THIS book is a sequel, or rather a companion, to Mens Creatrix, which was published in 1917. The earlier book was mainly philosophical in its aim; this is mainly theological. That is to say, I tried in Mens Creatrix first to set out a philosophic view, without any deliberate reference to Christian revelation or experience, and then to show that the Incarnation in fact supplied the one great need of philosophy. But I knew that I was moving away from philosophy and that Mens Creatrix would be my only serious attempt at the statement of a philosophical position in the usually accepted sense of the word. I always hoped, however, to follow this with a theological book which should begin where Mens Creatrix left off and work backwards from there.
The thought in this book follows that course. It is written with the Christian revelation full in view from the outset. But for purposes of exposition I have found it better to work in from the circumference to the heart of the Christian position, and then out again. I want to make it clear that this method is adopted for purposes of exposition only. I make no attempt to outline a philosophic approach to belief in God. That was done, as far as I can do it, in the former volume. Here I am trying to set out a whole view of the world and life as it appears to one mind at least from an avowedly Christian standpoint. The order employed was adopted because it was necessary to fix the meaning of certain terms before the central theme could be discussed. It has been my aim to set forth a complete outline, but it is worth while, perhaps, to point out that the greater part of the argument is independent of the particular doctrine of Value developed at the outset.
My desire to write a companion volume to Metis Creatrix was fostered by a suggestion from Bishop Gore that I should expand a footnote in that work into a treatise. The footnote in question is on page 360 and runs as follows:
' When the human mind tries to conceive the Eternal and Omniscient God, it always pictures Him as knowing all Time at a moment of Time,—as, for example, knowing now all the past and future. But the whole point of the argument is that while all Time is the object of the Eternal comprehension, the comprehending Mind is extra-temporal and therefore does not grasp it now or at any other Time, but precisely Eternally. Thus we turn the flank of Bergson's argument that Finalism is ' only inverted mechanism,' and that by means of a treatment of Time which is based on his own."
This footnote was connected in my own mind with another, which is on page 318:
" It is to be remembered that we have not the World-History without the Incarnation as one expression of the Divine Will and the Life of the Incarnate as another; for that Life is a part of History, though it reveals the principle of the whole, and it is through its occurrence in the midst of History that History is fashioned into an exposition of the principle there revealed. We have here a series which is part of another series and is yet perfectly representative of it. (Cf. the Supplementary Essay in Royce's The fPorld and the Individual.} But here the series which is contained (the Life, Death, Resurrection of Christ) only becomes representative of the series which contains it (the entire history of the world) in virtue of the influence which by occurring within the latter it is able to exercise upon it. Therefore, though Transcendence and Immanence are fused into one, the Transcendent aspect is always dominant."
Those two footnotes are a summary of what I have tried to set forth here in some detail.
I am convinced that one reason why comparatively few men of the highest ability and education are at present offering themselves for ordination is that the intellectual atmosphere is dominated by a philosophy which leaves no room for a specific Incarnation. This philosophy is not materialist or atheist; it is both spiritual and theistic; but the idea of God which it reaches is such as to preclude His ever doing anything in particular in any other sense than that in which He does everything in general. I believe that a very slight touch to the intellectual balance may make the scales incline the other way. Part of the trouble is that theologians have left the field of most general enquiry too largely to non-theological philosophers; they have tended to write either history or detailed discussion of particular doctrines. What is needed is the exposition of the Christian idea of God, life and the world, or, in other words, a Christo-centric metaphysics.
The building of such a scheme of thought out of the over-abundant intellectual material available in our generation must be the work of many minds, not of one—especially if that one is primarily occupied with administration, policy, and practical movements. My contribution must be a small one.; I hope it may lead, even by the process of its own refutation if need be, to more substantial contributions from better qualified minds.
Most of my reading and a great part of my writing for three years past has been planned with a view to this volume. The first draft of Chapter I. was written as a paper to be read at a meeting of the British Philosophical Societies in Manchester in the summer of 1922, and afterwards appeared in Mind, N.S. 124. Chapter VII. and most of Chapter XIV. were first written as lectures delivered in Manchester Cathedral, and the former was published with others of the same series by Messrs. Palmer & Sons under the title Fundamentals of the Faith. Part of Chapter III. appeared in The Pilgrim for April 1921. To all who are concerned I offer my thanks for permission to re-publish.
My thanks are also due in a special degree to Mrs. Duff, whose delightful hospitality in the Isle of Wight during successive summer holidays provided the peace of mind and body without which the book could never have been either planned or written; to the Rev. L. W. Grensted, who has read the whole in typescript and made many valuable suggestions; to Canon Raven for searching comments on the first draft of Chapter VIII.; and to Canon Quick, who has read the proofs, and to whom I owe many improvements both in the argument itself and in its expression.
MANCHESTER, June, 1924.<