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Chapter I: Introductory

Moral and Religious Experience

My purpose in these lectures is twofold. I want, first, to show how moral experience presents a problem which philosophy is unable to solve, and which points to religion for its solution. This problem is that of the dualism of ethical principles, according as conduct is motivated by the thought of obligation or by desire of a rational good. Secondly I shall consider the larger issue, raised in the course of that discussion, of the relationships, by way of action and reaction, of morality to religion and of religion to morality.

That these topics fall well within the provisions of Lord Gifford's bequest would hardly have been questioned even by those rigorists of the law who a generation ago insisted upon the most literal interpretation of the Trust Deed of the Free Kirk of Scotland. I am aware that they have already been treated by Gifford lecturers; notably by the late Professor Sorley, in his Moral Values and the Idea of God, and, more recently, by one whose name will always be held in honour in this University—by Professor Taylor, in The Faith of a Moralist.1 I would like to acknowledge my indebtedness to both these writers. But the subject is one that is not easily exhausted; rather it calls for reconsideration in each succeeding decade. Much water has flowed under the bridge in the last ten years; and to-day the traditional structure of moral and religious conviction is everywhere being threatened by the enemies of reason. In this, at least, I am at one with the distinguished thinkers I have mentioned, that I hold both morality and religion to be products of intellectual activity and the problem of their validity to be determinable at the bar of reason.


My first task is to make clear the nature of the distinction between moral and religious experience, as the prelude to the study of their relationship.2 I begin with Morality, taking as my text a classic quotation from Butler's Dissertation on Virtue. “The object of the moral faculty”, he wrote, “is actions, comprehending, under that name active or practical principles those principles from which men would act if occasions or circumstances gave them power, and which, when fixed and habitual in any person, we call his character. It does not appear that brutes have the least reflex” [i.e., reflective] “sense of actions as distinguished from events; or that will and design, which constitute the very nature of action as such, are at all an object to their perception. But to ours they are: and they are the object, and the only one, of the approving and disapproving faculty. Acting, conduct, behaviour, abstracted from all regard to what is, in fact and event, the consequence of it, is itself the natural object of the moral discernment; as speculative truth and falsehood is of speculative reason.”

This passage might well serve as an introduction to a systematic treatise on ethics. I have no intention of embarking upon so large an enterprise; in the words of an amiable character in Dickens, “and from myself far be it”; but there are certain points in Butler's statement that bear directly on the ensuing argument. Morality, he tells us, is practical; its concern is with the voluntary acts of individuals. He thereby rules out of court, by implication, a theory which, whatever may be its metaphysical allurements, is bound, when pressed home logically, to prove fatal to morality. I am thinking of the doctrine that finite individuality is but a mode or aspect of the Absolute, which alone is fully real. Spinoza's valiant effort to reconcile the truth of man's moral achievement with that of his modal being in the life of the one infinite substance, could only be sustained at the cost of a deep fissure within his system. Or, to take a more recent example, Bosanquet's failure to realize this incompatibility seems a serious defect in the treatment of the problem of individuality in his Gifford lectures. For all his assertions to the contrary, he never seems to take the finite individual seriously. Man's real being in the life of the Absolute is all in all. We readily allow that the individual thinks and wills as the member not only of a human community, but of the cosmopolis of the whole universe; that the “world of claims and counter-claims” in which morality lives and moves and has its being is at long last inexplicable if sundered from its dependence on an other-worldly order, the vision of which is disclosed to metaphysical or religious faith; and that “the vale of soul-making” is but the way of approach to a scene in which souls reap the full fruition of their endeavour. But, even for the religious consciousness, the fact that it transcends morality cannot obliterate the real distinction between the finite individual and God.

Further, Butler assumes as the data of ethics particular acts of will. Of course, each act is part of a continuous train of conduct; and, of course, a multitude of successive phases are discernible on analysis within what we call a single act. But these considerations cannot, without prejudice to moral experience, be pressed so as to impair the real uniqueness of the several volitions within the context of an individual life. Morality is a form of practical experience, and it is essential to grasp it in the making, by placing ourselves in the position of the man acting or about to act. Hence the terms that most fitly express moral experience are “ought” and “duty” rather than “good”. A man about to act does not naturally ask himself, “What is it good for me to do in the present situation?” but “What ought I to do? What is my duty?” The terms “good” and “bad” imply a certain indirectness and detachment from the immediate practical issue; or, to put it more positively, a contemplative, theoretic interest that is foreign to moral experience in the strict and proper sense. We use them in speaking of a man's life and character as a whole, or of his general course of conduct, when we quit for the moment the standpoint of direct moral judgement and adopt the attitude of a spectator contemplating what is already done.3 We use them again in reference to a man's motives and dispositions viewed in abstraction from the acts of will in which alone they achieve concrete actualization. That is why those moral thinkers, who, like Shaftesbury and his school in eighteenth-century England or at a later date Herbart in Germany, have blurred the distinction between moral and æsthetic judgements, do but scant justice to the consciousness of obligation. The judgement of goodness, both in the cases I have mentioned and in that of actions motivated by the desire for good, expresses a theoretical as well as a practical interest. We shall see in the next lecture how the distinction between the standpoints of theoria and praxis furnishes the basis for discrimination between two different types of practical activity, regulated respectively by the sense of obligation and by the desire to realize a good.

Morality, then, has to do with the acts of individuals. Two other points in Butler's statement call for more detailed consideration. When he says that human actions “comprehend practical principles”, he implies (1) that the moral judgement is passed on the agent's inner intention, and (2) that it is a judgement of practical reason.

(1) The first of these implications raises an issue of great importance as to the relation of motive to intention. I shall contend that the intention—i.e., the act of will as amenable to moral judgement—includes the motive. How, otherwise, can it be said to “comprehend practical principles”? I must dwell on this point in some detail, for it is vital to the subsequent argument. We shall find that the distinction between moral and religious praxis turns largely upon the difference of motives. The same is true of the distinction between acts done from a sense of obligation and acts done from desire of good. I shall contend that moral action, strictly interpreted, is limited to the doing of duty for duty's sake. We are all familiar with the passage in Mill's Utilitarianism where he asserts that motive, while all-important for our judgement on the character of the agent, is entirely irrelevant to the morality of the act.4 The same doctrine has been stated with greater precision and yet stronger emphasis by Professor Prichard in an article published in Mind some years since, under the title Does Moral Philosophy Rest on a Mistake?5 He there maintains that rightness is an objective character of actions, taken in entire independence of the motive of the agent, and that it can be apprehended by knowing as distinct from thinking or believing. “The rightness or wrongness of an act has nothing to do with any question of motives at all.” On the other hand, “the intrinsic goodness of an action lies solely in its motive.…As any instance will show, the rightness of an action concerns an action not in the fuller sense of the term in which we include the motive in the action but in the narrower and commoner sense in which we distinguish the action from its motive, and mean by an action merely the conscious origination of something, an origination which on different occasions or in different people may be prompted by different motives. The question, ‘Ought I to pay my bills?’ really means simply, ‘Ought I to bring about my tradesmen's possession of what by my previous acts I explicitly or implicitly promised them?’ There is, and can be, no question of whether I ought to pay my debts from a particular motive. Even if we knew what our motive would be if we did the act, we should not be any nearer an answer to the question.”

