Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/103

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us, sprinkling over us, as it were, the Lenten ashes of an intellectual contrition, that our thoughts are air even as our bodies are dust, momentary vehicles and products of an immortal vitality in God and in nature, which fosters and illumines us for a moment before it lapses into other forms.

Had Kant proposed to humble and concentrate into a practical faith the same natural ideas which had previously been taken for absolute knowledge, his intention would have been innocent, his conclusions wise, and his analysis free from venom and arrière-pensée. Man, because of his finite and propulsive nature and because he is a pilgrim and a traveller throughout his life, is obliged to have faith: the absent, the hidden, the eventual, is the necessary object of his concern. But what else shall his faith rest in except in what the necessary forms of his perception present to him and what the indispensable categories of his understanding help him to conceive? What possible objects are there for faith except objects of a possible experience? What else should a practical and moral philosophy concern itself with, except the governance and betterment of the real world? It is surely by using his only possible forms of perception and his inevitable categories of understanding that man may yet learn, as he has partly learned already, to live and prosper in the universe. Had Kant’s criticism amounted simply to such a confession of the tentative, practical, and hypothetical nature of human reason,