Imatges de pÓgina
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The proof that they have found God, not grow nor perish, is without increase or at least a domain of spiritual reality, or diminution and endures for everlastdoes not lie in some new stock of knowl- ing. But, as a matter of fact, however edge, not in some gnostic secret, which exalted heavenly and enduring beauty they bring back; it is to be seen rather may be in its essence, we know what in the moral and spiritual fruits which it is only as it appears in fair forms of test out and verify the experience. objects, of body, of soul, of actions;

Consciousness of beauty or of truth in harmonious blending of sounds or or of goodness baffles analysis as much colors; in well-ordered or happily comas consciousness of God does. These bined groupings of many aspects in one values have no objective standing- unity, which is as it ought to be. Truth ground in current psychology. They and moral goodness always transcend are not things in the world of space. our attainments, and we sometimes feel They submit to no adequate causal ex- that the very end and goal of life is the planation. They have their ground of pursuit of that truth or that goodness being in some other kind of world than which

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hath not seen nor ear heard. that of the mechanical order, a world But whatever truth we do attain, or composed of quantitative masses of whatever goodness we do achieve, is almatter in motion. These experiences of ways concrete. Truth is just this one value, which are as real for experience more added fact that resists all attempt as stone-walls are, make very clear the to doubt it. Goodness is just this simfact that there are depths and capaci- ple everyday deed that reveals a heroic ties in the nature of the normal human spirit and a brave venture of faith in the mind which we do not usually recognize, midst of difficulties. and of which we have scant and imper- So, too, the mystic knowledge of God fect accounts in our textbooks. Our is not some esoteric communication, minds, taken in their full range, in other supplied through trance or ecstasy; it words, have some sort of contact and is an intuitive personal touch with God, relationship with an eternal nature of felt to be the essentially real, the burstthings far deeper than atoms and mole ing forth of an intense love for Him, cules. Only very slowly and gradually which heightens all the capacities and has the race learned, through finite activities of life, followed by the slow symbols and temporal forms, to inter- laboratory effects which verify it. ‘All pret beauty and truth and goodness, I could never be' now is. It seems poswhich, in their essence, are as ineffable sible to stand the universe

even to do and indescribable as is the mystic's something toward the transformation experience of God. Plato often speaks of it. The bans get read for that most as if he had high moments of experience difficult of all marriages, the marriage when he rose to the naked vision of of the possible with the actual, the ideal beauty — beauty ‘alone, separate and with the real. And if the experience eternal,' as he says; and his myths are does not prove that the soul has found very probably told, as J. A. Stewart God, it at least does this: it makes the believes, to assist others to experience soul feel that proofs of God are wholly this same vision a beauty that does unnecessary.

MEDITATIONS OF A BACHELOR.

BY EDWARD CARRINGTON VENABLE

It is printed on some page of a now cannot recapture firm faith in its own forgotten volume:

orthodoxy or shed its acquired knowl“The cry of "The Christian to the edge of the scarcity of lions. But takLions!” resounded everywhere through ing these two feats as accomplished, the dark streets.'

certainly the perfect reasonableness of The page was probably describing that terror is undeniable. Anyone is the reign of the Emperor Nero, and was afraid of being thrown to the lions, who possibly written by Sienkiewicz, though knows that he is defenselessly liable to that is no matter here.

such a fate and that there is a plentiful The little boy who read it, and went and immediate supply of lions. That to bed immediately afterward, lay alone small boy was not, as his elders would for a long time-or at least what seem- have assured him, groundlessly alarmed a long time — in a perfectly dark ed. He was ignorant, very, and of many bedroom, hearing that terrible cry. things — of zoology, of the improved It came to him in a dozen forms, but customs of theological dispute; but he each distinctly articulate. There was was not in the least irrational. His a large clock below, at the stairs' foot, fright was childish, but it was not in which ticked it; somewhere in the fields

any correct sense unreasonable. outside a cow bellowed it defiantly into That so simple a conclusion requires the dark universe; a lonely whip-poor- any demonstration shows the extent of will down by the river somewhere the evil — this confounding of the unlamented it with equal intervals. reasonable with the childish. The two

