Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/105

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Protestantism. These fossils, found unaccountably imbedded in the old man’s mind, he regarded as the evidences of an inward but supernatural revelation.

Only the quaint severity of Kant’s education and character can make intelligible to us the restraint he exercised in making supernatural postulates. All he asserted was his inscrutable moral imperative and a God to reward with the pleasures of the next world those who had been Puritans in this. But the same principle could obviously be applied to other cherished imaginations: there is no superstition which it might not justify in the eyes of men accustomed to see in that superstition the sanction of their morality. For the “practical” proofs of freedom, immortality, and Providence—of which all evidence in reason or experience had previously been denied—exceed in perfunctory sophistry anything that can be imagined. Yet this lamentable epilogue was in truth the guiding thought of the whole investigation. Nature had been proved a figment of human imagination so that, once rid of all but a mock allegiance to her facts and laws, we might be free to invent any world we chose and believe it to be absolutely real and independent of our nature. Strange prepossession, that while part of human life and mind was to be an avenue to reality and to put men in relation to external and eternal things, the whole of human life and mind should not be able to do so! Conceptions