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Published by glennpease
By Inge, William Ralph, 1860-1954

" Speaking truth in love." — Eph. iv. 15.
By Inge, William Ralph, 1860-1954

" Speaking truth in love." — Eph. iv. 15.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 14, 2013
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TRUTH I LOVE. By Inge, William Ralph, 1860-1954" Speaking truth in love." — Eph. iv. 15. THE Truth " is one of the characteristic words of the Fourth Gospel. In St. John the Truth is one of the attributes or aspects of the eternal world ; it is the sphere in which God lives, the essence of His Holy Spirit, the condition under which alone we can worship God, the power which alone can make us free and sanctify us. It is also one of the most intimate and essential attributes of the Person of Jesus Christ ; He is the Truth, as well as the Way and the Life. In St. Paul we might quote several striking uses of the substantive " Truth," but none is more remarkable than his use of the verb in my text, " Be true in love." The Eevised Version translates " speaking truth," with " dealing truly " in the margin. These translations are both rather characteristically English. The English idea of being true is, substantially, to speak the truth and to deal fairly. The old Greek conception was somewhat different. When Plato, in his most famous book, discusses Truth and Falsehood, he is evidently much more afraid of what he calls " the lie in the soul " than of the lie on the lips. The worst kind of he, in his view, is the involuntary lie, like that of the Jews ioo FAITH AD KOWLEDGE in St. John, who, though they were really blind, said, " We see," and thought they were speaking the truth. Our idea of a true man is mainly of one who is true to other people ; Plato is more anxious that we should
be true to ourselves. The worst foes to truthfulness, in his eyes, are not cowardice, duplicity, and dis- honesty, so much as false standards, warped ideas, ignorance, and vulgarity of soul. The most important qualifications for a true life seem to him to be clear thinking, trained intelligence, and the power of seeing things in their true proportions, unbiassed by passion or prejudice. In comparing the two ideals, we shall probably call to mind Shakespeare's often quoted lines — " To thine own self be true ; And it must follow as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man." And we shall say that the Greek ideal, if followed consistently, will carry with it those external fruits of the truthful character which we value more highly than the Greeks seem to have done. But the Christian ideal of the true life seems to me to be deeper, more comprehensive, more all-embracing than either the intellectual honesty of the Greek or the moral integrity of the Englishman. It resembles the Greek conception in being a quality of the soul rather than a principle of action, but it involves the will and feeling quite as much as the intellect. In- deed, here as everywhere in Christian ethics, the direction of the will is fundamental. Singleness of TRUTH I LOVE 101 purpose is the real basis of Christian truthfulness. " If thine eye be single," says our Lord, " thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." The eye is that by which we guide our course ; here we are to understand by it primarily the will or intention, and
secondarily the intellect. The two need not be con- trasted. I doubt whether a man who is insincere can be really clear-headed. The double heart, as an old English divine puts it, makes the double head. If we cherish deliberately any one known inconsistency, if we consent to it voluntarily, and take it up into our scheme of life, our whole view of existence will be subtly distorted and warped. Let us be content to risk something ; and if we are, on the whole, convinced what is the best and worthiest thing to live for, let us be content to stand or fall by that, without keeping secret accounts open with the world, the flesh, or the devil. But we must not suppose that pure intentions will carry us all the way. Moral sincerity is indispensable to right thinking, but it does not ensure right thinking. Intellectual honesty is not, I am afraid, an English virtue. We are too much disposed to regard com- promise as a proof of common sense, and to apply the principles of the British Constitution to the world of thought. We rather pride ourselves upon being illogical; our enemies naturally call us hypocritical. And we are terrible partisans. At first sight, it is difficult not to despair of human nature when we 102 FAITH AD KOWLEDGE consider the spirit in which the greatest human interests are discussed. If we want to find an example of absolutely fair weighing of evidence, of calm dispassionate inquiry, and rigid impartiality in passing judgment, where shall we find it ? I suppose in the mathematician, whose problems, being perfectly abstract and colourless, and devoid of human interest, are treated fairly and truthfully. He holds no brief for x against y, and is under no temptation to impute sinister motives to z. And if we want to find a

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