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wrongs and abuses are disappearing, what is more needed than the sight of immortality, of the world to come, a continuation of all that is best in this, a place of reunion of loving hearts, of greater peace and joy, where there shall be higher tastes, more generous love, keener insight, and where we shall see and know more of the great Master, the dear Friend, Jesus Christ? These are the ideas of Paul. Can we find any better? - Boston Saturday Evening Gazette, May 21, 1881.
I would give nothing for a young man who did not begin life with an enthusiasm of some kind : it shows at least that he had faith in something good, lofty, and generous from his own stand-point.George L. Le Clerc, Comte de Buffon.
Morality is but the vestibule of religion.-Dr. E. H. Chapin.
One shall not say: Every fall is a fall upward, and I will fall as much as I please. On the contrary, we read everywhere the doom of the shiftless, the disobedient, and the frivolous.' The work of God goes on: the lines of right and truth become with each age plainer ; the pressure toward just and pure living is heavier to fight against; and history is a record of the ruin, in some shape, of every individual, dynasty, trade, party, or nation which persisted in withstanding the progress of good.-Charles F. Dole (Sermon on Ezek. xxi., 27).
Here patriot Truth her glorious precepts draw,
Joseph Story. Another phase of this topic will be incidentally considered in the next two chapters.
What is the most Important Characteristic of the Sermon on
the Mount, and What the First Four Precepts against Selfishness?
Its concreteness. This has been remarked by thinkers of every denomination. Witness widely indorsed aphorisms :
Christianity, which is always true to the heart, knows no abstract virtues, but virtues resulting from our wants, and useful to all.François R. A., Vicomte de Chateaubriand.
Do the duty that lies nearest to thee.- Goethe.
Aim above morality. Be not simply good. Be good for something.-- H. D. Thoreau.
What we need most is not so much to realize the ideal as to ideal. ize the real.- Dr. F. H. Hedge.
How unlike those old scholastics that were forever busily idle over such worthless abstract questionings as “ What's Matter?" “How many million angels can dance on a needle's point?"- Dr. Marcellus A. Herrick.
What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind. What is the soul? It is immaterial.- Thomas Hood.
The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable.—John Tyndall.
What I object to in Scotch philosophers in general is that they reason upon man as they would upon a divinity, they pursue truth without caring if it be useful truth. - Sydney Smith.
The negative precept of the Grecian sage, and of the most human of the rabbis,* Jesus makes the golden rule of the world. ...The
*In the sayings of Hillel, Dean Stanley hears “faint accents of a generous and universal theology” (The Jewish Church, iii., p. 507).
philosophers brought much beaten oil; but Jesus, by the power of his spirit, converted the oil into light.*... In him was Yea.t This unbroken and undoubting “ Yea” of Jesus' self-consciousness manifests itself throughout his teaching. His doctrine is never a question and a weary doubt.-Dr. Newman Smyth (Old Faiths in New Light, pp. 199, 217).
Having considered the manner, etc., of Christ's teaching, I it in part remains to consider the matter thereof. This embraces two themes: (1) Reverence and (2) Love. The former has just been considered. Of the latter, two interacting phases have already been predicated : (1) the subjective phase, or a certain condition of the soul induced by introspection and self-renunciation ; (2) the objective phase, or a certain conduct of life in all the various relations of each to other and to the community. The conformity of this conduct to certain rules of natural justice laid down by Moses, Confucius, Socrates, Jesus, and ethical writers ancient and modern, constitutes morality. Religion has sometimes been defined to be morality affected by emotion. Thus, when Cicero says, “ Hold off from sensuality; for, if you have given yourself up to it, you will find yourself unable to think of anything else,” this is morality. But when Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” this is religion. But, as has been well remarked, emotion has no value in the Christian system, save as it stands connected with the right conduct as cause thereof.
Emotion is the bud, not the flower; and never is it of value until it expands into a flower. Every religious sentiment, every act of devotion which does not produce a corresponding elevation of life, is worse than useless : it is absolutely pernicious, because it ministers to self-deception, and tends to lower the line of personal morals.W. H. H. Murray.
The world is beginning to apprehend that, after all our disputes and discussions upon dogmatic Christianity, religion consists of love to God and love to man, and has its final result and grand consummation in character.- Dr. J. G. Holland. The world wants the gold standard of righteousness rather than the fictitious and fluctuating paper currency of creeds.—Rush R. Shippen.
Ritual does not produce religion, but religion produces ritual.Dr. James F. Clarke.
See Neander's thorough discussion of “ The Relation of the Hellenic to Christian Ethics,” Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen,
+ II. Cor. i., 19. I Ante, chap. xxiv.
It is possible for a man to stand high in the Church, to obtain preferment and honor in it, on account of his zeal and success as an ecclesiastical propagandist, and yet not be a follower of Christ. It is time men learned to discern between the Christian spirit and the ecclesiastical spirit. - Anon. (The Interior).
The whole business of religion is not merely to insure a man against fire in the other world, but to create an insurable interest in him.- Herry W. Beecher (Response at the Herbert Spencer Dinner).
It is not proposed here to consider at any length the trite points of Christ's law of love, but to advert to some features that he therein emphasized that have not always received the attention requisite to the symmetry of culture already mentioned in considering Harmonization, etc.*
The Beatitudes, since they relate directly and explicitly to condition, and only generally to conduct, would perhaps more appropriately form the peroration than the introduction of the Sermon on the Mount, and were probably so placed by Jesus ; and no doubt they were more or less repeated by him in his private farewell discourses with his disciples. They would, however, form no inapt premonition to fortify the disciples minds against what must be encountered in their southward journey. The watchword of the Beatitudes is THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
Oh, what a theme! How it brings back voices forevermore silent! Nay, "he being dead yet speaketh.” And how the testimony of the long line of faithful monitors to whom any of us have listened concur hereon,- Catholic or Protestant, orthodox or other! Three decades ago, the writer listened lovingly to a venerable Methodist clergyman † who with earnest persuasiveness set forth the conditions of admission into this kingdom. A few days ago, he heard a young Unitarian clergyman set forth the same conditions with the same simple earnestness, and quoting the same Scriptures. Each was informally addressing a small Bible-circle of honest truth-seekers. The latter said:
To John the Baptist, the kingdom of heaven was a new order of things external; to Jesus, it was a new state of the soul. One might be, said Jesus, very little therein, and yet be greater than John. Paul gloried only in Christ's ideal. “The kingdom of God is within you." The conditions of entering the state were: (1) Humility. A little child would be greatest. (2) Sincerity. Pharisaic righteousness
* Ante, chap. xvii.
would avail nothing. (3) Earnestness. “There is no man that hath left house or wife or brethren or parents or children for the kingdom of God's sake who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and, in the world to come, eternal life.” (4) Gradual Growth. A mustard-seed planted in cherishing soil is a good emblem of the gradual growth and marvellous development of this kingdom in the heart and in the world. (5) A new principle. One must be born anew, said Jesus to Nicodemus. (6) A present principle. It is not merely future and afar off. “This is life eternal, that they should know thee, the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ." And, to know Christ, we must know experientially what is declared in the Beatitudes promote the kingdom of God' in the heart. Well, if one hath felt sorrow,- been really “ acquainted with grief," one must have had self-examination until the inmost soul plainly sees and is thoroughly sick of the unrest that comes of slavery to the lower nature, is famishing with feeding on husks, hungers and thirsts after righteousness, renounces all base allegiance. -]. Frederick Dutton (Hawes Place Church, South Boston).
Ah, sorrow! “ The saddest thing under the sky,” exclaimed the Countess de Gasparin, “is a soul incapable of sadness." And not ind ally alone do we verify these principles. “ Nations,” declares Mazzini, “are educated through suffering, mankind is purified through sorrow. The power of creating obstacles to progress is human and partial. Omnipotence is with the ages."
To nations no less than to individuals applies the quaint aphorism of George Herbert, “ Prosperity lets go the bridle.” And, as to pride and humility, the proverbial philosophy of all peoples is an infinite confirmation of that of the Hebrew sages of the era of David and Solomon.
To be able under all circumstances to practise five things constitutes perfect virtue. These five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. - Confucius.
Of the precepts to love there stand prominent directions to cultivate:
(1) The kindness of imparting knowledge. Let your light shine by word and by deed, and thereby draw folks to follow and glorify the Divine. What though it bring you envy, misrepresentation, unpopularity, discomfort, ostracism? There's a beatitude in it. Only thus can the human family progress upward. As to all things, therefore, whatsoever you (imagining yourself in the place of one ignorant, narrow, conceited, and Pharisaical) would be admonished and instructed in, admonish and instruct.
(2) The kindness of reconciliation. Of course there can be no kingdom of heaven — no dominion of the higher — so long