God the Invisible King eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about God the Invisible King.
No doubt that from the mutual necessities of bodily love and the common adventure, the necessary honesties and helps of a joint life, there springs the stoutest, nearest, most enduring and best of human companionship; perhaps only upon that root can the best of mortal comradeship be got; but it does not follow that the mere ordinary coming together and pairing off of men and women is in itself divine or sacramental or anything of the sort.  Being in love is a condition that may have its moments of sublime exaltation, but it is for the most part an experience far down the scale below divine experience; it is often love only in so far as it shares the name with better things; it is greed, it is admiration, it is desire, it is the itch for excitement, it is the instinct for competition, it is lust, it is curiosity, it is adventure, it is jealousy, it is hate.  On a hundred scores ‘lovers’ meet and part.  Thereby some few find true love and the spirit of God in themselves or others.

Lovers may love God in one another; I do not deny it.  That is no reason why the imitation and outward form of this great happiness should be made an obligation upon all men and women who are attracted by one another, nor why it should be woven into the essentials of religion.  For women much more than for men is this confusion dangerous, lest a personal love should shape and dominate their lives instead of God.  “He for God only; she for God in him,” phrases the idea of Milton and of ancient Islam; it is the formula of sexual infatuation, a formula quite easily inverted, as the end of Goethe’s Faust ("The woman soul leadeth us upward and on”) may witness.  The whole drift of modern religious feeling is against this exaggeration of sexual feeling, these moods of sexual slavishness, in spiritual things.  Between the healthy love of ordinary mortal lovers in love and the love of God, there is an essential contrast and opposition in this, that preference, exclusiveness, and jealousy seem to be in the very nature of the former and are absolutely incompatible with the latter.  The former is the intensest realisation of which our individualities are capable; the latter is the way of escape from the limitations of individuality.  It may be true that a few men and more women do achieve the completest unselfishness and self-abandonment in earthly love.  So the poets and romancers tell us.  If so, it is that by an imaginative perversion they have given to some attractive person a worship that should be reserved for God and a devotion that is normally evoked only by little children in their mother’s heart.  It is not the way between most of the men and women one meets in this world.

But between God and the believer there is no other way, there is nothing else, but self-surrender and the ending of self.

CHAPTER THE SIXTH

MODERN IDEAS OF SIN AND DAMNATION

1.  The biological equivalent of sin

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Project Gutenberg
God the Invisible King from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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