Now, this pronouncement seems to me false. The moral judgement, “This is right”, or “This ought to be done”, is passed, I maintain, on the action indeed, but on the action in what Professor Prichard calls the fuller and less common (?) sense in which it includes the motive. “We must look within to find the moral quality.”6 I agree with Professor Muirhead that “we make a false start and queer the pitch from the beginning when we take our departure from the good act” (act, that is, in Professor Prichard's narrower sense) “instead of from the good man”.7 When I consider what it is I ought to do, I abstract from the motive; but simply because the mere raising of the question implies the presence of the motive of moral obligation. The desire to do my duty is there; I seek to make it determinate as this particular duty, here and now. Doubtless, in our ordinary thinking, we are often forced to draw a distinction between character and conduct, between the man doing, and the thing done, and to pass abstract judgments, now on the agent's motive, now on the overt act. We are thus led to discriminate certain types of motive as normally good from others as normally bad, meaning, that they are apt to become determinate in right or wrong actions; and, again, certain types of conduct as normally right from others as normally wrong. As we have noted, the use of the term “good” with reference to the motive, and of “right” with reference to the act, indicates the theoretical nature of the former kind of judgement. Legal associations have probably influenced the usage; for the law is primarily, though not exclusively, concerned with the rightness or wrongness of overt acts. When a man does what (in the language of popular abstraction) he ought to do, but not because he ought to do it—when, for instance, he pays a debt from fear of the county court, or keeps a promise from fear of social obloquy—he has not done his duty. He may have fulfilled a legal obligation—that is quite another matter—but he has not done a morally right act. To pay our debts is, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, morally right; but its rightness does not consist merely in the fact that it is the payment of a debt. if a judge sentences a guilty man from the motive of personal resentment, it is not a case of his doing what is right with a bad motive, but a case of his doing what is wrong.8 No action or class of actions when taken in abstraction from the motive is unconditionally right. The rightness is relative, and, as we shall see later, fails to satisfy the demand of the categorical imperative. As Plato showed at the opening of the Republic, moral rules—e.g., the keeping of promises are—open to exceptions; they are at best empirical generalizations, valid ως επι το πολυ, but failing in strict universality. Doubtless, in our ordinary thinking, we are often forced to draw a distinction between character and conduct, between the man doing and the thing done, and to pass judgement, now on the agent's motive, now on the overt act. We are thus led to discriminate certain types of motive as normally good from others as normally bad, meaning that they are apt to become determinate in right or wrong actions; and, again, certain types of conduct as normally right from others as normally wrong.9 The moment we pass front overt manifestation to inner volition, and ask, as in ethics we are bound to ask, “What did the agent really will to do?” we find that the motive, in its concrete actuality, enters into and colours the intention. Mill himself admitted that when a man saves another's life from desire to wreak vengeance on him, the act willed is a different act from that of the man who saves life from compassion or from a sense of duty. I may repay a debt reluctantly, from a sense of obligation; or gladly, moved by gratitude or affection; it is only superficially that the act can be called the same. The other party will appreciate the difference. “God,” as Richard Hooker once said, “cares a great deal more for adverbs than he does for verbs.” To ignore the person willing is thus to mutilate the act, and leads to the strange notion of a right that is right for everyone because it is right for no one in particular. The motive is part of the intention, and the intention is what the agent wills to do. Dr. Johnson saw this clearly when he declared: “The morality of an action depends on the motive from which we act. If I fling half-a-crown to a beggar with intention” (the impossibility of severing motive and intention is here evident) “to break his head, and he picks it up and buys victual with it, the physical effect is good; but, with respect to me, the action is very wrong. So religious exercises, if not performed with an intention to please God, avail us nothing. As out Saviour says of those who perform them from other motives, ‘Verily they have their reward’.”10

The view we have been criticizing rests largely on two errors. (i) The motive is regarded as thought it were a static psychical event, antecedent to the action. But it is already an act of will in the making, inseparable, save by abstraction from what the agent intends to do. If it is operative, it implies conation, if only in the form of incipient volition. I am suddenly struck by a footpad in a deserted lane; the anger, or the fear, that I feel is concomitant with, not antecedent to, the act of counter attack or flight. I act not from anger but in anger. When, again, I deliberate prior to volition, e.g., whether I shall act as duty enjoins or in a way that will give pleasure to a friend, the conflicting motives are already, throughout the process of deliberation, conative; in so far as I am moved by them they are practical desires, i.e., acts of will in the making. The analogy of physical forces, measurable from the start and issuing in a resultant, is wholly misleading. The motive that, as we say, finally prevails has been (raining in strength throughout the process of deliberation. Everyone knows how perilous it is to let our thoughts dwell on an unworthy motive; it may ripen at any moment into a deed. Again, to say that motives lie beyond control is an error. When there is conflict, it is we ourselves who weight the scales; we choose, not merely to do this rather than that, but to identify ourselves with one motive rather than another. How else are we in any sense free to will? “It may be really possible for a parent to punish his child either from anger or from love at a given moment.”11 To summon a new motive into operation may require time and practice—to act, for instance, from affection towards a man we cordially dislike; but, if we set ourselves to the task, the thing, however difficult, can be done. It is just the difficulty that makes success ethically significant.12 To deny that motives can be controlled is to rob the moral life of half its value. The doctrine I am criticizing is objectionable, alike in theory and in practice. In theory, it causes a paradoxical severance between goodness and moral rightness. It implies that “a right act”—I am quoting the Provost of Oriel—“merely as such, has no value in itself”, and that “a morally good action is good in itself, even when it is not the doing of a right act”, so that, since an act is right or wrong independently of the motive, a good man may display his goodness in the doing of a wrong action, his badness in the doing of what is right.13 Is not this a reductio ad absurdum? It may be consoling, to the sinner, though hardly in accordance either with reason or conscience, to know that virtue may be acquired in a life of wrong-doing; and that indulgence in envy, malice, and all uncharitableness is compatible with the perfect rightness of the ensuing conduct. At least, on the doctrine in question, this is theoretically possible; if the possibility remains in fact unrealized, it can only be because it happens otherwise. The practical danger is one that stares us in the face at the present time. The rebels against traditional morality are insistent that each man is his own judge in matters of right and wrong, and that anyone is warranted in doing anything, provided it be done in a kindly and generous spirit. This temper is, I think, largely due to a sense that the motive is relevant to the morality of an action, fortified by scepticism as to the validity of judgements passed on acts in isolation from their motive. The mistaken endeavour to secure objectivity in morals, by excluding the man doing from the thing done, has provoked an equally mistaken subjectivity, which excludes the thing done from the man doing it. Thus to sever either the act from the agent or the agent from the act is to court speculative and practical disaster.14

(2) The second implication is that morality is rational, in the sense that, from the first and all along the line, reason is active as the directive principle of conduct. Reason is active also, as we shall see, in religion, and, again, in action inspired by the thought of ideal good. In holding, with Butter, that morality is a form of practical experience, we do not mean, of course, that it is merely conative, unconditioned either by cognition or by emotion. It may be questioned whether any conscious experience, however elementary, can be regarded as merely conative or as merely a state of feeling, to the exclusion of at least the germ of cognitive apprehension. A fortiori, action on principle involves knowledge. But this is not to hold, as did the Greeks and medievals, that an intellectual judgement is necessarily antecedent to the decision of the will. This may be the case, or it may not. The knowing and the acting may be coincident factors in a single experience. To act at all we must have some awareness of what we are doing; to act morally we must have some awareness of what we ought to do. Both knowledge of matters of fact and moral knowledge are essential to moral action. Moreover the knowledge in both cases is always, in some measure, incomplete. We act in the dark and in the light, and the knowledge becomes clearer in and through the acting. As Kant insisted, moral insight—what he called the faith of practical reason—is strengthened and enriched by the habitual doing of duty. But the knowledge, be it factual or moral, is for the sake of action. To adopt the Kantian distinction, the function of reason in morality is not speculative, but practical.

This does not mean, of course, that when the plain man does his duty, he is explicitly aware of the rational principle on which he acts, any more than a child bowling a hoop is explicitly aware of the causal principle implied in his action.15 “Although,” wrote Kant, “no doubt common men do not conceive it in a universal form, yet they always have it really before their eyes, and use it as the standard of their decision.”16 The simplest act of duty carries with it far-reaching implications which are anything but easy to understand. Like all the common things of life, it reveals an unexpected and baffling complexity. James Mill, the author of The Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind, the work that furnished the Utilitarian coterie with their psychology, claimed that he would make the mind of man “as plain as the road from Charing Cross to St. Paul's”.17 He could only do so by drastic mutilation of the facts, You will remember how Kant entitled the first section of the Grundlegung—“Transition from the common rational knowledge of morality to the philosophical”. By “the common rational knowledge” he meant the plain man's consciousness of duty, which, he held, may well be clearer in the mind of the unlettered rustic than in the possibly more sophisticated mind of the moral thinker. But the plain man's moral consciousness, however innocent of critical reflection, is—of this Kant was sure—the voice of reason. Wherever there is moral action a regulative principle is operative; and neither the presence of such a principle, nor its manifest authority, can be accounted for by the interplay of natural impulses. I cannot here enter upon a refutation of Naturalism in ethics, a doctrine which entails the relativity of intellectual as well as of moral judgements, and is therefore incompatible with its own claim to truth.18 I content myself with a single reference to one of the most eminent among English philosophers. In his last book, Beauty and Other Forms of Value, Professor Alexander challenges the appeal to reason and the authority of conscience as a hypothesis that has no basis in fact.19 “Leave the passions to themselves,” he writes, “and they will fall into an adjustment that will satisfy,” thanks to “the social sentiment or passion acting through sympathy”. “Ought is not the prescription set to the natural passions by some supposed non-natural element in our nature, not even by reason, but the arrangement or order established among them by another natural passion” (i.e., the social sentiment), and obligation is but the relation of any single element “to the whole system”. The burden of objectivity is here transferred to the actual judgement of society. Adam Smith's “impartial spectator” is identified by Professor Alexander with the “standardized mind” of the community. I confess that this reference to the standardized mind makes me shiver. I think of the bondage in which the minds of men are nurtured, from infancy onwards, in the Totalitarian States, and of the menace of mechanization, the bitter fruit of applied science, that even in so-called free countries haunts our generation like a nightmare. We have said that morality is always in the making; and Professor Alexander, in his criticism of Bergson's static or closed morality, endorses the view that morality is nothing if not dynamic. His advocacy of “open” morality seems hard to reconcile with the appeal to the regulative authority of the passion of sociality. Moreover, how can one natural passion establish an order among its fellows? The order is ex hypothesi a moral order; if it be blindly wrought, by mere prevalence in strength, where is the moral obligation? if purposively, something of different quality from passion has been called in to effect the adjustment of the elements within the system. Adjustment of some sort there is everywhere and always, in man as in nature; the adjustment here in question is to an authoritative moral principle. For this there is requisite a regulative agency that bears the stamp of intelligence. The choice is not between a purely dispassionate faculty of reason and purely irrational feeling; the regulative principle is at once of the head and of the heart—le cæur a ses raisons—and functions as reason alive with desire, as emotion pregnant with reflective thought. In Butler's words, it is both a “sentiment of the understanding” and “a perception of the heart”. So Plato taught of old that reason, the regulative authority in the soul, carried with it its specific επιθυμια, distinct in kind from the nonrational desires of the spirited and the appetitive elements.20 It is this principle which already functions, as we have seen, in the “common rational knowledge Of Morality”. just as in perception the form of the perceived object is apprehended, however indeterminately, in the most elementary of sense-experiences—in hearing a musical sequence, for example, we hear not merely the sound-sensa but their structure, the so-called “immediate” data thus furnishing the groundwork for scientific interpretation—so the least reflective moral acts provide a basis for the explicit constructions of moral philosophy. Thus the task of ethics is to transform moral insight into a reasoned system of knowledge. It effects this transformation along two lines, which exemplify respectively the qualities distinguished by post-Kantian thinkers as those of understanding (verstand) and of reason (vernunft).21 On the one hand, reflection leads to inductive generalization in ethics, and to the formulation of moral rules. On the other, it analyses the pure notion of duty, implicit in the consciousness of particular obligations, in order to elicit its nature as a unitary, universal principle. The former process is wholly practical in purpose; the knowledge being solely for the sake of action. The latter, as we shall see in the sequel, points beyond morality to a wider form of experience where the interest of reason is speculative as well as practical, and praxis is grounded in theoria.


