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William Penn Lecture 1918


Religion As Reality,
Life And Power


Delivered at
Race Street Meeting House
Philadelphia


by
Rufus M. Jones
Haverford College





Preface

This is the fifth of the series of lectures known as the WILLIAM PENN LECTURES. They are supported by the Young Friends' Movement of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, which was organized on Fifth month thirteenth, 1916, at Race Street Meeting House in Philadelphia, for the purpose of closer fellowship; for the strengthening by such association and the interchange of experience, of loyalty to the ideals of the Society of Friends; and for the preparation by such common ideals for more effective work thru the Society of Friends for the growth of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The name of William Penn has been chosen because he was a Great Adventurer, who in fellowship with his friends started in his youth on the holy experiment of endeavoring "to live out the laws of Christ in every thought, and word, and deed," that these might become the laws and habits of the State.

Dr. Rufus M. Jones, of Haverford College, delivered this fifth lecture on "Religion as Reality, Life and Power," at Race Street Meeting House on Fifth month tenth, 1919.


Philadelphia, Pa., 1919.


Published 1919 by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Republished electronically © 2004 by Quaker Heron Press
http://pamphlets.quaker.org
email: pamplets@quaker.org





Religion As Reality, Life and Power



A young friend of mine, Christopher Morley, has a passage in one of his recent essays which caught my eye in a newspaper and arrested my attention. It was as follows:

"In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibration of beauty. I can imagine no more fascinating privilege than to be allowed to ransack the desk of a thousand American business men, men supposed to be hard-headed, absorbed in brisk commerce. Somewhere in each desk one would find some hidden betrayal of that man's private worship. It might be some old newspaper clipping, perhaps a poem that had once touched him, for even the humblest poets are stout partisans of reality. It might be a photograph of children playing in the surf, or a little box of fish-hooks, or a soiled old time-table of some queer back-woods railroad or primitive steamer service that had once carried him into his land of heart's desire."

This is as good a preliminary definition of religion as we could wish. It is something that carries one into "the land of heart's desire." It is something which gives us a vision of what ought to be. This informal definition has the advantage of being in complete accord with one of the finest and most perfect descriptions of religion that has ever been written _ the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where religion is treated as the capacity to see the invisible and to enable the possessor of it to live by his soul's vision of reality. The writer calls faith the capacity to seek successfully the true country of the heart's desire, "the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." "They seek a country of their own," he says, that is, a fatherland of the heart's desire.1

There are many pursuits and experiences which carry us toward this attainment, and in so far as they take us in that direction, _ the direction of the soul's true country _ they are either religious or at least in the fringe of religion. To speak a little more plainly, and less in the language of metaphor, I shall consider religion in this lecture as a way of realizing and fulfilling life, a way of finding the whole of oneself. Life is a very ambiguous word and may mean almost anything. It may mean hardly more than the ability to stay alive, to exhibit behavior, bare biological survival, successful correspondence with a physical environment; or it may mean the discovery of infinite interior dimensions and possibilities, the finding of almost inexhaustible resources and supplies of power for the continual expansion of personal capacity and so the constant winning of unwon goals and the perennial acquisition of joy.

The bare fact of going on, of keeping the procession moving, does not seem to a reflective person such a very great achievement after all. If life were only a series of items one after the other, a succession of dots of experience, extended in a single dimension, it would soon grow very dreary and one could hardly thrill much as he joined in singing the hymn:

"When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun."

This sterile, static stagnant life is too insipid to make any effective appeal to our imagination.

The "Preacher," in Ecclesiastes, has this flat and fruitless kind of life in mind when he says:

"Vanity of vanities
All is vanity.
What gain hath a man of his whole toil,
Which under the sun he toils.
* * * *
"The sun rises and the sun sets,
Hasting back to the place where he rises.
The wind goeth to the north
And then turneth back to the south.
In circular process
All the streams flow to the sea
But the sea is not full.
Unto the place whence the streams flow,
There they flow again.
All things are full of weariness
Man cannot utter it.
That which hath been is that which shall be
There is no new thing under the sun!"

