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would call the power “God, as best expressing that sacred influence which is the main fact of our inward life.” Every experience must seek its expression. As a term for the ideal elements vithin and without us which denote their reality, the word “God” appears to him the least daring, the least descriptive, while popularly it suggests the Good. It must become an increasingly impersonal expression by the very necessity of being detached from the several personified patron deities of the various races,“ Vishnu,” “Jehovah,” “ Jupiter," “ Allah,” etc.
When the great Religion of Man has come, this term will necessarily stand as it stands now in the pages of Goethe, Carlyle, Emerson, and many poets
for the indefinable but majestic supremacy of perfect and eternal principles; for their unity, universality, and harmony; for their superlative glory in all things fair and grand, and the passionate love and longing they awaken in the breast of man. ...
It is anthropomorphic to say, “God loves,” for to love is the act of man : not so to say, “God is Love,” for we can have no idea of a man who is love. To say, “God knows” is anthropomorphic: not so to say, “God is Wisdom."
When Jesus said, “God is a Spirit,”— in his own sense of a viewless influence, whose effect we feel as we do the breath of the wind, while we cannot tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth,- he raised the mind above every anthropomorphic conception to the pure elemental realm of ideal and moral existence. Nor do I worship the Unknown. What I do worship is my ideal as perfect as I can make it. Love, reason, right, beauty, are blended and consummate in it. In what mode or modes these subsist in the universe none can know, but it is not my ignorance that I worship: it is the ideal which I do know, though knowing not the metaphysics of it. ...
But is all this real? Is there in the universe any reason apart from the brain of man, or any principle of love beyond that manifested in the human heart? For myself, I cannot doubt that there are in nature these supreme elements which make and mould us rather than we them. There is in nature an evolutional order, a geometry, a mathematical uniformity, by which are built the worlds and the cells of bees, and which make possible the sciences of man. Upon man, the universal laws are compulsory. ... Reason is a principle in nature which reaches consciousness in man, but it does not grow into existence through man; for man's growth is an ascension to an inward harmony with it, in place of that coercion by it which, in his lower condition, he shares with plant and animal.
Love exists in rature. It is the principle of progress, and to believe in progress is to believe in God. Recognizing as highest within us the attraction of the best, and individual growth as its expression, we look forth upon the world, and discern a like law operative there. Life has journeyed from the zoophyte to Shakspere. Art has journeyed from a naked savage swimming across his river on a log to a civilized man crossing the ocean in a floating palace; from the scrawled picture letter to the cartoon of Raphael. Humanity has journeyed from the normal war of nomadic savages to courts of law, arbitration, and social comity. Honesty has become the best policy. The peaceful more and more inherit the earth: animal and human ferocities pass away, gentleness and benefit survive and increase. Evermore a progress toward the better! Why is this movement not backward? Why has there not been a steady survival of the morally unfittest? Why should there not have gone on a steady growth of the slave-trade, a m'iltiplication of slaves, an advance in Russia to double the extent of that serfdom which has been abolished? Why has not dishonesty become the best policy? Why this phenomenon of a totality ever moving onward, not backward, even the decays of this or that fragmentary and partial civilization followed invariably by a finer combination, and so contributing to swell the general impulse upward?
Some theological theists appear to smile at Mr. Matthew Arnold's reverential homage to a “stream of tendency”: nevertheless, it is in that ark that Faith is to float past the deluge of scepticism and denial. For that stream of tendency is a stream of love; and it must needs pass through mysteries of iniquity, pain, seeming chaos. As we stand on its banks, we look forth and see the cyclone in India, with its two hundred thousand mortals cut down in a moment, as it were, mere weeds under a scythe. What recourse has Faith but to believe the Ages against the Hour, as they attest the power that makes for righteousness, abandoning the whole problem of the Why which a discredited metaphysic has foisted upon the religious sentiment? ... We cannot comprehend the mystery of love and thought in our own nature. No Franklin has yet snatched from the air that finer flame which spiritually awakens and renews the universe. To try to analyze ourselves, to find a soul, is like digging into a stone to discover its electricity. We feel — and why should feeling be denied its weight?
that these onward-drawing forces, these longings for a completer life, are the profoundest realities of our existence, and correspond to their like reality in the universe.