I turn now to Religion.22 I have to show how religion and morality differ as types of rational activity. But I must first remove two prevalent misunderstandings. (1) One of these is in regard to the institutional forms which religion assumes as it passes into the common life of men. Religion, like morality, is a living experience; in Bergson's phrase, it is open and dynamic. Philosophers, as well as others, are wont to disparage the institutional and relatively static embodiments of religion—churches, creeds, ceremonial—in contrast with the living intuition in which they have their source. And it is true that religion, like all other activities of the spirit, is exposed to the besetting danger of formalism. All the more reason to note how these apparently static forms, far from asphyxiating the life of religion, are necessary conditions of its enrichment. Their growth bears witness to the immanent dynamic principle. Aquinas’ conception of the Christian faith, for instance, shows an immense advance, in rational coherence and range of vision, on that of Augustine, as did Augustine's on that of the first Christians. Apart from creeds and churches, religion could not fulfil its missionary vocation. Moreover, these symbols serve to foster and to fortify, as well as to control, the spiritual activity of their adherents. The forced conversions of the Germanic tribes in the Dark Ages bore fruit, a few generations later, in a rich harvest of mystical piety. Formalism itself ceases to be censurable, and becomes something more than formalism, when practised as the instrument of a living worship. Readers of Pascal must often have found a stone of stumbling in his doctrine concerning what he termed l'automate. No religious teacher is more insistent than Pascal on the requirement that the whole life of the Christian should be actively informed by all ardent love of God. Indeed, it was his refusal to allow any compromise on this essential that was the nerve of his controversy with the contemporary Jesuits. But for this very reason, that religion commands the devotion of man's whole personality, body as well as soul and spirit, he stressed the need of mechanical routine as in integral part of religious discipline. Il faut donc faire croire nos deux pièces: l'esprit, par les raisons, qu'il suffit d'avoir vues une fois en sa vie; et l'automate, par la coutume, et en ne lui Permettant pas de s'incliner au contraire. C'est être superstitieux, de mettre son espérance dans les formaletés; mais c'est être superbe, de ne vouloir s'y soumettre.23 Pascal is giving expression, in the matter of religion, to what Dr. Whitehead insists upon as a general condition of civilization. “It is the beginning of wisdom to understand that social life is founded upon routine. Unless society is permeated, through and through, with routine, civilization vanishes.” 24 The prophetic vision is doomed to inanition, if severed from embodiment in a stable order of common life.

(2) This brings us to another and an equally serious misunderstanding often found in conjunction with depreciation of religious forms; I refer to the identification of living religion with mystical experience. The early Quakers, some of whom were genuine mystics, fell into this error; and it dominates Bergson's recent study of religion in Les Deux Sources.25 Religion, in Bergson's view, is either static, the product of the fabulatory function of intelligence, operating as a correction against its own disintegrating power; or dynamic, when the privileged soul reverts in love and mystic union to God, the primal fount of life; or a hybrid fusion of the two, due to the attraction exercised by the great mystics over the minds and behaviour of ordinary men. With Bergson's drastic relegation of static religion to the infra-intellectual plane we are not here concerned. But in his restriction of dynamic religion to what he regards as the suprarational experience of the mystic, he is voicing an opinion very prevalent—and not merely among soidisant anti-intellectualists—at the present day. It is, I am sure, prejudicial to an understanding of religious experience. Not all living religion is mystical; nor is all mysticism religious. The mysticism of the Buddha, for instance, seems to have been purely ethical, and compatible with the rejection both of religion and metaphysics; while in Plotinus, as in many also of the Indian mystics, mysticism is the consummation of philosophy rather than of religion. The artist, too, may have æsthetic experience that is genuinely mystical. And we are all familiar with the natural mysticism of Wordsworth or Richard Jefferies or A. E. Russell.26 Conversely, many of the leaders of religion have been prophets rather than mystics.27 The Hebrew prophets and Mahomet spring at once to mind; these had their visions indeed, but visions, as the great Christian mystics are constantly reminding us, are accidental, not essential, to mystical intuition.28 St. Paul had mystical experience; who can doubt it? But it would be a misnomer to confine his rich and varied religious life under the rubric of mysticism. The same is true of the Founder of Christianity, whose mission on earth was rather in the line of the prophets. So, again, when we consider religion in the lives of its more ordinary adherents, we find many who walk humbly with their God, worshipping him in pureness of heart, who yet have no mystical vocation. The mystic way is open to all, but all are not called to follow it; the higher stages of “infused contemplation” demand a prolonged spiritual discipline rarely compatible with the conditions of service in the world.29 Mysticism, in short, when religious, is a specific mode of religious experience; and it could be wished that those who use the term so readily would do so with a grasp of its proper meaning. Many who question the truth of religion are willing to allow emotional value to mystical experience. But emotional excitement is precisely what the religious mystic most distrusts and is most anxious to repress; his claim is to a direct perception of God, purified alike from imagery and concepts, and regarded as “an enlargement and intensification of intellectual activity”.30 The vision is a form of knowing and reveals truth. But it is not the only path to knowledge of God, who is known in religious experience both as transcendent and as immanent. Mysticism stresses the immanence, the intimate communion with the Spirit of God present within the soul. Hence its close affinity with metaphysics. The ontological argument is implicit, and often explicit, in the utterances of the mystic. His favourite metaphor is the Platonic term “participation”. The Christian mystic has to lean with all his strength on the teaching of the Church that the direct vision of God's essence is denied to man in this present life, and that even in Paradise only communion, not union, is vouchsafed to redeemed spirits, in order to avoid the facilis descensus into pantheism. Hindu mysticism welcomes the goal of absorption in the Absolute. All this is a far cry from the prophet's experience of a Deus absconditus, whose “ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts”, and whose call to service is met by the despairing answer: “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”31 Yet both responses, Of mystic and of prophet, are integral to religious experience.