It was the very worst night of that terms have become positively almost little boy's life. Never afterward was synonymous. The two adjectives pop he quite so frightened. He believed, a out in any casual talk like the two bar. trifle arrogantly, may be, that he was rels of a shot-gun. It would be more a Christian, and, of course, he was sure accurate, however, to say that they of lions. To these facts, add that un- are in antithesis. For example, the fair namable quality which the dark pos- question is rather whether there are sesses, even for an animal, and you have any reasonable fears, except childish by the simplest reasoning a truly ter- fears. It is this that gives them their rifying situation. For it is a terrifying unequaled poignancy. They assail not situation to be alone in the dark, a very the imagination, but the very seat of small Christian, and hear a horde of reason itself. They cannot be argued barbarians shrieking for your life. It away, because they have all the arguis terrifying, and it is childish, and it is ments on their side. Not Socrates himas impeccably reasonable as arithmetic. self that night could have reasoned that

Of course, to the adult mind that last little boy into serenity. He remained quality, the rationality, is not self-evi- alarmed at the horrible possibilities of dent; but that is because the adult mind his merciless logic, until experience

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shifted the weight of probability to his boy with the lions, then grown to thirty side of the balance - a faultlessly logi- years and more, had such an expecal method. True, the result was ab- rience. It was terrifying; but how surd; but then, that was the defect of absurd, how beyond all reasonable exhis education. He was helpless in that planation appears this adult terror — regard, for he could acquire only what occurring, too, not in the darkness of a was permitted to him. Beyond that lonely bedroom, but in the mild afterhe was the victim of his method noon light of a nursery by comparifate that overtakes only children and son with that earlier one. philosophers.

It was exactly mid-afternoon in May The likeness between these two class- that he, a grown-up Christian now, es of human beings, between children was thrown into the arena of his

grownand philosophers, which has become the up fear, a nursery, to three little lions most obvious of observations, is, in- seated about a sort of Gulliver's deed, never a matter of chance. It is as Travels table before a window. The sequential as it is obvious. Each con- mother of these lions stood in the doorfronted by an unintelligible universe, way. The poor Christian stood in the which he is compelled to explain, at- middle of the floor being looked at, not tempts to reduce it to order by the at all angrily, only thoroughly. The method of his reason. The central ef- mother of the lions looked anxiously fort of the life of either is precisely the at the group about the table. Then she same. Each fails. The child becomes a turned a tranquil glance for an instant man or woman, acquires experience, to the Christian. So, exactly, might prejudices, sympathy, superstitions, some Imperial Roman, lolling on velvetmemories, and so accomplishes his few covered marble, have glanced down at purposes. The philosopher commits the terrible sands. And just as that suicide, or dies of old age, according to one might, for a brief instant of bored the intensity of his convictions. As indecision, have looked at his thumb surely as a man is a child who has before deciding 'up' or 'down,' so grown up, a philosopher is a child who she glanced at her wrist with its tiny has not grown up. The Pauline admoni- watch. tion that he put away childish things 'I shall be back,' she said evenly, he has not heeded — not, at least, in ‘about six.' regard to the most childish of all things. It was then about five. So it was disAll of which is the most obvious of ob tinctly, ‘Thumbs down.' servations. The type of philosopher Then she went out, closing the door who forgets his hat and carries about behind her - chaining it possibly. into the world the heart of a child has And the lions sat implacable. worn out its welcome in the most popu- When, at a little before six, — she lar fiction. It is strange that the equal- was not so heartless as she appeared, ly broad generalization, the philosophy the door was unbarred, it was a truly of infancy, has escaped an equally gen- exhausted man who was released. He eral recognition. Perhaps the explana- was exhausted because no adult can tion is that children have so recently live in the rarefied air of pure truth, begun to write books.

purged of every uncertainty that inCertainly no one who has ever en- terrogation can detect, for that length countered the merciless rationalism of of time without exhaustion. He, like an the human young has failed to mark it. air-pilot at altitude, must get down for The matured descendant of that small a few lungfulls of earth-contaminated atmosphere, or die. Only children and that it is philosophers can do otherwise.

cess CV Yet this man's ordeal had been a tain in a nursery is not a gratifying light one. He had been set three tasks. experience. First, he had been asked to sing. He When at last he lifted a corner of the could n't sing; but then, neither could table-cloth and peered out at his rethe children. He had been taught the turned hostess, all vanity had fled from fact by experience. Innocent of experi- that man. There was an annoying symence, their ecstasy during ten repeti- bolism about his attitude on the carpet. tions of 'My Country, 't is of Thee' was He had been brought low by the pitiexquisite. His mortification was un- less logic that seemed to stamp 'Mene, necessary, unreasonable, and painful. mene' upon his forehead. He had been

