Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/118

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dominion of external things no longer served directly spiritual uses. The middle-men had appeared, those spirits in whom the pursuit of the true and the practical never leads to possession of the good, but loses itself, like a river in sand, amid irrational habits and passions. He was accordingly repelled by whatever philosophy was in him, no less than by his religious prejudices, from submergence in external interests, and he could see no better way of vindicating the supremacy of moral goods than to deny the reality of matter, the finality of science, and the constructive powers of reason altogether. With honest English empiricism he saw that science had nothing absolute or sacrosanct about it, and rightly placed the value of theory in its humane uses; but the complementary truth escaped him altogether that only the free and contemplative expression of reason, of which science is a chief part, can render anything else humane, useful, or practical. He was accordingly a party man in philosophy, where partisanship is treason, and opposed the work of reason in the theoretical field, hoping thus to advance it in the moral.

Of the moral field he had, it need hardly be added, a quite childish and perfunctory conception. There the prayer-book and the catechism could solve every problem. He lacked the feeling, possessed by all large and mature minds, that there would be no intelligibility or value in things divine were they not inter-