Christianity wants nothing so much in the world as sunny people, and the old are hungrier for love than for bread, and the Oil of Joy is very cheap, and if you can help the poor on with a Garment of Praise it will be better for them than blankets.January 2nd
No one who knows the content of Christianity, or feels the universal need of a Religion, can stand idly by while the intellect of his age is slowly divorcing itself from it.January 3rd
A Science without mystery is unknown; a Religion without mystery is absurd. However far the scientific method may penetrate the Spiritual World, there will always remain a region to be explored by a scientific faith.January 4th Among the mysteries which compass the world beyond, none is greater than how there can be in store for man a work more wonderful, a life more God-like than this.
January 8th There is a sense of solidity about a Law of Nature which belongs to nothing else in the world. Here, at last, amid all that is shifting, is one thing sure; one thing outside ourselves, unbiased, unprejudiced, uninfluenced by like or dislike, by doubt or fear. . . . This more than anything else makes one eager to see the Reign of Law traced in the Spiritual Sphere.January 9th
With Nature as the symbol of all of harmony and beauty that is known to man, must we still talk of the supernatural, not as a convenient word, but as a different order of world, . . . where the Reign of Mystery supersedes the Reign of Law?January 10th
The Reign of Law has gradually crept into every department of Nature, transforming knowledge everywhere into Science. The process goes on, and Nature slowly appears to us as one great unity, until the borders of the Spiritual World are reached.January 11th No single fact in Science has ever discredited a fact in Religion.
I shall never rise to the point of view which wishes to "raise" faith to knowledge. To me, the way of truth is to come through the knowledge of my ignorance to the submissiveness of faith, and then, making that my starting-place, to raise my knowledge into faith.January 13th
If the purification of Religion comes from Science, the purification of Science, in a deeper sense, shall come from Religion.
With the demonstration of the naturalness of the supernatural, skepticism even may come to be regarded as unscientific. And those who have wrestled long for a few bare truths to ennoble life and rest their souls in thinking of the future will not be left in doubt.
It is impossible to believe that the amazing successions of revelations in the domain of Nature, during the last few centuries, at which the world has all but grown tired wondering, are to yield nothing for the higher life.January 17th Is life not full of opportunities for learning love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them.
Life depends upon contact with Life. It cannot spring up out of itself. It cannot develop out of anything that is not Life. There is no Spontaneous Generation in religion any more than in Nature. Christ is the source of Life in the Spiritual World; and he that hath the Son hath Life, and he that hath not the Son, whatever else he may have, hath not Life.
It is a wonderful thing that here and there in this hard, uncharitable world, there should still be left a few rare souls who think no evil.
The physical Laws may explain the inorganic world; the biological Laws may account for the development of the organic. But of the point where they meet, of that strange borderland between the dead and the living, Science is silent. It is as if God had placed everything in earth and heaven in the hands of Nature, but reserved a point at the genesis of Life for His direct appearing.January 22nd
Except a mineral be born "from above"--from the Kingdom just ABOVE it--it cannot enter the Kingdom just above it. And except a man be born "from above," by the same law, he cannot enter the Kingdom just above him.January 23rd If we try to influence or elevate others, we shall soon see that success is in proportion to their belief of our belief in them.
The first step in peopling these worlds with the appropriate living forms is virtually miracle. Nor in one case is there less of mystery in the act than in the other. The second birth is scarcely less perplexing to the theologian than the first to the embryologist.January 29th
There may be cases--they are probably in the majority-- where the moment of contact with the Living Spirit, though sudden, has been obscure. But the real moment and the conscious moment are two different things. Science pronounces nothing as to the conscious moment. If it did, it would probably say that that was seldom the real moment-- The moment of birth in the natural world is not a conscious moment—we do not know we are born till long afterward.January 30th
The stumbling-block to most minds is perhaps less the mere existence of the unseen than the want of definition, the apparently hopeless vagueness, and not least, the delight in this vagueness as mere vagueness by some who look upon this as the mark of quality in Spiritual things. It will be at least something to tell earnest seekers that the Spiritual World is not a castle in the air, of an architecture unknown to earth or heaven, but a fair ordered realm furnished with many familiar things and ruled by well-remembered Laws.January 31st Character grows in the stream of the world's life. That chiefly is where men are to learn love.