But I must press on to what is my main object in these introductory remarks upon religion—viz., to point its distinction from morality.32 Only when this is understood, can we profitably consider the paths that lead respectively from morality to religion and from religion to morality. Many of those who treat of their relationship are, I think, too apt to blur the distinction at the outset. Even Professor Taylor, who normally keeps it clearly in view, lapses into this confusion; as when, in dealing with moral experience, he discusses what he calls the ’ethical“ idea of sin.33 The point is a crucial one, and deserves closer consideration. “In many generally excellent moral treatises,” he complains, “the very word sin never occurs, and the notion of sinfulness, or wickedness, is represented as a distinctly theological supplementation to, if not a theological distortion of, the plain facts of the moral life.” And he regrets that “The contrition which makes itself heard in the penitential Psalms seems almost unknown to ‘philosophical’ ethics”. A little farther on, he declares openly: “It is not, so far as I can see, theology which has contaminated Ethics with the notion of sin; it is morality which has brought the notion into theology”. On the contrary, I contend that it is religion which has brought the notion into theology. Of course, this involves no “distortion” of morality; but rather “supplementation”; or, better still, since the passage from morality to religion is not by external accretion, a transmutation of moral experience on a higher plane of thought and conduct. I do not question—far from it—that morality points beyond morality to religion. But sin is a religious idea, and implies an offence against God, as in the passage I have just quoted from Isaiah. For the purely moral consciousness there is only vice. Moral philosophers are quite within their rights in eschewing the language of the penitential Psalms. The confusion between vice and sin is not remedied, but worsened, by the use of the word“guilt”. With Professor Taylor's analysis of the idea of guilt in the same chapter, I am in entire accord. He discovers in it five characteristics: (1) self-condemnation, (2) indelibility, (3) illdesert, calling for punishment, (4) the sense of pollution, and (5) personal treason against a personal and living, God. Of these characteristics, it seems to me that the first and third—self-condemnation and the recognition of ill-desert—alone are properly ethical. The second and fourth—indelibility and the sense of pollution—are on, if not across, the border-line; while the fifth—offence against God—falls wholly within the province of religion. If the consciousness of guilt be taken as a specifically ethical phenomenon, it is a simple matter to formulate with its help an argument from Morality to theism. But in fact religious experience has already been invoked to mediate the inference.

The distinction between religion and morality is threefold. (I) Religion implies worship, and worship in turn implies personal communion with an object transcendent of man and nature. I am thinking of the higher forms of religion, in which these implications are explicitly developed by reflective thought. “The history of religions,” says a living philosopher, “may be said to be just religion progressively defining itself … and the whole trend of its evolution has been towards a belief in God as one and not many, manifesting Himself both in nature and to the mind of man, yet revealing Himself most completely to souls of large spiritual compass and of strenuous moral power.”34 Such an object of worship is “supernatural”, not in the dualistic meaning of that precarious term, but in the sense that God's being is above and beyond the process of spatio-temporal events and their laws of antecedence and sequence, as interpreted on the principles of the natural sciences. fit using the phrase “personal communion”, I avoid designedly the ascription of personality to God in his self-contained transcendent nature. The Jew, the Mohammedan and the Unitarian would probably answer this vexed question in the affirmative; Catholic Christianity has always confined itself to the assertion of personality within the divine unity.35 But all the higher religions would, I think, hold it essential to their faith that God should enter into personal relationship with man. The possibility of prayer and of response to prayer furnishes a simple criterion. Neither the Absolute of metaphysics nor the Platonic Form of Good would satisfy this requirement.

Now, morality is possible apart, not only from the belief in and worship of God, but even from any recognition of an other-worldly reality. A man may live virtuously and do his duty within the cadres of a historical human society. He may say with perfect consistency as a moral agent: “Here or nowhere is my America”. Such, for instance, was the belief of Condorcet, Bentham and a host of others in the so-called age of rational enlightenment. To take a recent example, we find Mr. Joseph advocating the view that the determining principle of morality is a form of social life, realizable historically as a common good in the experience of the members of a human community. True, in his closing page, he voices the need for “a good absolute”, unrestricted by the bounds of what Bergson calls a closed society.36 But the aspiration is manifestly a counsel of perfection, or rather, a confession of despair. Of course, it has not always been thus; the doctrine of Buddha, as we have noted, was at once wholly ethical and wholly other-worldly, and the like holds, in large measure, of Stoicism. In modern times, Kant's conception of a supersensible order above and behind phenomena was grounded chiefly on his analysis of the moral consciousness. In this I believe Kant to have been right; as we shall see later, morality, so far from being self-explanatory as morality, points beyond its borders to metaphysics and to religion. But it is a just criticism to say that Kant failed to draw the distinction between morality and religion with a firm hand. Kant's religion, indeed, was morality; “the moral law,” he wrote in the Opus Postumum, “is God”. It is significant that, while he spoke of the moral law as awe-inspiring and an object of reverence, he confessed, not without a certain pride of self-sufficiency, that a self-respecting moral agent would feel shame to be seen upon his knees. Worship is not really possible within the limits of pure morality, for it implies an object loftier than the noblest of abstractions, loftier even than the moral law. It follows that a man may be in a real sense moral without being religious, and also, in a real sense, religious despite his failure to satisfy the non-religious requirements of morality. Moreover, religion and morality may be, and often are, at variance; and this not only in the case of great religious reformers, but in the lives of ordinary men.

