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denote all primitive knowledge it is true that faith precedes intelligence or reflective knowledge. But only in this sense is the maxim admissible as true.
Thus understood, the maxim cannot be assumed to mean that intuition, because it is called belief, is less really knowledge than the intelligence elaborated by reflective thought. Since all the objects of thought and all the principles which regulate thinking are given in intuition and all inference is from the known to the previously unknown, thought can never lift itself to a certainty and reality of knowledge above that of intuition, but can reach only a greater clearness, definiteness and comprehensiveness of systematic knowledge. There can be no more stability in the superstructure, however high, than in the foundation. Intuitive knowledge and reflective do not differ as knowledge, but only in the fact that the former of the two is self-evident knowledge, the latter is the result of a process of thought. Whether the names faith or belief shall be given to the former instead of or in addition to the names intuitive, or primitive or spontaneous knowledge, is not a question of psychological fact, but of nomenclature. One obvious objection is that, if the name knowledge is withheld from intuition and memory and given only to reflective intelligence, the impression must be made that the latter alone is knowledge and the former is not. In fact this impression is widely spread.
But we cannot change a common use of language. Therefore in this application of the terms faith and belief, they should be used interchangeably with intuitive, self-evident, primitive knowledge and similar designations; thus showing that they mean nothing less than knowledge and are applied alike to primitive knowledge in every form, whether presentative or representative, whether the intuition of the outward world, or of ourselves in our mental operations, or of universal principles, or of the existence of absolute unconditioned being.
It follows that the maxim that faith precedes intelligence has no peculiar application to religious knowledge. This like all other knowledge begins as primitive, implicit, spontaneous knowledge, and is elaborated into clear, definite and systematic knowledge. This fact does not disparage the reality of religious knowledge any more than of all other knowledge; for all knowledge begins in the same way. Physical science begins in faith as really as theology. If we choose to call the primitive, implicit religious knowledge faith, our giving it that name does not change its character as knowledge, nor distinguish it as different in this respect from other knowledge.
2. The recognition of a faith-faculty as the distinctive organ of religious knowledge is inadmissible.
The very conception of a “faculty” is false and misleading. The mind no more has faculties than oxygen or electricity. The mind in its indivisible oneness reveals itself in acts and processes which we can note and classify. From this misconception of the mind as divided into faculties the doctrine of a faith-faculty derives its chief significance. It is usually urged by persons who already admit that God is not properly an object of knowledge and who grasp at a faith-faculty whereby to retain their hold of him in an indeterminate and uncertain belief.
If, however, the advocate of a faith-faculty has divested himself of these misconceptions and uses the word faculty merely as a convenient name for the mind as it manifests itself in a certain class of operations, still there is no place for a faith-faculty. For intuition presentative and rational, includes all primitive and self-evident knowledge; and if the knowledge of God is neither primitive nor reflective knowledge, but a faith distinguished from both, then again it is excluded from knowledge properly so called and stands by itself as a belief that is not knowledge. Accordingly, this belief which arises from the faithfaculty is often divorced from the intellect and avowedly grounded in feeling alone. But beaten on by the fierce intellectual light of the present time religious belief cannot live if avowedly it is cut off from the intellect and has not its roots in reason. Such a belief concedes every thing to the skeptic who admits that religious sentiments are constitutional to man and that man may properly shape an object for them in the imagination varying with the culture of each age; but who strenuously refuses it any place in the sphere of the intellect and of knowledge. Thus the doctrine of the faith-faculty acknowledges an unresolvable antithesis of reason and faith. On the contrary, the demand of the age and the work imperative on theism is to demonstrate the synthesis of faith and reason. This can be done only by showing that faith in God is itself the act of reason in the highest manifestation of its rational power. And it may also be shown that human reason must have the knowledge of reason absolute and supreme in order to maintain its own rational power to know.
As man knows himself rational, so he knows himself religious. As he knows himself in contact with the external world through sense, so he knows himself in contact with God through his spiritual constitution. In the normal unfolding of his own constitution he finds himself in the presence of absolute being. In the normal unfolding of his consciousness of himself he finds in himself the consciousness of God. The primitive knowledge of the Absolute is a part of his primitive knowledge through intuition. All primitive knowledge is more or less mixed with feeling; there is primitive knowledge in all feeling. But this is not peculiar to religious knowledge; it is equally true of all knowledge.
The denial of a special faith-faculty as the organ of religious belief, and the identification of religious belief with primitive knowledge does not deny the dependence of our knowledge of God on the awakening of the spiritual life by the testimony of the Holy Spirit, or by any influences which quicken and illuminate the human mind; nor does it deny the knowledge of God in experience whereby we acquaint ourselves with him and are at peace. However this knowledge is originated it must follow the law of all knowing; it must begin as primitive, implicit, unelaborated knowledge, merged in the religious experience and not at first clearly apprehended in consciousness, nor discriminated, defined and integrated in a system. The defenders of Christian theism, who admit that theism rests on a faith which is not knowledge, are misled by a false theory of knowledge and surrender the very citadel of their defences. The late Professor T. H. Green, of Oxford, truly said: “Under different relations and in different modes of itself, reason is the source alike of faith and knowledge.”... “Christianity is cheaply honored when it is made exceptional; God is not wisely trusted when declared unintelligible.
