DOCTRINAL DEVELOPMENT (Continued).
ITS PROCESS EXAMINED.
THE reasons hitherto adduced to account for the development of Christian doctrine have been in the main extrinsic, derived from the special circumstances and influences that surrounded the preaching of the Faith in the first ages of the Church. What we are now to deal with is, rather, intrinsic and psychological, being drawn from a consideration of objective ideas in their contact with the intelligence, and their relation to mental cognition; and how, so far as they are thus assimilated to the human mind, they form the matter of its subjective thought, and are capable of intellectual development.
We may define such intellectual development of an idea to be a process of reflection, whereby what has been received and apprehended implicitly by the thought is unfolded, and becomes explicitly known to the mind.
Hence, it would seem to be an essential condition for any true development that the object on which it is exercised should be previously so presented to, and really seized by the intellect, as to form a distinct idea in the mind on which it may work. In proportion to the completeness and force of the subjective idea, and its correspondence with the objective truth, or the object which it represents, so far will it contain matter for and be capable of genuine intellectual development.