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This book contains the Hulsean Lectures delivered at Cambridge in November, 1922, and January, 1923.
One who is appointed to deliver these lectures will conceive of his task differently according to the audience which he has principally in view. If he regards himself as addressing mainly the senior members of his University, and especially those who are teachers and students of theology, standing to him as they do as the representatives of theological scholars in many other places of learning, he will probably think of the lectures as furnishing him with the opportunity for making some particular contribution of his own to theological scholarship, and will speak as an expert to experts. On the other hand, if he thinks of himself as summoned to speak to some of those who, during three or four brief years at Cambridge, are
Learning from her, by work and play,
Skill for a larger game,
and through them to the wider circle of young men and women elsewhere who also stand on the threshold of the great adventure of life, then he is likely to try rather to clear away some of the difficulties which they find in the Christian religion, and he will be glad to remember that the duty of the Hulsean “Christian Preacher" is primarily to be an apologist. In the present case my work as a schoolmaster has inclined me, even if my inability to speak as a theological specialist had not compelled me, to adopt the second view as to the nature of my task.
The lectures, then, are addressed to all men and women-for I hope that some who are no longer young will also find them of use who, while they realise the imperative necessity of religion, are yet unwilling to accept Christianity whole-heartedly because (as it seems to them) it fails to come to terms with that scientific point of view which is the most insistent factor in the intellectual attitude of thoughtful people to-day. As I have stated in the first lecture, I am convinced that of all the causes which lead men at the present time to hold aloof from organized Christianity, the most potent is the unwilTingness of Christian teachers to recognize frankly and fearlessly the claims of modern knowledge, and
to present the truth of the Christian religion without doing violence to the equally sacred demand of truth in other fields. I have here tried, in the case of certain fundamental Christian doctrines, to show why I believe that a man may still hold them in this twentieth century without surrendering in the least degree his passion for intellectual honesty or his determination to follow truth wherever it may lead. . It is supposed in some quarters that the work of the modernist is simply destructive; I am bold enough to hope that my readers will find in this book one more piece of evidence which gives the lie to that most unjust opinion.
In the first two lectures I have made considerable use of a couple of articles which I contributed some years ago to the Modern Churchman, and I am glad to acknowledge the courtesy of the editor in allowing me to do so.
C. F. R.