If a man does not exercise his arm he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fiber, nor beauty of Spiritual growth.February 2nd
A Religion without mystery is an absurdity. Even Science has its mysteries, none more inscrutable than around this Science of Life. It taught us sooner or later to expect mystery, and now we enter its domain. Let it be carefully marked, however, that the cloud does not fall and cover us till we have ascertained the most momentous truth of Religion-- that Christ is in the Christian.February 3rd
Religion in having mystery is in analogy with all around it. Where there is exceptional mystery in the Spiritual World it will generally be found that there is a corresponding mystery in the natural world.February 4th
Even to earnest minds the difficulty of grasping the truth at all has always proved extreme. Philosophically, one scarcely sees either the necessity or the possibility of being born again. Why a virtuous man should not simply grow better and better until in his own right he enter the Kingdom of God is what thousands honestly and seriously fail to understand.February 5th Lavish Love upon our equals, where it is very difficult, and for whom perhaps we each do least of all.
Spiritual Life is not something outside ourselves. The idea is not that Christ is in heaven and that we can stretch out some mysterious faculty and deal with Him there. This is the vague form in which many conceive the truth, but it is contrary to Christ's teaching and to the analogy of nature. Life is definite and resident; and Spiritual Life is not a visit from a force, but a resident tenant in the soul.February 7th
If we neglect almost any of the domestic animals, they will rapidly revert to wild and worthless forms. Now, the same thing exactly would happen in the case of you or me. Why should man be an exception to any of the laws of nature?February 8th
The law of Reversion to Type runs through all creation. If a man neglect himself for a few years he will change into a worse and a lower man. If it is his body that he neglects, he will deteriorate into a wild and bestial savage. . . . If it is his mind, it will degenerate into imbecility and madness. . . . If he neglect his conscience, it will run off into lawlessness and vice. Or, lastly, if it is his soul, it must inevitably atrophy, drop off in ruin and decay.February 9th Three possibilities of life, according to Science, are open to all living organisms-Balance, Evolution, and Degeneration.
The life of Balance is difficult. It lies on the verge of continual temptation, its perpetual adjustments become fatiguing, its measured virtue is monotonous and uninspiring.February 11th
More difficult still, apparently, is the life of ever upward growth. Most men attempt it for a time, but growth is slow; and despair overtakes them while the goal is far away.February 12th Degeneration is easy. Why is it easy? Why but that already in each man's very nature this principle is supreme? He feels within his soul a silent drifting motion impelling him downward with irresistible force. February 13th
This is Degeneration--that principle by which the organism, failing to develop itself, failing even to keep what it has got, deteriorates, and becomes more and more adapted to a degraded form of life.February 14th
It is a distinct fact by itself, which we can hold and examine separately, that on purely natural principles the soul that is left to itself unwatched, uncultivated, unredeemed, must fall away into death by its own nature.February 15th
If a man find the power of sin furiously at work within him, dragging his whole life downward to destruction, there is only one way to escape his fate--to take resolute hold of the upward power, and be borne by it to the opposite goal.February 16th Neglect does more for the soul than make it miss salvation. It despoils it of its capacity for salvation.
If there were uneasiness there might be hope. If there were, somewhere about our soul, a something which was not gone to sleep like all the rest; if there were a contending force anywhere; if we would let even that work instead of neglecting it, it would gain strength from hour to hour, and waken up, one at a time, each torpid and dishonored faculty, till our whole nature became alive with strivings against self, and every avenue was open wide for God.February 19th
Where is the capacity for heaven to come from if it be not developed on earth? Where, indeed, is even the smallest appreciation of God and heaven to come from when so little of spirituality has ever been known or manifested here?February 20th
Men tell us sometimes there is no such thing as an atheist. There must be. There are some men to whom it is true that there is no God. They cannot see God because they have no eye. They have only an abortive organ, atrophied by neglect.February 21st
Escape means nothing more than the gradual emergence of the higher being from the lower, and nothing less. It means the gradual putting off of all that cannot enter the higher state, or heaven, and simultaneously the putting on of Christ. It involves the slow completing of the soul and the development of the capacity for God.February 22nd
If, then, escape is to be open to us, it is not to come to us somehow, vaguely. We are not to hope for anything startling or mysterious. It is a definite opening along certain lines which are definitely marked by God, which begin at the Cross of Christ, and lead direct to Him.February 23rd
Each man, in the silence of his own soul, must work out this salvation for himself with fear and trembling--with fear, realizing the momentous issues of his task; with trembling, lest, before the tardy work be done, the voice of Death should summon him to stop.
There is a Sense of Sound. Neglect this, leave it undeveloped, and you never miss it. Develop it, and you hear God. And the line along which to develop it is known to us. Obey Christ.February 28th
He who loves will rejoice in the Truth, rejoice not in what he has been taught to believe; not in this Church's doctrine or in that; not in this issue, or in that issue; but "in the Truth." He will accept only what is real; he will strive to get at facts; he will search for Truth with a humble and unbiased mind, and cherish whatever he finds at any sacrifice.
