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.
of existence resumed in the word contemplation, has been left out.  “All the artillery of the world,” said John Everard, “were they all discharged together at one clap, could not more deaf the ears of our bodies than the clamourings of desires in the soul deaf its ears, so you see a man must go into the silence, or else he cannot hear God speak."[40] And until we remodel our current conception of the Christian life in such a sense as to give that silence and its revelation their full value, I do not think that we can hope to exhibit the triumphing power of the Spirit in human character and human society.  Our whole notion of life at present is such as to set up resistances to its inflow.  Yet the inner mood, the consciousness, which makes of the self its channel, are accessible to all, if we would but believe this and act on our belief.  “Worship,” said William Penn, “is the supreme act of a man’s life."[41] And what is worship but a reach-out of the finite spirit towards Infinite Life?  Here thought must mend the breach which thought has made:  for the root of our trouble consists in the fact that there is a fracture in our conception of God and of our relation with Him.  We do not perceive the “hidden unity in the Eternal Being”; the single nature and purpose of that Spirit which brought life forth, and shall lead it to full realization.

Here is our little planet, chiefly occupied, to our view, in rushing round the sun; but perhaps found from another angle to fill quite another part in the cosmic scheme.  And on this apparently unimportant speck, wandering among systems of suns, the appearance of life and its slow development and ever-increasing sensitization; the emerging of pain and of pleasure; and presently man with his growing capacity for self-affirmation and self-sacrifice, for rapture and for grief.  Love with its unearthly happiness, unmeasured devotion, and limitless pain; all the ecstasy, all the anguish that we extract from the rhythm of life and death.  It is much, really, for one little planet to bring to birth.  And presently another music, which some—­not many perhaps yet, in comparison with its population—­are able to hear.  The music of a more inward life, a sort of fugue in which the eternal and temporal are mingled; and here and there some, already, who respond to it.  Those who hear it would not all agree as to the nature of the melody; but all would agree that it is something different in kind from the rhythm of life and death.  And in their surrender to this—­to which, as they feel sure, the physical order too is really keeping time—­they taste a larger life; more universal, more divine.  As Plotinus said, they are looking at the Conductor in the midst; and, keeping time with Him, find the fulfilment both of their striving and of their peace.


[Footnote 1:  Von Huegel:  “Essays and Addresses on the Philosophy of Religion,” p. 60.]

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