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With All Thy Heart

With All Thy Heart

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE

JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, D.D.


"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart"

JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, D.D.


"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart"

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 03, 2013
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04/03/2013

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WITH ALL THY HEARTJOSEPH FORT EWTO, D.D."Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart"THERE are those who say that a rose byany other name would smell as sweet,but that is not true. Mayhap it is trueto the lexicographer, ,to whom the rose is only aprickly shrub bearing a flower ; but to the poet therose is all that it has become through the praiseof the poets and lovers for untold ages. Saadiand Sappho, Dante and Petrarch, and many asinger in the lovely land of England, have addedeach his touch of glamour and interpretation, until'^ the rose is a symbol of the pathetic frailty andevanescence of beauty, an image of the fragranthuman hopes and dreams lost upon all the windsof the world, and a reminder that the fairestthings are won through toil and pain."Just so it is, only in a profounder way, with theword God, which gathers up into its three lettersthe history of piety, the hauntings of the humanheart in its highest aspirations, and the whole of theology. o other word has such far-reaching4050 THE MERCY OF HELLechoes, such exalted accent, such fathomless sug-gestion, such ineffable prophecy. When we cometo the end of thought, and sit down on the edgeof the infinite, all we can do is to utter that oneunutterable name. All religion, all philosophy, allthe treasures won by man in his long pilgrimages,are in that word. Age after age, as mankind risesinto the life that is life indeed, that word is ful-filled of a holier and grander meaning, until to-day it is itself a prayer in which love and awe,fear and hope and faith, are blended.
 
Yet nothing is easier, as ewman said, than" to use the word God and mean nothing by it."What do we mean by it? What is God to us?What emotion does that word evoke in our heart,what echoes ? An answer to such questions tellswhat religion is to us, what it means, and what itis worth. Theologians talk of a science of God,but not so the saints. "Lord, Thou knowest ourfoolishness," is the cry of the humility that isreligious. He perfectly knows God, said RoUe,who realizes that He is incomprehensible and be-yond full knowledge. What does it mean to loveGod? How can we love Him? Can we sendour love out into the infinite and lay hold of thehem of His robe? When we try to do so ourvery thought seems to melt like a mist into thesky, lost beyond tracing. How can we love theInfinite, the Unseen, the Incomprehensible, as weare bidden to do in the first and greatest command-WITH ALL THY HEART 51ment? If this can be made plain to us, surely thehour has not been spent in vain.There is a lovely bit of scenery in the vale of Mickleham, between Leatherhead and Dorking,where the creeping Mole winds its way betweenBox Hill and the park lands of orbury. At thepoint where the highway spans the stream at Bur-ford Bridge there is an ancient and much fre-quented inn, where Stevenson rested for a time,and where, in an earlier day, Keats wrote a partof his " Endymion." Taking the old moon-mythof classic lore, he recast it, filling it with all thebewildering, teeming richness of his invention andinsight. Two great truths, both quite simple inthemselves, may be traced all through the intrica-cies of a poem written in the dialect of angels, intales and golden histories. One is that the soul,seeking imion with the eternal Beauty, cannotachieve its quest in solitude and selfishness, butonly after being purified and set free from self.The whole third book of Endymion tells how thehero, surprised into self-forget fulness by sympathy
 
with the sage and sea-god under the afflictionslaid upon him, is enabled to break the evil spell of Circe. For reward he is endowed by the sage withall his own dear-bought treasures of mystic knowl-edge and power; and, thus empowered, he findsthat he can the better serve his fellows.With this is joined the other truth that love of all the manifold beauties of things and beings upons.8i THE MERCY OF HEIXearth is in its nature identical with love of theeternal Beauty. Many adventures befall the hero,both in dreams and in reality, and he is all thetime tormented by the fear that these lower lovesare making him unfaithful to the Goddess to whomhe has given his plight. At last he falls in lovewith an Indian maid whom he finds lost and for^saken in the forest, and vows to give up hisheavenly quest for her sake. But she cannot ac-cept such a sacrifice, and they both plan schemesof renunciation, she to be a votaress and he to livethe life of a hermit. At the last moment the maiddrops her disguise, and he finds that she is noneother than the Goddess herself. The quest isended, the mystery solved ; and he learns that mor-tal love is needed to humanize the heavenly, andthe heavenly to hallow the mortal — that the two,a-t their highest and best, are one, uniting love of God and love of man.This truth is radiantly expounded by RupertBrooke, whose life was lost, alas! in the great war,and who sleeps amid the wild thyme and poppiesof the isle of Scyros. In his poem entitled " TheGreat Lover," one of the noblest of poems of re-cent years, he celebrates with glee his happy loveof life in all its myriad shapes, regretting thatthese forms of beauty pass so quickly away, butprophesying that from beyond the hills of death

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