The title of this volume is taken directly from the first three of its essays, but it also suggests a thread of connection which runs through the entire book. Most of the papers which are here collected have previously appeared in theological or religious journals: some of them however are now printed for the first time. Addresses delivered upon various occasions are included in the number, partly in response to requests that they might be put into accessible and permanent form. With slight exceptions they are now published precisely as they were first given: it has not been thought best to deprive them of whatever local interest or significance they may have derived from their original surroundings. This may also account for possible colloquialisms and repetitions, though it is hoped that these may be found infrequent.
The author has no wish to conceal from the reader that the whole work has an autobiographical air. It is a series of guesses at truth. He trusts that the intimation of a new point of view may have its value, even though there is only approximation to a system and in spite of some remaining inconsistency. Doubts which occur at the beginning may perchance be removed farther on. The author has come progressively to the conviction that a monism which makes room for the transcendence of God and the separate personality of man— a monism which recognizes the great ethical facts of freedom, responsibility, sin, and guilt—affords the only key to the great problems of philosophy and of theology. And since the God in whom we live and move and have our being is none other than Christ, and he controls the on-goings of nature and of history, we have no need to be pessimists: a courageous optimism, rather, is rational as well as Christian. These essays are printed as a small and imperfect contribution toward the final truth. The author will be content if they shall serve only as stepping-stones for those who come after him. As the book has been written with the intent to honor Christ, so it is now committed to the care of him in whom all things consist and who filleth all in all.
Rochester Theological Seminary.
September I, 1899.