previous next
[117] demonstrated, are perfectly willing to take it on authority, can appropriate whatever use there may be in it without the least understanding of its processes, as men send messages by the electric telegraph, but every truth of morals must be redemonstrated in the experience of the individual man before he is capable of utilizing it as a constituent of character or a guide in action. A man does not receive the statements that ‘two and two make four,’ and that ‘the pure in heart shall see God,’ on the same terms. The one can be proved to him with four grains of corn; he can never arrive at a belief in the other till he realize it in the intimate persuasion of his whole being. This is typified in the mystery of the incarnation. The divine reason must forever manifest itself anew in the lives of men, and that as individuals. This atonement with God, this identification of the man with the truth,1 so that right action shall not result from the lower reason of utility, but from the higher of a will so purified of self as to sympathize by instinct with the eternal laws,2 is not something that can be done once for all, that can become historic and traditional, a dead flower pressed between the leaves of the family Bible, but must be renewed in every generation, and in the soul of every mall, that it may be valid. Certain sects show their recognition of this in what are called revivals, a gross and carnal attempt to apply truth, as it were, mechanically, and to accomplish by the etherization of excitement and the magnetism of crowds what is possible

1 ‘I conceived myself to be now,’ says Milton, ‘not as mine own person, but as a member incorporate into that truth whereof I was persuaded.’


But now was turning my desire and will,
Even as a wheel that equally is moved,
The Love that moves the sun and other stars.

Paradiso, XXXIII., closing verses of the Divina Commedia.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Milton (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: