 Are they rivals which cannot exist side by side and which therefore naturally strive to supplant each other? Or are they truly one and the same thing but merely in different shape in a lower and higher a less and a more highly developed form one of which is destined ultimately to resolve itself into the other? Has the one arisen out of the other or has each a distinct origin and a special aim? Such are the questions which we must now try to answer.

There are three possible solutions each of which has its advocates. We may regard philosophy or at least its theosophic part as merely a more precise and scientific form of religious doctrine. Philosophy would then have sprung from religion and would be destined to satisfy those who are more intellectually developed and who desire definite declarations instead of the parables and allegories in which the conceptions of faith are usually clothed. It would then have gradually severed itself from faith it would have lost its distinctively religious character and would at last have entered upon an independent course of development.

Conversely philosophy may have been the parent and religious doctrine the offspring. In this case the latter would be regarded as a popular philosophy rendered accessible to the many by means of which religion would strive to build its practical system on a theoretical foundation. And in point of fact there is an influential school of theologians which maintains something of the kind. According to them religion is purely practical and its essential is worship. The sole question that concerns the religious man is What must I do to be saved? This is the instruction he desires to obtain. But all speculations as to the being and attributes of God His relation to the external world the origin and future of that world and humanity and everything connected with these themes belong to philosophy. The pious man as such does not puzzle his brains with such questions. And if theologians feel the necessity of rounding off their system of religion with them they must borrow them from philosophy.
A third possible solution is that religious doctrine and philosophy though closely related have originated independently have developed separately and have entirely different objects in view. And this solution also has its champions.
We cannot entirely concur in any of these proposed solutions. Each contains an element of truth and the last is probably nearest the truth. Each suffices to account for certain phenomena but not one of them can satisfactorily account for all the phenomena. We must therefore strike out a new path for ourselves. And with this object in view we must explain at the outset that we are speaking of philosophy and religious doctrine in the widest sense. We do not mean philosophy solely as it shows itself in the mystic speculations of the Indians or in the more rational and logical though still partly fantastic systems of ancient Greece where philosophy as we now understand and employ the term first saw the light. Nor do we speak of religious doctrine merely as that form which has been reduced to a more or less scientific system by the schools of Christian theology a dogmatic system which indeed in so far as it is in touch with philosophy is rooted in the philosophy of Greece. But we include all speculations as to the ultimate source of the universe even in their most primitive forms figured by means of images myths symbols and the like creations of the imagination forms of thought necessary to man in his infancy; and we attach even more importance to these than to the abstract conceptions demanded by a more mature stage of development. Every man in his sound senses who does not lead the life of a half-dormant animal philosophises in his way; and in all ages and among all peoples there have been men who felt the necessity of reflection more than their fellows and who became the sages and the spiritual leaders of the generation. The Polynesian surrounded by the ocean asks himself how his island his world sprang out of the bosom of the deep; the Hottentot and the Kaffir marvel that the moon-god their great-grandfather although at times lost to sight ever revives while his children must die; the Red Indian seeks for the origin of the world and humanity in the fertilisation of the waters which contain the germs of all life by means of the mighty breath of the great creating Spirit—and they are all philosophers and theologians in their way. There is not a single system of mythology even among the most barbarous peoples that does not possess its legend of the Creation and thus endeavours to account for the origin of the universe. However childish the legend however limited its universe however destitute of poetry its form it is by no means far removed from the beginnings of Greek philosophy in the time of Thales of Miletus; and though but a crude outline compared with the systems of Plato or Hegel it does not differ from them in kind. And when we consult the most ancient literature we possess we find that the Egyptians and Babylonians the Chinese the Indians and the Persians not to speak of the Greeks and the Romans had their complete cosmogony and anthropogony and some more or less vague conceptions as to the universe the genesis the connection and the destiny of things and the nature of man. These peoples had advanced beyond the infantile or rudimentary stage. Who does not know the often-quoted hymn in the tenth book of the Ṛgveda (129) which refers to the time when there was as yet neither existence nor non-existence neither Death nor Immortality neither air nor heavens and when the One breathless breathed within itself until the creative desire awoke in it and manifested the first germs of spirit? Scarcely less familiar is the Babylonian cosmogony which has indeed retained more of the mythical form but which also reaches back to the time when “the Heaven was yet unnamed and the Earth beneath had no name but the waters of the two oceans the heavenly and the earthly were as yet mingled.” Even the pious Iranian though more inclined to study the practical side of life than to immerse himself in profound speculations entreats Mazda Ahura to tell him2 “Who is the first author the father of Right (asha)? Who created the path for the sun and the stars? Who makes the moon wax and wane? From thee O Mazda I long to learn this and much besides!”
