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very existence here itself. The teaching of Christ has meant added joy to life here—not the joy of the visionary or mystic or emotional, but real old-fashioned joy, joy in actual life itself. It is joy He came to bring mankind. The test of every act is, will it add joy-actual joy—to life itself, the joy of oneself, the joy of those we are with? We are no longer in bondage to shibboleths of either Jewish or pagan world. We have put from us for ever the burdens of the one, the terrors of the other. Perfect freedom is ours. We are children of one Father, and we are under no law. As in that all-beautiful tale of Rudyard Kipling, his exquisite, “Ba, Ba, Black Sheep,” we can stamp in the puddles and be naughty if we like. In that sweet mother we have prototype of our Father as shown us by our Lord. He is no “Auntie Rosa,” keeping record of our sins. To her we may be " child of the devil,” ”inheritor of undying flame”; but to Him we are the children, the dear children of His own making. And He delights in our happiness, though, like many an earthly father He knows the added joy when, as children, we are left to work out our little problems for ourselves. And what if, in the working out, we muddle and wander, and prodigal, sink still deeper in the mire? That most human of allegories has more than human application. He leaves us to go our own little way, but His infinite love is ever by to make sure that we shall never plunge in everlasting ruin. But a religion without law; without sanction; without dogma; without rites, or days, or ceremonies; creedless, formless—what can such religion be to man? Everything! All in all. And the Father's will? He will do it, not because he is in awe, but because He is his Father, and His heart is full of love. And Christ came to show us the Father. Thus the philosophy He taught.
96. Thus we have tried, with all sympathetic appreciation, to make survey of this new philosophy, It is entirely independent of our view of the great Teacher Himself. It speaks for itself. It has been unfolded with most exquisite beauty of thought, of ilustration, and of expression. It touches chords in our existence which music alone can otherwise set vibrating. So lovely is it that it is difficult to approach it in the calm matter-of-fact spirit of the pure scientific inquiry. One loves to linger over some of its phrases as mere sounds of supreme loveliness. They never weary, they never grow commonplace. Mark the rhythm in that catalogue of Christian virtues we have just instanced as the fruit of the Spirit. So easy its melodious simplicity, we do not realize the infinite difficulties of expression which it has surmounted. No doubt we Anglo-Saxons owe no little to the dress or translation in which we have our Bible, and in which, with our Shakespeare, is incarnation of the poetry of the race. Thus one cannot study it without being swept away by it, when it becomes difficult to view its teaching in the matter-of-fact way one otherwise should do. But however approached, we find ourselves leagues away from the old notion of a God of terrors. And in the thought “Our Father," has been developed the simplest, grandest, and most comprehensible ethical system of which the world has to tell. But—how these “buts ” ever trouble us poor humans--but, is it according to experience?
And we cast our eye over the past. We note this beautiful philosophy, but we also find three other views of the deity maintaining their hold on man. Generalized, we see them as those of the pagan, the Jew, and the intelligent savage. The pagan in his hypnotic religions saw his god as a god to propitiated. Purification made, rites performed, sacrifice offered, all would be well. For the initiate in this world would be communion and oneness with the deity of his worship and for all, in the future an eternity of Elysium and bliss. But his deity neglected, and the terrors of Tartarus were multiplied, and it was woe the forgetful and unbelieving. And we have the “God of Righteousness” of the Jews. Duly served, and in this world was found the reward. And the rewards wanting, and what further evidence of unworthiness? “Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Thou wast altogether born in sin, and dost Thou teach us? ” truculently demanded the Pharisees, “and they cast Him out” of the synagogue. And then we have the notion of the intelligent savage of “The Great Spirit,” so very far away that he has no interest in anything so minute as himself. And each of these schools we find with its own special justification. The pagan certainly makes powerful appeal to one side of experience. The same problems troubled him as still trouble us. Why sin? Why suffering? Apart from suffering traceable by any ingenuity to man himself, there is in nature itself suffering—to the pagan unnecessary suffering, e.g. witness a cat play with a mouse; a badger track a rabbit; a crow feed on an Australian sheep; etc., etc., to say nothing of the terrible suffering we sometimes find amongst the sweetest and most perfect of some of God's human creations amongst ourselves. And if by parallel the pagan argues that God is a God