There is an influence beneath which mankind must bend, as trees beneath the invisible wind. Sacred ideals arise and overawe our lower nature. We cannot, we will not, endure the thought that the intimations of our immortality mean nothing, because they mean not the egotism of the vulgar, and that the promise of our heart is false. While we muse, the fire burns. Emotions ascend, and life struggles to ascend with them. From the fair Kosmos whence we have derived a life - how strange, undreamable !-- that is real, equally have we derived ideals and cravings that seek their satisfaction in things invisible, -in moral beauty, self-forgetting love, the harmony of the inward and outer worlds; and even as a seed in its sod may feel the warm, quickening touch of the sun it has never seen, so amid the darkness of the earth the heart may feel stirring within the mystical attraction whose nature it cannot dream, whose sweetness seems to promise a far-off flowering into joy.— Moncure D. Conway (Idols and Ideals, p. 135, ff.).
This well-enunciated recognition of the existence yet indefinability of God, especially the reference to Goethe, will recall the familiar passage in Faust :
Who dare express Him?
is, fill with that force thy heart,
Goethe (Faust, J. Bayard Taylor's
translation, p. 221). Also his Proem to “ Gott und Welt”:
To Him who from eternity, self-stirred,
and till sight of sense be dim,
The soul of man, too,
is a universe:
Translated by J. A. S., in the Spectator, Sept. 24, 1870. And the like thought has lately found other good expression:
Absolute fulness and perfection of being, including of course and especially moral perfection, as the ground of the existence of this universe of which we are a part, is a postulate of our whole nature, intellectual, moral, emotional, affectional. That or nothing. Imperfection utterly fails of satisfying our thought. And, moreover, as we dwell on that thought, it is revealed to our deepest contemplation that the absolute perfection of being is love. Love, free from every element of human weakness,wise, holy, righteous, ever expressing itself in the promotion of the highest good that spiritual beings can receive, that is, moral good, ever strictly holding all moral beings to that highest end of their existence, and never withholding from them any discipline necessary to lead them into it,- such love, inhabiting eternity and immensity, and wielding all the forces of nature, fills our conception of absolute being. In the realm of spirit, it is as impossible to set aside that idea as in the physical realm to get rid of the infinity of space and duration. That intense reality is God.- Cazneau Palfrey (Christian Register, Dec. 29, 1881).
The same idea has manifold expression in all hymnology. Some illustrations hereof, with views concerning God as parent, etc., will be presented in the chapters on “Christ's Precepts on Piety, Devotion, and Prayer.” For the present suffice the never out-worn quotation from Pope's “ Universal Prayer" :
Father of all, in every age,
In every clime adored,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord !
Who all my sense confined,
And that myself am blind. ...
Whose altar earth, sea, skies,
All nature's incense rise! As to what proof of the existence of God is most relied upon by modern metaphysicians, perhaps J. D. Morell has given the most concisely comprehensive answer, including the argument from design, which some, considering the existence of pain, etc., think would prove two deities rather than one :
Of all the evidences, man is himself a living embodiment If you want the argument from design, then you see in the human form the
most perfect of all known organization. If you want the argument from being, then man in his conscious dependence has the clearest conviction of that independent and absolute One on which his own being reposes. If you want the argument from reason and morals, then the human mind is the only known repository of both. Man is, in fact, a microcosm,- a universe in himself; and whatever proof the whole universe affords is involved in principle in man himself. With the image of God before us, who can doubt of the divine type ?— Hist. and Crit. View Spec. Philos. of Europe Nineteenth Cent., p. 740.
Victor Cousin's reference to God as a Trinity, being at the same time God, Nature, and Humanity, is, if not a mixed metaphor," an allegorical view from which many dissent, lest familiarity breed contempt; preferring, while Thomas Campbell's line is true,
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
God is the green in every blade,
He hoists for succor from a heart
Till love arrives to take its part;
Goes whitening all the murky street
John Weiss. I myself am an irradiated manifestation of the Supreme Being. There is only one Deity: he is the Great Soul. He is called the Sun, for he is the Soul of all Beings.- Oldest of the Vedas (1500 B.C.).
God appears in the best thought, in the truest speech, in the sincerest action. Through his pure Spirit, he giveth health, prosperity, devotion, and eternity to the universe. He is the Father of all Truth.- Zoroaster (Zend-Avesta).
He is the Primeval Father, the Immortal Virgin, the Life, the Cause, the Energy of all things.- Orpheus (perhaps contemporary with Abraham).
Heaven and earth take refuge with thee, as a child with its mother. - The Vedas (800 B.C.).
The eason which can be reasoned is not the Eternal Reason. Man takes his law from the earth; earth takes its law from heaven; heaven takes its law from reason; reason takes its law from within itself. Use the light to guide you home to its own brightness.Lao-tze (604 B.C.).