Failing completely to explain his lack tested, soul and body, and found only of voice, he was asked to tell a story. body. He had been subjected to that Now it happened, that whatever self- dreadful and merciless analysis, — so respect he had he had won for himself many of whose celebrated practitioners by the belief that he could tell stories have justly suffered death at the hands and by the stories he had told. In fact, of outraged humanity,

of outraged humanity, - that pitiless he was a story-teller by trade. It might judgment which, taking no account of be well to explain that the situation as the nobler, though abortive impulses of it stood then was caused by the mother mankind, their capacity for love, their of the lions, who was his hostess for dauntless aspiration, their tender fancy that week-end and rather at a loss to and sympathy, the mysteries of their dispose of him, suggesting,

imagination, will accept only the hard “I have to meet Elizabeth on the cash of Reason. 5.35. Why don't you go up and tell the 'Well, how did you like it?' asked his children stories. I am sure you would hostess as they went downstairs. tell such wonderful ones.'

If he had answered frankly, the vioHe remembered later that he had lence of his feeling, of his just resentthought he would — would, that is, ment, would possibly have hurled her tell wonderful ones. He even had a the length of the flight of stairs. That remnant of such confidence after the is the way her children would have anfailure of 'My Country, 't is of Thee.' swered her.

So he started off gallantly at the com- He managed to preserve some degree mand, “Tell us a story,' with ‘Well, once of truth, however, by replying that it upon a time

was one of the most instructive afterIn three sentences he had lost his noons of his life. audience. In ten he had disgusted It was a just answer. Later reflecthem. They were, on the whole, polite tion has confirmed it. After all, his about it, though not obscurely cir- assailants were unconscious of their cuitous. They merely said,

acts. Like himself thirty years earlier, “We're going to play Alps.'

they were the victims of their method. Fortunately they let him be the And that method was the only one they mountain. He possessed superior quali- knew. Strip any human soul of its exfications for that rôle.

perience, of the sympathy that comes So he lay for the better part of an by suffering, of the aspiration that hour covered by a white table-cloth, springs only from watching the sufferand was an Alp, while disregarding feet ings of others, of the humility that only trampled on his diminished head. In failure can teach what is left to it,

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except Reason? True, the infants were 'Yes,' she agreed as her feet touched terrible, but how terribly they were the bottom step. 'Are n't they fasarmed, with minds free from the prej- cinating?' udices of experience, unsoftened by That was the fatal step too far, the strain, functioning with mechanical ac- famous little bit of the too-much. curacy. These are the qualifications of There is the story of the man who dea machine-gun, not of a human soul. veloped feliphobia fainting at the sound Alas, it cannot be denied that, the more of a purr, or the touch of fur, and exone feels, the more especially one has plained his aversion on the grounds felt, the less accurately one reasons. that ‘cats can only reason. There is a It is not the ineptitude of the child's difference between an association that question that upsets his elders, it is its is instructive and one that fascinates. directness. The enfant terrible is ter- I love to watch their little minds rible only because of his accuracy, of grow,' she finished happily. his simplicity, of his perfect unconcern The remark, somehow, instantly with anything but truth. Surely, to called up a picture of this most delightsay of an afternoon spent in such com- ful gentle human being, spending her pany that it is instructive, is not to ex- life gloating over the gradual and inceed the bounds of even their rigid evitable deterioration of her offspring veracity.

like some distraught marksman enBut his questioner was not daunted. thusiastically calculating the increasShe ventured further.

ing error of his rifle.

COURTSHIP AFTER MARRIAGE

Nor long ago I read with pious mis- Statistics show that one out of every givings a book on Anarchism, by Emma twelve women remains unmarried beGoldman. It contained - as I expected

as I expected tween the years of forty-five and sixtymuch that was objectionable, wild, four; one out of ten between thirty-five and shocking. But it also contained and forty-four; and one out of five some very stimulating observations and between twenty-five and thirty-four. reflections. I was deeply impressed by Among the men, one out of ten remains a powerful chapter on marriage, in unmarried between the ages of fortywhich the author protested against the five and sixty-four; one out of six beugly fact that, under modern social and tween thirty-five and forty-four; and economic conditions in the United one out of every three between twentyStates, particularly in New England, five and thirty-four. Something must very many women are denied t e nat- be decidedly wrong with our civilizaural right of motherhood. A painful tion, to permit such a state of affairs. picture was drawn of the many thou- It is evident that this extraordinary sands of over-strained, atrophied wom- problem concerns the unmarried man en doomed to live out their lives un- quite as much as the unmarried woman. mated and deprived of their rightful The man who has never known the diginheritance.

nity, the responsibilities, and the deep

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