What we want is to discover a way to enrich and heighten the quality of life and not merely to add to the quantity of it. We are seeking for a dynamic force which will raise the intrinsic power and value of life. We can get out of that dreary row of dots, the seriatim way of living, only by finding something that organizes life from above and makes it a cumulative affair, something that stores up the gains of it and forms them into a permanent and expanding whole.

We tend to fall into the one-dimension track _ often a rut or a groove, and we thus miss the wider, freer possibilities of the many dimensional life. We are very apt, furthermore, to get cut off, isolated and stranded, which means that we get separated from the completer wholes of being to which we properly belong. Most of the tragedies of human life are these tragedies of separation and division. The divided self, sundered from its fellowship and companionship for which it was made, is always a sick and feeble soul. The way of health and healing is a way of union and correspondence with those necessary realities from which we have become isolated and we shall find that religion is one of the mightiest of all the constructive, unifying forces we know. As the word implies, religion binds back the soul into union with realities which refresh it, restore it, vivify it, and integrate it and complete it; i.e., put it in possession of the whole of itself.

Truth

Let us deal first with those agencies of life which are certainly in the fringe of religion, even if they do not quite go up to the apex and centre of its highest ranges. The passion for the pursuit of truth is one of these agencies of life which lies very close to the field of religion. It has its roots in deep lying instincts, like curiosity, question asking, wonder; more than all, perhaps, in that fundamental feature of human personality _ the tendency to look beyond and reach on ahead of everything given in experience, the tendency which makes even the least imaginative of us ideal-forming beings.

We cannot stop and rest satisfied with any bare fact. We look both before and after. We ask, and we cannot help asking, what caused the fact, what was its antecedent. We are, too, forced by an inevitable compulsion of our nature to anticipate, to forecast the significance of each fact and plot out its future results. We cannot tie any fact in isolation and be contented to stand and stare at it and report it in its lonely nakedness. We are bound to link it up with more and to explain it and make it articulate.

And in order to explain it we find it necessary to go on and discover the larger whole to which it belongs, of which it is a part and in which its setting, and so its explanation, is revealed. The flower in the crannied wall, plucked out of the crannies, taken just by itself, apart from the environment in which it lives, cannot be understood or explained. In order to explain and understand it fully, "root and all and all in all," we should have to link it up with all the interrelated facts of the universe and we should need to know, to the fullest extent, "what God and man is"!

The rational pursuit of truth is thus the method of discovering the meaning of some fragment of experience by setting it into its place in the larger whole which explains it. It involves the power to survey facts from above, as one views a landscape from a mountain top, and to see things steadily and connectedly in relationship with the more to which they belong. There is obviously no place to stop in this process until one has arrived at that One Highest Nature of Things in which all things and we ourselves are _ that true whole in which all finite bits and fragments have their meaning. We are "led as by the hand" up to the God who is the inclusive, living, organic whole, dimly implied and suggested at least in the finite parts, which we are trying to explain.

Many, to be sure, who have the passion for truth do not go the whole way to the end of the trail. They draw a smaller curve and keep within the limits of finite explanations,. They do not raise the question of what is ultimately involved in the meaning of their facts. But even so they find themselves steadily carried out to ever wider groups of facts and they see more or less clearly that all their explanations point to a more beyond, which must some time be included and that all stopping places short of a self-explanatory Reality are artificial.

Science, with its excessive predilection for mathematics and its tendency to reduce the universe to realities which can be exactly described and charted, sometimes ends, though it does not need to do so, with a world stripped of spiritual values and rolling monotonously in space with no word of any source or goal other than that implied by the consolidating movement of atoms. That kind of a world, however, is so plainly a fragment, and an abstraction from a Larger whole, that a seeker for truth, one who has a real passion for it, can hardly be long satisfied with such an inadequate substitute for the rich and concrete world which has values as well as mass movements.