Secondly (2), while the essence of morality lies in praxis, that of religion lies in theoria. Religion, of course, is not merely theoretical; as we shall see later, it gives its sanction to morality, and in doing so enriches and transforms it. Moreover, religion as a way of life prescribes its own praxis, beyond the requirements of morality; in that it enjoins specific religious observances and acts of worship, requires obedience to the divine will, and rouses in the worshipper a desire for self-discipline, to purify him for communion with God. Even the life of the contemplative is no mere exercise of meditation on things divine; it is a life of active prayer for the spiritual needs of mankind. But religious praxis is Secondary and instrumental, not an end in itself. Religion has its source and its goal in knowledge. From the outset, worship is conditioned by the recognition of the presence of its object, God. “Truly God is in this place.” And, at long last, it looks forward with unwavering assurance to the consummation of that imperfect insight, in an intellectual vision wherein God shall be revealed “face to face”. In that knowledge, desire is quieted in fruition, and the pressure of moral obligation annulled in spontaneity of love. Between the two extremes, man's advance on his spiritual pilgrimage, his militia in via, is marked at every stage by growth in Cognitive apprehension of the divine nature and of God's wilt for man. Emotion and volition have their place in religious experience, but as the fruit, and for the sake, of knowledge. Of the view that religious experience is merely emotional, I have already spoken; it is hardly likely to find favour with those who think. For the Logical Positivists, it is simply an easy device for ruling religion, together with art and metaphysics, out of court. But many serious thinkers have treated religion as a mode of Practice. When it is so regarded, it is bound in the event to suffer violence. Is not the truth of this borne in upon us to-day? The Totalitarian States, be they Communist or Fascist, whether they be hostile to all religion or prescribe the cult of a racial deity—of Wotan and Valhalla—proclaim their gospels with religious zeal and propagate them by the historic instruments of religious intolerance. Their end is purely practical, the secular triumph of a nation, race or class; and all the agencies of civilization—art science, morality and religion—are pressed into its service. No one feels ajar when hidden to use every human activity for the glory of God. It is the subordination of liberty and truth to a practical interest, one moreover that is this-worldly and political, that is fatal alike to religion and to reason. Even morality goes by the board, for all that it is a form of practical experience, the moment that the political welfare of a community replaces the conscience of the individual as the arbiter of right and wrong. The issue is as Plato pictured it in the Republic, when the self-assertive element in human nature—what he called το θυμοειδεσ—, an element present to some degree even in those least qualified for rulership, shakes off its allegiance to the rational principle of truth and justice, and lords it as sovereign over society. Its rule inevitably issues in the tyranny of might over right. No religion that is true to its vocation can tolerate the subordination of truth to practical interests. It must ever repel with contempt the compromise which philosophy is prone to offer, of acquiescence in the “practical” truth of its doctrines. It is more than doubtful whether the phrase “practical truth” has intelligible meaning; truth is one, not manifold, and a so-called truth that is defective in the judgement of reason is but another name for error. The religious teacher is, indeed, well aware that the full and final truth about God and his relation to the world and man exceeds the stretch of the human intellect, and that much in the content of his beliefs is due to revelation. But what is revealed must never be held to be intrinsically irrational. To ignore the claim of reason means for any religion a sure and speedy death.

Further, religion implies belief in the existential reality of its object, God. Its knowledge is not of an ideal, but of a fact. Both Spinoza and Bradley, while interpreting religion as a mode of practical experience, allow to it this modicum of cognition which is foreign to morality. The distinction of ideal and real, which constitutes an unsolved problem for ethics, is transcended in religion. How this is so will be discussed later.37 Our present point is merely that religion stakes its all on the truth of the belief in God. If that claim to knowledge should prove illusory, religion is robbed of the foundation on which it stands.

Religion, then, is to be distinguished from morality, in that its activity is theoretic, and the object of its theoria is God. But there is yet (3) a third ground of distinction, in that the religious life, on its practical side, is inspired by a specific motive, the love of God. This motive has its source in the knowledge of God, and acts as an informing principle of man's whole conduct; so that even moral duties, when performed in the temper of religion, undergo a subtle and significant transformation. Differences of motive give rise not only, within the sphere of ethics, to the distinction of moral action from action directed towards good, but also to the distinction between both those types of ethical conduct on the one hand and the conduct characteristic of religion on the other.


The distinction between religion and morality carries with it an important corollary. Religion is much more intimately related to philosophy than is morality. A man may do his duty habitually throughout his life without ever being aware that there is such a thing as moral philosophy. If he be led by speculative interest to study ethics, his theoretical enquiries may prove irrelevant to his practice; they may even, as Kant feared, cloud his moral insight. Moreover, since morality is a specific form of experience and moral Philosophy a specific branch of knowledge, their relationship to one another and to other forms of experience and branches of knowledge is marked by a certain externality. With religion it is otherwise. The vision vouchsafed to the believer is, for all its immediacy, an activity of speculative reason. The experience ripens of its own nature into a knowledge which is coextensive with the universe. It cannot be confined to God, the special object of religion, as distinct from the objects of non-religious knowledge; but, since God is revealed in all being, it is bound to issue in a theocentric world-view, however crude, which implicitly embraces all being within its survey. An immediate experience, as Professor Kemp Smith has pointed out, does not mean that its object is experienced in isolation. “We never experience the Divine sheerly in and by itself: we experience the Divine solely through and in connexion with what is other than the Divine.”38 This is why religion can never depend for its credentials exclusively on its own experiences, but must seek confirmation of its faith over the whole domain of knowledge. Its primary intuitions are never self-sufficient, but provoke criticism and justification at the bar of reason. It is fashionable, in these latter days, to decry what is called “intellectualism” in our thinking about religion, and to appeal to religious experience as the guarantee of its own truth. The appeal carries great weight; for religious experience, especially in the life of corporate communities, is austerely self-critical, and subjects its intuitions to close scrutiny before endorsing their validity. In any case, it is not by the way of dialectic that God has willed to bring salvation to his people. The traditional arguments need, all of them, supplementation by experiential evidence, if they are to carry conviction. Nay more, their own claims avowedly rest on a basis of experience. Of this, more later; my point at the moment is rather that religious experience, being from the outset unrestricted by departmental limitations, itself calls for interpretation by philosophy. As Dr. Whitehead has observed, “every great religious movement was accompanied by a noble rationalistic justification”.39 It is surely significant that only those who are capable of rational thinking are capable either of morality or of religion. In thus maintaining that religion is an activity of reason, I use the term “reason”, in its ancient and proper breadth of meaning, to cover intuitive as well as discursive thinking, as the equivalent of νους in Plato and Aristotle, and of intellectus in Aquinas. Reason, thus understood, is active on all levels of religious experience; the logical processes of “rationalization” do but unfold explicitly the implications present from the outset. Hence the continuity of religious experience with theology and the philosophy of religion is unbroken. Hence, again, the truth of religion and that of metaphysics are not two, but one. The severance, often but too manifest when they face one another in the gate, is due to the limitations of man's finite intellect in its endeavour after final truth. The goal common to both, however remote it may seem from actual achievement, is a religious philosophy, for which is the voice of reason, and reason the voice of him who alone can bridge the gulf between the secular and the religious, the natural and the supernatural, the human and the divine. Religion cannot acquiesce any more than philosophy in a superrational, in other words, a non-rational revelation, or in an irreconcilable dualism of faith and reason. Its watchword to-day as in the days of Anselm and Augustine, is Credo ut intelligam, “I believe in order that I may understand”.

  • 1.

    Prof. Sorley's lectures were delivered in 1914–15, Prof. Taylor's in 1926–28.

  • 2.

