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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 228 pages of information about The Life of the Spirit and the Life of To-day.

To join in simplicity and without criticism in the common worship, humbly receiving its good influences, is one thing.  This is like the drill of the loyal soldier; welding him to his neighbours, giving him the corporate spirit and forming in him the habits he needs.  But to stop short at that drill, and tell the individual that drill is the essence of his life and all his duty, is another thing altogether.  It confuses means and end; destroys the balance between liberty and law.  If the religious institution is to do its real work in furthering the life of the Spirit, it must introduce a more rich variety into its methods; and thus educate souls of every type not only to be members of the group but also to grow up to the full richness of the personal life.  It must offer them—­as indeed Catholicism does to some extent already—­both easy emotion and difficult mystery; both dramatic ceremony and ceremonial silence.  It must also give to them all its hoarded knowledge of the inner life of prayer and contemplation, of the remaking of the moral nature on supernatural levels:  all the gold that there is in the deposit of faith.  And it must not be afraid to impart that knowledge in modern terms which all can understand.  All this it can and will do if its members sufficiently desire it:  which means, if those who care intensely for the life of the Spirit accept their corporate responsibilities.  In the last resort, criticism of the Church, of Christian institutionalism, is really criticism of ourselves.  Were we more spiritually alive, our spiritual homes would be the real nesting places of new life.  That which the Church is to us is the result of all that we bring to, and ask from, history:  the impact of our present and its past.

FOOTNOTES: 

[Footnote 119:  William James:  “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” p. 31.]

[Footnote 120:  On this point compare Von Huegel:  “Essays and Addresses on the Philosophy of Religion,” pp. 230 et seq.]

[Footnote 121:  W. McDougall:  “The Group Mind,” Cap. 3.]

[Footnote 122:  Von Huegel “Eternal Life,” p. 377.]

[Footnote 123:  Cf.  Trotter:  “Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War.”]

[Footnote 124:  Dom Cuthbert Butler in the “Hibbert Journal,” 1906, p. 502.]

[Footnote 125:  Baudouin:  “Suggestion and Auto-Suggestion,” Cap.  VII.]

[Footnote 126:  Cf.  R. Semon:  “Die Mneme.”]

[Footnote 127:  Bertrand Russell:  “The Analysis of Mind,” p. 78.]

[Footnote 128:  A quaint example of this occurred in a recent revival, where the exclamation “We believe in the Word of God from cover to cover, Alleluia!” received the fervent reply, “And the covers too!”]

CHAPTER VI

THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT IN THE INDIVIDUAL

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