In any case, this agency of life is one which brings very much enlargement and expansion to personality. Every attainment of insight carries one on to a new problem and so widens out the field of interest and keeps the soul growing. Each discovery of truth brings a profound emotion of joy and so heightens the tone and capacity of the mind and qualifies it for its further tasks. It may be and sometimes is a feeling of egoistic satisfaction _ "I discovered that."

"I put in my thumb
And pulled out that plum
What a great man am I!"

But more often the discovery of truth ministers to humility. The very search for it makes one aware of the littleness of his attainments, the immensity of the range and circle of his ignorance, and the small ratio of what is won compared with what is unwon. And finally he will be thrilled, if he is a good person, with the thought that this new insight which he has just attained will add to the total stock of human knowledge, will widen the area of light and will serve all men hereafter in their struggles and pursuits, and the emotion will thus in its altruistic color be close to real religious feeling and so will be an enlarging and a consecrating agency.

Beauty

The appreciation of beauty, the enjoyment of "whatsoever things are lovely," is another agency of life which lies very close to religion and it is beyond question one of the great exalting and liberating influences. It both enlarges and consecrates man's life. Modern educators have discovered, or perhaps we ought to say rediscovered, the fact that love of beauty is a great ally to goodness. The cultivation of appreciation for the beautiful in nature, in art; in literature, in music, is one of the surest high roads to the formation of fine ideals of character, which is the most triumphantly beautiful creation in the world.

The child that has a passion for beauty is morally safer than is the child that has this side of his character starved. Joy in the contemplation of beauty expels low aims and carries one out of the circle of narrow, selfish interests. Wordsworth's testimony to the way in which a sight of surpassing beauty affected his life is impressive on this point.

"To the brim
My heart was full;
I made no vows, but vows
Were then made for me; bond unknown to me
Was given, that I should be, else sinning greatly
A dedicated spirit."2

It is not easy to define what constitutes the "secret" of beauty, nor to tell just what the essential mark of it really is. The authorities disagree and most of us never raise the question. We feel the thrill at the right moment, and that is enough. The deeper question, however, which I have raised is an important one and has real bearing on the problem of the nature of religion. One point seems certain. When we appreciate beauty we apprehend an object as an indivisible whole and not as something made up of parts added together. We select out and seize all the aspects of the object which fit together to make one unified whole. What the mind gets in this experience is a harmonious unity in diversity, which makes a single impression upon us and which appears to us as something that is just as it ought to be. That means that there is nothing accidental or capricious about it. Nothing must be there which is brought in for its own sake, Every aspect must minister to produce, and must be harmonious with, an integral whole. There must be nothing in the natural scene, nothing in the beautiful creation which distracts; or which is superfluous, or which tends to break up the unified impression and attract attention to itself.3

It is one striking effect of the perception, contemplation and appreciation of beauty that it brings for the moment at least all the powers of the soul into a harmony in which the dualisms and contradictions of life are overcome and annulled. We suddenly become aware of free and spontaneous powers, of something unfathomable within ourselves. Limits and boundaries seem to drop away and disappear and an aspect of the infinite seems to come into play. The finite object which we are contemplating seems to be a window into an eternal world and we are carried beyond all our eyes see or our ears hear.

"Suddenly we know not how, a sound
Of living streams, an odor, a flower crowned
With dew, a lark upspringing from the sod,
And we awake. O joy and deep amaze,
Beneath the everlasting hills we stand,
We hear the voices of the morning seas,
And earnest prophesyings in the land,
While from the open heaven leans forth at gaze
The encompassing great cloud of witnesses."4

Such experiences expand and liberate the soul, they remove the narrow limits and the pressure of the finite, and they bring a sudden release of joy as though we had found that for which we were meant

But this experience of beauty, may and often does, stop short of the true end of life. Beauty often produces a kind of sudden spell and enchantment without supplying discipline and control to the will, without training and organizing the person to meet temptation and the stern choices of life. It does not of itself take the beholder beyond the stage of emotion to a real achievement of character. Lovers of beauty are not always morally robust. It is quite possible, furthermore, to make beauty an end in itself, to treat it as though it were a world of its own and needed no Beyond to explain it and complete it, so that exalting and consecrating as it is, beauty does not necessarily carry its devotee all the way home to the real country and fatherland of the soul.

