Pattison denies the truth of these formulae, — rather it seems im- plied that he believes in them, — as referred to their original his- torical place and circumstances. That the present Church of Eng- land is indeed so intolerant of " religious thought," as the passage asserts, is at least not the common opinion.
Legally, she is held by most people to be more tolerant than she ought to be, and at least as tolerant as is consistent with holding any dogmas at all. That there are narrow and intolerant men within her, is perhaps rendered more prominent in proportion to her own laxity and their consequently louder reclamations.
And undoubtedly there are kinds coursework research of " free-handling" of religious subjects, against which the faith of Church-people generally rises in protest. But with respect to these the only question is one of degree. The most liberal thinker would allow that some scepticism ought to be met by the moral coercion of an earnest counter-belief in the Church. Are people really disabled too much from preaching or printing what they please? If the Deistical and the Christian arguments are represented as almost evenly balanced, the reason lies, not in any denial of the superiority of the latter cause in itself, but in the mistaken prin- ciples upon which both alike are alleged to have pro- ceeded. And although the various theories are found fault with into which men have hitherto analysed the grounds of their belief, yet the " eternal verities" of the faith itself, and the revelation of them, are throughout assumed. The Essay is a chapter, or part of one, in Church history, written with a professedly practical object, and upon certain principles.
What lesson, then, does the writer intend us to draw from the facts he analyzes? And, lastly, what principles are implied in the sketch given of them? To " guide us through the maze of religious pre- tence by which we are now surrounded," is the prac- tical use suggested of the picture here drawn of our antecedents. We are to learn our present bearings by tracing the mental route that has actually brought us where we are. No doubt the true use, or one of them, of the study of Church history. But the Essay leaves us, nevertheless, to frame our conclusion for ourselves. The obvious remedy for the patent defects of eighteenth - century divinity in England lay in Church principles, to the revival of which indeed these defects did, historically, lead. But the results of the misuse of private judgment, which Methodism, and after- wards Evangelicalism, had only transferred from the tribunal of the common reason to that of the spiri- tual emotions, underlay the whole.
That sincerity is a legitimate substitute for truth, that the inward emotions of the individual believer supply the basis of faith, that belief is to be limited to the boun- daries of the understanding, — these and the like propositions, held under various forms and by diffe- rent schools, indicate the tone of thought, originating in coursework research the period which this Essay delineates, and con- tinuing even now, against which a profounder reli- gious movement has in good time protested. But the Essay itself may be thought perhaps to sug- gest another conclusion, and to point to a different sort of religious movement. The failure of common sense as an organ of religious inquiry is the main result APPLICATION SEEMINGLY INTENDED.
And we must needs come to the modern pages of Rogers or of Mansel to find the appropriate reply to Francis Newman or to Theodore Parker.
That there is need, then, of a new " Rationalism," and specially of an application to the altered difficulties of the time of a profounder and more critical knowledge and of the higher reason, is 360 FALSE "RATIONALISM" OF THE PRESENT DAY. And though it may be hard to see the sincerity of an attempt which, as a whole, seeks to conquer infidelity by admitting its principles and adopting its conclusions, yet one is bound to give even the extremest of the Essayists credit for at least the intention of making it. But the real thing wanted is not new Creeds, but to bring the new modes of thought into subjection to the old ones.
And which have laboured most successfully at this task, Mr. The Church does indeed want a new " Bationalism," that shall employ a higher range of faculties than the common sense of the older ra- tionalists (if they may be truly so called), and shall base itself upon a wider and more intelligent know- ledge than theirs, and shall aim at a higher and more spiritual and disinterested morality than the pruden- tial bargaining with God and with the world which satisfied them.
Really one ought to speak out about a writer whom persons of such oppo- site schools in England have at different times so strangely com- bined to idolize. If any religious and sensible man, no matter what his views so that he be a Christian, can read the passage just WHAT KIND OF " RATIONALISM" IS REALLY NEEDED. Would that the Eector of referred to without an involuntary thrill of mingled horror, pity, and contempt, I am sadly mistaken. It may sound arrogant, but the truth is greater than coursework research great men.
And I do say advisedly, that such ravings have seldom darkened counsel bywords without know- ledge since the days of the Gnostics.