"Consider the lilies of the field how they grow." Christ made the lilies and He made me--both on the same broad principle. Both together, man and flower . . .; but as men are dull at studying themselves. He points to this companion-phenomenon to teach us how to live a free and natural life, a life which God will unfold for us, without our anxiety, as He unfolds the flower.March 2nd Our efforts after Christian growth seem only a succession of failures, and, instead of rising into the beauty of holiness, our life is a daily heart-break and humiliation.
The lilies grow, Christ says, of themselves; they toil not, neither do they spin. They grow, that is, automatically, spontaneously, without trying, without fretting, without thinking.March 4th
Violent efforts to grow are right in earnestness, but wholly wrong in principle. There is but one principle of growth both for the natural and spiritual, for animal and plant, for body and soul. For all growth is an organic thing. And the principle of growing in grace is once more this, "Consider the lilies how they grow."March 5th
Earnest souls who are attempting sanctification by struggle, instead of sanctification by faith, might be spared much humiliation by learning the botany of the Sermon on the Mount.March 6th
There is only one thing greater than happiness in the world, and that is holiness; and it is not in our keeping; but what God HAS put in our power is the happiness of those about us, and that is largely to be secured by our being kind to them. March 7thWe have all felt the brazenness of words without emotion, the hollowness, the unaccountable unpersuasiveness of eloquence behind which lies no love.
Patience; kindness; generosity; humility; courtesy; unselfishness; good-temper; guilelessness; sincerity--these make up the supreme gift, the stature of the perfect man.March 9th We hear much of love to God; Christ spoke much of love to man. We make a great deal of peace with heaven; Christ spoke much of peace on earth.
The conditions of growth, then, and the inward principle of growth being both supplied by Nature, the thing man has to do, the little junction left for him to complete, is to apply the one to the other. He manufactures nothing; he earns nothing; he need be anxious for nothing; his one duty is to be IN these conditions, to abide in them, to allow grace to play over him, to be still and know that this is God.March 13th
A man will often have to wrestle with his God--but not for growth. The Christian life is a composed life. The Gospel is Peace. Yet the most anxious people in the world are Christians--Christians who misunderstand the nature of growth. Life is a perpetual self-condemning because they are not growing.March 14th All the work of the world is merely a taking advantage of energies already there.
The sneer at the godly man for his imperfections is ill-judged. A blade is a small thing. At first it grows very near the earth. It is often soiled and crushed and downtrodden. But it is a living thing,. . . and "it doth not yet appear what it shall be."March 19th Christ's protest is not against work, but against anxious thought.
If God is adding to our spiritual stature, unfolding the new nature within us, it is a mistake to keep twitching at the petals with our coarse fingers. We must seek to let the Creative Hand alone. "It is God which giveth the increase."
Love is PATIENCE. This is the normal attitude of Love; Love passive, Love waiting to begin; not in a hurry; calm; ready to do its work when the summons comes, but meantime wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.March 22nd Have you ever noticed how much of Christ's life was spent in doing kind things?
I wonder why it is we are not all kinder than we are! How much the world needs it. How easily it is done. How instantaneously it acts. How infallibly it is remembered. How superabundantly it pays itself back --for there is no debtor in the world so honorable, so superbly honorable as Love.March 24th To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever. Hence, eternal life is inextricably bound up with love.
Man is a mass of correspondences, and because of these, because he is alive to countless objects and influences to which lower organisms are dead, he is the most living of all creatures.March 26th
All organisms are living and dead--living to all within the circumference of their correspondences, dead to all beyond. . . . Until man appears there is no organism to correspond with the whole environment.March 27th Is man in correspondence with the whole environment or is he not? . . . He is not. Of men generally it cannot be said that they are in living contact with that part of the environment which is called the spiritual world. March 28th The animal world and the plant world are the same world. They are different parts of one environment. And the natural and spiritual are likewise one.
This earthly mind may be of noble caliber, enriched by culture, high-toned, virtuous, and pure. But if it know not God? What though its correspondences reach to the stars of heaven or grasp the magnitudes of Time and Space? The stars of heaven are not heaven. Space is not God.
We do not picture the possessor of this carnal mind as in any sense a monster. We have said he may be high-toned, virtuous, and pure. The plant is not a monster because it is dead to the voice of the bird; nor is he a monster who is dead to the voice of God. The contention at present simply is that he is DEAD.April 2nd What is the creed of the Agnostic, but the confession of the spiritual numbness of humanity?
