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These volumes contain the Gifford Lectures given in the University of St. Andrews in the sessions of 1926–27 and 1927–28 substantially as they were delivered, though I have restored a number of sentences and short passages which had, for the sake of brevity, to be omitted in the actual delivery, and have, in several cases, printed as a single whole what had, in delivery, to be subdivided into two lectures. The unstudied, even occasionally conversational, style naturally employed in addressing an audience of recent colleagues and personal friends I have thought proper for retention in the published volumes; the material could not have been systematically recast in a severer literary form without an expenditure of time impossible to one still fully engaged in actual teaching work.

I trust that the title I have, with some misgivings, adopted will mislead no one. It is meant to indicate two things—that the attitude assumed on the great ultimate problems discussed avowedly involves a “venture of faith,” and that, as I think, the venture should be found natural by anyone who comes to these problems with the special presuppositions of a moralist. I shall not, I hope, be thought capable of the impertinence of asking my readers to be interested in an intimate personal Confessio Fidei; even if I had that vanity, I should also, I trust, have the sense to understand that the terms of Lord Gifford’s bequest preclude a Gifford lecturer from using his position as an opportunity for propaganda on behalf of his own Privatmeinungen.

But for an Appendix, a Supplementary Note to one chapter of the first volume, and a number of footnotes, the text stands as it was originally written. This will explain why no notice has been taken of Dr. Whitehead’s Process and Reality and other valuable works published since the end of 1927. It should be mentioned that, for the same reason, the criticisms passed in several places on views of the late Dr. McTaggart were necessarily written before the publication of the second volume of The Nature of Existence, and that allowance must be made for the fact.

I have done my best to indicate the writers to whom I am conscious of serious obligations by the references appended in my footnotes. But I should like to make a further special acknowledgement of the great debt I owe to four writers in particular—Dr. Whitehead, the late Baron von Hügel, Dr. Edwyn Bevan, and Professor C. C. J. Webb. To Professor Webb’s work I should have owed even more than I do if I had not deferred making acquaintance with the volume of Studies in the Relations of God and Man until my own manuscript was out of my hands.

I am specially under an obligation to my friend and colleague Mr. A. C. A. Rainer, Shaw Fellow in the University of Edinburgh, for valuable help in proof-reading and the preparation of an Index of Proper Names for each volume. I trust the analytical synopses prefixed to the volumes have made the addition of an index of subjects superfluous.

I take the opportunity to explain that while references to Kant’s works in general are to the volume and page of Hartenstein’s second edition, the Critique of Pure Reason is cited by the pages of the original edition (first or second as the case may be). Two abbreviations have been occasionally used, E.R.E. for Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, and E.M.L. for English Men of Letters Series.

A. E. T.

Edinburgh, May 1930

I take the opportunity afforded by this reprint of correcting a number of small errors of the Press, due to my own defects as a proof-reader, with many thanks to the friends who have helped me to discover them. I would also here recant, or qualify, the remark made about the late F. W. H. Myers on page 255. On re-examination I find I have exaggerated the rarity of the references to God in Human Personality, and I have been assured by those who have the best right to speak that their comparative fewness and their vagueness do not represent the writer’s deepest personal convictions. I hasten to accept the correction and to express my regret for any misconception. With respect to a similar qualification of certain references to Dr. Gore see the Prefatory Note to Series II.

A. E. T.

May 1931