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The First Truth

The First Truth

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Published by glennpease
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, D.D.


"In the beginning God." — Gen. i : i.
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, D.D.


"In the beginning God." — Gen. i : i.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 03, 2013
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04/03/2013

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THE FIRST TRUTHJOSEPH FORT EWTO, D.D."In the beginning God." — Gen. i : i.HERE is the first truth and the last, thegreatest thought in the world, the mostprofound, the most revealing, the mostsatisfying. History tells us What has happened,science seeks to know How it happened, philosophytries to tell us Why it happened; but they leaveus with one question still in our hearts. Whatwe most want to know is. Who made it happen,Who spread out this far-shining city of the uni-verse and gave us a home and a duty in it ? Thatis why, after man has studied the earth and thesky, and reviews what he has learned, he finds hisheart unsatisfied, and even restless, until one otherquestion is somehow answered. So it has beenfrom the beginning, and so it will be until the end,while human nature is the same.Therefore it is that the Bible, the wisest anddeepest book that broods over the mystery of life,begins its great story at the beginning, and an-swers the last question first. or has all the witand wisdom of the ages been able to give a betteranswer. With an insight clear as light the old25M THE MERCY OF HELLbook goes straight to the heart of the mystery,and time has shown that its answer is in accordwith right reason, the verdict of moral sanity, andthe testimony of facts when rightly read. TheBible does not argue; it affirms. Its truth is thefruit of religious experience, and its vision of theunity, spirituality and righteousness of God, whois the beginning and the end of all things, is thegreatest gift that ever came to the world from anysource.
 
Admit that this truth dawned slowly and dimlyupon the human mind, amidst narrow notions,limited and passionate like the people who saw it,the following of that vision becomes the morepathetic and heroic. o matter; it grew as themind of man was able to grasp it, and the heartwas pure enough to hold it. From time to timea radiant man was bom who added something of power and dignity to that which his race revealed,making the truth clearer. Other races, such asEgypt and India, outtopped the Hebrews in intel-lectual and artistic power, but in the depth andsanity of their religious insight the mighty seerswho wrote the Bible have never been equaled.Even to-day we are only beginning to spell out themeaning of the imity of the universe, which theybeheld ages ago. Let us never forget Aat longbefore science learned to talk about the physicalunity of the world, those hoary prophets saw itsmoral and spiritual unity in God. For them. HeTHE FIRST TRUTH 87who was God from everlasting, before ever theearth was formed, was the sufficient ground forevery possible unity of science and philosophy — so far and so fast did their spiritual insight out-run the intellect of the race.o one ought ever again to take this text andforget the lines of Alfred oyes in exposition of it. Some of us heard him read these lines whenhe was here as our guest, his face aglow with thefaith of which he sang, his body swayed by themusic of his words. Written at a time when menfancied that they had found the Origin of Lifethis side of God, the poem takes us back behindthe centuries, back of the mire and slime of evo-lution, back into the darkness before the dawn of creative time, and demands, as a challenge alike toreason and reverence, that men kneel where oncethey dared to doubt. Hear now an authenticstrain of the ancient faith of humanity :
 
"*In the beginning?' — Slowly grope we back Along the narrowing track,Back to the deserts of the world's pale prime,The mire, the clay, the slime;And then, what then? Surely something less;Back, back to othingness 1You dare not halt upon that dwindling way!There is no gulf to stayYour footsteps to the last Go back you must!Far, far below the dust,Descend, descend! Grade by dissolving grade.We follow, unafraid!Dissolve, dissolve this moving world of menInto thin air — and then?28 THE MERCY OF HELL" O pioneers, O warriors of the Light,In that absrsmal night.Will you have courage, then, to rise and tellEarth of this miracle?Will you have courage, then, to bow the head,And say, when all is said — 'Out of this othingness arose our thought!This blank abysmal noughtWoke, and brought forth that lighted city street,Those towers, that armored fleet*?" When you have seen those vacant primal skiesBeyond the centuries.Watched the pale mists across their darkened flow.

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