“Who keeps the earth and the clouds above from falling? Who created the waters and the trees? Who has given swiftness to the wind and the thunder-cloud? Who O Mazda is the creator of the human race (Vohu Manō)?”3 “What artificer has created light and darkness? What artificer has created sleep and awakening? Who has made morning noon and night? What leads the mind of him who cares for that which is right?”4
I quite admit that these are the merest beginnings of philosophy half-mythical half-dogmatical conceptions which are not yet reduced to the unity of a symmetrical system of philosophy or of religious doctrine. This process comes later. The need of satisfying ourselves as to the foundations on which our convictions and our religious belief rest and of harmonising our views of the world and of life presupposes a maturity of reflection which requires a long previous course of training. Yet each has his own system; although it be unconscious. For in every stage of development people are dominated by a single root-idea whence all special conceptions take their rise. It was such a system that we named polyzoism in its religious aspect and hylozoism on its philosophical side—namely the conception that all life is caused by a multiplicity of spirits dwelling in matter. Such a system too was Animism or Spiritism the belief that spirits can move independently and choose their dwelling in objects of every kind and display their power in all sorts of natural phenomena and human emotions. Systems they are though unwritten and neither taught by schools or universities nor inculcated by churches but which no less than the philosophy of Aristotle or Kant or the doctrines of Trent or Geneva have dominated long periods of history and which to use the felicitous expression of Mr A. J. Balfour form the spiritual atmosphere we breathe.
Philosophy and faith thus existed before they were reduced to systems or were arranged in scholastic or ecclesiastical dogmas. In recognising this we by no means return to the theory commonly named after Creuzer its ablest and most learned advocate which attracted great attention at the beginning of the present century the theory that mythology and symbolism—that is to say the beliefs of ancient peoples—were nothing but philosophy in disguise an exoteric doctrine destined for the multitude and interpreted literally by them in their simplicity but whose esoteric significance was perfectly understood by the philosophers and divines who had devised it. This theory has long since been condemned by all scholars; and no one could venture to defend it nowadays without exposing himself to ridicule. Nor can the theory be maintained in the new form which certain philosophers have given it to the effect that our dogmatic is merely a diluted philosophy translated from stiff formulæ and abstract ideas into figures and symbols solely for the convenience of the ignorant many whose thinking capacity is as yet insufficiently trained to receive the truth except in parables—a sort of picture-book for children who could understand nothing of the matter without it. For it is inaccurate to say that the Christian religion for example in its different variations consists in figures and similes except only in so far as human language is inadequate to express the supernatural and infinite otherwise than by analogy. For this is not done merely to satisfy the needs of the less developed but simply because it is unavoidable. There are things which we cannot speak of in any other way. And does not even philosophy when it penetrates to the lowest depths or soars to the loftiest heights or when it grapples with the most difficult problems adopt the very same method? The only persons who neither adopt nor require to adopt this method are those who give up the attempt to seek for unity in the interpretation of the world's problem and who deny everything supernatural. And as regards Antiquity—the period of the origin co-ordination and organisation of myths or in a word the mythological period in its two stages—mythology was not then a mere vehicle for conveying truths which could not be otherwise grasped but was itself the very philosophy and religious doctrine of that period. Myths and symbols were at first the necessary forms of both for they were the only forms of thought corresponding with the imaginative capacity in that early stage of development. To later and less unsophisticated times belong the temple-schools and sacerdotal colleges; the gods are classified in theogonies and in the hierarchy of an organised heavenly kingdom; the genesis of all things is explained in cosmogonies; sometimes at least among the Aryan peoples the whole drama of the world is traced in its successive periods and crowned with speculations concerning its most distant future. But here again we deny that these are images which conceal their thoughts: in so far as they are images they are the only possible expressions of the daring thoughts of their period.
