Far Country, a — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 643 pages of information about Far Country, a — Complete.
consisted of ideals not deemed practical, since no attempt was made to put them into practice in the only logical manner,—­by reorganizing civilization to conform with them.  The implication was that the Christ who had preached these ideals was not practical....  There were undoubtedly men in the faculty of the University who might have helped me had I known of them; who might have given me, even at that time, a clew to the modern, logical explanation of the Bible as an immortal record of the thoughts and acts of men who had sought to do just what I was seeking to do,—­connect the religious impulse to life and make it fruitful in life:  an explanation, by the way, a thousand-fold more spiritual than the old.  But I was hopelessly entangled in the meshes of the mystic, the miraculous and supernatural.  If I had analyzed my yearnings, I might have realized that I wanted to renounce the life I had been leading, not because it was sinful, but because it was aimless.  I had not learned that the Greek word for sin is “a missing of the mark.”  Just aimlessness!  I had been stirred with the desire to perform some service for which the world would be grateful:  to write great literature, perchance.  But it had never been suggested to me that such swellings of the soul are religious, that religion is that kind of feeling, of motive power that drives the writer and the scientist, the statesman and the sculptor as well as the priest and the Prophet to serve mankind for the joy of serving:  that religion is creative, or it is nothing:  not mechanical, not a force imposed from without, but a driving power within.  The “religion” I had learned was salvation from sin by miracle:  sin a deliberate rebellion, not a pathetic missing of the mark of life; useful service of man, not the wandering of untutored souls who had not been shown the way.  I felt religious.  I wanted to go to church, I wanted to maintain, when it was on me, that exaltation I dimly felt as communion with a higher power, with God, and which also was identical with my desire to write, to create....

I bought books, sets of Wordsworth and Keats, of Milton and Shelley and Shakespeare, and hid them away in my bureau drawers lest Tom and my friends should see them.  These too I read secretly, making excuses for not joining in the usual amusements.  Once I walked to Mrs. Bolton’s and inquired rather shamefacedly for Hermann Krebs, only to be informed that he had gone out....  There were lapses, of course, when I went off on the old excursions,—­for the most part the usual undergraduate follies, though some were of a more serious nature; on these I do not care to dwell.  Sex was still a mystery....  Always I awoke afterwards to bitter self-hatred and despair....  But my work in English improved, and I earned the commendation and friendship of Mr. Cheyne.  With a wisdom for which I was grateful he was careful not to give much sign of it in classes, but the fact that he was “getting soft on me” was evident enough to be regarded with suspicion.  Indeed the state into which I had fallen became a matter of increasing concern to my companions, who tried every means from ridicule to sympathy, to discover its cause and shake me out of it.  The theory most accepted was that I was in love.

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Far Country, a — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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