Service

Another of the great agencies of life is the active spirit of service, the promotion of social causes, devoted struggle for the life of others. This aim at service is very close to religion and is always a feature of any great religion. It has its roots, as is the case with all these agencies of life, in native, fundamental instincts and emotions. It is as original a trait of personality as is the self-seeking struggle for existence.

The springs of egoism are no more primitive and no more built into the fibre of human nature than are the springs of altruism. Both are essential to personal life as we know it, and wherever life shapes itself towards the formation of personality, interest in others, "the other regarding" spirit, comes into play and is a momentous shaping factor. The tender emotions of pity, sympathy, affection, interest in others' welfare, look away from the focus of self and are as "disinterested" as is love of beauty.

There is no way to reduce human life to the single strand of self-interest, any more than one can plane a board so thin that it shall have only one side. A single, solitary, individual self apart from relationships with others has no more reality than a Jabberwock. There isn't any such thing. Stripped of social affiliations, a person shrinks at once to zero. St. Paul's saying, "If I have not love, I am nothing," is absolutely sound psychology. We are joined in with the deeper life of humanity and we cannot cut ourselves asunder without at the same time annihilating ourselves.

Consecration to ends beyond our own private interests is as rational an aim as is the pursuit of food. The team-spirit, which is joyous co-operation with others for the sake of common ends, is a widely prevalent spirit and it is a contagious attitude. My reverend teacher, Josiah Royce, has nobly described this attitude of life in his book on Loyalty. By loyalty he meant willing and thorough-going devotion to a cause which unites many selves into one organic community-self. Wherever this team-spirit type of devotion possesses people, life seems to attain through it an unwonted bloom and glory.

Enthusiasm, contagion of spirit, heightened power, self-forgetfulness, readiness to suffer, endure and even die for the common cause are the great by-products of it. It is one of the most beautiful flowers that has grown on what our Norse ancestors used to call our human "igdrasil tree."

Love

The highest form of it, its consummate stage, is love. Almost nothing else here in our world so dignifies and enlarges life as love does:

"Not only to keep down the base in man
But teach high thought, and amiable words
And courtliness, and the desire of fame,
And love of truth and all that makes a man"

But love does more than expand and enlarge, it consecrates life to ends of unselfish goodness. We here pass by all aims and springs and desires to get, and we discover at length what it means to give and to share. We are ready now to be impoverished and stripped for the good of another. We no longer talk about "sacrifices." The word has no place in the vocabulary of love, for whatever is done or suffered, it is a joyous gift. The "me" and the "mine" are swallowed up in the "us" and "our."

"Number there in love is slain."

It is, however, no loss of self, no reduction and shrinkage, but a way of completion and fulfillment. As is true of all these agencies of life, loyalty and love raise the individual out of his isolation and singleness into the experience of a wider whole. Our tragedies are due to the fragmentary character of life and experience. Our joys always spring from the attainment of unities. When we can span the dividing gaps and bring together in one living whole the things that usually fall apart, we get the thrill of satisfaction which comes when something is as it ought to be. Love is undoubtedly the greatest of all the unifying forces which construct the real world which our spirits seek, and there is no higher baptism into the full meaning of life than the sacrament of love.