Thus far philosophy and religious doctrine are still closely connected so closely indeed that it is impossible to distinguish the one from the other. As yet all philosophical speculation is at the same time a conception of faith. The stage of thinking with a view to comprehend and to explain the stage of science or philosophy as ends in themselves has not yet arrived. There is as yet no theory apart from practice. At length slowly but surely comes the differentiation. Laymen attempt the solution of questions hitherto regarded as the sole property of priests and theologians. Even the Vedic Brâhmanas afford evidence of this in more than one passage.5 Kings who thus belonged to the rank of the Rājanyas ventured to ask questions of learned and even famous Brahmans such as Yājnavalkya; and when these sages were embarrassed and unable to reply the questioners themselves supplied the answers. Questions and answers alike seem to us absurd. They are characteristic of that playful fencing of wits in which Orientals delight. Yet they are the first glimmerings of a philosophy more or less independent of religion or at least independent of those who had hitherto usurped exclusive sway in all spiritual matters—a philosophy according indeed but little with our methods of thinking yet one which by its originality depth and boldness constitutes an important chapter in the history of the human mind. The independent philosophy of the West took its rise in Greece that cradle of our modern civilisation and developed its greatest power among the Germanic peoples and not least in that country where as I am assured every thinking being from the Duke of Argyll and Mr A. J. Balfour to the youngest student in the University of Edinburgh is at once a philosopher and a theologian. But it is perhaps in the history of Greek and of German philosophy that the relation between philosophy now of full stature and the prevailing religion can best be studied. It is natural that religion especially at first should bitterly oppose philosophy and that philosophy now conscious of its power should repudiate the dictation of the Church and decline to formulate its results in conformity with the precepts of theology. Each anxiously and jealously guards its own domain. Henceforth they develop side by side. Yet having been once so closely connected being still related and concerning themselves with the same subject-matter though with different aims they are bound to come into ever closer contact. It is philosophy in particular that exerts a constant influence over religious doctrine. You will remember that the Christian dogmatic not only derived the form of its dogmas but even borrowed many ideas from Greek philosophy in so far as they could be made to harmonise with the teaching of the Gospel. Think only of the supremacy wielded by Aristotle or at least by the philosophy regarded as his over the scholasticism of the Middle Ages and even over the dogmatic of the Reformers and their successors. In Calvin were united the philosopher and the theologian as was afterwards the case with Schleiermacher. The Remonstrant theology of the eighteenth century was much indebted to Locke; and I need hardly remind you of the immense influence exerted by such philosophers as Kant and Hegel upon the theology of the nineteenth century in Germany and beyond it.
After what has been said it will be comparatively easy to determine wherein philosophy and religious doctrine agree and wherein they differ. The task of philosophy is with the aid of our whole experience to explain our faculty of perception and our whole knowledge and thence to construct a complete and connected cosmogony. With this end in view it utilises the results of the various sciences sifts criticises and co-ordinates them and is thus the science of sciences. Its investigation also embraces religious belief which is a conviction of the conscience and which it tests in order to see “how far it accords with the laws of logical thought and with the ascertained results of our scientific knowledge of the world.”6 Whatever be its influence on human life and conduct whatever practical lessons may be deduced from the laws it has discovered yet ever since it has attained independence it has been purely theory purely science. Religious doctrine on the other hand is not science but is a theory of practice. It also rests on a metaphysical foundation and unless convinced of the reality of a supersensual world it builds upon sand; but since it has attained its independence it has been primarily a doctrine of life. At first it runs a course parallel with that of philosophy and requires to be careful to keep step with it from the very outset. But even when they progress side by side religious doctrine to some extent pursues its own way. In other words while it assimilates metaphysical truth from philosophy because it feels the need of a solid foundation for its edifice it seeks to substantiate that truth mainly by the evidence of conscience and then proceeds to ask what bearing the truth has upon human life. It defines the relations between God and man their foundation and essence the causes which sever them and the means by which they may be renewed; and these it sums up either in the form of a law or a theological system or in a series of principles to be promulgated by preaching. It is above all a doctrine of salvation an “Anweisung zum seligen Leben” a “guide to a blessed life” as it has been called by a great philosopher. It thus has its own subject-matter aim and method and is therefore a very different thing from a mere translation of the abstract ideas of philosophy into popular images; just as even philosophy itself cannot advance very far with its abstract ideas for as soon as it enters the domain of metaphysics it is also obliged to have recourse to analogies and images. In short philosophy has fulfilled its task as soon as it has given a reasonable explanation of the phenomena of nature and has set up a cosmogony which satisfies the demands of rational thought; but religion goes farther and teaches that the only way in which we can become reconciled with the world and with life is to establish our proper relation towards God—not a way to selfish happiness but a way to harmony in our being thought and feeling and to true peace of mind. Well might religion adopt as her motto the sacred words “I will give you rest for your souls!”
