« EelmineJätka »
THE occasion of this little volume may be found 1 in the spirit of modern discussion.
The title-Faith and Modern Thought-was chosen by the writer long before he knew that a similar subject-Christianity and Modern Thoughthad been proposed for a course of lectures in Boston, during the winter of 1875–6.
The material is composed, in part, of essays prepared for special occasions, and subsequently published in Quarterly Reviews.
If, in defence of certain positions, plain words have been employed, they are in reply to plain words employed in attack.
If it be questioned whether the spirit of the book is in too close sympathy with the spirit of the time, the author has no reply to make; if it be asserted, he has no apology to offer.
Earnest inquiry everywhere prevails. Old theories are scrutinized ; new theories are criticised.
By the best and safest thinkers, the new is not discarded because of its novelty, nor the old because of its antiquity. By the common consent of all whose judgment is worthy of consideration, truth is no less desirable for having never been refuted ; nor is error more desirable for having never been vindicated.
Now, as ever, the paramount inquiry should be for the true, the beautiful, the good. Spurious theories invented for special purposes should share the same fate, be they modern theories or ancient. The laws of thought have not changed, nor have the principles of taste, nor the sanctions of reason and conscience. Modern complaining can not annul or transform the past; modern contriving can not create or preform the future. Mere philistinism can effect nothing in either direction. Candid criticism alone can avail us. As great questions like evolution, and correlation, and descent, are not to be dismissed with prejudgment or without examination ; so, essential doctrines of religion are not to be condemned and abandoned because they seem to be disturbed by innovation.
Manly fairness and patient courage are demanded. It is not yet clear how far Science has advanced toward the solution of its own problems; nor how such solution, if reached, would affect the more re