Pursuit of truth, appreciation of beauty, dedication to the welfare of others, love for another, are all religious agencies. They all enlarge and liberate the personal life, they all bring it into closer unity with the whole of reality, they all give it a touch of consecration and bring a genuine experience of joy, and yet each one of these agencies and all of them combined may fall short of the complete meaning of religion. The reason why they may, and sometimes do, fall short of the real goal is that men tend to draw too narrow a circle and to terminate the aim on an object which is not rich and inclusive enough to meet all the needs of the human soul. Nothing is adequate for man which stops short of binding the human and the divine together into one single life-process. It is not a different life from this human life of ours that we seek; it is not an "other" world somewhere beyond this one that we desire. We seek rather this wonderful human life opened out in all dimensions, raised to its full stature and brought into vital correspondence with its whole environment, the truly real world, not merely with this tangible outer fragment of it.

There is a vast difference in people, and we must be careful how we assume to speak for the more than fifty-seven varieties. Some persons seem to get on with limitations of thought and faith and experience which would seem to others like imprisonment in a nutshell. I can of course only speak in what I say here for those who are more or less conscious that they are allied to an infinite Companion and who feel restless and defeated until their finite life comes into harmonious relation with this Source of peace and joy and power. If some person says that he is contented with things and asks for nothing but a satisfactory supply of the "goods" which earth produces, I can only reply that something which was included in my make-up appears to have been omitted from his.

The most striking thing about the type of human life which I should suppose is normal is its infinite reach. The conscious person is always stretching on beyond his attained limits. Whatever he may have arrived at, he looks out upon more yet. No number is so big that he cannot add one to it. No realm of space is so wide that he cannot think of it as bounded with more space, No character is so pure and holy that he cannot conceive it as still more saintly and endowed with more virtues. No achievements that can be recounted exhaust our capacity to think of greater ones. No terminus to personality can be discovered, no stopping place can be suggested, no horizon fixes its goal. We are certainly potentially infinite and the very fact that we are always transcending ourselves and trying endlessly to find the rest of ourselves means, I think, that we are made for God, that we cannot help seeking Him because we have in some measure found Him already and that we are therefore "incurably religious."

To be fully and truly human is continually to approximate God; to have one's finite life embedded in the infinite life. It must be admitted, however, that many people seem never consciously to find God and so fail of that peace and buoyancy which comes from living faith in His companionship with us. They do not altogether fail, but they do not attain to a triumphant faith and to an experience which enables them to stand the universe in all weathers.

One reason for the partial failure is due almost certainly to an unfortunate and inadequate way of thinking of God. The idea they have of Him is no longer a live idea, and so no longer dynamic. It does not fuse and quicken the soul and bring it to the acutely sensitive state necessary for a first-hand experience of God. Some persons, probably many persons, think of the universe as an immense mechanism, complex beyond all imagination, but so arranged that each bit of action or motion in it is caused by the motion of the other mechanical parts. The only place that seems left for God is far off at the origin of the whole scheme as the starter of it, or in behind all the scenery of the vast world where in calm contemplation He beholds it go on. This is deism and its God is little better than no God. The next easy step is to "eliminate" Him altogether and let the world run itself and, like the present day automobile, be supplied with a self-starter.

H. G. Wells has expressed what many other persons vaguely believe, that God is omni-everything, infinite and absolute, but wholly unlike us, superpersonal and perhaps superconscious, the vast dim abyss and the matrix of all that is, an inexhaustible source of energy, outside and above the whole complex tangle of existence, so that in order to get a real God whom we care for and who cares for us, we must have, besides this dim Veiled Being, a "finite God," a "demi-God," a "second God"! Wells has no doubt crudely put this situation in his recent books, but many persons without his literary gift of utterance hold some such background view and are trying to get on with a God as vague and indefinite as these negative words `infinite' and `absolute' are bound to make Him. One can hardly expect to get great flushes of life and power from believing ever so valiantly in some dim and cloudy Great Mystery, wholly out of the sphere and range of human experience _ like the grin without any face, which Alice saw in Wonderland

There must be a better way to think of God, a way which fits our known experience and makes Him a God in real fellowship and relationship with us, a truly Emmanuel-God _ God-with-us. It will give us a slight clue, perhaps, if we first consider how our own higher personal self operates within us. It is never off apart in a region above our thoughts, our aspirations, our emotions, our impulses, our instincts.

