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No IX. OCTOBER 1877.


1. Prolegomena Logica: an Inquiry into the Psychological Character of Logical Processes. By H. L. MANSEL, B.D. 2. Metaphysics; or, The Philosophy of Consciousness, Phenomenal and Real. By H. L. MANSEL, B.D., Waynflete Professor of Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy.

3. The Limits of Religious Thought. Examined in Eight (Bampton) Lectures. By the same Author.

4. The Philosophy of the Conditioned. By the same Author. 5. Letters, Lectures, and Reviews (including the 'Phrontisterion') of the late Dean Mansel. Edited by Professor CHANDLER.

6. The Gnostic Heresies of the First and Second Centuries. With a Sketch of the late Dean Mansel's Work, Life, and Character by the Earl of CARNARVON. by J. B. LIGHTFOOT, D.D.


NO ONE who keeps himself tolerably well acquainted with the currents of English thought can fail to have observed during the last few years a singular absence of eminent and generally admitted guidance in what may be called, for want of a better term, Christian Philosophy. We mean by Christian Philosophy a systematic treatment of the relations of man with the Unseen, such as will correspond with the psychological and logical facts of our human nature, and at the same time give its proper place and weight to the Christian Revelation.

An occasional sermon or article in a periodical strikes out

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a valuable thought, and well-meaning books are written which profess to treat these subjects; these subjects; but in the presence of a vast, misty cloud of philosophical unbelief, which makes its mournful presence only too familiar to our gaze, it is not easy to find a scientific leader. 'Where shall we go,' say our younger students, for something which shall hold its own in the strife? You tell us to believe; and we know the blessing promised to childlike faith; but when we ask you for some repertory of weapons against those who assault the faith on Materialistic or Idealistic grounds, from the side of Hegel and the German Rationalists, or from the side of Comte and the English Positivists, you tell us that this champion and that is antiquated, and that we must wait for some new species of defence suited to modern needs.' This is of course only the question of inquiring minds. The world in general goes on as it always did, careless of such matters, but too surely influenced by the ebb and flow of thought and belief on the part of the thoughtful. It can admit of no manner of doubt that if we do not apply ourselves to grapple with these present forms of unbelief, if we do not look out for and identify our leaders, that world will full surely surprise us with a rude awakening. The society of to-day is the product of past victories of Christian Philosophy, which is, to a great extent, in a highly-cultivated society, the basis of Christian belief. The society of to-morrow will be a very different thing, if it is once understood that Christian Philosophy cannot find a leader. Like an army surprised in an untenable position, the very bravest and strongest are the first to be taken in flank, destroyed in detail, broken up into incoherent squadrons; the masses charge one another, desert their officers, slink off the field of battle, and leave the country naked to the invader.

Such a leader in the last century was Bishop Butler-so great, indeed, that up to the present moment his position has remained unrivalled, and the usefulness of his work for the purpose he intended is still generally acknowledged. But the progress of scientific statement demanded a more scientific form of Christian Philosophy. The long series of German and English philosophers had created a demand for new systems, new forms of expression which would adequately state and deal with the phenomena of man, and the world in which he finds himself. Philosophy proper did indeed at first generally ignore religion; as a rule it left on one side the problems of Revelation and the mode of its communication to man; but if it noticed these questions at all, it

set itself up as the final referee, and called upon the Christian apologist to accommodate himself to the lines dictated and marked out for him by so-called Reason. As time went on a change took place. The Rationalistic form of attack became the favourite mode of assaulting Christianity, and its old triumphs in Germany, already a little antiquated, were beginning to be repeated in our own country, when the Scottish School of Philosophy, of which the heir and destined leader was Sir William Hamilton, at last bore fruit at Oxford, and the late Dean Mansel astonished the world with the skill, the courage, and we may say the success with which, in the character of a Christian philosopher, he addressed himself to the combat. The object of this paper is to show that not only was Dean Mansel the proper and sufficient leader in that combat, on the side from whence the attacks on Christianity proceeded twenty years ago, but that he has not been superseded for the times and under the circumstances in which we are now living.

But how, it may be said, can this position be claimed for Mansel, when he is already almost forgotten, and when his system has been repudiated by philosophers no less Christian than himself? It might be argued that he is not so much forgotten as is supposed, and that the attacks upon him are not worth much; but it will be granted that his fame is under an eclipse, and that his works are not received-at Oxford for example, where men once hung on his words--with the same trusting confidence as of old. Even friendly voices murmur that his day is passed, and that new defences are now required to meet new attacks. Non-Christian writers have pressed his candid admissions into their service, and exposed their contraband goods under the sanction of his flag. So much has this been the case that it will be absolutely necessary on the present occasion to set forth what his system really was; but we may preface that statement by the remark that there have been distinctly accidental causes, so to speak, operating against the fame of this great man, and so affording a suggestion that the eclipse will not be of long duration. These causes may be drawn up under the following heads.

In the first place Mansel stood up almost alone to confront the armies of philosophical unbelief which had gathered from all quarters. The Rationalists, the Positivists, the Sceptics, the Pantheists, the Atheists of the day found, to their surprise and disgust, a champion of the Christian faith who stood on the battlefield, the open ground of Philosophy, armed with learning, wit, and satire, ready for all comers, and shrinking from no encounter.

But the fact is a very sad fact that Mansel simply sank under the weight of the weapons levelled at him. Removed too soon from the sphere of his Oxford labours, and too soon, as we mortals deem it, from life, he had not time to form a great School. His supporters were but learners who could hardly teach; their voices could not reach far. Every sort of misrepresentation prevailed, and they have lain thick upon his memory. The judgment is passed from mouth to mouth that he has failed. He has destroyed, some say, but not constructed. Perhaps a more correct criticism may before long take the place of what we venture to think is not the product of mature consideration. In demanding a new Christian Philosophy it is far from impossible-nay, it is more than probable-that we may be in danger of falling back again into those quicksands from which Mansel had really delivered us. In attempting to confute the Materialism of modern thought by adopting new forms of Idealism, in constructing, as it were, a raft out of the broken fragments of former wrecks, and so attempting to cross the stormy waters of unbelief, we may in reality be only driving further from the shore, only throwing ourselves back for a whole generation. It may at least be well to reconsider the question whether we have not already got what we want in Mansel's works.

This isolation of which we have spoken was intensified by another peculiarity of Mansel's position. At the time when he wrote, the public press was almost entirely in the hands of his political opponents. He was himself a pronounced Conservative, and he had what people call the courage of his convictions. He dared to take a somewhat active part in politics at a moment when the whole life and progress of literature were claimed for the Liberals, and for them alone. To suppose that any good thing could come out of the reactionary body was simple heresy, and to make an impression from that side required the force of a giant. To a great extent this is so still. A writer who falls in with the prevailing sentiment becomes at once a member of the 'Mutual Laudation Society,' and, without a hundredth part of the real claim to attention which a man of original thought and independence of character may possess, finds himself the hero of newspapers and reviews.

But over and above these causes of eclipse it must honestly be admitted that Mansel had to thank himself for some portion of the neglect under which he fell. He was so penetrated with the thought and style of the Scottish School of Philosophy, and had so little sympathy with shallow simpli

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