THE CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL MOVEMENT
It has been said that in Christian times the relation of philosophy and religion may be determined by the attitude of reason toward a single matter, namely, the churchly doctrine of revelation. There are three possible relations of reason to this doctrine. First, it may be affirmed that the content of religion and theology is matter communicated to man in extraordinary fashion, truth otherwise unattainable, on which it is beyond the competence of reason to sit in judgment. We have then the two spheres arbitrarily separated. As regards their relation, theology is at first supreme. Reason is the handmaiden of faith. It is occupied in applying the principles which it receives at the hands of theology. These are the so-called Ages of Faith. Notably was this the attitude of the Middle Age. But in the long run either authoritative revelation, thus conceived, must extinguish reason altogether, or else reason must claim the whole man. After all, it is in virtue of his having some reason that man is the subject of revelation. He is continually asked to exercise his reason upon certain parts of the revelation, even by those who maintain that he must do so only within limits. It is only because there in a certain reasonableness in the conceptions of revealed religion that man has ever been able to make them his own or to find in them meaning and edification. This external relation of reason to revelation cannot continue. Nor can the encroachments of reason be met by temporary distinctions such as that between the natural and the supernatural. The antithesis to the natural is not the supernatural, but the unnatural. The antithesis to reason is not faith, but irrationality. The antithesis to human truth is not the divine truth. It is falsehood.
[Footnote 4: Seth Pringle-Pattison, The Philosophical Radicals, p. 216.]
When men have made this discovery, a revulsion carries their minds to the second position of which we spoke. This is, namely, the position of extreme denial. It is an attitude of negation toward revelation, such as prevailed in the barren and trivial rationalism of the end of the eighteenth century. The reason having been long repressed revenges itself, usurping everything. The explanation of the rise of positive