Such honor rooted in dishonor stands;
Such faith unfaithful makes us falsely true.' God is forever reason; and his communication, his revelation is of Reason.” The empirical knowledge of nature rests on faith in the same sense in which theism rests on faith.
3. The word faith has been used with various meanings; and this is a reason why, so far as possible, we should avoid using it as a synonym for intuition or primitive knowledge. It is used to denote trust which is the condition of justification ; also to denote belief of testimony on the authority of the witness; also belief on the authority of the Church or of divine revelation. The maxim “ crede ut intelligas” has as many different meanings, each of special application, and each irrelevant to the general question which we are considering as to what precedes reflective knowledge in general or reflective religious knowledge in particular. Hence has arisen great confusion in the discussion of the subject. Thus Hamilton confuses himself. After naming many philosophers, ancient and modern, who have used the words belief or faith to denote“ The original warrants of cognition,” that is, the principles of rational intuition, he adds the following: “ St. Augustine accurately says, “We know what rests on reason ; we believe what rests on authority.' But reason itself must rest at last on authority; for the original data of reason do not rest on reason, but are necessarily accepted by reason on the authority of what is beyond itself. ... Thus we must philosophically admit that belief is the primary condition of reason, and not reason the ultimate ground of belief. We are compelled to surrender the proud • Intellige ut oredas’ of Abelard, to content ourselves with the humble Crede ut intelligas’ of Anselm.”* The quotation is entirely irrelevant, for Augustine is speaking of the authority of the Church. The same is true of Anselm and Abelard. The doctrine early appeared that the church had authority to declare the mind of the Spirit and the meaning of the word of God. The “crede ut intelligas” then meant, Believe implicitly what the church teaches without personal investigation and conviction of its truth. The intelligence of reflective thought following the belief was merely a reverent ascertaining of what the church meant. Abelard asserted the right to investigate the truth of the doctrine of the church before believing it. It is curious to note the special pleading by which Hamilton endeavors to apply this utterly irrelevant definition to “ the original warrants of cognition.” · At the Reformation the Bible as the word of God, accredited and illuminated by the testimony of the Spirit, was recognized, instead of the church, as the authoritative rule of faith and practice. But the testimony of the Spirit gradually receded in the Protestant theological thinking until the letter of the scripture, supposed according to an arid theory of verbal inspiration to be itself the testimony of the Spirit, was recognized as the authoritative rule of faith and practice, and thus became the formal principle of Protestantism. Belief in this was demanded as pre-requisite to intelligent investigation of Christian truth.
It is evident that these special applications and peculiar meanings of the maxim are entirely irrelevant to questions concerning the relation of reflective knowledge to primitive, the true conception and proper designation of primitive knowledge, and the reality of religious knowledge and its legitimate place in the circle of human intelligence.
4. Knowledge through the belief of testimony is reflective knowledge because it is attained by the interpretation of symbols. It can never be intuitive or primitive knowledge. It may be said, however, that man is constituted susceptible of receiving knowledge by testimony. A man cannot be defined from his individual personality alone. He is a member of a race which is constantly in contact with him and acting on him at many points; and he is constituted susceptible of receiving these influences. Only as this fact, complemental to his personality, is recognized can man be understood. His susceptibility of receiving knowledge through testimony is one of these points of contact with the race. The child believes everything. We do not
* Reid's Works: Hamilton's Ed. Note A, page 760.
learn to believe but to disbelieve. The consciousness of the race always in contact with the individual seems to infuse itself into his individual consciousness and enlarge it to a world-wide knowledge. In this way the knowledge of past generations is communicated to the living and knowledge is continually enlarged. Principles and laws and science get incorporated into customs, institutions and civilizations and are thus perpetuated. Were it not for this power of participating in the consciousness of the race, men would remain through all time at the lowest grade of savagery; or rather man could not have continued to exist on the earth. Testimony, in its broadest sense as denoting all communication of knowledge from man to man, is an important medium through which knowledge already elaborated by others is communicated to us and received in its elaborated form.
V. Reflection and experience become a sort of spontaneous knowledge in common sense. The Philosophy of Reid is called the philosophy of common sense. The phrase here means the sensus communis of mankind, and refers to the principles believed or at least acted on by all mankind. Thus used“ common sense” is essentially the same with intuition. There is also a popular and homely use of the word in which it has a different meaning. This Locke speaks of as “large roundabout common sense.” This is continually appealed to as a source of knowledge, especially in the practical direction of conduct. It is a knowledge by which a man judges what action is wise, while unable to tell why he believes it to be so. I suppose it to be the result of the experience and reflection of life, which has inwoven itself into the texture of knowledge and acts with the quickness and insight of an intuition and with the unconsciousness of an instinct. Customary action tends to become automatic. What was learned with painstaking, as speaking a language, tends to become spontaneous. What was once the slow result of thought, may come, by long experience and hereditary transmission, to act with unerring unconsciousness as an instinct. So common sense may be the past experience half sunk already into an instinct and spontaneously indicating what it has always found to be wise. It is not an intuition, since it is always possible even at the moment to think that the contrary may be true. It is not unerring. But the continual appeal to it is not unphilosophical ; and it should be noted as a source of knowledge, which can only remotely be resolved into intuition, memory and thought. 16. Relation of Reflective Thought to the Universal
Reason. The processes of reflective thought essentially imply that the universe is grounded in and is the manifestation of Reason. They thus rest on the assumption that a personal God exists.