The Christian apologist never further misses the mark than when he refuses the testimony of the Agnostic to himself. When the Agnostic tells me he is blind and deaf, dumb, torpid, and dead to the spiritual world, I must believe him. Jesus tells me that. Paul tells me that. Science tells me that. He knows nothing of this outermost circle; and we are compelled to trust his sincerity as readily when he deplores it as if, being a man without an ear, he professed to know nothing of a musical world, or being without taste, of a world of art.April 5th
It brings no solace to the unspiritual man to be told he is mistaken. To say he is selfdeceived is neither to compliment him nor Christianity. He builds in all sincerity who raises his altar to the UNKNOWN God. He does not know God. With all his marvellous and complex correspondences, he is still one correspondence short.April 6th
Only one thing truly need the Christian envy, the large, rich, generous soul which "envieth not."
Whenever you attempt a good work you will find other men doing the same kind of work, and probably doing it better. Envy them not.
I say that man believes in a God, who feels himself in the presence of a Power which is not himself, and is immeasurably above himself, a Power in the contemplation of which he is absorbed, in the knowledge of which he finds safety and happiness.April 9th
What men deny is not a God. It is the correspondence. The very confession of the Unknowable is itself the dull recognition of an Environment beyond themselves, and for which they feel they lack the correspondence. It is this want that makes their God the Unknown God. And it is this that makes them DEAD.April 10th
God is not confined to the outermost circle of environment, He lives and moves and has His being in the whole. Those who only seek Him in the further zone can only find a part. The Christian who knows not God in Nature, who does not, that is to say, correspond with the whole environment, most certainly is partially dead.April 11th After you have been kind, after Love has stolen forth into the world and done its beautiful work, go back into the shade again and say nothing about it.
The absence of the true Light means moral Death. The darkness of the natural world to the intellect is not all. What history testifies to is, first the partial, and then the total eclipse of virtue that always follows the abandonment of belief in a personal God.
The only greatness is unselfish love. . . . There is a great difference between TRYING TO PLEASE and GIVING PLEASURE.
The conception of a God gives an altogether new color to worldliness and vice. Worldliness it changes into heathenism, vice into blasphemy. The carnal mind, the mind which is turned away from God, which will not correspond with God--this is not moral only but spiritual Death. And Sin, that which separates from God, which disobeys God, which CAN not in that state correspond with God--this is hell.April 15th
If sin is estrangement from God, this very estrangement is Death. It is a want of correspondence. If sin is selfishness, it is conducted at the expense of life. Its wages are Death--"he that loveth his life," said Christ, "shall lose it."April 16th
Obviously if the mind turns away from one part of the environment it will only do so under some temptation to correspond with another. This temptation, at bottom, can only come from one source—the love of self. The irreligious man's correspondences are concentrated upon himself. He worships himself. Selfgratification rather than self-denial; independence rather than submission--these are the rules of life. And this is at once the poorest and the commonest form of idolatry.April 17th You will find . . . that the people who influence you are people who believe in you.
The development of any organism in any direction is dependent on its environment. A living cell cut off from air will die. A seed-germ apart from moisture and an appropriate temperature will make the ground its grave for centuries. Human nature, likewise, is subject to similar conditions. It can only develop in presence of its environment. No matter what its possibilities may be, no matter what seeds of thought or virtue, what germs of genius or of art, lie latent in its breast, until the appropriate environment present itself the correspondence is denied, the development discouraged, the most splendid possibilities of life remain unrealized, and thought and virtue, genius and art, are dead.April 19th
The true environment of the moral life is God. Here conscience wakes. Here kindles love. Duty here becomes heroic; and that righteousness begins to live which alone is to live forever. But if this Atmosphere is not, the dwarfed soul must perish for mere want of its native air. And its Death is a strictly natural Death. It is not an exceptional judgment upon Atheism. In the same circumstances, in the same averted relation to their environment, the poet, the musician, the artist, would alike perish to poetry, to music, and to art.April 20th
Every environment is a cause. Its effect upon me is exactly proportionate to my correspondence with it. If I correspond with part of it, part of myself is influenced. If I correspond with more, more of myself is influenced; if with all, all is influenced. If I correspond with the world, I become worldly; if with God, I become Divine.April 21st
You can dwarf a soul just as you can dwarf a plant, by depriving it of a full environment. Such a soul for a time may have a "name to live." Its character may betray no sign of atrophy. But its very virtue somehow has the pallor of a flower that is grown in darkness, or as the herb which has never seen the sun, no fragrance breathes from its spirit.April 22nd
I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.