Page:Modern Rationalism (1897).djvu/149

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Chapter VI.


Surprise is often expressed that certain writers, who seem to accept some of the most advanced Rationalistic doctrines, cling, nevertheless, to the Theistic system which modern Rationalism has, as a body, abandoned. Thus we have seen, in the first chapter, that a large section or members and divines of the Established Church have so far yielded to the dissolving forces of the age as to abandon some of the most prominent dogmas of Christianity. Instead, however, of taking up an independent position, they make a determined effort, and finally succeed in enlarging the boundaries of the Church, modifying its legislation and entirely eviscerating its formulae, and thus remain nominal members and hold high positions in the Anglican communion. The same circumstance appears in the region of philosophy. The clash of systems, and the depth to which metaphysical criticism has penetrated, have produced a general scepticism with regard to the ontological features of older schools. Yet there is a large number of thinkers who shrink from the position of avowed unbelief, and who make interesting efforts to provide a new basis for reasonable acceptance of Theism. The recent attempt of Mr. Balfour to substitute a vague and glorified authority for logical processes, and the laboured analogical reasoning of Drummond, are well-known instances.

In all these cases we have the operation of one and the same idea. Christianity has fused religion and morality so intimately that it is feared the fall of traditional religion would lead to a contemptuous disregard of the moral law, which would have very serious consequences to society. Morality has become juridical and wholly theistic, instead