It is always larger, wider, more comprehensive, than any thought, aspiration, emotion, impulse or instinct, but at the same time it organizes these lower forces and functions in us, it uses them as its organs, acts through them and reveals its nature and character by means of them.

Sometimes an impulse, an instinct, an emotion, or even a thought may exhibit a large degree of independence and act in an irrational way. One of these instinctive forces may carry us whither we would not. Habits seem often to run themselves, without the need of any spiritual will, like that materialistic world of the deist.

And yet, as soon as we reach the stage of personal life, the inner self is always there. It can on occasion interrupt habit and remould it on better lines. It can direct attention and so determine the selection of objects in the field of experience. It can bind many instincts and emotions together into a higher system of emotions or sentiments and while it transcends any one of our many impulses or fragmentary desires it can execute its purpose through these native tendencies and instinctive activities. It is, in fact, immanent in all the processes of our complex inner life and yet transcends them all and is the organic formative spirit always present whenever we perform any rational exercise of will or insight.5

God may be thought of in some similar fashion in relation to the persons who make up the world of human society and human history. He may be in as immediate relation to our finite spirits as our own rational self is in relation to the particular lower functions of our complex nature. Instead of looking for God, then, behind the vast mechanism of matter, or beyond the starry spaces, we should look for Him very much closer home, as the God in whom we live and move and are; the immanent, and, at the same time, transcending, Spirit in immediate junction with our own souls. He is, thus, as Thomas Hill Green used to say, as near to us as our own conscience is. The Beyond is within, or, as William James puts it, the inner self is "conterminous and continuous with a More of the same quality, which is operative in the universe outside of him," a Wider Self through whom saving experiences come.6

This junction of our lives with the divine life is what makes us over-finite, and over-temporal. It makes our reach exceed our grasp. It explains why we always live ahead of experience in ideal directions. It is the source of our sense of obligation, the ground of our pursuit of truth, the basis of our appreciation of beauty and the spring of all pure love and dedication.

We can, and often do, live unto ourselves. We go off on our own tack, just as our native instincts sometimes do. We live as though there were no over-arching Presence shaping our destiny. We exhibit our freedom in capricious ways; we ignore the upward pull; and we act as independent units. The positive evil and the appalling sin in the world come from this tendency to caprice, to wayward independence, to sheer self-will, to lack of vision of the higher unifying Will and Purpose.

When we rise from our little finite desires to the wider comprehending purposes that bring the kingdom of God and make love and good-will prevail in social groups, there God is revealed and there He is advancing His new creation. We catch clear glimpses of His character and true nature through the supreme revealers who have learned how to deaden love of self and to make their personal lives co-operative organs of His Spirit.

Above all the ordinary human level of life Jesus Christ rises, like Mount Shasta above the level of the earth and sea. No other such inspiration has touched our race, no such spiritual leadership has appeared in any other person, no such clear consciousness of God as Father has been reported elsewhere, no such sacrificial devotion of love to men has made its power felt. He shows the way, and He is the way, to the God we want.

This same God, however, is always near and is always endeavoring to break through with fresh light and with new leading. But the revelation comes and must come through persons or through groups of persons, or through movements that achieve the ends of good-will.

"Through such souls alone.
God stooping shows sufficient of His Light
For us in the dark to rise by.
And I rise."

