Outspoken Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 301 pages of information about Outspoken Essays.

The institutionalist, however, may reply that he by no means admits the validity of Sabatier’s antithesis between religions of authority and the religion of the Spirit.  His own religion, he believes, is quite as spiritual as that of the Protestant individualist.  He may quote the fine saying of a medieval mystic that he who can see the inward in the outward is more spiritual than he who can only see the inward in the inward.  We may, indeed, be thankful that we have not to choose between two mutually exclusive types of religion.  The Quaker, whom we may take as the type of anti-institutional mysticism, has a brotherhood to which he is proud to belong, and for which he feels loyalty and affection.  And Catholicism has been rich in contemplative saints who have lived in the light of the Divine presence.  The question raised in this essay is rather of the relative importance of these two elements in the religious life, than of choosing one and rejecting the other.  I will conclude by saying that our preference of one of these types to the other will be largely determined by our attitude towards history.  I am glad to see that Professor Bosanquet, in his fine Gifford Lectures, has the courage to expose the limitations of the ‘historical method,’ now so popular.  He protests against Professor Ward’s dictum that ’the actual is wholly historical,’ as a view little better than naive realism.  History, he says, is a hybrid form of experience, incapable of any considerable degree of being or trueness.  It is a fragmentary diorama of finite life-processes seen from the outside, and very imperfectly known.  It consists largely of assigning parts in some great world-experience to particular actors—­a highly speculative enterprise.  To set these contingent and dubious constructions above the operations of pure thought and pure insight is indeed a return to the philosophy of the man in the street.  ’Social morality, art, philosophy, and religion take us far beyond the spatio-temporal externality of history; these are concrete and necessary living worlds, and in them the finite mind begins to experience something of what individuality must ultimately mean.’  Our inquiry has thus led us to the threshold of one of the fundamental problems of philosophy—­the value and reality of time.  For the institutionalist, happenings in time have a meaning and importance far greater than the mystic is willing to allow to them.  Like most other great philosophical problems, this question is largely one of temperament.  Christianity has found room for both types.  I believe, however, that the aberrations or exaggerations of institutionalism have been, and are, more dangerous, and further removed from the spirit of Christianity than those of mysticism, and that we must look to the latter type, rather than to the former, to give life to the next religious revival.

FOOTNOTES: 

     [90] Moore, Science and the Faith, Introduction.

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Outspoken Essays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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