    A clear grasp of this distinction is in essential pre-requisite of the synthesis which it is the object of this book to establish. In the discussions that followed the delivery of these lectures at St. Andrews, I found that, while some of my critics were inclined to exclude religion from the sphere of rational activity and to extend the moral life so as to cover much of what seemed to me to be religion, others stretched the meaning of religion to include the whole field of moral conduct. Morality, they held, was throughout implicitly religious. It is true, indeed, that grace knows no limits, and that it perfects, and does not contradict, nature. But the distinction, though relative, must be preserved. To regard thinking men of high intellectual competence and unquestioned moral integrity who explicitly reject the belief in God—and there are many such—as virtually religious despite their conviction of the contrary; this is surely to confuse the issue at the outset. We must remember Plato's warning against jumping overhastily to principles of unification, to the neglect of intermediate differences. To give full weight to relative distinctions is one of the chief marks that differentiate philosophical from unphilosophical thinking.

  • 3.

    Hence philosophers like Adam Smith, and in our own day Prof. Alexander, who appeal to the “impartial spectator” or to the “standardized man” as the ethical measure, naturally give priority to the concept of good over that of duty. Compare Aristotle's appeal to the judgement of the φρονιμος

  • 4.

    Utilitarianism, ch. II, pp. 26, 27 (ed. 1901), and note.

  • 5.

    Mind, N.S. 81 (Jan. 1912), pp. 26–30; cf. Prichard's Inaugural Lecture on Duty and Interest, pp. 24–25.

  • 6.

    Hume, Treatise, on Morals, Part II, Sect. 1.

  • 7.

    The quotation is from a letter to the author.

  • 8.

    See Mackenzie, Manuel of Ethics, p. 110. He has, of course, done what was legally obligatory, but this is not the point. if he acts thus from the motive of duty, accompanied by feelings of resentment, we have either a case of mixed motives affecting the, morality of the action, or else, if the resentment is inoperative—;i.e., is not a motive—the act is a right act. We disapprove the accompanying resentment because it is normally liable to operate and become determinate in wrong conduct. Actions motived by love of the good will be considered later, when it will be seen that the fact that they lie outside the moral field in no way derogates from their goodness.

  • 9.

    This is so with Sir D. Ross's “Prima facie obligations”, referred to below. It holds also of motives when taken, as by Martineau, in abstraction from acts. Reverence, for example, which is placed highest in Martineau's scale, perhaps always becomes determinate in right actions.

  • 10.
    I add two further testimonies to the truth of my position. (1) Richard Price (Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals, ed. 1758, P 78–80), after defining “action” to mean “not the bare external effect, or event produced; but the ultimate principle or rule of conduct, or the determination of a reasonable being, considered as accompany'd with, and arising from, the perception of some motives, and intended for some end”, continues with these words: “according to this sense of the word action, whenever the principle in conformity to which we act, or the thing ultimately intended, is different, the action is different, though the steps pursued, or the external effects produced, may be exactly the same.… The external effect, or event, or, in other words, the matter of the action, is indeed the same; but nothing is plainer than that actions materially the same may be not only different, but opposite, according to the various ends aimed at, or principles of morality with which the matter of them is connected; otherwise, cruel and beneficent actions might he the same, as when, by the same steps, a man designedly saves or rums his country.”

    (2) The second quotation is from a review by Prof. Taylor of Prof. L. A. Reid's Creative Morality (Mind, NO. 185, Jan. 1938, p. 66). “It is the emptiest of all abstractions to talk, for example, of such an abstraction as ‘jealousy’ as being the motive for a specific crime. It would be truer to say, if we are trying to distinguish, for example, between Othello's intention and his motive, that his intention was to kill Desdemona, his motive was not bare jealousy, but jealousy—if it can be called that at all—of Desdemona in respect of her relations with Cassio. And even that statement is too much of an abstraction to do justice to the situation. It leaves out of consideration the morally important point that what, more than anything else, moved Othello—or what he believed to be moving him—was a horror at the supposed moral pollution hidden under Desdemona's appearance of purity, which an ‘injured husband’ has to be a man of Othello's stamp to feel. His thought was not merely that ‘she has defiled my bed with Cassio’ but that ‘she is a foul blot on God's creation’. If we take care to avoid false abstraction in thinking about motives, we shall find, I believe, that when we take the whole of a concrete intention into account, what we mean by the underlying motive is the ‘ultimate intention’, and that this must be thought of, not as the force which ‘drives’ the proximate intention, but as the ‘form’ embodied in it.”

    Thus it is highly precarious, in considering any serious policy of action, to split up the intention into that part which is motive and that part which is not. See later (ch. III) on the inapplicability of the category of end and means to moral action. The motive colours and informs the whole intention. The same error, of splitting up the intention into isolable moments, gives rise to the objection, raised by Sir D. Ross and others, that to include the motive in the action judged gives rise to an indefinite regress. This objection has been answered by Mr. Joseph (Some Problems in Ethics, pp. 54 ff.), who urges (p 38) against Prof. Prichard that “no act exists but in the doing of it, and in the doing of it there is a motive; and you cannot separate the doing of it from the motive without substituting for action in the moral sense, action in the physical, mere movements of bodies.”

  • 11.

    Quoted from the review of Ross's The Right and the Good by Mr. Richard Robinson in the International Journal of Ethics, Vol. XLI, No. 3, April, 1931, p. 349.

  • 12.

    In moral action, the question of calling a new motive into exercise cannot arise; for consciousness of duty is part of every man's nature as a moral being. The moral motive is there already. The difficulty is to secure its prevalence over inclination.

  • 13.

    The Right and the Good, p. 42. He is led to the amazing conclusion that if, after I have posted back and registered a borrowed book to its owner, it is lost or destroyed during the postal transit, I have not done what I ought to have done. I can only be said to have discharged my obligation if he actually receives the book in his hands. But what if he have died suddenly an hour before? Cf. the same writer's article on “The Nature of Morally Good Action” (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 1929): “The notion of the morally good must be sharply distinguished from that of the right. It is only the doing of certain things, irrespective of the motive from which they are done, that is right. It is only the doing of certain things from certain motives that is morally good. This distinction, once we have reached it, is so clear as not to need proof. A right act, merely as such, has no value in itself.” What to Sir D. Ross appears self-evident is, I fear, to me a monstrous paradox.

  • 14.

    See Prof. Dawes Hicks’ Hibbert lectures on The Philosophical Bases of Theism, ch. III, esp. pp. 99, 100. “It appears to me an error to describe a rudimentary state of experiencing as coming under any one of the familiar rubrics—knowing, feeling, or willing.… What I think we are entitled to postulate, so far as the rudimentary components of mind are concerned, is that, while such components would be wrongly designated by any one of these general terms, they contain in themselves the roots from which the three diverging stems take their rise.… Even the most rudimentary mental occurrences would appear to involve an act of apprehending—crude, chaotic, though it may be; and every act of apprehending, even the crudest, implies, so far as I can see, the elementary functions of discriminating and comparing. I can find no means of realizing what a state of experiencing, can be which does not involve these simpler functions, functions which in their more developed form are fundamental in conceptual thinking.”

