The Life of the Spirit and the Life of To-day eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 273 pages of information about The Life of the Spirit and the Life of To-day.
limited and special suggestions of a creed.  It is found that the less any desired motive is bound up with particular acts, persons, or ideas, the greater is the chance of its being universalized and made good for life all round.  I do not intend by this statement to criticize any particular presentation of religion.  Nevertheless, educators ought to remember that a religion which is first entirely bound up with narrow and childish theological ideas, and is then presented as true in the absolute sense, is bound to break down under greater knowledge or hostile criticism; and may then involve the disappearance of the religious impulse as a whole, at least for a long period.

Did we know our business, we ought surely to be able to ensure in our young people a steady and harmonious spiritual growth.  The “conversion” or psychic convulsion which is sometimes regarded as an essential preliminary of any vivid awakening of the spiritual consciousness, is really a tribute exacted by our wrong educational methods.  It is a proof that we have allowed the plastic creature confided to us to harden in the wrong shape.  But if, side by side and in simplest language, we teach the conceptions:  first, of God as the transcendent yet indwelling Spirit of love, of beauty and of power; next, of man’s constant dependence on Him and possible contact with His nature in that arduous and loving act of attention which is the essence of prayer; last, of unselfish work and fellowship as the necessary expressions of all human ideals—­then, I think, we may hope to lay the foundations of a balanced and a wholesome life, in which man’s various faculties work together for good, and his vigorous instinctive life is directed to the highest ends.


[Footnote 146:  Spencer:  “Education,” Cap. 1.]

[Footnote 147:  “The Cloud of Unknowing,” Cap. 39.]

[Footnote 148:  Ruysbroeck:  “The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage,” Bk.  I, Caps. 12-24.]



We have come to the last chapter of this book; and I am conscious that those who have had the patience to follow its argument from the beginning, may now feel a certain sense of incompleteness.  They will observe that, though many things have been said about the life of the Spirit, not a great deal seems to have been said, at any rate directly, about the second half of the title—­the life of to-day—­and especially about those very important aspects of our modern active life which are resumed in the word Social.  This avoidance has been, at least in part, intentional.  We have witnessed in this century a violent revulsion from the individualistic type of religion; a revulsion which parallels upon-its own levels, and indeed is a part of, the revolt from Victorian individualism in political economic life.  Those who come much

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The Life of the Spirit and the Life of To-day from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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