If this then be the relation between philosophy and religious doctrine—first a long period of union during which they are hardly distinguishable from each other and then a severance during which although presenting many points of contact they are in a great measure independent and pursue totally different aims—why is it that so deadly a conflict often arises between them? For they are constantly at war or at least on that footing of armed peace which as is the case with the great powers of Europe during this closing part of the nineteenth century threatens an outbreak at any moment. Almost every page of history mentions such conflicts. It cannot be said that believers are merely defending themselves or rather defending what is dearer to them than all else against philosophers who attack religion itself and not only subject what it proclaims as divine truth to severe criticism but even deny it and represent it as mere imagination—it cannot be said in short that it is merely a struggle of religion for existence. This may perhaps hold true with respect to some of the schools and teachers of antiquity such as the later Eleatics the Atomists the Epicureans or the French Encyclopædists of the eighteenth century or men like Feuerbach Nietzsche and many others; but it does not hold true of a Pythagoras an Anaxagoras a Socrates or of such profound religious pantheists as Spinoza and Fichte and such philosophical theologians as Schleiermacher and Biedermann nearly all of whom in the name of religion have been martyred persecuted exiled or condemned as heretics. Self-defence is not the only cause of the strife. Nor is it the only cause on the part of philosophy which often attacks religion although its right of investigation and criticism is fully recognised. When a shallow rationalistic or cynical-materialistic philosophy proposes to weigh everything in its puny scale and denies the rights of the soul then indeed religion is in danger and those who love it must take up arms in its defence. In that case philosophy is to blame. When it proposes to explain everything even the origin and essence of things upon base and material principles religion is then fully justified in opposing such a distorted view.
But they are not always so strongly opposed to each other. Their dissensions often arise from misunderstanding from the confounding of a specific and temporary form of religion with religion itself. Philosophers oppose religion because they are unable to distinguish it from the conceptions in which it presents itself to them or to comprehend that these conceptions are merely an ephemeral garb; and they do not take the trouble to penetrate to the ineradicable needs of the human soul which are revealed in these conceptions. Theologians labouring under a similar misconception regard philosophy as an enemy of religion because it subjects to criticism the poetic and philosophic forms the myths and dogmas in which religion expresses itself and do not perceive that it thus in reality conduces to the purification and the development of religion. But the principal cause of these dissensions is a different one. It consists in the difference of development which often subsists between the two. Philosophy continues its researches without intermission. Religious doctrine on the other hand—and here I allude not to philosophic theologians and religious thinkers but solely to organised communities—remains stationary for long periods. For a long time elapses before the need of revision is felt. Whatever it has appropriated from philosophy and science its knowledge of nature and mankind the physiology and psychology by which its conceptions are connected all belong to a period long since elapsed. In this respect therefore it lags behind philosophy. In so far as its garb is concerned it stands upon an obsolete platform. And instead of trying to vindicate its position with great persistence but always unsuccessfully and thus injuring rather than promoting religion it would do well to bring its conceptions and arguments into harmony with the more accurate knowledge and clearer insight attained in modern times. Nor in doing so would it require to abandon a single jot of the essence of belief. Philosophy and religious doctrine must therefore ever continue in mutual intercourse. Philosophy must not be content to criticise religion and faith or perhaps to condemn them on account of an obsolete doctrine which may happen once to have been officially recognised in one communion or another and accepted by the multitude without much reflection but which has long since been modified by earnest seekers of religious truth and brought into harmony with the demands of religious souls and of general spiritual development. Religious doctrine on the other hand must not come into conflict with what has been ascertained and established in other domains whether moral scientific or philosophical. For this is a corollary of the law of the Unity of mind the necessity of which we have already pointed out.
