Another possible solution to paradoxical sentences is that human language is a product of the human mind and, as such, is subject to contradictions. Human language is not a perfect system that is free of discrepancies (in contrast to perfect systems like mathematics, science, logic, and the physical universe). Rather, we should simply accept the fact that human language is faulty and has contradictions. This seems reasonable to me.
Yanofsky provides an entertaining and informative whirlwind trip through limits on reason in language, formal logic, mathematics—and in science, the culmination of humankind's attempts to reason about the world.
But touching that which especially concerns this General Observation to Book One of the present treatise, the calling to our assistance of works of grace is one of these aberrations and cannot be adopted into the maxims of reason, if she is to remain within her limits; as indeed can nothing of the supernatural, simply because in this realm all use of reason ceases. For it is impossible to find a way to define these things theoretically ([showing] that they are works of grace and not inner natural effects) because our use of the concept of cause and effect cannot be extended beyond matters of experience, and hence beyond nature. Moreover, even the hypothesis of a practical application of this idea is wholly self-contradictory. For the employment of this idea would presuppose a rule concerning the good which (for a particular end) we ourselves must do in order to accomplish something, whereas to await a work of grace means exactly the opposite, namely, that the good (the morally good) is not our deed but the deed of another being, and that we therefore can achieve it only by doing nothing, which contradicts itself. Hence we can admit a work of grace as something incomprehensible, but we cannot adopt it into our maxims either for theoretical or for practical use.
It is impossible to settle, a priori and objectively, whether there are such mysteries or not. We must therefore search directly in the inner, the subjective, part of our moral predisposition to see whether any such thing is to be found in us. Yet we shall not be entitled to number among the holy mysteries the grounds of morality, which are inscrutable to us; for we can thus classify only that which we can know but which is incapable of being communicated publicly, whereas, though morality can indeed be communicated publicly, its cause remains unknown to us. Thus freedom, an attribute of which man becomes aware through the determinability of his will by the unconditioned moral law, is no mystery, because the knowledge of it can be shared with everyone; but the ground, inscrutable to us, of this attribute is a mystery because this ground is not given us as an object of knowledge. Yet it is this very freedom which, when applied to the final object of practical reason (the realization of the idea of the moral end), alone leads us inevitably to holy mysteries.*
The rationalist, by virtue of his very title, must of his own accord restrict himself within the limits of human insight. Hence he will never, as a naturalist, dogmatize, and will never contest either the inner possibility of revelation in general or the necessity of a revelation as a divine means for the introduction of true religion; for these matters no man can determine through reason. Hence the question at issue can concern only the reciprocal claims of the pure rationalist and the supernaturalist in matters of faith, namely, what the one or the other holds as necessary and sufficient, or as merely incidental, to the unique true religion.
Natural religion, as morality (in its relation to the freedom of the agent) united with the concept of that which can make actual its final end (with the concept of God as moral Creator of theca world), and referred to a continuance of man which is suited to this end in its completeness (to immortality), is a pure practical idea of reason which, despite its inexhaustible fruitfulness, presupposes so very little capacity for theoretical reason that one can convince every man of it sufficiently for practical purposes and can at least require of all men as a duty that which is its effect. This religion possesses the prime essential of the true church, namely, the qualification for universality, so far as one understands by that a validity for everyone (universitas vel omnitudo distributiva), i.e., universal unanimity. To spread it, in this sense, as a world religion, and to maintain it, there is needed, no doubt, a body of servants (ministerium) of the invisible church, but not officials (officiales), in other words, teachers but not dignitaries, because in the rational religion of every individual there does not yet exist a church as a universal union (omnitudo collectiva), nor is this really contemplated in the above idea.
Yet such unanimity could not be maintained of itself and hence could not, unless it became a visible church, be propagated in its universality; rather is this possible only when a collective unanimity, in other words a union of believers in a (visible) church under the principles of a pure religion of reason, is added; though this church does not automatically arise out of that unanimity nor, indeed, were it already established, would it be brought by its free adherents (as was shown above) to a permanent status as a community of the faithful (because in such a religion none of those who has seen the light believes himself to require, for his religious sentiments, fellowship with others). Therefore it follows that unless there are added to the natural laws, apprehensible through unassisted reason, certain statutory ordinances attended by legislative prestige (authority), that will still be lacking which constitutes a special duty of men, and a means to their highest end, namely, their enduring union into a universal visible church; and the authority mentioned above, in order to be a founder of such a church, presupposes a realm of fact1 and not merely the pure concepts of reason.
The acceptance of the fundamental principles of a religion is faith par excellence (fides sacra). We shall therefore have to examine the Christian faith on the one hand as a pure rational faith, on the other, as a revealed faith (fides statutaria). The first may be regarded as a faith freely assented to by everyone (fides elicita), the second, as a faith which is commanded (fides imperata). Everyone can convince himself, through his own reason, of the evil which lies in human hearts and from which no one is free; of the impossibility of ever holding himself to be justified before God through his own life-conduct, and, at the same time, of the necessity for such a justification valid in His eyes; of the futility of substituting churchly observances and pious compulsory services for the righteousness which is lacking, and, over and against this, of the inescapable obligation to become a new man: and to become convinced of all this is part of religion.
The intention of all of them is to manage to their own advantage the invisible Power which presides over the destiny of men; they differ merely in their conceptions of how to undertake this feat. If they hold that Power to be an intelligent Being and thus ascribe to Him a will from which they await their lot, their efforts can consist only in choosing the manner in which, as creatures subjected to His will, they can become pleasing to Him through what they do or refrain from doing. If they think of Him as a moral Being they easily convince themselves through their own reason that the condition of earning His favor must be their morally good life-conduct, and especially the pure disposition as the subjective principle of such conduct. But perhaps the Supreme Being may wish, in addition, to be served in a manner which cannot become known to us through unassisted reason, namely, by actions wherein, in themselves, we can indeed discover nothing moral, but which we freely1 undertake, either because He commanded them or else in order to convince Him of our submissiveness to Him. Under either mode of procedure, if it provides for us a unified whole of systematically ordered activities, our acts constitute in general a service of God. Now if the two are to be united, then each of them must be regarded as a way in which one may be well-pleasing to God directly, or else one of them must be regarded as but a means to the other, the real service of God. It is self-evident that the moral service of God (officium liberum) is directly well-pleasing to Him. But this service cannot be recognized as the highest condition of divine approval of man (this approval is already contained in the concept of morality) if it be possible for hired service officium mercenarium) to be regarded as, alone and of itself, well-pleasing to God; for then no one could know which service was worthier in a given situation, in order to decide thereby regarding his duty, or how they supplemented each other. Hence actions which have no moral value in themselves will have to be accepted as well-pleasing to Him only so far as they serve as means to the furtherance of what, in the way of conduct, is immediately good (i.e., so far as they promote morality), or in other words, so far as they are performed for the sake of the moral service of God.
Whatever good man is able to do through his own efforts, under laws of freedom, in contrast to what he can do only with supernatural assistance, can be called nature, as distinguished from grace. Not that we understand by the former expression a physical property distinguished from freedom; we use it merely because we are at least acquainted with the laws of this capacity (laws of virtue), and because reason thus possesses a visible and comprehensible clue to it, considered as analogous to [physical] nature; on the other hand, we remain wholly in the dark as to when, what, or how much, grace will accomplish in us, and reason is left, on this score, as with the supernatural in general (to which morality, if regarded as holiness, belongs), without any knowledge of the laws according to which it might occur. 2b1af7f3a8