I have spoken and have still to speak of the action of logic, implicit and explicit, as a safeguard, and thereby a note, of legitimate developments of doctrine: but I am regarding it here as that continuous tradition and habit in the Church of a scientific analysis of all revealed truth, which is an ecclesiastical principle rather than a note of any kind, as not merely bearing upon the process of development, but applying to all religious teaching equally, and which is almost unknown beyond the pale of Christendom. Reason, thus considered, is subservient to faith, as handling, examining, explaining, recording, cataloguing, defending, the truths which faith, not reason, has gained for us, as providing an intellectual expression of supernatural facts, eliciting what is implicit, comparing, measuring, connecting each with each, and forming one and all into a theological system.
The first step in theology is investigation, an investigation arising out of the lively interest and devout welcome which the matters investigated claim of us; and, if Scripture teaches us the duty of faith, it teaches quite as distinctly that loving inquisitiveness which is the life of the Schola. It attributes that temper both to the Blessed Virgin and to the Angels. The Angels are said to have "desired to look into the mysteries of Revelation," and it is twice recorded of Mary that she "kept these things and pondered them in her heart." Moreover, her words to the Archangel, "How shall this be?" show that there is a questioning in matters revealed to us compatible with the fullest and most absolute faith. It has sometimes been said in defence and commendation of heretics that "their misbelief at least showed that they had thought upon the subject of religion;" this is an unseemly paradox,—at the same time there certainly is the opposite extreme of a readiness to receive any number of dogmas at a minute's warning, which, when it is witnessed, fairly creates a suspicion that they are merely professed with the tongue, not intelligently held. Our Lord gives no countenance to such lightness of mind; He calls on His disciples to use their reason, and to submit it. Nathanael's question "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" did not prevent our Lord's praise of him as "an Israelite without guile." Nor did He blame Nicodemus, except for want of theological knowledge, on his asking "How can these things be?" Even towards St. Thomas He was gentle, as if towards one of those who had "eyes too tremblingly awake to bear with dimness for His sake."