It might almost seem as if in dwelling so fully upon the subject of creeds or doctrines of faith we meant to identify them with religion. The reverse is the case. They are not even the foundation of religion. Religion existed long before there could be any question of framing its doctrine. The matter stands thus. Religion begins with conceptions awakened by emotions and experiences and these conceptions produce definite sentiments which were already present in germ in the first religious emotions but which can only be aroused to consciousness by these conceptions; and these sentiments manifest themselves in actions. But all this is spontaneous and originally at least it was not the result of conscious reflection. Reflection comes on the scene at a later period on a higher stage of development and consciously frames its creed or doctrine of faith. This doctrine has two forms a practical and a scientific which though differing in form and aim are identical in content. Both are indispensable for instruction the one for the benefit of the community the other for the training of those who are destined to be its pioneers. Both of them embrace sum up and arrange the results of religious experience and speculation prevailing in different stages of development in a definite sphere and in one or other form of religion. The doctrine of faith as we have said is the theory of a practice not an abstract philosophical system but a doctrine of life. Its essential value consists also in this that it affords thoughtful believers an opportunity of testing the foundations of their faith and that it is likewise adapted to justify faith as a connected system in response to the doubts of others. And it possesses the further merit of summarising and conserving all that earlier generations have attained in the domain of religion and thus of forming a starting-point for a renewed investigation of truth.
I am well aware that it has sometimes been scandalously misused. I do not forget that it has been degraded to the function of fettering men's consciences of stifling inquiry and of hampering the loftier flights of the human mind. I admit that in its name men have sown hatred and discord have persecuted martyred and murdered. Nay even in the name of science and philosophy similar cruelties have been perpetrated. But I maintain that for every religion that claims to be something more than a transient outburst of fanaticism or a dead ritualism or formalism for every religion that desires to stand on the solid foundation of Truth the examination of its creed is an imperative necessity. Without such examination every ethical religion must run wild. It has been seriously maintained of late that ministers of the Gospel would do better in future to devote themselves to the study of political economy or of social questions rather than to that of theology and the science of religion. Were such a view to find acceptance it would be fatal not only to the Church but to the whole development and prosperity of religion. It is a consolation however to know that it is not the first time that this folly has been proclaimed and that it will probably die out as quickly as it did on former occasions. Even Melanchthon had to contend against it. And it aroused the usually so gentle and humane Præceptor Germaniæ to such indignation that he declared that “those who from the pulpit tried to dissuade men from religious studies ought to have their tongues cut out.”7 I cannot recommend so radical a measure; but I earnestly hope that neither the Church will be swept away nor that men who have been trained for their important office by a careful study of theology and a scientific investigation of religion will ever be superseded by socialistic quacks or dabblers in political science.
But I must ask pardon for this digression. I now return to our proper theme. If the doctrines of belief are highly conducive to the maintenance propagation and development of religion they are no less valuable to the student of the science of religion. The comparative study of creeds forms one of the chief sources of our knowledge of religions and best enables us to investigate their essence and origin. It has precisely the same relation to our science as comparative philology has to the science of language. It is no more the business of the science of religion to propound a new creed in addition to those already existing than it is the task of the science of language to attempt to set up a new art of speech. As comparative philology is the source of our knowledge of the laws essence genesis and growth of language so the comparative study of creeds is the source of our knowledge of religion and belief. Professor Pfleiderer of Berlin my esteemed predecessor in this lectureship has recently given new evidence of his unwearied energy in the publication of a new and entirely remodelled edition of his ‘Philosophy of Religion.’8 And this edition also affords evidence of his true scientific spirit as he does not hesitate to renounce his earlier views when continued investigation has led him to form new opinions. No one can study that work without deriving much instruction from it even when he sometimes feels constrained to differ from the author. My own conception of the task and method of the science of religion coincides in many respects with his. In particular I concur with him in his appreciation of historical research as its foundation although I regard historical research as a mere preparation for philosophical study while he goes a step farther in regarding it as an integral part of such study. In one main point however I differ from him entirely. In his view the aim of the science of religion9 is to effect a reconciliation (“eine Verständigung zu vermitteln”) between religion as historically handed down and the scientific knowledge of the present day. For this purpose it would require to test every detail of religious tradition in order to ascertain how far it accords with the laws of logical thought and with our scientific knowledge of the world—with the established facts of