From the porch of my little summer cottage in Maine I can see, across the beautiful stretch of lake in the foreground, the far-distant Kennebago Mountains in their veil of purple. But we see them only when all the conditions of sky and air are absolutely right. Most of the time they are wrapt in clouds or are lost in a dim haze. Our visitors admire the lake, are charmed with the islands, the picturesque shore and the surrounding hills, but they do not suspect the existence of this added glory beyond the hills. We often tell them of the mountains "just over there," which come out into full view when the sky clears all the way to the horizon and the wind blows fine from the northwest. They make a casual remark about the sufficiency of what is already in sight, and go their way in satisfied ignorance of the "beyond."

Next day, perhaps _ Oh wonder! the morning dawns with all the conditions favorable for our distant view. The air is altogether right for far visibility. The clouds are swept clean from the western rim, the blue is utterly transparent _ and there are the mountains! We wish our skeptical visitors could be with us now. We guess that they would not easily talk of the sufficiency of the near beauty, if they could once see the overtopping glory of these mountains now fully unveiled and revealed.

Something like that, I feel sure, is true of God and of other great spiritual realities which are linked with His being. Most of the time we get on with the things that are near at hand; the things we see and handle and are sure of. The world is full of utility and we do well to appreciate what is there waiting to be used. There is always something satisfying about beauty, and nature is very rich and lavish with it. Friendship and love are heavenly gifts, and when these are added to the other good things which the world gives us, it would seem, and it does seem, to many that we ought to be satisfied, and not be homesick for the glory which lies beyond the horizon-line of the senses.

I can not help it; my soul will not stay satisfied with this near-at-hand supply. A discontent sweeps over me, an uncontrollable Heimweh, homesickness of soul, surges up within me and I should be compelled to call the whole scheme miserable failure, if that near, visible sky-line were the real boundary of all that is.

Sometimes _ Oh joy! when the inward weather is just right; when selfish impulse has been hushed; when the clouds and shadows, which sin makes, are swept away and genuine love makes the whole inner atmosphere pure and free from haze, then I know that I find a beyond which before was nowhere in sight and might easily not have been suspected. I can not decide whether this extended range of sight is due to alterations in myself or whether it is due to some sudden increase of spiritual visibility in the great reality itself. I only know the fact. Before, I was occupied with things; now, I commune with God and am as sure of Him as I am of the mountains beyond my lake, which my skeptical visitor has not yet seen.

There can be no adequate world here for us without at least a faith in the reality beyond the line of what we see with our common eyes. We have times when we can not live by bread alone, or by our increase of stocks; when we lose our interest in cosmic forces and need something more than the slow justice which history weighs out on its great judgment days. We want to feel a real heart beating somewhere through things; we want to discover through the maze a loving will working out a purpose; we want to know that our costly loyalties, our high endeavors, and our sacrifices which make the quivering flesh palpitate with pain, really matter to Someone and fill up what is behind of His great suffering for love's sake. We can not get on here with substitutes; we must have the reality itself.

Religion is an awful farce if it is only a play-scheme, a cinematograph-show, which makes one believe that he is seeing reality when he is, in fact, being fooled with a picture. We must at all cost insist on the real things. It is God we want and not another, the Real Face and not a picture.

"We needs must love the highest when we see it;
Not Lancelot nor another."

He is surely there to be seen, like my mountain. Days may pass when we only hope and long and guess. Then the weather comes right, the veil thins away and we see! It is, however, not a rare privilege reserved for a tiny few. It is not a grudged miracle, granted only to saints who have killed out all self. It belongs to the very nature of the soul to see God. It is what makes life really life. It is as normal a function as breathing or digestion. Only one must, of all things, intend to do it!

Notes

1. Heb. XI, 1046.

2. Prelude, Book IV.

3. I have been influenced in the formation of my view by the lectures of my former teacher, Professor George Herbert Palmer.

4. Edward Dowden's Sonnet, Awakening.

5. This illustrative way of thinking of God is suggestively used by Dr. D. C. Macintosh in his little book, God in a World at War.

6. See Varieties of Religious Experience. pp. 508 and 514. "The Beyond Is Within" is the title of a book by Emile Boutroux.


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