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experience on which we now enter must be vitally appropriated in order that it may become effective. And it cannot be too often repeated that neither knowledge nor feeling is an end for man; we seek to know more truly and to feel more justly that we may fulfil our part in life with more perfect service.
Questioning then my own experience, and interpreting, so far as I am able, the life of others, as it falls under my observation, I hold that the assumption which I have made, that as men we necessarily recognise these three existences, self, the world, and God, is fully justified. The conviction rests ultimately on my personal consciousness; but, as far as I can see, my fellow-men act under the influence of the ideas which I distinguish by these names. At the same time the names are used with a wide range of meaning, and it is necessary to mark somewhat more exactly the sense in which I take them as expressing for man the final elements of being.
I am conscious of 'self.' I feel—I know, that is, immediately with the most certain assurance which I can realise--that I am something more than a collection of present sensations or thoughts. I feel that there is a past which is individually
my own, and that there will be a future, long or short, which will be mine. I feel that there is an inalienable continuity in a limited series of experiences which belongs to me alone. And I carry on the anticipation of this essential permanence of the 'I' beyond the region in which experience can work. All around me act, as far as I can judge, under the influence of the same convictions. Looking without I observe that men, to speak generally, are filled with anxiety for their posthumous reputation; and that they are scrupulously reverent of the dead.
I am conscious also of the world.' I feel, that is, that there is outside me something finite by which I am affected in various ways. I feel, however difficult it may be for me to determine the relation between my perceptions of things and the things themselves, that my perceptions are not originated, though they are conditioned by my individual ‘self.' I feel that my present
‘ personal life is inconceivable without the full recognition of the medium in which it is passed and by which it is modified.
I am conscious in the third place of God. It is not necessary for me to inquire here into the origin of the conception. I feel that the 6 The reality of these existences cannot conception being present corresponds with what I observe within and without. I feel, that is, that beside the 'self' and the world' in which the 'self' moves, both of which are changeable and transitory, there is That which is absolutely One and Eternal. Each man is for himself the centre of unity from moment to moment, but I feel that this fleeting image of unity must answer to a reality in which all being 'is and moves.' I feel moreover that all that is noblest in men, all by which they are capable of striving after the good and the beautiful and the true, all by which they are bound one to another, must find its archetype in this One Eternal.
And yet more than this, when I look without, I feel that the order which we regard gives rise to ideas of purpose and progress which, being what we are, we refer, under the imagery of our own finite experience, to the action of a wise Designer. And, last of all, the analogies of life constrain us to think of Him as One who may be loved and who Himself loves, while He is yet dwelling in light unapproachable and robed in awful majesty. I cannot think of Him as other than Holy and Just, however feeble human words may be to express what I dimly divine.
The consciousness of these three existences
be established by argument.
quickened, intensified, extended, by personal and social experience underlies, I believe, in some degree all human thought. The consciousness may be, and in many cases is, imperfectly defined, but it belongs to the nature of man; and perhaps it offers the truest characterisation of
The final conclusion which we reach in regard to the belief to which it witnesses more or less clearly is that we are so made as to live under its influence so far as it is defined. If an objector refuses to acknowledge the reality of any one of the three existences thus presented to us, he occupies a position proof against all argument. A man may doubt the 'truth' of his own sensations and of his own consciousness for the moment or even permanently. If he does so, and so far as he does so, he is secure against all assaults of reasoning. But his opinions can be brought to a practical test. If, for example, a man apparently in the full possession of his senses persistently says that he cannot see, and that in fact he does not see, it is enough to notice whether he acts as if he saw : whether his steps are guided and his judgments formed exactly as if he enjoyed the fulness of vision; or whether he actually suffers the disadvantages of blindness. In the first case, we shall feel that there must be some misunderstanding between
Each existence brings
us as to the nature of vision : in the second case that, in spite of appearances, the man is defective in that which belongs to normal humanity.
We must apply the same test to those who make corresponding statements in regard to the fundamental facts of morals and religion. man maintains that he and his fellow-men are automata and still dispenses praise and blame, strives to discipline and cultivate his own powers, watches carefully over the education of his children: I must conclude that in spite of his words he really believes that man is 'free,' that is, individually responsible, no less than I do, though he does not express his belief in the same language. Or again if he holds the permanence of law, and holds also that there is on the whole a progress in the world and in humanity towards a higher and nobler type of being and living, and consciously and confidently accepts his part in furthering it: then even if he says that God is beyond human knowledge, I cannot but see that he has acknowledged what I hold to be of the essence of the idea of GOD. And so it is that many who theoretically affirm that they are automata, or that the world exists only in the mind of man, or that there is no God, yet shew. in action that they have a more practical belief in personal responsibility, in Nature, and