  • 15.

    See Cook Wilson, Statement and Inference, II, p. 856 (§577).

  • 16.

    Grundlegung, Sect. I (E.T., Abbott, p. 20).

  • 17.

    Quoted by Leslie Stephen, English Utilitarians, II, p. 34.

  • 18.

    As is made clear by Mr. Joseph, op. cit., ch. I.

  • 19.

    P. 253; cf. pp. 242–243, 251.

  • 20.

    Rep. 580D.

  • 21.

    The ambiguity in the use of the term “reason” is of long standing. Medieval thinkers subordinated ratio to intellectus (= νους), and Spinoza followed their example in placing scientia intuitiva above ratio in his threefold scheme of knowledge. Verunft, as the higher faculty, corresponds to intellectus, verstand to ratio. Dilthey's use of the word verstehen to denote the highest activity of the mind has helped to make confusion worse confounded in recent thought.

  • 22.

    The attempt to start with a logical definition of religion is bound to prove abortive. To state what is common to all instances religion would miss the essence of the definiendum. A definition, to be adequate, would have to come at the close of the enquiry; and religious experience knows no finality. See the late Prof. Bowman's Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, I, pp. 4–5, 54 ff., especially the note on p. 54 in criticism of Durkheim. For the same reason, its more primitive expressions must always be interpreted in the light of the highest, i.e., the most comprehensive and coherent, religions that we know. Moreover, each of these—Christians, Judaism, Mohammedanism, or the various religious faiths of India and the Far Fast—must be taken in its entirety , as a relatively unified system of life and doctrine. Sacraments, or the aspiration after Nirvana, are as essential to the religions that profess them as are the beliefs in God, freedom and immortality.

  • 23.

    Pensées (ed. Brunschvicg), 252, 249. By the terms l'automate, la machine, Pascal means the body, which presents obstacles to reflection and to the spirit, and therefore stands in need of the appropriate discipline. As M. Brunschvicg explains, in his notes on Pensées 246 and 252, Pascal's thought and language are influenced by the Cartesian dualism of mental and bodily substance and by Descartes’ interpretation of the human body in purely physiological (i.e., physical and mechanical) terms. But this adherence to an erroneous doctrine does not affect the truth of the principle that a relatively mechanical training of the body is essential to men's religious life in via.

  • 24.

    Adventures of Ideas, pp. 113 ff.

  • 25.

    See below, Appendix II on Bergson. Had the Quakers, for instance, but realized this truth and enlisted in the service of religion the habits of routine and the genius for organization that mark their conduct of worldly business, who can measure the spiritual obligation under which they would have placed the modern world? A similar criticism holds against Mr. Aldous Huxley's non-institutional religion of detachment in Ends and Means.

  • 26.

    The following extract from one of Mary Webb's books illustrates this point. “Somewhere among the beams of the attic was a wild bees’ nest and you could hear them making a sleepy soft murmuring, and morning and evening you could watch them going in a line to the mere for water. So, it being very still there,—there came to me, I cannot tell whence, a most powerful sweetness that had never come to me before. It was not religious, like the goodness of a text heard at a preaching. It was beyond that. It was as if some creature made all of light had come on a sudden from a long way off and nestled in my bosom.… And even now, when Parson says ‘it was the power of the Lord working in you’, I'm not sure in my own mind. For there was nought in it of churches nor of folks praying or praising, sinning or repenting. It had to do with such things as bird-song and daffa-down dillies rustling and knocking their heads together in the wind.… For though it was so quiet there, it was a great miracle and it changed my life … out of nowhere suddenly came that lovely thing and nestled in my heart like a seed from the core of love.”

  • 27.

    See C. C. J. Webb, Pascal's Philosophy of Religion, ch. IV. But it is as grave an error to set, as do the contemporary advocates of a “prophetic Christianity” on the Continent, the prophetic way, of life in opposition to the mystical, in the suppose interests of divine transcendence. The immanentism of the great Christian mystics goes hand in hand with as full a recognition of transcendence as is to be found, for example, in the writings of Karl Barth. If only German theologians, in this as in many other aspects of Christian teaching, would look more constantly west-wards across the Rhine!

  • 28.

    See Inge: Christian Mysticism, pp. 13–19 and notes. He quotes S. Bonaventura on visions, “Nee faciunt sanctum nee ostendunt: alioquin Balaam sanctus esset, et asina, quæ vidit Angelum.” “Visions,” said St. John of the Cross, “are childish toys.”

  • 29.

    See Dom Cuthbert Butler, Western Mysticism (Afterthoughts, pp. 1xxix ff.).

  • 30.

    See Dom Cuthbert Butler, Western Mysticism (Afterthoughts, p. 1xxiii) (quotation from Père Joseph Maréchal).

  • 31.

    Isaiah vi. 5.

  • 32.

    The distinction will be further developed in later chapters. See also Towards a Religious Philosophy, ch. IX.

  • 33.

    Faith of a Moralist, 1, pp. 163 ff. Kierkegaard rightly held that the experience of penitence marks the point of transition from morality to religion. See Mackintosh, Types of Modern Theory, pp. 231–232. “When Fichte said that he had ‘no time or penitence’, he betrayed the typically ethical temper. From the point of view of authentic moral idealism, penitence is both a waste of time and a menace to energetic action.”

  • 34.

    Dawes Hicks, op. cit., P. 36.

  • 35.

    See C. C. J. Webb, God and Personality, Sect. III. But, as M. Maritain shows (Les Dergés de Savoir, pp. 457 ff. and esp. Annexe IV), Aquinas comes very near to ascribing personality to God as unity. He holds that the notion of person signifies what is most perfect in all nature (S.Th., 1, 27, 3).

  • 36.

    Some Problems, pp. 134–135. On Bergson, see below, Appendix II.

  • 37.

    See below, ch. VI.

  • 38.

    Hertz Lecture (1931) on Is Divine Existence Credible?, p. 22 (in Proc. Brit. Acad., vol. xvii).

  • 39.

    Adventures of Ideas, p. 27. He adds as an illustration that “Methodism, which can appeal to no great intellectual construction explanatory of its modes of understanding” was “the first decisive landmark indicating the widening chasm between the theological tradition and the modern intellectual world”.