who must be appeased, where find flaw in his logic. And with the Jew, much as Christ condemned the want of charity in that particular case, must we not confess that a child does ever suffer for the sins of its parents. And so the philosophy of the savage. It probably is the most logical of all. At best we can but reply with question : Is not the very attribute of infinity, infinite appreciation even of the infinitely little? But as a philosophy these difficulties do not exist. As a philosophy we simply ask how, through the ages, has it worked itself out. And who will prove dissatisfied ? On the other hand, as a religion, we are on entirely different ground. It is in religion we find tie with the infinite, and such questions are not questions of evidence, of argument, of probablity, of reason, or of talk, but simply of the one fact—How does God appeal to us as individuals? How He appeals to others is of no moment. If we accept Christ's teaching in all its completeness we shall not be affected by the
perience, what final court hat such court
ad conclusi is also ther such court
fact that other men and other ages have entirely differed. On the other hand, if such be not our thought or experience, what the evidence of thousands of another opinion? Our final court of appeal is experience our own experience. But that such court can bind no one but ourselves is also the obvious undoubted condition and conclusion. The very strength of our convictions may incline us to quarrel with all who differ with us—such slur is a slight on our intelligence -but therein is error. Others are entitled to similar convictions, to them as infallible. Thus would we answer pagan or Jew or savage; we are in the land of shadow and doubt; argument fails us. Plunged in a metaphysical morass we hopelessly flounder. Logic avails nothing, and it is we have no premises from which to draw conclusions. The finite has not the remotest conception of the infinite, and only the maddened brain imagines that it has. But when we take our little world as we find it, and ask what of this new philosophy in comparison with others taught mankind, and we are on far other ground. In the course of these pages we have seen the pagan thought ever dragging man down and down until much the reflex of the deity be feared. And the Jew, great as was his conception of the deity, was it not yet wanting in fulness and completeness? And we pass to the intelligent savage, but to find that he has ignored the “Great Spirit, only to fill the void with demons, devils, bogies, and every horror of the night. And in him we find tribute to the practical power of Christ's teaching. Taught to find in this same “Great Spirit” the “ Our Father ” of our Lord, and these nightmares of his past fading in the light of the breaking dawn lose their hold on the imagination and a happiness is his which he had never before known. These are facts. Ever this philosophy has proved one of the uplifting powers of the world. Maybe to some it is no concrete reality; maybe to some it is but one of those empty phrases which sounds well but does not lend itself to analytical examination; but on the whole it connotes those ideas with which ethical progress has been mostly associated. Progress has never been found in the magnificence of platitude nor man's uplifting in the glories of fine sentiments, but in this simple expression we have a conception which is as practical as it is beautiful. And it is of supreme advantage to any race to have for its ideal a thought, always inspiring, always appealing to the best in humanity, and always slightly in advance of actual conditions.
And it is such a thought that Christ has given to the world.
97. And thus our conclusion. In our analysis of physical science as the determinant in life we were satisfield that in an intelligent selfishness alone was to be found solution of most of the problems which perplex us. And we have more than intelligent selfishness. This philosophy of Christ is no mere philosophy at large; no mere vapourings of magnificent platitude, but a philosophy which finds no little complement in a corresponding conduct. In conjunction with conduct the resultant, the moral momentum is high. May be 'tis pleasing to dream of millenniums and castles in the clouds, but it is its measure as a practical force that is our assurance and our hope. But withal, Christ never intended His philosophy to take the place of patient investigation and hard work. It by no means follows that because a man is filled with love for his fellow that therefore he has deepest insight as to how that fellow in need is best to be helped. The part that Christ's philosophy assigns such love is to bring joy and peace and charity into its immediate surroundings. God never commissioned any of us to remake His world, but He has called upon us to make as bright and beautiful* and as cheerful as we can the little world in which we actually move. And thus--an idea with correspondence in practicethe brilliancy of the scout movement. And how as a
* In our great cities it is the “ugliness of life” which is so depressing. With thanks to J- S for the phrase.
high. Manduct the resulding conduct. Finds no little