You are here


IN giving these Lectures to the public, I desire in the first place to express my sincere thanks to the Senatus Academicus of the University of Aberdeen, who, by honouring me with their invitation to fill a place which has been filled in the past by men of my unworthiness to succeed whom I am acutely sensible, have given me a welcome opportunity of drawing together my thoughts, such as they are—and I am very well aware of their inadequacy—upon a subject of central importance in the Philosophy of Religion, and of deep concern to many persons who, while laying no claim to philosophical culture, are anxious to form a reasonable judgment of the value to be attached to the religious language and imagery with which they are familiar.

In the second place, I have to thank my own College in Oxford for generously granting me leave of absence in term time to enable me to avail myself of the invitation I had received from Aberdeen.

Lastly, I wish to acknowledge the manifold help which I have received from my wife in the work of preparing the Lectures alike for delivery and for publication.

A correspondent of an Aberdeen journal which did me the honour of printing very full reports of my Lectures quoted as a comment upon them and upon Gifford Lectures generally the famous lines beginning ‘Myself, when young, did eagerly frequent.’ I may perhaps take occasion here to say that it never occurred to me that such discussions as these could be other than ‘about it and about’ or could, under the most favourable circumstances, be of service in the way of religion to any one except by assisting towards the expression or defence of a religious experience of which the hearer or reader was already in possession.

I am greatly indebted to my friend and former pupil, Professor Loveday, for his kindness in reading the proofs of this book and for making a number of valuable suggestions for its improvement.

From the book: