Pessimism is not in being tired of evil but in being tired of good. Despair does not lie in being weary of suffering, but in being weary of joy. It is when for some reason or other the good things in society no longer work that the society begins to decline; when its food does not feed, when its cures do not cure, when its blessings refuse to bless.


The truth is that the thing most present to the mind of man is not the economic machinery necessary to his existence; but rather that existence itself; the world which he sees when he wakes every morning and the nature of his general position in it.

External Truth

Christianity does appeal to a solid truth outside itself; to something which is in that sense external as well as eternal. It does declare that things are really there; or in other words that things are really things. In this, Christianity is at one with common sense; but all religious history shows that common sense perishes except where there is Christianity to preserve it.nnIt cannot otherwise exist, or at least endure, because mere thought does not remain sane. In a sense, it becomes too simple to be sane.

Taller When He Bowed

The crux and crisis is that man found it natural to worship; even natural to worship unnatural things. The posture of the idol might be stiff and strange; but the gesture of the worshiper was generous and beautiful. He not only felt freer when he bent; he actually felt taller when he bowed.

As Narrow as the Universe

It is often said with a sneer that the God of Israel was only a God of Battles… Well it is for the world that he was a God of Battles. Well it is for us that he was to all the rest only a rival and a foe. In the ordinary way, it would have been only too easy for them to have achieved the desolate disaster of conceiving him as a friend. It would have been only too easy for them to have seen him stretching out his hands in love and reconciliation, embracing Baal and kissing the painted face of Astarte, feasting in fellowship with the gods; lest God sell his crown of stars for the Soma of the Indian pantheon or the nectar of Olympus or the mead of Valhalla. It would have been easy enough for his worshipers to follow the enlightened course of Syncretism and the pooling of all the pagan traditions. It is obvious indeed that his followers were always sliding down this easy slope; and it required the almost demoniac energy of certain inspired demagogues who testified to the divine unity in words that are still like winds of inspiration and ruin. The more we really understand of the ancient conditions that have contributed to the final culture of the Faith, the more we shall have a real and even a realistic reverence of the greatness of the Prophets of Israel. As it was, while the whole world melted into this mass of confused mythology, this Deity who is called tribal and narrow, precisely because he was what is called tribal and narrow, preserved the primary religion of all mankind. He was tribal enough to be universal. He was as narrow as the universe.

The Thrill in Theism

Indeed it is only too easy to forget that there is a thrill in theism. A novel in which a number of separate characters all turned out to be the same character would certainly be a sensational novel. It is so with the idea that sun and tree and river are the disguises of one god and not of many. Alas, we also find it too easy to take Atahocan for granted.

The Source of Religion

Even in trying to prove that religion grew slowly from rude or irrational sources, they begin their proof with the first men who were men. But their own proof only proves that the men who were already men were already mystics. They used the rude and irrational elements as only men and mystics can use them. We come back once more to the simple truth; that at some time too early for these critics to trace, a transition had occurred to which bones and stones cannot, in their nature, bear witness; and man became a living soul.

Art is the Signature of Man

That is the simplest lesson… it is the simple truth that man does differ from the brutes in kind and not in degree; and the proof of it is here; that it sounds like a truism to say that the most primitive man drew a picture of a monkey, and that is sounds like a joke to say that the most intelligent monkey drew a picture of a man. Something of a division and disproportion has appeared; and it is unique. Art is the signature of man.

Man the Revolution

Man is not merely an evolution but rather a revolution. That he has a backbone or other parts upon a similar pattern to birds and fishes is an obvious fact, whatever be the meaning of the fact. But if we attempt to regard him, as it were, as a quadruped standing on his hind legs, we shall find what follows more fantastic and subversive than if he were standing on his head.

Trying the Impossible

We are currently trying to do the impossible – namely, build a civilization without an agreed civil tradition and [in] the absence of a moral consensus.

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