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PUBLISHERS' ADVERTISEMENT

TO

THE AMERICAN EDITION.

The work, here offered to the American public, has been received with

the most marked attention in England, and has already reached a third

edition, though but few months have clapsed since the issue of the first.

It is believed that its great merits will command for it a like attention

wherever it is known; the rare learning and metaphysical ability with

which it discusses problems, no less profound in their philosophical

nature than practical in their religious applications; the devout rever

ence for the authority of the Bible, and the truly Christian spirit with

which it is imbued, must gain for it a cherished place in the minds and

hearts of all who wish well to a sound philosophy, and a pure, and we

may add, a real, Christianity. In its more immediate aspect, it is emi

nently a work for the present times; so closely is it connected with the

higher thinking of the present generation, and so boldly and triumphantly

does it carry the Christian argument through the entire course of recent,

and especially German, speculation. But rightly viewed, these Lectures of

Mr. Mansel have a far wider scope than this; for, in unfolding his great

theme, the author aims to lay the foundations of a sound religious philos

ophy in the laws of the human mind, and in the general conditions to

which it is thereby necessarily subject in the attainment of all truth and

knowledge; his work therefore belongs, in its principles and applications, to all periods of human inquiry, and is thus invested with a universal

interest and a permanent value.

But without enlarging upon the general merits of this work, the Pub

lishers have only to mention the single change of any importance, which

it has undergone in the present reprint. This change is the translation in

the author's learned NOTES

a most valuable portion of his work - of

the numerous passages from foreign writers, Greek, Latin, French, and

German, which in the English edition appear in the original languages.

It has been thought best to translate these passages, in order to bring

them within the reach of all general readers; and it is hoped that this

proceeding will be regarded by scholars with indulgence at least, if not

with entire approval.

The translations have been made by Prof. John L. LINCOLN, of

Brown University, whose reputation as a scholar is deemed by the Pub

lishers a sufficient guaranty for the execution of the work. It has been

the translator's endeavor to reproduce the original with as much fidelity

as possible; and to make only such departures, even in the form of the

thought, as the English idiom seemed to require. The difficulties belong.

ing to the task of translating isolated passages from so many and so

different writers, will doubtless be best understood by those who are

most familiar with the languages in which they are written, and with the

abstruse subjects which they discuss.

An Index of THE AUTHORS, quoted in the work, has been also pre

pared for the American edition, which will be of great service to readers,

and will indicate the wide and various range of Mr. Mansel's studies.

BOSTON, April 20, 1859.

P R E FACE

TO

THE THIRD EDITION.

THE various Criticisms to which these Lectures have been

subjected since the publication of the last Edition, seem to call for a few explanatory remarks on the positions principally controverted. Such remarks may, it is hoped, contribute to the clearer perception of the argument in places where it has been misunderstood, and are also required in order to justify the republication, with little more than a few verbal alterations,

of the entire work in its original form.

On the whole, I have no reason to complain of my Critics.

With one or two exceptions, the tone of their observations has

been candid, liberal, and intelligent, and in some instances

more favorable than I could have ventured to expect.

An

argument so abstruse, and in some respects so controversial,

must almost inevitably call forth a considerable amount of

opposition; and such criticism is at least useful in stimulating

further inquiry, and in pointing out to an author those among his statements which appear most to require explanation or

defence. If it has not done more than this, it is because the original argument was not put forth without much previous consideration, nor without anticipation of many of the objec

tions to which it was likely to be exposed.

At present, I must confine myself to those explanations

which appear to be necessary to the right appreciation of the main purposes of the work, on the supposition that its fundamental principles may be admitted as tenable. To reärgue the

whole question on first principles, or to reply minutely to the

criticisms on subordinate details, would require a larger space

than can be allotted to a preface, and would be at least prema

ture at the present stage of the controversy, while the work

has in all probability not yet completed the entire course of

criticism which a new book is destined to undergo if it succeeds

in attracting any amount of public attention.

In the first place, it may be desirable to obviate some misapprehensions concerning the design of the work as a whole. It should be remembered, that to answer the objections which have been urged against Christianity, or against any religion, is not to prove the religion to be true. It only clears the ground for the production of the proper evidences. It shows, so far as it is successful, that the religion may be true, notwithstanding the objections by which it has been assailed; but it cannot by itself convert this admission into a positive belief. It

only calls for an impartial hearing of the other grounds on

which the question must be decided.

When, therefore, a critic objects to the present argument,

that “the presence of contradictions is no proof of the truth of a system ;” that “we are not entitled to erect on this ethereal basis a superstructure of theological doctrine, only because it, too, possesses the same self-contradictions ;” that“ the argument places all religions and philosophies on precisely the same level;” — he merely charges it with accomplishing the very purpose which it was intended to accomplish. So far as cer

tain difficulties are inherent in the constitution of the human

mind itself, they must of necessity occupy the same position

with respect to all religions,—the false no less than the true. It

is sufficient if it can be shown that they have not, as is too often supposed, any peculiar force against Christianity alone. No sane man dreams of maintaining that a religion is true because of the difficulties which it involves: the utmost that can reasonably be maintained is that it may be true in spite of them. Such an argument of course requires, as its supplement, a

further consideration of the direct evidences of Christianity;

and this requirement is pointed out in the concluding Lecture.

But it formed no part of my design to exhibit in detail the

evidences themselves;

a task which the many excellent

works already existing on that subject would have rendered

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