natural and historical science. But such is not in my opinion the task of the science of religion but rather that of philosophic theology which is in fact a new form of dogmatic; or it is the task of some special dogmatic treated as a science. Still less do I agree with him in his doctrine that the science of religion must rest partly on metaphysical foundations—that it must inquire into the origin of the relation as understood by the devout between God and man and determine how we are metaphysically to regard God's relation to us and also to the world in general since we form part of that world. Such a problem in my opinion belongs to the department of general philosophy. If the science of religion attempted its solution it would go beyond its province. For such a task the votaries of our science would require to undertake a preliminary investigation and to possess a wealth of knowledge in different provinces which could not reasonably be demanded of them. Our study in short forms a department of anthropological not of metaphysical science. On the other hand I am entirely at one with him when he imposes on our science the duty of examining the practical motives to which our conceptions of faith respond. For these conceptions are the symbolical means of giving expression to practical motives and arousing them to action. And in endeavouring to understand the positive psychological content of historical facts our science of religion has become at once more thorough and more tolerant than it used to be. On that point therefore he is unquestionably sound. The comparative study of creeds again is a psychological investigation. Its aim is to discover how the various myths and dogmas apparently conflicting and differing a thousandfold in form really express those self-same general needs of the human soul which are ineradicable and which therefore constantly recur in new forms. It has to determine what in each stage and in each direction of development are the constant elements of religious belief; it has to discover by means of patient research and scientific analysis what the Roman Catholic Church attempts to establish by infallible authority: quid semper quid ubique quid ab omnibus creditur. Religion the subject-matter of its inquiry is a metaphysical fact but its method of inquiry is not metaphysical.
Now every creed be it expressed in philosophical dogmas or in poetic myths or in childish animistic conceptions is the summary of all those elements which together constitute every religion and whence every religious idea emanates. Its main constituents are a doctrine regarding God (or theology) a doctrine regarding man's relation to God ideal and real (or anthropology) and a doctrine regarding the means of establishing and maintaining communion with God (soteriology or the doctrine of salvation). By these means we are presented with a complete picture of religion and we are therefore best enabled to study it by a comparison of creeds.
The starting-point is theology; for belief in one or more supernatural powers in a God or a divine world is the foundation on which all religion rests. There can be no religion without a God. In their zeal for religion without metaphysics people have sometimes spoken of an atheistic tinge in modern theology which is nevertheless supposed to be consistent with religion. But it is surely obvious that the combination “atheistic theology” sounds somewhat strange and would indeed be ludicrous if the matter were not too serious. We have already spoken of the atheism of Buddhism; but when it made its appearance as a religion it had Buddha for its God. What however distinguishes religious theology from the philosophic is that the former is not purely speculative like the latter but is directed to practice. The principal point here is not the question as to the nature of God but as to His relation to us and to the world of which we form part and as to the agencies and ordinances in which He reveals Himself to us.
The converse of this theology consists in religious anthropology. We are here concerned with religious ideals and aspirations with man's origin and destiny with his life in communion with his God and in obedience to His laws and commandments. But in contrast to this ideal we find man in his unworthiness and weakness his communion with God obstructed by sensuality and selfishness and broken by sin while he himself looks longingly for salvation and redemption for reconciliation with his God for help in the conflict.
To this longing responds in the third place the doctrine of salvation which indicates the means of restoring that communion of breaking the power of evil of beginning and continuing a new life and of realising hope.
In order to understand the essence of religion we must study these three root-ideas of all religion in succession. They may fairly though not quite fully be summed up in the favourite watchword of religion “faith charity and hope” and they also coincide though not quite exactly with the three constituents of religion conceptions sentiments and actions.
Do not however suppose that in making this statement we only have in view religion in its highest development or that all this may apply to the Christian and several other ethical religions but not to the nature-religions or at least not to the lowest of these. It holds good of all. In a thousand varieties in conceptions differing according to the degree of development and the character of many races and peoples we invariably find these three elements: belief in a divine power upon which we are dependent belief in the high origin and destiny of man coupled with a consciousness of his shortcomings and belief in the possibility of salvation combined with attempts to secure that blessed consummation. All religions are religions of redemption and all religious doctrine is a doctrine of salvation. This is one of the most striking and at the same time most certain results of our science. And to demonstrate this truth even when it manifests itself in but feeble germs or in unfamiliar forms is one of our chief tasks.