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What Give in Exchange for the Soul

What Give in Exchange for the Soul

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Published by glennpease

BY STOPFORD BROOKE



For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole
world and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give
in exchange for his soul?

St. Mark viii. 36, 37

BY STOPFORD BROOKE



For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole
world and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give
in exchange for his soul?

St. Mark viii. 36, 37

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 26, 2013
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WHAT GIVE I EXCHAGE FOR THE SOULBY STOPFORD BROOKEFor what shall it profit a man if he gain the wholeworld and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man givein exchange for his soul?St. Mark viii. 36, 37WHAT a passionate note there is in this cry IA world of thought and feeling fills itsvoice. It came out of the depths of the heart of Jesus. He, at least, believed in the soul; and atpresent it is not a common belief. Men believefirmly in money, and they show their faith by theirworks, night and day spending and being spent inits service. Men believe in social repute. It seemsa glorious thing that they should he pointed outwith the finger — and their life, often their honour, isswallowed up in the labour their faith demands.Men believe in Science, not indeed so far as to helpit with money. That would be to infringe the largerand deeper faith in Cash, the true Godi ; but theyconfess her as a mistress and worship her, whenshe invents machinery which empowers them to fill363THE GOSPEL OF yOYtheir own pockets expeditiously, and to empty thepockets of others with equal expedition. But whenScience does not help them to anything but thoughtsand knowledge, they only believe in it then as ameans which enables them, they think, to pooh-pooh
 
the soul. '• We are all matter," they say, " or meremachines, the necessary results of the past. Sciencesays so. Why worry then about honour and mercy,and justice and honesty ? Let us fill up the fullmeasure of our pockets by any means we can. Allthe rest is mere sentiment." Thus do they use thenoble creature Science ; and the worst of her is thatshe docs not coirplain.They also believe in morality, that is, in what thelaw declares to be criminal and not criminal, and inwhat society declares is moral or immoral. To obeythe law, and the maxims and social arrangementsof society, is to be moral ; to disobey them is to beimmoral ; and their faith in this obedience being thewhole duty of man is so astonishing that theyactually call themselves moral persons at the verytime when they are deliberately violating both jus-tice and mercy in support of the opinions of theirworld. Those opinions justify them in any actionwhich does not bring them into the Courts of Law ;or which is supported or ignored by the sentenceof their society. But, as to belief in eternal prin-WHAT? I EXCHAGE FOR THE SOULciples which have nothing to do with earthly lawsor social opinion ; which exist above these things ;and which in their own lives ought to rule overtheir acts and thoughts, independent of legal orsocial judgments — as to such a belief as that, itdoes not enter into their faiths at all. It has*' nothing to do with practical life."What those who have, in Christ's thought, gaineda soul, call "practical life," is a life which helpsmankind into greater happiness ; and it is only livedby the power of self-forgetfulness. What they call
 
practical life is to care and labour for nothing whichdoes not increase their income, or build up theirpersonal power. It is only lived by the power of incessant self-remembrance, and it lessens the happi-ness of mankind. With the latter kind of practicallife faith in the soul is at war. It would be curiousif the soul had anything to do with it, and the factis, they who follow that life naturally deny the soul.'• The soul ! " they say, " what is that ? I don'tknow what it means. There's no proof of it : it doesnot interest me ; and it bears no interest. I cannotmake ten per cent, out of it." o, indeed, youcannot ; you are more likely to lose ten per cent,by believing in it. Moreover, you must haveexperienced something of what it is " to have asoul " before you can believe in its worth, or knowa63THE GOSPEL OP JOYwhat it means, or what Jesus meant when Hespoke of it.He did not mean a personal, selfish thing insideof you which was in danger of hell-fire or punish-ment, and which had first to be saved from them,and then put into a comfortable position in heaven.But He did mean all those qualities and their har-mony which make up in a man, in a society or ina nation, a character like the character of God, ourFather. He meant that inward state, which, beingin a man, is a state of salvation ; a state in whichhe cannot think evil, mean and selfish things, inwhich he cannot do these things, in which hewould rather die than do them. He meant thatwithin a man there were wrought together into a per-sonal entity directly bound up with God, purity and

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